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Food Odyssey

Exploring the Cafe Scene of Tagbilaran Oct 7, 2017

Exploring the Cafe Scene of Tagbilaran

Location: Tagbilaran (city), Bohol (province), Philippines

Cafe Scene
As a cafe denizen in search of the perfect brew, I'm always drawn to a coffee shop with character - themed, trendy, chique, elegant, muted, subdued, tastefully loud or even garishly kitsch. Sorry, I'm not including the cookie-cutter templates of the big chains (Starbucks, Bo's, Gloria Jeans, etc.) - just the independents. Here in Tagbilaran, there is a healthy sprinkling of fashionable cafes that sprung-up only in the last 2 or so years. Cafe denizens here would mostly rather spend time in conversation with friends than belt it out in a karaoke bar or be glued to their hand-helds.

cafes of Tagbilaran

Fred's Book Cafe TagbilaranFred's Book Cafe Fred's Book Cafe Tagbilaran
Fred's Book Cafe is themed on a library...a small one, where guests can browse into the limited selection and read up or even borrow a book. Owner and friend, Nizah, is on a literacy crusade, so the library/bookstore theme came about with full intention. An unpretentious cafe, it offers an accessible price-point entry to those who want good coffee, laid-back ambience and decent wifi (like me). Yes, I get all that for a reasonable P60 cuppa - bang for the buck! Their halo-halo has the finest ice shavings. This cafe has been my favorite since my early days in Tagbilaran - long before I met Nizah.

Mosia Cafe TagbilaranMosia Cafe Mosia Cafe Tagbilaran
Mosia is a little out of the way. It's a small intimate cafe in a garden setting. I kept hearing about this place from the Plastic Free Bohol community when I participated at the cleanup in Libaong Beach. Staff are pleasant and helpful. This cafe feels inviting for more chillout visits.

Tuko Cafe TagbilaranTuko Cafe Tuko Cafe Tagbilaran
"Gecko Cafe" would have been more comprehensible to passing foreigners, but this quaint cafe along Celestino Gallares is both charming and disarming with a budget-friendly brewed coffee at P65/cup. Quite a manageable size to feel cozy with, add eclectic appointments to feel hipster-ish for a young crowd. Compelling touch is a glass wall with wooden frame matrix acting as narrow shelves for la-artsy decor. Great value cafe for the reasonable coffee price-point with free wifi.

Caffeine Cafe TagbilaranCaffeine Cafe Caffeine Cafe Tagbilaran
Caffeine is an easy-to-miss cafe if you're not alert. Like most proper cafes in Tagbilaran, it is quaint with tasteful touches - not drab and nothing loud. Pop background music is subdued to make way for conversation. This is a conducive meeting place for friends who like conversation.

Tamper Cafe TagbilaranTamper Cafe Tamper Cafe Tagbilaran
Tamper Cafe ranks high up in the plush cafe category - high ceiling, glass wall, unified white theme, classy appointments, garden lighting for evening drama and urban-hip ambience. Its picture-friendly appointments give you bragging rights for a selfie. Cafe Americano at P75/cup - not bad for what you get. I've seen lesser cafes charge for more. This should give Starbucks a run for its money.

Country Cafe TagbilaranCountry Cafe Country Cafe Tagbilaran
Country Cafe is a tucked-in neighborhood secret that even locals of Tagbilaran are oblivious about. It hides inside Wregent Plaza Hotel. What makes it great? P40 brewed coffee price-entry point, decent wifi, a/c and outdoor seating and it's right in the heart of town!

29th M. Street Cafe Tagbilaran29th M. Street Cafe 29th M. Street Cafe Tagbilaran
29th M. Street Cafe started out as a milk tea joint after owner Junel got fascinated with the milk tea rave in Cebu. Now, it has become iconic with students doing their school work and meet-ups. As for Junel, it's simply a chillout place for friends who hang and spend the wee hours over food and drinks.

Honourable Mentions
I didn't really find time to go to all the cafes and to the ones I'd been to, didn't have ample time to write about it. But these are other noteworthy cafes:

Ending Thoughts
I wish I could check out all the cafes and write about it. But the bill can add up and I don't really want to have sleepless nights over caffeine overload.

