Bohol is the friendly heart of the Visayas and one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the Philippines and it has been one of my favorite travel destinations when it comes to nature, party and beaches. Bohol is about 2 hours away from Cebu City by fast craft ferry. I am from Iloilo and when I first went to Bohol, I took a RoRo (big ship) going to Cebu City. It is cheaper and it leaves in the evening and you will get to Cebu the next morning. So, practically you only slept during the whole trip and when you woke up…. tada… hello Cebu City!
When I arrived in Cebu, I went straight to the ferry booth tickets. It is important to check the ferry schedules as early as possible. During high season especially summer, it gets fully booked fast and the queue to buy tickets is long.
Fast Ferry Schedules (Tagbilaran-Cebu or vice versa)
The most convenient way to get to Bohol from the neighboring islands is by fast ferry. Fast ferries offer a high speed passenger service, often using Singapore or Danish built catamaran type motorboats. These have a cruising speed of about 50 kilometers per hour. When you are on board, these boats resemble aircraft, including the safety instruction video just before departure. The fare is about three times the fare of a regular ferry. Some have a small open-air deck, where you can feel the breeze and watch the islands pass by, but others don’t allow you to go outside during the trip. They are my favorite for island-hopping.
WARNING!!!! Please take note that during the ” Typhoon ” season, there is a bigger chance that schedules will be delayed or even canceled. Typhoon season starts from September until February. Occasionally there are typhoons in the month of March until August.
|1||Daily||Cebu (Pier 1)||05:10||Tagbilaran||07:10|
|2||Daily||Cebu (Pier 1)||06:00||Tagbilaran||08:00|
|3||Daily||Cebu (Pier 1)||07:00||Tagbilaran||09:00|
|4||Daily||Cebu (Pier 1)||08:00||Tagbilaran||10:00|
|5||Daily||Cebu (Pier 1)||09:20||Tagbilaran||11:20|
|6||Daily||Cebu (Pier 1)||11:40||Tagbilaran||13:40|
|7||Daily||Cebu (Pier 1)||13:00||Tagbilaran||15:00|
|8||Daily||Cebu (Pier 1)||14:00||Tagbilaran||16:00|
|9||Daily||Cebu (Pier 1)||15:20||Tagbilaran||17:20|
|10||Daily||Cebu (Pier 1)||16:20||Tagbilaran||18:20|
|11||Daily||Cebu (Pier 1)||17:40||Tagbilaran||19:40|
|12||Daily||Cebu (Pier 1)||18:40||Tagbilaran||20:40|
|1||Daily||Tubigon||05:00||Cebu (Pier 3)||06:30|
|2||Daily||Tubigon||10:30||Cebu (Pier 3)||12:00|
|3||Daily||Tubigon||17:30||Cebu (Pier 3)||19:00|
|4||Daily||Tubigon||22:30||Cebu (Pier 3)||24:00|
|1||Daily||Cebu (Pier 3)||01:30||Tubigon||03:00|
|2||Daily||Cebu (Pier 3)||07:30||Tubigon||09:00|
|3||Daily||Cebu (Pier 3)||13:30||Tubigon||15:00|
|4||Daily||Cebu (Pier 3)||20:00||Tubigon||21:30|
What to see and what to do in Bohol, Philippines
Bohol has a tremendous things to offer, so much that many tourists have a difficulty to select those most important things to see in their limited time. You can easily spend a week on the island, and just see the highlights.
To help you in your selection, we give a short overview of the more popular tourist destinations, some of which are included in the organized tours that are offered by various travel agents. If you have just a few days, you could join with one of those; however, if you have more time or more adventurous inclined, you can also visit those places on your own – in which case it is advisable to arrange for your own transport, which can be a taxi or rented car or motorbike.
If you are a budget traveler, I would highly suggest renting a motorbike if you know how to drive. It is cheaper and more convenient. If you do not know how to drive a motorbike and you are staying in a hostel, you can make friends with other backpackers or guests and kindly ask if they do not mind sharing a motorbike with you. In this way, you can split the cost so it is cheaper, you found a driver and made a friend. Yay! This is what I did when I first went to Bohol alone.
Tagbilaran is the capital of Bohol, and its only city. It is located at the south-western end of the island. Most boats arrive here, and all scheduled flights land on its one-strip airport, not far from the city center. Apart from visiting several shopping malls, such as Bohol Quality, Island City Mall, and Plaza Marcela, you dine in various restaurants, visit the Bohol Museum, and a number of interesting landmarks, such as the Sandugo blood compact site, which is located in the Bool district of Tagbilaran city. This site is included in most tours, and offers a nice view over the Bohol sea, with Panglao island to the right and Pamilacan island a bit farther away to the left.
Panglao is both the name of the island south of Bohol, and of the southernmost of the two municipalities on this island, the other being Dauis, which you will pass through first. The municipality of Panglao is home to some of the best known beaches of Bohol, including Doljo beach, Dumaluan beach and Alona beach, and has numerous beach resorts. For those curious enough to take a short ride to the town proper – easily done on a morning or afternoon, the old town Panglao (known as the poblacion) still preserves the traditional layout of a Philippine rural town: A large town-square, covered with grass, with on one side the Church, another the town hall, and on a third the local school. Add to this the remnants of an older church (of which only one stone wall remains, the remainder of this building was previously made of bamboo), and a massive hexagonal watchtower, the largest on Bohol.
