Accessible, beautiful, diverse. This is Bohol – a province that holds almost every bit of the thousands of islands of the Philippines. From the world-famous naturally diverse dive sites, rivers, hills, canyons, mangroves, caves, pristine beaches, historical and cultural sites, wildlife to fun-filled adrenaline rushing adventures; Bohol has it all in its plate which makes it an ideal place to visit and explore. If you also plan to visit the province soon, here’s a Bohol DIY adventure guide to help you with!
Bohol is a province in the Central Visayas region that is widely known to be the home of the famous Chocolate Hills and the smallest primate in the world, the tarsiers. But more than these, the province is actually a place of culture and history and a home to overwhelming wonders in the land and the seas. These made the province a popular tourist destination in the Philippines. Bohol can provide you with both a relaxing to an adrenaline-packed adventure.
Best Time to Visit
Safe to say, the best time to visit Bohol is during the dry season in the country – around March to May. This is also when you can best enjoy its pristine beaches and you’d be able to witness the Chocolate Hills being the ‘chocolate brown’ that they are. However, expect a surge of tourists in these times. Generally, though, Bohol is among those places in the country that can be visited all year round.
Though the wet season comes around the third quarter of the year, some tourists would opt to visit the province especially the city of Tagbilaran to attend the Sandugo Festival held every July. This Festival is a celebration and commemoration of the blood compact between the Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and the chieftain of Bohol, Datu Sikatuna.
The language that is widely spoken in the province is Bisaya. Most of the Boholanos, though, could understand and speak Tagalog and could converse in English.
Getting to, Around and Away
How to Get There
From Manila to Panglao, Bohol
- Book a flight from Manila to Panglao. Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and AirAsia has two flights from Manila to Panglao daily.
- From Bohol-Panglao International Airport, you can take a van just outside the Arrivals to your hostel. Fare is usually at Php 100.00 per person.
From Cebu City to Tagbilaran, Bohol
OceanJet has four trips daily from Cebu Pier to Tagbilaran, Bohol that departs every two hours. The first trip is as early as 7:00 AM with a travel time of more or less two hours. Fare ranges from Php 655.00 to Php 1,175.00.
Lite Ferries, another shipping line that is currently operational, is a cheaper option with a fare starting at Php 255.00. However, take note that travel time is longer as it is a cargo ship (RORO).
From Balbagon, Camiguin to Jagna, Bohol
The Super Shuttle Ferry sails daily from Balbagon Port in Camiguin to Jagna, Bohol. Travel time is around 4 to 5 hours. The same ferry departs from Jagna port at around 1:00 PM. Fare is at Php 425.00 for Economy class.
You may also want to read: CAMIGUIN DIY TRAVEL GUIDE 2021 (Itinerary + Budget)
From Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental to Tagbilaran, Bohol
Trips from Dumaguete City to Tagbilaran, Bohol are very limited as it is only on Mondays and Fridays. There’s only one trip as well which is usually at 2:30 PM. Travel time is around 2 hours with the fare starting at Php 700.00.
From Larena, Siquijor to Tagbilaran, Bohol
OceanJet has only one trip everyday at departing at 12:30 PM from Larena Pier in Siquijor to Tagbilaran Pier in Bohol.
- Rent a Motorbike – If you opt to go into short rides here and there, renting a motorbike is more ideal and practical. You can rent and drive your motorbike around for only Php 350.00 (gas not included). There are lots of shops around where you can rent one. Just make sure that you at least have a driver’s license with you.
- Rent a car – Shall you decide to go on a long drive or road trip for your Bohol DIY trip, renting a car is among the best options. We rented one (Toyota Innova) which costs Php 2,300.00 a day (gas not included).
You may opt to book your self-drive motorbike for as low as Php 350.00 and car at Php 1,500.00 via Book2Wheel. This website allows tourists or travelers to book their desired ride in advance, anytime and anywhere. To book your ride in Bohol, click the photo for 10% discount upon booking. You may also use my unique code, “Queen-Cebu” to get an additional 25% discount.
3. Hire a Tricycle – Tricycle fare starts at Php 50.00. However, we noticed that we are usually charged Php 150.00/head especially when going to South Palms, Napaling and the port/ tourism office. This is only ideal if you are going out maybe once or twice. If you do more than that, rent a motorbike instead.
Where to Stay
For expats and travelers on a budget, hostels are always the top and best choice of accommodation. One of the best hostels to stay at in Panglao near Alona beach is Moon Fools Hostel. You’d really get that backpacker feels as you share rooms, breakfast and common areas with other travelers. What we also loved about it is that it is just a few minutes away from Alona beach, the banks, convenience stores and restaurants.
