Bohol is an island province in the Philippines. I call it the Central Visayas wonder because it has so much to offer to tourists. The province is not only packed with natural wonders, but also rich in history. Here are my take of the top 10 things to do/see.
(1) Chocolate Hills the most famous attraction of Bohol province is the 1,268 haycock hills which turn brown during dry season, hence, the name. This natural phenomenon is unique in the Philippines. To get the best 360 degree breathtaking view of the 50sq. km area where these half spheres hills are scattered, climb up the 214 steps of the view deck in Carmen, Bohol.
(2) Tarsiers of Loboc The tarsier is the smallest primate in the world. And the smallest of this family is found in Bohol. They are basically nocturnal animals but the ones here in Loboc River zoo have already adapted the sleeping pattern of human. They feed on insects and hangs on tree branches. They live to the age of 20 with one mating season per year that for lasts 3 seconds. While it seems inhuman to hold them captive exposing them to stupid tourists who kept on touching them and taking photos with, I think this had helped raise the awareness of the used to be endangered specie. So in my opinion, it is worth it.
(3) Loboc River Cruise lets you take lunch or dinner aboard a ferry while you enjoy the panoramic view of the palm plantation along the river, watch a live performance by Loboc locals at the river banks and children showing off by jumping off a tree to the water for 300 pesos.
(4) Scuba Diving is not to be missed (if you are a scuba diver) as Bohol has one of the most prolific underwater scenes being at the center of the Visayas province. Balicasag and Cabilao Island are 2 of the most famous sites.
(5) Old Churches
The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Baclayon or simply called as Baclayon Church is the 2nd oldest church in the Philippines. It is one of the best preserved Jesuit built churches in the region.
The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Dauis or Dauis Church is famous for its well at the altar foot. It was said to miraculously appeared when the town was attacked by pirates long time ago. It is also believed to have healing power. So when visiting, remember to bring bottles to take home some.
(6) Dolphin watching is another popular attraction in the island. It is a 40 minute banca ride from Panglao island and you have to get before 7am. The dolphins were prompt and they came in hundreds. It was a magnificent show that lasted almost an hour. It is worthy to note that until 10 years ago, the locals used to be dolphin hunters. Today, it is a protected area and killing sea animals are strictly prohibited. The hunters became spotters thanks to the introduction of ecotourism by the local government.
(7) Sandugo: Blood Compact is the site found in Tagbilaran City where a monument was built of the blood pact (friendship pact) made between Rajah Sikatuna and Miguel Lopez de Lagaspi of Spain in 1565. This site overlook the forest where it's prohibited to enter due to the number of migrant birds and other animals.
(8) Loay Bolo Makers are the makers of local sword. Tourists are allowed to watch how they were made but not purchase. The sale and distribution of these were the sole responsibility of the local government to ensure that the bolo makers get a fair price.
(9) Clarins Ancestral House is one of the many Spanish period houses (bahay na bato) that still stands. It is the 19th century ancestral house of the Clarins family that is now made into a national heritage site and converted into a museum.
(10) Bohol Bee Farm is more than just a honey factory. It is also a resort and restaurant of organic food. Be sure to take the mini farm tour where they showcase their organic vegetable and spice garden and background to bee farming. They have a small shop selling their organic produce including wine, honey, bread spread, and more.