Bohol is a first-class island province located in Central Visayas. It consists of one major island surrounded by 75 minor ones. The 10th largest island in the Philippines is popular among tourists with its nature-filled sights and activities and the country's history. The province is also home to some of the most notable people in the Philippines, such as President Carlos P. Garcia and sculptor Napoleon Abueva.
The Chocolate Hills, one of the most famous geological formations in the world, is the top tourist destination in the province. It's a group of strangely-shaped hills whose grass turns brown during the dry season.
Bohol is also a sanctuary to tarsiers, a species of small primates exclusively found in Southeast Asian countries. Bohol tarsiers, in particular, are considered as the smallest primates in the world.
For those looking for diving and other aquatic activities, Panglao Island is your top destination in Bohol. One can find plenty of resorts, restaurants, and a combination of white sand and turquoise water on this island north of the Bohol Sea.
The province is also a culmination of history dating back to the Spanish colonization period. There are a plethora of churches tourists can find around Bohol where they can view and appreciate the art, architecture, and history heavily influenced by the Spaniards.
That depends on you. If you prefer the beaches and aquatic adventures more than sights and culture, visit Bohol first. Otherwise, you can bask in the views of Cebu and save Bohol for the last leg of your trip.
If traveling by plane, the main entry point to Bohol is the Bohol-Panglao International Airport. The new airport, which replaced the former Tagbilaran Airport, is dubbed as the first eco-airport in the country.
The airport currently serves as a gateway for domestic flights only. If you're traveling from outside the Philippines, you'll need to take a flight to Bohol from these international airports:
- Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila
- Clark International Airport in Pampanga
- Davao International Airport
From Manila to Bohol
You can take a flight directly from NAIA to Panglao International Airport, which would take around one hour and a half. A one-way trip costs around PHP 2000 - 4000. The following airlines offer daily flights from Manila to Bohol:
- Philippine Airlines
- Cebu Pacific
- Air Asia
From Clark to Bohol
You can also take a direct flight from Clark International Airport to Panglao Airport, which takes around one hour and twenty minutes. A one-way trip costs around PHP 2000 - 4000. The following airlines offer daily flights from Clark to Bohol:
- Cebu Pacific
- Philippine Airlines
From Davao to Bohol
There are direct flights from Davao to Bohol too, and the trip usually takes one hour only. The following airlines offer daily flights from Davao to Bohol:
- Philippine Airlines
- Cebu Pacific
- Air Asia
You can also reach Bohol by sea. The trip will take longer than by plane, but the fare is cheaper than flights.
It is advisable to buy your ferry tickets in advance, especially if you're traveling during peak season.
From Cebu to Bohol
A fast ferry is the best and quickest way to reach Bohol from Cebu if traveling by sea. The trip will take around two hours and costs around PHP 500 - 1000. The ferry will drop you off at Tagbilaran Port.
These ferries offer daily trips from Cebu to Tagbilaran:
You can also take a slow ferry (called RoRo) from Cebu, but the trip will take four hours to reach Tagbilaran Port. The following ferries offer Cebu - Bohol trips:
- Lite Ferries
From Dumaguete to Bohol
You can take a fast ferry from Dumaguete City to Bohol, which takes around two hours of travel. The ferry trip starts at PHP 700. OceanJet offers daily Dumaguete - Bohol trips.
From Siquijor to Bohol
You can take a fast ferry from Siquijor to Bohol, which takes around one hour and a half of travel. The ferry trip starts at PHP 900. OceanJet offers daily trips from Larena, Siquijor to Tagbilaran Port.
From Camiguin to Bohol
To reach Bohol from Camiguin, you can take a slow ferry or RoRo trip. The trip takes four hours, and the ticket prices start at PHP 400.
Super Shuttle is the only ferry line offering RoRo trips from Balbagon Pier in Mambajao, Camiguin to Jagna Pier in Bohol. There's only one scheduled trip daily for the Camiguin - Bohol route, so make sure to catch the ferry before its departure at 8 AM every day.
The best time to visit Bohol varies depending on your itinerary and chosen activities.
