Saturday, September 1, 2012

Why Bohol is my Favorite Island in Visayas

As we travel,  we are opening our lives into an outside world that usually differs from the one we move in everyday. With this, we witness a lot of things that in a way change  our perception about people around us. Sometimes it even gives us a better vision of who we are or creates fond memories that can last a lifetime or perhaps, it leaves us a very good impression about the place and in an instant it becomes our favorite destination.

That's just exactly the way I feel about Bohol. I don't have a Boholano blood. I had only been there once and I must admit, I had been to only six provinces of  Visayas (the second  island group of the Philippines where Bohol is located) to date and I won't have so much basis for comparison but ever since I've set foot in Bohol, I just know this is a very special place. It is like falling in love, and my heart was captured at first sight. :)

I have many reasons why Bohol is my favorite but I guess, all will some up to only one point - I  learned that it is not only beautiful with the attractions it offer but the beauty also comes from its character.

Bohol is an amazing place. I've been to the usual tourist spots and it amazed me how environmentally rich this province is. White sand beaches and islands abound and I could still almost feel the fine white sand of Dumaluan Beach on my bare feet as well as the calm water engulfing the long crescent-shaped sand bar in Virgin Island. On my first day, I floated and just let myself be carried by the river flow of Mag-aso Falls.

                                       - the pristine Dumaluan Beach in Panglao Island Bohol -

I specially couldn't forget how exciting it is to see dolphins jumping and showing off in their natural habitat. I remember not being able to stop  jumping in our boat whenever I see one and I'm almost teary eyed with gladness (That's kind of shameful to admit but I'm an unpredictable cry baby). I was mesmerized by the teeming population of fish even in the shallow part of Balicasag Sanctuary. For a moment there, I experienced being friends with a lot of fish that dearly swam around me and willingly showed up for my video. Errr.. on second thought, maybe it was the bread we were holding they were after. Nevertheless, there is no question on how blessed Bohol is and admiringly, on how Boholanos take pride in protecting what was entrusted to them.

                                   - video from a shallow part of water in Balicasag Island -

The beauty of Bohol doesn't end in its bountiful marine life and relaxing beaches. It is also the only place here in the the Philippines where the  famous Chocolate Hills can be found, thousand of grassy hills that turn chocolate brown on dry season. I have a very clear remembrance of this attraction from my grade school textbooks so I couldn't really believe it when I was already in Sagbayan Peak  seeing the hills for real. Bohol is also a HOME for tarsiers, one of the smallest primates in the world. When I say home, it really means the word because by now, this is the only province in the country where tarsiers can still be seen and a sanctuary was built for them in Corella Bohol to help these creatures from going extinct. Honestly, I couldn't seem to end my list on what's wonderful about Bohol but I'm sure I only scratched the surface and is hoping to see more on my next visits.

With all the things I've mentioned, what really got into me is how clean and green Bohol is. With the whole second day spent in checking out the inland attractions, I've never seen a single plastic or any garbage in the roads and attractions we've passed by even if I was intentionally looking for it. I've stayed in a beachfront resort for two nights and never did I see any floating garbage in the sea or a pile of garbage in the area. I was told by the driver of the car we hired that the local/provincial government has a very stern policy regarding garbage disposal but personally, I believe that although strict implementation is helpful, positive results can be more attributed to the discipline of Boholanos. How could a river  have houses built just beside it and the river still is one of the cleanest I've seen in the country? On our last day there, we rode a ferry to Cebu and I was astounded seeing the water in Tagbilaran Port, it is clear I could see the rocks and a school of fish swimming in the shallow part of the water. I left Bohol  that day with great admiration and I could only secretly hope that's how things work everywhere in our country.

                                -  the clean and clear water of Tagbilaran Port on a hazy morning -

One unique fact about Bohol: All the tricycles I've ridden in Tagbilaran City have a bible passage printed in the body of the side car. Out of curiosity I asked about it from the drivers and learned that it is a city ordinance and is a requirement in getting a registration.

During my stay there, I observed that Boholanos are naturally religious and is deeply rooted in their faith. They have high regards with respecting rules as well and it extends even in churches where there are proper dress codes to obtain entrance. This is arguably one of the traits that make them special. I just feel that godly people oftentimes are also honest, committed, responsible and caring. That's also probably one of the reasons why Bohol continue to be a very beautiful place, because of people who care for it.

                                                      - beautiful churches of Bohol -

I witnessed how caring Boholanos are that they are sensitive to the needs of other people. It was the first time I experienced riding a vehicle where a driver (Kuya Edgar) stopped the car and gave way to a granny who looks like she wanted to cross a main road. No matter how simple the act is, I was touched by this gesture. This is something I don't witness often if not at all, in the place where I live. My family also experienced this caring through the staff of the apartelle we stayed in in Tagbilaran. This is a budget accommodation but the service that was provided to us was top notch, making my family feel like we're millionaires. That is something that's not easy to forget for a shy family that can only travel together once in a while. I became a more compassionate person because of that and I'm always inspired to provide the best customer service at work too. It is true that an encounter with few beautiful souls in one destination can greatly affect a person's whole perception about the place and that's what happened to me.

My stay in Bohol left me nothing but positive experiences and insights. I'm sure there are plenty of other destinations that also has a beauty to share since the Philippines is a naturally beautiful country. So if you ask me what sets Bohol apart from the others for me to love it so much? Simply because the beauty of Bohol was not only seen by my naked eyes but was also felt by my heart.

Pinoy Travel Bloggers Blog Carnival The Pinoy Explorer - The Visayas Roundup

This is my entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers Blog Carnival for the month of September 2012 themed The Visayas Round-up. This month's host is Ding Fuellos of


  1. Early bird! :) Yey I love Bohol, too. I wish I could explore more of the Visayas! I've only been to Cebu and Bohol so far...:D

    1. I started working on this last night Cris, excited eh. :D Me too, I specially wanted to go Eastern Visayas naman but it will always be nice going back to Bohol.

  2. Wow! Like you, I love Bohol. In fact it is one of the many provinces I have been to that I have a lot of stories to tell about.

    Thanks for joining the PTB Blog Carnival!

    1. I'm delighted to know you also love Bohol Ding. It's a pleasure joining the Blog Carnival. Thanks for hosting! :)

  3. I was deeply touched by your Bohol entry, as I myself love this province! I've been to Bohol twice now.. and the recent one was just this January. I really could never get enough of this province. If I had a choice not to go back to the city, I would stay in Bohol. I mean, the people there are very courteous and would certainly go the extra mile for you. As for cleanliness, I've also noticed that in Bohol. When it comes to proper attire and decorum, I was able to witness that as well when we visited the Baclayon Church. :)

    Anyhow, love your Visayas Roundup!! :)

    1. Thank you Mai. :) I guess we have the same reasons why Bohol remains special for both of us.

  4. Bohol is one of those places that you can really stay in for a long time. It's just such a pleasant place. There's this town we went to before - Guindulman, where the water was just so clear and perfect for snorkeling. Hope I can go back here again before the year ends.

    1. I'm a big fan of snorkeling Kara and your description of the water in Guindulman wakes up my imagination. I wish I could be there right now.


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