Experience Bohol in three ways. A tropical beauty where you can dive, whale watch and even just enjoy going around by backpacking.
There are a lot of great dive sites in Bohol. The most popular and regarded as the best is the Balicasag Island. Some say it's shaped is circular and flat while others say it is crab-shaped. Lined with palm trees and white sand beach, its waters are the best place for black coral bushes and cathedral-like caves. Divers love its crevices, overhangs and steep walls. Schools of barracudas, jackfish and mackerel are found here. Large green turtles and grey reef shark are also seen in this island.
In the southern part of Bohol is the Panglao Island. The currents here are deep and strong. Most diving sites here are great for macro photography because of the many colors of hard coral. Its reef platform is shallow and canopied with hard and soft corals. This island is also great for drift diving.
Cabilao Island is the favorite hangout of hammerhead sharks. A much awaited encounter with seahorses, stargazers and pegasus is a great night dive experience.
Pamilacan Island is the farthest dive site in Bohol. It is noted for big whale sharks, mantas and the rarest as well as most expensive Conus Gloria Maris seashell. It also houses a colony of white and black banded sea snakes. But the main tourist attraction here is whale and dolphin watching. It is recommended that you do whale watching during the months of March to June as the waters as calm and clear while the dolphins love strong currents. Both animals are best seen not later than 8 in the morning. Melon-headed whale, giant sperm whale, pygmy killer whale, bottlenose dolphin and spinner dolphins are just some of those that inhabit the waters of Pamilacan.
Now that diving and whale watching is over, try going around some scenic sites in Bohol. The famous one is the Chocolate Hills. According to the locals, it is named as such because as they observed during dry season it turns into brown like chocolates. There are actually 1268 perfectly cone-shaped hills here and the height ranges from 30-50 meters. April and May are the best months to view these spectacular hills and the best time to trek it too.
Other tourist spots to visit are the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary. Tarsier is considered the smallest primate in the world at 4-5 inches only. While you are in the mood of visiting sanctuaries, take a look at the Butterfly Sanctuary. It houses diverse collections of butterflies, of all colors and sizes.
Lastly, a taste of history. Go to Bohol Blood Compact Site in Tagbilaran. It is an important event between Rajah Sikatuna and the Spanish explorer, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, where peace is established by drinking a mix of their own blood and wine.
As they say, once you've seen Bohol, you'll never leave it. Mark your calendar and start exploring Bohol.
Ms. Pinky is a mom of 3 school children. She is a Systems Engineer, a Technology Researcher and an Independent Medical Billing and Coding Consultant. She and her family is well-traveled all over the world!