Scenic Bohol casts an enigmatic
charm drawn from the many archaic mementos spread throughout
the oval-shaped island - from unique rock formations to a 45-million-year-old
mammal species, from massive stone watchtowers built by the Spaniards
in the 18th century. Surrounding the mainland are 73 other smaller
offshore islands and islets whose palm-fringed coastlines are
rimmed by white sand and sheltering coves. Serpentine coastal
highways wind along unsullied beaches and rustic rivers where
the tourist can stop at any point and jump in for a dip.
Bohol is the perfect arena for scuba diving, kayaking, trekking
and cave exploration. For the less adventurous, it offers leisurely
pursuits like cruising, swimming, snorkeling or, simply, collecting
seashells by the seashore.
Town visits promise exciting cultural treats that include scheduled
performances by the Teatro Bolanon, Dimiao Rondalla, Diwanag
Dance Theater and the award-winning Loboc Children's Choir.
Bohol is an anchor tourist destination and one of the 7,000 times
more islands that make up the Philippine archipelago.
Gem of an
Bohol is like a jade brooch
set on a velvet-blue sea. Its fertile land has hills that roll
gently around lush forests and grassy meadows. Marine life -
from schools of tiny reef fish to bigger pods of dolphins and
whales - teem in the surrounding waters.
Located east of Cebu and southwest of Leyte in the Philippines'
Central Visayas region, Bohol is bounded on the north by the
Camotes Sea, on the west by the Cebu Strait, and on the South
by the Bohol Sea.
Covering an area of 4,117 square kilometers, it is essentially
an agricultural province, with rice, coconut and corn as main
produce. Fishing is a major industry.
Bohol's handicrafts are famous throughout the country. These
include mats and baskets, raffia woven cloth, fashion accessories,
woodcraft, processed food, and ceramics.
Chocolate Hills is a series
of 1,268 perfectly symmetrical, haycock-shaped hills that rise
some 30 meters above the ground. A National Geologic Monument,
these unique, rock formations were cast after million years of
Spread out in the towns of Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan, the hills
are so-called because they resemble chocolate bonbons when their
grass cover turns to brown at the onset of summer. Two of the
hills have been developed and provided with facilities, including
a viewdeck, a youth hostel and a restaurant.
Other hills with a commanding view of the surrounding islands
include Banat-I and Elly in the capital city of Tagbilaran, Himontagon
in the town of Loay, Sampoangan in Calape and Ilihan in Jagna.
With its limestone foundation,
the province of Bohol is also known as "Cave Country."
An average of 30 caves are found in each ofits 47 towns, many
of them still unexplored. It is said that Bohol got its name
from the word boho, meaning "hole." [ the term boho
really means hole from which spring water usually gush forth,
common in many coastal areas of this island].
The Francisco Dagohoy Cave in the town of Danao is especially
noted for its historical role. It was once the headquarters of
the Boholano patriot Dagohoy who led an extended rebellion against
Spain starting in the first half of the 1700's. One of the many
crystal-studded passages within the cave's maze has an underwater
route leading to dry land. Local lore has it that every time
Spaniards would enter the cave, Dagohoy would dive under and
hide in the breathing space.
The largest cave, however, is Sudlon. Nestled in a lovely mountain
environment, it hosts a huge population of bats which emerge
like vast stormy clouds at dusk.
One of Asia's finest diving
destinations, Bohol boasts of an undersea panorama filled with
impressive coral gardens teeming with colorful marine life.
The dive sites of Bohol are noted for their deep, steep walls
- the creation of continental shifts during prehistoric times.
Just over the causeway from Tagbilaran is Panglao Island with
its spectacular drop-offs.
The crab-shaped Balicasag Island has long established itself
as a dive resort. From here, island-hopping and whale-watching
expeditions can be organized.
Pamilacan Island is yet another popular diving destination. Pamilacan,
which means "resting place of the mantas," is also
noted for its big whales called "balilan" and the highly
prized rare seashell Gloria Maris.
Pantudlan in Cabilao Island is frequented by many foreign diving
The Tarsier Trail is a pathway
from where one may become acquainted with a wide variety of local
flora and fauna, including the tiniest primate on Earth.
Covering a distance of roughly 15 kilometers, the trail meanders
through the gently rolling terrain of the interior towns of Corella,
Sikatuna and Loboc. It traverses the natural habitat of the Philippine
tarsier, one of Earth's oldest mammal inhabitants. A 45-million-year
old prosimian species, it is popularly known as "the world's
Going deeper into the trail, one gets the chance to see some
endemic birds like the serpent eagle, brahmini kite, woodpecker,
rocky-tailed blue-headed parrot, grass owl, bubock pigeon and
water cock. There are jungle animals like the monkey, python,
cobra, macock and palm civet cat. It also teems with insects,
the staple diet of the tarsier.
From the forest, the trail crosses over into Loboc River. Here,
bamboo rafts are for rent, from where one may glide down the
placid, green river to the seaport of Loay. One can also partake
of a native seafood buffet or a hearty snack in any of the floating
restaurants that cruise on the river.
Trained volunteer guides, mostly college students from Tagbilaran,
bring trekkers through the 134-hectare forested area that has
been set aside as the Tarsier Sanctuary.
A Whiff of
During the 16th century, a
"Treaty of Friendship" was forged between the brown
and white races, sealed by the blood compact of the Boholano
chieftain Datu Sikatuna and the Spanish Captain Miguel Lopez
Some 302 years of Spanish rule followed after the treaty. It
was a rule bathed with sweat and tears, as native sons plodded
in hard labor building massive fortresses and grand colonial
churches. More blood was also shed in the many attempts to free
the motherland from the shackles of Spanish domination. To this
day, there still stands in Bohol many structures that serve as
mute testimonials to its rich historic past.
