The island of Bohol is a must visit, yet under-appreciated part of the Philippines compared the better known destinations of Cebu and Boracay.
You will find a long list of activities that will suit every kind of holiday you could imagine when visiting this mid-sized island in the central Visayas region.
There are numerous beaches and water activities on offer surrounded by natural beauty to rival anywhere else on earth.
If you are more of a land lover then you will find some of the most unique animals and land formations in the Philippines.
Bohol really has something for everyone and we have put together a list of all of the best activities that Bohol has to offer. We have divided this into three categories – you can jump ahead using the links below – land, water and adventure activities.
Why Visit Bohol
One of the main draws of Bohol is the accessibility of the place.
It has it’s own airport which makes it a quick & easy trip from the capital Manila. From there you are just ten minutes away from being on the beach.
Compared to other islands in the Philippines this is a very easy trip!
This makes it a great destination for long weekends, or a stepping stone on a longer trip through the Visayas.
As you will see in the rest of this post there is a ton of activities to keep you busy. But you could easily spend a week lounging around the beaches and having a nice and relaxing vacation.
5 Land Based Activities in Bohol
1. Tarsier Sanctuary
A Tarsier could best be disguised as a tiny little monkey-like creature that sleeps most of the time in trees, but whenever they are awake they have a cartoon like look of surprise on their face.
They are very cute but those big beady eyes will make you wonder what they have going on inside their head… Or maybe they are that surprised to see you!
The Tarsier sanctuary allows you to get close up to these funny little animals will a handful of enclosures scattered around a small area.
2. Chocolate Hills
This unusual natural landscape is the signature postcard view of Bohol.
The Chocolate Hills look like a series of oversized mole hills that cover an open plain. There are numerous platforms to view the hills but the best one can be found at Sagbayan Peak?
Unfortunately, an earthquake back in 2013 caused some of the hills to partially collapse. You will notice some of the mounds that were formally perfectly shaped have had one side collapse in what looks like a mini landslide.
3. Honey Bee Farm
This was located just near our hotel on Panglao Island and is a fun place to spend the afternoon.
You will find a nice assortment of honeys, jams and other homemade goodies on sale here. But the highlight is on the on-site restaurant.
They serve meals made only from fresh and organic ingredients and everything that I tried was great! The outdoor balcony overlooks the beautiful waters of the white beach and is a great place for lunch on a sunny day.
4. Fireflies and Night Kayaking
If you haven’t seen fireflies up close then this is an evening not to be missed.
As you head up the river you will see trees that light up like it is Christmas! But it is just the natural glow of hundreds of fireflies.
It is both puzzling and beautiful how these tiny insects create this light, and the impact that it has on the landscape there are clusters of them flying around.
It is very difficult to get a good picture of fireflies so if you have a SLR camera make sure you bring it along. Just hold on to it tightly!
5. Visit the Mangrove Monkeys (Loon Macaques)
Less popular than the famous Tarsiers, these little mangrove monkeys look and behave more like your regular monkey.
As you walk around the boardwalk style footpath that weaves in and out of the mangroves these little primates will play and follow you around for most of your visit once you start feeding them.
They are not quiet, shy, or sleepy like the Tarsiers. So expect a more lively (but less cute) experience!
4 Water Based Activities in Bohol
1. Island Hopping
Almost every destination in the Philippines has their own version of island hopping. Caramoan is still my favorite, but Bohol is right up there.
I really liked the fact that it was not a strenuous day and very relaxed for the most part.
Some of the highlights were the marine sanctuary at Balicasag Island, and the mini food markets at the sandbar on Virgin Island with it’s selection of interesting eats.
You finish by just hanging out at Alona Beach where you can swim, or just lay in a hammock drinking Buko (coconut).
Many of the organized tours also incorporate the following two activities on the list – but they are worth mentioning on their own also.
2. Dolphin Watching
Ok, this is more like Dolphin chasing. Although I have heard that they are not always as elusive as when I was there.
There are a handful of boats that troll the waters searching for a glimpse of a pod of dolphins, and then as spoon as they are spotted all of the boats rush in.
Unless you get lucky you may only see them from a distance, and only briefly. The rush of boats can force them to swim deeper rather than their signature pattern of diving in and out of the water.
3. Snorkelling at Balicasag Island Marine Sanctuary
The crystal clear waters surrounding Bohol make Snorkeling far more enjoyable here than in other parts of the world.
The marine sanctuary especially is quite well looked after and you will be treated to a colorful and diverse mix of fish and coral.
You will find the water to be quite buoyant and the temperatures very nice. But if you are not a strong swimmer you can just float along with a life vest on.
4. White Beach at Panglao Island
We stayed at the Amarela Resort which opens up onto the sands at White Beach.
This stretch of sand is quieter than other parts of the island but the water is simply amazing! The turquoise colors just jump out at you on a sunny day and it is a very relaxed place to hang out.
Given how cheap the hotel is for a 4 star resort I couldn’t recommend this highly enough.
3 Adventure Activities
1. Adventure Caving
There are better known caves in Bohol but I really enjoyed being able to climb down into a space with limited walkways, and fencing.
Just some ropes and a tour guide is all you get as you descend into this dark and narrow cave.
At the end of the descent there is an underground pool that is actually quite deep in places. It is a very refreshing swim!
2. The Plunge
Ok i thought this was a bit lame, but people seem to really enjoy it.
The anticipation of hanging in mid air not knowing when you will be dropped into a valley to become a human pendulum will make your heart skip a beat.
But, if you have ever bungee jumped this may not quite measure up.
3. Zip Line
If the above doesn’t excite you then the zipe line is another notch down the excitement scale.
Better for those who struggle with heights. Otherwise not quite the rush you may be seeking.
Other Activities that Didn’t Make the List
These all fall into the category of if you’re into that.
- Butterfly Sanctuary
- Loboc Church
- Cabagnow Cave Pool
I returned to Bohol time and time again due to it’s mix of fun activities, natural beauty, and just the right blend of infrastructure (it has an airport!) and the peace and quiet you expect in a Filipino province.
Due to the accessibility, and lifestyle on the island it is my top choice for a relaxing get away.