Today I’m breaking down 5 of the top tourist attractions in Bohol, Philippines. If you have been keeping up with my Bohol series you’ll know that I am so anxious to get to the lesser known gems of Bohol that we had the pleasure of seeing and exploring, but I’m trying to go in chronological order of our trip, so first you get to read all about the most popular spots of Bohol that tourists come to see! After all, I’m sure some of these spots are what attracted you to the island in the first place! These are my honest opinions on what I feel you should definitely allot some time seeing and also what I feel you could definitely skip if you’re short on time and would rather spend it on other attractions (like more time on the east coast ;D). I’ll also give you some tips along the way if applicable! Another important thing to note is you can easily do all of these attractions in one day! Hope you enjoy!
1.) Chocolate Hills (SEE!)
Well if you’ve ever heard of Bohol, the Chocolate Hills were probably your very first introduction to the area. For that reason alone, you should see it. It’s an iconic landmark for Bohol and the Philippines 3rd National Geological Monument. It is also being proposed for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List, but that is by far not the only reasons why you should go. These hills are magnificent and such a beautiful sight to behold! When you look at them you’ll be in awe at the creations that mother nature is capable of. The Chocolate Hills are tall geo-domed shaped limestone “hills” covered in grass. The tops turn a brown color in the summer, thus the name Chocolate Hills. Obviously you have to go to a viewing deck to check out the view, it’s breathtaking seeing the Hills stretch on for miles, but honestly my favorite view was scootering right beside these giant hills! You don’t realize just how enormous they really are until you’re next to one staring up to the sky! We scootered to the viewing area and got to pass so many of the hills as you’ll see in the photos below. The viewing deck we chose to visit is called Sagbayan Peak and I highly recommend this place. It wasn’t crowded at all! After the 1 ½ scooter ride we arrived around noon and there was hardly anybody there which is unusual for such a popular attraction. The walk up to the top is not difficult, which it sounds like it might be at some other viewing decks. We even had the viewing deck to ourselves for about 20 minutes and even when someone showed up it was just a small family. The view is gorgeous even on a cloudy day (it was cloudy when we went). There are other things to do at Sagbayan Peak as well. They have funny Disney character statues, a sign of Sagbayan Peak to pose with, little museum-type exhibits, Tarsier cutouts for photos, a butterfly dome, and zip lining (VERY small course). Unfortunately I can’t remember what the entry fee was. I feel like it may have been 50 PHP, but I do remember it being very cheap. Parking is free!
Could you imagine THIS in your backyard?!
Hills for days!
Nothing beats the view right next to them!
Happiness fueled by the beautiful island of Bohol, Philippines
2.) Tarsier Monkey (SEE, just because they are so rare, BUT pick the right sanctuary!)
The Tarsier Monkey is another icon of Bohol and I’m sure these little monkeys attracted you to the area as well. These little critters are SO adorable and yes they are as tiny as they say! In fact, they were even tinier than I had even imagined. Joe couldn’t even see them unless I pointed them out, and even then he still had a hard time! They are so tiny they fit into the palm of your hand (but don’t touch them and it’s best NOT to visit a sanctuary that allows you to hold them). They reminded me of little hamsters! I think if you’re in Bohol you should make the time to see them because they are endangered and if you visit the right sanctuary the money is used for the right reasons. We thought we had chosen the right sanctuary but it turns out we did not. The Loboc Conservation Area is a for-profit institution and I’ve read several articles that they are not very ethical in their practices. It seems they may have cleaned up their act a bit because these articles mentioned that visitors could touch/hold tarsier’s and flash photography was not monitored but when we went there were signs for no flash photography/selfie sticks, no loud noises, no touching the tarsier’s, etc. I did look at an Instagram location tag however and saw that people were posting pictures holding the tarsier’s at this sanctuary so they must still practice it with tourists they feel will spend a lot of money at the institution. Also when we went, of course we had to trail behind a loud group and if this happens to you, resist the urge to scream at them like I wanted to. I just don’t understand why some people can’t follow rules, especially when it comes to the sake of animals. Loud noise, flash photography, and touching/messing with the Tarsier’s can stress them out. When Tarsier’s get stressed out or scared they often times will bang their thin skulls on trees leading to their death (thus I guess Tarsier’s are suicidal creatures). Another thing to note is that this conservation area is VERY tiny! That should have been my red flag right there. The official non-profit private organization I hear has a very large conservation area, almost like how it would be if the tarsier’s were in their original habitats that are constantly being destroyed. The sanctuary you want to go to is ran by the Philippine Tarsier Foundation which is located in Corrella near Tagbilaran City. Here is the website: http://www.tarsierfoundation.org/ I wish we would have gone here instead but lesson learned. If you go to the website and read about the foundation, the sanctuary, and their mission I think we would have learned so much more about the tarsier and actually got to see them in as close to their natural habitat as you can get. They’re probably a lot happier too!
