Bohol on a Budget

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Bohol is a small island close to one of the largest cities in the Philippines, Cebu city.   It is the 10th largest island in the Philippines, so the 10th largest out of 7000 islands in the Philippines.  It is one of the islands in the Visayas and is a 2 hour boat ride out of Cebu.  Personally, I had never heard of Bohol before I went to the Phillipines, but it's now my favourite island out of my Philippines trip (yup, on top of Boracay!) because it is so unique.

It's definitely easy to do Bohol on a budget, and going to Boracay after Bohol made Boracay seem that much more pricier.

Getting There and Away

Most people get to Bohol through Cebu City by taking a ferry to the main port and city of Bohol, Taglibaran.  A return ticket is about 800 pesos per person (about $23), if you need to change the ferry time, you will have to pay a reticketing fee of 100 pesos ($3).  A taxi out of the port to a hotel is about 200 pesos, or about $6.  Be prepared for possible delays on the ferry (1 hour delay).  It takes between 1 hour and 45 minutes to two hours to get from Cebu City to Taglibaran and vice versa.

Related: How to get Cheap Airfare

Sleeping

Boracay Ocean Club

We used Agoda.com to book accommodation with Boracay Ocean Club.  It was on the fancier side, around $55 a night but it was very modern and new.  There was an infinity pool on two floors and the staff were accommodating and friendly.  There was loud techno music at mealtimes which took away from the ‘getaway' feeling but the food was delicious.  It was a little far from the main city of Taglibaran but a tricycle ride into town 40 pesos, or about $1.  The rooms were clean and the breakfast buffet was delicious.

Things to See and Do

I liked Bohol particularly because there was so much to see and do, it's certainly a very unique island in the Phillipines.

Firefly Watching

Although this was not budget (mainly because it last minute) we spent $40 per person taking a car down to the Lombok river with a private boat to see the fireflies on the Mangrove trees.  It was a beautiful sight… felt like something in a Disney movie (and it was probably a once in a lifetime opportunity) and we even got to hold the little critters in the palm of our hands.

Tarsier Spotting

Tarsier

For about $50 for about 5 hours, you can hire a driver to take you to see the usual sites that Bohol has to offer, including visiting the tarsier sanctuary.  The smallest primate in the world is critically endangered, but was around 45 million years ago.  The admission fee is around $3 per person to see the tarsier in a habitat similar to its natural habitat.  These unique animals inspired Steven Spielberg's E.T. (the resemblance is uncanny).  They are about the size of a fist and can turn their head 180 degrees (they can't move their eyes).

Chocolate Hills

In the centre of the island or about an hour's drive from Taglibaran are 1268 unique mounds called The Chocolate Hills.  They are named this because during the dry season, the grass turns brown and the hills look like chocolate drops!  Scientists believe they were formed from limestone formations.  The admission fee to see the Chocolate Hills was under $3 per person.

Massage

Medispa is a small spa in Taglibaran city close to the port and SM Mall, massage is under $10 for an hour.  It looks a little dingy inside (it's not a 5 star spa by any means) but the staff are friendly.

Zipline

There is also ziplining available for a reasonable price (under $10 per person), however I did not try it as I have a fear of heights, haha!

Where to Eat

A delicious place for seafood was JJ's seafood near the Taglibaran port.  We had sweet and sour fried fish (the batter tasted like fried chicken) and garlic prawns, a watermelon shake, and a beer for under $17.  Of course, you can eat for much cheaper but we wanted to spare our stomachs from possible traveler's diarrhea from the street food.

Readers, have you been to Bohol before?  Any other tips on how to do Bohol on a budget?  Have you heard of the Tarsier before?

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Young is a writer and former owner of Young and Thrifty and the main "twitter' behind Young and Thrifty's twitter account. She lives in Vancouver, BC and enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with her anxious dog, and finding good deals. If you like what you read, consider signing up for email updates.

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