June 25-30, 2017
Exploring Anda, Bohol
Location: Anda (municipality), Bohol (province), Philippines
Because of its distance from Tagbilaran (3 hours), the main hub of Bohol, Anda is the lesser known beach area in Bohol, overshadowed by Alona Beach in Panglao. But Anda is more pristine, less commercial, less expensive, with the same fine white sand beaches that extend way out before it gets deep. The main beach area at the Poblacion is about 1.5km long, but there are other beaches along the coast. The shore is lined-up with a few resorts and lodging places for locals and travelers alike. It begged to be explored!
Ferd 'Toys' Aguilar
As good fortune would have it, my high school buddy from Manila was in Cebu and decided to join me in Anda. Ferd and I go back a long way from our freediving days in Mabini, Batangas, our island exploration in Polilio Island and Blues nights in Manila. Here in Anda, we spent a lot of time just watching tv, beer on the beach, coffee on the roof deck of Zenith's Bar and sometimes, heated arguments about quantum mechanics, genetics and family. It was good 'ol times again with Ferd until he headed back to Cebu.
Contact: Dodong Escobido
Google Map Location: 9°44'32.8"N 124°34'27.9"E
Social Media: Facebook
For 5 nights, I stayed at Anda Lodge in a decent air-conditioned room with ensuite, wifi, water and cable tv for only P600/night/2 pax (low season)! This is the most affordable a/c guesthouse I know as far as my hotel scouring has taken me. It's a 2-minute walk from the beach and just across the street from the main eateries/market. This place is a winner for value! For a bigger group, they also have 2-bed and 3-bed family rooms.
Tuesdays become animated as it's market day. Vendors occupy a big open lot behind the market to put up their booths. You get all kinds - fresh fish, veggies, ukay-ukay clothing, household items, etc. People from all the barrios in Anda make the trip to Poblacion to get their supplies.
This attraction is common in Anda but unknown outside its boundaries - not even in Tagbilaran. Lamanok is an islet you reach by boat from a mangrove forest about 7kms from Poblacion (tricycle, P30/pax one-way). From the main road, you take about a 100m walk on a bamboo bridge elevated by stilts along the mangrove forest. At the end is a resto fronting the sea. From there, you can take a boat tour, P300/pax, to explore the caves and nearby attractions. Unfortunately, I arrived too early. It was still closed so I walked along the bamboo bridge until I reached a locked gate. It was also fiesta in the area so I was advised that the people might sleep in a bit from an all-night fiesta activity.
After Ferd left, there wasn't much for social life. There were hardly travelers around. In the Philippines, it's not easy talking to the local travelers - it's not in the culture to be talking to local strangers unless you're a white guy. I usually default to the resident locals - not local travelers. I miss the company of backpackers - the kind of culture I've experienced along the backpacker trail of Southeast Asia. That's until I saw a group of backpackers eating behind the market. I approached them and started sharing travel insights. Later that night, we hung-out by the beach over some spirits. A group of local travelers from Bilar were there who invited us over to their tent. It was a fun night of socials and drinks.
After staying in Anda for 6 days, it felt time to move on despite its many wonders I haven't seen yet. That will be for the next visit should I be favored to be here again. Anda feels like an onion with its many layered dimensions. Anda is more than just a white sand beach.
How to get to Anda from Tagbilaran Port
- take a tricycle from the port to Dao Bus Terminal (P15, 10 mins)
- at the bus terminal the yellow bus makes several trips/day to Anda (P95, 3 hours)
Departure times: 5:20am, 8:50am, 10:20am, 12:45pm, 2:20pm, 4:20pm and 5:50pm
- get-off at the Anda public market. The beaches and resorts are just a short walk away
Bohol FYI / Tips
- the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is located within the Alona Beach area
- the tourist attractions in Bohol are far apart and spread-out. It would be difficult to visit them all using public mass transit. Better hire a van (P3500/day) if in a big group, or rent a motorcycle (P400/day + gas)
- Bohol relies on its tourism for revenue. As expected, everything they can capitalize on from tourism is extensively used and developed
Tagbilaran Port to PanglaoYou can charter any tricycle from the port all the way to Panglao (~P300), but if you want to do it on the cheap,
- 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)
- 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
- 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
- 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
- SuperCat (2GO) - departs 5:50-11AM, 3:45-5:25-8:15PM, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
+63 32 233 7000
Things to do, Places to go in Bohol
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Carlos P. Garcia Island
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