Seeing the famous tarsiers and chocolate hills of Bohol are definitely among the most popular items of most Filipinos’ travel wishlist, myself included (growing up with the mindset that it’s a requirement of Philippine Travel 101). Bohol is also famous for its many old Spanish-colonial Churches. I wanted to have a do-it-yourself tour of Bohol and Panglao Island. It took some effort and googling skills to fish out DIY commuting tips of Bohol but it’s definitely doable.
I went into Bohol via Cebu and chose the cheaper route of taking the ferry to Tubigon Port (for as low as P75) compared to the P400 cost of taking a fastcraft direct to Tagbilaran. A lot of the places I wanted to visit was just along the way from Tubigon to Tagbilaran including the Chocolate Hills Viewdeck in Carmen, so it was like hitting two birds in one stone.
Bohol Chocolate Hills
View of Bohol’s Chocolate Hills from Sagbayan Peak
Signature DOT Shot from the famed Bohol Chocolate Hills Complex.
Bohol Heritage Structures
I wanted to see the multitude of old Spanish-colonial Churches in Bohol. I was awed at their massive impression such as that of Loon and Baclayon Church and the ceiling paintings / murals of Panglao Church, which is unlike the churches in my hometown, Iloilo. I also like that many of the old parish convent buildings, usually found beside or behind the main church structure are still extant. To my surprise, I also found other heritage structures still intact like defensive watchtowers, town halls, and the Bohol Provincial Capitol in Tagbilaran.
Tubigon Presidencia / Tubigon Town Hall, Bohol
Tubigon Church (Parish of San Isidro Labrador)
Clarin Church (St. Michael the Archangel Parish)
Carmen Church (St. Anthony Abad Parish)
Loboc Church (St. Peter and Paul Parish)
Albuquerque Church (Santa Monica Parish)
Baclayon Church (Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Parish)
Panglao Church – San Agustin Parish
Bohol Provincial Capitol
Tagbilaran Cathderal – Saint Joseph Parish/Catedral de San José
Panglao Watchtower in Panglao, Bohol
Maribojoc Church – Santa Cruz Parish
Punta Cruz Watchtower in Maribojoc, Bohol
Loon Church – Nuestra Señora de la Luz Parish
Panglao Island Beaches
I didn’t want to miss out on Panglao and its famed beaches, so I went around the island as a day trip. I went to Dumaluan Beach first, where the Bohol Beach Club can be found, and then to Alona Beach. I found Dumaluan to be very beautiful whereas, the more popular, Alona was far below my expectations. People living in Tagbilaran are so blessed that they have this island paradise just less than 30 minutes away from the city center.
Dumaluan Beach in Panglao, Bohol
Alona Beach in Panglao, Bohol
Close Encounters with the Tarsiers of Bohol
Getting to see and take photos of the endangered and much celebrated tarsiers were definitely at the top of my travel agenda in Bohol. I didn’t want to see one behind a sad cage, so I made the effort of going to the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella where I met a very cooperative model. I just loved how this particular tarsier posed up for a shot. It looks like he had “fun” during the “photoshoot” but it was most likely showing me a sign of its agitation (tarsiers are known for its extreme sensitivity to stress).
Happy Tarsier at the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella, Bohol
In Bilar Town, I loved the scenic highway winding through the dense mahogany forest. Most of the trees were actually planted almost half a century ago … today, it is one of largest man-made forest in the Philippines. I also enjoyed my visit to the Hinagdangan Cave in Panglao and the Blood Compact Site Monument in Baclayon.
Hinagdangan Cave in Panglao Island, Bohol
Blood Compact Site in Baclayon