Region: Central Visayas (Region VII)
|Bohol is an island province of the
Philippines located in the Central Visayas region. Its capital is Tagbilaran
City. To the west of Bohol is Cebu, to the northeast is the island of Leyte
and to the south, across the Bohol Sea is Mindanao.
Bohol is a popular tourist destination with its
beaches and resorts. The Chocolate Hills, numerous mounds of limestone
formations, is the most popular attraction. The Philippine Tarsier,
considered by some to be the smallest primates is indigenous to the island.
Bohol is an island province in the Visayas. It lies southeast from Cebu across Cebu Strait (in some references called Bohol Strait) and southwest from Leyte, separated by the Camotes Sea and Canigao Channel. Bohol is also located north of Mindanao with Bohol Sea between them.
With a land area of 4117.3 km² and a coastline 261 km long, Bohol is the tenth largest island of the Philippines. The main island is surrounded by about 70 smaller islands, the largest of which are Panglao Island facing Tagbilaran City in the southwest and Lapining Island in the northeast.
The terrain of Bohol is basically rolling and hilly and about half the island is covered in limestone. Near the outer areas of the island are low mountain ranges. The interior is a large plateau with irregular landforms.
Legend says the hills were tears of a heartbroken giant.
Near Carmen can be found the major tourist draw of the province, the Chocolate Hills. The more than 1,200 uniformly cone-shaped limestone hills were named that way because in the summer, the grass growing on the hills turn brown, making the landscape look like it had chocolate mounds all over. The Chocolate Hills is found on the provincial seal of Bohol.
Panglao is famous for its diving locations and routinely listed as one of the top ten diving locations in the world. Numerous tourist resorts dot the southern beaches and cater to divers from around the world.
Unlike Luzon and the northern part of Visayas, Bohol is mostly unaffected by the numerous typhoons that hit the country. The weather is mostly mild all year round. When typhoons do hit the island, they usually cross quickly and are no longer powerful, their energy dissipated by the mountains in Leyte and Samar.
From November to April, the northeast monsoon (amihan) prevails. Except for a rare shower, this is the mildest time of the year. Daytime temperatures average 28°C, cooling down at night to around 25°C. The summer season from May to July brings higher temperatures and very humid days. From August to October is the southwest monsoon (habagat). The weather during this season is not very predictable, with weeks of calm weather alternating with rainy days.
The people of Bohol are said to be the descendants of the last group of inhabitants who settled in the Philippines called pintados or “tattooed ones.” Boholanos had already a culture of their own as evidence by the artifacts dug at Mansasa, Tagbilaran, and in Dauis and Panglao.
The name Bohol is supposedly derived from Bo-ol, a small town in the vicinity of Tagbilaran City, and now a barangay.
The earliest significant contact of the island with Spain occurred in 1565. In that year on March 25 (March 16 in the Julian Calendar), a Spanish explorer named Miguel López de Legazpi arrived in Bohol to look for spices and golds. After convincing the native chieftains that they were not Portuguese people (who raided the islands of Mactan in 1521), he made a peace pact with Datu Sikatuna. This pact was signified with a blood compact between the two men. This event, called the Sandugo (one blood), is celebrated in Bohol every year during the Sandugo Festival. The Sandugo is also depicted on Bohol's provincial seal.
Two significant revolts occurred in Bohol during the Spanish Era. One was the Tamblot Uprising in 1621, which was led by Tamblot, a babaylan or native priest. The other was the famous Dagohoy Rebellion, considered as the longest rebellion in Philippine history. This rebellion was led by Francisco Dagohoy, also known as Francisco Sendrijas, from 1744 to 1829.
Politically, Bohol was administrated as a residencia of Cebu. It became a separate politico-military province on July 22, 1854 together with Siquijor. A census in 1879 found Bohol with a population of 253,103 distributed among 34 municipalities.
After the United States defeated Spain in the Spanish-American War, the U.S. bought the entire Philippine islands. However, under the newly proclaimed independent government established by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, which was not recognized by the US, Bohol was governed as a Gobierno de Canton.
During the resulting Philippine-American War, American troops under Maj. Henry Hale landed in Tagbilaran and took over the island. He hired and outfitted Pedro Samson to build a police force for the island. Instead Samson took his troops and equipment into the interior of Bohol and began an insurgency.
After being massacred in their first battle, Samson turned to guerilla tactics and influenced the interior of the island while Hale's forces controlled the outer edge and Taglibaran City. In January, 1901 the fighting had reached a lull. In May, 1901 an American soldier was murdered by the fiance' of a women he had assaulted. In retaliation, Capt. Andrew S. Rowan,the soldier's commander, ordered the burning of the town of Jagna. This infuriated the population of Bohol and reignited the insurrection.
At first Rowan was suspended from duty for this decision. But eventually support for burning villages increased in the military command. The burnings continued, usually as a reaction to collaboration. In addition, livestock was destroyed and prominant civilians tortured. Water cure was a commonly used torture technique. By the end of the fighting, American troops had burned 16-20 villages. Major Edwin F. Glenn, who had personally approved the tortures, was later courts-martialed for the crime.
Samson and his men surrendered on December 23, 1901 after being granted amnesty and taking a loyalty oath. The war largely ended at this time. However, a month later Samson had rearmed and ordered the killing of J. R. Hegg, the provincial supervisor. This inflamed passions and almost restarted the war. But war did not resume and the last American troops left in February, 1902.
On March 10, 1917, the Americans made Bohol a separate province under Act 2711 (which also established most of the other Philippine provinces).
The Japanese Imperial Army landed in Tagbilaran on May 17, 1942. Boholanos struggled unsuccessfully to provide resistance against the Japanese forces. Bohol was later liberated by American troops on April 11, 1945.