Choose from 5 Fun Things to Do in Bohol
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The Baclayon Church, sits atop the original site of the first Catholic mission to Bohol and dates back to the 16th century. The simple cross-shaped church facing the Bohol Sea that visitors can see today is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. It is fashioned from coral-stone block and was completed in 1727.
The church and its adjacent bell tower suffered major damage in the 7.2 earthquake that shook the region in 2013. A new red roof has been added and visitors can once again wander inside, taking in the ceiling frescoes around the altar, tiny saint figures tucked into its nooks, and a handful of glass-enclosed statues from the earliest days of the church. Renovations are ongoing.
Behind the church in the old convent, the Church Museum houses many of the building’s artifacts including gold-stitched vestments, hymnals bound in water buffalo skins and inscribed with plant-based inks, as well as additional saints, iconography and relics.
It’s just over six miles (10.2 km) from Tagbilaran City. Busses, jeepneys and tricycles make the trip and the church is included in a number of regional tours.
The Church Museum charges $1 (50.00 PHP) per person with funds directed toward the church’s restoration. It keeps daily hours (from 8:30am-4:45pm. Mon-Sat and from 9:30am-4:15pm Sun, though it closes for a break each day between 11:45am-1:30pm). Pictures are allowed inside the church, but not inside the church museum.
Address: Tagbilaran City, Philippines
Hours: 8:30am-4:45pm Mon-Sat and from 9:30am-4:15pm Sun, though it closes for a break each day between 11:45am-1:30pm
Admission: $1 (50.00 PHP)
From $ 60
The Abatan River in Bohol winds its way through the town of Antequera to the town of Balilihan for an estimated length of 12 miles (20 kilometers). In the past, before the roads were developed in this area, the river served as a waterway for local people to reach the towns.
These days, the government has opened up Abatan River to the eco-tourism trade, with kayak and boat trips allowing visitors to explore the lush green scenery that the river has to offer. However, one of the most fascinating highlights of the Abatan River occurs at night, when a dazzling light show courtesy of thousands of fireflies illuminates the night sky. This spectacle has long been known to the locals, and it is only in recent years that visitors from other parts of the country and the world have come to witness it.
An evening firefly watching tour will navigate you through the mangroves to witness one of nature’s most incredible shows. Ideal for couples, private river cruises are available and often include a romantic dinner.
There is an Abatan River visitors center located in Cortes for more information about the history and wildlife of the river.
Did You Know? The Abatan River is one of Bohol’s three main rivers and serves as the main drainage system in the area.
Address: Abatan River, Bohol, Philippines
From $ 40
Hinagdanan Cave can be found on Panglao Island in the Philippines’ Bohol Province. Made from limestone, Hinagdanan Cave is naturally lit by sunlight filtering in through holes in its rocky ceiling, which in turn creates some interesting lighting effects.
Concrete steps lead down into the cave from the entrance. The stalactites and stalagmites here are particularly impressive, protruding from both the ground and the ceiling, and
surrounding an underground lagoon, which is warm enough to swim in (although costs extra). The cave is also a place for nesting swallows, which sweep into the cave and sleep in the tiny holes in the ceiling.
Hinagdanan Cave has become a popular attraction since its accidental discovery by the land’s owner some years ago, and there is now a firm holding of souvenir shops and stalls that need to be navigated before visitors can reach the cave’s entrance.
The Hinagdanan Cave is located on Panglao Island, a few miles from Alona Beach. It can be easily reached via motorbike, bicycle, or via an organized tour. The floor of the cave is slippery so practical footwear is advised, (although there are rope railings to hold onto).
Address: Panglao Island, Bohol, Philippines
Admission: Entrance: P25 / Swimming: P100
From $ 50
Arguably the most famous tourist attraction in all of Bohol, the Chocolate Hills are featured on the provincial flag and draw thousands of travelers to their unique and breathtaking wonder each year.
An estimated 1,300 individual hills cover a span of some 50 square kilometers in what is, without a doubt, one of the most stunning natural landscapes in the nation. These rolling green wonders change to brown in drier months, and appear like chocolate kisses, giving them their namesake.
Several local legends seek to explain the creation of this geological formation, including stories of feuding giants and star-crossed lovers. But experts say these hills were formed by coral deposits and underwater reefs that shifted with erosion and ancient seismic activity, creating one of the Philippines most incredible natural landscapes.
The premiere spot to view the Chocolate Hills is called the Chocolate Hills Complex. It is located in Carmen, some 55 kilometers from Tagbilaran. Travelers can also head to Sagbayan Peak in the town of Sagbayan, where an elevated deck offers up stunning views.
Address: Carmen, Philippines
From $ 60
A bronze statue on a hilltop fronting the sea commemorates The Sandugo, a traditional tribal trust ceremony shared by regional chief Datu Skiatuna and Captain General Miguel López de Legazpi of Spain shortly after his arrival in Bohol in 1565. The symbolic gesture formed the foundation for lasting peace between the Spaniards and the Island residents.
The statue, near the site of the original ceremony, sits on small raised pedestal and depicts the two men seated in their period regalia and clanking glasses while three Spaniards look on approvingly. The blood compact required both men to create a small incision in their forearms, sprinkle blood in a glass of wine, exchange cups, and drink, thus solidifying the compact.
The monument is located off Tagbilaran East Road in the southern part of Tagbilaran City, just before the bridge to Panglao Island. Tricycles, public buses or jeepneys make the trip from the Integrated Bus Terminal 3 miles (4.5 km) to the north, and the site is included in many tours departing Tagbilaran City. Sunset is a popular time to visit for photos.
Address: Tagbilaran East Road, Tagbilaran City, Philippines
From $ 60