Foodcation: Bohol Beyond Chocolate Hills

June 20, 2022 Travel

When I got invited to join a food tour of Bohol, I wholeheartedly said yes. Who says no to delicious adventures, especially in Bohol, which gave us the addictive peanut kisses, the surprisingly tasty chichaworm, and the aromatic ube kinampay? 


But our two-day food trip in Bohol, organized by the Department of Tourism Central Visayas, was more than just a tummy-filling escapade. It was an appreciation of Bohol’s culture through its cuisine. We were also able to learn how to cook some of their much-loved dishes. And all of these experiences were shared with fellow foodies.

We visited establishments that offer farm-to-table meals, we learned about Bohol’s heirloom treats, and enjoyed unforgettable dining experiences.


Farm-to-Table Meals


Green Thumb Farm, located in Corella, was the first stop of our tour. 


Green Thumb is an organic farm specializing in various types of mushrooms, the first of its kind in Bohol. Their mushroom-based and other healthy dishes can be either enjoyed in their alfresco restaurant or on the farm’s lawn, where mats are spread pit on the ground with wooden pallets set in the center to serve as the table.

Our buffet lunch at Green Thumb Farm

Dine under the stars at this spot

Green Thumb's restaurant


Before our lunch, owner Rona Denque, Ms. Green Thumb herself, gave us a tour of the greenhouses where they grow their mushrooms. While doing so, she also gave us a short lecture on growing mushrooms and the many benefits of eating them. 

Closer look at how Green Thumb grows their mushrooms


After which, Ms. Rona led a cooking demonstration of one of Green Thumb’s most popular dishes, its mushroom sisig

Ms. Rona (right) leading the cooking demonstration


Our lunch consisted of freshly cooked mushroom sisig, fried native chicken, ensaladang talong, fish escabeche, ginataang utan, and mushroom in misua soup. For dessert, we had fresh fruits and an ube kinampay shake – a delicious purple yam milkshake made from a local fragrant variety of ube called kinampay.

One of Green Thumb's bestsellers - mushroom sisig

Fish Escabeche

Fried Native Chicken


Another organic farm we visited was South Farm, which bookended our trip.


We visited an artisan’s village where we learned how to make sukang sinamak, walked through organic farms, petted rabbits, tried fishing, barbecued our snacks, and dined lakeside.

Sukang Sinamak cooking demonstration

Wanderland. This is where South Farm's rabbits live


South Farm is a 9-hectare property that blossomed from the produce supplier for South Palms Resort and North Zen into a travel destination all its own. 

Lakeside dinner spot


In the artisan’s village, guests can see employees handcrafting some of the woodworks and crafts that are used in both resorts. We also saw how they make the vinegars and coconut oils for use in the resorts and on the farm itself. Plus, of course we saw where they grow the fruits and veggies, and source the dairy products.  


For dinner, we had bukid riceuma salad, native chicken halang-halang, deep-fried kingfish, grilled shrimp, maja blanca, and fruits. The grilled shrimp were a hit with the group, which we paired with South Farm’s freshly made sukang sinamak or spiced vinegar.

maja blanca

Deep Fried Kingfish

Freshly grilled shrimps. The best!


Heirloom Treats


The highlight for the trip for me is visiting Asinan ni Tan InongAlburquerque’s Asin Tibook Site.


Asin Tibook is a once famous artisanal sea salt. But sadly, it is now a rare find. So, I am very thankful that the visit to the asinan and that the meeting with the keepers of this dying tradition were added to our itinerary, so that we could see where these salts are made.

This is where they soak coconut husks in saltwater


the asinan


Asin Tibuok, which means “unbroken salt” or “whole salt,” is made by from filtering seawater through ashes. The long and tedious process, not to mention the amount of heat craftsmen have to endure from both the sun and the kiln, produces a salt with sharp, earthy, and smoky flavors. Some call it dinosaur egg because of its shape and look.


These salts are enjoyed by sprinkling a light dusting over food. 


We also visited the home of another heritage keeper of Bohol.


Cecile Oroc is a third-generation tinapay maker. Bohol’s tinapays are thin-crust squared-shaped biscuits. We met three generations of tinapay makers, including Ms. Cecile’s mom, Manang Punying, and daughter Lara, who moved back to Bohol during the pandemic to help the family continue making this traditional delicacy.

3rd and 2nd generation tinapay makers. Ms. Cecile Oroc and her mother

how a tinapay crisp is baked


Aside from tinapay, the Orocs also make torta and other pastries.


In Loay, we met with members of the Albur Kalamay Makers Association led by Lily Busano. 


Kalamays are sticky sweet delicacies traditionally packed in coconut shells. They are made of coconut milk, muscovado, brown sugar, and ground glutinous rice. They can also be made with peanuts.


This popular pasalubong treat originates from Bohol.                    


Another stop on our food tour was Cresencia Café in Baclayon for a demonstration and tasting of ube biko, paired with sikwate or hot chocolate.

ube biko cooking demonstration


Of course, Cresencia’s ube biko or rice cake uses ube kinampay, Bohol’s valued crop. They even have an annual festival dedicated to this.

Puto maya, biko ube, and pinaypay paired with a cup of sikwate


Cresencia Café is set-up in an ancestral house and is located near Baclayon Church and the Baluarte in Baclayon. It is a charming place filled with antique decorations. We were lucky our cooking demonstration was held on the second floor of the café and that we were even given a private tour of the entire ancestral house.


Experiential Dining


We made two other stops on our food tour, and these were both filled with interesting activities.


In Julio’s Bed & Breakfast, located along Villalimpia Beach in Loay Bay, we started with a cooking demonstration of siakoy, a deep-fried twisted donut coated with white sugar, and paired with sikwate. And off course, the tasting followed.

best rainy day combination - siakoy and sikwate

The B&B owner, Mr. Pio Araneta, also showed us how to catch land crabs or kagang using a traditional bamboo trap. He also led a cooking demonstration of Nilubihang Kagang, or kagang cooked with coconut milk. 

The rest of the day at Julio’s was spent watching the sunset, enjoying cocktails, and listening to a local band performing Boholano folk songs.

dining with this view


For dinner, we savored Filipino favorites like kagang crab, barbecue, crispy pata, laswa, tortang talong, grilled tulingan, and turon. Let me just add, Julio’s barbecue is the best barbecue I have ever had. It was so tender and flavorful.

Nilubihan na Kagang


Another dining destination we visited was the Food and Fables Café located inside Fox and Firefly Cottages in Loboc. 


Fox and Firefly is located next to the Loboc River and some of its rooms have a view of the rice paddies.


We were welcomed in Fox and Firefly with glasses of organic and homemade kombuchas. After that, we were asked to choose between a stand-up-paddle with or without yoga at Loboc River or a 30-minute massage. I opted for the massage. 


Our lunch at Food and Fables Café was composed of pandan ricecoco boko, vegan kare-kareatsarang talong, signature salad, mongo soup, and halang-halang. Their vegan kare-kare was paired with a bagoong alternative made from locally sourced mushrooms. It was so good that I bought a bottle to bring home, plus mango chili.

Food and Fables

Deconstructed kare-kare. Best when paired with Food and Fable's bottled vegan bagoong.


Bohol for Foodies


There is really so much to love about Bohol, beyond chocolate hills. Bohol has something for every palette and each destination offers an altogether different experience. 

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