There’s no question that we as a human being are in dire need of care. Not just physical but also emotional, spiritual and mental. We need that reset button with our chaotic everyday lives. A break away from the norms: The traffic, excel sheets, mindless commute for hours, people in the city that are too cynical already.
We are fortunate enough to live in a country that offers diverse landscapes and seascapes. In an hour’s flight, we could be transported in a different reality. A better reality for that matter. Whenever I think of what a calming vacation is and by that pretense to loosen up, bring a good book and just be in slow motion with time. Bohol will always be my top of mind recall.
Bohol offers independent travelers a wealth of options both on and off the beaten track. The island province is promoted almost wholly through images of tarsiers and the majestic Chocolate Hills, but Bohol is so much than that. Bohol is a summation of its colonial history, its hardworking people, and its bountiful land.
The 7.2 magnitude 2013 earthquake killed more than 200 people and destroyed several of the island’s majestic Spanish-era churches. One year later, the churches remained down, but few additional outward effects of the catastrophe were visible. But they are rebuilding their town inch by inch and it never stopped people from visiting.
How to go to Bohol:
By Air and in the assumption that you’d be coming from Manila, there are an average of 7 flights per day from Manila (MNL) to Tagbilaran (TAG) 1 hour 25 minutes of flight time. Get tickets from our local carriers:
- Air Asia
- Cebu Pacific
- Philippines Airlines
By Sea: Bohol has many connecting ferries from various ports in the Visayas. The most popular route is the Cebu-Tagbilaran way with several connections per day.
Bohol has also many ferries connecting it to other ports nearby, especially on Cebu island. The most popular route is definitely between Tagbilaran and Cebu City, with several connections per day.
Schedules as of Q1 2017:
Bohol (Tagbilaran) – Cebu
- Ocean Jet: 6:00,7:05,8:20,9.20,11:40,13:00,14:00,15:30,16:20,17:30,18:30
- 2Go (Supercat): 6:30,11:15,17:25
- Lite Ferries: 12:00,22:30,00:00 (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday only)
Cebu – Bohol (Tagbilaran)
- Ocean Jet: 6:00,7:00,8:00,9.20,10:40,11:40,13:00,14:00,15:30,16:20,18:35
- 2Go (Supercat): 8:45,1:45,19:40
- Lite Ferries: 12:30,22:00,13:00 (Monday, Wednesday, Saturday only)
Bohol (Tubigon) – Cebu
- Lite Ferries: 7:00,12:00,14:00,19:00,00:00
Cebu – Bohol (Tubigon)
- Lite Ferries: 7:00,10:00,12:00,19:00,22:00,00:00
Bohol (Tagbilaran) – Siquijor (Larena)
- Lite Ferries: 20:00 (Monday, Wednesday, Saturday only)
Siquijor (Larena) – Bohol (Tagbilaran)
- Lite Ferries: 19:00 (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday only)
I recommed hopping on the Ocean Jet Ferry as they are newer and more comfortable.
Tagbilaran Airport to Panglao
Most travelers normally book their stay along Panglao area, where most of the beach accommodations are located.
- By a tricycle. Special rate is 500php
- Go on a van. Share it with other travelers make sure to haggle your way thru. Average of 400php/5 Pax
- Go ask your resort if they have transfer services. In our case with Dumaluan resort, van pick to and from is already included in our package
- Jeepney: Along the south side of Bohol from Dao Terminal. Routing to Baclayon Church, Carmen and Jagna.
- Tricycle: You can rent tricycles for a day that’ll cost you an average of 1,000php (20USD),
These are good options and will only a few pesos for a whole day trip.
- Air-conditioned vans: You may arrange this upon arrival from the airport or inquire to your resort. Most of them have their services available.
Vans are pretty much more convenient to go around plus the A/C is a big help. The temperature in Bohol doesn’t drop below 20degress.
- Vehicle rentals: motorbikes can be rented from 350php (7USD)
- Food: Eateries roughly 70php (less than 2USD). Average resort/restaurant prices are at 150php-350php (less than 10USD)
- Island hopping: 1,500php-2,500php (not more than 40USD) for the whole boat that can sit 10-15 pax. Talk to the locals along Panglao
- Accommodation: For as low as 1,500php (30USD) and as high as 15,000php (350USD). Research from a reputable booking site. I normally stay in Dumaluan as their prices are pretty reasonable at the middle tier level. They arrange everything from the transfers, tour and island hopping
- Entrance fees: 50php-70php
What to Do
The island offers a lot of on and off-track activities for travelers. Make sure to plan your days during your stay. The island is pretty laid back and you have so many options to just do a quick tour then head back to the white-sand beaches of Panglao.
