On October 15, 2013, a powerful earthquake struck the island province of Bohol. The magnitude 7.2 tremor claimed 222 souls, left eight missing and almost a thousand injured. A lot of heritage churches, bridges and other structures, old and new, collapsed or damaged. And the landscape of the island was forever altered.
November 8, 2013, less than a month after the earthquake struck, Super Typhoon Haiyan (locally christened Yolanda), the strongest typhoon ever made landfall, passed 160 kilometers north of the island. Although not a direct hit, the effects were hardly felt in Bohol as well.
These twin natural disasters challenged Bohol but despite all these, the island is still standing and its natural charm is still beaming. Because no earthquake nor storm can raze a place naturally beautiful like Bohol.
Now, more than ever, is the best time to visit Bohol! The province has fully recovered and back on its feet, beaming and blooming! So allow me to me give you eight reasons to visit the island, make them your reasons too or perhaps find your own.
Behold! The natural beauty of Bohol awaits!
1. Chocolate Hills
There are estimated to be 1,268 to about 1,776 grass-covered limestone hills that are scattered over the towns of Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan. A natural geological wonder that still puzzles geologists up to now.
The Chocolate Hills Complex, the main viewing deck in the town of Carmen, reopened last December 2013 after it was damaged by the earthquake. Meanwhile, the other viewing areas – Chocolate Hills Adventure Park also in Carmen and Sagbayan Peak – are fully operational.
Bask in the tropical sun and enjoy the white sand beaches of Bohol. With 261-kilometer long coastline, Bohol harbors some of the best beaches in the country. Tourists usually flock in the island of Panglao for the beaches of Alona, Dumaluan and Doljo, among others. But aside from Panglao, there are other white sand beaches in the southern coast of mainland from Tagbilaran to Anda. as well as in Loon, Cabilao and in the islands north of the province.
3. Amazing Dive Sites
The dive sites of Bohol are regarded as among the best in the world! Most dive sites are located in the islands of Panglao and Cabilao, both are in the western coast. But the rich waters around the mainland surely hides more unknown and unspoiled sites.
Meanwhile, in the northern coast of Bohol lies Danajon Bank, a double barrier reef which is regarded as very rare geological phenomena built by coral growth. It is one of only six double-barrier reefs in the world and the only one in South East Asia. Danajon Bank acts as breeding area for fishes and coral reef animals. It is home to a dense population of marine life including 211 species of hard corals, 205 of which are coral reef-building species; six species of sea grass out of 16 found in the country; and four species of seahorse out of the seven which thrive in the country.
4. The Tarsier
The tarsier is among the world’s smallest primate with length that spans from around 118 to 149 milimeter and weighs 113 to 142 grams. In the Philippines, they can only be found in Bohol, Samar, Biliran, Leyte and the whole of Mindanao.
In Bohol, the Tarsier Conservation Area in Loboc and the Philippine Tarsier Foundation in Corella are the best places to see this nocturnal animal.
Although the earthquake damaged or flatten several heritage churches in Bohol, there are still some that withstood the disaster such as those in Dimiao, Alburquerque and Talibon. The centuries-old Baclayon Church which was severely damaged by the earthquake has now been restored and opened. These are apart from old houses and heritage structures across the island that are still standing even after the quake.
The island is dotted with numerous waterfalls some are hidden in the interiors and are yet to be exposed to public’s eye. As of the last count, there are at least twenty of them and the most popular are Mag-Aso Falls in Antequera and Can-Umantad Falls in Candijay, regarded as the tallest of all waterfalls in the province. But there are more which are equally if not more majestic than the famed ones including Camugao Falls of Balilihan, Pangahug Twin Falls and Ingkumhan Falls of Dimiao, and Kilab-Kilab Falls of San Isidro.
7. Rice Terraces
If you think rice terraces are located only in Cordilleras, then think again! Because in the highlands of Bohol are carved hills and mountains forming a terraces comparable to those in Cordilleras. There are rice terraces in the towns of Lila, Dimiao, Sierra Bullones and Jagna, but many locals say that the most beautiful in the province are located in the town of Candijay.
8. Cave Pools
The name Bohol came from the local word “buho” which means “hole” where spring water usually flows. This is not surprising because the island is made up of extensive karst limestone formations thus the existence of sinkholes, caves and even the Chocolate Hills. Most of the caves have natural pools including the famed Cabagnow Cave Pool of Anda, Hinagdanan Cave Pool of Dauis and Mandahugan Cave Spring of Antequera.
Where to Stay in Bohol
Tourists in Bohol usually stay in Tagbilaran City or in nearby Panglao Island where numerous hotels and resorts that cater to every type of traveler are available to choose from.
Top-Rated / Highly Recommended Accommodations in Tagbilaran
Metrocentre Hotel & Convention Center
Ocean Suites Bohol Boutique Hotel
Recommended Budget Accommodations in Tagbilaran
Tr3ats Guest House
Aliria Bed & Breakfast
Top-Rated / Highly Recommended Accommodations in Panglao
South Palms Resort
Bohol Beach Club
Recommended Budget Accommodations in Panglao
Chiisai Natsu Resort
*Originally Published: 21-Dec-2015 | Updates: 16-Apr-2018; 21-Feb-2020