Cebu-Bohol Adventure: A DIY travel guide

Thinking about travelling to the Queen City of the South? Why not include Bohol in your trip.

Last year, my friend and I booked a trip to Cebu for 4 days and 3 nights. Initially, we only planned to go to Cebu but being a spontaneous travel junkie we are, we decided to include Bohol even if it is just for a day.

Just a little trivia, did you know that recently Cebu made it to Conde Nast Traveler’s 20 Best Islands in the World list. Not only that because our very own Palawan is on the number one spot, followed by Boracay (top 15) and Cebu (top 19). I am so ecstatic that even before the list was published I was able to visit these three amazing places. So before I get giddy writing the intro, here is the complete DIY travel guide to our ultimate Cebu Bohol adventure.

Day 1 & 2: Manila to Cebu – Cebu to Bohol – Bohol to Cebu

From Manila, we took a flight going to Mactan, Cebu. Travel time is approximately one hour and 20 minutes. At exactly 7 AM we arrived at Mactan Airport. From there, we took a cab and went to Cebu pier 1 to catch the boat going to Tubigon, Bohol. There are a lot of ferries that travels to Bohol and we chose MV Starcraft Ferry since it is the cheapest among others. Estimated travel time is one hour. Check their website to see the ferry-boat schedule and their rates.

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My friend Kat and I inside the ferry boat
Boat fare is 210 pesos each and we paid 25 pesos for the terminal fee.

Things to do in Bohol

1) Go to Chocolate Hills

For our first stop, we visited the famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol. It consists of 1268 cone-like hills spread over 50 square kilometers. The hills are green until the end of the dry season and then become chocolate brown, hence the name Chocolate Hills.

From port no need to ride a trike or pedicab. We just walked at least 5 minutes from port to van terminal going to Carmen, terminal is near McDonald’s.

Estimated travel time:

  • 1 hour van ride from Tubigon to Carmen
  • 10 – 15 minutes trike to Chocolate Hills

Fare/Fees:

  • Van – 80 pesos
  • Trike – 100 pesos
  • Entrance Fee to Chocolate Hills – 50 pesos

We climbed up this 200+ steep stairs and burned some calories just to see the magnificent view of the Chocolate Hills.

2) Mini tour in Bohol Habitat

This place has a butterfly sanctuary and restaurant inside. The tour guides here are very hospitable and funny. They made our mini tour here engaging and full of laughter while having rich information about butterflies and moths. Plus, they are good photographers!

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Estimated travel time:

  • 30 to 45 minutes bus ride from Carmen to Bilar (ask the driver to drop you off at Bohol Habitat)

Fare/Fees:

  • Bus – 20 pesos
  • Entrance fee – 40 pesos

3) Go biking around Panglao

We drove 10 kilometers from our hostel to Alona beach. Good thing that the weather is all good for a bike ride and the road is smooth and safe. We rented our bikes from Bohol Coco Farm for 100 pesos each.


4) Swimming in Alona beach, Panglao

The famous Alona Beach is in Panglao Island, it has a long stretch of yellowish-coral-sandy beach where the resorts, dive centers, restaurants and souvenir shops are also located. Honestly, we didn’t enjoy the beach that much because there are a lot of boats around the shore. But I can say that it is still worth visiting, though locals say that we should have gone to Dimalaluan beach instead of Alona.

Outside Hennan beach resort
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5) Visit Tarsier Convention Area

Our Bohol adventure would not be complete without seeing the tantalizing eyes of the smallest species here in the Philippines – the TARSIERS! Too bad it started to rain and all the tarsiers are hiding and I didn’t have a chance to have a closer photo of them.

Tarsiers have extremely large eyes and ears, and long tail and hind legs. They are nocturnal animals and hardly ever show themselves up during the day. One of their unique feature is they can rotate their head for 180 degrees without moving the rest of the body. This helps them remain “silent” while waiting for the prey to appear.

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There are buses passing thru outside Tarsier Convention Area, we ride a bus going to Carmen then ride again a van going to Tubigon Port.

Estimated Travel time:

  • 15 minutes van ride from our hostel to Tagbilaran
  • 30 minutes bus ride from Tagbilaran to Tarsier Covention Area in Loboc

Fare/Fees:

  • Van – 75 pesos
  • Bus – 30 pesos
  • Entrance Fee – 60 pesos

And that’s how we end our 1 and a half day tour in Bohol! Too bad, we weren’t able to go to Danao Adventure Park because it was closed due to the damage that was left by the earth quake last April 2013. I really wanted to try their Bunjee Jumping but I guess it’s a sign to go back here again.

