Tips for Visiting Bohol Philippines

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If you have no idea what or where Bohol is, let me tell you. Bohol is a mid-size island in the central Philippines, 2 hours by boat from the more well known Cebu. It’s also the 10th largest island in the Philippines. When I planned my trip to the Philippines, Bohol was definitely a place that I wanted to visit, but due to some unexpected events I almost didn’t go. Let me quickly tell you what happened…15

How I ended up in a hospital in the Philippines

I had my flight to Bohol scheduled from Manila right after my unfortunate visit to Boracay. However, during my last night in Boracay I began to feel terrible. I almost never complain when I feel bad, but I started to shiver, vomit, feel a horrible pain, and I seriously thought I was going to die.

The next morning I had my flight to Manila scheduled in the evening and the next day I was meant to hop on another plane to Tagbilaran in Bohol. In the morning however, I was convinced that I wasn’t going to be able to survive a ferry, bus and plane ride and I took the worst decision on this trip by visiting a local clinic.

Without going into too much detail I was asked to purchase my own peeing kit and my blood was taken by cutting my arm and squeezing the blood onto a piece of glass. The doctor had no idea what was going on with me, but gave me a drip to drink (yes, you read correctly!) and told me to go. Fortunately enough, my friend told me that I should make my flight to Manila and head to St Luke’s Medical Center.10710432_10205350593026752_2768328505321087799_o

After a horrible bus ride where I felt like I was going to die and some help from an extremely nice lady at the airport who gave me some painkillers, I made my way to the hospital. Upon arrival I wasn’t entirely sure if I was in a hospital or at a 5-star resort.

The hospital was just beautiful with a huge fancy reception desk and the staff made me feel more welcome than ever. I think it’s fair to say that it was the best hospital I’ve ever been to! After a night at the hospital I was ready to fly to Bohol, although the doctors still weren’t able to figure out what was wrong with me.

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Finally ready to go!

Back to Bohol…

The moment I got off the plane I immediately felt welcome in Bohol. The people were extremely nice and the staff from my guesthouse in Tagbilaran City made my stay more than pleasant. The staff also arranged a car for me and another couple to see the biggest attractions of Bohol. Here are my tips on visiting Bohol and what to do there.

Chocolate Hills

The first stop on my trip to Bohol was the Chocolate Hills. Even if you haven’t heard of Bohol you probably saw them somewhere on TV. They’re a source of pride for Filipinos and I can definitely see why. There are thousands of identical hills that look like they are almost man-made.

In order to see them you need to get up on one of the hills which makes the whole experience even better. Why are they called chocolate hills when they clearly look green? The hills turn brownish during the dry season, resembling chocolate.chocolate hills

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Butterfly Conservation Center

Butterfly gardens are everywhere, but at the one in Bohol you really feel like the staff cares about every single person coming to visit. They even explain the life of a caterpillar in a very humorous way. At the end of the tour they also took a photo of every person looking like a butterfly. Some might find it creepy, but I think it looks quite cool!DSC01266

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Tarsier Sanctuary

Seeing tarsiers was probably the highlight of my journey to Bohol as I adore cute animals. Tarsiers are a kind of blend between a monkey and a bat – at least according to me. They sleep all day, so it’s hard to spot them, but when you do it seems like you found a Gremlin in real life. The sad thing about them is that when they get scared they fall off the trees and attempt suicide by hitting their heads against the ground. Kind of like Lemmings in real life. This is why nobody should touch them and try to wake them up.DSC01282

tips on visiting Bohol

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Loboc River

A tour around the island usually ends with lunch on the Loboc River. I had no idea what to expect when I got on the boat, but the minute lunch was served we drifted away to see some waterfalls and performances by local children. I also got the chance to walk across a hanging bridge which seemed like a piece of cake when I saw the bridge. But when I was actually on it I realized it’s quite a challenge. It was shaky and much longer than expected, but that was the whole fun part about crossing it!DSC01288

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Panglao Island beaches

Bohol also has beautiful beaches and opposite to Boracay, it’s illegal for people to sell you things on the beach as the inhabitants of the island don’t want to make their beaches tourist traps. Alona Beach, the most popular spot, is very peaceful and has coconut palms and many snorkeling opportunities. At night the the beach is well-lit with orange street lamps except for some areas. I liked it a lot! If that’s still not enough for you there’s also the option of booking a dolphin watching cruise or taking a boat to Oslob in Cebu to swim with whale sharks.p1010405

Is Bohol safe?

I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable in Bohol. I was walking on my own around Tagbilaran City at night and the only thing that happened was local kids approaching me and singing me a Christmas song. How cute! Although I was still sick I experienced only nice helpful locals and I can recommend Bohol to anyone who wants to escape from the more popular tourist spots in the Philippines!

