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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.

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

Next stop: Breakfast Talk with Tagbilaran's Finest

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Reader Comments:

Tony AnchetaTony Ancheta
(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.

Coffee Blogs (or coffee related blogs) by TheLoneRider

  1. Exploring the Cafe Scene of Tagbilaran datedate
  2. Discovering the Neighborhood Cafes of Singapore Aug. 8-22, 2016
  3. Exploring the Emergent Cafe Culture of Penang Jun 18, 2016
  4. Discovering Saigon's Cafe Culture Nov 9 - Dec 17, 2014
  5. Coffee Review: Himalayan Java Coffee Dec. 18, 2013
  6. The Perfect Brew Feb 13, 2008
  7. Homemade Bread Breakfast Aug 1, 2006
  8. Alamid Coffee Jul 9, 2006
  9. Communal Forest with a Newbie May 4, 2006
  10. Mount Cristobal Mar 11, 2006
  11. 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.


  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. Dauis
  5. Freediving at Molave Point, Dauis Nov 6, 2017
  6. The Return to Hinagdanan Cave Nov 5, 2017
  7. Exploring Hinagdanan Cave Oct 24, 2017

  8. Candijay
  9. Roadtrip from Candijay to Ubay July 1, 2017
  10. Firefly Tour in Candijay, Bohol June 30, 2017
  11. Freediving Canawa Cold Spring of Candijay, Bohol June 30, 2017
  12. Splashing at Can-umantad Falls, Candijay, Bohol June 30, 2017

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

  15. Corella
  16. Cycling to the Tarsiers of Corella Oct 26, 2017

  17. Loay
  18. The Ride to Morning Hill Oct 22, 2017
  19. The Ride to the Old Spanish Tower Oct 21, 2017

  20. Loboc
  21. 37 Days in Loboc - Thank You and Goodbye Oct 8-Nov 14, 2017
  22. Exploring Busay Falls, Loktob Spring and Jimili-an Spring...on Foot Nov 11, 2017
  23. Stand-Up Paddle Yoga with Joan Christine Nov 3, 2017
  24. Loboc River Cruise on a Stand-Up Paddle Oct 29, 2017
  25. Exploring Guimba and Sog-ong Caves of Loboc Oct 22, 2017
  26. Ziplining and Cable Car Ride at Eco-Tourism Adventure Park Oct 22, 2017
  27. Savouring Villagio Pizza Oct 19, 2017
  28. Wet and Wild Bonbon-Alegria Downhill Ride Oct 18, 2017
  29. River Cruise on Loboc River Oct 17, 2017
  30. Back Road Ride from Loboc to Loay Oct 17, 2017
  31. Leisurely Ride to Loktob Spring Oct 14, 2017
  32. Sweet Ride to Busay Falls Oct 13, 2017
  33. Bike Climb to the Virgen de Guadalupe Oct 12, 2017
  34. The Ride to Cruz Daku (Big Cross) Oct 11, 2017
  35. Exploring Loboc, Bohol Oct 8, 2017

  36. Panglao
  37. Coastal Cleanup with Plastic Free Bohol Sept 16, 2017
  38. Exploring Panglao June 12-18, 2017
  39. Yoga with Ging and Rai at Oasis Resort June 18, 2017
  40. Freediving with Ben Meerhaeghe at SeaQuest Dive Center June 16, 2017
  41. Scuba Diving Balicasag Island with SeaQuest Dive Center June 15, 2017
  42. Bohol Revisited June 12, 2017
  43. Exploring Bohol Nov 28-30, 2015

  44. San Miguel
  45. Visiting Bayongan Lake Nov 22, 2017

  46. Sevilla
  47. Killer MTB Ride from Sevilla Oct 30, 2017

  48. Sikatuna
  49. Solo Ride to the Sikatuna Tree Park Nov 2, 2017

  50. Tagbilaran
  51. 30 days in Tagbilaran, Thank You! Oct 8, 2017
  52. Breakfast Talk with Tagbilaran's Finest Oct 8, 2017
  53. Exploring the Cafe Scene of Tagbilaran Oct 7, 2017
  54. Yoga for 60+ Students at the University of Bohol Oct 4, 2017
  55. Chocolate Overload at Dalareich Chocolate House October 2, 2017
  56. Talk on Philosophy and Spirituality to 12-Graders at the University of Bohol Sep 27, 2017
  57. Celebrating the International Day of Peace Sep 23, 2017
  58. Judging a Student Debate at the University of Bohol Sept 15, 2017
  59. Fitness Workout with Chie at Bohol Tropics Resort Sept 13, 2017
  60. Modified Ashtanga Primary Series by Jing Yoga, Tagbilaran Sept 12, 2017
  61. Tagbilaran Revisited Sep 7-12, 2017
  62. Hello Tagbilaran! June 19-25, 2017

  63. Ubay
  64. Goodbye and Thank You, Ubay Nov 14-Dec 13, 2017
  65. Visiting the Ubay Stock Farm Dec 8, 2017
  66. Exploring Cambugsay Healing Hills with Lars Jensen Nov 22, 2017
  67. Visiting Ubay Green Park Nov 18, 2017
  68. The Ride to Sinandigan Boardwalk and the Yamashita Treasure Hunt Nov 18, 2017
  69. Ubay in a Nutshell Nov 17, 2017
  70. In Search of the Next Destination Nov 14, 2017
  71. 2 Days in Ubay July 1-3, 2017
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