Home is where the heart is, according to a popular proverb. Right at the heart of central Philippines is an island where you will definitely feel at home, even if you’re away from home This peaceful province is a piece of paradise on earth, gifted with natural wonders you won’t see anywhere else in the world. This place you should definitely visit once in your lifetime is the island-province of Bohol.
Bohol is widely known around the world for its fascinating hills and cute little primates, but this island is more than that. It also has breathtaking white sand beaches, ideal for those seeking serenity under the tropical sun. It also derives its soul from its rich culture, showcasing remnants of the Philippines’ colonial past. More than all of these, however, the gentle and joyful people of Bohol will make you feel their amazing warmth, always willing to help with smiles on their faces.
Bohol Island Philippines
Here are some tips if you’re planning to go to the island paradise of Bohol for your next vacation.
When to Go
Bohol Island is most beautiful under the heat of the tropical sun, so the best months to go here is from March to May. It is during these summer months that you will get to see the Chocolate Hills turn to brown. Summertime also provides tourists the opportunity to fully enjoy the beach, when tropical cyclones are not yet a problem in this part of the world.
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What to See
• Chocolate Hills – These one-of-a-kind geological formations are a total must-see for anyone who visits Bohol Island. You will definitely be fascinated by the way these over 1,200 limestone hills are scattered across towns on this island. These hills are particularly pretty during the summer months, when the green grass covering them turns to brown, making them appear like little mounds of chocolate sprouting from the face of the Earth.
• Panglao Beach – Being an island, Bohol also has one of the most beautiful white-sand beaches in the world. Panglao Beach has everything that a beach bum can hope for during a summer getaway: a long stretch of white sand, clear blue waters, swaying palm trees and affordable accommodations offering quality services to guests. If you wan to see Philippines best beaches, you should visit this island once.
What to Do
• See the Tarsier – Want to see the one of the cutest animals on Earth? Head to one of the forested conversation areas in Bohol to see the tarsier, the smallest primate in the world measuring only 4 to 5 inches. Aside from their miniature size, tarsiers are particularly mesmerizing because of their huge eyes. Catch them awake during the early hours of the morning, since tarsiers are nocturnal creatures.
• Cruise down the Loboc River – How about some local entertainment while sampling a buffet of good Filipino food? You can have all of that on board a local boat floating on the Loboc River. Enjoy the relaxing sight of the quiet river and the surrounding lush greens while feasting on fresh seafood and other local favorites.
• Explore the Spanish-era churches – Bohol is not just about nature. It also gives a good glimpse of colonial history and art, seen through the architecture of Spanish-era churches scatted all around this island. Check out the churches of Baclayon, Looc, Maribojoc and other nearby towns, and you’ll definitely be impressed by their history and beauty. Some of these structures were damaged by a recent earthquake, but some parts of them still stand—symbolic of the locals’ resilience.
What to Eat
• Peanut Kisses – You can’t leave Bohol island without grabbing a pack of this popular sweet treat. It’s a signature recipe from the province: peanut drop cookies shaped like Hershey’s Kisses, thus the name. Others say these tasty delicacies are shaped like the Chocolate Hills. However you see it, you will surely enjoy the nutty crunch of these peanut kisses, made from high-quality peanuts and eggs.
• Lady Fingers – If you happen to end up in the quaint town of Baclayon, be sure to buy its version of the lady fingers, or locally known as “broas.” These sponge biscuits, shaped like large fingers, are light and crisp, with each bite guaranteed to melt in your mouth. These delicacies are perfectly paired with a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
• Glutinous Rice in a Coconut Shell – Another popular treat from Bohol, especially the town of Jagna, is called “kalamay.” This one is a sticky delicacy made from glutinous rice, sugar, coconut milk and peanuts—basically a showcase of the best products that the province has to offer. For novelty, locals placed the product inside a coconut shell and sealed with a red band.
Bohol Island packs everything in such a small area: unique natural feats, historical structures and gastronomical treats. No wonder some people call this province the Philippines’ little paradise island.
Feature Image Credit: Steve Olmstead