Bohol is now one of the most visited provinces in the Philippines. It is getting to be popular not only among foreign tourists but local visitors as well. The Department of Tourism and the government of Bohol are promoting the province as "a land of history and natural beauty." Even Tagbilaran, the capital of Bohol Province, is being advertised as "The City of Friendship." This oval-shaped province is located in the central part of the Visayas lying between Cebu in the northwest and Leyte in the northeast. To the south is Mindanao which is separated from Bohol by the wide Mindanao Sea. Bohol is about 700 kilometers directly south of Manila and about an hour and fifty minutes by commercial jet.
Aside from the mainland, Bohol has 61 smaller offshore islands and islets. The island of Panglao is the most visited being known for its unpolluted waters which are rated among the best diving sites in the world. Here you will find long stretches of fine white sand set against an idyllic backdrop of coconut trees. The island is home to the prestigious Bohol Beach Club, the Crystal Coast Resort, Alona Beach Resort, and many other smaller resorts. Bohol's land area is 4,117.26 square kilometers and is the tenth largest island in the Philippines. As of the year 2000, Bohol had a population of about 1,139,130 and is growing at an average rate of 2.78 percent. It is essentially an agricultural province and rice, coconut, and corn are its main products. Most fishing towns are found in the northern part of the island, particularly those facing the Camotes Sea. Among the minerals the province produces are manganese, iron and tin.
This island province has an incomparable world of wonders to offer its visitors. Many tourists seeking the simple charm of a rustic retreat have found this in Bohol. The province is a tropical haven of natural beauty and its coastline is skimmed by gentle coves and white sand beaches. It is becoming a popular tourist destination since it is endowed with natural and historical attractions. With its rolling hills and plateaus, crystal springs and beaches, Bohol is a picturesque island replete with ancestral homes and centuries-old churches. The devotion of the people to religion gave rise to numerous old stone churches which are the most antiquated in the country. And most of these churches have their adjacent museums containing various interesting relics, religious art and artifacts.
For many years Bohol, despite its potential for social and economic growth, has occupied a slot among the 20 poorest provinces in the Philippines. Due to the strong determination and clarity of purpose of the provincial government, Bohol made a big leap from being in No. 7 to No. 16 in a span of just a few years. The present provincial administration is striving to get Bohol out of the poverty pit. Since tourism and agriculture are Bohol's two economic drivers, the province is expected to anchor their poverty towards a better quality of life for its residents.THE CITY OF TAGBILARAN
Tagbilaran is the Capital & Lone City of The Province of Bohol. It is the main business capital and center of governance of the province of Bohol aside from being the center of education and transportation. Commerce and trade is very promising in the city although business activities also thrive in port towns of Tubigon, Talibon, and Jagna which are known to be growth centers of the province. Tagbilaran, which is the lone city of the island, is the principal gateway to the island province of Bohol and is known as the "City of Peace and Friendship".
Tagbilaran lies on the southwestern part of Bohol, and has a total land area of 32.7 km², with about 13 km of coastline. The peak heralding the border of Tagbilaran City to the south with an elevation of 145 meters is the Banat-I Hill. The hill commands a scenic view of the vast Mindanao Sea, of Negros and Siquijor provinces, and the Strait of Panglao Island. To the north of Tagbilaran City is Elly Hill with an elevation of 100 meters where one can enjoy the exquisite view of rich and verdant rolling hills and plains below it. It is situated about 5 kilometers away from the city proper.
Tagbilaran City lies 630 kilometers southeast of Manila and is located 72 kilometers south of Cebu City. It lies on the southwestern part of the province, bounded on the north by the town of Cortes, on the northeast by the town of Corella, on the east of Baclayon, and on the south and west by Maribojoc Bay and Tagbilaran Strait, respectively.
The city is a start-off point to Bohol province's attractions: the Chocolate Hills, white sandy beaches, dive spots, heritage sites and old stone churches. Home to several hotels, resorts, and restaurants, the city has recently become a venue for national conventions. The main tourist attractions of the city are the Kaingit Beach, Blood Compact Marker, Plaza Rizal, Provincial Capitol Building, Pres. Carlos P. Garcia Memorial Park, Ubujan Marker, Bohol Museum, Banat-I Hill, Elly Hill, Jaycee Promenade, and the Children’s Playground and Mini Park.