Day 1– Inland Tour
- Baclayon Church: destroyed during the 2013 earthquake that stroke the Philippines are there to remind of the country’s Spanish colonial past. It is now partly re-built.
- Zoo: Zoocolate Thrills are the same operators from Subic Safari. They house various animals. Great for family tours.
- Loboc River Tour: An interesting little town in Boho. You will hop a boat that serves as a floating restaurant serving Filipino classic dishes- buffet style. The fee starts at 450php-700php. The cruise is relaxing because of the beautiful setting it runs through. Sandwiched between a jungle where you can see local children swinging from self-built swings.
The boat will stop at these cheerful crowd who sung their hearts out while they dance cheerfully.
- Bohol Bee Farm: Organic farm, restaurant and offers accommodation.
Day 2- Inland Tour
- Chocolate Hills: Mandatory tourist spot. Yes, it is such a cliché, but these geological formations consisting of 1,776 conical-shaped hills ranging from 30 to 120 meters high are pretty amazing. During the dry season, the grass dries out and becomes brown Thus, coining them ‘Chocolate Hills’. Rest of the year after summer their color turns into lush green. These beautiful hills are located in Carmen near the center of Bohol so during the ride prepare for beautiful sceneries along the way. There is a viewpoint and prepare to climb up the stairs. Bring a hat and some water.
- Tarsier Sanctuary: Cute bug-eyed tarsiers are nocturnal animals so during your visit they’d probably be sleeping. So no flash photography and don’t make too much noise.
- Man Made Forest: The first and only man-made forest in the country. During the 1970’s all the public school students in Bohol were required to plan 1 Mahogany tree before they graduate high school. 2 kilometer stretch of this rich forest.
- Habitat Butterflies Conservation Center: As its name implies. It is just 5 minutes away from the Man-Made Forest. Personally, you can skip this part.
Don’t even bother to go to the Hanging Bridge as there’s nothing special about it. It just a bridge.
Day 3 – Island Hop and Watch the Dolphins
Day 4- All Day, Long Day at the Beach
A lot this day to just experience and relax along the shores of Panglao.
Panglao Island is located southwest of Bohol and east of Cebu. Divide to two municipalities that are Dauis and Panglao. Gained its reputation for its serene ambiance, fine white sand shores, coral reefs and manifold islets. Near its proximity is the famous Chocolate Hills, Loboc River, and Tarsier Sanctuary.
There are at least a dozen white-sand beaches to choose from. From high-end- middle tier accommodations. Pristine soft, white sand, palm trees, and ultra blue crystal water.
Sharing TOP 10 Listings that can fit any budget:
Panglao’s shore is a place where you can relax. Hearing the waves cascade along the white sand is so calming. You’d want to just read a book while drinking a cold beer.
Wake up late then just bum around. Choose your spot and just ponder and take in the beautiful view. Spend the whole day doing nothing because this is what you came for. Wait for the sunset. Panglao has one of the amazing hues during the golden hour
The sky turns a fiery red, bright orange, glowing yellow, and a hot pink.
Bohol like most islands we’ve featured on this blog is pretty diverse. I have been to this island twice and I will definitely keep coming back. I fell in love the 1st time, the second time was different. The island re-introduces itself as visitors return. What makes it bit different is it has mini-showcases from different points of interest. Various infrastructures that are just right and it is suited for all kinds of people, from the frugal to the most luxurious traveler.
I always recall the winding roads through paddy fields and lush green forests that are beautiful to stare at. The happy townspeople singing to us during our Loboc river tour and that day on the shores of Panglao’s beach where I just stared blankly at the ocean just having zero thoughts about worries that I left behind in Manila.
As we always say, go forth and wander! when you return home to become a storyteller.
You may book via Travelbook.ph as shown on the upper right part of this article. Travelbook.ph shoulders the 12% VAT on your hotel bookings! Guaranteed cheap prices and you earn points that you may later be used for your future travels. Don’t have a credit card? you can also pay at the hotel of your choice when you arrive.
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