The Place Attractions
Definitely one of the best destinations in Southeast Asia, few places on earth combine natural beauty with interesting man-made structures so well. One day can be spent trekking through the jungle, observing some of the world's oldest primates while the next can be spent admiring the island's colonial and religiously affiliated architecture.
Steeped in history, Bohol has a strong sense of identity and culture that is none better reflected than in the architecture and the natural beauty that make up the island's interior. The Chocolate Hills are perhaps the most sought-out attraction followed a close second by the island's surreally shaped caves and rock formations. Whatever your preference in attractions, Bohol's charm will not fail to seduce you.
The Chocolate Hills
This unusual geographical formation consists of 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometers, their name comes from the grass that covers them turning brown during the dry season. The Philippines Tourism Authority believes the hills to be the third National Geographical monument of the Archipelago.
Unlike any other natural formation in the world, from a distance they’re reminiscent of half a ball shape grown from upwards from the ground. Just two of the hills have been developed into a resort and complex – Sagbayan Peak and The Chocolate Hills Complex. Indeed, these are the pride and joy of the Philippines, a symbol of their copious and somewhat quirky natural beauty.
A listed world UNESCO Heritage Site, Panglao Island has incredible richness in marine biodiversity and a varying terrain that consists of hills and plains. Politically, it is divided into two municipalities Dauis and Pangalo, part of the Bohol Province.
Situated southwest of Bohol and east of Cebu it is easily accessed via a short boat trip from either island. Most visitors come to explore the extensive marine and coral reefs. Sun worshippers should seize the opportunity to bask on the sensational islets of Gak-ang and Pontod.
The Philippine Tarsier Foundation
After the Chocolate Hills the tarsiers inhabiting the island of Bohol, are probably its second biggest attraction. One of the smallest primates on Earth, no bigger than an adult man's hand, they face danger from the deforestation of their natural habitat. Take the opportunity to go and visit the tarsiers in its natural habitat and observe the way they live.
Sandugo Blood Compact Site
The Sandugo Blood Compact Site was built to commemorate the blood compact peace treaty between de Legazpi and Sikatuna on March 16, 1565. Performed between the Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna of Bohol, to signify the bond shared between the Filipinos and Spaniards, it is considered the first treaty to represent their international relations – 'sandugo' meaning 'one blood'.
This is now a hallmark of the Bohol Province and as a symbol for peace, illustrated on the flag. Set in the context of the Philippines' history this is considered a key moment in their history. The international treaty of friendship can be visited at the location of where the ship anchored and the treaty was performed.
Religiously Affiliated Architecture
Bohol is home to over 30 churches – testament to the role religion plays in everyday life in the Philippines. Set against a tropical backdrop, Catholicism has never looked so appealing!
The historical and social context in which the buildings sit, signifies the country’s social and political history dating back to their colonisation by the Spanish in the 16th century.
The only Catholic country in Southeast Asia, the religiously affiliated architecture of Bohol tells the story of day-to-day life and the role faith plays in it. Here are five of the best.
Waterfalls in Bohol
For many the Camogan Falls reign supreme as Bohol's superior falls. The soaring height of the falls give the impression that they consist of one straight drop when they are in fact made up of three tiers some 45 metres high. The green backdrop to the fall consisting of trees and shrubs helps the scenery to be truly breathtaking but reaching the top should be left to experienced rock climbers.
Situated in the heart of Antequera (the basket-making capital) visitors can reach the falls simply by hiring a tricycle or motorcycle. It is incredibly tourist friendly around these parts; steps have been built so there is less of a risk factor involved in reaching and leaving the waterfall. The name ‘mag-aso’ derives from the Visayan term ‘aso’ meaning smoke, in reference to the 'smoke' or water vapour that emerges from the cascading waters, which is simply spectacular.