In loving memory of the greatest Boholano who became the 4th President of the Republic of the Philippines, the President Carlos P. Garcia Memorial Park was erected. With an area of 11 hectares, the site is of rolling terrain and boast of a marble base monument and a life-size bronze statue of Garcia done by Bohol’s famous sculptor, National Artist Napoleon Abueva. Garcia was also the first President of the 1971 Constitutional Convention.
Tagbilaran City has its own airport located about 5 minutes ride from the heart of the city. The Tagbilaran Airport is the main airport of the province and caters to commercial aerial transportations such as Asian Spirit, Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airlines. Regular flights from Manila, now almost daily, take about an hour and a half. There are no commercial flights out from Tagbilaran City to other destinations in the Philippines.
The Tagbilaran City Seaport is the main port of Bohol and accommodates large commercial passenger and cargo vessels from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The port attends to more or less 5,000 passengers daily. The Dao Integrated Terminal located in the Dao district services buses and vans plying routes to different parts of the province.
The Tagbilaran City Tourist Port serves boats and fastcraft ferries (Ocean Jet & Super Cat) plying the busy Cebu-Bohol sea traffic and major port cities in Mindanao. A fastcraft ferry ride from Cebu would take about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Transportation within the city consists of tricycles, multicabs, jeepneys, buses, taxis and vans. Multicabs and jeepneys ply the longer routes while taxis and vans- for-hire are usually used for out-of-town travel. All of them are found in the Tagbilaran City Integrated Bus Terminal in Dao District. Bolanios Bus Lines, Mega Bus Lines, UltraBus Lines and Silver Star Bus Lines are the bus companies plying the Tagbilaran City to Metro Manila route with each bus line having at least one daily trip.
BOHOL'S LANDMARKS & ATTRACTIONS
THE CHOCOLATE HILLS
The Chocolate Hills are an unusual geological formation in the province of Bohol and is its signature attraction. It was formed centuries ago. It started with the piling up of layers of marine organisms which included corals and shells. After thousands of years the rising up of the land exposed the coral reefs above the sea which turned it into rock called limestone. The continuous action of the waves formed depressions on the risen land which were then carved by rainwater and streams which eventually formed the hills.
According to the latest accurate survey done, there are 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres (20 sq mi). The hills are of limestone covered in green grass and during the dry season, the grass-covered hills dry up and turn chocolate brown, hence the name.
The Chocolate Hills are featured in the provincial flag and seal to symbolize the abundance of natural attractions in the province. They are in the Philippine Tourism Authority's list of tourist destinations in the Philippines and have been declared the country's third National Geological Monument and proposed for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
This scenic natural attraction is a rolling terrain of haycock hills with mounds that are conical and almost symmetrical in shape. The hills vary in sizes from 30 to 50 metres (98 to 160 ft) high with the largest being 120 metres (390 ft) in height. These unique mound-shaped hills are scattered throughout the towns of Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan in Bohol.
The original resort is located in the town of Carmen and is called the Chocolate Hills Complex. It consists of two hills that have been developed into a resort for tourism. The more recent one in Sagbayan is called Sagbayan Peak. The Chocolate Hills Complex is about 55 kilometres (34 mi) from Tagbilaran City. It has a restaurant, hostel with swimming pool and one could view and even count the hills at the view deck 210 feet (64 m) above the ground. There are a total of 214 steps leading to the observation deck which offers a 360-degree panorama of the surrounding area. Here one can view the landscape that is covered with more than a thousand Chocolate Hills.BLOOD COMPACT SITE
The Bohol Blood Compact Site is located in Barangay Bool, Tagbilaran City. This particular site was made in honor of a very important event in Philippine history, the blood compact between Rajah Sikatuna, a native chieftain and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, the Spanish explorer and colonizer which took place on March 16, 1565. It was on this date that this Spanish explorer arrived in Bohol to look for spices and gold. The Bo-ol natives were first observed to be hostile to Legaspi and his men. It was so because of the sad experience of the natives with the Portuguese who had earlier visited Bohol from Moluccas on large praus and committed outrageous acts against them posing as Castilians.
After convincing the native chieftains that they were not Portuguese, Legaspi made a peace pact with Datu Sikatuna. As is the native custom of that time, the two sealed their friendship through a blood compact wherein both draw two or three drops of blood from their arms, mixed the blood with the wine and equally drank from the cup. Other historians say that the blood-wine mixture was divided equally between the two and then drank up to the last drop. This event, called the Sandugo ("one blood"), is celebrated in Bohol every year during the Sandugo Festival. The Sandugo or blood compact is also depicted on Bohol's provincial flag and the Bohol provincial seal.
