Islands Travel & Transportation

Bohol Island – A Complete Guide + Itinerary + Budget for 2019

Patrick
Written by Patrick

Everything You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

OVERVIEW GET HERE GET AROUND SEE & DO STAY EAT & DRINK ENTERTAINMENT SHOP ITINERARY & BUDGET TIPS OUR EXPERIENCE GALLERY DON'T FORGET

For many travellers, Bohol Island is one of the most favorite destinations because of its unique characteristics. It has beautiful beaches, fascinating landforms, and its close proximity to the biggest metropolitan area in the Philippines outside Metro Manila.

OVERVIEW

Introduction

Many Pinoy children dream of visiting Bohol because of Chocolate Hills. For them, it is the most famous attraction in Bohol since it is mentioned in their geography books. Little did they know that there’s more to Bohol than these grass-covered hills that turn chocolate brown come summertime.

This province not so far away from Cebu City boasts of its waters teeming with rich and colorful marine life – a haven for snorkelers and divers. Its white sand beaches blessed with crystal clear water make for a perfect beach-bumming location. Each of these beaches has their own personality so exploring them will give you a clearer idea how one differs from the other. From the highly-commercialized Alona Beach to the more peaceful Danao or Dumaluan Beach, you will surely find a little spot for you in Bohol.

See the dolphins early in the morning, meet one of the smallest primates in the world, or cruise the Loboc River while enjoying your buffet meal on a floating resto… all these and more you will surely experience in Bohol.

Location

Bohol Map

Best Time to Visit

Summer, March to May, is definitely the best time to visit Bohol, or any island in the Philippines. The trip is less likely to be hindered by rain or typhoon. Tours, especially the island tours, are less likely to get cancelled because the sea is smooth. Everyone is in vacation mode! Everything is photogenic!

The downside of a summer trip is the crowd and the higher rates. Hotels, particularly in Alona Beach area are usually fully booked it is almost impossible to get some quiet time for yourself. However, if crowd is no big deal to you or you are okay with staying a little off the center, then summer trip to Bohol it is!

The Philippine Tarsier found only in Bohol

Fast Facts

Destination Name:
Bohol
Local Time:
PST (UTC+8)
Best Time of Year to Visit:
December – May
Population:
Approximately 1,313,560
Language(s):
Boholano, Tagalog, and English
Currency:
Philippine Peso (PHP)
Exchange Rate:
Approximately 1 USD = 50 PHP click for exact exchange rate
Location:
Central Visayas
Geographic Coordinates:
9°54′N 124°12′E
Area:
33.62 km2 (1861.38 sq mi)
Neighboring Cities:
Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City
Neighboring Islands:
Camiguin, Cebu, Leyte, Siquijor
Climate:
Tropical
Clothing:
Lightweight casuals
Religion:
Roman Catholic, Protestants, Iglesia Ni Cristo
Best Known For:
Chocolate hills, tarsier, white sand beaches, old churches
Major Industries:
Tourism, manufacturing
Electricity:
Standard voltage is 220V
Plug commonly used is Type A but Types B and C are used as well. Bring A to B adapter(s).
International Phone Code:
+63-038-XXX-XXXX
Airport & Airport Code:
Bohol–Panglao International Airport (TAG)
Seaport(s):
Tagbilaran Seaport
Tubigon Seaport
Getafe Port
Jagna Port
Bus Terminal(s):
Integrated Bus Terminal

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GET HERE

Bohol is a first class island province in Central Visayas hence getting there is quite easy.

Airport

From Manila

There are more than 30 direct flights everyday from Manila to Bohol through various commercial airlines including Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Philippine AirAsia. Travel time is approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes.

From Iloilo

Passengers from Iloilo can catch one of the five daily flights to Bohol through commercial airlines including Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines. Travel time is approximately 55 minutes.

Tagbilaran Airport is located in Tagbilaran City, the province’s capital. Aside from private vehicles, it can also be accessed by taxi, rental cars, and tricycle. However, Tagbilaran Airport will be closed when the Panglao Island International Airport, also known as New Bohol International Airport, opens in the last quarter of 2018.

Seaport

There are various entry points when getting to Bohol by boat, with Tagbilaran Pier as the most popular choice. As of the moment, the direct trip from the country’s capital Manila to Bohol has not been reestablished. You can only get to Bohol by sea from these points of origin:

Cebu to Tagbilaran

Cebu and Bohol are neighboring islands so getting to Bohol from Cebu is quite easy. Actually, the Cebu-Tagbilaran route is the most popular choice among passengers heading to Bohol and there are several fast ferries plying that route. Travel time when taking the fast ferry is approximately 2 hours.