I hope I convinced you that Bohol is an island not to miss when you’re visiting the Philippines! If you’re looking for a place to stay check see my recommendation for best places to stay in Bohol:

Resort: Panglao Island Nature Resort and Spa
Beach villa: Amarela Resort
Boutique hotel: Ocean Suites Bohol Boutique Hotel
Affordable hostel: Tr3ats Guesthouse




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37 Comments

  1. Eva
    Jun 26, 2015 / 2:18 am

    Glad you enjoyed Bohol. I was there 2 years ago and loved it!

  2. Jacqueline
    Jun 26, 2015 / 2:20 am

    I loved Bohol! Couchsurfed there for a few days with my boyfriend – unforgettable!

    • Jun 26, 2015 / 3:13 am

      Yeah, that was probably the most horrifying experience in Asia, but I’m glad I got a bit better to discover Bohol 🙂

  3. Jun 26, 2015 / 3:43 am

    This place sounds amazing! Those little monkey/bat guys are so super cute. I have never heard of them, or this place in fact. Great write up. I’m so sorry to hear about you not feeling well. Hopefully it’s nothing serious. 🙂

    • Jun 26, 2015 / 4:00 am

      I think now I’m fine, but I scared a lot of doctors in the US that thought I caught TB 0_o You have see tarsiers!

  4. Jun 30, 2015 / 1:53 pm

    Good grief, that was some horrible treatment! Glad you feel better now and still made it to Bohol. I hope you won’t have such an experience again.

    • Jun 30, 2015 / 2:56 pm

      Yeah, quite an ‘adventure’ :/

  5. Jul 1, 2015 / 3:57 am

    Glad that you like Bohol!!! You should have also visited Balesin Island. It has the best amenities!

    • Jul 1, 2015 / 4:16 am

      Ive never heard of this island – will save it for next time 🙂

  6. Jul 4, 2015 / 5:16 am

    I can tell it was worth going there in the end. Such a charming place!

  7. Jul 4, 2015 / 8:03 pm

    Byłam w tym roku w tym samym miejscu, jeśli masz ochotę ogladnij moje zdjecia 🙂
    Wprowadzenie do tego malowniczego miejsca mialas lekko mówiąc słabe. Czy wiadomo co to było i z czego taka reakcja organizmu? Pozdr

    • Jul 4, 2015 / 9:42 pm

      Caly czas nie wiadomo co to bylo 🙁

  8. Jul 5, 2015 / 8:44 pm

    You always some weird adventures, Anna, and you end up in a hospital 😛 And regarding Bohol, it looks nice – I especially like the Loboc River, those bridges look pretty cool.

  9. Jul 10, 2015 / 12:30 pm

    For sure I will visit, when will be around -)

  10. Jul 10, 2015 / 2:21 pm

    Horrifying story with that hospital visit! Did they finally figure it out what was wrong?

    That’s the kind of thing I hope never to experience and that’s the reason I always make sure to have insurance when traveling.

    • Jul 11, 2015 / 10:40 pm

      Well, that was the problem… I had my insurance. But it didn’t matter really, my whole hospital fee was only 70 euros 😉

  11. Jul 10, 2015 / 3:15 pm

    Your sympthoms could suggest Denge fever, as far as I know it’s in this region of the world as well. Anyway, good to hear you recovered and was able to visit those places! Animals in nature are always best!

  12. Jul 10, 2015 / 3:17 pm

    Your sympthoms look sound like Denge fever, as far as I know it exists in this part of the world as well. Anyway, good to hear you recovered and were able to visit Bohol!

    • Jul 11, 2015 / 10:39 pm

      Yeah, everyone thought I had Denge fever actually 🙁

  13. Jul 10, 2015 / 8:37 pm

    I love these animals, so cute 🙂 And i want to go across this bridge.

  14. Robert
    Aug 13, 2015 / 6:49 am

    I stayed in Bohol a few days last year, did you see Loboc church which was destroyed in the earthquake? A tip for a guesthouse is Nuts Huts by the river. Amazing food and hidden down a 1km path into the jungle.

    • Aug 13, 2015 / 3:47 pm

      I’ve seen it yes 🙁

  15. Joseph
    Sep 1, 2015 / 2:29 pm

    Glad you enjoyed Bohol and got better. But I’m curious as to what made you ill. So was it TB or dengue? Or none of the two?

    • Sep 3, 2015 / 12:14 am

      it was dengue 🙁

  16. Wim
    Oct 4, 2015 / 10:00 pm

    I was in phil last August, got 4 mosquito bitesduring the 10 days i was there, but i didn’t go to the beaches. It is too hot for that activity anyway.

