Explore the island of Bohol in the Philippines

Bohol, Phillipines.

Bohol is one of the 7,000 islands in the Philippines. It is a fairly big island of over 4,000 sq km with a population of around 1.5 million.

The bulk of the population is engaged in agriculture (rice, bananas, copra, mangoes, pigs and cattle), fishing (prawns, fish, squid etc), light industry, handicrafts and service industries.

Bohol people are reckoned to be hardworking, conservative and perhaps more reserved than most Filipinos.

JEEPNEY.

Bohol has a number of tourist attractions. For example, in Bohol, beautiful Panglao has some excellent sandy beaches, and one or two first-class beach resorts such as the Bohol Beach Club.

It is a popular destination for divers, dolphin and whale watchers.

Bohol Beach Club.

The Chocolate Hills are the most famous landmark on the island with a series of 1,200 rounded hills of between 40–120 metres high, that turn brown during the dry season, hence the name.

There are various theories as to how these unusual formations came about.

Perhaps these hills are the weathered remains of gigantic lumps of earth which were hurled into the sky when one of the Philippines’ super volcanoes erupted millions of years ago. This theory has no scientific basis, by the way.

Chocolate hills, Bohol.

Bohol is also home to the tiny Philippine tarsier, one of the cutest primates around.

They have huge bulging eyes that give them amazing night vision. Sadly, they are an endangered species.

Although Bohol is still a green island with verdant rice paddy fields, the tarsiers’ natural forest environment has virtually disappeared and their numbers are restricted to a couple of small reserves and tourist enclosures.

Tarsier in Philippines.

Loboc River is a lovely spot. Here you can rent boats or dine on a restaurant raft.

Loboc River.

If you are on a cruise, the boat may pause alongside floating bands with talented singers and musicians who serenade tourists for a modest tip.

Music is very much appreciated in this country. They really like music.

Floating buskers.

Bohol also boasts a few heritage sites. Loboc church, located near the dining raft jetty, is said to be the oldest church in Asia having been established by the Spanish in 1600.

Busay falls, Loboc river.

There’s a sleepy village on a stretch of mangrove coastline where locals have built rustic payag to enjoy the cool sea breezes and splendid views.

Payag.

To get to the payag, you have to manoeuvre a 100-metre-long rickety bamboo bridge or wade through a squishy mangrove swamp.

Payag over mangrove.

One can swim and paddle in the banca, or look for fish and crabs during high tide.

There are striped sea-snakes too and they are harmless unless you stick your little toe in their mouth – in which case they are lethal.

Kids on a banca.

Beautiful view from the payag.

View facing Panglao Island.

This article first appeared in http://thriftytraveller.wordpress.com