With SuperCat, there are six trips daily with the first trip departing Cebu Port 1 at 5:50 AM and the last trip at 6:00 PM. Schedule is similar for passengers from Tagbilaran heading to Cebu. Regular fare is P401.00 for tourist class and P696 for business class.

With Ocean Jet, the first trip departs Cebu Pier 1 at 5:10 AM and the last trip is 6:40 PM. For the return trip, the first trip departs at 6:00 AM and last trip is 6:40 PM. Fare is P800 for tourist class and P1000 for business class. Travel time is approximately 2 hours.

Cebu to Tubigon

Tubigon Port may be smaller compared to Tagbilaran Port but it is the nearest seaport to Cebu. It services more than 10 Cebu-Bohol trips daily through fast ferries including Weesam Express, FastCat, and Starcraft.

Weesam Express offers 2 trips daily from Cebu to Tubigon and vice versa. The Cebu-Tubigon trips depart 1:15 PM and 4:15 PM while the Tubigon-Cebu trips depart 2:45 PM and 5:45 PM. Regular fare for adult is P220 for economy class and P300 for business class. Children below 11 years old and senior citizen are entitled of discount. Travel time is approximately 1 hour.

FastCat has 4 trips daily from Cebu to Tubigon: 5:00 AM, 10:30 AM, 5:30 PM, and 10:30 PM. Return trip departs at 1:30 AM, 7:30 AM, 1:30 PM, and 8:00 PM. Regular fare for adult is P275 for economy, 310 for premium economy, and P345 for business economy. Travel time is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes.

MV Starcraft has 8 daily trips from Cebu to Tubigon and vice versa. The first trip leaves Cebu at 5:45 AM and last trip leaves at 5:30 PM. The first trip for Tubigon-Cebu route leaves at 7:00 AM and the last trip leaves at 7:45 PM. Fare is P200 for economy, P220 for tourist class, and P280 for business class. Travel time is approximately 1 hour.

Cebu to Getafe

The town of Getafe is nearer to Cebu than Tagbilaran City. MV Starcraft is the only ferry company that operates the Cebu-Getafe route and it offers 3 trips daily. The Cebu-Getafe trips depart every 6:00 AM, 9:00 AM, and 3:30 PM while the Getafe-Cebu trips depart every 7:30 AM, 10:30 AM, and 3:00 PM. Travel time is approximately 1 hour.

Dumaguete to Tagbilaran

Dumaguete is another popular tourist destination in the country so a direct trip from Dumaguete to Tagbilaran definitely makes sense.

Ocean Jet offers 2 daily trips from Dumaguete to Tagbilaran and vice versa. The ferry leaves Dumaguete every 9:50 AM and 2:30 PM while the return trip leaves every 7:30 AM and 12:30 PM. Fare is P700 for tourist class and P1,020 for business class. Travel time is approximately 2 hours.

READ: Dumaguete Travel Guide

Siquijor to Tagbilaran

Siquijor is a favorite destination even among foreign tourists due to its white sand beaches and laid back vibe.

Ocean Jet has 1 daily trip plying the Tagbilaran-Larena, Siquijor route and vice versa. The schedule is 10:20 AM and 2:20 PM respectively. Regular fare is P700 for tourist class and P1,000 for business class. Travel time is approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Camiguin to Jagna

The island known for its Sunken Cemetery and other volcanic eruptions can be easily accessed from Bohol through Jagna Port. FastCat offers one trip daily from Jagna Port in Bohol to Balbagon, Camiguin and vice versa: Jagna-Balbagon departs at 10:00 PM while Balbagon-Jagna departs at 2:00 PM. Regular fare for adult is P330 economy, P363 premium economy, and 396 business class. Travel time is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.

The Tagbilaran Seaport, also known as the Tagbilaran City Tourist Pier, is the province’s main seaport. It can be accessed by van, multicab, and tricycle. If you are heading to Panglao, your next stop from the seaport would be the Integrated Bus Terminal in Dao. Metered taxi rate is approximately P75 while tricycle fare is P18 per person. A tricycle can fit 3 passengers but if you prefer to ride alone, special ride costs P44.

If you are arriving via Tubigon Port, you may take a bus, car or van to Tagbilaran City. Fare is between P50 to P60 and travel time is approximately 1 hour.

