Backpacking Northern Mindanao: Bohol

Although the province of Bohol is in Central Visayas, it was part of my trip in northern Mindanao, hence, the inclusion here. Bohol was not initially included in my itinerary, same with my trip in Iligan City. It was my classmate who suggested to look for other airport that Cebu Pacific Air offers seat sale during I book my flight. Bohol is just a 2-hour ferry ride from Camiguin Island. Since it is my dream to see Chocolate Hills and tarsiers in person, I decided to return to Manila from Tagbilaran City Airport.

From Port of Balbagon in Camiguin Island, I rode a ferry going to Jagna Port in Bohol. The travel time is about 4 hours. As a tourist, I took some photos of the port and the surrounding areas. I bought 3 small pack of calamay, which is made from sticky rice flour (galapong) and candied brown sugar (panucha). This is the local delicacy in Jagna. I took my lunch in a nearby carinderia and took a passenger van going to Tagbilaran City afterwards.

Calamay stand just outside the port of Jagna.

Calamay stand just outside the port of Jagna.

According to a local in Jagna, there are no buses plying to Tagbilaran City from there. Although, I saw at least one bus going to the opposite direction. I wonder if this is true. So I decided to take a passenger van. As with any passenger vans, do not expect a super cool air conditioned van. It really is warm inside the van and uncomfortable. So if you are giant, be prepared for this scenario. I would suggest sitting at the front seat or at least near where the cool air blows.

When we are about to approach the city, I open my Google apps and check my current location. Since my research suggests that the cheapest accommodation in the city is the Tr3ats Guest House, I decided to stay there. To my surprise, the passenger van passed near the guest house. I alighted and navigate my way to the guest house. I checked in and prepare for a city tour.

I just walked my way to the city proper. It is about a kilometer away from the guest house. I took some selfies and photos in the park. I visited some malls in the city and took my dinner in a nearby cafe. I went back to the guest house and called it a day.

Pigeons are all over Plaza Rizal Park in Tagbilaran City.

Pigeons are all over Plaza Rizal Park in Tagbilaran City.

I woke up at around 4:30AM and prepared for Chocolate Hills located in Carmen, Bohol. I walked towards the city proper hoping to see jeepneys during that time. However, I only saw a mini bus and I did not bother asking where it is headed to. I ask a security guard in the area and I was told to just ride a habal-habal (motorbike). The fare from the city proper to DAO Integrated Bus Terminal located just beside the Island City Mall is just Php30.00. When we approach the bus terminal, a mini bus going to Carmen is on its way. Due to my willingness to be at Carmen, Bohol early, I decided to hopped in. I soon realized that the bus will pass the town of Tubigon. This route is about 30 kilometers more than the route passing the town of Loboc. Nevertheless, since it was early in the morning and the weather is appealing, I had enjoyed my travel going to Carmen. If you have limited time, please avoid buses that will pass the town of Tubigon going to Carmen for Chocolate Hills Complex.

Public market in Carmen. You will only reach the public market in Carmen if you take the bus passing Tubigon. Otherwise, Chocolate Hills Complex is about 3 kilometers away from the public market. To save money and time, make sure to ride a bus passing the Loboc town.

Public market in Carmen. You will only reach the public market in Carmen if you take the bus passing Tubigon. Otherwise, Chocolate Hills Complex is about 3 kilometers away from the public market. To save money and time, make sure to ride a bus passing the Loboc town.

When I arrived at the town of Carmen, I took my lunch at one of the eateries there. I was told to just take a bus going to Chocolate Hills Complex but it was a good decision to just ride a habal-habal as the complex is about 300 meters hike from the main road. Plus, I saved from paying the entrance fee because the driver of the habal-habal talked to the attendant at the complex.

I took some photos there and spent few minutes before I decided to go back to Tagbilaran City for Tarsiers Sanctuary in Corella. On my way down to the main road, I passed the stalls selling souvenirs. I bought myself a t-shirt for Php270.00. I crossed the main road and waited for a bus going to DAO Integerated Bus Terminal in Tagbilaran City. Buses here are limited so expect an overloaded bus full of passengers.

Chocolate Hills taken from the Chocolate Hills Complex.

Chocolate Hills taken from the Chocolate Hills Complex.

This is the road going to Chocolate Hills Complex. It was taken from the main road. The view deck is about 300 meters hike.

This is the road going to Chocolate Hills Complex. It was taken from the main road. The view deck is about 300 meters hike.

