Traveling across Philippines Archipelago.
Traveling across Philipines Islands is not the easiest as the land is divided by the ocean into 7600 islands clustered into three major island groups: Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.
Only 2000 from the islands are inhabited, while the rest remains officially named.
If you are traveling from Manila flying is the easiest way to get to Bohol island. From there ferries will take you to all nearby islands including Cebu.
Getting to Philippines.
Visa is not required for tourist travel under 30 days, however you cannot travel from yellow fever affected countries.
I have to say the transportation in Philippines is quite well organized in terms of buses. Ferries schedules and information could be more updated but still it is a very convenient and affordable way to travel between the islands.
Check the weather forecast for your destination!
One thing I keep forgetting while traveling is checking weather season/conditions at my travel destination. Climate in Philippines:
- the rainy season, from June to November
- the dry season, from December to May.
However you need to be aware Philippines are heavily affected by cyclones and typhoons! While I was traveling in September, the Southwest Monsoon was enhanced by HANNA and two other tropical cyclones, moving north toward Taiwan and China. Flights across the island were bumpy and unpleasant.
Is it safe to travel to Philippines?
Generally the country is safe, regardless what media say. Western and central Mindanao – the southern province of Philippines and Sulu Archipelago are NOT advised for travel by the government due to terrorist activity.
How to get from Manila to Bohol Island?
The fastest way to travel from Manila to Bohol Island is by plane. AirAsia has really low fares and if you book in advance the ticket will cost you 30 USD (7kg check in luggage limit).
There are no luggage storages at the Terminal 2 Manila airport, you may find them only on Terminal 3 (Internet information is not updated, it still says luggage storage is available in Terminal 2, while it has been closed in 2020).
Once you land in Bohol Airport it’s good to reach Tagbilaran city, which is around 16 km away. Dao Bus Terminal in Tagbilaran is your gate away to any destination across the island and to Chocolate Hills.
How to travel from Bohol-Panglao International Airport?
There are many ways to get from Bohol airport to Tagbilaran and other cities. The cheapest way is taking a local bus, which stops just at the entrance of the airport. Be aware there will be plenty of people offering high rated van transportation. I would not recommend, as you may take tuk tuk taxi for 500 pesos to Tagbilaran for 2 people with luggage, while the van guys were offering from 600-1000 pesos.
The local bus runs every hour, however it may wait for the next arriving flight. The ticket is 75 pesos to Tagbilaran.
Transportation options from Bohol-Panglao Airport to Tagbilaran:
- local bus going to Dao Bus Terminal 75 pesos
- tricycles tuk tuks going directly to your destination 500 pesos for two people
- van bus going to Dao Bus Terminal 600-1000 pesos.
Best places to stay in Tagbilaran.
If you choose to stay near the city centre and port highly recommended place would be Bohol Tropical Resort for USD 48/per night. There’s a very pleasant Cafe Atanacio on the premises. And if you are lucky you’ll be able to witness one of the local weddings 😉
How to get from Bohol Island to Oslob in Cebu?
This was a bit of a challenge. The ferry schedule is not updated and the websites provide different departure place for the same ferry. In September 2023 there was only 1 ferry daily departuring from Momo Beach Panglao to Oslob (Apekoptravel). In Spetmeber 2023 the Apekoptravel office in Tagbilaran Pier was closed! Their ferry leaves at 6.30am but you need to be at least 30 minutes ahead of the departure. But it was impossible to buy tickets at that time.
OceanJet offers the only available connection from Tagbilaran Pier to Cebu Port and ferries run friequently (almost every hour during day time). One-way ticket is 800 pesos (economy seat: AC room or outside seating available). Business class is 1400 pesos.
The trip from Tagbilaran Port to Cebu Port takes 2h by ferry. It pleasant cruise, however I advise taking sea sickness medicine if you don’t feel comfortable on boats.
Ferries schedule from Bohol to nearby islands.
Ferry from Bohol to Cebu island.
After you bought a ticket you need to walk toward Arrival Area in the port and register your ticket in counter 1 & 2. Then you need to pay port fee of 30 pesos and you are now allowed to enter the waiting area. Before that you need to drop your luggage and pay 100 pesos for any bag you have outside your handbag.. There are plenty food and drink stalls indoor.