We had heard great things about Bohol in the Philippines, being told multiple times that we MUST visit. We spent 3 nights on Bohol and these are the things I would recommend if you ever plan a visit to the island yourself.
We decided we didn’t want to stay in the tourist pack Alona beach, so once we got off the ferry we headed to the Fox & the Firefly Cottages on the Loboc river. The easiest cheap way to get there is with a tricycle, it cost us 350* pesos and took just under an hour. If you want the cheapest then get a tricycle to take you to the bus station (maybe 100* pesos at a guess?) and from there catch a jeepney to Loboc for only 25* pesos each! We took the jeepney option on our way back and it was easy enough, however they really pack these jeepneys full with as many people as humanly possible, so it can be a sweaty ride.
The Fox & the Firefly Cottages are wonderful with clean accommodation and plenty of chairs and hammocks to relax in. Plus they are set right next to the beautiful Loboc river. The accommodation also provided paddle boarding and mountain biking tours, they are not cheap for the traveller on a budget, but I found it worth the money a special experience.
We choose the half day paddle boarding tour which took us down the Loboc river to Busay Falls. Three hours of paddle boarding is definitely a good workout for your core! But don’t worry you have the option of paddling while sitting on your board if you need a bit of a break and the tour guide provides water at regular intervals. Swimming under the waterfall was lots of fun and very refreshing, however I think the best part was paddling back as the sun was setting and the fact that we were now padding downstream was pretty good too!
On our second day we hired a motorbike (for only 500* pesos, it wasn’t too bad). We decided our first stop would be the Chocolate hills as these can’t be missed while you are in Bohol. On our way there we drove through the man made forest which was a pretty cool experience and also a nice break from the burning sun on our backs. The Chocolate Hills were just as stunning and peculiar looking (how does this kind of landscape even exist?! We may have used google to answer our questions…) as we were told. After climbing the many step to the top and finding our way through the crowds to the lookout, it was pretty impressive and gave a good explanation in itself as too why the crowds of people were here. However we were there at the wrong time of year to see the hills in all their ‘chocolate’ coloured glory.
Our next stop was the Tarsier Sanctuary. The attraction is advertised as ‘eco friendly’ and the little wee Tarsiers are still living in the wild here, but after reading the sign that said they are known to commit suicide due to handling and noise in captivity I am still a bit unsure of this tourist attraction. As I mentioned previously they are in the wild and not captivity, only small groups go through the sanctuary together with a guide. A number of these cute wee nocturnal animals were pointed out to us as they slept while clinging on to tree brunches. However with numerous groups walking through the sanctuary each day there is a bit of noise and some of the Tarsiers were awake and watching us with their huge eyes. But hopefully this daily foot traffic and added noise isn’t enough for our wee Tarsier friends to make any rash life decisions.
By this stage it was late afternoon, we had done a lot of driving and decided to make the half hour drive back to The Fox and the Firefly so that we could relax. If we had hired the motorbike for a second day there are a few more things I would have liked to see around Bohol. There are several more waterfalls like Mag-Aso Falls which sounds like it would be magical to swim under. There is also the bamboo swing bridge across Loboc river, I’ve heard its just a tourist trap but the child in me thinks it sounds pretty fun! However spending a day reading in hammocks, swimming and swinging off the rope swing into the Loboc river makes for a pretty sweet day too.