    Maybe this country is not meant to be on beaches in bading suite.

    Be aware thatnext time, a ew deenbue disease moght be worser.

    • Oct 5, 2015 / 1:15 am

      You mean dengue? That’s what I had!

  17. Chin
    Nov 27, 2015 / 7:56 am

    I am glad you love Bohol. My dad is from Bohol and our family own quite a huge piece of land in there although not ideal for beach but rather for farming and trekking.

    Bohol is certainly a great place to stay if you want to experience tranquility. Thank you for your kind words to Bohol

  18. Nov 29, 2015 / 12:07 pm

    please do your research on dengue fever before you start writing about it. im sorry to hear that you got sick but if you had dengue fever you would have experienced so much worse than you did. i travelled the philippines before and i know first hand from experience that dengue can be detected by a blood test as the virus enters ur blood stream. i am not an expert on dengue but trust me based on what uve mentioned it definitely is not it. as a traveller myself, i know that we take risks when we travel to a foreign country and im sure you know that but wrongfully writing ur own diagnosis that you got “dengue fever” boggles my mind.

    • Nov 29, 2015 / 5:41 pm

      How do you know how bad did I feel he? I got dengue confirmed later actually.

  19. Cali_Usa
    Nov 30, 2015 / 5:17 am

    Kudos to you for making it alive out there. I’m not sure where you’re from but I advice you to check what your country’s travel advisory before going somewhere. I know some ended up like shrimp cocktails back there lol. Been to both beaches and I can’t agree more on your opinion about the two beaches. I’m never going back to boracay but I’ll visit Panglao Dumaluhan beach in Bohol anytime of the day. Whitest and softest beach and the sea is so alive with marine life. I think by saying you were bothered by vendors every minute when you were laying on the sand I assume you were wearing your little bikinis right? Let’s just say they were just trying to peek at some good view that you might be showing. Heck I’m gonna be the same and probably sell you everything the whole day lol. But I’m pretty sure you can handle yourself just don’t be too confident because you know if you look different and you don’t speak the local language you’re a target. And if a country has no 911 pray that batman is real to come and save you lol. So best of luck on your adventures and I hope you always have some trustworthy local contacts wherever you go.

  20. elaine
    Feb 7, 2016 / 5:24 am

    hi, i read your post bout boracay, i havent been in the place cause i am hearig same comments from my friend how the island has been ruined. and i dont want to save money to be wasted so i chose to go to calaguas last november and it was a beauty. if you want a beach where u can own the island better vist calacuas in camarines norte, its very peaceful and all purely beach bumming. native wont bother you at all but are helpful when you need help., bicol. it is a virgin beach and not yet develped place but its beauty is stunning. godbless!

  21. khatt
    Feb 26, 2016 / 3:19 pm

    Hi Anna! I’m glad you had a great time staying in Bohol unlike in Bora. Proud Boholana here 😉 If you happen to visit our place again, try other islands in Panglao like the Virgin Island and Pamilacan Island. Anda was also one of our beach destinations, yet it’s so far from the city. If you’re fond of adventures, we have some awesome waterfalls & caves. Until next time and God bless on your trips! 😉

  22. Apr 27, 2016 / 7:33 pm

    Hi Anna,
    I had been in Bohol 5 years ago and know how thrilling to be there. I feel the same smell reading your article. Great work.

  23. Jun 20, 2016 / 1:34 am

    Hi Anna. I am glad you enjoyed your stay in Bohol despite feeling sick. And i enjoyed reading your blog. I would have wanted to leave a comment on your Boracay blog but its full. And yes, I agree with you about everything you have said about Boracay. It is really sad that its very commercial nad those ugly practices are really disheartening. But I hope your Boracay experience will not hinder you from exploring more of the Philippines. We have many other places to see that are not touristy.

  24. Jun 26, 2016 / 3:20 am

    I love what you say about no hawkers being allowed to sell there wares on Panglao Island Beaches. Boracay certainly has beautiful beaches (on the Eastern and Northern edges of the island) but, it has been turned into Shanghai Disney Land, these days, and the hawkers are just so … “In ya face”… Relentless. Palawan is a beautiful area of the Philippines, also, and has two of the most beautiful (and secluded) beaches, I’ve ever visited: Nacpan, and Dulle beaches. With regards your illness, whenever I travel – especially to tropical regions I never leave home without colloidal silver. It is THE ONLY thing that works in staving off Malaria, Dengue, or any other pathogen. I’ve never been sick once, on all my travels, since discovering it. Yes, you can even consume drinks with ice, if you use CS, daily.

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