Accommodation: Bohol Coco Farm

It’s a budget hostel in Panglao, rate is 350 per head or 700 pesos per kubo (nipa hut) which can accommodate up to 2 person. They also have rooms for bigger groups. Visit this link to know more about the place.

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Day 3: Moalboal and Kawasan Falls

Next stop, CEBU! From Pier, we took a cab and go to South Bus Terminal. Then we ride a bus going to Moalboal via Santander-Barili road. Travel time is almost 3 hours including the pick up and take off of the passengers per town. Bus fare (non aircon) is 115 pesos.

It was late midnight when we arrived at Moalboal, good thing that there are still tricycle drivers waiting. You just have to negotiate with them regarding the price cause if not they will ask you for a higher price.

We stayed for one night in Moalboal Backpacker Lodge, we rented a private studio with own T&B for 700 pesos. We chose to stay in Moalboal because it is closer to Badian where the Kawasan Falls is located.

One thing I learned from travelling is that finding the best accommodation is really an important part of the trip. Top three things that I always consider are the 1) location – its proximity to tourist spots and easy access from the road, 2) reviews – I love reading comments and recommendations from other travelers. It helps me to work out on my expectations regarding the place I wanted to visit or a hotel I wanted to stay.  And of course 3) the price – it should be budget friendly!

Kawasan Falls

Kawasan has three waterfalls. The first one is the largest, and is usually the most crowded. We didn’t have much time to explore the other waterfalls that’s why we spend most of our time in the first waterfall.

I love the scenery as we go walking to the falls. Its turquoise water is compelling. Really nature at its best! The waterfall is spectacular and sparkling. And the water itself is so fresh and cold.

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From Moalboal, we took a bus going to Badian. We ask the bus conductor to drop us at Matutinao Badian Church. From there, we walked for at least 10 to 15 minutes. We didn’t hire a tour guide and when we were asked if we know the place we immediately say yes. Because I read from other blogs that some people there will not stop bothering you if they know that you’re a first time traveler in Kawasan. Also, there are cottages and life vests available for rent.

Estimated travel time:

  • 15 to 20 minutes bus ride from Moalboal to Badian
  • 5 to 10 minutes trekking to the waterfalls

Fare/Fees:

  • Bus – 20 pesos
  • Entrance fee – 2o pesos
  • Cottage (round table) – 300 pesos
  • Life vest – 50 pesos

Moalboal beach – 2 minutes walk from our hostel
After that, we went back to our hostel and packed our things and travel to our next destination. From Moalboal, we ride a bus going to the town of Oslob. Bus fare is 70 pesos and estimated travel time is 1 hour and 30 minutes.

We took off at Oslob bus terminal and ride again a bus going to our resort. We stayed at Seafari Resort and enjoy our remaining time in there. Visit this link to check my full review on Where to stay in Cebu?

Day 4: Swimming with the whale sharks

For me this is the highlight of our Cebuhol adventure. I really had fun with my close encounter experience with the whale sharks and that left me a feeling of going back to this place, hoping to go back here next year.

Sharing with you my 5 Reasons why swimming with the Butanding is the best thing to do in Cebu.

Estimated travel time

  • 10 to 15 minutes boat ride from our Resort to Whale shark watching area

Fare/Fees:

  • Boat ride is free when you stay at Seafari Resort
  • 30 minutes swimming with the whale shark – 500 pesos

Heading back to Cebu City from Oslob took us 3 to 4 hours travel time and the bus fare is 140 pesos. Since our flight to Manila is scheduled late at night we decided to squeeze our time and roam around the city. We were able to visit 3 places: Ayala Center Cebu, Taoist Temple and Magellan’s Cross.

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I only spent 7100 pesos for our Cebu-Bohol trip; it includes accommodations, fares (except airfare), foods and pasalubong. See, it is possible to visit this two amazing places and experience riveting adventures for a budget amount. Happy travels fellow travelers! πŸ™‚

Disclaimer: Fare price and entrace fees indicated  above may change as this blogpost was written on the year 2015.

“Travelling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.” – Lisa St. Aubin de Teran