You won’t regret including Bohol in your Philippines itinerary. Chances are you’ll be staying on Panglao Island a busy little hub from which exploring is easy. You’ll find this island charming- its famous Chocolate Hills are impressive, its white sand beaches are postcard worthy and there is delicious local food to sample. If you only have a short amount of time to explore this island here is our 48 hour travel guide containing all our must eat and must do tips for Bohol in the stunning Philippines…
Note: all addresses & directions for restaurants, activities and sights are listed at the bottom of this post.
Day 1 Morning
Bohol’s most popular tourist attraction is top of your list this morning. The famed Chocolate Hills which dot this island’s landscape have to be seen to be believed. The Hills are about a 2 hour scooter ride from Alona Beach so get going early to beat the heat.
Exploring Bohol on two wheels is the cheapest and best way to cruise around the island- you’re on your own time and you’re not subjected to the jaw jangling suspension of tricycles for those longer journeys. In the Philippines, you need only a valid drivers licence to rent a scooter so do this in town or near your accommodation (we paid 350PHP/$7USD per day) and then make your way out to the Chocolate Hills after breakfast.
The roads are in good condition and your drive will give you a glimpse into Filipino village life. It’s a long way but it’s far better to be on a scooter with the wind in your hair than stuck on a hot tour bus we reckon!
Once you get to the Chocolate Hills, you probably won’t linger for too long other than to take a few snaps and marvel at the mounds that dot the landscape. But you will marvel- they are truly impressive. So named for the way they look in the dry season when the grass turns brown, there are over 1200 hills that erupt from the earth as far as the eye can see.
It’ll be hot and you’ll be ready for a breather so stop for a local lunch in Loboc or in the town with the primary school a few kilometres from the entrance to the Chocolate Hills. Drive back to Panglao via Corella and be prepared to meet some of the cutest creatures you’ve ever encountered.
Tarsiers, the tiny Yoda like primates which are featured on the 200 peso note can be seen in their natural habitat at the Tarsier Sanctuary- it’s the only place in Bohol where you can do so (the Tarsier Conservation Area in Loboc should be avoided as we’ve heard that they’re not an official sanctuary and the tarsiers are basically captive). They’re nocturnal animals but you might be lucky enough to spot a couple suffering from insomnia!
On your drive back to Panglao look out for fruit sellers who sport giant plastic containers filled with the refreshing and delicious concoction that is the fruit chiller. A drink made up of fresh fruit, milk and sugar it’s super tasty and it’s CHEAP, about 10PHP/$0.20USD for a cup.
After all that exploring it’s time to put your feet up! Tourists congregate at Alona Beach but its worth heading there at least once for a swim and sunset. Happy Hour tends to be from 5pm-7pm and beers are usually about 50PHP/$1USD a pop. Dinner on the beach is best avoided unless you are desperate to have your feet in the sand- be prepared to pay high prices for seafood and to be the target of masseuses offering their services and people selling boat tours.
The restaurants on the main street tend to be more wallet friendly and authentic for dinner. Our pick is Naty & Henry (address below) which is popular with both locals and tourists alike- they offer a great selection of pre-cooked dishes (just pick what you like the look of and pay by the plate) as well as excellent grills, a meal for two hungry people will cost a maximum of 500PHP/$10USD.
Day 2 Morning
You’re in for a treat today as you discover the most spectacular beach in Panglao. Dumuluan Beach has sand the colour and texture of icing sugar and some of the clearest water we’ve ever seen. SO, grab your swimming costume and head to Dumaluan Beach Resort to get access to the beach. The beach is lined with private resorts and there’s no free public access but it’s only 25PHP/$0.50USD per person entrance fee plus another 25PHP to park your scooter if you enter via Dumaluan Beach Resort.
After a morning of swimming and sunbathing you’ll be starving and there’s only one place for it- local joint D’Ellens (address below) for a feast of fried chicken! They literally only serve fried chicken (12PHP/$0.25USD per piece!!!), white rice and soft drinks but oh man, this is some of the best fried chicken you’ll ever have eaten, we promise. This really is a locals restaurant and you might get a few odd looks from other diners but the boys who run the place are friendly and it’s worth it for the bird! If you’ve still got room, grab an organic coconut ice cream from Buzz Café either on Alona Beach or on the main road for dessert- the ube flavour is our pick.
Your beach pass is good until 6pm on the same day. So it’s back to the beach after lunch for more water and sun time or alternatively, if you’re after a bit of pampering, the Love’s Beauty salon on the main road does super affordable manicures and pedicures or even get a haircut. It’s not fancy but it’s affordable and the ladies who run the salon are lovely. Boys in need of a trim can visit any one of the barbers that operate out of huts that line the main street and at 40PHP/$0.80USD it’s a steal!
Take in another stellar Filipino sunset from the beach with a San Miguel in hand before heading back up to the main road for a inihaw (BBQ) feast at the tiny restaurant opposite the Sun Apartelle. They serve BBQ meat, rice and you can get some grilled eggplant or onion if you want some greens but that’s about the extent of their menu. However, the meat is superb (we recommend the pork belly), the locals love it and it’s dirt cheap (around 150PHP/$3USD for a meal for two).
48 hours in Bohol, DONE!
We hope this Bohol travel guide has helped you eat and explore like a local, not a tourist.
Liked this post? Pin it!
Renting a scooter is the easiest way to get around Panglao Island. Otherwise there are plenty of tricycles to hail for both short and long journeys. Note that the going rate for a trip to the airport seems to be about 300 pesos each way.
Chasing a Plate’s Pricing Guide
$ under 150PHP/$3.50USD per person
$$ around 300PHP/$7USD per person
$$$ around 600PHP/$15USD per person
Eat like a traveller:
Naty & Henry $-$$
Hontanosas Road, Panglao
6:00am to 10:00pm
Panglao Island Circumferential Road not far from Love’s Beauty Salon on the same side of the road.
Buzzz Café $
Alona Beach, Panglao
Grill restaurant $
Panglao Island Circumferential Rd, Panglao
Explore like a traveller:
Loay Interior Road, Carmen, Bohol
50PHP/$1USD per pax entrance fee
Tarsier Sunctuary Rd, Corella, Bohol
9:00am to 4:00pm
60PHP/$1.10USD per pax entrance fee (includes guide)
Dumuluan Beach Resort
25PHP/$0.50USD per person plus 25PHP for a scooter
Love’s Beauty Salon & Spa
Panglao Island Circumferential Road
8:00am to 8:00pm except for Sunday 1:00pm to 8:00pm
Approximately 250PHP/$5USD for a manicure/pedicure