After our one night’s stay in Manila, we caught a morning flight to Tagbilaran, Bohol. Bohol is mostly known for its chocolate hills and the small island of Panglao which is joined to it by a bridge, but there’s a lot more to see and do there.
Check out this video by Toast City Productions to see what we got up to.
Our direct flight from Manila landed in Tagbilaran soon before 10am. We stayed at Anda Long Beach which is located on the other side of the island from the airport.
From the airport we got a tricycle (apparently “good for three people”, but us two plus our luggage was enough of a squeeze) for 60PHP* to Dao Bus Terminal where we took the bus to Anda for 80PHP each (120PHP each if you’re not young enough to look like students!).
Despite being a bit of a squeeze, taking the public bus was an experience in itself. It stopped regularly to let locals get on and off, and took us just over two hours to reach Anda. We also got to see lots of little villages on the island along the way. Even though we were keeping our eyes peeled for signs, the ticket man on the bus made sure we knew where to get off and which direction to head in.
*Tip – the cost of a tricycle to Dao Bus Terminal should be 20PHP per person, we were getting offered rides for 150PHP. Be sure to haggle and stand your ground. There is a clear sign saying the cost should only be 20PHP per person, but because a tricycle is “good for three people” many drivers will want the full fare.
Although not the most popular of places to stay, probably due to its location, we decided to stay in Anda at Anda Long Beach Resort for two nights. If you’re short on time and looking to sightsee, this might not be the most convenient of places to stay as it’s located a little far from the main sights (but all can be reached easily by motorbike). It’s also pretty quiet (especially during low season) but, for us, that meant it was the perfect place to relax! The beach is also beautiful and not overly crowded. And, if you’re an early bird (or force yourself to get out of bed like us) you can see a pretty impressive sunrise from the beach.
If you’re looking for a bit more action, or choice of restaurant, then it might be better to stay on Panglao Island. We stayed in D’Backpackers Barn near to Alona Beach in Panglao for a night before heading to Balicasag Island the next day. It’s easy to cross the bridge between Panglao and Bohol, meaning it’s also convenient if you want to rent a bike or take a tour to see the sights. There is also an abundance of restaurants to eat at, so you’ll definitely not go hungry.
Of course, there are plenty of other places to stay on both islands and most depend on what you’re looking for out of your time in the Philippines. If you’re not fussed about staying right by a beach then I’ve also heard good reviews for Nuts Huts (but I’ve not stayed there myself) located near Loboc River.
What to do in Bohol
Despite having a list of potential things to do while in Bohol, other than chilling on the beach (surely that’s a must in the Philippines), we didn’t follow it strictly. We didn’t cross everything off, but we didn’t miss out and, if anything, we got to see some things we definitely wouldn’t have had we stuck to a set “to do” list.
We rented a bike for 500PHP for the day from Old Castle guest house on Anda Long Beach. Having previously looked at a map, we knew that the infamous Chocolate Hills were roughly 1.5hour ride away from where we were staying. We set off, but somewhere along the way we missed our turning, meaning we took the very scenic route! Doing so, however, meant we saw lots of little villages, schools and farms along the way. We also stopped for some pretty fantastic fried chicken!
Along the way, we also found a turning which we thought might lead up to the chocolate hills. It didn’t… instead we rode up a hill overlooking some beautiful farms and rice terraces.
We did, eventually, make it to the Chocolate Hills. They’re a little strange to look at, and to think that they’re formed naturally is pretty remarkable. However, once you’ve viewed them from the view point and taken a few photos, there’s not much more to do. Although, at 50PHP per person, you certainly can’t complain.
As previously mentioned, waking up early to see the sunrise in Anda was definitely worth it. As much as I like my sleep, the colours of the sky at that time in the morning were incredible. We also spent our one night in Panglao, chilling on the beach and eating delicious food. Also, you must, must, must try the Bohol Bee Farm ice-cream from one of their cafes. They’re cafes/restaurants serving lots of organic dishes, but the flavour of that salted honey ice cream will never leave my mouth!
Things we didn’t check out, but could be well worth the visit are Loboc river, the Tarsier Sanctuary and countless waterfalls (Mag-aso, Kawasan and Camugao Waterfalls all look amazing). Had we had more time in Bohol, we would have paid these a visit.
Also, if you’re in Panglao there are countless people offering tours and day trips to sights in Bohol and surrounding islands. I highly recommend a visit to Balicasag Island but keep your eyes peeled for my blog post to see why I think you should definitely consider staying a night (or longer) rather than just visiting for the day.
*Tip – When riding around Bohol after dark, there are a lot of flies. They all come flying at your face which can be especially uncomfortable! Not only that, but a lot of people seemed to light fires in the evening so it was quite smoky riding back to Anda.
Have you been to Bohol or Panglao? What did you do and what was your favourite part? Do you have a trip coming up? Let me know in the comments below.
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Also, if you like the video you watched above, visit Toast City Production’s website to check out more of their work.