DIY Trip: Ultimate Budget Travel Guide to Bohol
As a big island flourishing with an abundance of natural wealth, Bohol radiates as a land full of promise, beauty and everything else that is eternally good.
This Central Visayan island province owns up to the marvels of the entire Philippines. It has an expansive land popping with more than a thousand concave limestone hills to fulfill the world’s greatest natural wonders; a wild forestry sitting on its tiered limestone terrain, which houses rich biodiversity of flora and fauna, including the endangered Tarsiers; beyond 70 spectacular islets with a vibrant marina; the world’s best beaches; the world’s best people, and more. Thus, it takes a curious, open-minded and compassionate traveler to understand and enjoy the beauty of this island.
In this Bohol Travel Guide blogpost, we listed down all the helpful travel tips for first-time travelers. Aside from the must-visit destinations, we also included tips on how to get there, how to get around, places to stay and more. We will continue updating this blog with new things to do, best beaches in Bohol and recommended places to eat in the island.
The quickest way to go to Bohol is by air. Major domestic airlines offer flights from the country’s major city, Manila with an estimate of an hour and 15 minutes to Tagbilaran.
If direct flights to Bohol are closed, then an alternate route from Manila is a flight going to Cebu, which takes around 50 minutes, plus land and boat travel to Bohol, which estimates up to an addition of 2 to 5 hours.
The airport in Panglao Island, on the other hand is well underway and will start operating soon to accommodate tourists vying straight for the island’s famous beaches.
Flights going to Tagbilaran Bohol from Manila
|Cebgo/ Cebu Pacific||7:15 am|
|AirAsia Inc||8:55 am|
|Cebu Pacific Air||9:40 am|
|Philippine Airlines||10:35 am|
|AirAsia Zest||13:00 am|
|Philippine Airlines||3:40 pm|
Flights from Tagbilaran Bohol to Manila
|Cebgo / Cebu Pacific||7:55 am|
|AirAsia Inc||9:35 am|
|Cebu Pacific/ Cebgo||10:20 am|
|Philippine Airlines||11:15 am|
|AirAsia Zest||13:40 pm|
|Philippine Airlines||16:40 pm|
For online booking and Flights Information:
Traveling by sea is perfect for those who want to experience sea travel with no time constraints, as well as for those who need to transport bulks of baggage for a minimal fee.
There is the Carlos A. Gothong Lines departing from Manila twice a week, from Pier 18 wharf at 11:00 PM on Tuesday and Thursday, and arriving at Cebu City Pier 7 wharf at 10:00 PM the following day.
From Cebu, there are fast ferries taking an hour and a half travel time and regular ferries taking four hours to Tagbilaran. Meanwhile, boats traveling to other parts of Bohol, such as Tubigon in the west and Talibon in the north are also available from Cebu.
Accommodation in Bohol
As a world-class tourist destination, Bohol offers a number of accommodations set in the island’s diverse sceneries to fit every traveler’s desires.
In the southern part of the island where the scenic Loboc river flows is Loboc, a town blessed with a splendid panorama and holiday havens to take in its dense nature.
There is Balay Silangan, also known as the Sunrise House, which sits on top of a hilly terrain, encompassing the coasts, rainforests, and watersheds of Loboc. It is akin to a resort complex, highlighted with a fully-functional house, a swimming pool, a covered basketball court, dormitories for backpackers and lush gardens all around; making it as an ideal location for private parties, retreats, and big groups.
Down by the river is the Fox and the Firefly Cottages, a quaint resort made unique by its laid-back surfer feel. It has three cozy cottages, with two private for double-occupancy, and one dorm-type for six individuals, a beautiful outdoor bathroom for all in-house guests, and homemade healthy food.
Guests here get to maximize the beauty of the town through the resort’s adventure-filled offerings, including Stand-up Paddle (SUP) tours along Loboc River, SUP yoga, mountain biking tours, hiking and other fun-filled excursions to adjacent islands.
While on the island resort of Panglao, there are Panglao Island Nature Resort and Spa and Oasis Resort that come closest to the rustic tropics quality that the island holds true.
