Bohol is a first income class island province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayasregion, consisting of the island itself and 75 minor surrounding islands. Its capital is Tagbilaran City. With a land area of 4,117.26 square kilometres (1,589.68 sq mi) and a coastline 261 kilometres (162 mi) long, Bohol is the tenth largest island of the Philippines. 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.
The province is a popular tourist destination with its beaches and resorts. The Chocolate Hills, numerous mounds of limestone formations, is the most popular attraction. The formations can be seen by land (climbing the highest point) or by air via ultralight airplane tours. Panglao Island, located just southwest of Tagbilaran City, 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. The Philippine Tarsier, the second-smallestprimate in the world, is indigenous to the island.
A narrow strait separates the island of Cebu and Bohol, and both share a common language, but the Boholanos retain a conscious distinction from the Cebuanos. Bohol's climate is generally dry, with maximum rainfall between the months of June and October. The interior is cooler than the coast.
On 15 October 2013, Bohol was devastated by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. The epicenter of the earthquake was 6 kilometers south of Sagbayan town. The earthquake, which also devastated neighboring Cebu City, claimed 156 lives and injured 374 people. It also destroyed or damaged a number of Bohol's heritage churches, including the churches of Baclayon, Loboc, Loon, Maribojoc, Loay, Dimiao, and Dauis.
Bohol was first settled by Australoid people, like the rest of the Philippines. They still inhabit the island today and are known as the Eskaya tribe. Their population also was absorbed into the Austronesian or Malayo-Polynesian peoples who later settled the islands and form the majority of the population. The Austronesian people living on Bohol traded with other islands in the Philippines and as far as China and Borneo.
The people of Bohol are said to be the descendants of a group of inhabitants who settled in the Philippines called pintados or “tattooed ones.” Boholanos already had a culture of their own as evidenced by artifacts unearthed at Mansasa, Tagbilaran, and in Dauis and Panglao.
Bohol is derived from the word Bo-ho or Bo-ol. The island was the seat of the first international treaty of peace and unity between the native king Datu Sikatuna and Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi on March 16, 1565 through a blood compact alliance known today by many Filipinos as the Sandugo.
Spanish colonial period
The earliest significant contact of the island with Spain occurred in 1565. On March 25 (March 16 in the Julian Calendar), a Spanish explorer named Miguel López de Legazpi arrived in Bohol seeking spices and gold. After convincing the native chieftains that they were not Portuguese (who raided the islands of Mactan in 1521), Legazpi 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 or blood compact is also depicted on Bohol's provincial flag and the Bohol provincial seal .
Statue commemorating the "Blood Compact" in Tagbilaran City
Two significant revolts occurred in Bohol during the Spanish Era. One was the Tamblot Uprising in 1621, led by Tamblot, a babaylan or native priest. The other was the famous Dagohoy Rebellion, considered the longest in Philippine history. This rebellion was led by Francisco Dagohoy, also known as Francisco Sendrijas, from 1744 to 1829.
Politically, Bohol was administered 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.
Because of the Spanish colonial period, several municipalities in Bohol have names of towns in Spain like Getafe. This municipality is a sister city with the Spanish city of the same name. In Getafe, a street is named Isla de Bohol (Island of Bohol), a unique name for a street in Spain.
The culture of the Boholanos was influenced by Spain and Mexico during colonization. Many traditional dances, music, dishes and other aspects of the culture have considerable Hispanic influence.
U.S. intervention and occupation
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 U.S., Bohol was governed as a Gobierno de Canton.
During the resulting Philippine-American War, American troops peacefully took over the island in March 1899.:528 However, in Jan. 1901, Pedro Sanson led 2,000 in rebellion, due to the harsh treatment received by these troops and the destruction they caused.:528 General Hughes led a campaign of repression in Oct. 1901, destroying a number of towns, threatening in Dec. to burn Tagbilaran if the rebels did not surrender.:528 Pantaleon E. del Rosario then negotiated the rebel surrender.:528
On March 10, 1917, the Americans made Bohol a separate province under Act 2711 (which also established most of the other Philippine provinces).
Japanese occupation and liberation
Japanese troops landed in Tagbilaran on May 17, 1942. Boholanos struggled in a guerilla resistance against the Japanese forces. Bohol was later liberated by the local guerrillas and the Filipino and American troops who landed on April 11, 1945.
A plaque placed on the port of Tagbilaran commemorating the liberation reads:
One thousand one hundred seventy two officers and men of the 3rd Battalion of the 164th Infantry Regiment of the Americal Division under the command of Lt. Col. William H. Considine landed at the Tagbilaran Insular Wharf at 7:00 o'clock in the morning of April 11, 1945.