Bus Terminal

Integrated Bus Terminal

The Integrated Bus Terminal serves buses, jeepneys, and vans to get to various towns in Bohol. Most buses follow a schedule of departure but a bus may depart earlier than scheduled when it gets filled up immediately. Last trip for all routes usually depart at around 6:00 PM.

Located in Dao, the terminal is also called Dao Bus & Jeepney Terminal or simply Dao Terminal. It is 3km. North from city center. You will not have trouble finding it as it is next to Island City Mall.

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GETTING AROUND

Bohol may be a popular tourism site but taking a public transportation is not really easy as it can get scarce and usually crowded. Below are the popular choices.

Bus

Bus is popular choice for passengers heading to other towns. In Tagbilaran City, head to Integrated Bus Terminal in Dao to find buses to your destination. Bus lines operate on a schedule, with most trips having 30-minute interval. However, a bus may leave earlier when it gets filled before the 30-minute duration.

Car for Hire

Car hire comes aplenty in Bohol. You can book a car or van for hire online or find one at the airport or seaport. The rate for 8-hour use starts from P2,000 ($40 USD)and can go higher depending on the type of car or van. Gas and driver fee included.

Car Rentals

It’s not hard to find a car for rent in Bohol. You can even choose from various types of vehicles available. One day rent is equal to 24 hours use with daily rate starting from P2,000 ($40 USD). The renter shoulders gas, parking fee, and other fees applicable.

Jeepneys

Jeepneys are typically used to transfer from one town to a nearby town. From Tagbilaran City, you can find jeepneys heading to various towns in Bohol. Minimum fare starts at P8 ($.16 USD)) and can go higher depending on the distance.

Ride-Sharing

Ride-sharing is not common in Bohol.

Shuttles

Shuttles are commonly used by hotels for airport transfer of their guests.

Taxi

Taxis are commonly found in Tagbilaran City only but you can charter one to take you to all points of Bohol. Fare is usually pre-negotiated depending on the distance. It is also a common practice for the driver to charge you two-way fare, especially for long-distance destination, as they believe they are less likely to find passengers on their way back to the city.

Trains

Train is not available in Bohol.

Tricycles

Tricycle is commonly used for short distances or getting around towns in Bohol. Minimum fare is P8 per person. They can also be rented for special trips like when heading to Panglao from Tagbilaran City. One way trip is around P300 and can go higher depending on the destination and duration. They can also be rented to tour the city and nearby towns.

Motorbikes

Renting a motorcycle or scooter is popular among tourists. You can get from one tourist attraction to another through motorcycle. Rental fee is around P400 per day and can go lower if taking it for several days.

Bicycles

Bicycle rental is not common in Bohol.

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SEE & DO

Attractions

Tourists attractions and business establishments are concentrated in Panglao and Tagbilaran City however some towns have destinations that are worth to visit.

Panglao

Alona Beach

Alona Beach is the most popular tourist site in Panglao Island. It boasts of its white sand beach and clear water. There are several hotels and resorts ranging from the most affordable to luxury ones. There are also several restaurants in the area and some even offer dining along the beach while being entertained by fire dancers. Alona Beach is a jump off point to smaller but stunning islands such as Balicasag Island, Pamilacan Island, and Virgin Island.

Hinagdanan Cave

The Hinagdanan Cave is a naturally-lighted cave with a lagoon inside where people can swim. It’s a small cave with cemented stairs leading down to the interior of the cave. Do not expect any presence of bats since the cave is lighted which is unsuitable for them.

Balicasag Island

This is where you can meet and greet dolphins, sea turtles, various specie of fish, and other marine life. Lunch is served on the island where the beach is stunning with its white sand and crystal clear water.

Tagbilaran

Blood Compact Site

A historical site where Sandugo or blood compact took place in 1565 between Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and chieftain Datu Sikatuna. The event symbolizes friendship, the first between Spanish and Filipinos. While popular for being historical, there’s nothing much to do here though.

Bohol Museum

To anyone who wants to see a glimpse of Bohol’s history, Bohol Museum is the place to be. It houses botanical, zoological, and archeological materials found all over the province. It is also home to Boholano arts and visual presentation of how the famous Chocolate Hills were formed.

St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral

The original church was built by the locals through forced labor by Jesuits. But due to reconstruction and renovations, the remnants of the past and witness of how our ancestors were mistreated are now gone. It’s the main seat of Catholic faith in the province and definitely a recommended place to visit for Catholic devotees.