This Sikatuna-Legaspi blood compact is considered as the First Treaty of Friendship between two different races, religions, cultures and civilizations. It was a treaty of friendship based on respect and equality. To commemorate this historical event, a sculpture was made by the National Artist, Napoleon Abueva, a Boholano himself. It is placed on an open and raised platform portraying five life-sized images of men gathered around a table with Legazpi and Sikatuna supposedly making a toast. Standing on the platform, visitors are treated to a good view of the Bohol Sea and the contour of that particular side of the island of Bohol.
The Blood Compact Site is just a short tricycle or cab ride from the city of Tagbilaran since Barangay Bool is still a part of the city. Buses or vans are available from the Dao Terminal. Rides to and from the place does not pose a problem since the site is located along the Carlos P. Garcia circumferential road where many transportations are available. Hotel guests and those on tour can request to drop by the Blood Compact site. Some hotels though have included it in their itineraries.BACLAYON CHURCH
Baclayon Church today is officially known as the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and is considered to be one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. Presently, the original stone structure of the parish can still be seen in Baclayon, six kilometers from Tagbilaran City. The massive edifice still retains its century-old architectural design. It was built in 1595 by the Jesuits and the first Spanish missionaries, and is one of the best preserved churches in the region. In the 19th century Augustinian Recollects added a modern facade and a number of stone buildings that now surround the church. It was constructed in honor of Mother Mary, under the appellation “Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.” The Church was declared as a National Historical Landmark in 1994.
In 1717, Baclayon became a parish and the architecture of the new structure had begun. The Jesuits were coerced to vacate the vicinity and transfer to the town of Loboc due to their great apprehension to be attacked by Moro bandits. The construction of the Baclayon Basilica employed some 200 native laborers to build the church using coral stones, which they hauled from the sea and then carefully cut into square blocks. They also used bamboo to lift and to move the stones into place. They then mounded them like bricks and cemented the stones together using egg whites. The historical church was completed in the year 1727 and had acquired a huge bell in 1835. In the church is a dungeon, which was used to punish natives who violated the rules of the Roman Catholic Church.
The church's facade is a merging of two different styles: the classic San Ignacio elements that the Jesuits followed and the arcade of Roman arches and a plain upper storey and pediment. Its coral stone layout is cruciform, in the manner of many Christian churches. The green and gilded altars are the focal point of the interior. They are exuberant versions of Baroque popular during the 18th century. The church had a pipe organ installed in the 1800s but is now in disrepair. The choir and organ loft are decorated with cut out designs. The painting on the stucco finish of the church is of recent vintage and does not conform to the style and period of the interior.
The external and internal portions of the church used to have various interesting relics and artifacts, but most of which have now been placed at the Baclayon Museum. The museum is located inside the convent on the right side of the church. Baclayon started the trend in Bohol of establishing parish museums. The amount of liturgical material preserved in Baclayon is impressive. It contains a rich collection of religious art, old gold embroidered ecclesiastical vestments, librettos of Church music printed in Latin on animal skins, an ivory statue of the crucified Christ, a statue of the Blessed Virgin, and other priceless relics and artifacts dating back to the early 16th Century.THE LOBOC RIVER CRUISE
When visiting the province of Bohol in the Philippines one should not miss the Loboc River. Most one-day tours include a cruise along this river, but you can also go there on your own. Cruises along the Loboc river are done on a motorized banca (outrigger canoes). Most of these cruise includes a buffet lunch.
The Loboc River is now one of the major destinations of tourists, local and foreigners alike. Located in the Municipality of Loboc, a mere 24 kilometers away from Tagbilaran City, the winding river plays host to cruisers on board small bancas or floating restaurants. Visitors are treated to a vista of lush tropical vegetation such as nipa palms, coconut trees, banana groves, and bushes.
A cruise along the river starts either from the Loay Bridge in the town of Loay or at the Poblacion of Loboc. Small motorized bancas can be chartered for a minimal fee. For those who want to eat while cruising, floating restaurants are available offering Filipino cuisine buffet and local delicacies.
With the tourism fever, the floating restaurants were envisioned to provide tourists with a first class dining experience on board floating restaurants. The floating vessels are made up of a covered platform on top of two large outrigger boats which are joined together. The boats can accommodate usually up to 50 people. Most of the floating restaurants treat their guests with songs played by in-boat singers during the cruise.