The convoy taking the Filipino and American liberation forces to Bohol consisted of a flotilla of six landing ships (medium), six landing crafts (infantry), two landing crafts (support), and one landing craft (medium-rocket). Upon arrival, the reinforced battalion combat team advanced rapidly to the east and northeast with the mission of destroying all hostile forces in Bohol. Motor patrols were immediately dispatched by Col. Considine, Task Force Commander, and combed the area to the north and east, approximately halfway across the island, but no enemies were found during the reconnaissance. Finally, an enemy group of undetermined strength was located to the north of Ginopolan in Valencia, near the Sierra-Bullones boundary.
By April 17, the Task Force was poised to strike in Ginopolan. The bulk of the Japanese force was destroyed and beaten in the ten days of action. Bohol was officially declared liberated on May 25, 1945 by Major General William H. Arnold, Commander of the Americal Division. About this time, most officers and men of the Bohol Area Command had been processed by units of the United States Eighth Army.
On May 31, 1945, the Bohol Area Command was officially deactivated upon orders of Lt. General Robert Eichelberger, Commanding General of the Eighth United States Army together with the Philippine Constabulary, the former Philippine Commonwealth Army Forces and the Boholano guerrillas.
During the Second Battle of Bohol in March to August 1945, Filipino troops of the 8th, 83rd, 85th and 86th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and 8th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary captured and liberated the island province of Bohol and helped the Boholano guerrilla fighters and U.S. liberation forces defeat the Japanese Imperial forces under General Sozaku Suzuki.
In the morning of October 15, 2013 at 8:12 a.m. (PST), the island province suffered a severe earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 Ms. Its epicenter was located at a depth of 33 kilometres (21 mi), 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) east of Carmen, Bohol, and 629 kilometres (391 mi) from the Philippines' capital, Manila. The quake was felt as far as Davao City, a city located in the island of Mindanao. According to recent official reports by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), 99 were reported dead while 276 people were injured.
It was the deadliest earthquake in the Philippines in 23 years. The energy of the quake released was equivalent to 32 Hiroshima bombs.
Previously, Bohol was hit by an earthquake on February 8, 1990 which damaged several buildings and caused a tsunami.
The Island of Bohol is oval-shaped and surrounded by 73 smaller islands. The main island has a gently rolling terrain. Bohol's mountainous interior is home to rare and endangered flora and fauna; at certain points, hills drop steeply to the coast from a maximum elevation of 870 meters above sea level. The interior uplands are fit for agro-forestry and high value agricultural production, while the central and northern lowlands also have fertile grounds and an abundant water supply. Over a hundred caves have been identified, the biggest of which is found in the eastern part of the island.
The Chocolate Hills are considered one of Philippine's natural wonders and Bohol is often referred to as the Jewel of the Philippines. They are hills made of limestone leftover from coral reefs during the Ice age when the island was submerged. They turn brown during the summer, hence their name.
There are four main rivers that run through Bohol, with the Loboc River running from the center of the island to the southeastern coast. The largest river, the Inabanga, runs in the northwestern part of the province; the runs in the southwest, and Ipil River in the north.
Numerous waterfalls and caves are scattered across the island, including Mag-Aso Falls in Antequera. Mag-Aso means smoke in the native tongue. The water is cool and often creates a mist in humid mornings which can hide the falls.
With a land area of 3,269 square kilometres (1,262 sq mi) and a coastline 261 kilometres (162 mi) 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 Lapinig 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.
Near Carmen, the Chocolate Hills are more than 1,200 uniformly cone-shaped limestone hills named for the grass growing on the hills that turns brown in the summer, making the landscape look like chocolate mounds. The Chocolate Hills appear on the provincial seal of Bohol.
The outlying islands surrounding mainland Bohol under the jurisdiction of the Bohol Provincial Government are:
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 (82 °F), cooling down at night to around 25 °C (77 °F). 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. It can rain any day of the year, but a higher chance of heavy showers occurs from November to January.
The province of Bohol is a first-class A province subdivided into 3 congressional districts, 47 municipalities and 1 city. It has 1,109 barangays (1,114 barangays per NEDA) with a total population of 1,255,128 (2010) and an average household size of 5.41.
Tourism plays an increasing role in the island's economy. An international airport is currently planned for Panglao, which houses the most-visited and accessible beaches in the province. Proponents of the scheme hope that the new airport will increase Bohol's reputation as an international tourist destination although the plan has been dogged by ongoing criticism.