Carlos P. Garcia House

Not too far from St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral is the residence, now a heritage house, of former Philippine President Carlos P. Garcia. It houses the former president’s memorabilia as well as preserved local flora and fauna and artifacts from different parts of Bohol. It also has a commercial complex as a means to generate income for the maintenance and preservation of the structure.

Carmen

Chocolate Hills

The seemingly endless conical hills that are about 1,268 to 1,776 in number are covered in grass but turns chocolate brown during dry season, hence the name. This is a popular tourist attraction not just in Bohol but in the whole Philippines. There are two viewing stations for Chocolate Hills, the first one is the government-owned Chocolate Hills Complex and the other one is at Sagbayan Peak in the town of Sagbayan. There are tour operators offering ATV tours to some of the hills.

Loboc

Loboc River

The Loboc river is where the famous river cruise on a floating restaurant runs. Along the way, there are stopovers where locals perform traditional dance and other activities to entertain tourists. The cruise runs up to the Busay Falls, and then back to the point of origin. The cruise comes with a buffet lunch.

Bilar

Man-made Forest

This man-made forest is actually located in between the towns of Bilar and Loboc but it’s popularly called as Bilar Man-made Forest. This man-made forest was a result of a reforestation project wherein thousands of mahogany trees were planted more than 50 years ago. When passing by this 2 km. stretch, you can feel the cool breeze due to this dense forest.

Baclayon

Baclayon Church

This Spanish Colonial Structure built in 1724 has been declared a National Cultural Treasure. Made of coral stones, the church is cross-shaped and is facing the sea. The church was severely damaged by magnitude 7.2 earthquake in 2013, the largest one to ever hit the province. It’s been closed since then and was only opened to the public in February 2018 after restorations.

Pamilacan

The island is known for its rich marine life including dolphins, whales, and even manta rays. Dolphin and whale watching tours are the most common activities along with snorkeling where you get to see sea snakes, sea turtles, moray eels, nudibranch, and bucket sponges.

Corella

Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary

This isn’t a mini zoo but a large forest aimed to protect the endangered species called tarsiers, one of the smallest primates in the world. Most tarsiers are almost as big as the adult human fist with eyes so big and fur so soft and velvety. They are shy animals and tends to die in captivity due to stress, hence the sanctuary prohibits touching them and even using flash when taking pictures. FunInThePhilippines recommend this over the Tarsier Conservation Area in Loboc.

Danao (Mainland)

Danao Adventure Park

As the name implies, Danao Adventure Park is great for adventure junkies. Experience the exhilarating attractions such as the plunge, suislide, skyride, root climbing with rappelling, glass cliffwalk, and river kayak. This is an off the beaten path destination so commuting is quite challenging.

Activities

Dolphin Watching

Tourists will be treated to a sight of dolphins showing off their beauty and enjoying their freedom in their natural habitat. Species commonly found are spinner dolphin, Risso’s dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, spotted dolphin, and Fraser’s dolphin. Pygmy killer whale, short-finned pilot whale, and melon-headed whale are often seen in the area as well.

Snorkeling and Diving

The water in the Bohol Sea is oozing with marine life. Snorkeling is a common activity even to non-swimmers.

Events & Festivals

Ubi Festival | January

The festival is celebrated in honor of the ubi (also known as ube and purple yam) growers in the province as well as to gather growers, investors, government agencies, private organizations, and other sectors to gather and exchange information about the ubi industry in the country. The festival includes various activities such as contest of the biggest ubi harvested and exhibits.

Tagbilaran City Fiesta | May 1

The fiesta is celebrated in honor of Saint Joseph, the city’s patron saint. The celebration features cultural dances and activities including concerts, stage plays, and pageant called “Mutya ng Tagbilaran”.

Tanda Festival | May 6 – 15

Tanda Festival is celebrated in the town of Tubigon in honor of the town’s patron saint San Isidro Labrador. The fiesta features street dancing and showdown called Bulong-Imang, beauty pageant, and agro-technological fair.

Bolibongkingking Festival | May 23 – 24

Bolibongkingking is a dance and music festival that showcases the history and folklore of the locals. The festival’s highlight is a dance ritual accompanied by native music instruments like gongs and drums.  The festival takes place in the town of Loboc.

Katigbawan Festival | June 17 – 24

Katigbawan Festival celebrates local traditions, culture, and religious beliefs of the people in the town of Catigbian. The festival features arts and crafts exhibits, agricultural fair, and contests involving livestock such as carabao-racing and hog-catching.

