To get to Bohol you can get the ferry from Cebu or Dumaguete. In Dumaguete we advise you to go around the corner to this place to buy your ocean jet ticket ( the left red started dot). No queue, no drama!
It costs about 700-800 pesos per person but you are in a aircon seating areas with set seats and a movie. To us it’s worth it!
The ferry from Bohol back to Cebu cost us 500 peso per person, 150 peso for a bag, 20 peso terminal fee.
The ticket office is just outside of the port and looks like this
Tagbilaran is the area where most backpackers stay.
Backpacker – Henry’s Hostel For a basic double bed private room for 2 nights being £32 (2400 peso) that’s £8 each a night. Not too bad.
We have arrived in Bohol!!!! So excited to be back as I have only been here for a day trip with my sister. So me and Olly have heard very very mixed reviews about Bohol since we started travelling around the Philippines. Most people say the chocolate Hills are overrated and Bohol has turned into a little Boracay ( little Ibiza) and isn’t a nice place. We took all of these opinions with a pinch of salt and headed there anyways. We booked accommodation in Tagbilaran which is where most of the backpackers are and most of the trips start from. As soon as we got off the ferry we realised this wasn’t like anywhere we had been before. We are not sure if it’s because Boracay is shutting this week or the simple fact that this is more touristy.. but the people are horrible here! Taxi drivers charging ridiculous prices and ignoring us if we won’t pay. They are just out to rip you off and it feels like Thailand. Anyway we get to our hostel and the owner is a really nice German guy who tells us all we need to know about trips and starts to get us drunk Lol , so we head into town to sort out a tour for the next day and grab some dinner.
We saw on another blog there was a really good vegan restaurant… Olly normally orders the veggie option anyway as he is fussy with meat, more fussy than I am with food in general. So me trying to be a good understanding girlfriend says “ sure let’s try it”.. but in the back of my mind I’m thinking it’s only half 7, there’s still time to get food after we are done here haha. But we had probably the most filling dinner we’ve had while being away. Olly had a Diwali festival inspired curried potato rosti filled with cauliflower, cashews, peas, tomato and sweet pickles slipped with kerelan papaya chutney and I had a sweet potato, garlic, mushroom, mango and spinach burger.I was so hesitant for trying it but he said “ I’ll pay for it if you please try it”.. didn’t have to tell me twice haha. I really struggle with not letting him know how I feel, I can’t lie to him so he was watching my face to see my reaction and I have to say it wasn’t bad.
Every time we go on a ferry I say to Olly “ I just want to see a dolphin” so when we were looking at what trips to do, he pointed to the dolphin watching trip!!!! Of course I was so bloody excited. We had an early start of course we got on the boat at 6:30am. We headed out to a remote island just off shore to do some snorkelling and on the way we saw a pod of dolphins!!! It was really cool but I was kinda disappointed that there were about 15 boats doing the same trip as us, chasing them. Didn’t feel too natural but we literally saw them and drove off, our boat driver didn’t chase them which was good.
We got to Balicasag island and got into smaller boats where they took 4 of us out at a time. They took us over the protected reef ( very happy there is protected reefs still) and to the cliff edge where we saw the most amazing coral! We saw hundreds of fish, clown fish, purple fish and all amazing shapes and colours of coral. This is definitely the best I’ve ever seen! We got back on the boat and they took us 5 minutes around the corner to a stronger current where we saw lots and lots of turtles !!! This was becoming the best day yet with the amount of wildlife we had seen.
We then went to the Virgin island which is a huge sandbar in the middle of the sea, pretty cool but as always, over crowded. We jumped back on the big boat and Olly being the amazing boyfriend he is, he let me fall asleep on the boat while he chatted away to the locals and I was extremely burnt when I woke up.
To ease the pain we found the perfect spot on the beach and got very drunk watching the sunset. Meeting two English girls who we got talking to and went for dinner with was a really nice end to this amazing day!
We then travelled to a different part of Bohol the next day, called Guindulman, next to Anda beach. We stayed in an amazing hotel called Guindulman Bay tourist Inn with an English owner and his Filipino wife and son. He was like an old English gangster with so many stories and she was probably the smartest person I have ever met and their son was a little Filipino geeza who loved the ladies. They made us feel so welcomed and the food!!! Oh my goodness the food was out of this world. Me and Olly had to get used to eating 3 huge meals again because we had to take this opportunity while it lasted! We spent hours talking to them and they were so helpful with everything around this area. We spent a day going to waterfalls that were empty, running around rice terraces getting spooked by Carabao’s ( like a water buffalo). It was amazing! We also took the moped and explored around and we got a flat tyre. With this area not being used to westerners , no one spoke English but we managed to figure out that the shop to fix it was 1km away.. with us not wanting to push this heavy bike in the heat, a local who looked about 15 pushed it for us 🤣 weak white people!
Our next adventure takes us back to Cebu for a day, so we can catch our flight to Puerto Princesa and move onto Port Barton!!!
