Whenever I am asked about Bohol tourist spots, I would highly recommend the island-province’s centuries-old coral stone churches. Baclayon Church, for example, had been built in 1727, and its dark gray façade, gilded altars, and colorful murals inside make it one of the most beautiful and oldest churches in the Philippines that had survived numerous natural and man-made disasters.
That is, until the 7.2 magnitude earthquake on October 15th, 2013, which left it and other cultural and heritage sites in the province severely damaged and in some cases, completely destroyed. None of the National Cultural Treasures (the churches of Baclayon, Loboc, Loon, and Maribojoc) survived intact.
Fortunately, reconstruction efforts in the recent years have succeeded in restoring these churches, especially Baclayon. So yes, there are still a lot of things you can see and do in Bohol. Here are some of them.
Check out the Chocolate Hills and the Bilar Manmade Forest
Some of the hills in Carmen have been damaged by the earthquake. The viewing deck which people used as a vantage point had also been completely destroyed. However, there are literally hundreds of these hills scattered around the province, so you could still see quite a few of them intact.
On the way to Carmen, don’t forget to stop at the road going through the Bilar manmade forest. This is a 2km-long stretch of mahogany that was part of a reforestation project. The trees — uniform in height — form a dense canopy over the road, keeping the area cool and giving a perfect backdrop for picture-taking.
Listen to the Songs of the Loboc Children’s Choir
While Loboc Church sustained major damage, the spirit of its multi-awarded Children’s Choir remains steadfast. Founded by musical director and conductor Alma Fernando-Taldo in 1980, the 20-strong children’s choir has performed all over Europe, including for Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain and for Pope John Paul II.
When you get to Loboc, find out if they’re practicing. Hearing them sing is a huge treat.
While you’re there, go as well on a Loboc River Cruise, as they’re back in business. They have trips the whole day (P100) as well as a night cruise (P350). You won’t see much along the way, but the trip is soothing and well worth your money. There’s live music at night, too.
Visit the Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella
One of the best things to do in Bohol is to go to the Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella. Headed by former tarsier hunter Carlito Pizzaras, it’s an important project that ensures the survival of these adorable primates.
The admission fee, which includes the tour, is only P60. Remember though: don’t touch the tarsiers!
Things to do in Bohol: Swim, Snorkel, and Dive
Included in any list of Bohol tourist spots is Panglao and the other beaches. Panglao has actually been called the Boracay of the south without the noise and the crowd (I don’t agree with these comparisons, though). There are a range of accommodation options available in Panglao, from backpacker type to posh and luxurious ones.
From Panglao, you can rent a boat to go to Virgin Island or Pamilacan Island. Virgin Island, also known as Pungtod Island, is mostly submerged underwater during high tide, but when it’s low tide, you can walk along the sandbar, drinking fresh coconut juice (P40) that enterprising vendors bring from Panglao, or eating raw sea urchin (P20 each), with or without vinegar. The view of the long strip of sand bar is definitely worth the trip.
Pamilacan Island is a bit far, so it’s recommended to spend a night there and wake up early the next morning to (hopefully) see whales and dolphins around the island. It depends on the season though, so do your research beforehand.
To save time, you can book an island hopping tour in Bohol.
Dare yourself to have extreme adventures in Danao, Bohol
Danao is one of the best Bohol tourist spots to visit, too, especially for the adventurous travelers. In Danao, for example, where you can enjoy a whole day’s worth of adrenaline-pumping activities. A must-try is the Plunge, the highest canyon swing in the Philippines at 180m (P700).
A slightly tamer option would be the zipline (P350), cable car ride (P250), kayaking (P300), caving (P350), or root climbing (P400), among others. There’s also a restaurant inside, and for those who plan to stay overnight, basic fan accommodations cost P600/day.
Bohol has undoubtedly been damaged, yes, and it will take some time before the province will recover. However, the beauty of the island remains and there are a lot of Bohol tourist spots that have now recovered.
If you’re visiting soon, make sure to check out these things to do in Bohol. The island is small so you can do everything in a day or two. You can rent your own motorbike to go around, or use Klook to book your tours for convenience. I, myself, would want to stay a few days in Panglao alone!
Post updated August 2018.