Bohol is relatively a small island with enormous awe and wonders. Its sights and marvels always are front liners in all tourism campaigns of the Philippine government, because of their uniqueness, innate beauty and value to human kind. The island-province is one of the most attractive destinations in the country, as it is endowed lavishly with beautifully-laden beaches, kaleidoscope dive sites, rare wildlife and a one-of-a-kind geological formation.
Bohol is located in Central Visayas (Region VII). It is bounded by Cebu in the east; Bohol Strait in the west; Camotes Sea in the north; and Mindanao Sea in the south. It is approximately 803 km. south of Manila and 79 km. southeast of Cebu.
Bohol is the 10th largest island of the Philippines. It is an oval-shaped island province where one of Earth’s oldest mammal inhabitants can be seen, the Tarsier, known as the “the world’s smallest monkey.” The world-renowned Chocolate Hills can also be found in the province. Bohol has 72 smaller offshore islands and islets. Aside front the tarsier and Chocolate Hills, Bohol’s tourism assets also include majestic falls and caves, historical landmarks as well as primitive and exotic fauna and flora, centuries-old churches and towers. Bohol is also renowned for its wonderful dive spots. Foreign and local divers come to Bohol to see the breathtaking underwater coral reefs around the islands.
Climate in Bohol
Surrounded by sea, but shielded from the strongest effects of tropical cyclones that often hit other parts of the Philippines by the surrounding Islands of Cebu, Mindanao, Samar and Leyte, Bohol has a very nice, tropical climate without much variations.
The nicest period to stay in Bohol is from November to February, when the climate is slightly cooler, while during the “Summer”, which lasts March to May, the climate is slightly hotter than normal. Bohol does not have a very clear-cut dry season. It can rain any day of the year, but you wil have more chance for a heavy shower from November to January. If you want to see the Chocolate Hills in their “Chocolate” color, you will have to go their during the “Summer”.
Bohol Travel Guide
Bohol is accessible both by air and sea. Several domestic airlines offer direct flights to Tagbilaran City, the capital of Bohol. You can also reach Bohol through passenger ships and ferries plying the routes between coastal cities and towns.
If you are from outside the Philippines, you can take a flight to either Manila or Cebu before taking another flight or boat ride to Bohol. Cebu is preferable to Manila since it is closer, but only a few international flights arrive there. After arriving in Manila, you can take any of the daily domestic flights to Tagbilaran City which takes about an hour and fifteen minutes. Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific and ZestAir offer regular flights from Manila to Tagbilaran.
Airlines that serve Tagbilaran from Manila/Cebu
There are about 8 ferries per day between Cebu and Tagbilaran, from 6.30am to 10.30pm. Fast boats take around 2hrs and cost more or less 500php. Slow boats taking 4-5hrs for and cost around 200php. Ferries for Tagbilaran leave from either pier 1 (Ocean Jet, Lite Shipping) or Pier 4 (Super Cat, Weesam Express). It’s best to check at these piers for actual schedules and prices since they tend to change regularly.
Cebu Airport to Tagbilaran City – After getting out of the Cebu Airport, there will be a line up of taxis. The ride costs PHP200 for the trip to Pier 4. You will then have to take a ferry. All ferries take 90 minutes to get to Tagbilaran City. Schedules and fees can be found on the ferry’s website.
Bohol Island is easily accessible by bus, private cars, taxi and rental cars. Many of the towns in Bohol have a bus terminal where one can get a ride to other towns. Tagbilaran City, the capital city of Bohol has an integrated bus terminal located in Dao, where you can get a bus ride to get in most towns in Bohol. Most bus lines operate follows daily schedules.
A few taxi companies operate on Bohol. If not at the pier or at one of the malls, you will have to call the company to get one. Taxis are supposed to switch on the meter, and will bring you to any destination within the city of Tagbilaran. Outside the city limits, the driver may multiply the amount on the meter with 1.5 or 2, which is fair, as he has to drive back to the city to pick up his next passenger. Most taxi drivers in Bohol are friendly, and can tell you a lot about the place.
A typical Filipino mode of transport is the tricycle, a small motorbike surrounded by a metal construction that can hold up to 4 passengers. Foreigners can also use them, but it is advise that two passengers maximum in that case. Since some tricycles are much under-powered, the driver may ask you to step out on particularly steep hills. You normally use these for short trips within the city, but some may be willing to bring you to neighbouring towns.
Aside from tricycles, there are also jeepneys and multicabs plying their routes within the city and outside. The jeepney is the icon of Philippine transport, and is often wonderfully decorated. Inside, you will sit with your back to the “windows”. Jeepneys drive a fixed route, and normally depart only when all seats are filled up. That includes the wooden benches that will be placed in the middle. Most long westerners will find they will barely fit. Luckily the ceiling is often cushioned.
When a jeepney passes, you can stick up your hand to stop it and enter. When you want to get out, shout “Para,” and it will stop. You pay directly to the driver, and if he is too far, can hand some money to the person sitting next to you, who will hand it to his neighbour, and so on, until it reaches the driver. Your change will come back to you the same way.
Habal-habal is driving on the back-seat of a motorbike. This is often the only way to reach towns in the inland when you have missed the bus, or don’t want to wait. Most westerners will consider this a fairly risky mode of transport, as some drivers like to drive fast over bumpy rough roads.
V-Hire (Van for Hire)
‘V hires’ are a speedier option for getting around Bohol’s towns and villages. These are modern 12 seater mini vans that connect the larger settlements in Bohol and although fares are roughly double that of conventional buses, journey times are twice as fast and more comfortable to boot. Unlike other forms of transport they have designated stopping points and generally terminate in the centre of towns and villages.
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