By KRISTELLE BECHAYDA
Bohol, with its topography teeming with lush views of nature, is a sight to behold whichever direction one goes. Apart from being home to the world famous Chocolate Hills and Philippine tarsiers, it also boasts of several white-sand beaches, an Instagrammable man-made forest, as well as historical hotspots that showcase the island’s rich culture.
It’s definitely a great place to be for tourists looking for some peace and quiet. What makes this island even more memorable for first-time goers is the true Filipino hospitality shown by the locals, whose warm welcome can be felt from their greetings alone.
Whether you have yet to visit Bohol or wish to have your fill again of the island’s scenic views, here are some must-try activities that will not only make your trip worthwhile, but will also make you appreciate the beauty of nature.
Firefly watching along Abatan river
If you wish to see some night action in the island, you can find it in Abatan river, which cuts across the municipalities of Catigbian, Antequera, Balilihan, Maribojoc, and Cortes. Here, you can witness hundreds of fireflies light up in the mangrove trees along the river. Just head on to the Abatan River Main Village Center in Cortes, where the starting point is. You have an option to ride a kayak (for one to two people) or a traditional bandong (better for groups) in taking this tour, which lasts for an hour—30 minutes going down the river, and another 30 minutes going back.
Riverlife.ph | Facebook: @abatanrivercommunitylifetour
Nature immersion at Bohol Biodiversity Complex
For active and fun outdoor activities, you should stop by the Bohol Biodiversity Complex. This eco-tourism compound in Bilar holds a greenhouse, a reforestation area, a vermi-composting facility, farm animal sheds, as well as organic vegetable gardens. A joint project of the provincial government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Bohol Biodiversity Complex has activities that encourage its visitors to be proactive caretakers of nature. For a more nature-friendly experience, tents for glamping are also available in the compound and each can fit up to five people.
0950 124 6588 | Facebook: @boholbiodiversity
Scenic walk at Isola di Francesco
Beach lovers should include the Isola di Francesco in their itineraries. A privately owned islet, it is also known as the Pontod Island or Virgin Island among tourists. Though a boat ride from Panglao is the only way to get here, the place is worth the visit as it is beautifully adorned with statues of saints and cherubs, with surrounding trees and shrubs giving an abundant canopy for the tourists. There is also a huge statue of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina at the northern part of the island, and visitors will most likely be fascinated by the hundreds of doves freely milling around the area.
Night river cruise at Loboc river
Eating dinner while cruising along the Loboc river has also become one of Bohol’s attractions. Daytime cruising here has long since been established, drawing hundreds of tourists to flock the restaurant floating operators. A night cruise was eventually introduced to regulate the congestion, and has also gained traction among tourists. An intimate company among family or friends, along with the great food and the breathtaking view of colorful lights casting their glow on the river, makes this dining experience one for the books.
0922 899 6106 | Facebook: @VillageFloating&RestoCruises
Have a memorable stay at Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort
Get the most out of your relaxing vacation by booking a room at Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort. Located in Barangay Danao in Panglao, it’s the perfect getaway place, especially when with family or friends. Tourists get to choose from a list of island activities the hotel offers such as fishing or boat tours, snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing, and the seasonal dolphin or whale watching. There are also guided tours around the island that are available.
Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort has different room accommodations, which are all fit for families. Just take your pick from the Premier Deluxe, Family Loft, One Bedroom Pool Villa, or Family Villa. Guests may also enjoy delectable meals at the resort’s Aplaya Restaurant, or cap the night off with a drink or two at the Baroto Poolside Bar, which closes at 10pm.
bluewaterpanglao.com.ph | Facebook: @bluewater.panglao