Life along the river side goes on as it must have done for centuries, with children swimming, people passing by in small bancas or canoes. On certain points along the trip, daring kids climb in a large coconut tree overhanging the river, and jump in the water very close to the floating restaurant.
The trip winds up the river and ends at the Busay Falls in about an hour. The falls are not high, about one and a half meter at most, and mark the point where the floating restaurant cannot go any further. It is here that they stay for a while to allow the guest to look at the landscape. Local folks usually take a dip in the waters and enjoy bathing under the falls. Guests who have brought with them extra clothes are welcome to swim and bathe and experience the heady feeling of a refreshing swim in the river’s unpolluted waters. After some time, the return trip starts going downstream and back to Loboc or Loay.CLARIN ANCESTRAL HOUSE
The Clarin Ancestral House is a typical rich Boholano home which was built in the 1840s. It is situated in Laoay, a municipality that is 18 kilometers away from the provincial capital, Tagbilaran City. The house was the residence of former Bohol governor Don Aniceto Velez Clarin and his son Jose Butalid Clarin who was a former Philippine Senate president. Don Aniceto’s family has a very rich background in politics. His son won the seat on the 11th Senatorial district and their descendants followed through, holding different political positions such as mayors and governors.
The descendants of the Clarin family are the ones who now own and maintain the ancestral house. It was recognized by the National Historical Institute as a heritage site and was converted into a museum filled with the family’s collections of age-old possessions. It is the most visited of all ancestral houses in the province of Bohol.
This Ancestral House is one of the many Spanish period houses that still stands today. It shows off the greatness of Filipino and Spanish fusion in terms of design and home style. Each and every item found inside the house imbibes the culture that raised the very owners of the house. It was designed with long slanting roofs covered with nipa leaves. This large square house has a coral stone foundation with rough-hewn wooden posts, wooden walls and floors of wide hardwood planks and a receiving hall with a high vaulted ceiling.
The house has a ground floor and an upper floor. The living quarters are located on an elevated floor made of huge wooden planks. It has large and wide windows with shutters decorated with capiz shells that let the sunshine in if closed. The shutters are slid to slots at the side of the windows leaving the wide window openings devoid of any obstruction. Fresh air freely circulates inside the house keeping it cool even during hot days.
The furniture and other contents of this old house are artifacts dating back to the American era. The bedrooms have old and intricately carved wooden beds with posts for the mosquito nets. There are also dressers, antique rocking chairs, family pictures, and a kneeler with corresponding chair complete with an old bible and draped with a large veil. Also on display is an elegant collection of Filipina gowns and barongs, and a huge earthen pot filled with American era centavo coins, antique jars and lamps, and some kitchen wares. Gracing a wall is a long sword taken from a sword fish. The house also has a small library where one can find books containing histories of the Philippines, legal works, a very large dictionary of the English language, and a copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf.THE HANGING BAMBOO BRIDGE
The Sipatan Bamboo Hanging Bridge is located in Sipatan, Sevilla, Bohol which is about 36 kilometers from the City of Tagbilaran. The bridge is about 4o meters long which crosses the Sipatan River. It was originally constructed using bamboo and rope. There are quite a few like it around Bohol. It's main purpose is really for the local residents and livestock in crossing the river but it has also become a fun attraction for tourists.
Today the rope has made way to steel cables, giving added safety and stability. The deck of the bridge is still formed out of woven bamboo slats that creek and sinks depending on which part you step on and, of course, your body weight. In places some of these appear broken but its still sturdy enough to take the weight of crossing pedestrians. This type of bridge is considered the most efficient and sustainable design in developing countries, especially for river crossings that lie in non-flood plain topography like gorges.
Walking onto the bridge is a little daunting at first as the bamboo deck flexes under your feet. Although the support cables are made of steel, you still experience some side to side sway and up and down bounce. For safety purposes, there’s a limit to the number of people allowed on the hanging bridge. But locals and tour guides say that the bridge can hold up to 100 people at a time. At the other end of the bridge is a small store where you can buy fresh young coconuts and some souvenir items. This one of a kind footbridge has attracted several foreign tourists who savor the thrill and experience in crossing the footbridge.
