Bohol – The Most Unique Island in the Philippines

Bohol is a first income class island province of the Philippines. It is located in the Central Visayas region and is made up 75 minor surrounding islands. This includes the main island itself, which is the tenth largest island in the Philippines. The island has a very rich history, with the earliest significant contact with the Spanish taking place in 1565.

The Chocolate Hills of Bohol

Bohol is best known for Chocolate Hills, in Carmen Province, which is a cluster of limestone mounds. These mounds number 1268 in total and vary in height from 30 to 50 metres. There is still a lot of scientific debate about how these fascinating mounds occurred, but like One Hundred Islands in Pangasinan were once corals submerged in the sea. Over time, the sea has disappeared, leaving these inland mounds.

Aside from Chocolate Hills, what I love about Bohol is that has so many tourist attractions all so close together. These include the indigenous Philippine tarsier, amongst the world’s smallest primates, the Loboc River boat cruise, the Blood Pact Monument, the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, one of the oldest in the Philippines, dolphin and whale watching, and of course, plenty of white sand beaches which includes Panglao Island and Virgin Island, famous for its diving locations and is routinely listed as one of the top ten diving locations in the world.

Tragedy Strikes

Sadly, on 15 October 2013, Bohol was devastated by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake whose epicentre was 6 km (3.7 mi) south of Sagbayan town. The earthquake, which also devastated neighbouring Cebu City, claimed 156 lives altogether and injured 374 people. It also destroyed or damaged a number of Bohol’s heritage churches (source: Wikipedia).

For more info, check out my guide on the best 9 places to visit in Bohol.

bohol Chocolate Hills are a freak of nature

The famous Chocolate Hills are a freak of nature. They are called “chocolate” hills as the grass covering these mounds turns brown during the summer months. There are 1,268 of these hills in total.

bohol Alona Beach is the main beach of Panglao Island

Alona Beach is the main beach of Panglao Island. It is as good as any beach you will see here in the Philippines. The area is slowly succumbing to the development of resorts and other tourist attractions. However, it still manages to remain relatively unknown to foreign tourists.

bohol Tarsier sanctuary

The Tarsier. A nocturnal primate considered to be one of the smallest in the world is no bigger than an adults hand. Me getting a photo taken with them at a special Tarsier sanctuary.

Bohol The Loboc River cruise

The Loboc River cruise is a must if you visit Bohol. For about P500, you hop aboard a floating restaurant. This takes you on a relaxing cruise along Loboc River, whilst taking in the lush jungle and enjoying a buffet lunch.

Bohol stop-offs along the Loboc River Cruise

One of the stop-offs along the Loboc River Cruise and to take in an entertaining performance by some local natives. Here I am with the leader of the show who did some amazing tricks with fire and other deadly.

Bohol The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.

The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. This is considered to be one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. The current building was completed in 1727 and is located in Baclayon.

Bohol The ruins of an old Spanish Fort on nearby Pamilacan Island

The ruins of an old Spanish Fort on nearby Pamilacan Island which is a short boat ride away from Alona Beach on Panglao Island

Bohol Pangloao Island sunset from Alona Beach

Panglao Island sunset from Alona Beach is among the best you will see, as the beach is west facing. What better scene could you ask for whilst having some cocktails to end the day?

How to get there

Philippine Airlines (PAL) fly to Tagbilaran from Manila two times daily and the flight takes about one hour.


There are plenty of taxis and tricycles to take you from Tagbilaran to Panglao Island (my recommendation), which will take about 20-30 minutes and cost less than P200.

Dezza´s Tip

If you go to Bohol, you must stay on Panglao Island, preferably somewhere along Alona Beach. When I first went there in 2007, there weren’t too many resorts to choose from but now, there are several noteworthy resorts. Alona’s white sand beach is good enough to rival the beaches of Boracay and Palawan.