Agbunan Festival | June 28

Agbunan Festival aims to promote tourism as well as celebrate the traditions and culture of the people in the town of San Isidro. Festival activities include street dancing, parade, and food festival.

Sandugo Festival | July 1–31

Sandugo Festival is a major event in the province for it commemorates the Treaty of Friendship in the form of blood compact or sandugo between Bohol Chieftain named Datu Sikatuna and Spanish conqueror Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1565. The festival features various activities including street dancing, fairs, sporting events, pageant, and many more. Sandugo Festival kicks off on the first day of July and the highlight taking place either 3rd or 4th Sunday of July.

READ MORE: Events & Festivals in the Philippines

Excursions & Side Trips

Cebu

Cebu is the most popular gateway to Bohol so having Cebu as a sidetrip destination definitely makes sense. The city has more modern facilities and establishments like malls, hospitals, airport, and hotels. Just within the city proper are some of the country’s historical attraction such as the Magellan’s Cross, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, and Fort San Pedro.

Cebu Province is also home to some of the most sought-after natural attractions such as Bantayan Island, Malapascua Island, and Oslob which is famous for whale sharks.

Dumaguete

Dumaguete is a favorite among expats and is even listed by Forbes Magazine as one of the “Best Places to Retire in the World”. It is also a favorite destination among students because of Silliman University, the first protestant and American university in Asia. Of course for tourists, Dumaguete boasts of stunning beaches, interesting dive sites, and easy access to dolphin and whale watching location.

Dumaguete is just a two-hour ferry ride from Tagbilaran.

Siquijor

The island that has a reputation for magic and sorcery is also home to stunning beaches and waterfalls. Despite its laid back vibe, Siquijor is often visited by tourists especially foreigners because of its charm and beauty.

Siquijor is less than two hours away from Tagbilaran through Ocean Jet ferry.

Camiguin

Although a small island, Camiguin is big in tourist attractions care of Sunken Cemetery, Mount Hibok-Hibok, White Island, springs, and waterfalls. Camiguin is just 2 and a half hours boat-ride from the town of Jagna.

Tours

Bohol Countryside Tour

Explore Bohol’s countryside by joining group tours or renting a car, van or motorcycle. Tourist spots often included in the tour are Blood Compact Shrine, Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary, Loboc River, Man-made Forest, Chocolate Hills, and Aproniana Souvenir Shop.

Panglao Island Tour

The island tour starts at around 6:00 AM with dolphin watching. Then followed by snorkeling at Balicasag Reef and lunch at Balicasag Island. The last destination is the Virgin Island, originally called Pungtud Island but is now called Isola de Francisco.

Loboc River Cruise

Explore the Loboc River on a floating restaurant while enjoying a buffet meal. Try at least once for an authentic Bohol experience.

