The Best Hidden Destinations in Bohol
Mention Bohol and instantly the picturesque Chocolate Hills, wide-eyed tarsiers, and white sand beaches come to mind. These are what tourists come for when they visit the region. Because of this, Bohol has tried to keep up with the visitors by opening themselves up to tourism opportunities.
But there are so many destinations that tourists don’t know about, and are worth visiting. The best part is that many of these sites are strict on sustainable tourism practices, helping to preserve the site for years to come.
You can swim with a school of sardines in Napaling, hike up the panoramic park in Alicia, or wade through the mangroves in Abatan River.
Panglao Kalikasan Dive Resort, Panglao, Bohol
It was only recently that local divers discovered a hurricane of sardines swimming together along the waters of Napaling. What they saw was such a rare occurrence, so rare that only two other sites have been known to experience this phenomenon (South Africa and Moalboal, Cebu). The sardines have inhabited the Napaling waters for almost a year, with no clear reason why.
Because of this, efforts have been made to protect the area. Napaling has become a strict “no-take zone”, meaning fishermen are prohibited from catching fish.
Dive Ta Bai suggests the best time to come for the sardine run is during the ‘-ber’ months, the spawning season of the sardines. You can experience the sardine run for only PHP 150 (Adult) at the Panglao Kalikasan Dive Resort, which is right beside Napaling.
Abatan River, Bohol
Abatan River is a long stretch of water that contains 30 out of 44 species of mangrove. The dense forest serves many benefits: it protects against floods, absorbs carbon, and is home to young fish and a rare species of fireflies.
Illegal loggers and poor tourism practices threaten the site, but local guides are there to help protect the mangroves. Paddle your way through the mangrove tunnel to see the forest filled with century-old mangroves that withstood hurricanes and extreme weather.
Firefly Night Kayak
Abatan River, Bohol
Wait for the sun to set and witness one of the most enchanting phenomenons: a light show brought to you by the fireflies of the Abatan River. Kayaks are the best option for this activity: its gentle paddling does not disturb the mangroves unlike motorboats geared with heavy engines which cause currents to erode the soil. The impact takes the fireflies’ nurseries along with it, disturbing their habitat.
Eco Explorations provides tour packages that are eco-friendly and help to conserve the natural tourist attractions.
Camotes Sea, Bohol
This reef is quite unheard of, which is a surprise if you find out what really lies underneath this massive body of water. The Danajon Bank is a double-barrier reef, a rare formation with only six of these existing in the world.
The reef contains one of the richest marine biodiversity, a starting point where much of Pacific marine life evolved.
Sadly, years of brutal fishing practices damaged a large portion of the bank. The water is eerily quiet— lifeless corals surround the ocean floor, and fishes are a rare sight.
To solve this problem, large statues of religious figures were installed in the middle of the reef. Statues of Sto. Niño and the Virgin Mary stand guard, driving away those who intend to overfish, in fear of the consequences it might bring.
Alicia Panoramic Park
The Alicia Panoramic Park stands a good chance to rival the world-famous Chocolate Hills with its stunning view. The climb is quite difficult, the only way up and down is a 2-hour journey by foot. The site lacks rest stops and amenities along the way to help preserve the site. At the top, you can find a shed to take a break and enjoy the view before heading back down.
By supporting these eco-friendly activities, you can help in the conservation of these natural attractions.
Where to Eat in Bohol
Six Sisters Carinderia
Tagbilaran City, Bohol
This carinderia serves up unimaginable dishes of seafood freshly caught by the sea. One of the popular specialties of Cebu is cooked right here: balbacua. This dish is a Filipino beef stew that is made with oxtail, skin, and joints along with a blend of spices. Preparation requires a certain level of patience and skill, which becomes apparent once you bite into the flavorful meat that falls right off the bone.
Other dishes to try are their native chicken, eels cooked in coconut milk, and sea cucumber kinilaw.
Jagna is an excellent destination for a food trip in Bohol. They’re known to make the best monggo (savory mung bean soup). Other dishes to try are dajok and calamay.
Watch Into The Archipelago: Bohol!
This series is made in partnership with the Department of Tourism – Philippines for the #MoreFunForever campaign. This is a sustainable tourism campaign to help preserve popular destinations in the Philippines for years to come. Watch Into The Archipelago: Bohol now!