We spent a couple of days exploring Cebu City and visiting the attractions nearby. I have already explained how to get to Cebu and wrote about the things to do in Cebu City in my previous post: “Things to do in Cebu”.
While in Cebu, we decided to plan a day trip to one of the nearby islands and found out that the most popular one was Bohol Island.
How to Get to Bohol Island?
The day before we walked around Cebu City to book a day tour to Bohol, but we couldn’t find any tour agents offering a tour to the island. We asked around and found out the best way to get to the Island was to take a fast ferry which runs every hour.
After having an early breakfast at our hotel, we went directly to Cebu’s port at Pier 1, where we purchased the ferry tickets. There are 3 types of tickets, the ones we bought were 450 pesos per person to sit outside (£6.70), the tickets to stay inside in the air-conditioned room was 500 pesos (£7.42) and the business class, which features better seats, was 1000 pesos (£14.84). You can book your ferry ticket from Cebu to Bohol online and in advance.
We thought it was better to stay outside because it was not a hot day and it was not raining. The ferry ride takes about 2 hours.
Taking a Private Tour in Bohol Island
As soon as we got off the ferry we were surrounded by people who were selling tours, something we were trying to find in Cebu without much luck. We started chatting with one of them. She was offering us a private tour for the whole day to visit the main attractions for only 2500 pesos (around £37 for the both of us). It looked like a great deal to us, we had a van all to ourselves and we could manage our own time.
ATV Ride and Chocolate Hills
We drove directly to the most popular attraction amongst tourists in Bohol, the Chocolate Hills. But we chose a muddy and adventurous way to see the hills, which means we rented two ATVs to add some fun to our day. We handed 900 pesos per person for an hour ride. Keep in mind that you will probably ride in a muddy route especially if it rained recently, and getting dirty is pretty much unavoidable.
We parked our ATVs at the bottom of one of the hills and walked to the top of another one, where we had an amazing view of the hills. There are more than 1000 hills (covered in green grass) spread over the area. We flew our drone and took some photos and then headed back.
Viewpoint in Bohol
When we got back to the car, we drove a few minutes until we arrived at Chocolate Hills Complex, where we had to climb some stairs to have a better view of the Chocolate Hills. We didn’t spend much time there, because there were way too many tourists and we already took some nice photos at the previous viewpoint.
The next stop was the Tarsier Conservation. I and Bruno didn’t know anything about the tarsiers before visiting the conservation. Apparently, tarsier species are endangered and related to other primates, including monkeys.
We had to be quiet to increase the chances of seeing the tarsiers. A few signs along the way were reminding the visitors to be silent. It was not easy to find tarsiers because they are pretty small in the Philippines (8.5 - 16cm), and they tend to stay on the trees and hide under some leaves.
We were walking around the park when the rain started pouring, luckily, they were handing out some umbrellas for visitors, which helped us keep walking around without getting too wet.
Taking Photos in Bilar Man-Made Forest
The rain stopped once we got out and back into the van. We continued our journey by driving through very beautiful roads. At some point, we saw people in the middle of the road taking photos, we were about to ask about the location when our driver pulled over and got off the car. We followed him out of the van, then he explained to us that we were at the Mahogany Forest (Bilar Man-Made Forest), popular for tourists to stop and get some shots. It sounds crazy, I know, even while we were there we thought it was quite reckless to jump in the middle of a road to take a picture with the surrounding trees. We rushed to take a few photos before we saw a car approaching. I should add that most cars were driving slowly and were ready to stop since the road is well known to be flocked with tourists taking photos.
Lunch at the Floating Restaurant in Loboc River Cruise
As soon as we got back into the van, it started raining again, but this time the rain got a lot worse than before. We passed by a spot which offered a ziplining activity, it was supposed to be part of our tour, but we had to skip it due to the weather conditions. We headed to the floating restaurant instead. It was a bit messy because of the rain, but we managed to get to the river cruise, without being soaking wet. We had a buffet lunch with live music while we were cruising around Loboc River. I have never seen such a beautiful river, the water was blue and the rain made the scenery even more magical. It was a fun and relaxing experience. We could see children, who were swimming in the river or even jumping from the trees into the water. Everything looked surreal, it was the main highlight of our trip to Bohol.
When we finished our tour on the river, we decided to skip visiting the other attractions like Baclayon Church (a Roman Catholic Church) and the Blood Compact site. We didn’t want to risk missing the last ferry to Cebu. Luckily, we arrived at the port a bit early. We bought the tickets to seat inside this time for 500 pesos per person. I didn’t notice much difference between the seats outside and inside. Since we were quite tired due to the early rise and it was already dark outside we decided it was better to relax a little bit and stay inside the cabin for our 2 hours ride back to Cebu.