Things to see Bohol

Spanish Churches

The Spanish conquistadors were soon followed by the Jesuits order, the military enforcement arm of the Catholic Church, who started converting the natives and established churches throughout Bohol. Few of these churches stood the test of time and most have been replaced or rebuild. The largest church of Bohol is located in the town of Loon about 25 kilometer north west from Tagbilaran. The church was built in the beginning of the 19th century and replaces a chapel build half a century earlier.  The church has a baroque facade and is flanked by twin octagonal bell towers. From the main bus terminal in Tagbilaran catch a jeepney to the town of Tubigon and ask the driver to drop you off in Loon.

The oldest church in Bohol is in Baclayon a couple of kilometers north east of Panglao island. Jesuits started the construction of the original church in the end of the 16th century. Construction of the present stone church started in 1717 after Baclayon became a parish and was completed 10 years later.  The adjoining, detached bell tower was added in 1835.  Although the structure could use some maintenance, this is a sight that should not be missed on a trip to Bohol. From Tagbilaran it is a 7 km ride from the bus terminal to Baclayon.   

Another church worth paying a visit is the Saint Peter in the town of Loboc. It is the 2nd oldest church in Bohol, dating back to the beginning of the 17th century. After fire destroyed the two previous churches Jesuits started the construction of the present church, which was finished in 1734. When the Jesuits where expelled from the Philippines in 1768 the Augustinian Recollects took over and added an adjacent separate bell tower. Also inside the church both the Jesuits and Augustinian influences can still be noticed, making it an interesting baroque - neoclassical mix. Loboc is 25 kilometers to the east of Tagbilaran. Buses from the main Dao bus terminal bound for Carmen leave regularly throughout the day and pass through Loboc.  

hanging bridge

Tarsier sanctuary

The best place to see these micro primates is in the Tarsier sanctuary located between the villages of Sikatuna and Corella around 16 kilometers northeast of Tagbilaran. The sanctuary is managed by the private non-profit Tarsier foundation dedicated to save these nocturnal creatures from extinctions. Jeepneys to the park leave when full from the Dao terminal in Tagbilaran and take about 30 minutes to reach the park. Guided tours are given for a small fee throughout a fenced off section of the park. On the shores of the Loboc river a number of frightened tarsiers are kept in small cages; this place is not recommended to visit.

Chocolate hills

Changes are slim you will find any tourist brochure or postcard of Bohol without an image of the chocolate hills. Over thousand (1776 to be exact - we challenge you to prove us wrong) of evenly shaped cones turn into chocolate brown every year in the dry season and make for great scenery to show off your photography skills. The hills are located 50 kilometers from Tagbilaran, close to the village of Carmen. Busses from the Dao bus terminal heading to Carmen will drop you off a short walk from the viewing point and leave when full.

Blood Compact monument

Blood compact monument

The sandugo or blood compact ceremony between the Spanish explorer Miquel Lopez de Legazpi and the local chieftain Datu Sikatuna is commemorated with a monument  in Tagbilaran.  A few drops of blood from a cut in both men arms was collected in two separate cups and mixed with wine. The men drunk each others blood and thereby securing the friendship between the Spanish and natives. The monument itself is in the bool district overlooking the sea and alongside the national highway. It is difficult to find on your own so better take a taxi. Every July the Sandugo festival takes place with street dances,  a beauty pageant and numerous other activities to celebrate and commemorate the blood compact ceremony.

Punta Cruz watchtower

The triangular shaped watchtower overlooking the Cebu Strait was build in the late 18th century by the Spanish to guard against pirates. In front of the watchtower is a wooden cross that according to legend preventing pirates from coming on shore. Inside the watchtower on the first floor there is an image of Saint Vincent Ferrer, the patron saint of Maribojoc. In the vicinity of the tower are a couple of tourist shops and pick-nick sites, but for the rest there is not a lot to do. The tower is located in the Punta Cruz barangay of Maribojoc on the way to Loon, about 20 kilometers from Tagbilaran and 7 kilometers from the Maribojoc center. Frequent busses from the Dao bus terminal in Tagbilaran to the seaport of Tubigon pass the watchtower and take approximately 30 minutes.

Ostrich farm

The ostrich farm is a small zoo where they keep a number of ostriches, a Burmese python, some sea turtles, a selection of tropical birds and a couple of other animals.  Most likely the place will not comply with all international zoo standards, but the animals looked well fed and are kept in large cages.  The zoo is included in most day tours on Bohol, but if you want to get there on your own, the place is located in the village of Bingag some 25 minutes drive from Tagbilaran.

Butterfly Conservation center

The butterfly conservation center is entirely dedicated to research and breed on butterflies. You can walk through a open and enclosed butterfly habit where many butterflies, representing over 150 species flutter freely. The center hast its own restaurant with reasonable priced food and a gift shop. An entrance fee of 50 pesos is levied, which includes a guided tour. The conservation center is located in the town of Bilar on the highway going to the Chocolate Hills approximately a kilometer from the towns market . Bilar is a town in the interior of the island, some 40 kilometers or an hour by bus from Tagbilaran. From the Dao bus terminal take a bus heading to Carman and ask the driver to stop at the Butterfly center.

Python sanctum 

Ever wanted to see and hold a huge python then you have to visit the Python Sanctum in Alburquerque. The guys over here hold a huge 7 meter long and 300 kg heavy python in a cage. 

Beehive farm and resort

Another initiative from the Boholeans to protect and preserve the environment is the Beehive farm and resort in Panglao. Aside from the Beehives there is an abundant garden producing organic products which are used in the restaurant to prepare a range of fresh and mouthwatering dishes. The resort has a wide range of accommodation, free WIFI, a swimming pool and offers several tours on the farm as well as around the island.  The resort lies on the main road between Dauis and Alona beach and provides free pickup from the Tagbilaran Jetty port.

Sagbayan Peak

Located in the municipality of Sagbayan in Bohol is Sagbayan Peak. It is an observation platform overlooking a scenic valley. There is also a mini-park, children's playground, a snack bar and restaurant available within the area for tourists to enjoy and relax while they're complimenting the view and the cool atmosphere. For a closer view of the surrounding areas, you can rent a viewing telescope for 10php. Also, an entrance fee of 10php for adults and 5php for children shall be paid upon entry.

Mangrove Forest: Banacon Island and Candijay

Mangroves is defined as trees that grow in tropical and subtropical intertidal zones which is considered as tough areas for plants to grow. Bohol is one of the few places in the Philippines that has possibly one of the most biologically diverse  mangrove ecosystem wherein they surround most of the province. The mangrove forest of Banacon Island, which is located in the town of Getafe and is a 3-hour bus trip from Tagbilaran City, is said to be the largest man-made mangrove plantation in Asia. It's area is approximately 425 hectares, where only 15 hectares is a dry land and the rest is occupied by a mangrove plantation. 

Another popular mangrove forest in Bohol is Candijay. It is located in Barangay Panadtaran, Candijay and covers 2,200 hectares of mangrove forest. Since 1999, efforts to rehabilitate the mangrove has been implemented to avoid further destruction.  

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