Bohol, Philippines

Beautiful Tropical Lagoon with turquoise water in Bohol.
To experience Bohol is to experience serenity and peace while enjoying great food under the sun! The island is best known as the home of the famous “Tarsiers”. Bohol is the 10th largest island in the Philippines. Situated at the heart of the Visayas Region, you are sure to experience that long awaited rest and recreation from a hard day’s work when you visit this tropical island.

A Brief History of Bohol

Just as other significant islands in the Philippines, Bohol also holds one of the most colorful history and historical landmarks to date. This island province was actually established through Act 2711 on March 10, 1917. During the Spanish regime, there were two significant revolts in the island. One was the Tamblot Uprising in 1621 led by a native priest. The other was the Dagohoy Rebellion where it was led by Francisco Dagohoy from 1744 to 1829. It was also at this time that Bohol was still part of the main land of Cebu and together was called a residencia. It was only in July of 1854 that it became a separate politico-military province. The Americans, led by Major Henry Hale also invaded the one of the cities in the province of Bohol on 1900 while the Japanese occupied the province for several long years during the World War II. The American forces liberated Bohol on April 11, 1954.

Another significant happening in the history of the province was when it had the name of “Bohol”. This name is derived from the word Bool, the place where a treaty of friendship between two people of different races occurred. This was between Datu Sikatuna, a native chieftain and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, representing the King of Spain. The treaty is popularly known as the blood compact or the “Sandugo”. This event has been commemorated with the making of the statue depicting the “Sandugo” of the two parties.

A Little Bit about Bohol’s Geography

Bohol is actually an island that is 4117.3 square kilometers and hailed as the 10th largest island in the whole Philippines. It lies at the center of the Visayas surrounded by other islands on all sides, thus one of the reasons why typhoons do not often hit the island. The capital city of Bohol is Tagbilaran. This is the main city of Bohol and where the boat docks upon arrival. The main island of Bohol is gently rolling terrain. There are also mountainous interiors and is even home to the most unique and exciting flora and fauna. The uplands are great for agro-forestry because the soil is rich and agricultural production is of high value. There are also hundreds of caves that have been discovered on the island. The mainland of Bohol is surrounded by 70 smaller islands. The largest of these islands is Panglao Island, best known to have great beaches that will make your vacation relaxing.

The People and Culture

The people of Bohol are called the “Bol-anon”. Since the province comprises of several islands, the people of Bohol share different types of culture and ethnicity. They area also greatly influenced by the Spanish regime in their native province hence the many old churches and monuments of prominent religious icons. Most of the Boholano’s are Protestant or Roman Catholics. The main language of the province is called Boholano where there is a unique and prominent “j” in their speaking or dialect. Other languages spoken prominently in the province of Bohol include the Cebuano, Tagalog and English, so travellers will not have a hard time communicating there while on vacation. Boholanos are known to be thrifty, hospitable, religious, humble and law-abiding. They too share their own superstitious beliefs like other places in the Philippines.

The Climate in Bohol

Like other parts in the Philippines, Bohol has a tropical climate. The province is also shielded from strong effects of tropical cyclones because it is mostly surrounded by sea and bodies of water. One of the nicest periods of the year to stay in Bohol is during the months of November to February. These months have cooler climate in the province as compared to March until May months where summer and hot weather is prominent. However, if you would like to see the famous Chocolate Hills in its Chocolate-colored state, then you would want to be there during summer. It is also good to note that during November to January, the chances of rainfall is much higher.

Cuisine

Bohol is best known for the world exported Peanut Kisses and what many fondly call “Kalamay”. Both are specialties of the people of Bohol and are the most popular “pasalubong” or take home of the many visitors of the province. Peanut kisses are kisses chocolate shaped cookie treats made of the best type of peanuts in Bohol. They are made sweet and packed freshly every time. On the other hand, the famous “Kalamay” is one that is made of coconut milk, brown sugar and glutinous rice. They are also flavoured with margarine, vanilla, and the like. They are traditionally packed in empty and clean coconut shells. This can be eaten alone of perhaps as a sweetener to other Filipino delicacies. Aside from that, Bohol is also known for the best cuisines and fruits of which is a proof of the agricultural dominance in the province.

Holidays and Festivals

Bohol is also known to host several colorful and fun festivals. Aside from celebrating good produce and the like, they also celebrate the different unique historical events that has led to what Bohol is today. Some of these festivals are below:

Sandugo Festival

Sandugo Blood Compact Statue.
The Sandugo festival commemorates one of the most memorable events in the history of Bohol, the blood compact or sandugo between the Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and local Shieftain Datu Sikatuna. This reminds the people of Bohol of love and peace between them and the Spanish regime. This is an annual event that has numerous activities such as sports fest or pageants.

Tagabilaran City Fiesta

Tagbilaran is the Capital city of Bohol. The festival that commemorates the feast of the patron saint of the city which is Saint Joseph the Worker. The festival kicks off the fiesta month of May in Bohol. This happens every 1st of may and is one of the most enjoyable month in the city. Even before the main date of the festival, the city is poured and clogged with tourists who take part on this colourful festival. There are many stage plays, nightly parties, beauty pageants, and many forms of entertainment during this festival.

Ubi Festival

This festival highlights the agricultural aspect of the province of Bohol. The ubi as a crop has an agricultural and historic significance to the people of Bohol thus a celebration is dedicated to their symbol of a staple food that has saved Bohol. This is one of the best crops that has generated livelihood in the province and has been culturally accepted as a province symbol since then. During this festival, different types of ubi variety is displayed and many products created from it.

Other Notable Festivals

Since Bohol is a province, specific festivals are held on the different places in Bohol province. Bolibong Kingking and Pana-ad sa Loboc and Suroy sa Musikero are all held in Loboc during the month of May, December and during Holy week. These festivals mainly commemorate the historical side of Loboc and also because they are best known to hold unique and superb talents like the world renowned “Loboc Children’s Choir”.

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