Exploring Cebu & Bohol: The Lands Of Fun And Sunshine
You will find many amazing things to do in the Philippines while exploring this beautiful country; Amazing beaches, breathtaking nature, & friendly people are waiting for you.
The Philippines was high up on my bucket list so you can imagine how excited I was when we finally arrived in this beautiful country. My expectations were way high so I tried to pull myself back to the ground a little but fortunately, I didn’t have to worry about that for long because Cebu & Bohol proved to be just as beautiful and fun as I imagined.
We had a couple of weeks and I and Ben both wanted to see a lot of things so we had a massive “things to do list” while there. However, we both like to take some time off to just enjoy ourselves and get to know locals and the life they have. Thankfully the Filipinos are welcoming and friendly and made our time even more enjoyable in their country. Almost everyone speaks English which made communication even easier.
During these weeks we could explore and enjoy the wonders of Cebu and Bohol and we can’t wait to go back to this magical country and explore more and more. Meet new friends and have even more fun. Because the Philippines is truly the land of fun and sunshine where you can unwind and enjoy every moment.
Where is this wonderland & How can I get here?
The Philippines is in Southeast Asia and it’s comprising more than 7.000 islands. The best if fly first to Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur and then fly to Cebu from there because you can buy cheaper tickets than if you would purchase a direct flight ticket from the US or Europe.
When is the best time to visit & How to get around?
The Philippines are most popular between November and April during its dry season. The temperature is warm and easy to get around this time.
On land, it’s easy and cheap to get around with buses or trains and there are plenty of small boats will be there to help you out with island hopping. For Short distance there are taxis and the cheapest solution is to hop on a jeepney. In case you want to visit islands that are further away from each other you can always hop on a plane (prices around from Manila to Cebu $40).
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering “What exactly can I do in these wonderous places?”. Don’t you worry! We have a couple of bulletproof tips you will love!
1| Cool down under the beautiful Kawasan Falls, Cebu
The Insta famous Kawasan Falls. Probably the most famous and most popular waterfall in the Philippines and maybe one in the whole world. Keep in mind that this means this makes this place a touristy one too. However, it does not take away from its beauty! There is a short, easily manageable hike trail leading to these falls which I think makes the whole experience even nicer.
Try to arrive early in the morning or just before sunset to get the falls for yourself. Also, try to visit during weekdays and not on the weekend. A lot of visitors or not, Kawasan Falls is still one of the most beautiful we’ve seen so far!
2| Hop on a Jeepney and have one of the most fun rides of your life
The Jeepneys are one of the things that show how fun and easy going are the Filipinos. You can just hop on one of these on the side of the road to get from one place to another for about a $1, have conversations with locals and to feel the wind blowing through your hair while helping to hold a couple of boxes of chickens in the back of the car so more people can fit in.
Don’t be surprised if it gets crowded during rush hours because jeepneys are mostly used by locals to get from one place to another and not by tourists. Don’t miss it! It’s truly one of the most fun experiences we had in this country.
3| Make time for Sunsets and Sunrises
Philippine sunsets are colorful, peaceful and magical. Try to find a less busy area far from tourists to enjoy the view for yourself. We had the most beautiful experiences in Oslob. Here you can also enjoy nice beaches, the locals are just lovely, and from here it’s fairly easy to visit the Kawasan falls too. You can also visit the Tumalog Falls and they also offer “Whale Shark Watching” experience. We eventually decided not to go on whale shark watching because over the years this activity got way too popular with tourists and its impact on the Whale Sharks is very negative. If you want to learn more about this issue you can do so here.
Don’t you worry! Even without the Whale Shark Watching you will find many amazing experiences in and around Oslob
4| Don’t miss the beaches
Ahh… the Philippine beaches. Bohol has plenty of amazing beaches with white sand, crystal clear blue waters and mouthwatering restaurants on the waterside. You can choose from more popular beaches where you can visit world famous dive sites, jet ski, surf, and party or more secluded beaches where you can truly feel you just found a piece of paradise.
Panglao Beach is one of the most beloved beaches in the area enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. For very fine, white sand and tall coconut trees visit Bagobo Beach. ANDA Beach is a little farther away than the previous ones but still easy to get here. It’s a less popular beach with crystal clear waters and empty white sand beaches.
