When I decided to go to Bohol, the main attractions for me were the famous Chocolate Hills and the chance to see the world’s smallest primate, the tarsier. We decided to stay on Panglao Island so we could be close to the beach, which can easily be accessed from Bohol. Fortunately, there were plenty of tour operators on Panglao Island who provided day trips to see the tarsiers and Chocolate Hills in Bohol. When booking to go to the Chocolate Hills, the tour also includes a number of other stops.
What did I see on a full day tour in Bohol?
The first stop of the day was the Blood Compact statue marking the friendship treaty between the Philippines and Spain, which was signed in the 1500’s. There were a lot of tourists surrounding it and queuing to take a picture with it. We were there for around 5 minutes, enough time to take a picture and read about the significance of the statue.
The next stop was to Baclayon church, which, as can be seen in the photo below, is currently undergoing restoration after damage from an earthquake. This is the second oldest stone church in the Philippines, according to our guide. Inside the church, the altar is intact and is beautifully decorated. There’s also a museum for tourists to visit.
Up next was the Tarsier Sanctuary where we were able to see the world’s smallest primate. There was a trail for visitors to follow and staff pointed out where tarsiers were sleeping. There were signs everywhere in the entrance asking guests to be silent and not to use flash photography, as tarsiers do not like bright lights or loud noises. We were able to see 3 tarsiers and only one of them was awake, although, from the look on his face, he was pretty annoyed at being woken up. I was surprised at how small they actually were, they could probably fit in my hand! In the reception area of the sanctuary, there was loads of information about these endangered animals which I found very interesting.
For lunch, we went on a river cruise on the Loboc River. This involved getting on a floating restaurant and slowly going up the river. Lunch was a buffet and had a large selection of foods. There was a singer and band on the boat for entertainment throughout the cruise and we stopped at one point to watch some local children perform a song and dance routine.
After lunch, we headed straight for the Chocolate Hills. In February, the hills are green so they don’t look particularly chocolatey. To get to the main viewing platform. we had to climb roughly 200 steps. From there, we had a 360o view of the Chocolate Hills. Even without their famous brown colour, they looked remarkable because of their unusual shape.
After the Chocolate Hills, we stopped at a butterfly garden. There weren’t many butterflies, but the ones we saw flying around were very beautiful. There was a section with caterpillars and cocoons too.
The final stop in Bohol was the hanging bridge. This is actually 2 bridges. They are made of bamboo and are simply hanging over the river, as their name would suggest. They swing around a lot and I kept getting my flip flops caught in between the bamboo but they were great fun to cross.
The final stop of the day was to a python sanctuary in Panglao Island. There were a few other animals there but the main attractions were the huge snakes. The one in the photo below was slithering around on a table.
How much did everything cost?
There were 4 of us so between us we hired a car for the day which cost 450PHP each. The driver collected us from our accommodation at 9am and we were back before 5pm.
The Blood Compact monument and the Baclayon Church were completely free, however, there was the option of paying 50PHP to go into the church museum.
Entrance to the Tarsier Sanctuary was 60PHP and the Loboc river cruise with lunch was 450PHP.
There’s a 50PHP fee to pay to go to the top of the Chocolate Hills and it cost 20PHP to cross the hanging bridge.
The butterfly garden cost 45PHP whilst entrance to the python sanctuary only cost 30PHP.
In total, the full day tour cost me 1105PHP for all attractions and for lunch.
It’s definitely possible to do this tour cheaper. It costs 350PHP to do the tour with a larger group on a bus but we decided against this as we all agreed that tours are much easier with a smaller group. For an extra 100PHP we all felt it was worth hiring the car for the day.
There’s also the possibility of hiring a motorbike for the day and driving yourself around Bohol.
All in all, the full day tour in Bohol was very enjoyable and I would honestly recommend it to anyone going to the Philippines.