Panglao Island Nature Resort and Spa attracts guests who like to indulge in the wonders of this lush paradise resort. With sprawling gardens, superb cottages, top class amenities, good food and a sparkling white beach, one could easily get rejuvenated from the busy air of the city.
For a more affordable type of paradise on the beachfront in Panglao, there is Oasis Resort, which is quite commendable for its clean native cottages, well-maintained swimming pool, good service, delicious food and verdant scenery, qualities that families would definitely enjoy.
Hotels and Resorts in Bohol:
Things to do and see in Bohol
Exploring the nooks and crannies of the island can virtually be accomplished within two to three days only as the island’s hotspots are simply found along the National Highway.
Bilar Manmade Forest
Starting from the Loboc, you can journey to the Bilar Manmade Forest and walk through a deep forest penetrated with 63-year old Mahogany Trees for free. You can bring your own food and have a picnic in the middle of the forest, which is about 45 minutes walk from the entrance.
Simply Butterflies Conservation Center
If you’re traveling with your kids, you might like to get up close with a colony of colorful butterflies at Simply Butterfly Conservation in Bilar. There you will delight in the rich and flourishing ambiance of the area and see how these vibrant insects are born.
Visit the Chocolate Hills
A few minutes away is the Chocolate Hills in Carmen town. There you can grasp the legendary beauty of these thousand hills of wonders in many different ways. You can do horseback riding around the area, camp on the field, go on hiking, take photos from the high viewing deck and bicycle ride on a zipline above the hills.
Visit the Tarsier Sanctuary
From there you could go to Corella and see the island’s own endangered primates at the Tarsier Sanctuary.
As you approach Panglao Island, you can already set your sights to luxury seaside indulgences, such as basking in the pristine white beaches and getting pampered in the spa.
Danao Adventure Park
On another side of the mainland, the Danao Adventure Park also promises a lot of adventure with river tubing, organic farm, cliff rappelling and lots of nature activities orchestrated to give guests a fulfilling and fun experience.
Visit National Museum Bohol
Housed in an old City Library, the Tagbilaran Branch Museum presents the results of the archaeological excavation and exploration of the sites in Anda Peninsula. The archaeological data gives insights to the prehistory of the island of Bohol. Also Read: The National Museum Bohol
DIY Tour of Bohol
Most of the tourist spots in Bohol can be visited through authorized tour operators or by hiring a van with a touristy driver per day that fits 10 pax for 2,500php. If you want to traverse the island in the open air, then you could either hire a tricycle for 750php per day, rent your own motorbikes anywhere from 500php to 1000php, or a mountain bike for an added workout to your hard-core adventure in Bohol.
What to eat and where?
Having an abundance of fertile soil and lush marina, it is granted that Bohol conceives the most memorable dishes in the country.
In Tagbilaran, it is great to spend a full day before your flight so you could take the time touring the old towns and tripping on delicious foods.
SMOQUE bistro + Cafe & Bar
Opened last December 2017, foodies from different parts of the country are continuously recommending this restaurant in Tagbilaran. Located at Carlos P. Garcia East Avenue in Tagbilaran City, this restaurant is famous for so many good reasons. After ordering your food, they will serve you a complimentary bread roll with liver pate. I guess that’s the start of everyone’s gastronomic journey at SMOQUE! You may contact them at 0918 300 8180.
For the quintessential and very affordable seafood dishes go to Lic-Lic’s Eatery and sample its famous Adobong Pusit and Seafood Paluto in Mangga.
If you want to dine in a place that has a closed indoor restaurant setup, which is more family-friendly, then go to Gerarda’s. This family-run dining stop is beloved for its home-style dishes like the Seafood Kare-Kare, Crispy Tadyang Beef Ribs, a spiced pork delicacy called Dinakdakan and Sizzling Chicken Omelet.
For good affordable Chicken Barbecue, dine at Chicken Ati-atihan, either in Tagbilaran or Panglao. You could also find other Filipino dishes there like Kinilaw (fish marinated in vinegar), Pochero (beef shanks stew), and more.