Baclayon Church, is the best preserved Jesuit-built church in
the region, although its facade and most of the stone structures
surrounding it were built by the Augustininan Recollects in the
late 19th century. The Christian community organized by the Jesuits
on November 17, 1596 and thereafter a visita was erected on the
site. Baclayon was canonically raised to the status of a parish
only in 1717, the present stone church was completed in 1727.
The Casa parroquial was built by the Augustinian recollects in
1872. An ecclesiastical museum was established in 1969/70. Its
narthex has the cuadro paintings of the historically acllaimed
Filipino painter Liberato Gatchalian. Paintings were executed
in 1859. Declared a national historical landmark in 1995 by the
National Historical Institute. Its convent has been transformed
into a museum and houses priceless religious artifacts.
Other mission churches of architectural distinction include Dauis
Church with its beautiful frescoes, Loboc Church with its three-story
convent, Panglao Church with its ornate antiquities and ceiling
murals, Loon Church, the most stunning church built by the Recollect
Friars, and the 19th century Maribojoc Church.
Also found in the town of Maribojoc is the ancient Punta Cruz
watchtower which used to serve as a look-out for marauding pirates.
It now serves as a view deck and offers a picturesque vista of
the Mindanao Sea and the provinces of Cebu and Siquijor.
Other watchtowers of note can be found in the towns of Loay,
Balilihan and Pamilacan Island.
At the market, one can have
a pick of the day's fresh sea catch and have them cooked homestyle
at any of the food stalls.
There are also fishermen whose bancas coast along the resort
row, selling Neptune's bounty for instant grills. A river cruise
through pastoral Cambuhat River in Buenavista leads one to the
oyster farms from where one can indulge in real fresh "slipper
The hotels and resorts have their own dining outlets which can
also prepare picnic baskets upon request.
Filipinos do not simply provide
the guest with a place to rest or park their luggage, they also
share the best of what they have. This warm, effusive brand of
hospitality is what distinguishes Philippine hotels from the
In Bohol, the traveler has a pick of accommodations to choose
from, depending on one's budget and needs. There are accommodations
ranging from plush hotels to cozy pensions, from luxurious resorts
to the more tailored "SIR" (special interest resorts),
which cater to specific sporting needs.
& RESORT (AA)
Address : Libaong, Panglao,
Contact No. : (6338) 502-9497
BEACH CLUB (AA)
Address : Bolod, Panglao,
Contact No. : (6338) 411-5222
BEACH RESORT SPA (SIR)
Address : Brgy. Tawala,
Contact No. : (6338) 502-9516
E-mail : email@example.com
PARADISE RESORT (SIR)
Address : Peñaflor
St., Taloto District, Tagbilaran City
Contact No. : (6338) 411-2309
Address : Ester A Lim
Drive Tawala Panglao Bohol
Contact No. : (6332) 502-9164/9001
7,000 Times More Surprises
Discover 7,000 times more surprises
that await beyond Bohol.
CEBU. The island-province of Cebu has many
leisure establishments that take full advantage of its sea-valley-and-mountain
location. Hotels, shopping malls, entertainment halls, casinos
and golf fairways are ever present to cater to every tourist's
whim. Metro Cebu is the second biggest metropolis in the country
and rivals Metro Manila, the National Capital Region, in many
ways. Cebu City is the country's oldest city. It is the capital
of Cebu which is made up of 167 islands and islets.
DUMAGUETE. Dumaguete City is a cultural haven
set in a serene countryside setting. It is synonymous with Silliman
University, founded by American Protestant missionaries in 1901.
The university's 35-hectare campus is a virtual bird sanctuary.
The Silliman Farm Beach just outside the city is a marine laboratory
and offers gear for diving and exploring the fish-rich waters.
Of priceless value is its ethnographic museum which houses an
extensive collection of locally-excavated artifacts, Sung and
Ming dynasty porcelain, and witchcraft paraphernalia from the
nearby province of Siquijor. Dumaguete City is the capital of
the island-province of Negros Oriental.
Bohol can be reached daily
by super fast sea ferries from Cebu, the regional transportation
hub, although it can also be reached by direct flights and by
ship from Manila, the international travel capital.
Asian Spirit fields direct flights from the Manila Domestic Airport
to the Tagbilaran Domestic Airport four times a week. Philippine
Airlines, Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific have several daily
flights from the Manila Domestic Airport to the Cebu-Mactan International
Airport. From the Cebu City wharf, there are many scheduled trips
daily for the Tagbilaran seaport by super fast ferries.
(632) 63649338 to 45
The WG & A Superferry ship leaves from Pier 4 at Manila's
North Harbor for the Tagbilaran seaport every Friday and Sunday
while the Negros Navigation liner leaves from Pier 2 every Monday
for Tagbilaran via Dumaguete City and every Friday for Tagbilaran
via Cebu City.
WG & A SUPERFERRY
(632) 2435359/2450601 to 02
The Philippines is readily accessible from the travel capitals
of the world. Traveling time to Manila from Hong Kong is an hour
and 50 minutes; Singapore, 3 hours and 10 minutes; Bangkok, 3
hours and 50 minutes; Tokyo, 4 hours and 15 minutes; Sydney,
10 hours and 20 minutes; London, 20 hours and 45 minutes; Paris,
21 hours and 15 minutes; Frankfurt, 19 hours and 40 minutes;
San Francisco, 16 hours and 15 minutes; Los Angeles, 15 hours
and 20 minutes; and New York, 25 hours and 20 minutes.