Mainland Bohol is oval-shaped surrounded by 72 smaller islands. It is about 626 kilometers south of Manila and about 72 kilometers southeast of Mactan Island. Its boundaries are Cebu to the northwest, Leyte to the northeast and Mindanao in the south.
The name “Bohol” is said to be derived from the word Bo-ol, a district in the City of Tagbilaran, where off its waters was located the seat of the powerful Dapitan Kingdom. In 1565, the Spanish General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi anchored his fleet in Bohol and forged a blood compact with the native Boholano chieftain, Datu Sikatuna. The pact is considered as the first international treaty of friendship, prompting the Philippine Government to establish the Order of Sikatuna, a presidential decoration conferred upon diplomats. In 1596, two Jesuits missionaries arrived and started the Christianization of the island from the town of Baclayon and spreading to the inland town of Loboc and later, to the northern towns. The most imposing stone churches that still exist to this day were built throughout the 19th century by the Jesuits and the Augustinian Recollects who took over the former missionary work in 1768. During the Spanish regime, two significant revolts occurred in Bohol. One was the Tamblot Uprising in 1621 and the other, the Dagohoy Rebellion, known as the longest revolt in the Philippine History, which lasted for 85 years.
The Spanish regime was followed by the American colonial rule during which many schools were established in the province. With the end of World War II in 1945, Bohol gradually progressed, harnessing its wealth of natural and cultural resources, and emerging today as a major tourist destination in the Philippines.
The Bohol Branch of the National Museum, located in the download area of Tagbilaran City (beside the Bohol Provincial Capitol), houses the artifacts and relics during Bohol’s prehistoric times as it also showcases the richness of the flora and fauna of the island.