Many people head to Bohol in the Philippines to take advantage of the endless stretches of white sand and the fabulous diving and snorkeling opportunities. However, there is more to Bohol than just the beach and ocean, and getting into the Bohol countryside is a must-do experience in Bohol if you are visiting this beautiful Philippines island.
We teamed up with Betterman Tours to explore the Bohol countryside and unearth the treasures of this tropical Philippines island. Our tour included visiting popular churches, the famous Chocolate Hills, seeing the tarsiers, taking a river cruise and even some adrenaline-inducing activities.
From the moment we stepped into our air-conditioned vehicle we were greeted warmly by our guide, Cathy, who made a big fuss of the kids and did a great job of keeping them entertained. She played games with them and taught them local songs in between imparting huge amounts of information and facts about Bohol for the adults. She told the kids stories that had them giggling away, and even braided my daughter’s hair!
The drive from the coast to the countryside was about an hour, but with Cathy’s fun nature the kids were kept happy, while we loved taking in the beautiful rural scenery as we drove past coconut and banana plantations, and through rice paddies with grazing water buffalo.
Tarsier Sanctuary Bohol
One of the reasons we really wanted to explore the Bohol countryside was to meet the tarsiers. These cute little creatures with the big bug eyes were thought to be the inspiration behind Yoda, E.T and the Gremlins (before they turned bad) and are endemic to Bohol. With only around 700 tarsiers left on the island, the best place to spot them is at the Tarsier Sanctuary.
Here conservationists lead us through the undergrowth, pointing out the fluffy little animals hiding in the trees. You do need to keep super quiet in the Tarsier Sanctuary and time in the sanctuary is limited as they are sensitive little creatures – they are even known to commit suicide if kept in a cage. Although nocturnal, many were awake when we were there – possibly because of the foot traffic through their habitat! The kids loved the sense of adventure of this though, and they are definitely one of the cutest little creatures you will ever see.
Our next stop was another wildlife attraction – Habitat Bohol, a butterfly sanctuary. A conservationist showed us around, and although we have been to many butterfly sanctuaries, we had the chance to see much more here, with our guide pointing out dragonflies, cicadas, tree frog egg sacks, atlas moths and helping us with fun novelty photos.
The kids even got to hold a cocoon and feel the moth moving inside, which was pretty cool.
Chocolate Hills Bohol
From here we headed to one of the most famous attractions in Bohol – the Chocolate Hills. Much to the kids’ dismay, these hills are not in fact made from chocolate, but rather named because the grass on them turns brown in the dry season and LOOKS like they’re made of chocolate. However, with more than 1,000 hills stretching over 50 kilometres to admire, it is still quite an impressive site.
You can climb one of the hills to get to the lookout point – note that this is via a steep staircase of about 200 steps, which can be a lot for little kids in the heat, although mine managed it (with just a little moaning!)
Chocolate Hills Adventure Park
Just along the road from the Chocolate Hills lookout point is the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park, a fun stop for adrenaline junkies of all ages. From the moment we arrived in Bohol and saw the tourism video in the airport, my 6-year old daughter had become obsessed with trying the bike zip line, where you ride a bike across a zip line 150 feet up in the air, and this was our main inspiration for including the Adventure Park on our tour.
Well, of course my daughter chickened out as soon as she had been strapped into her safety gear, leaving her dad to take the plunge on her behalf! There was plenty more kid-friendly excitement to be had here though, including rock climbing, a Tarzan swing and an obstacle course, and fun was had by all (except perhaps my husband…)
Loboc River Cruise
Our countryside tour ended with a lunchtime river cruise down the Loboc River to the sound of a live Filipino band. A little cheesy and touristy, this was still a fun way to have lunch and take in the beautiful surroundings of the Loboc River.
You can read more about the Countryside Tour of Bohol on the Betterman Tours website.
Looking for a hotel in Bohol? We stayed at the Amorita Resort by the beach and the Loboc River Resort in the countryside. Click here to read our full review of the Amorita Resort.
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Mum on the Move were guests of Betterman Tours for the purposes of writing this review. This in no way influenced my review, and all opinions as always are honest and my own.