STAY & SLEEP

Camping

Bougainvillea Paradise Campground

Purok 7, San Isidro, Dauis, Bohol 6339

Russian Home

Dauis-Panglao Road Mariveles, Panglao, Bohol

ABS Native Inn

Tambangan, Loay, Bohol

Hostels

Oasis Balili Heritage Lodge

0029 J Borja Street, Tagbilaran City, Bohol 6300

Bohol Coco Farm

Libaong Masidlakon Purok 1, Panglao, Bohol 6340

Alona Hammocks

Ester A. Lim Drive, Tawala, Panglao, Bohol 6340

Budget-Friendly Accommodations

Tagbilaran City

Wregent Plaza Hotel

Carlos P. Garcia Avenue, Tagbilaran City

Darunday Manor

22 J.A. Clarin Street, Tagbilaran City

Vest Grand Suites

Tamblot Extension Cogon District, Tagbilaran City

Panglao Island

Bohol Coco Farm

Barangay Libaong, Panglao Island

Alumbung Tropical Living

Daorong, Danao, Panglao Island

Citadel Alona Inn

Hontanosas Road, Barangay Tawala, Panglao Island

Mid-Range Accommodations

Tagbilaran City

Kew Hotel

J. A. Clarin Avenue, Tagbilaran City

Soledad Suites

J.C. Borja St., Brgy. Poblacion 11, Tagbilaran City

Sweet Home Boutique Hotel

Remolador, Tagbilaran City

Panglao Island

Eco Hotel Bohol

Ester A. Lim Drive, Panglao Island, Bohol 6340

Bohol Bee Farm Hotel

Dao, Panglao Island, Bohol 6340

Cambriza Suites

Poblacio Panglao, Panglao Island, Bohol 6340

Luxury Accommodations

Tagbilaran City

Ocean Suites Boutique Hotel Bohol

Blood Compact Monument Tagbilaran East Rd, Tagbilaran City

Kasagpan

2 Ungab Street | Booy Beach Road, Tagbilaran City

Dao Diamond Hotel & Restaurant

821 J.A. Clarin St. | Km. 3 Dao District, Tagbilaran City

Panglao Island

Harmony Hotel

Danao, Panglao Island, Bohol 6340

Donatela Hotel

Km.16 Hoyohoy, Tawala, Panglao Island, Bohol 6340

Resorts

Virgin Island Beach Resort

Lagitan Poblacion, Panglao Island, Bohol 6340

Panglao Regents Park

Ester A. Lim Drive, Panglao Island, Bohol 6340

Alona Northland Resort

Ester A. Lim Drive, Panglao Island, Bohol 6340

AirBnB Properties

Tagbilaran City

Spacious place in the city

The Blue Room

Carmelite Guest House

Panglao Island

Balay ni Victoria

Sunset Villa

Alona Gecko Inn

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EAT & DRINK

Food

Kalamay

Kalamay is made of coconut milk, brown sugar, and glutinous rice. It has a sticky consistency and sold in smooth coconut shells locally called bagol or paya.

Peanut Kisses

Peanut kisses are cookies made with peanut and egg white and shaped like the famous Chocolate Hills. This light and crispy treat is the most popular item tourists bring back home to their family and friends.

Malunggay Ice Cream

Bohol Bee Farm’s homemade ice creams called The Buzzz are making a buzz due to its unique flavors such as nipa fruit, spicy ginger, tomato, and the crowd favorite which is the malunggay. The Buzzz ice creams come in homemade cassava cone. One serving costs P60.

Drink

Hot Chocolate

Locally called sikwate, the hot chocolate drink made from cacao seeds or tableya is a popular traditional drink in Bohol. This decadent drink has a perfect combination of sweetness and a hint of bitterness.

Peanut Kisses Shake

The popular Bohol delicacy, shake version.

Bohol Bee Farm

Dao, Dauis, Panglao Island

For healthy dining experience in a cool location, you’ll never go wrong with Bohol Bee Farm. The restaurant has a rustic vibe with the ocean view and trees in the surrounding hence ideal for anyone who needs to have some quiet time. It also has a garden that grows a variety of herbs and vegetables they use in their restaurant. The foods are organic and dishes even come with brown rice. They also have western style salads, pasta, and of course their homemade ice cream with unique flavors, one of the things the restaurant is famous for.

Gerarda’s Restaurant

30 J.S. Torralba St., Tagbilaran City

If you wonder about Gerarda’s homey interiors, that is because the restaurant used to be an ancestral house. Don’t miss out their ubi kinampay, the restaurant’s best seller. This savory dish is made of kinampay, a type of ube with dark purple meat. Other dishes to try at Gerarda’s are their vegetable soup called nilaw-oy, dinakdakan, seafood kare-kare, and crispy tinadyang. It can get crowded during Sundays so make sure to plan your itinerary accordingly.

Giuseppe Pizzeria and Sicilian Roast

Tawala, Alona Beach

For the best Italian dishes in the province, this restaurant is the place to be. Apart from pizzas cooked using brick oven, they also serve antipasti, desserts, and other Italian dishes. Their bestsellers include ravioli spinaci e ricotta and pizza gregorio.

Payag Restaurant

18 Carlos P. Garcia Avenue (CPG), Tagbilaran City

Payag is a local term for “nipa hut” which was how the restaurant started out. When only 12 tables back then, Payag Restaurant now has over five branches. People cannot get over their chicken inato, a savory grilled chicken dish served with rice and atchara (pickled grated papaya). Other recommended dishes are binakhaw or kilawin, sizzling pork sisig, and pinakbet.

The Prawn Farm

Upper Ground Floor, Island City Mall, Tagbilaran City

For your seafood cravings, you’ll surely love The Prawn Farm. They offer a variety of seafood dishes such as prawn halabos, prawn spring rolls, Singaporean crab, and many others.

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ENTERTAINMENT & NIGHTLIFE

Sports

Being blessed with stunning beaches, water sports are definitely popular in Bohol. Tourists can avail diving courses and there are resorts offering free use of kayaks to their guests. There are also operators offering stand-up paddleboarding services.