Joe had to capture my look of awe lol
If you zoom in to the right you can see the guy smiling taking our picture haha
3.) Sipatan Hanging Bridge (SKIP)
Tourist trap in every sense. I knew it would be but we were so close to it that I thought, well we might as well. Also I really wanted to see the bright neon green color of the Sipatan River and the fact that the bridge is made out of bamboo is actually pretty cool. I can’t quite remember the fee to this bridge (sorry everyone!) but I believe it may have been 20 PHP to walk the bridge. When we went there was quite a bit of people and the experience gets kind of ruined if you’re behind a loud, rowdy, and slow group, especially when you have the workers shaking the bridge to scare the tourists for pictures (a worker takes your picture from the other bridge if you want one). It was a little scary to walk across the bridge wondering just how safe it really is. When we went to Nusa Lembongan in September everyone said that the iconic yellow bridge was safe there, but I knew with the crowds that went through it daily that it was only a matter of time, and unfortunately it did end up collapsing. So here I was now walking across a bridge made pretty much solely out of bamboo! It’s scary when you think about it, but soon enough you’re at the end and already crossing the next bridge back. The river was beautiful though and the green color was so vivid! Overall I don’t think it’s worth the stop unless you happen to be pretty close by like we were. I can think of other ways to spend 20 PHP though! **cough cough tons of bakery goods!! cough cough**
Love that color!
4.) and 5.) Loboc River/Loboc Church (TOSS UP)
Personally I would say you should definitely go, but I know other people aren’t as fascinated by history as Joe and I are. If you’re going to the Loboc River the church is right by it which is why I combined the two. The river is a beautiful deep emerald green color and very calm. We walked over the bridge and it was great taking in the views and the river cruise boats down below. We passed on a cruise as it seemed to be another tourist trap and we were content with taking in the views from the bridge. On top of this bridge you also get an awesome view of the Loboc Church which was destroyed in the 2013 earthquake. It was the 2nd oldest church in Bohol and is made of coral stone with unique baroque architecture. According to Wikipedia, this church was a candidate of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Philippines under two categories, the Jesuit Churches of the Philippines and the Baroque Churches of the Philippines, but it was removed from the roster after being destroyed. I enjoyed seeing these attractions and I also liked the little town. A very nice older man stopped us and suggested a great new cafe that opened up just near the town about 5 minutes away. A beautiful wooden restaurant in the ricefields with plenty of food options. The man was so sweet and funny. He came by to the restaurant and chatted with us for a bit and suggested some other activities around the area. Once again, I truly loved interacting with all the Boholanos. If any of you read this, you should be incredibly proud of your community and island. I have fallen in love with Bohol and I would go back in a heartbeat!
Gorgeous deep emerald green toned water
The ruins of the Loboc Church behind me
As I’ve said numerous times, I highly suggest renting a scooter/motorcycle to explore the island if this is feasible for you. Also, GPS on my phone worked like a charm around the island, even in pretty rural areas (though it’s not always perfect so keep that in mind). Happy exploring! Let me know if you stop at any of these places or have been to any of them in the comments! Tune in soon for more posts in this Bohol series, we’re finally getting to the exciting stuff! Lots of local hidden gems coming your way!
Until next time,