This attraction is often overlooked by visitors and tourists since it falls a little way off the normal day tour route. If you’re taking a package tour, ask the driver if its possible to visit is hanging bridge. You can also book a tour that includes this already. A small toll is charged to cross the bridge, the funds raised are put back in to the maintenance of the bridge. There are in fact two Bridges now and you cross on one and back on the other.THE BOHOL MUSEUM
The Bohol Museum is former president Carlos Polestico Garcia's home. Garcia (November 4, 1896 – June 14, 1971) was a Filipino teacher, poet, orator, lawyer, public official, and guerrilla leader. He became the 8th President of the Philippines and was known for his "Filipino First" policy, which put the interests of the Filipino people above those of foreigners and of the ruling party. Garcia served as president of the Philippines from 1957 to 1960.
García was born in Talibon, Bohol to Policronio García and Ambrosia Polestico (who were both natives of Bangued, Abra). García grew up with politics, with his father serving as a municipal mayor for four terms. He acquired his primary education in his native Talibon, then took his secondary education in Cebu Provincial High School. Initially, he pursued his college education at Silliman University in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, and later studied at the Philippine Law School (now Philippine College of Criminology) where he earned his law degree in 1923. He was among the top ten in the bar examination.
Rather than practice law right away, he worked as a teacher for two years at Bohol Provincial High School. He became famous for his poetry in Bohol, where he earned the nickname "Prince of Visayan Poets" and the "Bard from Bohol". Garcia started his political career in 1925, scoring an impressive victory running for congressman representing the third district of Bohol. He was elected for another term, but served only until 1931 when he successfully ran for governor of Bohol. He served as provincial governor for two terms. He became a member of the congress in 1946, and was elected three times to the senate for three consecutive terms from 1941 to 1953.
After his failed re–election bid for the presidency, García retired to Tagbilaran to live as a private citizen. On June 1, 1971, García was elected delegate of the 1971 Constitutional Convention. The convention delegates elected him as the President of the Convention. However, just days after his election, on June 14, 1971, García suffered a fatal heart attack. He was succeeded as president of the Convention by his former Vice-President, Diosdado Macapagal. García is the first president to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
The Bohol Museum gives the visitor a feel of what Bohol was, is and will be. It houses the personal memorabilia of the late president. Also found here are art objects, botanical, zoological and archeological materials from Bohol. One can find some distinctive art objects, zoological, archeological and botanical materials from Bohol. The museum also displays artifacts and relics of mollusks, skulls with deformations, the province’s pottery tradition, earth’s treasures in Bohol, its agriculture and fishing, and also of fossil plants and animals which are evidences of a past life.
The other displays at the museum explains the evolution of the Bohol Island, it’s rock foundation, animals and their ways, plant Life, potency, people, arts & crafts, food, and its culture. The museum is located at the corner of F. Rocha and Hontanosas streets in the city of Tagbilaran.THE TARSIER
The Tarsier is a tiny animal which makes it difficult to spot. It measures 4 to 5 inches in height and is considered as the world’s smallest primate. They weigh only about 113 to 142 grams or four to five ounces. The primate belongs to the more primitive sub-order Prosimii or prosimian that dates back 45 million years.
The tarsier known locally as the "Maumag" in Cebuano, is an endangered species. It is found in the southeastern part of the archipelago, particularly in the Philippine islands of Bohol, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao. It was only introduced to western biologists in the 18th century
The average adult is about the size of a human fist. Tarsiers have large mesmerizing eyes whose bony eye sockets are larger than that of its brain case as well as of its stomach. The eyes of a Tarsier are fixed in its skull and cannot turn in their sockets. Instead, a special adaptation in the neck allows its round head to be rotated 180 degrees. The eyes are disproportionately large, having the largest eye-to-body size ratio of all mammals. These huge eyes provide this nocturnal animal with excellent night vision. The large membranous ears are mobile, appearing to be almost constantly moving, allowing the tarsier to hear any movement.
The Philippine Tarsier has thin rough fur which is colored gray to dark brown. The narrow tail, usually used for balance, is naked or bald except for a tuft of hair at the end, and is about twice the body length. Its elongated "tarsus," or ankle bone, which gives the tarsier its name, allows it to jump at least three meters from tree to tree without having to touch the ground. It is arboreal and is a vertical clinger and leaper, habitually clinging vertically to trees and are capable of leaping from branch to branch. This ability may be due to the fact that they have extra-long tarsal bones which form their ankles and enable them to leap so high. Its long digits are tipped with rounded pads that allow it to cling easily to trees and to grip almost any surface.