Considering that the cafe scene in Tagbilaran emerged only in the last 2 years, the proliferation is very encouraging. I've seen this trend happening not just in the Philippines but also in Penang and major capitals of Southeast Asia like Singapore. The cafes of Tagbilaran are inviting and engaging - from unpretentious value-priced cafe to those where it's fashionable to see-and-be-seen. I didn't come across a renegade cafe or one that stood out for its uniqueness - it would be a mold-breaker to have one here. Like the Boholano culture that doesn't call attention to itself, so are the cafes - they all seem to have this muted grace. For now, they are gathering places for friends but I could imagine, a few years further down and cafes could be about radical self-expression the way it has been elevated in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). With Tagbilaran's cafe trend in pursuit of coffee perfection, it wouldn't be surprising to see a Third Wave cafe here, sooner rather than later.

--- TheLoneRider

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Reader Comments:

Tony AnchetaTony Philippines
Greg & Sally Tree Garden Cafe
(Oct 8, 2017) You havent visited for awhile...visit me some time soon...and I hope my cafe passes your review

"I hope my cafe passes your review" -- TONY ANCHETA
(Oct 8, 2017) flattering....but Greg & Sally Tree Garden Cafe has long passed the reviews of far more established national publications and prime time tv shows including Kris Aquino's and other household celebrities' :) But sure, I'd enjoy a coldie with you and the rest of the crew at your cafe next time I visit Manila. It'd be good to catch up.

Next stop: Breakfast Talk with Tagbilaran's Finest

Related Bohol Coffee/Cacao Links:

Coffee Blogs

  1. Exploring Nong Khai's Cafe Culture Jun 10, 2020
  2. Cafescape of Hanoi's Old Quarter, Vietnam Jan 6-24, 2019
  3. Rediscovering the Cafe Tradition of Ho Chi Minh City Aug 7-27, 2018
  4. Exploring The Cafe Scene Of Tagbilaran Oct 7, 2017
  5. Discovering the Neighborhood Cafes of Singapore Aug. 8-22, 2016
  6. Discovering Saigon's Cafe Culture Nov 9 - Dec 17, 2014
  7. The Perfect Coffee Brew Feb 13, 2008
  8. Exploring the Emergent Cafe Culture of Penang Jun 18, 2016
  9. Coffee Review: Himalayan Java Coffee Dec. 18, 2013
  10. Homemade Bread Breakfast Aug 1, 2006
  11. Alamid Coffee Jul 9, 2006
  12. Communal Forest with a Newbie May 4, 2006
  13. Mount Cristobal Mar 11, 2006
  14. The Afternoon Coffee Ritual Dec 12, 2002

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
  • Fox & The Firefly Cottages Fox & The Firefly Cottages - SUP paddle boarding, luxury riverside native cottages, mountain bike tours, SUP yoga
    Baranggay Valladolid, Loboc, Bohol
  • 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.


  • Exploring Combento Cave Pool June 29, 2017
  • Visiting Cabagnow Cave Pool of Anda Jun 28, 2017
  • Exploring Anda, Bohol June 25-30, 2017

  • Candijay
  • Roadtrip from Candijay to Ubay July 1, 2017
  • Firefly Tour in Candijay, Bohol June 30, 2017
  • Freediving Canawa Cold Spring of Candijay, Bohol June 30, 2017
  • Splashing at Can-umantad Falls, Candijay, Bohol June 30, 2017

  • Carlos P. Garcia Island
  • Exploring Carlos P. Garcia (CPG) Island by Bike Dec 1, 2017

  • Corella
  • Cycling to the Tarsiers of Corella Oct 26, 2017

  • Dauis
  • Cliff Dive at Molave Cove Feb 11, 2018
  • Freediving at Molave Point, Dauis Nov 6, 2017
  • The Return to Hinagdanan Cave Nov 5, 2017
  • Exploring Hinagdanan Cave Oct 24, 2017

  • Loay
  • The Ride to Morning Hill Oct 22, 2017
  • The Ride to the Old Spanish Tower Oct 21, 2017

