We chose to return to Bohol mainly so Dora and JB could see the wonderful sea life that abounds this island. I visited the island 4 years ago - and so I was interested to see how things had changed/progressed.
From Manila there is a direct flight via at least 2 airlines (Cebu Pacific and Air Asia) - we chose Cebu Pacific, who in the past were terrible (no planes, change of terminal, flights delayed, plane turned around in mid-air !), but this time they were excellent.
Exiting the airport in Tagbilaran city (there is a new airport under construction on Panglao island now) we grabbed a Tri-cycle and spent a slightly cramped 45 minutes until we reached Alona Beach area. We had not booked any accommodation, as there is an abundance of various room types. Dora did some reconnaissance, and soon we were sorted out.
There are at least 10 large diving shops - some cater exclusivly for Korean, Japanese but most will "take anyone". I had dived with a Filipino owned and run operation last time called Island Adventure so I wanted to see how they were doing.
A small shop about 90m past White-tip/Dive Supply, but with decent rental gear ($2/day) and excellent shore/boat/dive staff.
The office lady (July) was still there, as were 2 of the dive guides (Conrad and Juin) - hoping that things were still as good as before, we signed up for some diving for Dora and myself. JB was booked into his PADI Advanced course with a new instructor Oliver.
Most of the diving here was done around Balicasad Island, which is a marine sanctuary about 30 minutes by boat away. The diving there is generally easy, however exercise extra care when ascending due to boat traffic.
Dives and Videos
|Dive No||Location||Main Topic|
|1||Balicasad||Jacks and Turtles|
|4&5||Balicasad||Frog Fish, Devil Scorpion|
|8&9||Balicasad||Turtles and Jacks|
Island Adventure was the company we used, and in 10 days of diving I saw no reason to change that.
A Day exploring on a scooter
With a flight coming up, and the fatigue of 13 dives on the trot starting to make us all more tired than normal, we rented a pair of scooters and went to see 2 of Bohol's most famous tourists attractions.
Riding motorbikes is fun - however dangerous! Filipino roads are not like EU/US roads, they are generally a poor surface, with occasional large holes in them. Coupled with this there is a wide variety of traffic... Proceed with caution.
A Tashir is the worlds smallest primate. It lives (quietly) on the Island of Bohol. After leaving our accommodation at 0800, and buying 2 litres of petrol (that is all that would fit into our monster scooters) we arrived at the Tasir reserve at 0910. The ride had been pleasant, with a little rain.
The entry fee is 60 php/head (aprox $1) - and we got a private guide - everyone gets a private guide.... and here is why.
The Tashir only are active during the night, so finding them is impossible. Apparently every morning a ranger goes and finds the animals - and they re-arrange the mini maze they have there, so you can be guided to the animals.
The Tashir is incredibly small - 2/3'rds the size of a soft-drink can. But with large round eyes. It was a great experience, and one which was run very professionally.
The Bohol Chocolate Hills are world famous, and so another hours "biking" and a petrol stop and we had arrived. There was a walkway up of 250 steps, which was a little tiring, but nice to stretch our legs after the bike trip.
The view of the hills was wonderful. They are amazing to look at - of course this was a busy place so arrive very early if you want to have some tranquillity.