After 5 days of Open Water Diving in the marine paradise of Apo island, we experienced a minor culture shock in Bohol. Only two boat hours from Dumaguete, Bohol is the 10th largest Philippine island and much more touristic.
We stayed at Hope Homes at the far eastern end of Panglao. The reception at Hope Homes was relatively chill. But it was still a very good choice for us with a double room at only 800PHP/night with free scooter. The scooter made us totally flexible to go around Panglao and the rest of Bohol.
Bine had gifted herself with a book to identify fish in the Tropical Pacific. To make use of it and discover more of the Philippines’ underwater world, we booked a half-day diving trip to Balicasag’s sanctuary and royal garden. Balicasag’s marine life is beautiful though very crowded with visibly more damaged nature, pollution and stronger currents compared to Apo’s marine life.
The second day we decided to discover the Bohol Bee Farm, an organic heaven where sustainable agriculture and consumption are core values for their farm, restaurant, café-shop and resort. Prices are higher than in most other surrounding restaurants, but it’s worth it if you look for a cozy and relaxing place with quality food.
More highlights awaited us during our 170-km scooter trip the last day. Early in the morning, we left the busy capitol Tagbilaran behind us to admire Bohol’s endemic tarsiers in the Tarsier Sanctuary. Tarsiers are endangered primates and endemic to Bohol that usually sleep during the day.
Apart from the tarsiers, Bohol is also famous for its unique landscape known as Chocolate Hills. 1,268 hills are scattered all around Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan. During the dry season, they become brown. But since we travelled only shortly after the rainy season, they were still covered by fresh-green grass. There are different theories on the Chocolate Hills’ birth. But the most widely know explains the formations as the impact of erosion on uplifted coral reef.
On our way back, we couldn’t resist the zipline in Loboc’s Eco Adventure Park. Although the kick is quite short, it’s worth the 450 PHP because you fly over the beautiful Loboc river valley.
For us, three full days were the perfect time in Bohol. But you can certainly stay longer and discover more places there.