Things To Do in Bohol, Philippines

Chocolate Hills are a sight to see in Bohol, Philippines

After spending the night in an overpriced, seedy hotel, we happily left Cebu City on the ferry with a plan of things to do in Bohol. This relatively small island made our itinerary for two reasons: tarsiers and the Chocolate Hills.

After wading through touts and repeatedly saying “no” to the list of locations tricycle drivers could take us, we found motorbikes for rent on Palma Street. There was only one problem: all they had were semi-automatics left for rent and Mindy was only familiar with driving an automatic. Wanting the sale, the owner was all too enthusiastic to teach Mindy how to drive her bike and eventually Mindy got the hang of it and we rented the bike for 450 pisos ($US 11) per day.

The next hurdle was riding the bike with all our stuff along the main highway on Bohol to Loboc, about an hour away. After trying a couple ideas we finally agreed on Ligeia carrying the heavy bag on her back and Mindy carrying the small bag on her front. Although we were weighed down, this worked quite well and after filling up on gas we were off to find a place to stay.

We settled on a private bare-bones hut on the Loboc River, which was a beautiful aqua-marine color.

Lodging at the Nipa Hut Village on the Loboc River in Bohol, PhilippinesThe 1.4 kilometer bumpy motorbike ride off the main road to the Nipa Hut Village was very much like playing a video game, dodging roosters as we past a cock farm, driving right in the middle of a school’s basketball court and carefully riding through the maze of brightly colored tarps filled with drying rice that filled the street. Our ride also included lots of friendly faces, “hello’s” and waving children to the left and stunning views of the Loboc River, palm trees and wooden boats to the right.

The beautiful blue-green color of the Loboc River in Bohol, PhilippinesAfter a peaceful night’s sleep, we set out for one of the adventures we had come to this particular island for in the first place. Stop number one was the Tarsier Conservation Area, definitely one of the things to do in Bohol if seeing cute animals is on your itinerary. Small enough to sit in the palm of our hand (don’t worry, we didn’t test this), tarsiers are one of the smallest primates in the world. Perhaps because their eyes are immovable they have the ability to rotate their heads 180 degrees.

A tarsier keeping watch under a leaf in Bohol, PhilippinesHaving heard awful reports of tarsiers being tied to trees for tourists to look at we made sure this was not the case before paying the 60 pisos ($1.75US) admission fee. We were told the guides would show us where they were once inside the wooded area. Upon entering we saw signs warning us to be quiet because tarsiers are nocturnal and thus are sleeping during the day. We then heard loud talking and laughing from what we had assumed was a group of tourists who either hadn’t seen the “Silence” signs or chose to ignore them. As we turned the corner, however, we were dismayed to discover that is was the guides making all that racket and right in front of a tarsier struggling to keep her eyes open.

A tarsier resting in Bohol, PhilippinesAs we continued, we realized that due to noise the tarsiers were not getting the sleep they needed because they kept getting woken up every time a tourist came by. Having taken an overnight bus only days before we were particularly sensitive to sleep deprivation. So Mindy started singing a lullaby at each sighting to lull the tarsiers back to sleep, even if only for a few minutes.

A tarsier sleeping in Bohol, PhilippinesAfter visiting the adorable tarsiers, which apparently only exist on the island of Bohol, we continued along the same road towards Carmen, home of the Chocolate Hills.

Beautiful scenery of the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, PhilippinesAfter only a short while up the road, a sign directed us to the right where we were promptly met with a ticket booth to pay the 50 pisos ($1.25US) heritage fee. As motorbike novices, the steep road up to the lookout point was a test, but both we and the bike managed fine. Due to the recent rain the hills were a little less chocolate-y than expected and instead were covered with a pale lime-green foliage. The rounded hills seemed to go on forever in each direction.

Ligeia giving Mindy a kiss in front of the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, PhilippinesOn the ride bak to Loboc we passed a sign that stated “Man-Made forest” so we decided to pull over and investigate a bit.

The welcome sign for the Manmade Forest in Bohol, PhilippinesExcept for the touts at the beginning of the trail trying to sell T-shirts of tarsiers and what not, it was a leisurely stroll through the forest, reminiscent of a northern boreal forest. About half a mile into the hike, the trail ends at a clearing and a posted sign explains the surroundings. Apparently, during WWII many people had retreated to the forest to escape the bombing, each family clearing some of the forest for themselves. After the war was over a project was started to regenerate the forest and we must say that it turned out beautifully.

A hike through the Manmade Forest in Bohol, PhilippinesAfter spending a second night in our hut by the riverside, we woke up early, drove back to the pier and caught a 3.5 hour ferry to the neighboring island of Siquijor.

Does Bohol sound like an island for you?

4 thoughts on “Things To Do in Bohol, Philippines

  1. Lana

    wow, so gorgeous. I havent’ been to the Philipians yet. So boring, huh? I lived in Chiang Mai for a while, too. Love that city. Are you all still living there? (I read the bio, and assume your just on holiday since Thais are on holiday now.) I also plan to visit every country in the world. I’m right at 2 dozen now. The world is a great big world, huh?

    1. Mindy & Ligeia

      Hi Lana,
      The Philippines was never at the top of my list of places to visit but going there really changed my mind. I was surprised at the variety of the country and we felt very welcomed there as foreigners.
      We are still living in Chiang Mai. And yes, we definitely agree that the world is great and big and wonderful. My favorite quote is “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list!” 🙂

    1. Mindy & Ligeia

      Bohol really is a neat place to visit. With the exception of the Chocolate Hills perhaps, it’s not built up and all touristy. The most enjoyable thing to do it ride around on a motorbike and stop when something intrigues you. 🙂 And yes, we could have watched the tarsiers sleep all day long! 🙂

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