Apart from Moon Fools, here are the other hotels in Panglao that you may want to consider:
- Moon Fools Hostel (Panglao) +63925 588 9868
- Island World Panglao (038) 427 4925
- Ecostay Panglao +63939 155 3800
- Amihan Resort Panglao (038) 427 1929
- Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort (038) 416 0695
- Modala Beach Resort (038) 411 0808
- Hennan Resort, Alona Beach, Panglao
- South Palms Resort Panglao
During our Bohol DIY road trip, we planned to visit the town of Tubigon and stay for the night in there, too. We found out about this resort called Reimer Residences in a private subdivision in the town. We had the whole resort to our group which definitely gave us a break from the tourist-packed places that we’ve been to in the past few days. It was also just few minutes away from the town proper where the market is as well as lots of stores and shops for food. Further, the host was very nice and accommodating!
There were three apartments in the resort with two having its own kitchen. Rates range from Php 1,299.00 to Php 1,799.00. You can also save by renting the whole resort at only Php 4,000.00. For inquiries and booking, you may reach them through the following:
Mobile (Philippines): +63 977 0656 422
Mobile (Outside Philippines): +4917622583529
Facebook: Reimer Residences Tubigon Bohol
Places to Visit
Blood Compact Shrine
One of the most significant historical events that happened in the province is the ‘sandugo’ or blood compact between the Spanish conquistador, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Bohol’s chieftain, Datu Sikatuna. Boholanos have set up a monument in Tagbilaran City to commemorate this treaty of friendship with an annual celebration through a Festival every July.
Baclayon Church is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. The church is said to be built in 1717 from corals cemented with egg whites. Few years after the National Museum of the Philippines and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines declared it as a National Cultural Treasure and a Historical Landmark, a destructive earthquake in 2014 damaged it severely. Recently, the Boholanos reconstructed it.
Bohol is known to be the home of the famous Chocolate Hills. These hills are smooth, uniformly-shaped conical, isolated hills are dead build up of coral reefs, now limestones, from 2 to 5 million years ago. During the dry season in the country, these hills turn into brown – the reason why we all call it the Chocolate Hills.
Tarsier Sanctuary and Conservation Area is just a few meters away from the man-made forest. With an entrance fee of Php 100.00 ($2.00), you can see the four tarsiers (as of time of writing) in a seemingly natural habitat. I refused to see them on my visit because two of my friends who have been there told me how they didn’t like the idea of them being in the sanctuary. Tarsiers, the smallest primate in the world, are endangered nocturnal animals and they seemed to be bothered by the presence of the tourists around them in the day who visit and take photos of them. My friends said the looked distressed in people’s presence. So we honestly skipped it.
Man-made forest is located in Bilar, Bohol. It features tall Mahogany trees on both sides of this 2-Kilometer long road. It is a reforestation project in the 1960s in response to the alarming aftermaths of Kaingin in Loboc. As peaceful and beautiful as it may seem, it is nothing but a 10-hectare land of Mahogany without a thriving wildlife. The forest is a “biodiversity-dead zone”. Mahogany trees are considered an alien and harmful to the land and researchers have explained that native ones such as Molave, Mango and others could have been more productive.
For only Php 550.00, you can enjoy a cruise with lunch before a cultural show for more or less an hour and a half in Loboc River. The best time to visit of course is during the dry season or when it’s generally sunny since it brings out the river’s natural beauty.
Danao Adventure Park
The Danao Adventure Park staff told us that activities that require the use of harness also requires the use of PPE
Photos by There Cee Goes
If you are into extreme adventure, Danao Adventure Park is among the best places to be in Bohol. It is where you can try the famous “Plunge” – a 75-meter freefall by the canyon. Apparently, it is the highest canyon swing the world. Apart from Plunge, you may also enjoy the other activities in the park such as Suislide (zipline), Skyride, Giant Swing, Glass cliff walk, Sky biking, Kayaking, Root Climb Rappelling and more. Each ride has a separate fee apart from the Php 40.00 entrance fee to the park.
One of the best public beaches of the province is the Alona Beach. It is a long stretch of clean white sand beach in the southwest part of Panglao, Bohol. Apart from sunbathing and swimming, you may also go snorkeling and diving into it. There are also lines of restaurants by the beach.
