When you think of Bohol, lots of things come into mind; the famous Chocolate Hills, the tarsiers, the beaches, its islands and the cultural heritage. Those above are familiar enough and worth-seeing if you have limited time, but the island has plenty of things more to offer.
I was not keen on the idea of writing about Bohol; I figured there are plenty of blogs out there, already. However, one’s experiences normally differ from someone else’s, so additional info could not hurt.
I’ve been to Bohol several times for the past years; the latest was just last weekend. The first time, was with an ex, at Dumaluan beach and there was only one exclusive resort around that area. It wasn’t that memorable, in fact, I was a bit bored. I like solitude, but I also like to be around people at times.
The second time was with my friends. We stayed in Alona Beach and had the opportunity (wasted) to go for a dive. But my friend wanted to go back to Cebu because she was eager to meet their visitor. According to her friends, the guy was good looking that she would regret not meeting him. When she arrived in Cebu, she found out that guy was not Adonis-looking but also playing for the same field. I wanted to kick her ass then, but her disappointment was good enough. Alona at that time only had handful resorts, and it was quiet.
The third time was again at the beach. I was not interested in exploring Bohol (more into beaches), but two years ago, I got to see the chocolate hills for the first when I accompanied some tourists for a day-tour. Then last year again over at CHAP and last weekend.
Last year, a friend of mine, a fellow blogger was staying in Bohol for a month and invited me over for his last few days. I expressed that I wanted to try the adventure-tour: zip lining over Loboc river and bike zip lining over the hills. Not that I am so adventurous; I have always been and still am scared of heights. But I love challenges also. Despite the fear and the quaking of my legs, I always take the plunge. I find it very helpful not to give myself time to think.
The recent one, last weekend, was all about countryside tour and island hopping.
How to go there
- From Manila to Tagbilaran, Bohol – there are several flights directly to Tagbilaran, so check your favorite airline.
- From Cebu to Bohol– There are some flights from Cebu to Bohol, and it only takes 30 minutes. But it’s not much of a hassle to take a fast craft to Tagbilaran; the trip takes only 1.5-2 hours. The fare varies though because, at times, they have promos. Prepare to pay P500-P700 one way. Another alternative going to Bohol from Cebu is via Tubigon; It’s a bit cheaper and more convenient if you only do a day-tour.
What to do in Bohol
1. Do the Countryside Tour
Upon arrival at Tagbilaran port, you will be bombarded by tour companies to do a day-tour, island hopping tour and more. The prices range from P2000-P2500. Some will offer as low as P1800 but make sure to iron out the details before booking; such as the tour must include transfer to your resort at the end of the day with no additional charge or else, they will demand P200 extra.
These are places that are part of the tour:
The Chocolate Hills
I was quite glad that touching or holding the tarsier is no longer allowed.
Bohol Python and Wildlife Park
Snake is one of those fears that I don’t intend to challenge. I did regret not trying to touch them, but I was so certain I would pass out if I did.
Bamboo Hanging Bridge
The Sandugo Site – we opted to just look at from afar since it was raining so hard.
The Baclayon Church -We check the museum (no picture-taking allowed) instead because the church is under renovation.
2. Island Hopping
You can opt for Balicasag-Virgin Island tour or the Pamilacan island tour. There are plenty of tour agents along Alona beach offering them. The hotel can also arrange it for you. Private boat tour typically costs P1500 plus P250 entrance fee per person to the islands. We opted to join a group tour instead. We negotiated P500 per head including the entrance fee plus the snorkel mask. Some even offered as low as P300. But make sure to have the operator lists down what is included in your payment. Ours, we found out, included only the fish sanctuary, and we had to pay additional P100 per head (after much negotiation) for the turtle which is just a few meters from the fish sanctuary.
If you opted to do the private tour, I don’t think it is necessary to go dock to the island but for some reasons, everyone docks. There is nothing much to do in the islands except to eat breakfast and be assigned an outrigger boat to carry you to the snorkeling area. But if you are a good swimmer, you can just swim out.
Please make sure also that the operator sticks to the agreement. They told us that the boat capacity (it was a small one) was 14 when we booked. But we ended up with 18 people. We argued and complained, but they refused, stating that they felt sorry for the last four people who booked. We found out that the life jackets were not even enough that we had to borrow from another boat. Take into consideration that at that day, the sea was quite rough. That going back, for safety reason, we docked at the Poblacion of Panglao instead of Alona beach.
Balicasag Island; Fish Sanctuary and Sea Turtles
There is nothing much to see in Virgin island especially if it is high tide. It certainly looks much better in pictures.
3. Adventure Tour
My friend arranged for us to do the zip lining over Loboc River. It was fun for sure, but I told him I’d rather try the bike zip line. I found the zip line over Loboc a bit tame. The bike zip line and the jungle rope were a bit of a challenge. My friend blazed through it liked his ass was on fire (they gently reprimanded him to enjoy the ride and the view). The bike zip line itself cost P350 last year, but recently it costs P450. They also now have a surfing zip line. But if you opt for the package it’ll cost you P650-P750 and P100-P200 for the pictures. Loboc adventure is around P450-P550.
Loboc Zip line over Loboc River
CHAP (Chocolate Hills Adventure Park)
4. Relaxing at Alona Beach
If you are a beach bum like me, Alona is a great place to watch the sunset and just chill at the beach. Bohol Bee Farm has a branch now in Panglao.
I plan to go back to Bohol to explore the other side.