TheLoneRider
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Exploring Bohol Nov 28-30, 2015

Exploring Bohol

Location: Bohol (province), Philippines

Elusive Bohol
Next to Batanes (because of expensive air fare), Bohol is probably the most elusive destination for me in the Philippines. In my first attempt, I arrived late at the airport and the plane left without me. I even inherited a small piece of land in Bohol's rural section - but didn't bother to check it out. In the 2 years I stayed in Dumaguete with Bohol just a short boat ride away, I didn't pay a visit. Same thing with my many stays in Cebu. Bohol was simply off-limits to me.

During this stay in Cebu, it finally happened. Metz, together with the Qualfon crew, tagged me along for a long weekend road trip around Bohol that took us to the zipline of Danao, Chocolate Hills, the Tarsier sanctuary and the famous Alona Beach in Panglao.

Fiesta Eats in Tubigon
Upon arrival in Tubigon, a van awaited us and were taken to a staff's residence in Macaas where food lay before us from the fiesta that just took place. Macaas gave me a glimpse of rural life in a small town - simple, unpretentious and warm.

Danao Adventure Park
I only availed of the zipline spanning a valley with a river down below. But the whole adventure package of Danao includes a cable car ride, caving, river rides/trekking, off-road buggy ride, root climbing, rapelling and ultra-glide rides. It could be a whole day affair on its own, but we were soon on the road.

Exploring Bohol
ziplining at Danao Adventure Park

Alona Beach
It was dark when we arrived at Alona Beach in Panglao where we stayed at the quaint Citadel Alona Hotel. A walk around the area revealed how developed the place is. It looked like a mini-Boracay with all the array of shops, restos, hotels and bars. It is far more developed than Dumaguete.

Balicasag Island
We took a short pump boat trip to Balicasag Island. On a good day, dolphins could be seen swimming by - we didn't. Someone told me that in the 1970s, a marine biologist on snorkeling gear (I actually met him but didn't ask him to verify the story) was towed by a boat around the island. He said that he saw a Volkswagen (a name used for a Grouper as big as a Volkswagen) every 50 meters and that the entire time, it was raining fish! Well, our visit was not as mind-blowing as that. Instead, we were greeted with cras commercialization. I guy on a paddle boat offered to take us to the coral reef with snorkel gear for P400/head. When we asked him to take us to the island instead, he gave us a ridiculous figure and said it didn't include a return trip! Disgusted, we simply swam to the island with our vest.

Henann Hotel
Metz and I stopped by the most impressive hotel in the area - Henann, which looked like a 5-star hotel on a massive 6-hectare spread with the longest and widest beach front. Beer was P90 on the menu but with all its surcharge, you end up paying P110. We nursed our beer by the table on the white-sand beach. It is located at the end of the beach so it offered increased privacy with not too many people passing by.

Chocolate Hills
I thought the Chocolate Hills were only a few mounds of earth. I was wrong. It dominated a substantial part of the landscape with its familiar and odd shape. Of course you could stop along the road to view it, but the main vantage point is a developed tourism spot where you get to climb a flight of steps leading to the top of a hill and get a 360° view of the surrounding area. It was interesting, but once you see it, it's a 'been-there-than-that' episode.

Tarsier Conservation Area
The tarsier is interesting for a few reasons. It is one of the smallest primates and only endemic in the Philippines with the greatest concentration in Bohol. Its exceptionally large eyes are fixated to its skull, so they have to turn their heads (up to 180°) and not with their eyes in order to see things around them. With an affordable P60/pax entrance, it's worth a visit - but you don't really see much. They are housed in their natural habitat where you find them curled-up in sleep for the most part - they are nocturnal. There are about 7 sections where you see individual tarsiers in their territorial space. In the merchandising section, you see everything from tarsier headbands to tarsier key chains.

Anda de Boracay
For our 2nd night, we stayed at Anda de Boracay, a beach resort famous with the locals. The hotel structure was a bit eccentric with multiple stairs resembling an M. C. Escher illustration. The pool was an added plus. The beach front itself was long and wide.

Ending Thoughts
Bohol's tourist attractions were spread out and far apart. A lot of time was spent on the road. Chocolate Hills and the tarsier were both interesting, but seeing them once is enough. Alona Beach however, with its entire offering of diving, beach bumming, trendy hotels and bars, access to Balicasag Island, etc. is worth repeated visits. It is perhaps the one area that impressed me the most of Bohol.

--- TheLoneRider

Thank you Metz!!! This tour was just your office affair, but you tagged me along for a wonderful weekend getaway and made me feel at home with your crew.

Next stop: back to Cebu City



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Google Map Bohol, Philippines

