Mitzi Ilagan | Pinoytrekker.com | Out of the 7,641 (this is the updated count!) islands in the Philippines, you’d probably choose Boracay, Palawan, or Batanes if you’d be given a chance. These are the most famous destinations in the country, for foreign tourists and locals alike. For someone’s who’s had her first out-of-town and airplane ride to a faraway province, I could say that Bohol may be one of the best destinations in the Philippines. It’s basically the best of both worlds. Read on to know why.
Thanks to the Cebu Pacific seat sale, the two-way fare I chanced upon was less than Php 1500. We arrived at Tagbilaran Airport around 2:30 pm. From there, we rode a tricycle (Php 150-250) to our hotel in Panglao Island. We booked in advance for 3 nights at Panglao Regents Park Resort which is an accommodation 5-minutes away from Alona Beach.
Just like a typical tourist, I have decided to book for a Bohol tour package for a more comfortable exploration. A DIY vacation trip may have made me save money, but I didn’t wanna get lost, miss other tourist spots, and waste time on my first out-of-town trip.
For the countryside tour, I have booked with Valeroso Travel & Tours the day we arrived in the island. They have an office near Alona Beach with a large label, “Tourist Information”, which was kind of deceiving because I thought that it was an establishment of the local government. As I got inside, the receptionist gladly handed a piece of paper with a list of tourist destinations and its fees. Here’s a tip: If you think that you’ve finally found the cheapest tours on Facebook, there are cheaper packages in Bohol, just like in Valeroso.
We decided to explore the area after booking the tour, and we found Alona Beach. True to the reviews I found on Facebook, I must say it’s Boracay’s sister. Hotels, bars and restaurants are lined up along the beach, together with more travel and tours offices and souvenir shops.
Here’s the itinerary and entrance fees for the countryside tour:
8:00-8:30 am ETD
9:30 am Baclayon Church (Php 50)
10:10 am Python Sanctuary (Php 45)
10:35 am Butterfly House (Php 45)
11:00 am Loboc Eco Adventure Park (Php 400 for combo ride: 1 way zipline, 1-way cable car; Php 300: 2-way cable car)
11:45 am Loboc River Cruise (Php 450 for entrance fee and buffet)
1:30 pm Tarsier Sanctuary (Php 60)
2:30 Chocolate Hills ATV area (Php 900 for a 30-minute buggy ride or 1-hour ATV ride)
3:20 Chocolate Hills!!! (Php 50)
3:40 Loboc Man-made forest
4:00 Hanging Bridge (Php 20)
5:00 pm Blood Compact Monument
As for our experience, it was only I and my partner who were the only Filipinos who joined the tour. It was surprising but overwhelming to see a lot of tourists in Bohol because our tour date was a weekday and it wasn’t even officially summer yet.
If you’re planning to go to the same places mentioned on the itineray, remember to bring extra clothes, water, extra cash for pasalubong, sunglasses, and a power bank (because every destination would eat up your battery because snaps and videos are endless).
Bohol’s known for the Chocolate Hills, but one thing’s for sure: it has islands which are equally jaw-dropping and impressive as what Boracay and Batangas could offer. Here’s the itinerary for the sea tour.
6:00 am ETD Alona Beach
7:30 am Dolphin watching
8:00 am Balicasag Island
8:30 am Snorkelling/Turtle Spotting (Balicasag Island)
10:30 am Rest/Lunch
11:30 am Departure for Virgin Island
12:00 nn Virgin Island
1:00pm ETA Alona Beach
We have availed the tour from Valeroso Tours, too for Php 700, including the use of snorkeling gear. After that, we opted to rent a motorcycle for our next destinations. Motorcycles are the usual means of transportation of tourists. You could rent it for Php 400-600/day. For our Panglao island tour, we ended up with these two destinations:
From Alona Beach, the cave is easy to locate, especially with the help of Google Maps. Today, it looks like the usual tourist spot with souvenir stores around but you’ll be surprised as you descend through the flight of cemented stairs. There, you’ll find a cave with an underground lake with a greenish surface. For non-swimmers, life vests could be borrowed from the guides.
Bohol Bee Farm
After a dip in Hinagdanan, we went to the Bohol Bee Farm.
The farm tour is Php 20, which includes a tour around the garden where bees in honeycombs are kept, and the factory where different products such as organic ice cream, vegetable bread, and a variety of spreads (pesto and chocolate spread are must-buy pasalubongs!) are made.