Siquijor is an island at the bottom of Cebu, the best way to get there is a ferry from Dumaguete port. We got a Ceres bus from Moalboal to the Liloan port which takes you to Sibulan port, get a tricycle for 100 peso to the other port. This picture makes it a lot easier to visualise
Once you are at Dumaguete the you will need to get a ferry over to Siquijor. The fastest and most popular ferry is the Ocean Jet. There is another ferry called Montenegro which takes 2 hours and takes you to a different port in Siquijor which is slightly further away from the main town but it’s not the end of the world, we got this ferry as Ocean Jet had all sold out. Aleson boats also run during the week but these are much smaller and I wouldn’t chance it. There is also a small terminal fee which is 15 peso.
Ocean Jet Ferry- quickest and most popular. Holds 300 people, arrives at Siquijor main port.
Montenegro Ferry–170 peso, 2 hours, holds 300 people, arrives at Lorena Port and Siqujior, so check which one you have booked.
Aleson Ferry– only during the week, unsafe, holds around 20 people.
Get there as early as you can as when we arrived at 12 there was only 1 ferry left with limited tickets!!! This took us 4 hours to get a ticket, with an hour wait then. 2 hour ferry ride. Give your self enough time to travel. You may be able to buy tickets online but with the limited WiFi in the Philippines I wouldn’t have a clue.
Failing that, there is a Ocean Jet office around the corner which we did not realise until we spoke to someone else who had a lot less stress than we did.
Rent a moped from the port as it will be easy to return it once you leave the island as you will leave from the same port. Mopeds are around 350 peso for the day and if you are not confident then make sure you get an automatic bike. A full tank of petrol is around 150 peso, the petrol stations are small shacks with huge coke glasses filled with red or green liquid. This is the petrol, get the person there to check if you need red or green.
I stayed at Tori’s paradise which has its own beach and pool and with dorms from £6 you can’t go wrong. With the island being very chilled and relaxed, what better place to chill by the spool or in the sea than here.The backpackers are more wooden shacks on the beach.
If you are looking for a bit more luxury then Coco Grove Resort is the place for you! It can be argeued that this is the best hotel on the resort and its easy to see why in the picture below.
With all the waterfalls there will be a parking fee of anything between 10-50 peso. The ‘volunteers’ will also insist you have a guide but most places you don’t need one as they will ask for a tip at the end, just say you have been there before and they will leave you alone. At one of the waterfalls they were kids and it felt so fake and forced we didn’t feel comfortable being there. We don’t mind paying a volunteer tip if they are worth it..we are backpackers after all.
The famous Cambugahay Falls! Each rope swing is at different levels and cost 50 peso for each one with unlimited jumps as well as a bamboo raft you can pay to use. You can find a good spot and go for a swim but this place gets super super busy so make it one of the first places you go if you’re setting off early to get the Instagram shot. This places also has about 200 steps to get down to the waterfall so buy water for the hike back up.
Lugnason Falls – This was by far the best waterfall as it was completely empty when we got here early. This place has a huge free rope swing into the pool underneath.We didn’t have a guide but it does actually help to have on here as they show you where is safe to jump and help you climb up the waterfall to jump off the top. They also become your biggest fan if you’re scared about jumping and It’s also kinda cool to watch them all do the most incredible backflips here .
Lagaan Falls– 50 peso to enter, 20peso parking there is a smaller swing here with places to slide off and climb up. Not as exciting as the others & most expensive to access.
Mt Malabahoc- it’s a beautiful drive of you’re confident on a moped. Just stick it in maps and drive up there. We did manage to find a look out up here too.
Salagdoong beachwhich I think you have to pay a small fee to jump from the cliff edge
Paliton beach BEWARE OF JELLYFISH
Firefly sanctuary- in Hambilica resort ( search it on maps.me) you can pay a small fee and go check them out.
Monkey Business – $$ I loved this place, it has such a cool vibe and a beautiful interior and In the middle of the main town which is surrounded with local tin shacks is this place that stands out. It gets crazy busy for dinner as there isn’t much in the way of nightlife on Siquijor and shuts at 11:30pm but it has live music and great fruit shakes. Try the spicy spring roll challenge for free beer.
Legends $$- craving English coffee or food? Take the short drive here. The English owner is so friendly and has some amazing stories and photos of famous people he has met. Well worth it for the chat
El Monte $- in Lazi this place is super cheap and had the best WiFi I have come across on the whole island
Twenty 4 Burger $– also in Lazi, it’s trip advisors number 2 place to eat in the whole of Siquijor.
Bahar Bar $– by far the best place to have dinner, sit downstairs and eat by candle light with a beautiful singer. Upstairs has a drinking game where every time you order they put a tick by what nationality you are so you can do your country proud by destroying your liver.
The island of Cebu is south of Manila and is in the country’s Central Visayas region. It is home to many top tourist attractions such as Kasawan falls and the famous Whale Sharks.