  • Loboc
  • Goodbye Loboc, Goodbye Philippines Mar 15, 2018
  • The CubbyHole: Envisioning a Utopian Shangrila Mar 10, 2018
  • Fat Shredder with the Russian Twist Mar 2, 2018
  • No-Dismount Climb to Cruz Daku Mar 1, 2018
  • Jeffrey's Cardio Program Feb 26, 2018
  • SUP Yoga with Lalah de Dios at Fox and the Firefly Feb 25, 2018
  • Bike Ride with Juan Huerte: Loboc, Sikatuna, Corella and Baclayon Feb 25, 2018
  • CT Scan Result Feb 23, 2018
  • The Silent Killer has Arrived Feb 19-22, 2018
  • 24+ Days at Lyn's Backpackers Inn Jan 23 - Feb 16, 2018
  • All Day Fun with the Loboc Crew Feb 11, 2018
  • 20-Minute Rope Skipping w/ Pranayama and Meditation Feb 9, 2018
  • Calisthenics with Jeffrey Feb 7, 2018
  • Abs-Core Workout with Jeffrey Feb 5, 2018
  • High Intensity Cardio Workout Feb 2, 2018
  • Ride to the Landslide with Jeffrey Jan 31, 2018
  • Farm Tour with Mr. Raymond Cal Jan 29, 2018
  • Cacao Drum Roasting Jan 27, 2018
  • Making Sikwate: from cacao fruit to a hot dark chocolate drink Jan 25, 2018
  • 5 Weeks at the Fox and Firefly Cottages Dec 13, 2017 - Jan 23, 2018
  • In-House Yoga Teacher at the Fox and Firefly Cottages Jan 22, 2018
  • Mountain Bike Rides from Tagbilaran to Loboc Jan 18, 2018
  • Firefly Tour on a Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) Dec 19, 2017
  • Playing Mountain Bike Tour Optimizer Dec 18, 2017
  • Back to Loboc Dec 13, 2017
  • 37 Days in Loboc - Thank You and Goodbye Oct 8-Nov 14, 2017
  • Exploring Busay Falls, Loktob Spring and Jimili-an Spring...on Foot Nov 11, 2017
  • Stand-Up Paddle Yoga with Joan Christine Nov 3, 2017
  • Loboc River Cruise on a Stand-Up Paddle Oct 29, 2017
  • Exploring Guimba and Sog-ong Caves of Loboc Oct 22, 2017
  • Ziplining and Cable Car Ride at Eco-Tourism Adventure Park Oct 22, 2017
  • Savouring Villagio Pizza Oct 19, 2017
  • Wet and Wild Bonbon-Alegria Downhill Ride Oct 18, 2017
  • River Cruise on Loboc River Oct 17, 2017
  • Back Road Ride from Loboc to Loay Oct 17, 2017
  • Leisurely Ride to Loktob Spring Oct 14, 2017
  • Sweet Ride to Busay Falls Oct 13, 2017
  • Bike Climb to the Virgen de Guadalupe Oct 12, 2017
  • The Ride to Cruz Daku (Big Cross) Oct 11, 2017
  • Exploring Loboc, Bohol Oct 8, 2017

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

  • San Miguel
  • Visiting Bayongan Lake Nov 22, 2017

  • Sevilla
  • Killer MTB Ride from Sevilla Oct 30, 2017

  • Sikatuna
  • Solo Ride to the Sikatuna Tree Park Nov 2, 2017

  • Tagbilaran
  • 30 days in Tagbilaran, Thank You! Oct 8, 2017
  • Breakfast Talk with Tagbilaran's Finest Oct 8, 2017
  • Exploring the Cafe Scene of Tagbilaran Oct 7, 2017
  • Yoga for 60+ Students at the University of Bohol Oct 4, 2017
  • Chocolate Overload at Dalareich Chocolate House October 2, 2017
  • Talk on Philosophy and Spirituality to 12-Graders at the University of Bohol Sep 27, 2017
  • Celebrating the International Day of Peace Sep 23, 2017
  • Judging a Student Debate at the University of Bohol Sept 15, 2017
  • Fitness Workout with Chie at Bohol Tropics Resort Sept 13, 2017
  • Modified Ashtanga Primary Series by Jing Yoga, Tagbilaran Sept 12, 2017
  • Tagbilaran Revisited Sep 7-12, 2017
  • Hello Tagbilaran! June 19-25, 2017

  • Ubay
  • Goodbye and Thank You, Ubay Nov 14-Dec 13, 2017
  • Visiting the Ubay Stock Farm Dec 8, 2017
  • Exploring Cambugsay Healing Hills with Lars Jensen Nov 22, 2017
  • Visiting Ubay Green Park Nov 18, 2017
  • The Ride to Sinandigan Boardwalk and the Yamashita Treasure Hunt Nov 18, 2017
  • Ubay in a Nutshell Nov 17, 2017
  • In Search of the Next Destination Nov 14, 2017
  • 2 Days in Ubay July 1-3, 2017
  • Currency Converter

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