Bohol offers a multitude of activities from snorkelling pristine reefs, dolphin watching, tarsier viewing, adventure sports, and island hopping. While visitors could easily spend a week on Bohol, with the island a mere two hour ferry ride from neighbouring Cebu it is possible to enjoy some of what Bohol has to offer in a single day trip.
GETTING FROM CEBU TO BOHOL
Ocean jet and Supercat are two popular companies offering voyage from Cebu to Tagbilaran. Ocean jet is slightly more expensive at 800PHP and departs Cebu every hour (on the hour) from 6am till 7pm while Supercat is only 500PHP but departs just 3 times a day (8:45/1:45/7:40). Both companies regularly hold promotions so check their websites for their latest offers. Both ferry terminals also charge a 25PHP ‘terminal fee’ that is purchased separately to the ferry ticket.
*Our tickets were purchased with Supercat and with a promotion-we were unaware of- and cost 820php return.
BOHOL DAY TOUR ATTRACTIONS
There are numerous companies offering private day trips that visit some of Bohol’s key attractions. Almost all tours offer the following in slightly different orders.
Blood Compact Shrine
A small shrine depicting the historically significant event of Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Bohol chieftain Datu Sikatuna sealing their friendship as per tribal tradition. In March 1565 both leaders drew blood from their arms before mixing it with a goblet of wine. Afterwards, each man drank the goblet containing the blood of the other ensuring friendly relations between both parties.
Baclayon Church Ruins
Another small attraction some choose to mere observe as they drive past. A roman catholic church and the oldest Christian settlement in Bohol. Founded in 1596 but heavily renovated throughout its history. The church is not as grand as it once was having sustained heavy damage from the 2013 earthquake.
Loboc River Floating Resturaunt
One of the most popular stops on a typical day tour is the Loboc Floating Resturaunt. Lunch here is usually included in a tour package. Visitors enjoy a buffet lunch while slowly cruising down the Loboc river. Lunch also includes a short cultural show performed on a barge alongside the floating restaurant.
The sanctuary offered visitors the opportunity to view Bohols famous saucer eyed primate. There are two places on Bohol to see the tiny creatures – Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella and the Tarsier Conservation Area near Loboc. Treatment of the tarsiers is supposedly better at the Corella site as the animals aren’t interfered with but rather roam freely around the 10 hectare area. Every morning staff locate a few tarsiers within the 1 hectare area open to tourists and point them out for viewing. The animals are nocturnal and inactive during the day so their movement is minimal once they’ve been located.
*We were lucky enough to see 6 tarsiers on the day we visited but due to the nature of the Sanctuary some days may have more or less. They are territorial however so usually have their preferred designated area.
Mahogany Man made Forest
As you would expect this is a small stop off where visitors can admire the 2km stretch of Mahogany forest, planted to prevent erosion and landslides over the road.
Simply Butterflies Conservation Center
A butterfly breeding and conservation centre aiming to raise the butterfly population in Bohol. Their butterfly garden features over 60 different species of local butterflies who visit the garden freely. The guides who accompany guests through the centre are well informal and eager to educate visitors.
Carmen Chocolate Hills
Bohols unique 1046 geological formations. Named the chocolate hills due to their brown colour during the dry season. There are still disputes as to the cause of these natural wonders. Some speculate volcanic activity while others suggest coral reefs elevated by geological shifts however the unanimous agreement is that they certainly aren’t man made. The hills are viewed from a platform located at the ‘Chocolate Hills Complex’ but be ready to scale the steep stairs to the top.
Similar to experiences offered all over Asia in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, the viewing takes place at a small ‘zoo’ housing a small managerie of animals like snakes, crocodiles, and native cats. This stop let’s tourists get up close and hold a large python.
BOOKING A DAY TOUR TO BOHOL
Book a tour in advance to save time or negotiate with the touts at the ferry terminal when you arrive at Tagbilaran.
* I personally contacted a few agencies online/via Facebook and negotiated between the companies offering the best deal. Ultimately we paid 1,600 each for our private tour of the following attraction with lunch (2 people). All the sites could be visited in around 5 hours.
Some reputable companies offering private day tours include: