Exploring the planet reveals some unique landscapes, the island of Bohol was no exception. Bohol is home to the infamous Chocolate Hills and the smallest monkey in the world, the Tarsier. Not to mention beautiful beaches, waterfalls and everything else you would expect on a Filipino Island. After a few days on Cebu, it was time to hop islands and see what Bohol has instore for us.
Getting to Bohol
Depending on where you would like to catch a ferry from, you can get a fast boat to Bohol from the City of Cebu. Alternatively you can get a small wooden boat from Oslob, in the south. I was already in the south spending time visiting waterfalls and swimming with Whale Sharks. Therefore I took the second option.
It costs around 1000 peso with the journey across to Bohol taking around 2 hours. It’s an awesome experience on a flat ocean day. If it’s rough or the weather doesn’t look like it’s going to be the best I would highly recommend getting a bus back to Cebu and catching the main ferry. We did hit a little patch of rough water and you get soaked. I would hate to see it on a bad day. Later I talked to some other travelers and all of their gear got drenched.
The boat from Oslob drops you right at the south of the island of Pangalow. Whereas the ferry from Cebu city drops you in Bohol’s major city of Tangalow. From here you have taxis and tricycles to get to your accommodation.
We stayed at the Coco Farm hostel which is about 10 mins from Alona beach, the main beach on Pangalow island. The hostel has one big communal area, separate dorms and private rooms. They are bungalow style bamboo huts tucked back away from the beach. Loved it, such good vibes, couldn’t recommend it enough.
The main attractions on Bohol and arguably the biggest in the Philippines are the Chocolate Hills and the tiniest monkey tarsiers. You can do organised tours but for basically the same price you can hire a scooter for 300-500 pesos for the day. This means your experience is a lot more personal, there’s more flexibility and more fun. It’s easy enough to link up with other travelers looking to do the same thing. The chocolate hills are around 1 hour and a half from the hostel.
The drive itself is well worthwhile, you will pass through the man-made forest, drive alongside the river and rice fields. The viewing platforms for the chocolate hills can get extremely crowded so I would recommend going early so you have the whole area to yourself.
The main viewing area is up a bunch of stairs which gets the blood pumping. The Chocolate Hills themselves are an interesting sight to behold. Thousands of round-shaped hills for as far as the eye can see. If you pay a local, a couple of hundred pesos, he will take you into the park itself where you can climb the hills itself which are something I would recommend doing. Just so you can scale the hills and put them into perspective. It’s actually quite cool driving around amongst them as well.
About 15 minutes South from the Chocolate Hills is where you will find the Tarsiers. To be honest I didn’t know what to expect. It was epic to see them although it’s a short experience, you will only need about 15 minutes. You enter the enclosure and walk around the path they have laid out, you literally only walk about 20-30 metres in total. Along your walk, you will see a few of the Tarsiers clinging to branches. They are TINY!! I was expecting them to be the size of a humans head. But from seeing them I could probably hold a couple of them in the palm of my hand.
Further a field
Other things you can do in the vicinity include the Danao Adventure park which offers ziplining, caving and rappelling. The zip-line looked cool, basically went across a river valley for a few hundred meters. Prices ranged around 400-500 peso depending on what you would like to do.
In addition to the Adventure park I also saw several mini animal viewing places. However I didn’t go into them as it basically looked like it was mostly pythons… plus a few more animals. If you are planning on staying on the island a bit longer, I’m sure there would be plenty to do and explore. Waterfalls and even cliff jumping are possibilities. I decided not to spend my time on these as waterfalls and cliff jumping opportunities are a lot better in other places.
Alona beach is the main touristic beach in the little island of Pangalow just below Bohol. The beach itself is small and doesn’t offer good swimming but it’s enough to lax out and chill for the day. Plenty of restaurants and stores splayed out across the beach front. This makes it’s a good place to go grab a drink and a meal but expect to pay a bit more than you usually would at other places.
From the hostel itself, you can catch a trike to the ferry port which will take you from Bohol across to Cebu. The trike is a 30 min ride and the fast ferry is about 2 hours and a lot more comfortable than the little wooden one we initially took from Oslob. Time to check out another island and continue to explore the beautiful Philippines.