tourist attractions in Bohol tourist attractions
  • Danao Adventure Park in Bohol Danao Adventure Park - zip lining, cable car ride, caving, river rides/trekking, off-road buggy ride, root climbing, rappelling and ultra-glide rides
  • Alona Beach in Bohol Alona Beach - hub for tourists with hotels, resorts, restos, bars and dive shops
  • Chocolate Hills in Bohol Chocolate Hills - hills side-by-side shaped like giant Kisses chocolate
  • Tarsier in Bohol Tarsier - pocket-sized marsupia looking like a monkey
  • Balicasag Island in Bohol Balicasag Island - one of the best dive spots in the Philippines
  • Loboc River in Bohol Loboc River - river cruise on a boat
  • Anda Beach in Bohol Anda Beach - fine white sand beach with resorts, restos and cottages, 3 hours by bus from Tagbilaran
  • Cabagnow Cave Pool in Anda, Bohol Cabagnow Cave Pool - brackish water pool about 5ft deep inside a limestone opening on the ground, 8 feet deep, P50
  • Lamanok Island in Anda, Bohol Lamanok Island - walk on a 100m bamboo bridge on stilts to a resto area to take a boat tour to caves and nearly attractions, P300
  • Combento Cave Pool in Bohol Combento Cave Pool - cave pool with underwater cave system, P20
  • Can-umantad Falls in Candijay, Bohol Can-umantad Falls - long narrow drop until it hits a bulbous mound spreading it into a a curtain-like water canopy and down into a splash pool
  • Canawa Cold Spring in Candijay, Bohol Canawa Cold Spring - deep refreshing cold spring with developed pool area
  • Firefly Tour in Candijay, Bohol Firefly Tour - evening boat ride into the river to watch fireflies
hotels in Bohol hotel
  • Bohol Tropics Resort Bohol Tropics Resort - seafront location, manicured surroundings, swimming pool, resto/bar
    0133 Graham Avenue, Brgy. Cogon, Tagbilaran, Bohol 6300
  • Oasis Resort - Alona Beach location, dive center, resto / bar
    Alona Beach, Panglao, Bohol
yoga in Bohol yoga
  • Jing Yoga - health & well being through yoga
    Jing Yoga The Courtyard - Airport Road fronting the church
    Jing Yoga Bohol Meditation and Yoga Center - 2nd Floor Lim Magtajas Bldg. CPG Avenue

Bohol FYI / Tips

Tagbilaran Port to Panglao

You can charter any tricycle from the port all the way to Panglao (~P300), but if you want to do it on the cheap,
  1. don't take the tricycles lined-up inside the port. Walk past the port gate and immediately outside, you'll see many tricycles. Take one to the bus terminal in Dao (~P15)
  2. in Dao, take the jeep that plies the Panglao route (~P20)

Tagbilaran (Bohol) to Cebu City by boat

** schedules and rates keep changing, call for latest schedule
  1. Weesam Express - departs 6:15 AM, 11:30 AM, 4:00 PM
    one way: Economy (aircon) P500.00, Economy (non-aircon) P400.00, First Class P600.00
    round trip promo (at least 2 days advance booking): Economy (aircon) P600, Economy(non-aircon) P500, First Class P1200
    round trip promo (1 day or on the day booking): Economy (aircon) P800, Economy (non-aircon) P700, First Class P1200
  2. Ocean Jet - departs 6-7:05-8:20-9:20-11:40AM, 1-2-3:30-4:20-5:30-6:30PM, 2 hours, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
    Open Air / Tourist Class P800, Business Class P1000
    +63(32)255 7560 / +63 (32) 255 0115 / 0917 638 0000
  3. SuperCat (2GO) - departs 5:50-11AM, 3:45-5:25-8:15PM, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
    P 500.00
    +63 32 233 7000

Things to do, Places to go in Bohol

  1. Chocolate Hills - this is a clustering of more than 1200 hills within a 50km2 area. They range in height from 30-50 meters. What's unusual is their near-perfect conical shape resembling an individual chocolate chip. No one knows how they were formed. Entrance is P50/pax.
  2. Tarsier Conservation Area - located Upper Bonbon, Loboc. The tarsiers are no longer being played at by tourists as circus props, but instead, visitors now view them in cordoned-off areas in their natural 6ha habitat. As they are territorial and nocturnal, they are predictable on where they can be viewed. P50/pax.
  3. Alona Beach (Panglao) - Alona Beach is the tourist hub of Bohol. It has 1.5 kms of white sand beach lined-up by bars, hotels and restos. Alona is also the jump-off point for Balicasag Island, a world class dive destination.
  4. Danao Adventure Park - located in Barangay Magtangtang, 72 kms (2 hours ride) from Tagbilaran. Adventure activities include river trekking, tyrolean traverse, rappelling, bouldering, rock climbing and ziplining.

Bohol

    Anda
  1. Exploring Combento Cave Pool June 29, 2017
  2. Visiting Cabagnow Cave Pool of Anda Jun 28, 2017
  3. Exploring Anda, Bohol June 25-30, 2017

  4. Candijay
  5. Roadtrip from Candijay to Ubay July 1, 2017
  6. Firefly Tour in Candijay, Bohol June 30, 2017
  7. Freediving Canawa Cold Spring of Candijay, Bohol June 30, 2017
  8. Splashing at Can-umantad Falls, Candijay, Bohol June 30, 2017

  9. Tagbilaran
  10. Judging a Student Debate at the University of Bohol Sept 15, 2017
  11. Fitness Workout with Chie at Bohol Tropics Resort Sept 13, 2017
  12. Modified Ashtanga Primary Series by Jing Yoga, Tagbilaran Sept 12, 2017
  13. Tagbilaran Revisited Sep 7-12, 2017
  14. Hello Tagbilaran! June 19-25, 2017

  15. Ubay
  16. 2 Days in Ubay July 1-3, 2017

  17. Panglao
  18. Coastal Cleanup with Plastic Free Bohol Sept 16, 2017
  19. Exploring Panglao June 12-18, 2017
  20. Yoga with Ging and Rai at Oasis Resort June 18, 2017
  21. Freediving with Ben Meerhaeghe at SeaQuest Dive Center June 16, 2017
  22. Scuba Diving Balicasag Island with SeaQuest Dive Center June 15, 2017
  23. Bohol Revisited June 12, 2017
  24. Exploring Bohol Nov 28-30, 2015
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