To enjoy summer activities such as swimming and snorkeling or visit the Chocolate Hills in its famous brown state, visit Bohol during the dry season (December to May). Rainfalls are quite seldom during these times, although the weather can reach its all-time high. It's also the peak season of tourism in the province.
Holy Week is also a prime time to visit Bohol, what with the perfect weather and the week-long holiday. There are plenty of activities to experience thanks to the high number of tourists during this time.
If you want to take in the culture, history, and celebration of Bohol, take a trip to the island during the Sandugo Festival! The month-long festival is held every July to commemorate the blood compact or sandugo between Datu Sikatuna and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. The festival is filled with activities such as street dance competitions, beauty pageants, food fairs, and more.
If you're mostly going surfing or snorkeling in Bohol, the best time to visit the island is between August to November. You'll catch the best waves during this period!
Local residents speak Cebuano and Tagalog. Most locals also understand and speak English, at the very least, in bits and pieces.
If you're traveling to Bohol via plane, be ready to spend at least PHP 3000 ($62) for a roundtrip ticket. If you choose to travel via sea, allocate at least PHP 500 ($11)/pax for the trip. The van trip from Tagbilaran Port to Alona or Panglao would cost PHP 600 ($13).
Renting a car in Bohol would cost you around PHP 1500 - 3000 ($31 - $62). You can bring your vehicle with you if you're taking a RoRo trip to cut the cost from the rental fee. You can also rent motorbikes at around PHP 350 ($8) per day if you want to get around Alona or other areas in Bohol. If you're traveling from a nearby destination, you can ride a habal-habal for around PHP 30 -50 ($0.60 - $1).
You may also need to rent a boat to visit other islands. In this case, prepare around PHP 1500 - 2500 ($31 - $52) for the boat rental.
There are small eateries across Bohol where you can taste local dishes for PHP 60 ($1.24) per meal. You can also check out restaurants and cafeterias in the province offering meals around PHP 200 ($4.12)/pax. The famous buffet and cruise in Loboc River cost PHP 550 ($12)/pax.
Accommodation prices vary depending on your preference. Budget-friendly hostels and backpacker dorms start at PHP 500 ($10.30) per night. Medium to high-class hotels and resorts range at PHP 1000 to PHP 4000 ($21 - $83).
Some tourist destination may also ask for an entrance fee, such as the following places:
- Chocolate Hills - PHP 50/pax ($1.03)
- Baclayon Church and Museum - PHP 50/pax ($1.03)
- Python Sanctuary - PHP 10/pax ($0.21)
- Tarsier Sanctuary - PHP80/pax ($1.65)
- Simply Butterflies Conservation Center - PHP 20/pax ($0.40)
- Bohol Bee Farm - PHP 30/pax ($0.62)
- Tigbao Hanging Bridge - PHP 10/pax ($0.21)
- Hinagdanan Cave - PHP 50/pax ($1.03)
All in all, a five-day trip for two to Bohol cost an average of PHP 17,300 ($357) if you'll travel to and from Bohol by air, book a medium-class accommodation, and rent a car for your whole trip.
Should you travel by sea, have chosen a medium- class accommodation, and decided to rent a motorbike and a boat, the estimated cost would be around PHP 13,250 ($273).
And if you decide to go all-in with the expenses - plane trip, hotel accommodation, car, and boat rental -, the average cost of your five-day Bohol trip for two would be around PHP 34,300 ($707).
The cost of your travel expenses could differ if you've scored a cheaper flight or ferry trip, an accommodation discount, or a tour package that already covers meals and entrance fees.
No, a tour package is completely optional when visiting Bohol.
Ideally, a week's stay in Bohol would allow you to fully explore all the beaches and sights the island has to offer. However, if you don't have the luxury of a full week vacation, you can already enjoy Bohol for four to five days.
To get into the real adventure of Bohol with a beachfront view, Alona Beach is the best place to be. The area is bustling with activities, shops, restaurants, and a handful of accommodation options. Plus, it's a few minutes' drive to Chocolate Hills and Panglao Island.
Tagbilaran City is also a good option, especially if you want to be surrounded by shops, malls, banks, and affordable restaurants.