The results of the Labor Force Survey conducted in 1999 by NSO in Bohol show that the province's potential labor force increased to 691,000, of which 66.4% are in the labor force. The employment rate, at the end of 1999, increased to 90.5% from 85.35% in 1998. However, an increase in underemployment was noted by 6.7 percentage points, from 5% in 1998 to 11.7% in 1999.
Employment is predominantly agriculture-led. Bohol's inflation rate in 1999 increased to 11.3%, 2.5 percentage points higher than the rate in 1998. The purchasing power of the peso at 1988 prices was pegged at P0.71 in 1999, among the lowest in the region. A slight difference in the minimum daily wage rates between Tagbilaran City and Bohol's municipalities was also noted at P121 for the city and P108 in the municipalities.
Based on the 1997 survey, Bohol's average annual family income, pegged at P56,940.00, was among the lowest in the region. The average annual expenditure in 1997 for a Boholano family amounted to P50,754.00, the highest in the region. Fifty percent of Bohol's families have their main source of income from entrepreneurial activities while 27% from wages and salaries. In 1994, Bohol's poverty incidence rate of 42.3% was the highest in Region 7, higher than the national average rate of 37.5%. However, this has been decreasing over the years from a high 60.5% in 1985 and 54.7% in 1991. Monthly poverty threshold in Bohol in 1994 was at P5,978, higher by 24% from that in 1991. The incidence of poor families was placed at 44%, a decrease by 16% from 1991.
As to the flow of commodities in and out of the province from Bohol's ports, limestone topped the list of exported commodities of the province in 1998, toppling G.I. sheets. Other outgoing top commodities include rice, banana, cattle, mangoes, native products, hog, carabao, nipa shingles copra, raffia, salted fish, salt and cooked fish with a total volume of 426 thousand metric tons. Plywood tops the list of incoming commodities followed by manufactured goods, appliances, hardware/construction materials and feed, with a total recorded volume of 264 thousand metric tons for the top 15 commodities.
From this same report, it is noted that, among the incoming goods in Bohol, the province had been importing rice over the years. In 1999, Bohol imported an estimated 290,000 bags of rice per report gathered from NFA. Noteworthy, also, is the significant increase of foreign ship calls in Bohol which the PPA is attributing to shipments of limestone by foreign vessels. As of 1999, a total of 34 foreign ship calls were recorded by PPA at the PSC Private Port. Also, there was an increase in the number of domestic ship calls as well as in passenger and outbound/export cargo in the province as reported by the agency. In 1999, a total of 6,997 ship calls were recorded for the 7 major seaports in Bohol. For the Tagbilaran Port, the average monthly number of ship calls for 1999 was 300 for fastcrafts and 778 for conventional vessels. A cargo increase was also recorded with more inbound cargo than outbound cargo.
As of September 1999, the Board of Investments (BOI) Portfolio of Investments registered one new project in Bohol costing P7.5 million in the area of alcohol production. The combined paid-up capital of corporations and partnerships registered with the SEC for Bohol rose to P500 million from P200 million in 1998 levels.
The number of DTI-registered single proprietorships increased in 1999 relative to 1998 levels, but value of corresponding planned investments dropped. Average value of intended investment per single proprietor was P132.0 million, down from P253.1 million in 1998. Although predominantly an agricultural province, micro and cottage industries also play a vital role in Bohol's economy.
In the light of Bohol being identified as a tourist hub, inflows in the area of tourism and manufacturing can serve as possible venues for Bohol's future investments. Letter of Instruction No. 75 issued on May 22, 1973 serves as a major guideline in indicating areas for tourism related investments and infrastructure development while Proclamation No. 1801 proclaims certain areas in Bohol as tourist zones which includes the Islands of Panglao, Cabilao and Balicasag.
Aside from its pristine white-sand beaches and the Chocolate Hills, Bohol's tourism assets also include centuries-old churches and towers, scuba diving haven, majestic falls and caves and historical landmarks as well as primitive and exotic fauna and flora. Different tourist destination sites have been developed by the Government to boost this industry.
Tagbilaran Airport terminal building
Development programs at the Tagbilaran Airport involve the extension of the runway length to 2,500 meters to handle the A320s that will serve the direct route to Manila. The small Fokker 50 planes that used to fly the Manila-Tagbilaran route have been phased out and are now replaced by Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Airbus A319s. Improvement of the ramp area will soon accommodate bigger aircraft and a modern airport building will also be constructed.
