Bohol: The Island of the Famous Chocolate Hills
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Bohol is a little island paradise in the southern Philippines. The most notable among the tourist attractions in Bohol is Chocolate Hills.
However, there are more reasons why one should visit Bohol. The many activities and places to see is enough to make visitors see the place as a sanctuary for a lot of nature's beauty.
Why Visit Bohol?
The reasons to visit Bohol can be as varied as the number of people who visit the place, but there are a few that will usually resound among the many reasons. Those who favor some fun in the tropical waters will find a lot of idyllic beaches. You'll find all sorts of seaside wonders from developed beaches like Alona Beach to exclusive secluded waterfront locations for your own private encounters in the tropical waters.
Water fun in Bohol is not only restricted to the wonderful beaches. You'll also have many wonderful experiences underwater since there are a lot of dive sites here to choose from. Dive sites range from easy dives to sites requiring advanced diving skills. Divers will enjoy the wide bio-diversity of aquatic life they will encounter under these tropic waters.
A trip to Bohol will be incomplete if you won't at least catch a glimpse of the Chocolate Hills. This still stands as the highlight to any visit to the island province. The more than one thousand uniformly shaped hills dazzle those who see the photos but they also give jaw-dropping amazement to those who have actually seen them. They are indeed a natural wonder no one should miss seeing.
Other inland attractions in Bohol also include a large host of caves numbering more than 1,400. Those who are into cave exploring will find this as a delight other than the fact that some of these caves have historic significance. The most popular among these caves is the Dagohoy Cave, named after Filipino revolutionary patriot Francisco Dagohoy. The cave served as his base of operations during his revolt against Spain in 1744.
Other than the caves, the landscape of Bohol is also beautifully laced by many waterfalls. If you're up for some inland trekking adventures, hunting for these romantic waterfalls will be a most welcome treat. Visitors should take note that most of these waterfalls are only known to locals. Prepare for difficult climbs, muddy terrain, and breaking some sweat before you reach these majestic heartland scenes.
If local flora and fauna is your thing, then your visit here will be more than rewarding when you encounter the Bohol wildlife. Bohol is also the home to the smallest primate in the world, the tarsier. You may visit the Philippine Tarsier Foundation and catch a glimpse of this intriguing creature. Other than tarsiers, dolphins are also under the spotlight in Bohol. Dolphin watching tours are often organized for visitors who want to see these amazing creatures in their natural environment.
Like other places in the Philippines, the air is made alive in Bohol by the many fiesta celebrations. May is a special month of the year since a lot of these feasts are commemorated. Colorful parades, street dancing, beauty pageants, and an avalanche of food highlight these special events.
Bohol's place in Philippine history
Even before the Spanish arrived in the islands of Bohol, the natives and other locals have already established thriving communities. The people have been trading with merchants from as far as China. With the arrival of Spanish came a peaceful treaty known as the Sandugo, which is also celebrated even today. This is proof of the Filipino's love for peace, friendship, and brotherhood.
Read more about the History of Bohol...
Retreat into urban life
Taking a casual break from the wonderful nature scenes to have a quick return to urban living is never difficult since Bohol also offers the comfort and pleasure of urban living. Finding accommodations will never be a challenge since there are hotels and resorts where your needs will be well met with excellent service and modern amenities.
Tagbilaran City, Bohol's capital, offers its visitors that subtle blending of paradise and modern living. Though the city's services may lag behind a bit when compared to major cities like Manila or Cebu, Tagbilaran still offers the best of urban life. Department stores, money changers, banks, ATM's, cinemas, restaurants, hospitals, travel agencies, and hotels can be found here. Life can become a mix of modern urban amenities and blissful tropical havens.
How to get to Bohol
There are many different means of transportation available when trying to get to Bohol. Since it is promoted as a major tourist destination, you can find a variety of travel options. Flights are scheduled daily with more than one airline flying to Bohol. However, for those who would love an ocean voyage, there are two options open - fast ferry and regular ferry.
Fast ferries are those that take you to the Tagbilaran City Wharf via something comparable to speedboats, only that these passenger ferries travel at a rate of around 50 kilometers an hour. These trips are scheduled daily from different islands and tourist destinations like Cebu, Dumaguete, and Dapitan.
Read more about the Fast Ferry from Cebu to Bohol.
If you don't fancy semi-speed boating then you may opt for regular ferries, which will take around three days to get from Manila to Tagbilaran. This may well be the cheapest mode of travel, but take note that these ferries can become way too crowded during peak seasons like the Christmas holidays. In this category we will also find a ferry from Butuan to Bohol if you are coming from Mindanao.
There is certainly more than one reason to come to the island paradise of Bohol. It is a sanctuary of nature's wonders and a thrilling escape from the humdrum of overly busy lifestyles. Visitors can immediately call it their own haven after a brief glimpse of what Bohol has to offer.
When to go to Bohol
Some people prefer to visit duting the colder months from November to February, but Bohol has something to offer year round, For example in May the Chocolate hills will be the brown color they were named from, the Bohol climate is pretty mild being in the middle of Visayas surrounded by water, but make sure you do your research to make sure the weather and events match your expectations.
Famous Tourist Spots in Bohol
This province is home to many of the most famous and attractive tourist destinations in the Philippines, Bohol also has many beautiful and fascinating resorts and beaches. Which is why the tourism industry contributes a lot to the economic development in Bohol province.
One of the best spots for a nice island BBQ or picnic is the beautiful Virgin Island off the coast of Panglao. There are no places to stay on Virgin Island but numerous tour operators arrange daily trips out to the island.
Panglao Island is famous for its white sand beaches. Along in these beaches are beautiful hotels and resorts where travelers and foreigners can stay and enjoy the sceneries. Travelers can also visit the Mag-aso falls, which is located at Antequera as well as the Bilar Mahogany Forest.
Each year the number of travelers who visit Bohol increases. This is due to the attractive tourist spots and natural wonders that can be found in the province.
The famous formation of limestone called the Chocolate Hills which is the most visited spot in Carmen. The Chocolate hills are green most of the year but they turn brown during the hottest summer months which is why they are named Chocolate Hills.
Meanwhile, many tourists also visit the popular rivers in the province which are the Loboc River with it's river cruises and floating restaurants with a small band playing for you while you eat and enjoy the beautiful view of the rivercruise being one of the main attractions for many tourists.
Festivals and Events
Travelers are encouraged to experience and have a glance at the festivals that are held in this attractive province.
The Sandugo Festival, the Tagbilaran City Fiesta, the Bolibong Kingking Festival and Festival of Lights or SidlaKasilak are the renowned festivals in Bohol, Tourists who would witness these festivals will will surely bring home fond memories which will help them remember their stay and vacation here for the rest of their lives.
Transportation to Bohol is very easy since the province is very accessible. Tourists can travel by land, air and water.
The national government of the Philippines established seaports and airports in the province so that travelers will not experience problems when it comes to visiting the beautiful island of Bohol.
Bohol in Numbers
Based on the 2000 census done at the province, there are 1,137,268 permanent residents in Bohol. The census also found that there are 209,588 households in the province with an average size of 5.41 people per household. The life expectancy in this province is greater than found elsewhere in the Philippines. Some say due to the more casual lifestyle while others attribute the fine food which is located throughout the province.
Most residents in the province speak the Boholano language, which is a Cebuano dialect. However, since migration is a constant trend in Bohol, there are also residents who use Chinese, English and Tagalog as their primary languages. In addition, some schools in the province taught Eskayan language to their students.