Bohol is simply beautiful and worth exploring. I have been to this beautiful island at least three times, twice of which are just day trips. For those who do not have the luxury of time, I think you can explore the province just for one day. It will be an action-packed day and would be tiring in the end, but I assure you that it would be worth it.
For this itinerary, my friends and I originally flew from Manila to Cebu. We got cheap flights to Cebu and intended to explore the province more that is why we made it as our base. However, my Swiss friend would like to see the tarsiers that is why we included a day trip in Bohol in our itinerary.
Since this is not my first time to do a day tour to Bohol from Cebu, I know based on experience that it is worth it, albeit short. However, since many of us do not have enough time to leave work and school, we make do with what we have. Therefore, here is Where Monica Goes‘ no-fuss Day Trip to Bohol Itinerary plus expenses.
Arrival in Cebu
From Manila, we flew to Cebu and arrived early in the morning. From the airport, we took a cab to go to Pier 1. It was a bit raining and dawn was breaking. We arrived in the port and I asked the cabbie to drop us directly in front of the ticketing booth for Ocean Jet.
When we arrived, there was a long queue of passengers. The first ferry bound to Tagbilaran was soon to leave and there were no more slots for open-air and tourist seats. The next available ride would be in an hour or so after. Since we were pressed in time and didn’t bother paying extra, we bought first class seats (PHP 1000/way/person) and had the first trip of the day to Bohol.
Travel tip: While waiting in the queue, have a small piece of paper and write down your complete name. Hand this to the person behind the booth as she will process your ticket.
On previous visits, my friend and I were able to avail of Ocean Jet’s “Libre Balik Promo”. For only PHP 800, one can get a return open-air ticket seat for Cebu-Bohol. You can still try to look for this. Booking one day in advance is okay, but I normally just buy it in the booth and have no problem.
Arrival in Tagbilaran
It was a first-time for all of us to take a first-class ticket to Bohol and we didn’t know that seats just come in twos. Tickets with our names in it have seat numbers and it was a bit sad that Eyah’s was far from us. She was seated next to a smelly stranger, hence her face.
The ferry ride took two hours. Nothing eventful happened. Since we flew too early, we were able to doze off and renewed our energy for a long day ahead. Soon enough, we arrived in Tagbilaran port. We were greeted with a beautiful sunny day. No matter how many times I visited Bohol, I kept on forgetting how the province could be too piercing hot. Still, better way to explore than on a rainy day!
We kept on walking towards the exit and arrived at a car park. There, many drivers offering private tours as well as hotel staff were waiting for tourists. We immediately saw our hired driver holding a banner with our names. We followed him towards a white sedan and proceeded in discussing our itinerary.
Since I have been to Bohol many times, I have briefed my friends on what are the priorities to do/see in Bohol for one day. All of us consented that seeing and passing through churches would be enough for us and that seeing the tarsiers and going to Chocolate Hills would be our priorities.
- Blood Compact
This was our first stop where we realized how hot Bohol could be. We just took photos, read the inscription in the monument, bought souvenir keychains from a friendly local, and then went back to the car. We religiously applied sunscreen right after and searched our bags for the much needed sunglasses.
- Baclayon Church
We went down to see the ruins of Baclayon Church, which was damaged by an earthquake that hit the province last 2013. There was a museum as well, but we did not visit it. We simply checked a museum store, but did not find anything we fancy. Sorry, I do not know why I did not take any photos during that time.
- Snake Sanctuary
I am not really a fan of this place, but a quick stop won’t hurt. Twice I was here, the stinky smell of reptiles hit my nose much that almost triggered my allergy. Upon arrival this time, however, there was only a faint smell. We entered the sanctuary and saw the scales of the once longest snake in captivity in the Philippines. He died in 2013 though. We were then ushered to a small room where the taxidermed version of said snake was for tourist to take photos with. We then had one with my phone and did not get the “official” souvenir photos.
- Tarsier Conservation Area
Marcel was looking forward to this one while we kept on teasing his Swiss pronunciation of tarsier as /tar-shee-yay/. Even though I have been to the conservatory many times, I still like seeing these small primates in their natural habitat. It was first a challenge to see the animals around the open conservatory, but a smarter move of following where the tourists go is a faster option. However, each visit here makes me concerned on how stressed and disturbed this nocturnal animals are when being displayed and called by tourists to open their eyes for just a photo.
- Chocolate Hills
A trip to Bohol will not be complete without a visit to the Chocolate Hills in Carmen. Hundreds of hundreds of naturally formed limestone could be seen from the horizon. We climbed up to the viewing deck and took touristy photos while we marveled at the beautiful sight before us. How were they formed? How could there be so many? I know we could easily check the answers online, but it would also be nice if our driver can also share some facts, and even legends, of the famed hills.
- Bohol Butterfly Conservation Center
We explored the garden by ourselves without hiring a guide. You actually do not need one, but it is also nice for local tourism fees. Since we were tired and started to get hungry for lunch, we rested in this huge wooden hammock that can accommodate five people, I think. It was cool just lying around, hearing the birds singing and laughing of other tourists as they pass. We were all chill.
- Loboc River Cruise
This is originally included in the itinerary, but since we were not so excited with this, not to mention the disappointing buffet lunch last time, we opted out of this and suggested a detour.
- Dumaluan beach
We persuaded our driver to bring us to Dumaluan Beach instead of taking a Loboc river cruise. Since it is not in the itinerary and a bit more of a drive, we added PHP 500 for this. Since we were three, it wasn’t really much and what we got was way better!
I just discovered Dumaluan Beach Resort last October 2015 and since then, I have been frequenting the place. I have been to many areas in Panglao, but I like the beach here better than the others. After the initial amazement over how beautiful the sea is, our stomachs gave us the signal that we were all starving. We went immediately towards the resort’s restaurant and ordered a very scrumptious meal complete with fresh mango shake.
The remaining hours before our trip back to the port were spent swimming and beach bumming. The three of us had so much fun and were a bit sad that we would soon go back. However, we still have three days in Cebu to look forward to, so when it was finally time, we showered and went back to the car.
Bound to Cebu
We took Ocean Jet again and had open-air seats. In the beginning, we were standing around watching the beautiful setting of the sun. However, the excitement and activities of the day finally took its toll. We took the advantage of the two-hour ride and had a quick nap before arriving to Cebu city.
So that’s how my friends and I spent an entire trip in Bohol last February 2016. We would have liked to spend longer in the province if schedule permits, but I think exploring Tagbilaran around 12 hours is already enough to leave a nice impression to busy travelers.
Curious of having a private day trip in Bohol? Here are some pros and cons in using this method of exploring the island.
Private tour, travel at your own pace, convenient and comfortable, can modify your itinerary
Driver is not a tour guide, can be expensive for single or solo traveler
Private day tour inclusions:
8-hour car rental inclusive of driver’s fees and gas (good for 4 people)
Free bottled water and peanut kisses
Entrance fees and meals
Cebu-Tagbilaran ferry ride = PHP 1500 (first class + open-air)
Countryside private tour = 2000 + 500 (detour fee) = PHP 2500/3
Lunch = PHP 1000/3
Snacks, water, ice cream = 100
DAY TRIP TO BOHOL: ITINERARY + EXPENSES
So that’s how our day trip to Bohol went. I hope this travel guide helps those who have limited time to explore the island. Let me know when you get to Bohol next time!