Lush with natural, cultural, and historical gems, the town of Baclayon, Bohol is poised to become one of the country’s iconic eco-tourism hotspots. Satisfy your wanderlust and start booking those tickets for a trip to this rising destination.
Baclayon, located in the eastern part of Bohol, is a coastal town with a lot to offer. The town derived its name from a local word that means “detour,” mainly because travelers back then need to make one at the town around a rocky cliff.
This town is a haven for some of the country’s most diverse marine ecosystems. Its coastal waters are being frequented by large marine mammals such as dolphins and whales. Pamilacan Island, a small island spanning 10 kilometers, also lies within the territory of Baclayon.
Take a daily flight out of Manila to Tagbilaran Airport. From there, go to the boat station to take a boat ride to Baclayon. If your itinerary takes you to Pamilaran Island, you need to take another boat ride in Baclayon to go there too.
Travel by habal-habal, or motorbike, is the quickest way to go around the town. But if you have luggage or if riding a motorbike makes you queasy, a tricycle is a safer option.
It is always best to head to an unfamiliar town for the first time during a fiesta. The town of Baclayon celebrates its town in honor of their patron Immaculate Conception during the 8th of December. Start with the Baclayon church, which was declared a National Cultural Treasure because of the structure’s role in Philippine history. Showcasing Colonial Spanish architecture, it also has a small museum containing relics dating back from the 16th century.
Just nearby the church are centuries-old stone structures like the town’s public marketplace, hermita, and the town’s elementary school.
Pamilacan Island will also be one for the books. The island and the waters surrounding it is part of the Bohol Marine Triangle, where you can swim with the local dolphins and/or whale sharks. It is also home to a 200 year-old Spanish fort, which was used as a watch station to check for incoming pirates or intruders.
Surprisingly, there is so much you can do at Baclayon. First thing would be taking a Heritage tour of the town, where you’ll visit some of the over 67 Colonial Spanish ancestral homes in various stages of preservation or neglect. These structures showcase Spanish-Filipino wooden craftsmanship and styling, with some built as early as 1853.
The off-road trails of the town would be perfect for a mountain bike ride. If you’re adventurous, challenge yourself with the biking trails in Baclayon, ranging from easy and moderate cross-country trails. If you like a more sturdier ride, you’ll love the Baclayon Buggy Riding Tours. Contact Peacock Garden to book a ride and explore the beauty of the town’s uplands.
Head to Dakit-Dakit for some good ‘ol snorkeling and scuba diving. The dive site is popular in Pamilacan due to its hard and soft coral beds and schools of Jackfish, along with Napoleon Wrasse, barracudas, batfish, turtles, and the occasional manta ray.
The town of Baclayon is known as the “Pastry Capital of Bohol.” Treat yourself with the town’s broas, which is a local version of ladyfingers. Broas are best tasted off from the shelves of Osang’s Broas Place, which is located just behind the Baclayon Church.
Because this is a coastal town too, don’t forget to feast on freshly-caught seafood. You can even purchase seafood from a local fisherman, and maybe ask them to grill them for you for a fee.
The peaceful lapping of the coastal waters against the shore calls for a perfect nightcap of local beer and barbecue. Some resorts in the town and nearby have bars and restaurants where you can chill with local cuisine, beer, and karaoke.
Most of the properties are either hotel resorts or B&Bs. Some of the notable ones are The Peacock Garden, Bohol Coconut Palms Resorts, Astoria Bohol. You can also book decent rooms at the La Casita de Baclayon and Soledad Suites. If you’re on a budget, there may be a local homestay or travellers inn that can accommodate you.
Dispose trash responsibly. Carry a small plastic bag to put your trash in.
Plan your beach trip in good weather. Some boats cancel trips due to bad weather or if the waves at sea create whitecaps.
Bring enough cash with you. Majority of the establishments in towns such as Baclayon do not accept credit/debit card payments.