5| Explore your surroundings on a river Bamboo ride
It’s the perfect opportunity to get some exercise, fun, and some quality nature time. Hopping on a bamboo raft and pedaling down your way on the river is a beautiful experience. If you want to feel like a true adventurer here is your opportunity. You can choose from private to group tours to fit your taste and in case you’re looking for an even bigger adventure you can on bamboo ride at night and make it a truly unique experience.
6| Visit the cutest animals on the planet AKA Tarsier dreams come true
Tarsiers are hands down the cutest, smallest, shyest, and weirdest primates on this planet. They have a stare (thanks to their fixed and big eyes) that will haunt you, longer fingers than a pianist, and a head that they can rotate a full 180 degrees in either direction. They’re just silently waiting, hanging onto a branch and being cute. They’re quietly resting until a prey (that can be either an insect, a lizard, a snake, or even a bird and bat) comes by to catch them in their own territory. They’re also considerably small, usually less than 15cm (around 4-6 inches). However, they have a long, hairless tail that adds an about 20cm (9inches). Despite their small size, they can move considerably fast thanks to their leaping skills. They can leap up to 5 (16 feet) meters with one move.
You can learn more about these amazing animals at the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary. Please, make sure to visit the Sanctuary and NOT the Tarsier Conservation Area where these endangered animals are kept in poor conditions and constantly bothered by tourists. Tarsiers are nocturnal which means they’re awake at night and sleep, rest during the day. They’re also extremely territorial and shy, defenetly doesn’t like to be touched.
The tarsier you see in the photo above was hiding about 5 meters up on the tree. We had to walk around the sanctuary in complete silence and could not use flash. Please, respect the rules and if you can’t take a photo accept it and just enjoy the moment. Actually, this is the only Tarsier that I could take a usable photo of without the flash. I highly recommend visiting this sanctuary!
7| Enjoy your suroundings!
Try and make some free time to yourselves. I understand that you have a long list of to do things but believe me, there are unique and amazing things all around you. Go on walks where you don’t plan anything and explore the neighboring, streets, parks, rivers… whatever you’re around. We stayed in a beautiful riverside native house in Loboc and we had the most amazing walks in the area.
If you discover things on your own you will get a more natural sense of the place and
8| Don’t miss the Chocolate Hills
First comes first; There is no chocolate in the chocolate hills. The hills got their names because of their color during the dry season. The usually green grass turns to chocolate brown color during the dry seasons. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can enjoy nature at its best.
I would recommend going on a private tour. We hopped on one of the tour guides’ motorbike and rode around the area before going up to the main viewpoint. For $20 for two we could stop anywhere we wanted and he even took as to some more remote hills where we could climb to the top just the two of us and enjoy the view without being bothered by other tourists. Next time we go back we’ll make sure to pack some food and some wine to have a picknick at the top of one of these beauties.
9| Private Firefly Night Tour
One of the best experiences we had in the Philippines was our private firefly watch tour on the river. It was $30 for the two of us. It was absolutely breathtaking as we slowly and quietly passed by these magical lights all the way on the riverside. We even stopped at some of the more busy areas and walked around the fireflies. It truly felt like stepping into a fantasy book’s pages; surreal, ravishing, and memorable for sure.
10| Get to know the Filippine people
The Philippines is famous for two things its paradise beaches and the friendly locals who live here. So, don’t miss out on an amazing opportunity to get to know the people here. Do you want a more authentic stay? Yes? I thought so. Be more open and be more friendly and not just to your fellow travelers. Start conversations with locals, ask them questions and if you’re lucky you may even find a new friend. It’s easy to talk to locals. We had fun conversations on buses, in restaurants, and even just on the sidewalk.
From children and teenagers to the elderly people of all ages are open and ready to get to know you and your country and even more happy to include you in theirs. We got great local tips, got to know the culture, history, and the Philippine traditions better and we even made some new friends. You can do so too.
&… a few words on the bad
Pollution is not unknown to the Philippines either. However, the government focuses on educating the people about this issue and spending more money to recover affected areas and to prevent further damages. They temporarily closed (2018) Boracay “the world’s number one island” for 6 months for a cleanup. But you can do your part too! Please, don’t litter. Make extra caution and use the selective waste collector wherever you can. Thank you!
No matter which area you choose you will have the lifetime of fun and adventure in the Philippines! We still left to discover a lot in this one of a kind and beautiful country. So, we may see you there!
In case you’re interested in more wonders from Asia check out our post about the best things to do in Vietnam, the best reasons to visit Japan, our Kuala Lumpur guide or our post about the Hobbiton we found in Thailand.
Thank you for reading!