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Transportation in Bohol

 


Getting there in  Bohol


You will most likely be approaching Bohol from Cebu but there are direct flights to Tagbilaran from Manila that probably depart at least once a day. Check with Philippine Airlines (PAL) or your international carrier about transfers. 

From Cebu, Bohol is easily visible from any vantage point that provides view across the 20-mile wide Bohol Strait. You can fly the short distance on PAL or you can check one of the competing domestic airlines such as Grand Air. Tickets can be purchased at Mactan Airport or in Cebu City. If you do fly, remember to confirm your return trip as soon as you arrive at the Tagbilaran Airport. 

I've never flown to Bohol. There are many ferries that ply the Cebu-Bohol route throughout the day. Besides saving a few pesos, there's nothing like an inter-island ferry for catching the beautiful vistas that the archipelago has to offer. 

In recent years, fast and smooth catamaran ferries have been put into service. What was a 4-hour trip now takes just 90 minutes. The ferries go by such names as "Supercat" or "Water Jet". "Jet" because the interior seating is setup much like an airplane. There are even snappily-clad "float" attendants to demonstrate use of life preservers (makes more sense on water than at 20,000 feet up) and emergency exits. In-float videos are shown. 

These "fast cats" leave several times a day from Pier 1 located a few blocks from Fort San Pedro which houses the tourism office and also has a refreshment stand. The fort is worth seeing and is a good place to check schedules and get your last minute travel questions answered. The post office is also nearby. 
 
If you'd like to save even a few more pesos and aren't in a hurry, you can take one of the regular cargo/passenger ships. These leave at all times and take 4 hours to Tagbilaran. Cargo is stored down below and passengers fill the upper deck. The deck area usually has a roof but is open on the sides. Tarps can be pulled down to enclose the area during stormy weather or at night. The seats are cots and families will stake out territories by pulling several cots together and laying out blankets and a picnic lunch or dinner. Some ferries have air-conditioned rooms with comfortable seats for slightly higher fares. Fares are paid as you board or sometimes after the ship is on its way. Ships often have a departure time but don't pay too much attention to it. It's a good idea to be ready to go but don't be surprised if a truckload of pigs shows up at the last moment that must be laboriously loaded squeal by squeal. If you're impatient, take a catamaran. 

Many vendors sell their goods or ply their trades along the pier. You'll see a Boholano delicacy called calamay that comes in a coconut shell that is taped together. Inside is a thick sweet paste made of coconut milk and rice with peanuts added. It can be used as a spread on crackers. Other snacks include fresh and cooked banana, other fresh fruits (the best mangos come from Cebu and Bohol), and roasted or boiled peanuts. You'll also find bar-b-que shrimp, pork and chicken along with boiled eggs and balut (boiled duck embryo in the shell). Add puso, which translates to "hanging rice" because it is cooked inside woven palm-leaf pouches, for a quick meal. If you have time, how about a manicure, haircut, massage or having your fortune read?

Some of the regular ferries go to other ports such as Tubigon directly across the strait (3-1/2 hours) and Talibon to the north. Tubigon is a good place to go if your destination is the dive resort on Cabilao Island or directly to Carmen and the Chocolate Hills without visiting Tagbilaran first. You can save the expense of spending a night in a hotel by catching the boat to Tubigon that leaves after midnight. Stop at Fort San Pedro around sunset when the walled fortification becomes a lover's rendezvous then grab dinner at a "sidewalk cafe" near the pier. After a few San Mig's board the boat before midnight and you can set up your cot for the night. The ship's horn might wake you up at 2am but otherwise you should be able to sleep through to your arrival at daybreak. From Tubigon, buses go north toward Carmen and south to Tagbilaran. 

Cebu City is a long and expensive (up to $20) taxi ride from Mactan Airport. If you'd like to bypass Cebu City altogether and go directly to Bohol saving some pesos along the way, take a taxi from the airport to Lapu-Lapu City which is still on Mactan Island. Ask the driver to drop you off at the pier. Here you can catch a small ferry that goes directly to the Cebu pier about every hour for 10 pesos more or less. This is also a scenic ride. Since you arrive at the ferry pier you can go direct to the next catamaran or ship to Bohol.


Bohol Island Transport

By Air
Air
Bohol has two airports namely, the Tagbilaran Secondary Airport and the Ubay Feeder Airport. (The Ubay Airport has been closed to traffic due to inadequate facilities/runway.) Tagbilaran airport is located in the north-eastern portion of the city which is approximately 2 km from the core of the central business district.

