Banat-I Hill in Bohol

Upon reaching Tagbilaran City in Bohol, we might want to get a quick glimpse of the city, some parts of Bohol, its surrounding seas and neighboring provinces. This queen city of Bohol can offer travelers all these by a mere trek to its high peaked Banat-I-Hill.

Banat-I-Hill is nothing much compared to its sister-hill, as it were, in mainland Bohol—the Chocolate Hills. But due to its strategic location—being in the coastal town of Bool in Tagbilaran—Banat-I-Hill has the vantage point of affording a sweeping view of scores of excellent scenic sites. A view from this hill is enough respite and refreshment after a stressful travel.

From up the Banat-I-Hill we see the busy streets of Tagbilaran itself, the whole stretch of the azure Bohol Sea as it touches the Mindanao Sea beyond, some specks of islands farther south in the Mindanao area, the island of Negros to the north, the mystical island of Siquijor, and the Panglao strait right off the coast of the island. All these from an elevation of some 145 meters (about 480 feet) above sea level.

Tagbilaran is guarded by two high land forms on the north and south—the Elly Hill and Banat-I-Hill, respectively. Tagbilaran, literally “Hide from the Villains” (“villains” being the marauding Moros) all started in the 15th century as a native settlement religiously known for its worship of their Anito. Most zealous of the worshippers were people from an area called “Bool,” probably a derivative from the Middle Eastern god “Baal,” and which later became known as “Bool Kingdom.” It became the name of the town. It’s easy to imagine how Banat-I-Hill might have figured in the rituals.

According to bones and artifacts dug from the archaeological sites, early settlers, called “Mansaas,” were tall and brawny and bartered with Chinese, Malaysian, and Indonesian traders. Much later, Tagbilaran became a stronghold of Spanish Catholicism. Amidst all these activities for centuries Banat-I-Hill stood as a mute witness to all that developed.

From Tagbilaran, a mere couple-of-minute ride takes us to Banat-I-Hill. Ask anybody in the city and we are sure to get easy directions to the popular place. Public fare may cost anywhere from a dollar or less. We may arrange a private trip using a tricycle or public jeep which would cost something like $10 to $30 for half day. A meal in nearby cozy eateries may cost $2 per person, and lodging about $45 a night per person.

Go where few tourists have gone. Go see the views from Banat-I-Hill.