From most of the resorts, you can arrange whale or dolphin watching tours, island hopping and excursions to the most well tourist destinations. The more adventurous inclined can rent motorcycles here, and explore the island at their own pace. The many diving schools and diving boats near the beach will be hard to miss. Around Panglao and the nearby islet Balicasag are some of the best diving spots in the Philippines.
Dauis is the other municipality on Panglao island, and its entrance through two bridges to the mainland, also has a church that is worth visiting – don’t forget to walk to the back and watch the watchtower and convento, – and is the home of Hinagdanan cave, a small underground lake surrounded by stalactites. This cave is one of the tourist destinations in Bohol, and a large number of souvenir shops have been set-up around its entrance.
Loboc is the hometown of the famous Loboc Children Choir who have been traveling to many countries in Asia, Europe, and the U.S.A to share their angelic voice with the world. Loboc is also well-known for its floating restaurants that cruise on the Loboc river and where you can eat Filipino food as much as you can eat and enjoy the live band or watch the Filipino folk dances being performed by the local dancers. The tour will end at Busay falls and then returns to its origin. Since the return trip goes downstream, it is much faster, and before you know it, you will be back at your starting point.
A visit to Loboc and its interesting church is included in most local tours. For a trip with the floating restaurants or attending a performance – or even just a rehearsal – of the Loboc choir, you will need to make separate arrangements.
Not far from Loboc town, a zip-line and cable car have been constructed, not as long and high as the one in Danao, but still an impressive flight across Loboc river, and not requiring the two hour trip to Danao.
In Tarsier Conservation Area in Loboc, Bohol, Philippines, you can also visit the Philippine tarsier (Carlito syrichta). This place is not an officially Tarsier Sanctuary.
Bilar is some 40 km to the North-east of Tagbilaran. When getting closer to the town, the road will make many hair-pin bends, as you are ascending to the higher part of the island. Locals jestingly call this road the “tina-i sa manok”, chicken-intestines.
Bilar is best known for its Mahogany man-made forest, a dark area of thickly reforested land on the way from Tagbilaran to the Chocolate Hills. Most Bohol tours stop here for a short while.
Carmen is best known as the center of the Chocolate Hills. Here you can find the Chocolate Hills Complex, a government-run hotel and restaurant. To enjoy the scenery, you’ll have to first climb the stairs on one of the hills for a magnificent view. This is probably the best spot to enjoy the eyrie landscape of the famous Chocolate Hills. Carmen is 59 km to the north-east of Tagbilaran. This complex is included in virtually all tours of Bohol.
Danao is 92 km north-east of Tagbilaran. For those you likes adventures, the Extreme Adventure Tour or E.A.T. Danao is really it. E.A.T. Danao offers ziplet, sky ride, plunge, suislide, river trekking, river tubing, river kayaking, wall climbing, village tour, organic farm visitation, camping, rappelling, root climbing and caving. For more information, you can visit their website.
You can also visit Laguna hills in barangay Concepcion, Danao to enjoy the landscape of Danao and neighborhood. To see the fascinating sea of clouds on the landscape, you will have to wake up very early in the morning, it is advisable to come around 4:30 o’clock in the morning.
Corella is another inland town, some 10 km north of Tagbilaran. In Corella, you can visit the Tarsier Sanctuary where tarsiers are observed, protected and are freely living on its natural habitat. In the sanctuary you can find trails and pathways (with tour guide) where you can observe the tarsiers in its natural habitat. If you are lucky you can see tarsiers jumping from trees to trees. If you really want to learn something about tarsiers, we strongly advise you to go here. You are not allowed to touch the animals here, but that is only for the good of those shy nocturnal creatures. This is a short tour guided tour. Tarsiers are quite sensitive and nocturnal, to respect that you are not allowed to make noise and sudden movements, it might cause a lot of stress for the Tarsier.
Anda is located on a small peninsula with the same name on the eastern end of Bohol, almost 100 km from Tagbilaran. In spite of the distance, this town is certainly worth a visit, and, since several resorts have been opened here, you can also stay here if you have more time at hand. You won’t regret it, as Anda has much to offer: long unspoiled stretches of white beach, curious lime-stone rock formations and cliffs, countless caves, and some of the nicest and best preserved ceiling paintings of Bohol in its local church. Also for scuba-divers this place has a lot to offer.
Anda is now developed as an eco-tourism destination. On La Manok Island you can visit caves where ancient Andahanons brought native chicken (manok) to offer to the spirits (engkanto) during their rituals. In the La Manok Island tour you will be able to walk through a mangrove forest on a bamboo-made boardwalk. At the end of the boardwalk you will take a kayak or traditional banka to get to La Manok Island where you’ll be guided through the mystical caves.