9 Cebu-Bohol Experiences For Solos

The Philippines, with its sprawling archipelago is an amazing place to visit with its vast collection of islands. In the Visayas region, Cebu and Bohol stand out as destinations that mix history, nature, and modern life.

Even though these islands each have their unique charm, together they create a story filled with sunny beaches, historic sites, and local adventures. I have been to the Philippines but I have yet to make it Cebu so with tips from our solo female community, I've put together nine of the must-see places in Cebu if you're planning a trip here. 

1. Whale Shark Watching in Oslob, Cebu

Oslob, a quaint town on Cebu's southern shores, offers an encounter like no other – the mesmerizing dance of the whale sharks. These gentle giants, known locally as “butanding,” are the main attraction of this coastal village. The opportunity to be up close, swimming alongside the world's largest fish, is both humbling and exhilarating. I did this experience in Mexico and loved it. 

The sight of their massive forms, with their dotted patterns, gliding through the waters is a must-do when you're here. And measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of both the whale sharks and the visitors. For a more magical experience, it's recommended to arrive at dawn when the waters are calm and the crowds are scanty.

As well as the whale encounter, Oslob itself showcases remnants of its colonial past, such as the picturesque Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, which is a must-see. Any Cebu-Bohol tour packages are incomplete without a trip to Oslob so make sure to include it on your itinerary. * Check rates and availability for whale shark swimming tour

2. Chocolate Hills of Bohol

Bohol's Chocolate Hills are definitely a natural wonder to see. Spanning over an area of more than 50 square kilometres, these peculiarly-shaped mounds, (there are more than 1000!) have mystified travellers and geologists alike. During the dry season, they don a rich hue of brown, resembling giant chocolate kisses, hence their name.

Legend speaks of giants who once roamed these lands, their tears and feuds shaping the terrain. Scientifically, they remain a geological mystery, with theories suggesting they might be weathered formations of marine limestone.

A trip to the viewing deck, especially during sunrise or sunset, provides a panoramic view of this incredible landscape. The surrounding areas also offer ATV rides and butterfly gardens, making it a diverse day-outing for those keen on both nature and adventure. * Check rates and availability for Chocolate Hills tour 

3. Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella, Bohol

One of the world's smallest primates, the Philippine Tarsier, calls Bohol its home. With their large, captivating eyes, these nocturnal creatures are both intriguing and endearing. The Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella is dedicated to the conservation and preservation of these unique animals, offering a chance to observe them in their natural habitat.

Unlike zoos, this sanctuary is a vast forest expanse, ensuring the tarsiers thrive in a stress-free environment. Visitors tread softly on designated pathways, with guides pointing out the camouflaged tarsiers clinging onto tree branches.

Besides the thrill of spotting these elusive creatures, the sanctuary also educates its visitors on the importance of conservation and the threats that tarsiers face in the wild. A visit here is not just an opportunity for a close encounter but also a lesson in responsible tourism and wildlife appreciation. * Check rates and availability for Tarsier Sanctuary

4. Sinulog Festival in Cebu City

Cebu City, often referred to as the “Queen City of the South,” springs to vibrant life every third Sunday of January with the Sinulog Festival. This grand celebration pays homage to the Santo Niño, or the child Jesus. Streets pulsate with color as dancers, dressed in elaborate costumes, move rhythmically to the beats of drums, trumpets, and native gongs.

The energy is palpable, with both locals and tourists joining the parade, dancing the traditional two-step forward, one-step backward motion. The festival, while rooted in Christian tradition, also incorporates pre-Hispanic elements, symbolizing the country's blend of indigenous and colonial heritage. As evening descends, the city lights up with fireworks, parties, and concerts, making Sinulog not just a religious event but a testament to Cebu's rich cultural tapestry.

5. Loboc River Cruise, Bohol

Drifting along the serene Loboc River, with its jade-hued waters, is an essential Bohol experience. The river cruise, aboard floating restaurants, promises a feast not just for the palate but also for the senses. As the boat gently navigates the river's meandering paths, flanked by verdant forests and nipa palms, visitors are serenaded with local songs performed by community members.

A buffet spread featuring Boholano delicacies complements the scenic journey. The highlight of the cruise is a stopover at a small riverbank platform, where local children showcase traditional Filipino dances. You may even get invited to join them on this holistic Bohol experience. * Check rates and availability for Loboc River cruise

6. Bantayan Island, Cebu

To the north of Cebu lies the less-traveled gem, Bantayan Island. A haven for beach lovers, its powdery white sands and crystalline waters rival those of more renowned beaches. Unlike its crowded counterparts, Bantayan promises tranquility. The island's rustic charm is evident in its laid-back fishing villages, old Spanish-style churches, and the genuine warmth of its residents.

Here you can experience activities such as island hopping, snorkeling, and even skydiving if you're feeling adventurous. For those seeking introspection, you can't beat the sunrise at Alice Beach for a moment of serenity, with the gentle lapping of waves and the horizon in the distance. * Check rates and availability for Bantayan Island

7. Panglao Island, Bohol

Panglao Island is Bohol’s answer to beach paradise. Renowned for its diving spots, the island’s underwater world is a treasure trove of marine biodiversity. Dive sites like Balicasag and Pamilacan islands are teeming with colorful coral gardens, diverse fish species, and you can even see the occasional turtle and dolphin.

Alona Beach, with its stretch of white sand fringed by swaying palms, is the hub of activity with an array of resorts, restaurants, and nightlife. For travelers looking to delve deeper into Panglao’s charm, it's worth exploring the Hinagdanan Cave with its underground lagoon or watching the craftsmanship at the Nova Shell Museum. * Check rates and availability for Panglao Island

8. Kawasan Falls, Cebu

Tucked amidst the jungles of Badian, a 3-hour drive from Cebu City, Kawasan Falls is a multi-layered waterfall system. The cascading azure waters and lush greenery, create natural pools perfect for a refreshing dip. If you're seeking something more active, adventure lovers can go canyoning, navigating your way through streams, jumping off cliffs, and swimming through gorges to reach the main waterfall.

The harmonious soundtrack of chirping birds, rustling leaves, and cascading waters creates an ambiance of pure bliss. For those not keen on the adrenaline rush, take a bamboo raft ride or a picnic by the falls instead. You can combine the Falls with whale shark swimming too! * Check rates and availability for Kawasan Falls

9. Baclayon Church, Bohol

Baclayon Church is one of the Philippines' oldest churches, dating back to 1596. Its coral stone walls and wooden altars hold centuries of history and spirituality. There's a small museum nearby that showcases religious artefacts. Despite an earthquake in 2013, restoration efforts have preserved its charm, making it a place for reflection on the convergence of faith and artistry. * Check rates and availability for Bohol tour

Final Thoughts

Cebu and Bohol offer a diverse range of attractions, catering to all kinds of interests. Whether you're into underwater wonders, cultural festivals, or natural beauty, these destinations in the Philippines are great for solos to explore. So, if you're planning a trip to this Asian country make sure to pay a visit to Cebu for a Visayan adventure you'll never forget!

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