Chocolate Hills in Bohol

Bohol: A great Place for Retirement

The island is located in the heart of Visayas and it is one of the largest islands in the Philippines. In fact it is the tenth largest island in the country. It has a land area of 4,117.3 square kilometers. It is quite protected by natural calamities since it is surrounded by other islands in all sides.

Bohol Sea separates the island from Mindanao in the south and in the east is Leyte via the Canigao Channel. In the North you will find Camotes Sea separating the island from Camotes Island and in the west is the Bohol Strait which separates the island from Cebu.

Its location and accessibility makes the island the best venue for both domestic and foreign investors. Since the island is located in Central Visayas it is accessible to the capital city of Manila and the metropolitan Cebu thus has a wide market. It can be easily access by boat in just a few hours and just a few minutes by Air from the commercial center of the Southern Philippines which is Cebu. Indeed Bohol offers the right business climate for investors.

Climate

The island is blessed with a nice tropical climate protected from most string of typhoon which often hit its surrounding islands which are Leyte, Samar, Mindanao and Cebu. The best time to visit the island is during the cooler months and that is November to February or the summer months which are from March to May. If you want to see the Chocolate Hills at its best then better visit during summer when the hills has its chocolate color.

Population

It is the tenth largest island in the Philippines and is the second most populous island in the region. Based in the 2000 records the population is already 1,137,269 and it represents twenty percent of the population of the whole region.

Employment

Based on record about ninety-three percent of the labor force is employed. Fifty percent of it belongs to the agriculture sector, thirty-three percent to the service sector and seventeen percent to industry sector.

Language and Education

Its native dialect is Boholano which is more like Cebuano dialect. There are differences in some words use and the way they speak but most common words use are closely related to Bisaya or Cebuano. Having a Cebuano – English Dictionary will help you a lot if you are a foreigner.

An average of 3,800 college students graduates every year which assures the province to have a large number of highly trained and professional manpower. Twenty percent of these graduates are engineering. You will find a number of great educational institutions in the province and this includes six vocational schools, six colleges and one university.

Natural Resources:

Minerals. You will be surprise to find out that almost fifty percent of the island is comprised with non-metallic minerals and limestone like the limestone deposit found in Garcia-Hernandez. Not only that, you can also find non-metallic minerals like high grade silica, clay and guano.

Water. The island is blessed with so many water resources. Figures show that it has 434 springs, 197 creeks and 59 rivers which offer abundant supply of surface water. A good source for any water development program.

Forest. Bohol is famous for its handicraft industry and they get their raw materials from their forest products which are fibers and vines. These are the major products.

Eco-Tourism.The island is starting to gain popularity as an eco-cultural tourist destination in the region. Just like its neighboring island, Bohol is also blessed with clear white sand beaches and clear blue waters. Its marine life is abundant and you can clearly see this when you visit Cabilao, Balicasag and Pamilacan islands which is now a favorite destination for scuba divers and tourists.

The excitement never stops when you see the inland beauty of this place. You will be amazed at the island’s natural beauty and cultural wonders. The most famous which earned worldwide interest is the Chocolate Hills. You will also find here the smallest primate in the world which is the Philippine Tarsier. You can also find several old churches like the Baclayon Church.

Also developing now is the government project PITE or Panglao Island Tourism Estate where investments in resorts/hotels, recreational facilities, shopping centers, convention facilities, golf courses, marina, handicrafts and retirement village are being promoted.

Aquaculture and Agriculture. Aquaculture is quite a big industry there. They are exporting prawns to Japan. Other products they harvest are milk fish, seaweeds and lobster. The seaweeds of eucheuma specie are cultured and are brought to Cebu for processing to different grades of carageenan.

On the other hand, agriculture lands comprise about sixty percent of the total land area which is around 256,400 hectares. Its major crop is coconut followed by rice, corn and Mango.

Special Economic Zone. The part of the island which faces the province of Cebu that is the northeastern strip is the areas eyed for the Special Economic Zones and this project is part of the RGC or Regional Growth Corridor. The investment opportunities are in the areas of eco-tourism, light manufacturing and agri-business.

Infrastructure

Telecommunications: The island is wired with the newest telephone facilities which provide international as well as domestic linkages via its service provider Islacom, Cruztelco and PLDT. Big Cellular companies like SMART, Globe and SUN is also present in the province. Internet access is also available.

Electricity: The island is energized by NPC or National Power Corporation. Its 54.2 megawatt is supported with the Power Barge 101, Hanopol Hydroelectric, Loboc Hydroelectric and the Diesel Power.

Water: Water supply is available in the capital City of Tagbilaran as well as its nearby municipalities twenty-four hours a day. With the completion of the Tagbilaran Water Supply Project, water is supplied to the city as well as to its municipalities.

Seaports: Tagbilaran City seaport has good facilities. They have space for fast boats, a storage area, two roro ramps, container traffic and a transit shed.

