of Chocolate hills and turquoise waters

Written by Donovan April 21, 2015 Category: Asia, Philippines Tags: , , , , , , , Comments

Cebu is located in the Visayas region of the Philippines and it contains many islands, which makes it the perfect beach and diving paradise. Fret not for those who do not know how to dive, you can either enjoy sunbathing by the beach or rent a boat out for island hopping and snorkelling. There are so many things to do on Bohol Island itself that I do not know where to start.
So from Cebu City, we took a 2 hours ferry to Tagbilaran, the main port on Bohol Island. You can also take the ferry to Tubigon, which is located further up north on Bohol Island, but further away from the main attractions. The ferry ticket Cebu to Tagbilaran cost 400P (~$12.50) on OceanJet. There are many ferry companies offering the same route, so choose the one that suits your timing and budget. We chose the non-aircon seating because we wanted to enjoy the sea breeze. The aircon seats were sold at 500P on OceanJet.

renting a motobike to get around the island is much easier

Once we arrived at Tagbilaran port, we were bombarded by touts trying to sell us day tours around Bohol, rental of motorcycles and tricycle rides. We chose to walk a distance because I wanted to take a look at the hotels around the area, but ultimately we decided to make the 30 minute trip to Panglao Island which is the touristy area of Bohol.

enjoying our daily dip in the turquoise waters

There are several beach chalets in Panglao and the most famous stretch is known as Alona Beach. The small tricycle carried the four of us and our baggages and we paid 300P in total after some haggling.

white, sandy beaches and turquoise waters of Alona Beach, Panglao island

We rented a motorbike for two days in order to get around Panglao island which is considerably big as it takes one hour to traverse the island. In Panglao, the St Agustin Church in Panglao stands marvellously on a wide expanse. From painted murals on the ceiling, parched walls and brown, to the moorish tiles on the floor, its interiors are impressive. We also visited Hinagdanan Caves, located not far from the church. The cavern is lit only by sunlight piercing through a few holes at the top of the cave, and is complemented by a deep pool. The stalactite and stalagmite formations in the cave were stunning one could even swim in the pool by topping up the main entrance fee (20P + 100P).

visit to Hinagdanan caves

Panglao is also a great place for diving, owing to the turquoise waters and during migration season, you can see the schools of tuna migrating in the ocean. There are several dive shops offering a myriad of packages to the diver, so take your pick and remember to compare prices among the different shops. Some of them would quote prices that only includes the dive but not the rental of equipment.



While the highlight of Bohol Island was the Chocolate Hills, I was not that impressed by the more than 1,200 of these hills that turn brown during the dry season are found. They appeared as seemingly inexplicable mounds jutting out in the middle of the rice fields. As we drove nearer the hills, these seemingly random hillocks got higher and more cone-shaped. We biked up the hills just in time to catch a spectacular sunset before heading down to one of the villages for dinner.

such an amazing sunset that the chocolate hills seem boring


– Cebu City is an 3.5-hour flight from Singapore. Cebu Pacific, SilkAir and Tigerair ply this route.

– Bohol is a two-hour ferry ride from Cebu, with several departures each day.

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