Thrill-seekers can satisfy their lust for adventures through various activities available in the province. These activities include ziplining, rappelling, sky biking, tree top challenges as well as sky ride and zorb ball experience.

For ball games and other sporting events, there’s the CPG Sports Complex in Tagbilaran City.

Concerts

Music festivals and concerts featuring the country’s biggest stars and musicians are usually being held during major events such as the Sandugo Festival and Tagbilaran City Fiesta.

Theater

There are three movie theaters in Bohol – Screenville Cinema, BQ Cinemas, and Movie Suites Tagbilaran. With the latter, you can enjoy private viewing of your most favorite movies with family and friends. Stage plays and musicals are also held occasionally.

Nightlife

Being one of the most visited islands in the Philippines, nightlife in Bohol is definitely thriving, but not as alive as its neighboring island Cebu.

Tagbilaran City may be the capital but most restaurants, bars, and clubs are found in Panglao particularly in Alona Beach. One 4 Da Road Bar and Bistro and Helmut’s Place, which are open until early hours, are two of the most favorite bars. They are just a few minutes away from each other.

To those looking for more exciting nightlife, nightclubs are the way to go. Pinarella Bay Club and Club Toxicity are two of the most popular clubs in Alona Beach.

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SHOP & BUY

Bohol may not be a shopping mecca but you can find everything you need for a fun vacation.

Money

Banks, ATMs, and money changers shouldn’t be a problem in Tagbilaran City since there are a lot. You can also find some in Panglao Island but not as many as plentiful as in Tagbilaran City.

Form of Currency | CASH | CREDIT CARDS | BANKS | ATMs | Money Changers

What to Buy

01 | Tableya

Made from cacao seeds, tableya is pure chocolate used to make their local drink called sikwate, or hot chocolate. COnsider the brand Dalereich Chocolate House as it is the first chocolate factory in Bohol that produces farm-to-shelf tableya.

02 | Bohol Bee Farm Products

While you can’t take home their organic ice cream (unless you have the means to do so), you have many other options to take home for your family and friends. They have pure honey, honey spread in various flavors, peanut butter, ginger tea, bread as well as arts and craft.

03 | Tarsier Items

Surely you cannot buy a tarsier to bring home, nor can you even touch this endangered creature. But you can find various tarsier items from stuffed toys, keychains, ref magnets to bags and tshirts, anywhere in Bohol.

Where to Shop

01 | Island City Mall

The 3-storey Island City Mall, the largest mall in Bohol, carries a wide selection of items for sale from apparel, household items, gadgets, and more. It even has cinemas and other recreation areas.

02 | Antequera

Antequera is a town in Bohol where most of its residents earn a living from basket weaving industry. Products are done at the homes of the weavers instead of having a common production area. For shoppers, the best time to visit is during their Sunday market when woven products of all kinds and sizes are being displayed for sale.

03 | Aproniana Gift Shop

Aproniana is the ultimate destination for all souvenir items, woven products, and Bohol delicacies. Goods here are of high quality and reasonably-priced.

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ITINERARY & BUDGET

Itinerary

We have created the following detailed itinerary for a trip to {Destination}

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Budget & Trip Reports

We provide detailed budgets for each of our itineraries above.   The budgets include all costs incurred on the trip broken down by day.

Additionally, we provide detailed trip reports of our experience and advice regarding each trip.

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DOWNLOAD: Blank Budget & Expense Form | Digital Itinerary, Checklists, and Expenses Spreadsheet

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TRAVEL TIPS & HACKS

Money Matters

Tagbilaran City houses several banks, ATMs, and money changers. There are also a few in Panglao especially in Alona Beach area. Several hotels and some restaurants accept major credit cards.

For tours and transportation, cash is the most commonly-accepted payment mode. Best to have smaller bills and coins for fares and tips.

Health & Safety

There are several hospitals in Tagbilaran City, both private and government-owned. For immediate medical attention, you’re better off with private hospitals. They charge higher though. Government hospitals on the other hand have equally competent doctors however, the medical staff are often overwhelmed by the number of patients seeking to get medical help so you may not get the immediate attention you want. Services are free though.

To avoid indigestion or stomach upset, it’s important to be careful of what you put into your mouth especially if you are known to have sensitive stomach. Drink bottled water only. They are available almost anywhere in Bohol.

Don’t forget to use insect repellents when exploring the countryside. And of course sunblock… preferably the reef-friendly ones. For water sports and activities, the use of proper gear is highly recommended. Rash guard and water shoes can protect you from cuts and other injuries.