Though a number of national flag carriers are already servicing the Tagbilaran City Airport, a proposed international airport (see Panglao Island International Airport) has been planned on the nearby Panglao Island to accommodate bigger aircraft and handle larger volumes of passengers and tourists to the province. The Panglao airport project is controversial. Accordingly, private land in the planned right-of-way that was bought cheaply is being sold expensively, creating further issues and delays.
The Tagbilaran City Wharf, now called the Tagbilaran City Tourist Pier, has port facilities such as:
265.8 metres (872 ft) berth length and 2 dedicated berths for fast boats
average cargo handling capacity of 49,000 tons accommodating 10 to 20 footer vans
container traffic of 5,142 TEUs
There are 9 daily ship calls to Cebu, 5 being fastcraft ferry trips. Daily passenger traffic is approximately 4,000. Other regular destinations are Manila (four times a week), Cagayan de Oro City, Dumaguete, Dipolog, Iligan, Larena, Plaridel and Ozamiz City. There are other smaller ports that cater to Cebu and northern Mindanao routes. The Port of Tubigon, the busiest among the smaller ports offers more than ten daily round trips plying the Cebu-Bohol route. The Catagbacan Port in Loon serves the roll-on roll-off services between Cebu and Bohol for those who have vehicles plying this route. The Port of Jagna offers services that ply between Bohol to Cagayan and Camiguin (with roll-on/roll-off) route. The other ports are Ubay, Talibon, Getafe, Buenavista, and Clarin.
Bohol has 2 major AM radio stations, DYRD and DYTR, both based in Tagbilaran City. Another AM radio station, DYZD, based in Ubay, is being operated by DYRD. Both DYRD and DYTR also operate FM stations with the same names. There are multiple weekly or bi-weekly newspapers like Bohol Chronicle, Sunday Post, Bohol Times, Bohol Standard and Bohol Bantay Balita. An online news website called Bohol News Daily aggregates news from various sources.
Bohol is wired with telephone facilities that provide domestic and international linkages, supplied by three service providers: PLDT, Cruztelco and Globelines. Mobile phone firms, Globe, Smart, and Sun Cellular have also established in the province.
Access to telecommunications can also be made easily in the towns through the 138 public calling stations. Forty-three (43) payphone stations are conveniently located in strategic places and major commercial centers in the capital city.
A project with Globelines involved the installation of a province-wide landline connection increasing the number of lines from 2,000 to 13,000.
The road network is well-developed facilitating access to all barangays. The P1.2 billion Bohol Circumferential Road Project, covering a total of 262 kilometres (163 mi) along the national highway, will improve the road network. Phase I of the project, which will link about half of the province from Calape to Candijay, is ongoing.
The province is fully energized with the National Power Corporation being the sole supplier. Actual generation capability of 93.5 megawatts is supported by the following facilities:
A mini power plant of the Bohol Electric Cooperative serves the five barangays of Cabilao Island in Loon town. The 21 billion Leyte-Bohol interconnection now brings geothermal power of higher capacity base 80-100 megawatts.
Water supply is made available in Tagbilaran City and in the nearby municipalities on a 24 hour-basis with completion of the Tagbilaran Water Supply Project. Thirty-two (32) deep wells with submersible pumps operate at a daily capacity of 19,000 cubic meters.
Several water projects are in the pipeline to respond to water requirements for both domestic and industrial use. The Central Visayas Water and Sanitation Project and the construction of Level III water systems have made water available in 16 other municipalities. Likewise, the development of Ujan Spring in Cortes with a daily capacity of 3,500 cubic meters and Loboc River which will generate at least 100,000 cubic meters daily capacity are currently being pushed.
The literacy rate of the province of Bohol is high at 93%.
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^ "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities". 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
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Bountiful Bohol www.aenet.org Retrieved November 15, 2006.
Philippines quake hits Cebu and Bohol BBC News. Retrieved on 15 October 2013
Strong quake rocks Visayas; 20 dead Rappler.com. Retrieved on 15 October 2013
Powerful quake kills 74 people, destroys heritage churches in Bohol, Cebu GMA News Online. Retrieved on 15 October 2013
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The Bohol Flag and Seal www.bohol.gov.ph Retrieved November 15, 2006.
History of Bohol www.bohol.gov.ph Retrieved November 15, 2006.
^ Foreman, J., 1906, The Philippine Islands, A Political, Geographical, Ethnographical, Social and Commercial History of the Philippine Archipelago, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons
A Short History of Bohol (Part II) www.bohol.ph Retrieved November 15, 2006.