We visited Bohol again! The first time we visited the land of chocolate hills was 2011, then again just last June 2016.
We followed a different Bohol Tour itinerary for our first and second time. I’ll be laying out the highlights of the second tour. Hopefully it can give light in case you are confuse whether to choose Tubigon Port over Tagbilaran Port as your entry point.
The Bohol 2011 vacation saw us travelling via Oceanjet fast craft from Cebu to Tagbilaran, and then tour of Bohol with Carmen town as the furthest tourist spot stop. Our visit to Bohol this 2016 we sailed from Cebu to Tubigon via Lite Ferries, a RORO slow boat, first stop was Sagbayan Peak in the town of you guess it, Sagbayan. 😀
Bohol Tour with pick-up from Tagbilaran Port – the tour fee for this was P2,500 last 2011. We checked with our van driver and he said, it is now P3,000 but you can try to haggle the rate. Some smaller van services outfits grants discounts.
Rates are regulated by the Bohol Tourism office. You can ask your van driver to see the tour and tariff rates, tourism accredited drivers have this laminated tariff cards. Based on the rate card, you’ll know how much the rate for specific tours or van services from one point to another.
Example: Pick-up from Panglao with Dauis mini- tour, the rate is P800 including a visit to Dauis Chart and the well or balon inside the church that was uncovered after the 2013 earthquake with a sidetrip to the Hinagdangan Cave and Bohol Bee Farm.
For our 2016 BOHOL TOUR our group was picked-up from TUBIGON PORT, this was our itinerary:
- FAST CRAFT via TAGBILARAN, slow RORO BOAT via TUBIGON
Sail with Lite Ferries Shipping Line from Cebu to Tubigon. Ticket rate is P110 per passenger. Sailing time is about 2 and a half hours. Earliest morning trip is at 7 AM. Cebu Pier 1 terminal fee is P25/pax.
2. BOHOL TOUR STARTS!!!
Our group was picked up by the van service in Tubigon Port (we made prior arrangement a few days before through my aunt).
*There is a McDonald few meters from the port in case you took the 7 AM Lite Ferries boat and is hungry for breakfast.
First stop is Sagbayan Peak, entrance fee is P50/pax. Don’t miss trying their bibingka! Photoshoot opportunities: the complex is big with sections on tarsiers (we saw 2 tarsiers!), butterfly, statues of animals, superheroes, and fairytale characters, viewpoint for the chocolate hills, and a restaurant.
Now, your van driver may say that the chocolate hills that you can see from Sagbayan Peak are the same chocolate hills one can see in Carmen town, and in his eagerness to help you save a bit of your tour budget, might suggest you skip Carmen town hills viewing. Chocolate Hills in Carmen entrance fee is P50/pax.
This I recommend: GO STILL TO CARMEN. The visible chocolate hills in Sagbayan Peak are far inferior to what you’ll see when you get to the main Carmen viewpoint. If you are a first timer in BOHOL, the iconic Chocolate Hills view are in Carmen, not in Sagbayan Peak. See the difference in the pics below:
p.s. yes, I gained weight, the hubby’s a good chef ^^
**If I am to redo our tour this 2016, I would choose the Tagbilaran route even though fast craft tickets are more expensive than Lite ferries tickets. From Cebu you can take any of the fastcrafts: Supercat, OceanJet, Weesam Starcraft to enter Bohol via Tagbilaran.
Van tour rental if pick-up via Tagbilaran is P2,500 (included all tourist sites except Sagbayan Peak). Van rental if pick-up is via Tubigon is P4,500 (all tourist sites included). **You can negotiate the rates with the driver. Clue: NEGOTIATE! 😉
3. TOURIST SITE STOPS
These are the usual tourist sites in Bohol. These sites are included in the itinerary followed by tour operators and van drivers.
Sagbayan Peak (if you arrived via Tubigon only.)
Carmen Chocolate Hills Viewpoint (best way to see the famous hills!)
Manmade Forest (temperature becomes cooler!)
Habitat Bohol EcoPark (ice cream!!! And butterfly education for P30/pax entrance / tour fee. :))
Bamboo Hanging Bridge (Tenten and Serena had a moment here).
Rio Verde Tarsier Place (we skipped this since we saw tarsiers in Sagbayan Peak).
Luboc River (we skipped the Luboc River Cruise with lunch but we spent time on the Luboc bridge for photo-ops.)
Blood Compact Site (quick photo-op)
Baclayon Church (still undergoing rehabilitation)
Dauis Church (see the “miraculous well” inside the church itself)
Bohol Bee Farm in Panglao (ice cream!!! Load up on pasalubong too!)
Lastly, Panglao resort drop-off
4. PASALUBONG SHOPPING
If you arrived by way of Tubigon, request your driver to stop by the town of Albuquerque to buy kalamay of Bohol. This town makes the tastiest Bohol calamay as well as its cheapest there. Otherwise, buy your pasalubong calamay and peanut kisses just before you enter the Tagbilaran Port complex. You can still buy calamay and other Bohol pasalubong goodies inside the port but it’s more expensive there compared to the pasalubong stalls outside the port.
Hoard Bohol Bee Farm’s special spreads. 😉
5. GOING HOME – ANOTHER VAN RENTAL
Van pick-up service from Panglao to Tagbilaran Port is another fee.
Are there public transpo? Yes, there are buses, but they are very rare. If you are alone, you can take a habal-habal, or chance upon a van driver who just drop-off guests in Panglao then rent him to take you to Tagbilaran port for a cheaper rate. This was what we did last 2011, we paid only P500, instead of P800 usual van hire rate for Panglao – Tagbilaran drop-off.
*The P800 rate comes with a Panglao and Dauis tour (Bee Farm, Dauis Church, Hinagdangan Cave if you didn’t have time for these sites on your Bohol Day Tour). The main Bee Farm is located in Panglao Island, scenic place and good food!
6. BOHOL TOUR RECOMMENDED DRIVER
I can recommend our van driver JUVAN, his cellphone number is 0912 4068224. Nope, I don’t have any commission or freebies whatsoever. 🙂 But if you get his services, please tell him you read about it on Penfires, a blog by someone who was his guest along with her family who stayed in a resthouse in Brgy Libaong. Then ask for discount! *wink haha
I didn’t know him prior to the Bohol tour but he’s great. He was very accommodating when we made a special request to drop by the Island CityMall to pick-up some groceries, and we ended-up about 2 hours in the mall, the usual 5PMish end-of-tour was extended at no additional charge. Also, I left my hygiene pack in his van, he made sure I got it before leaving Bohol, intact. Inihabol pa sa port. 🙂
He can also help you arrange a boat for Island Hopping if you want to go dolphin watching or visiting nearby islands to Panglao.
**I can’t recommend a particular hotel for this vacation since we stayed at a relatives’ rest house in Panglao Island. But if you need to find a hotel in Bohol, check out these discounted offers from Agoda: Low price to medium price hotels and resorts or this one Bohol Recommended Hotels.
On the return trip, we’ve chosen to sail with STARCRAFT, 1 pm departure schedule. Fastcraft fare was P440, Tagbilaran terminal fee is P20/pax. Sailing time 2 hours and will dock in Cebu Pier 3.
Hope this helps you a bit if you are debating whether to get to Bohol from Cebu via Tubigon or via Tagbilaran.