Staying Connected

It’s not difficult to stay digitally connected when in Bohol. You just have to purchase a local SIM card in order to make calls or send text messages. A SIM card from telco giants such as Smart and Globe costs around P50 ($1 USD) and which usually comes with a free load worth P50 ($1 USD). You can buy a card containing a code you can enter on your phone to replenish your load or buy an electronic load which is available almost anywhere in the city.

Most hotels, restaurants, and some business establishments offer free use of wifi. While signal in some hotels or restos is good, do not expect that everywhere else have the same since they may not have the same internet subscription. The number of people using the same network/connection also affects the speed so if your hotel is fully booked, you may not have that lightning-speed connection you are looking for.

Useful Apps for Your Smartphone

Mobile GPS Location Tracker

This app tracks all the locations you have been to based on the date. It even analyzes the most suitable route for you with whatever mode of transportation and allows you to find restaurants, ATMs, hotels, banks, bus stations, and others.

Traveloka

Traveloka partners with various airlines and accommodations so you can easily find the cheapest flights and accommodations when you travel.

Google Maps

Every traveler needs to have this app. Aside from real-time GPS navigation, it can also give you real-time traffic updates and find gas stations, restaurants, hotels and other points of interest. You can even use Google Maps even without internet connection!

Additional Info You Should Know

The only airport in Bohol is located in Tagbilaran City. However, a new airport is being constructed in Panglao Island and will eventually replace the existing airport in Tagbilaran. It is expected to be operation last quarter of 2018.

People of Bohol and Cebu speak almost the same language. You do not need to learn the language in order to communicate since many locals can understand English. Sometimes, you just have to be slow when speaking to make sure you are understood. However, knowing some local words can be a big help.

Don’t Forget …

Public transportation is available throughout the island but the schedule, particularly jeepneys from one town to another, is not always reliable. If your schedule is tight, better stick with car or van rental, or even tricycle rental.

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OUR EXPERIENCE

Despite the crowd, I had a great time in Bohol.

What did we like?

My trip to Bohol was lovely! I love that I get to explore several beaches in Panglao Island and experience some thrilling activities in Danao Adventure Park.

What did we dislike?

I think the only thing I dislike about the trip is the modes of transportation I chose. I would have preferred the public transpo all the time but it’s a bit unreliable especially in Panglao Island so I opted to rent a private car or habal-habal so I can follow my schedule.

Did we experience any issues?

I experienced minor issues only such as public transportation being late or not following schedule.

Would we go again?

Definitely!

Would we recommend?

Of course!

What would we do differently?

The next time I visit Bohol, I’d take public transpo as much as possible since I already have an idea about how it works. I’m also thinking of taking a side trip to Cebu just so I can experience their ferry ride.

Lessons Learned

Itineraries should be flexible especially when traveling in the islands or remote provinces in the Philippines.

Tips & Suggestions

  • Visit other beaches in Panglao Island and if you want a more peaceful stay, book a hotel away from Alona Beach.
  • When going to Danao Adventure Park from Danao town proper, habal-habal fare is P40 per person and it can accommodate 2 passengers. However it can be uncomfortable especially with your luggage. By paying for 2 passengers even if you are alone, you get to leave right away and have the vehicle all to yourself.
  • Some attractions/rides may not be available by the time you visit because operations depend on the weather/season. Example, river kayak may not be available during summer because of the low supply of water.
  • For the Bohol Countryside Tour, there are group tours available but I opted to go on private tour (rent a car) because I needed to be picked up from Danao Adventure Park and dropped off in Panglao. Also, I want to explore at my own pace and time, to my preferred destinations.
  • For my Panglao Island tour, I rented a boat so I will have the final say as to my destination and how long I am going to stay in a particular destination. On the other hand, when joining group tours, you have to follow the operator’s schedule and policy.

Ratings

The following are OUR ratings based on a scale of 1 [WORST] to 10 [BEST] …

5.7
Value7
Memorable6
Fun7
Excitement5
Unique5
Ease of Access (Getting to Destination)8
Physical Exertion3
Gotta Do It!5

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More Photos

Video

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TRAVEL INSURANCE

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RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS

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Bluetooth Speaker

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Long-Sleeve UV Shirt

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Snorkel Gear

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Adventure Camera

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Aqua Shoes

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DOWNLOAD OUR FREE GUIDE

Alona Beach

FREE Bohol Guide

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About the Author

Patrick

Patrick

Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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