Bohol is a big island, and one could easily spend 2-3 days there without getting bored. However, if you do not have a lot of time, like I did, you have to limit yourself to the best tourist spots. In this article I will write about them, how to get there, what to do there, and give you an idea about the costs as well.
After a few relaxing days in Siquiojor I wanted to have another fast-paced sightseeing trip. Bohol, one of the biggest islands in the Visayas, is perfect for that. It is close to Siquijor; however, there is only one ferry a day, and with 700 Pesos (14 USD) it is comparably expensive. Any information online about other ferries is outdated as of March 2018.
The ferry arrived in Tagbileran, the biggest city in Bohol. The city reminded me of Cebu City and there is no real reason to spend more time there than necessary. Only the food market next to AH Shoppers Mart Inc. is worth a visit at night to enjoy a cheap dinner. If you want to really strike a bargain, you can buy your food at the market and eat on the upper floor. Total costs were 50 Pesos (1 USD), which is hard to top.
The next morning I got up early to visit Bohol´s main three tourist sights in one day: Panglao, the Tarsier Sanctuary, and the Chocolate Hills.
Doljo Beach at Panglao was a real disappointment. The bus ride from Tagbilleran takes quite long, and the beach is really dirty. Only after a bit of walking off the main path did I find a scenic beach. I would advise everybody to go to Alona Beach instead as there is no infrastructure save a few diving centres in Doljo.
Next I wanted to pay a visit to the Tarsiers, the small mammals that Bohol is known for. The Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary is not a zoo. The animals can and do leave the enclosed area at night. Then the small creatures are quite agile and take surprisingly wide leaps. During the day however, they mostly sleep. Tarsiers are such fragile creatures that they cannot be held in captivity. Since they are so sensitive, the staff at the Sanctuary make sure that visitors obey the rules, be quiet and only take pictures of the Tarsiers without flash. You will not be disappointed. During my visit the staff pointed out 3 Tarsiers sleeping next to the footpath. However, once you have spotted and photographed them, there is not much else to do there except a small information centre, so all in all you do not have to spend more than 20 minutes here.
My last stop and probably the most famous sight in Bohol was the Chocolate Hills – cone shaped hills that turn brown in the dry season – hence the name. The formations can easily be reached with a bus and are a major tourist magnet.
You can either walk up to the observation deck or take a shuttle. Walking is cheaper, of course, and not really difficult. Up there I was having mixed feelings: the hills are impressive and unique in the world. But it is also mass tourism at its finest, so every visit to the Chocolate Hills will be more or less the same: Go to point A, take a photo, walk to point B. This, however, must not necessarily be bad. I would suggest seeing the Chocolate Hills at any rate if you are in Bohol. Also because the entrance fee of 50 Pesos (1 USD) is fairly cheap.
How much does one day in Bohol cost?
If you visit these 3 sights, mostly use public transportation, stay at a backpackers´ hostel and eat at non-touristy places, the whole day should not cost you more than 1115 Pesos (22 USD).
Accommodation: 350 Pesos
Transportation: 465 Pesos
Entrance Fees: 100 Pesos
Food: 200 Pesos
Like I said, of course you could spend more days in Bohol, as it is a fairly big island. If you have more time, you could also…