Being right next to Cebu, Bohol is a very convenient weekender for me. I love the fact that is not as saturated as Cebu City and there are tons of fun filled things to do. I’ve been there 3 times and I still have a long list to do including diving and cycling up in the air (yes, it is possible) but more on the later.
THINGS TO DO
1. Visit Chocolate Hills in Carmen
There are buses and jeepneys that passes by the base of the view point several times a day. From there, motorcycles can whisk you up the hill for 50 pesos each trip where the views are compromised by kiosks selling kitschy souvenirs. But for an unobstructed view of the Chocolate hills, you can pay 50 pesos admission and climb up the stairs for about 30 minutes and take your (sweaty) selfie. 🙂 Or, relax a little bit and do one a proper photo op with thousands of hills in the background.
2. Take a closer at the world’s smallest Primate in Corella
Just beyond the attractive jungle-fringed town of Corella, near the village of Sikatuna, is the Tarsier Research & Development Center, a tarsier sanctuary open to the general public. This simultaneously crazy and cuddly looking little primate can fit in the palm of your hand yet leap 5m, rotate its head almost 360 degrees, and move its ears in the direction of sound, and it has huge imploring eyes, 150 times bigger than a human’s in relation to its body size. Admission is only 25 pesos.
To get there, we took a jeepney bound for Sikatuna from Tagbilaran terminal behind Tagbilaran City Square. Tell the driver to drop you off at the junction of Corella Tarsier and from there, it is a short walk to the center.
PS. There is also another sanctuary in Loboc.
3. Beach bum in Anda
“Hidden” seemed an appropriate word. With Anda some 100 kilometers away from the capital, the trip took more than two hours, with many twists and turns, waves beating beyond the barrier. As we drove on, fewer establishments lined the road. Each town we passed by gave the impression that we were moving farther away from comfort. Soon, one side of the road would mostly be mountains and trees. And then the coaster turned a corner and there was the town center – a church, a field, a stage, a few houses, the municipal hall.
People? About a dozen. Even at noontime, that seemed odd for a tourism destination. And then we stepped out of the coaster onto a sunny day. Before us, a patch of an unoccupied white sand beach called Quintale, a name the town used to be known by. Somehow the quiet and the absence of crowds felt just right.
To get there, take a bus or van bound for Anda. I recommend taking the van because they are more frequent, faster and they don’t cramp up the passengers. They leave every hour regardless if the van is full or not. A two-hour trip costs 100 pesos only.
4. Zipline and Cable car ride in Loboc Ecotourism Adventure Park
This is one of the most exciting activity I had in Bohol. The 2-way package is 350.00 per person which includes zip line and cable car on the way back. But of course, there are other packages to choose from which varies in prices and level of adrenaline. The zip line + cable car seemed like a good way try the best of both. The interesting part of this ride was the panoramic view of the Loboc river from atop. Its roughly about just 45 seconds fly but definitely worth it.
As a souvenir, you can get a CD copy for a fee of all your photos taken by their official photographer. Or, you can bring your own cameras as long as its securely fastened.
5. Take a river cruise in Loboc River.
Once aboard, you will enjoy the scenic view of the Loboc river. Another interesting attraction here is the Brgy. Tourism Projects where villagers will perform native dances for the tourists. Prices start at 400 pesos with lunch & live music included.
6. Visit the Butterfly sanctuary in Bilar
A popular stopover for day trippers is the Simply Butterflies Conservation Center that houses an exhibit of butterflies of all sizes, live and let’s say, part of the framed exhibit. For 50 pesos, you will be ushered by the staff towards the exhibit which also helps you with your photo op with the butterfly. Then, you will be brought outdoor where you can ‘play’ with the butterflies of all sizes and colors.
To get there, take a bus or van bound for Carmen or Bilar. Tell the driver to drop you off at the butterfly sanctuary, it is along the main road.
By plane: There are direct flights from Manila via PAL, Cebu Pacific Air and AirAsia. There are no flights from Tagbilaran to other destinations in the Philippines.
By sea: The cheaper way to Bohol is via Tubigon. Take MV Starcraft from Pier 1 for 200 pesos. After approximately one hour, you will reach Tubigon port. Walk towards the terminal outside the port area. You can (politely) ignore the crowd for ambushing you to take a transportation. It is literally a short walk. Then, take a bus or van to Tagbilaran for 80 pesos (bus) or 120 pesos (van). After about 2 hours, you will reach Tagbilaran City.
The advantage about taking this route is you will see the rural side of Bohol especially the thousands of Chocolate Hills without making a special trip for it. Two birds with one stone!
WHERE TO STAY
If you want to enjoy Bohol at a lower price, stay at Tagbilaran City instead of Panglao. You can take public transportation such as jeepneys, tricycles and motorbikes to get around.
I recommend Nisa Traveler’s Hotel. Their rooms are decent though simple and practical. For 650 pesos, we got a fully air-conditioned room with shared toilet and shower. As a backpacker, this was good enough for since we are out sightseeing most of the time.