Road: Road network is well developed which makes all Barangay accessible. With the 2.6 billion peso road project in Bohol which covers about 589 kilometers just along the national highway will definitely improve the road network.

Amenities: The island is not at all behind with other urban centers in the country. They have enough accommodation facilities to take care of tourists as well as investors. They have several hotels, beach resorts and pension or lodging houses. Other tourist facilities you will find are sports center, recreation and shopping center; diving shops and even convention centers.

Banking: This sector is definitely comparable with other urban centers. To date there are around forty-five banking units present in the island offering modern banking facilities.

Real Estate

Cost of real property depends on the kind of property you want. Generally you can get beach areas for 1,000 to 1,500 php per square meter. For commercial and industrial the price range from 1,000 to 40,000 php per square meter. Residential properties you can get from 50 to 1,500 php per square meter. Agricultural and property in the towns are much cheaper for you can get it from 50 to 1,000 php.

As for renting, residential houses are usually 5,000 to 10,000 php a month and for Commercial property you can rent one with prices ranges from 100 to 300 php per square meter.

Peace and Order

Theft and robberies can happen anywhere you go but fortunately Bohol has not encountered such instances. But this kind of instances can be prevented if you take precaution and follow the tips given below.

  • Do not carry large amount of money with you but enough to pay for any souvenir and food purchases.
  • ATM’s are available and they are reliable however it is not advisable for you to use the machine late at night. Even if they are guarded, it is best to avoid any unfortunate incident.
  • As much as possible refrain from wearing jewelries for there might be snatchers especially in crowded areas like riding a bus or jeepney.
  • If you have your expensive cameras with you then try to keep it inside your bag. Do not show it off instead just take it out when you are about to use it.
  • Travel light if you can.
  • Be wary with strangers especially if they just approach you in crowded places like in the cities, ports, bus terminals and airports.
  • Always carry with you photocopies of your travel documents wherever you go so that you still have a copy if in case the original is lost.
  • Do not accept drinks or foods from strangers. Sometimes this is their way of drugging you and robbed you after.
  • Just be yourself and use your common sense.

There might be a time when travel warnings issued from other countries have affected the Philippines yet terrorism and kidnapping in the Philippines is almost always happens to far away islands specifically in the southern tip of the country. So far the place is safe from such crimes and tourists are truly safe in this area.

Bohol Tourist Attractions and Activities

Natural Attractions. The island is blessed with beautiful beaches and one of the famous beaches is found in Panglao Island. Exploring the underwater will let you discover the beauty of its coral reefs, fishes and shells. And when you go upland you cannot possibly forget the world known Chocolate Hills, the smallest primate which you can only find in Bohol – the Tarsier and of course visit the Sikatuna National Park where visitor enjoys bird watching. If you are the adventurous type then you would not want to miss adventures to caves and waterfalls.

Activities. Indeed the island is rich with marine life so that scuba diving is one of favorite activities along with sailing, Dolphin watching and of course bird watching. Of course every trip is not complete without shopping. Although the island is not developed as Cebu and Manila still it has a shopping mall that certainly provides or caters to the need of every tourist. One of the biggest and newest malls is the Island Mall in Tagbilaran.

Why Choose Bohol as a Place to Retire?

  • The island is situated in the center of the Philippines and it is easily accessible from the capital city of the Philippines which is Manila as well from Metro Cebu. Aside from that it is a gateway too from Mindanao. In fact the sland is just a six hour travel by boat from the progressing city of Cagayan de Oro in Northern Mindanao. It has a wide market thus is great place for local and foreign investment. Also a great place for retirement because of its tranquil beauty and cheap cost of living.
  • Number one asset is their people. They have a strong labor force and they are highly trainable. Its literacy rate is 96% and most Boholanos can read and write English. What is even more attractive is that the place provides high quality manpower at much lower rates compared to other metropolitan areas.
  • A very popular place among foreigners is Panglao island. The island is only twenty minutes away from Tagbilaran, the capital city of the province and is connected with the city through its two bridges
  • Another reason why you should choose this place is that it is blessed with so many natural resources which definitely attracts businesses as well as just for pleasurable adventures. For business minded people, they have a lot to offer for it has large agricultural areas that brings great potentials to investors as well as great water resources. For those who simply delight in the experience they encounter then this place can be a paradise to tourist. It is rich with natural wonders.

Getting There

Bohol is in the central part of the Philippines and thus can be easily accessible by boat or air. If you are from abroad then you have to choices and that is to fly to Cebu or Manila. Cebu is the most convenient but international flights are just limited within Asia so that tourist from Europe will have to stop over in Asia but it certainly saves you the hassle you will most likely encounter in Manila airport.

Anyway if you come from Manila then you can take a flight to Tagbilaran city if not you can also take a boat only it will take twenty-five hours travel unlike if you travel by air, its only one hour and fifteen minutes. Flights from Manila to Tagbilaran are available daily.

If you come from Cebu then you can take fast boat to Tagbilaran which is just one hour and thirty minutes.

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