Domestic flights fly to and from Bohol-Manila and Bohol-Cebu. There are direct flights to Tagbilaran from Manila that depart at least once a day. Check with Asian Spirit or your international carrier about transfers.  From Cebu, Bohol is easily visible from any vantage point that provides view across the 20-mile wide Bohol Strait. You can fly the short distance on Asian Spirit. Tickets can be purchased at Mactan Airport or in Cebu City. If you do fly, remember to confirm your return trip as soon as you arrive at the Tagbilaran Airport.

Cebu City is a long and expensive (up to $20) taxi ride from Mactan Airport. If you'd like to bypass Cebu City altogether and go directly to Bohol saving some pesos along the way, take a taxi from the airport to Lapu-Lapu City which is still on Mactan Island. Ask the driver to drop you off at the pier. Here you can catch a small ferry that goes directly to the Cebu pier about every hour for 10 pesos (this price is a guide only and is subject to change). This is also a scenic ride. Once you arrive at the ferry pier you can go direct to the next catamaran or ship to Bohol.


By Boat

From Cebu hydrofoils (fast boats) depart/arrive Cebu City/Tagbilaran several times daily and the trip lasts about 1.5 hours. From Leyet a big outrigger boat from Ubay (north Bohol) goes to Bato in Leyte, and another boat goes to Maasin in Leyte. Getting to/from Luzon one can catch the large super-ferry which tavels between Manila and Tagbilaran at least 2 times a week. If wanting to get to/from Mindanao there are ferries going between Jagna in Bohol to Butuan and also Cagayan de Oro. Hydrofoils (fast boats) travel between Tagbilaran and Cagayan de Oro. To get to Negros catch a boat at Tagbilaran to Dumaguete.

Tip: Besides saving a few pesos, there's nothing like an inter-island ferry for catching the beautiful vistas that the archipelago has to offer.

If you'd like to save even a few more pesos and aren't in a hurry, you can take one of the regular cargo/passenger ships. These leave at various times throughout the day and take 4 hours to Tagbilaran. Cargo is stored down below and passengers fill the upper deck. The deck area usually has a roof but is open on the sides. Tarps can be pulled down to enclose the area during stormy weather or at night. The seats are cots and families will stake out territories by pulling several cots together and laying out blankets and a picnic lunch or dinner. Some ferries have air-conditioned rooms with comfortable seats for slightly higher fares. Fares are paid as you board or sometimes after the ship is on its way. Ships often have a departure time but don't pay too much attention to it. It's a good idea to be ready to go but don't be surprised if a truckload of pigs shows up at the last moment that must be laboriously loaded squeal by squeal. If you're impatient, take a catamaran.



                                                                             Boat Connection Information

Origin/Destination

Times

Type of vessel

Approx Cost

Contact Numbers

Tagbilaran City to Cebu City

06.00; 08.30; 13.30; 17.15

Supercat

P290.00

(032)2323455-4511 or (032) 412-9386-87
CebuCity to Tagbilaran City

06.00; 08.00; 15.30; 19.00

Supercat

P290.00

(032)2323455-4511 or (032) 412-9386-87
Dumaguete City to Tagbilaran City

06.45; 11.45

Supercat

P300.00

(032)2323455-4511 or (032) 412-9386-87
Tagbilaran City to Dumaguete City

07.45; 09.45

Supercat

P300.00

(032)2323455-4511 or (032) 412-9386-87
Larena to Siquijor Tagbilaran City

17:45

?

Rates under review

?

Cebu City to Tagbilaran City 

06.00; 10.30; 15.00

Bullet Express

Rates under review

(032) 2551383-84

Tagbilaran City to Cebu City

08.00; 12.15; 18.00

Bullet Express

Rates under review

(032) 2551383-84
Cebu City to Tagbilaran City

08.15; 13.30 and 17.30

Sea Angels Ferry Corp.

Rates under review

Tel (032) 2325926/2325993
Tagbilaran City to Cebu City
10.00; 15.30

Sea Angels Ferry Corp.

Rates under review

Tel (032) 2325926/2325993


Note: The above prices, boat type and departure times are subject to change and are intended as a guide only. At the time of writing (2002) the prices are under review.


Buses

Buses link the main towns of Bohol with Tagbilaran. Information on fares and schedules is available at the city's two major bus terminals.


Jeepneys

Jeepneys For short trips in a and around Tagbilaran and across the bridge to Panglao, jeepneys provide a quick inexpensive service.


