After having done the usual Palawan backpacker route in the Philippines, I enjoyed exploring the island of Bohol in the Visayas.
I stayed at Nipa Hut Village in central Bohol, a peaceful and fairly remote hostel where you’ll only hear crickets at night and see fireflies hovering around the river banks. The surroundings are beautiful and just walking around the area kept me entertained for quite a while. Nearby I met a lovely local family who invited me for dinner, a story I wrote about here.
Bohol is one of the few places where the critically endangered tarsiers (star of this meme) can still be found. I got a local to take me by motorbike to the Tarsier Research Centre, which has a large semiwild enclosure where you’re guaranteed to see a few of these adorable primates. They may look fairly big in the photos, but these little fur balls are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand (hypothetically, because you are not allowed to touch them).
Bohol’s Panglao Island is a good beach destination; a little over-hyped if you are expecting a superlative beach paradise, but a worthwhile visit nonetheless. The real reason to come here however is to go Scuba diving, as there are some excellent wall dives in the area (reefs running vertically that you can dive alongside).
Most famous on Bohol are the Chocolate Hills, a sort of vaguely Super Mario-esque looking collection of hills that – if you are there during the right time of year – have a brownish chocolate colour. When I was there they were mostly green, and I was somewhat disappointed to only find a lookout site without any hiking opportunities in the area. The Chocolate Hills are well-advertised even by Lonely Planet as one of the top things to see in the Philippines, but if you are going to Bohol only for this sight you may be disappointed (it takes just about half an hour to see). If you are going to be on Bohol anyway, then it is a sight not to miss.