Napaling Dive Point
If you would want to swim with the sardines of Bohol, Napaling Dive Point is the place to be. From Panglao, you can reach Napaling Dive Point in a 25-minute tricycle or motorcycle drive. The driver charged us Php 300.00 for a ride from our hostel near Alona Beach Almira’s Dive Resort in Napaling. Take note that they charge separate fees for the entrance (Php 100.00), environmental fee (Php 100.00) and guide fee (Php 100.00 per hour/ per person). There are other resorts in Napaling that you may check into. There’s Kalikasan and Molave as well whereas the former is nearer to where the sardines usually are. The fees are the same for most of the resorts but when we stayed at Kalikasan, they only charged us Php 100.00 for guide regardless of the number of hours we were diving.
Photo by May Gumangan
If you’re looking forward to swimming and diving with lots of turtles and fishes, Balicasag Island is the place to be. On the right side of the island facing the ocean, you could dive with turtles at 5 to 7 meters depth. Be reminded not to go near them for about a meter nor attempt to touch them as they would swim away in distress.
During our Bohol DIY trip, we rented a boat worth Php 2,500.00 for a half day. Upon stepping into the island, the staff asked us to stay at the holding area to wait for our small boats. Each or two of us had to get into a smaller boat which costs Php 100.00 (per head). These took us to the dive sites where we only stayed for less than an hour.
Capadpadan Rice Terraces
Another off the beaten path destination in the province is the Capadpadan Rice Terraces in Candijay. Embarking into the long dirt road of this east countryside of the province promises a breathtaking scene. This creative farming practice by the slopes of Candijay mountains has attracted tourists who would endure a long drive from the city to experience the beauty and serenity in the place.
This 60-feet high tiered falls is considered to be the tallest in the province. It sits just by the Capadpadan Rice Terraces in the quaint town of Candijay. The locals named the falls after its height ‘can-uman’ which means sixty. Don’t miss out on this waterfalls bring on your Bohol DIY adventure!
After enjoying the scenes of the landscape in the east, you may not want to miss out on its very own long stretch of powdery white sand beach of Anda. One of those that you shouldn’t miss in the town is the Quinale Beach. It is among the most gorgeous and pristine beach that you’ll ever see.
Benliw Dam is a Small Reservoir Irrigation Project located in the municipalit of Ubay, Bohol. It serves more or less 400 hectares of rice fields in the barangays nearby. This has recently become a favorite off the beaten path destinations of some due to the serenity of the place not to mention how dramatically scenic it is!
Cabagnow Cave Pool
You can also go extreme as you jump and swim into more or less a 20-25 feet deep cave pool in Anda. These cave pools are actually limestone caverns that collapsed turning into pools. Worry not, though. There are ladders that the caretakers had set up for you to climb to get out of it. There are more or less two to three cave pools around the area so if one gets crowded, you can always walk your way to the other.
Sample 5-Day Bohol DIY Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrival and Bohol DIY Countryside Adventure tour
7:00 AM – ETD from Panglao Airport
7:30 AM – Blood Compact Shrine & Baclayon Church
8:30 AM – Loboc River Cruise
11:00 AM – Man-made Forest
11:30 AM – Tarsier Sanctuary
12:00 PM – Lunch
1:00 PM – Chocolate Hills
2:00 PM – Danao Adventure Park
6:00 PM – Alicia Backpackers Inn/ Check in
7:00 PM – Dinner
Day 2 – Bohol DIY Countryside Adventure Continuation
4:30 AM – Rise and Shine
5:00 AM – The Alicia Panoramic Park
7:00 AM – Breakfast
9:00 AM – Cadapdapan Rice Terraces + Can-umantad falls in Candijay
11:00 AM – Early lunch
1:00 PM – Cabagnow/Cabugnaw Cave Pool
3:00 PM – Anda Beach
5:00 PM – ETD for Panglao
8:30 PM – ETA Panglao/ Dinner at Alona Beach
9:00 PM – Moon Fools Hostel/ Check in
Day 3 – Snorkel/Dive and Beach Day
6:00 AM – Rise and Shine; Breakfast
7:30 AM – Napaling Dive Point (Kalikasan/ Molave or Almira’s Dive Resort)
8:00 AM – Snorkel/ Dive
12:00 NN – Lunch
1:00 PM onwards – Swim and Chill at Alona Beach or at South Palms Resort
Day 4 – Dolphins and Turtles Day
5:00 AM – Rise and Shine; Breakfast
6:00 AM – Panglao Tourism Office/ Boat dock
6:30 AM – ETA for Balicasag Island
7:00 AM – Dolphin Watching
7:45 AM – ETA Balicasag Island/ Briefing
8:30 AM – Snorkeling/ Diving and Swimming with the Turtles
9:30 AM – Snorkeling/ Diving at the Wall
10:30 AM – Back to the Island
11:00 AM – Lunch at Balicasag Island
*You may opt to stay the whole day at Balicasag Island or go back to Panglao to chill and hang out at Alona Beach. If you choose to stay, you may either pay another Php 100.00 for the boat or just swim to the snorkeling areas. Make sure that you have someone to accompany you.
