In pictures: Exploring the breathtaking Bohol

You need to visit this hidden gem before everyone else does. Source: Shutterstock.

THE Philippines is an archipelago comprised of 7,107 islands and the island of Bohol is arguably one of its most picturesque.

Known (to locals) as the ideal destination for eco-tourism, the province encompasses the main island of Bohol plus 75 surrounding islands.

Bohol is a tropical haven of natural beauty, with white sand beaches, amazing coves, excellent diving spots teeming with colorful marine life, lush tropical rainforests, gorgeous cascading waterfalls, and rolling green hills.

Aside from diving and snorkeling, one of the most popular activities is dolphin and whale watching as the water south of Bohol is the main migration route for marine mammals and cetaceans.

The best season to get a glimpse of these majestic creatures as it breaches through the surface is from March to June and there are guided tours which you can join.

In addition to activities out at sea, Bohol’s warm climate and hilly terrain also make for plenty of other fun adrenaline-inducing adventures such as ziplining, bungee jumping, trekking, climbing, kayaking, and tubing.

For the culture and history addicts, be sure to make a pilgrimage to the Baclayon Church (officially the “Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception”), the second-oldest church in the Philippines. It was built from corals bound together by mortar mixed from eggwhite.

And do make a pitstop at the Rio Verde Tarsier Place at Barangay Agape in Loay Town, where you will meet Bohol’s much-loved mascot, the Tarsier (locally known as mamag).

Bohol received an estimate of 1.3 million tourists in 2017 which pales in comparison to Boracay’s numbers – two million in 2017 – despite Bohol being much larger than Boracay.

It is not internationally famous as of yet, which means it is not yet a top tourist destination in Asia. So you will need to explore everything that Bohol has to offer before everyone else does.

Here are some sights and experiences you can expect from your great Bohol getaway:

Meanwhile, Bohol has recently opened its “green gateway to the world” – the new Bohol-Panglao International Airport.

It is 10 times bigger than the old Tagbilaran airport and capable of accommodating seven aircraft at one given time on its 2,500-meter runway. The airport’s terminal can handle around two million people annually.