Welcome, 2016. It becomes my tradition to go to the beach or just travel every new year. Why? I believe this has something to do with our beliefs like eating “biko” a Filipino rice cake and all sugary foods for a sweet life throughout the year. So, if I start a year with the beach, this simply means countless beach days the entire year. Aha!Nice! =D. I packed my things and make sure my camera is fully charged, sunblock, shades, bikinis etc… I booked the earliest trip which was 8am and after almost 3 hours of travel with my boyfriend, we were welcomed by a pristine white sand beach in Bohol.
Bohol is a popular tourist destination with its numerous unspoiled beaches and extraordinary attractions. It has 75 minor surrounding islands that will surely satisfy your beach cravings. We were able to visit two of the famous islets. Balicasag island and Virgin island. The rate for island hopping tour is 1500 with a boat capacity of 10 persons. Most of the boatman will pick you up at Alona beach resort which requires 30 minutes travel by tricycle if you’re staying in Dumaluan. Note: Fare is 30php, other drivers would ask 50-100 which is too much. But you can request if you want to be picked up at Dumaluan, the price may be higher. I suggest to start the tour as early as 6:00 am to see the dolphins hopping in the sea. If you are lucky to find one. 🙂
After few minutes, we arrived at our first destination. Balicasag!!!Balicasag Island has almost 1,000 residents and is famous for its excellent dive location and marine sanctuary. There are 2 activities to choose for non-divers. Snorkeling with the variety of fishes and swimming with the sea turtles. Each has different rate and location. We opted for snorkeling with the fishes. I have tried helmet diving in Boracay, snorkeling in Olango sanctuary etc. but nothing beats the spectacular marine life in Balicasag so far. I was able to see a huge variety of fishes, beautiful corals and I was like OhhmG! It’s something that everyone must experience. It feels like watching my favorite series on the animal planet. =D Unfortunately, we were not able to get good shots because we don’t have an underwater camera but our eyes capture all the picture-perfect things. If you guys plan to visit Balicasag, bring your go pro/waterproof camera. By the way, they have for rent go pros but prices are too expensive. Cost is from 1000-1500, and make sure you have a flash drive to easily transfer photos.
After we had our brunch, we went straight to our next destination, Virgin Island. The island is a lovely little spot with a long sandbar. It is called virgin island because nobody lives here but today, there are two under construction resorts in the area. I doubt if it would still be virgin few years from now. 🙂
After an hour of taking pictures, eating and sightseeing, we left virgin island tired but happy. We arrived 1:30pm at Alona beach and hurriedly went back to Dumaluan to catch our 6:30 trip.
How to get there?
If you’re coming from Manila, the easiest and fastest way is by plane. If you’re coming from Cebu and other neighboring islands, you can ride a fast craft to Tagbilaran. You can check their schedules here Boat Schedules. Fare from Cebu-Tagbilaran ranges from 400-600 per way. Travel time is 2 hours. From Tagbilaran port, there are tricycles, jeepneys, and vans you can hire to take you to Panglao or wherever resort you want to stay. If you’re a group of 2, the most affordable option would be renting a motorbike that would cost 400-1000 per day. This gives you the chance to tour around the island with a lesser expense compared to paying 1500 for the countryside tour. If you’re a group of 6-10, consider renting a van.
Where to stay?
We stayed at Dumaluan Beach 1. Our room is air-conditioned and very spacious. It has a cable tv and a private bathroom. There are many budget-friendly accommodations in the place but if you’re staying there for a holiday/peak season, most likely the budget types are fully booked. For bookings, you can head over to agoda.com or you can contact them at (038)0512-9114 or 09228347481.
Where to eat?
There are no fast foods in Panglao Island. Aside from the expensive resto located inside Dumaluan resort, this affordable carenderia serves a decent meal like porkchop, adobo, fruit shake etc…
Things to do in Bohol
Countryside Tour- gives you the chance to see the famous tourist attractions like chocolate hills, Sagbayan peak etc.
Island Hopping Tour- This usually includes a visit to the top 3 small islands. Pamilacan, Balicasag and Virgin Island. You can contact Gina Naval at 09083107394/038-5028043 for inquiries and bookings.
Danao Adventure Park- this takes few hours of travel from Tagbilaran and offers a lot of rewarding adventures. Check out their website www.danaoadventurepark.