Day 5 – Chill and Departure
7:00 AM – Rise and Shine
8:00 AM – Swim and Chill at Alona Beach or visit Hinagdanan Cave
10:00 AM – Back to hostel; pack up
11:00 AM – Panglao Airport
12:15 PM – ETD from Panglao Airport
Sample 5-Day Bohol DIY Budget
DAY 1 & 2
Car (Self-drive) rental – Php 2,300.00 x 2 days: Php 4,600.00/ 5 = Php 920.00
Gas – Php 2,500.00/ 5 = Php 500.00
Breakfast – Php 100.00
Loboc River Cruise + Lunch – Php 550.00
Tarsier Sanctuary entrance fee – Php 80.00
Chocolate Hills entrance fee – Php 50.00
Danao Adventure Park entrance fee – Php 40.00
Giant Swing – Php 800.00/ 2 – Php 400.00
Skyride – Php 250.00
Alicia Backpackers’ Inn – Php 500.00
Dinner – Php 100.00
DAY 1 TOTAL (+half of car rental and gas) = Php 2,700.00
Alicia Panoramic Park entrance fee – Php 30.00
Guide fee for Day trek – Php 300.00/ 5 = Php 60.00
Can-umantad entrance fee – Php 20.00
Lunch – Php 150.00
Cabugnaw Cave Pool Entrance – Php 50.00
Dinner – Php 150.00
Accommodation – Php 500.00
DAY 2 TOTAL (+half of car rental and gas) = Php 1,670.00
Tricycle to Napaling – Php 150.00 x 2 (back and forth Panglao) = Php 300.00
Resort entrance fee – Php 100.00
Environmental fee – Php 100.00
Guide fee – Php 100.00
Food – Php 350.00
Accommodation – Php 500.00
DAY 3 TOTAL = Php 1,450.00
Tricycle to Tourism Office/ port – Php 150.00 x 2 = Php 300.00
Boat to Balicasag Island – Php 2,500.00/5 = Php 500.00
Food – Php 350.00
Accommodation – Php 500.00
DAY 4 TOTAL – Php 1,650.00
Bus fare from Alona to Tinago – Php 50.00 x 2
Hinagdanan cave entrance fee – Php 20.00
Van to airport – Php 100.00
Food – Php 250.00
DAY 5 TOTAL – Php 470.00
5-Day Bohol DIY Trip Estimated Budget – Php 7,940.00
Take note that this budget is only estimated and does not include the airfare as its price varies depending on the season and airline seat sale. Be reminded as well that food in Panglao is a bit pricey. Staying in hostels has perks, though. You may cook your own food as they make the kitchen available to guests.
Photos by There Cee Goes
Bohol DIY Adventure Tips
- The best time to visit Napaling Dive Point and Balicasag Island (especially for Freedivers) is at 6:00 AM.
- If you go around a lot, rent a motorbike instead especially if you know how to ride one. The tricycle drivers would charge you more or less Php 150.000 to Php 200.00 per ride.
- If you want to make the most out of your Bohol trip, book the earliest flight then embark into a countryside trip especially if it’s your first time in the province.
- Airlines are stricter especially during these times. Make sure that your hand carry baggage are not too big and bulky and your check-in baggage (if you have any) wouldn’t be more than two bags.
- Make sure that you’ll be at the airport at least an hour and a half earlier than your boarding time especially if you have check in baggage. The counters close an hour before the flight since they need to do some disinfecting.
Bohol Travel Requirements 2023
The province of Bohol requires an entry of a fully-vaccinated tourist. You may either present a vaccination card, a Bureau of Quarantine vaccination certification or the vaccination certification from Department of Health’s website. If you are vaccinated in the Philippines, you may check your vaccination certification at https://www.vaxcert.doh.gov.ph If it does not show yours, you may apply through entering your vaccination details or present the LGU released vaccination card.
Those who are not or at least partially vaccinated should present a negative RT-PCR result.
Bohol DIY Adventure, In a Nutshell
Indeed, there is so much to see in the province of Bohol. A week of stay would never be enough to experience everything that it has to offer. How about you? What do you look forward to on your visit in Bohol? Tell us about it!