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You'll see Bohol's Chocolate Hills on posters all over the Philippines, but the island itself is refreshingly laid-back and undeveloped. Despite the proximity of bustling Cebu, the towns on Bohol retain a Spanish colonial air and the interior is a dense jungle that provides a home for one of Asia's most charismatic residents — the tiny tarsier, the world's smallest primate. A range of rounded outcrops that seem too perfectly proportioned to have been created by nature, the Chocolate Hills come into their own from March to May, when the grasses dry to a rich, chocolate brown. At other times, the main attraction is the coastline, with its ...

You'll see Bohol's Chocolate Hills on posters all over the Philippines, but the island itself is refreshingly laid-back and undeveloped. Despite the proximity of bustling Cebu, the towns on Bohol retain a Spanish colonial air and the interior is a dense jungle that provides a home for one of Asia's most charismatic residents — the tiny tarsier, the world's smallest primate. A range of rounded outcrops that seem too perfectly proportioned to have been created by nature, the Chocolate Hills come into their own from March to May, when the grasses dry to a rich, chocolate brown. At other times, the main attraction is the coastline, with its palm-backed beaches and pristine coral reefs. Lively Panglao Island is the focal point for divers and backpackers, but you can escape the crowds on the outlying islands of Balicasag and Pamilacan. Almost everyone passes through the noisy capital, Tagbilaran, which is served by regular boats from Cebu and other islands, but head to peaceful Loboc to see the elusive tarsier (best spotted in the reserve at Corella).

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    March to May, for the best views of the Chocolate Hills; November to May for underwater visibility.