The Philippines is an increasingly popular destination for travelers. But that’s really no surprise, the Philippines has nearly endless islands for visitors to explore. You can even buy one, if you happen to have a cool one million lying around, or rent one for a much more affordable $500 a night.
But the Philippines has so much more than islands. There is a wild array of culture, activities, and foods for the adventure seeker. Never mind that many Filipinos speak English with fluency. In case you can’t tell, I have an unabashed love for the Pearl of the Orient, but this post focuses on one of the best (but frequently skipped) islands — Bohol!
This island is a short hop-skip away from the Visayas (the home of my matrilineal line) and it is amazing for three major reasons.
Totally unique geography, activities, and affordability.
(Source: The Backpack Man! )
- Those Chocolate Hills and Beautiful Rivers
Bohol’s trademark is undoubtedly its Chocolate Hills, which are massive limestone formations made up of coral reefs from the ice ages. They’re generally green, but get their nickname from the chocolate hue they take on during summer. But Bohol has so much more than these unique mountain formations. There are 4 major rivesr that run through the country, along with endless waterfalls and caves for those with a strong exploration streak. I would highly recommend a raft tour, just for the beautiful views.
( Source )
I mentioned raft river cruises but another little known treasure is the fact that Bohol hosts one of the best diving sites in the world. Many people spend days out at Panglao Island to enjoy the coral reefs. There you can find turtles, eels, and a massive spectrum of fish and sea creatures amongst the vibrant coral flora. For those who prefer something a little more earthy, consider the Forest in Bilar, which I consider the Philippine version of Kyoto, Japan’s Arashiyama (the famous bamboo forest). There are also an endless array of other activities, generally in the town of Danao. It ranges from root climbing (a 60 foot climb up a cliff using the roots of a balite tree), kayaking, cave spelunking… You could spend months here without getting bored.
But of course, I can’t mention Bohol without also mentioning its native wildlife. The Tarsier is undoubtedly the most famous. These strange palm-sized primates live exclusively in the Southeast Asian region but the Bohol Philippine Tarsiers and undoubtedly the most well known. In many of the conservation sites and sanctuaries you can get very close to them (probably even pet them, though I wouldn’t recommend it — the poor dears).
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The influx of travelers to Boracay and Palawan have up’ed the cost on these major islands in a big way. And while time has seen some price jumps for Bohol, too, by and large this is the best island for the traveler who is seeking to balance luxury and affordability. There are easily a dozen wonderful beach-side resorts for under $50 in Bohol… whereas getting a similar-priced accommodation in Boracay is much more of a struggle. The same goes for the cost of activities!