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As the capital of the scenic province of Bohol in the Philippines, Tagbilaran City is in a great position for travelers to use as a staging point for excursions around the area. This highly urbanized place is sometimes called the “City of Friendship” and is variably awarded as being among the “Most Competitive Cities” and “Pinoy Cities on the Rise” in the country. Its modern trappings do not mask a historical past, though, with old Spanish colonial buildings from the 18th century interspersed among the modern edifices. Plan your 2015 trip to Bohol with our tours and activities as you land in Tagbilaran to begin your trips around the region.

Take a Bohol Countryside Tour and enjoy sightseeing around the 10th largest island in the archipelago, as well as one of its most beautiful. Pass by the Blood Compact Shrine, where the Spanish colonists and natives made the very first Treaty of Friendship between east and west. Go on to Baclayon Church and Museum, which has been standing since 1595. Pass through the Mahogany Man-Made Forest, visit a Butterfly Farm in Bilar, and then atop a viewing deck, gain a spectacular view of the cone-shaped Chocolate Hills. Return to Loboc for a 50-minute cruise down the river, and get a chance to capture an image of the tarsier, a tiny primate with huge eyes. Return to Tagbilaran after the tour, or have dinner on a floating restaurant.

Explore the water and sea creatures with a Pamilacan Marine Life Tour. Start early in the morning with a trip on a bangka, or outrigger boat, to Pamilacan Island. Here the waters are home to at least six species of dolphin and whale. If you’re lucky, get a chance to see the rare whale shark, known locally as “butanding.” Later on, go swimming and snorkeling on the lovely shores of the island, whose coral reef is nearby. Tour the local village and have a lunch of native cuisine.

Visit Panglao Island, the largest of the islands in Bohol province. Pay your respects at the Gothic Church of our Lady of the Assumption, which has a history that dates back to a colonial church in 1768. Travel to Hinagdanan Cave, a karst cave with a spring pool. Go on to Alona Beach, the most famous beach in Bohol with an 800 meter sandbar covered in restaurants and resorts, then have lunch at Bee Farm Restaurant.

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