Bohol is known for its phenomenally shaped landscape similar to lady lumps or camel humps: the chocolate hills. Hills rise up in the sky on grassy plains and form an unusual yet sublime landscape. Arriving at the chocolate hills you are welcomed by sweet voices of singing and dancing school children all in unison, whom welcome and thank you for donations. There ceremony is endearing and warm hearted as they twinkle their eyes and smile mischievously at you. Head to the viewpoint where you can see all the hills from afar. However, the best view of the hills is when you are up close and personal. Head down the main slope of the hill and at the ATV sign turn right, following a dirt track past chirpy locals where you can pose for hilarious pictures next to the three sisters, 8 hills or among picturesque paddy fields. The track can be a little bumpy at times, although you can drive a motorbike through it, or for an expensive cost- hire a quad bike.
I had arranged a motorbike taxi to take me through the hills (as I struggle driving a motorbike myself and this meant I would be able to see all I want for a cheap price) but when I arrived there, he said it was “not possible” to drive through it, – after an angry rant and parting ways, I splashed out and got a quad bike through the rolling hills. Although expensive, 850 pesos an hour, it reignited my love for quad biking and my need for speed, however if you rent a bike for a day, make sure you take this track so you can enjoy the hills fully. Walking is also an option although the paths are quite random so just ask locals who are happy to help, for directions.
Motorbikes are an ideal way to get around Bohol, it allows you to stop whenever you like, see what you want to see, and explore more. Much of Bohol is in close proximity and the roads are in good condition, so this mode of transport would be the most beneficial. Otherwise, travelling by bus is an easy way to get around and is cheap, most buses run every half an hour and depending on what side of the road your standing on, varies your destination.
There are numerous waterfalls to explore on the island and you can easily kayak along the river to find them, or bike along stopping whenever. A fantastic and exhilarating way to see some is by zipline. At Loboc Adventure Park there are many options to cross an enormous gorge, one of them is by zipline. Flying across attached by a full body suit and a zipline you swing across quickly feeling the wind in your hair and taking in the sights around you- the flowing bright blue river below breaking at waterfalls and cascading over rocks, thriving vegetation on either side of the gorge, with many shades of different greens nestling next to one another. The sight is strikingly beautiful and the ride enjoyable. A return journey is 350 pesos, however combine it with a cable car so you can really take in the view much slower and for longer.
Other attractions of Bohol are the Tarsier Sanctuary, where you catch a glimpse of these nocturnal tiny animals, resting within branches, a butterfly farm with a variety of exquisite fluttering beauties, and exploring a number of caves alive with bats.
Bohol has many trekking options and being filled with dense greenery you can really get stuck into the heart of the jungle. I did a 1 hour trek from Loboc town centre to Santa Cruz– which is where a white cross stands superior on top of a large hill, and where midnight mass during Easter is held. The trek is tough at times but the view you acquire when at the top is worth it. On one side the sea hugs the island coastline whilst on the other, glimpses of the chocolate hills can be seen past palm trees. The church is a beautiful sight to see and highlights to all how passionate and enthusiastic Filipino people are about Christianity, willing to travel lengthy distances and difficult paths to worship Christ together in a worthy setting.
What made my stay in Bohol was the accommodation, of Nutz Hutz. Created by Belgians, and run by locals, this accommodation is tucked away from the main road (down a ridiculous amount of stairs) and adjacent to the river. Escape from the hive of tourist activity and island stir by resting in bamboo themed huts, both comfortable and spacious. A dorm bed is 400 pesos and your own hut with a fan is 900 pesos if you feel like splurging. Waking up to the sound of roosters and the swaying of branches makes this place a haven for any traveller. The solitude and peace that this place has, effects all that stay here. A restaurant half way up to the dirt track which leads you to the main road, is a cosy place, furnished thoughtfully (they hang CD’s with flags painted, showing what nationalities are in Nutz hutz at the time), and they serve delicious food. The staff are helpful and offer advice and information for types of services- as well as organizing massages or a trip to their own home made sauna. I couldn’t recommend this place any more, although I do advise to book ahead- phoning their number is best. It does get booked up quite quickly and journeying to the accommodation and down a billion stairs with a heavy backpack will not be fun if you hear its full!
I met many people who were going or coming from Panglao Island who recommended the island for snorkelling or a quickly easy beach is Alona Beach from Bohol. If wanting to explore more of Bohol, I advise travelling here, many stay at Bohol Coco Farm.