Motorbikes

Motorcycle-for-hire or "habal-habal" is a very common means of transport especially when travelling to upland Barangays.


Taxicabs

Taxicabs have been introduced in Tagbilaran City and may be hired for transport to any point of the island.


Tricycles

Tricycles are another form of transport, though slower than buses or jeepneys, they make for a novel way to get about the city of Tagbilaran as long as you are not in any hurry.



International Air

Silk Air


Malaysia Airlines

Cathay Pacific

 

Getting Around on Bohol


Once you arrive on Bohol, there are various way to get around the island. When you arrive at the pier, you will normally be greeted by various resort and hotel owners from Panglao, who will be happy to bring you to their resort in their cars. Otherwise, you can find plenty of tricycles and some taxis waiting to bring you to most locations within Tagbilaran and neighbouring towns. If you need to go to one of the other towns on the island, you have a choice of jeepneys, busses, V-hires, or even habal-habal. Since all this choice can be bewildering for new-comers, we list all options here.


Taxi

A few taxi companies operate on Bohol. If not at the pier or at one of the malls, you will have to call the company to get one. Taxis are supposed to switch on the meter, and will bring you to any destination within the city of Tagbilaran. Outside the city limits, the driver may multiply the amount on the meter with 1.5 or 2, which is fair, as he has to drive back to the city to pick up his next passenger. Most taxi drivers in Bohol are friendly, and can tell you a lot about the place. We normally use Varescon Taxi, phone 038 411 2548. For more addresses see our business directory. When leaving from your hotel in Panglao, count on about 40 minutes before a taxi can arrive to pick you up.


Tricycle

A typical Filipino mode of transport is the tricycle, a small motorbike surrounded by a metal construction that can hold up to 4 passengers, and a suprizing lot of luggage. Foreigners can also use them, but I advise two passengers maximum in that case. Since some tricycles are much under-powered, the driver may ask you to step out on particularly steep hills. You normally use these for short trips within the city, but some may be willing to bring you to neighbouring towns.


Minicab & JeepneyJeepney

For the somewhat longer distances, you can use either Jeepneys or Minicabs. The jeepney is the icon of Philippine transport, and is often wonderfully decorated. Inside, you will sit with your back to the "windows". Jeepneys drive a fixed route, and normally depart only when all seats are filled up. That includes the wooden benches that will be placed in the middle. Most long westerners will find they will barely fit. Luckily the ceiling is often cushioned.

When a jeepney passes, you can stick up your hand to stop it and enter. When you want to get out, shout "Para," and it will stop. You pay directly to the driver, and if he is too far, can hand some money to the person sitting next to you, who will hand it to his neighbour, and so on, until it reaches the driver. Your change will come back to you the same way.

Jeepneys will go upto about 20 kilometers from the city.


Bus

When you want to go to towns a little bit further away, your best bet is to take a bus. Most of these depart from the Integrated Bus Terminal in Dao. Use a tricycle to get there.

When you arrive at the bus terminal, you will be greeted by people (dispatchers) who will ask you where you want to go. They will then guide you to a bus supposed to go your destination. These people are paid to bring passangers to the bus. Always double check with other people, as these dispatchers may not bring you to the fastest or most comfortable bus available.

On the bus, you will pay to the conductor, who will ask you your destination during the trip. If you only have large notes, he may not immediately have change, but you'll get it after some time.

Unlike other Philippine provinces, Bohol has a large number of small independent bus companies. Most companies consist just of one or two busses on a single route. To the major towns, regular schedules are followed. For smaller towns in the inland, there are often only a few rides per day.


V-Hire

More comfortable than busses are V-Hires (Short for van for hire). These are air-conditioned mini-vans, that can accommodate 12 people, and operate on routes between the bigger towns. They have designated stopping places, where you can board or leave them. They cost about double the price of a bus ticket, but are twice as fast.


Habal-Habal

Habal-habal is driving on the back-seat of a motorbike. This is often the only way to reach towns in the inland when you have missed the bus, or don't want to wait. Most westerners will consider this a fairly risky mode of transport, as some drivers like to drive fast over bumpy rough roads.


Self Drive

I am not aware options to rent a self-drive car in Bohol, but motorbikes are readily available at Alona Beach. Near Alona Beach is also Bohol Riders, where you can rent a motorbike or even minicab for self-drive.

You'll need a valid driver's license, and this will sometimes be checked by traffic police. Outside Tagbilaran city, the roads are not too crowded, and driving yourself can be fun. Note that some roads in the inland can be quite rough, and are difficult to ride, especially during rain.

 

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