"Is Bohol Island still untouched?"
"Bohol Philippines" was last updated on March 03, 2013
All information below is subject to change
So why should you visit Bohol in the Philippines?
I'll give you 3 good reasons:
Panglao is probably one of the few remaining spots in the Philippines which aren't ravaged by over-tourism. If you compare Panglao to Boracay, it's actually nicer and calmer in Panglao.
I have never been to Boracay, so I can't say anything personal about it. But almost all my relatives and friends, who have been to Boracay and Panglao, seem to like Panglao a lot better. What do they say? - "Ah, too many people in Boracay!"
Tagbilaran is the gateway to Bohol island.
It takes 1 hour and 15 minutes by air from Manila to Tagbilaran, the capital of Bohol. Philippine Airlines is one of the airlines that fly to Tagbilaran. Once you arrive at Tagbilaran Airport you're only 5 minutes away from downtown.
I was sick almost my entire stay in the Philippines in Dec/Jan 2009, so to minimize the chances of getting fever again (and because of the limited time), we flew with Philippine Airlines to Bohol.
The flight itself was pretty efficient, and I remember paying $56 (included a return flight to Manila + taxes).
What about the boat from Manila to Tagbilaran?
You get to see the gorgeous ocean, and it's probably a one-in-a-lifetime experience! The journey takes 25 hours, and suits for the patient travelers.
One of your ferry options:
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If you're already in Cebu, you can take a 25 minute flight to Tagbilaran.
Or do you want to do it the cheap way?
Taking a regular ferry is the cheapest way of traveling from island to island. If you're traveling on a low budget and have loads of time, I recommend traveling to Bohol by boat from Cebu.
From downtown Tagbilaran, Alona Beach is about 20 km away (30 minutes). Do it by taxi (500 PHP) or tricycle (200-300 PHP one-way). You won't have a problem getting there since basically all taxi drivers in Tagbilaran will offer you the ride.
Expect to pay the same for a taxi from Tagbilaran ferry port (400-500 PHP). Both taxis and minivans are waiting at the ferry port.
It depends on why you're going to Bohol. Is it because of the Chocolate Hills? The best time to visit the Hills is between January and April (dry season), when the hills actually turn brown.
If you want the beach for yourself, the months of November and December (especially around holidays) are not ideal. Tourists, backpackers and locals roam the island these months. And I can understand why: the temperature is perfect - it's not too hot, and not too wet.
And you get to spend Christmas right on the beach with a coconut drink in front of you.
May is also a busy month, because locals from all parts of the country travel to Bohol to celebrate one of the most exciting festivals in the island. It's called Tagbilaran Fiesta.
Another festival that attracts a lot of people is the King King Festival, which takes place at the end of May.
A tip from me to you when it comes to accommodation booking for Bohol Philippines :
My fantastic family didn't manage to book rooms before we traveled to Bohol. Long story, but to make it short, they didn't book because they thought that there would be plenty of accommodations in Panglao around New Year's.
Geez, what a huge mistake.
When we arrived at the Tagbilaran airport, they stood by the service counter for over an hour, so they could find available rooms. Guess where we stayed? -
Not in Panglao.
The staff told us that there were no vacant rooms at all in Panglao. And this was December 30, the day before New Year's. So we had to stay in Bohol, far from the beaches.
So please take my advice, book in advance if you're going to Panglao for the holidays!!!
We were there for a couple of days in December and January, and the weather was pretty variable. The weather could vary during the day - like sun in the afternoon, and then rain in the evening, or sun in the morning, and cloudy in the evening.
I was still sick when we visited Bohol, but I refused to lie in a bed while the others were walking in the sands of Alona Kew Beach.
It was cloudy when we arrived there, but we could still see its beauty!
The mix of coconut trees, the clear water and white sand made my limbs go soft. It was so pretty, and the sight gave me an energy boost!
Me and my boyfriend decided to take a walk along the beach - sniff around, and enjoy the moment.
Our first stop was of course a diving shop.
I knew I couldn't dive, but I just love to be near a diving shop. I don't remember the name of the shop we visited, but I do remember the price.
The estimated price for an Open Water Diving course was 13,500 PHP (= almost $ 300). The price isn't that bad, if you compare it to diving prices in Thailand and Malaysia.
Then we continued snooping around. Food and fruit vendors would approach us at the beach, and at least four locals asked if we wanted to snorkel that day.
I guess they didn't have much to do because of the cloudy weather.
Along the way, we passed several dive shops. And lazy travelers were dozing off on the beach, waiting for the sun to (re)appear.
I enjoyed the atmosphere on Alona Kew - there was no stress, no hassle. And it may sound like a cliche, but I loved the sound of the ocean. Who can blame me ? ;-)
Maybe I appreciated it more because I had been lying in a bed for a week in Pampanga.
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