Using the app Rome2Rio we were able to see that from Cebu airport we needed to get to the bus station (south bus terminal ) and there was a Ceres busfor only £2 which is 140 pesos for a 4 hour journey. As soon as we got out of the aiport there were lots of taxi drivers who are trying to take you the whole way to Oslob for 3000 pessos but if you manage to get to the taxi rank (white taxi’s are cheaper and always ask for meter) then you can head to the bus station. On the way to the bus station our driver agreeded to take us to Oslob for 1800 Pesos as we wern’t aware we had arrived on a Holy Day and the traffic was horrendous, the bus would have taken 6 hours.
We stayed at New Village Lodge here which we found on Agoda. The location was great, very close to everything we needed. The rooms are very clean and the wifi is great in the reception area. They can help you plan all your trips you want to do from Oslob and arrange pick ups which is super helpful!
Another great acoomdation is Noordzee Hostel which is located on a beautiful beach and the hostel itself is close to the ports with boats taking you to Bohol or Siquior.
Oslob is home to the famous Whale Sharkexperience. This trip has become extremely popular so I advise to go as early as you can to beat the crowds. We left our hotel at 5:30am and was in the water with the Sharks by 6:15. The whole trip takes roughly an hour depending on crowds but you get 30 minutes in the water. There is also nowhere to leave bags or valuables so if you are doing this without a driver to look after your things, only take your camera and a towel. The fee to swim with them is 1000 pesos per person and our travel to and from the Sharks cost us 300 pesos. Bring your GoPro as it is a huge one ticked off both of our bucket lists!
This is a hugely controversial subject as many people do not agree with the fishermen feeding them for tourists and think it is changing the feeding habits of these Sharks. Others believe it is keeping this once endangered species alive. Make of is what you will but I would suggest going with an open mind. Both times I have swam with these giants I arrived in Oslob not convinced if I would take part. This time swimming with the whale sharks the locals have a much better structured interaction and seem to be handling the influx of tourists well. I did no witness any sharks being touched or bashing into the boats which I did witness in 2017.
Tumalog Falls and Aguinid Falls, with the furthest of the two being a 40 minute drive away. They both have a 40-60 peso per person fee to enter and the whole journey cost us 500 Peso each. Both waterfalls can get very busy so I advise to go early again to beat the crowds. Tumalog is a pretty and you are able to swim where as Aguinid falls you trek up the waterfall with a guide. I wore wet shoes which saved my life as flipflops slide off the vertical walls you will walk up and I took my wet bag with me too. The guide is free but they expect a tip.
Getting from Oslob to Moalboal
From the main road in Oslob we caught the Ceres Buswhich is 40 peso per person to Bato where you get another bus from Bato to Moalboal which costs 90 peso per person. There are two buses, one with aircon and one without and I would wait for the aircon bus as it takes around 3 hours for this journey.
The main town of Moalboal is 90km from Cebu city, on the west side of the island. The part everyone goes to and talks about is actually called Panagsana Beach. In resent years Panagsana Beach has become internationally reowned for the incredible Sardine runjust meters offshore. This tiny town is the most touristy part of the island we have come across. There are lots of bars and restaurants and is a great place to meet people. On Panagsana beach (which is tiny) you can hire a snorkel and flippers from a nearby shop and swim out to see millions of sardines.
In Moalboal its self there is an ATM but in Panagsana Beach there is only 1 ATM which doesn’t always work.
We stayed at a lovely lodge called Divers Lodge which was 1500 peso a night for a luxury room..by luxury we mean a working shower and fan but the owner did hook us up with a great moped to rent for the whole time we were there.
From Panagsana Beach we swam for an hour in the other direction, to the left of the beach, and we saw 4/5 turtles just swimming along. I wouldn’t pay for a trip from the shops if you are looking to save money to see turtles or sardines as they are just off of the beach in this area. There is a small island called Pescador Island you can do a trip to which does have incredible snorkeling but other than that just grab a mask and jump in!
If you are after a better beach, White Beach is about a 15 minute moped ride away which is mostly locals but it is a nice beach and not busy during the week. There are two goverment tolls on the way which I think were 5 pesos each.
Kawasan Falls – I have done the canyoneering before and it is really fun and exciting but it is hard! It takes a moderate level of fitness and swimming and it does take 3 hours to finish. One tip is to save your GoPro battery for the end of the canyoneering as it is the most beautiful part.
If you don’t want to do the trekking, you can head straight to the bottom where it is 50 peso to park your moped and 75 peso to enter and you can swim around the bottom famously pictured waterfall. It does get very busy so go early as possible and head up to the left of the waterfall just above it to get some different shots to everyone else. Find more info on the perfect Instagram shots at this waterfall here.
Pleasure Principles – Slightly more pricey than other places but 100% worth your money. We reccomend the prawns!
Cockonuts- Great wifi and very cheap food. You can sit right on the water edge and enjoy sunset with a cocktail and spring rolls!
The French Coffee Shop – Perfect place for your morning ice coffee!
Stay tuned for our travel tips for the island of Siqujior!
Or do you want to read what we got up to in Siquijor? Check out our journey below!