The Tarsier is a shy nocturnal animal that leads a mostly hidden life, asleep during the day and only active to look for food during the night. During the day, it sleeps in dark hollows close to the ground, near the trunks of trees and shrubs deep in the impenetrable bushes and forests. They only become active at night, and even then, with their much better sight and amazing ability to maneuver around trees, are very well able to avoid humans. It hunts and feeds mainly on fruits and insects such as cockroaches, crickets, and sometimes small lizards. Local folks believe they eat charcoal but in fact they only get the maggots or insects inside burnt wood or to get some salt. Its cry is a loud piercing single note and when they gather, they have a chirping, locust-like sound. When contented they emits a soft sweet birdlike twill. They usually live in groups.PANGLAO ISLAND AND THE PANGLAO ISLAND NATURE RESORT
Panglao is an island in the Philippines located in the Central Visayas with an area of 80.5 sq. kilometers. Politically, it is divided into two municipalities: Dauis and Panglao, and part of Bohol Province. Panglao is located southwest of the island of Bohol and east of Cebu. Currently Panglao is one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines. It is famous for its beautiful dive spots and its coral reef, as well as many several islet ideal for beach bathing like the islets of Gak-ang and Pontod.
Panglao is the southernmost town of Bohol. It is 18 kilometers from Tagbilaran City. The island has a terrain that range from plain, hilly to mountainous and is made of Maribojoc limestone, the youngest of the limestone units found in the western area of Bohol. One interesting geological feature found in the island is the Hinagdanan Cave which has an underground water source. The cave is an important water source as the island has no rivers or lakes.
The island is accessible by two bridges and from Tagbilaran it can be reached in about 20 minutes. Travel time to resorts may take longer depending on the barangays where they are located. Rides to the island are available at the Dao Integrated Terminal. Vans-for-hire usually hang around at the Tagbilaran airport and the pier. For a more unique yet bumpy ride, the local tricycle will take more or less an hour. At Panglao market one can also hire a “habal-habal” (a motorbike) to bring you to the resort of your choice.
Most of the roads leading to the barangays and to the beaches are still dirt roads but passable. The municipality of Panglao is still in the process of improving the roads for the ease and convenience of its visitors. Geared towards further improvement for tourism pursuits, the Panglao International Airport has been considered. However, the limestone composition of the island poses a major problem in the development of an airport as coralline limestone is soluble which causes formation of caves and sinkholes.
A tourism spot that the island of Panglao boast is the Panglao Island Nature Resort and Spa which is located at Bingag, Dauis. I had a chance to visit this beach resort during one of my trips to the Philippines and was also able to take a number of photographs during my visit. This beautiful beach resort is just a fifteen minute drive from downtown Tagbilaran. It features a beach shoreline that provides a pristine beauty of what the island offers.
The resort has airconditioned cottages, swimming pools, a restaurant & bar, function rooms, a beach, and a nearby man-made islet where you can order fresh seafood for lunch or dinner. It is the island's most luxurious resort which allows one to escape to a slice of paradise and experience Bohol’s celebrated sights and sounds. Here, one can indulge and relax in world-class amenities while being pampered with warmth that is classic Boholano.TAGBILARAN'S RIZAL PARK
Previously known as Plaza Principe, it was renamed after Jose Rizal and contains a life-sized statue of the national hero. It is located in front of the Capitol Building and St. Joseph's Cathedral. Flag poles for the Flags of Nations were installed by the Tagbilaran Lion's Club where flags of different countries are raised particularly during their national day. Some of the flags were donated by the foreign countries themselves.
The Rizal Park has wooden seats sporadically provided under trees where one can relax and commune with nature. Many pigeons inhabit the area which makes the place a favorite haunt for kids and adults alike. The pigeons are so used to the presence of humans that they just hop around when the kids run after them; sometimes flying off only to come back teasingly and land a few inches away.THE CATHEDRAL OF SAINT JOSEPH THE WORKER
This cathedral is the main seat of the Catholic faith in Bohol. It is of Baroque architecture but remodeled after it was burnt down and now acquires a rather modern look. The picturesque Cathedral is located along Carlos P. Garcia Avenue and just across the street from the Rizal Park. Saint Joseph is the patron of the church whose feast day falls on May 1st. The church has a picturesque setting with a number of paintings on stained glass. At the back of the Cathedral is a 3-storey rectory sitting astride the old convento which has long been converted into a Palacio de Obispado. Both old and new convents stand on a cliff overlooking Tagbilaran's scenic bay.