When I arrived back to DAO Integrated Bus Terminal, I went to Island City Mall, which is just adjacent to the terminal, to take my lunch in Frankies Cafe. I was looking for a local food but I could not find one. I ended up eating a burger, french fries and strawberry shakes. Afterwards, I headed to the terminal going to Corella. My experience commuting to Corella is really not so good. I was the only one left in the jeepney after reaching the Corella town proper and the Tarsier Sanctuary is still about 4 kilometers away, the driver dropped me off in a habal-habal terminal even though Google maps shows that I am still far from the main road of the Tarsier Sanctuary.

Thinking that Google maps made a mistake in the Tarsiers Sanctuary location and thinking that the sanctuary is just few meters away from the main road, I decided to just walk my way. I reached the other highway and tried my luck walking to the sanctuary by navigating using Google maps. However, it seems forever. I decided to pickup a tricycle, which was just a coincident, and asked the driver to drop me to the sanctuary. I showed him the maps and told me that there was a mistake. The road that Google maps shows is a dirt road and impossible to pass. That said, we went back to the road I traveled to reach the sanctuary. Since I was too tired and it also rained, I decided to hire the tricycle on my way back to DAO Integrated Bus Terminal. I just spent few minutes in the sanctuary to have a photo opportunity with the tarsiers.

This is the public utility vehicle I rode when I went to Tarsiers Sanctuary in Corella. Despite its route, the drive had dropped me at the habal-habal terminal that is about 3 kilometer away from the drop-off point of Tarsiers Sanctuary. To avoid similar fate, make sure that you talk to the driver that you will alight at the drop-off point of Tarsiers Sanctuary. It is also advisable that you take a public utility vehicle that will go to the town of Sikatuna.

This is the public utility vehicle I rode when I went to Tarsiers Sanctuary in Corella. Despite its route, the drive had dropped me at the habal-habal terminal that is about 3 kilometer away from the drop-off point of Tarsiers Sanctuary. To avoid similar fate, make sure that you talk to the driver that you will alight at the drop-off point of Tarsiers Sanctuary. It is also advisable that you take a public utility vehicle that will go to the town of Sikatuna.

Photo opportunity with a tarsier in their sanctuary at Corella, Bohol.

Photo opportunity with a tarsier in their sanctuary at Corella, Bohol.

The road to the left is the way going to Tagbilaran City. That said, if you are coming from Tagbilaran City, you need to cross the road and walk towards the Tarsier Sanctuary. It is about 300 meter dirt road.

The road to the left is the way going to Tagbilaran City. That said, if you are coming from Tagbilaran City, you need to cross the road and walk towards the Tarsier Sanctuary. It is about 300 meter dirt road.

Back in Tagbilaran City, I took my dinner at the Payag Restaurant located at 18 S. Matig-a Street corner C.P.G. East Avenue. I was surprised to know that they also serve Jo’s Chicken Inato, which is also served in Kamayan sa Manokan in Cagayan de Oro City. I never thought that Jo’s Chicken Inato is a famous restaurant in Central Visayas and Northern Mindanao. In fact, just by doing a Google search, you will find out that they have many branches in the nearby regions.

Island City Mall is adjacent to DAO Integrated Bus Terminal. You need to go here in order to get around Bohol.

Island City Mall is adjacent to DAO Integrated Bus Terminal. You need to go here in order to get around Bohol.

Inside Payag Restaurant.

Inside Payag Restaurant.

The next day, I walked towards the city proper. I bought myself a coffee and breads for my breakfast. I rode a jeepney and asked the driver to drop me at the junction near the airport. The airport is just about 500 meters away from the main road so I decided to just walk.

My Bohol trip concluded my “Backpacking Northern Mindanao” travel.

Here is a short video clip of Chocolate Hills as viewed from the Chocolate Hills Complex in the town of Carmen.

For travel itinerary, please click here.

For travel expenses, please click here.

This is one of the destinations to my ILIGAN CITYCAGAYAN DE ORO CITYBUKIDNONCAMIGUIN ISLANDBOHOL trip with travel dates from 8th of October, 2015 to 14th of October, 2015.

By | 2017-02-26T12:27:26+00:00 November 27th, 2015|Local Travels|0 Comments

About the Author:

Elpi Garcia is a travel enthusiast who go for an adventure whenever his budget and time allow it. He is more into sight seeing for a nature-packed experience and city / town tour to understand the history and culture of the places he visit. Aside from travel, he is also interested in alternative medicine, business opportunities, website design and information technology. He maintains websites related to alternative medicine, business opportunities like eLoad Matrix and Payday Loan; and website design services.

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