Travelers making their way to the Philippines will be faced with a decision: should we make the flight or boat ride to the famous Bohol Island? Well wonder no longer! Travel vlogger Deanna Troy Travels provides two videos and this article to help you decide whether Bohol is worth beholding.
In the video above, we explore the island via "tuk-tuk", a vehicle also known as an auto-rickshaw or the "Filipino tricycle." This motorbike plus sidecar combo is a three-wheeled, open-aired vehicle that was invented in Thailand but has since made its way around the world! Our first stop in this vlog is the highly debated Chocolate Hills. (Read until the end of this article to learn about the hidden gem that we discover in this video!)
What are the Chocolate Hills and should you visit them?
The Chocolate Hills are the Philippines' 3rd National Geological Monument that's dubbed as an Eighth Wonder of the World. They are a stretch of 1,260 - 1,776 hills that are spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometers across multiple towns including Bilar, Carmen, Butuan, and more. Their strange cone-shaped formation and multitude have baffled geologists worldwide! Scientists believe they were formed by the uplift of coral deposits and the action of rain water and erosion. The Chocolate Hills received its name from the chocolate brown color that they get when their vegetation dies in the dry season (January - May). In the wet season (June - November) the hills are green.
The main view of the Chocolate Hills is the complex in Carmen, Bohol. The complex includes a restaurant, souvenir shop and hotel. It's built on two of the largest Chocolate Hills and has a viewing deck with 214 steps! Admission to the deck costs 50 pesos, or about $1 USD. It's open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. (This is the place featured in my video above.) Also at this complex is the chance to drive ATVs around the hills. The Chocolate Hills ATV tour costs 950 pesos (about $19 USD) for a one-hour tour.
My thoughts? If you're interested in geology, photography and nature then I would say definitely visit this fascinating destination! But be warned, the steps are steep and long, and the crowds are constant! Would you want to visit the Chocolate Hills? Comment on my Bohol Island YouTube Video or on this blog post!
What is the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary and should you visit?
I go into great detail about this amazing place in my previous blog article: Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary and previous Tarsier YouTube video. The Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary is a facility in Corella, Bohol for the endangered hand-sized primate, tarsiers. It lets you view them in their natural habitat! Read the article linked above for the whole story of this place, but in my opinion this is what makes Bohol worth visiting. There is no other place in the world that houses so many of these unique animals!
What are the other top things to do in Bohol?
Bohol is also known for its stunning beaches! The best beaches are on Panglao Island. This island has incredible richness in marine biodiversity and a varying terrain that consists of hills and plains. This island won a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Top Beaches on Panglao Island are:
Bohol is a great place to visit for those who love exciting, blood-pumping, adventurous activities! The Chocolate Hills Adventure Park allows you to do creative ziplining with an attached bicycle and surfboard. There's an epic bungee jump called The Plunge at the Danao Adventure Park. The Plunge is reportedly one of the world's highest canyon swings with a 75-meter free fall! The launch deck is situated 200 meters above the canyon floor, and the free fall takes around four seconds. Another adrenaline activity is cave pool jumping! One popular spot for this is Cabagnow Cave. Its cave pool is formed by limestone and houses 20-25 feet of clear water. It has a cliff about 15-18 feet high from which you can jump into the cave. (Note that the only way out is to rent a ladder from a local, for only about 150 pesos.) I'm not into these types of activities, but this island has a lot to offer for those willing to take "the plunge."
✨Bonus Advice✨ The Hidden Gem: Bilar Hill Park and Restaurant
During our tour of Bohol, in between the Chocolate Hills and the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary, we stopped for a lunch break. We had no idea this lunch break would be so beautiful! The Bilar Hill Park and Restaurant in Bilar, Bohol has breathtaking views of a local rice field! My husband and I got some amazing photographs here! (Find them on my Instagram @deanna_troy_travels.) The food is delicious and inexpensive, the staff is kind and they even have a little mini zoo! The only caveat to note is that there is a long walk across a bridge and a hike up 50 steps to get to this restaurant because it's located on top of one of the smaller Chocolate Hills.
Conclusion: Is Bohol worth beholding?
If you and your travel companions are able-bodied and have varying interests, then Bohol is a great one-stop spot to visit in the Philippines. This island is perfect for enjoying beaches, nature, animals and adrenaline activities! This island is a great choice for those with not too much travel time to explore the rest of the Philippine islands because it gives a great scope of what the country has to offer.
However, it is touristy and mostly not handicap accessible. If you desire the most inexpensive Philippine experience, or the most accommodating one, then another one of the 7,000 islands might be more for you.
Before visiting the Philippines, it's best to discuss with your travel mates, or yourself, the goals of your trip and do your research to pick out the islands that correlate! To help your travel companions decide, watch the videos in my Fabulous Philippines playlist on YouTube and subscribe to this blog for all the best Southeast Asia travel advice!