If you’re looking for a more comfortable Filipino dining place, then check out Golden Cowrie, also in Tagbilaran.
Loboc Cruise with Lunch or Dinner
When you’re in Loboc, then hop on the Loboc Cruise with Lunch or Dinner. The meal is usually a buffet that costs 350php per person plus 100php for the boat’s maintenance. Children from 4-8 are at 50% off, while older children until 11 are 250php each.
And when you’re in Carmen, then you have to try Tanya’s Native Chicken House.
On Panglao Island, there are a handful of resorts that locals keep going to for good food.
At Linaw Beach Resort’s Pearl Restaurant, you could dine utterly relaxed with your bare feet kissed by white sand and your soul meeting the sunset. Sample the Chicken Cordon Bleu, Seafood Platter, Lapu-Lapu Sweet and Sour and Beef Tagalog in Oyster Sauce.
For authentic Italian cuisine, go to Villa Formosa in Panglao and delight in a tranquil poolside and garden setup. Italian Chef Matthias dishes up an array of sumptuous Italian food, ranging from pasta, pizzas and flavourful meat and seafood dishes. Try his wood-baked pizzas, seafood pasta, and Roast Beef.
- Restaurant Review: Bohol Bee Farm Buffet Lunch
- Lunch in Saffron Restaurant and Bar in Amorita Resort Bohol
- Degustation Lunch at Panglao Island Nature Resort & Spa
Banks, ATMS and Currency Exchange
Banks in Bohol are exclusive to its homegrown First Consolidated Bank, which is likewise found everywhere on the island. It is as equipped as major banks with ATMS, currency exchange, money deposit and more.
The country’s major banks, which are also linked to most foreign banks, are found in Tagbilaran City. So it’s best to do your necessary bank transactions already upon arriving the island.
For quick and easy cash withdrawals with major national banks, you can go to the ATM counters in every First Consolidated Bank on the island. If you need to receive money from your international credit Card, Master Card or Visa or Maestro, to ATM machines in Tagbilaran.
To exchange your foreign currency, visit the Indian or Pakistani currency exchange outlets in Tagbilaran City, exactly in the street between Rose Pharmacy and the Jollibee Restaurant. Another moneychanger that also offers a good rate is at the basement of Island City Mall.
Otherwise, you can ask your hotel if they could exchange your money for you.
Shopping in Bohol
Bohol’s beloved handicrafts are as useful, just as they are beautiful and precious.
Bring home your own Buntal Straw Hat in various colours, as well as hand-woven baskets, mats, slippers and souvenirs made from shells found in the coastal areas. You can find these in the town’s public markets, in shopping malls in Tagbilaran and in souvenir shops in the boutiques of resorts, usually in Panglao.
Other good finds are their woodwork products, enhanced by the skillful hands of artists who have meticulously carved intrinsic details on it. You can find some small boxes to put on your desk or jewelry boxes to give as present to your loved ones.
Inday’s Ube Jam and Ube Pastillas
Ube or Purple Yam is one of the most cultivated root crops in the countryside of Bohol. In fact, there’s an Ube Festival being celebrated every year to showcase the Ube products from various towns of Bohol. If you want to try Ube Products from Bohol, visit Inday’s Ube Jam and Ube Pastillas in Tagbilaran City. You can also contact them at (6300) 412-2472 / (6300) 501-8747.
Locally Produced Chocolates at Dalareich Chocolate House
We all know Chocolate Hills in Bohol because of its Chocolate Kisses shaped hills but did you know that some of the best cacao beans used by local chocolatiers in Bohol actually comes from the famous Chocolate Hills? Dalareich Chocolate House is located at 0091J 6300, Bukid Dr, Dakabayan in Tagbilaran City, Bohol. To book a factory tour, check out www.dalareichchocolatehouse.com. Read more about Dalareich Chocolate House.
There you have it, an in-depth information about Bohol to satisfy your curiosity about the country’s famous island. The only other thing to do is to book your own flight and soar on to your chosen destination.
This Ultimate Bohol Travel Guide blog post is a work in progress, please comment or suggest additional information that you want to contribute in this article.