How to travel around Bohol Island, Philippines cheap? Traveling around Bohol by public transport is easy, you just have to know how to use it. No need to spend extra money on expensive tricycles, private vans or taxis. You can get pretty much to all touristic places in Bohol by jeepneys or buses. As there are no schedules and not too much information on the Internet, I decided to prepare this handy post on how to travel around Bohol by public transport.
Public transport in Bohol
The capital of Bohol – Tagbilaran is also the main starting point for buses and jeepneys. There are few bus stations in the city, from which the biggest is Integrated Bus Terminal. The most of the buses and jeepneys to travel around Bohol will go out from there.
On Integrated Bus Terminal you will get buses to all sides of Bohol and Panglao Island, which is connected by bridge. Public transport in Bohol works during the day, from as early as 5 am until 8-10 depending of the bus. There are no night buses, so you will have to count on tricycles and taxis then.
The buses are very cheap and unlike tricycles or taxis, the price is fixed, so don’t worry that someone will try to cheat you or you will have to bargain. There are jeepneys, or “little cars” as Filipinos call them, which look like a small van. Both go on the short distances and usually within the city or connecting few towns. For longer distances you will look for the big buses. Both you can find on the Integrated Bus Terminal, just on different spots around it. Of course, there is no map of the place, so you can find out where to head simply by asking locals. Filipinos are very helpful and will show you the direction, some may try to sell you a tricycle ride.
How to travel around Bohol by public transport?
Coming to practicals on how to travel around Bohol by public transport, you need to know few very important facts which will make moving around easier. The buses go daily, including weekends. There is no schedules, as the buses usually start when they get full. But don’t worry, there are a lot of people traveling, and I didn’t wait longer than 30 min. to move on. For all the buses and jeepneys, you don’t have to buy the ticket in advance, you just hop on the bus and wait until the conductor will charge you.
What’s great about traveling around Bohol by public transport is the fact, that you can stop the bus whenever on its way. Which means that you don’t need to look for the bus stop, as there are barely some. Living anywhere in Bohol you just have to be on the bus route and wave when you see it. The same with getting down the bus, you can stop it, whenever you want to get down.
So how do you get out of the bus in Bohol? There are no buttons to press or fixed bus stops where the bus stops. What locals do is shouting “Para po” which means STOP or they start knocking with the coin into some metal parts on the bus. I know that sounds funny, but it really works. When you don’t know where exactly you should get out, ask the conductor selling the tickets, he will then stop the bus when needed.
Should I stay on Bohol or Panglao?
Most of the tourists stay at Alona beach on Panglao island. If your focus is to stay on the beach and snorkel, then definitely you should choose accommodation on Alona Beach. On the other hand, if you are more interested in discovering nature of Bohol and less touristic places, you should stay on the Bohol island.
Staying in Tagbilaran makes it easy to get the public transport. However, staying in Lobok or Jagna, which are also on the main road, makes it convenient for using the public transport around Bohol as well.
I stayed in Tagbilaran city in a budget friendly hostel Brielle’s dorm and I recommend it. You can get bed in a dorm or private room for 2 people. They have basic rooms and bathroom, all clean. Free coffee and wifi plus comfy beds were all I needed. The accommodation is in the center, very near the port, shopping mall, bakery and the bus stop. What’s more, the Brielle’s dorm is just next to Cogon Bus Terminal, from where I was getting a commuter called “little car” to Integrated Bus Terminal for as little as 8 pesos. So easy and convenient.
I also tried the massage SPA nearby, called Royal Thai, which was just a perfect end of my stay in Bohol. If you are looking for a budget friendly massage, in Royal Thai will give you the best rates in the city and I cannot complain about the quality of service. I took one hour Swedish style massage and enjoyed a lot!
Going to Lobok by public transport
There are jeepneys going from Integrated Bus Terminal in Tagbilaran to Lobok. Once I paid 27 pesos, another time around 40. There are also buses from the same terminal which will cost around 50 pesos. They go farther to Carmen, San Miquel or Ubay and pass through Lobok center.
Going to Chocolate Hills by public transport
The same here: hop on the bus going from Tagbilaran towards Carmen, San Miquel or Ubay and tell the conductor that you want to get out on Chocolate Hills. They will drop you off on the most popular view point to enjoy the hills. The bus will cost you around 50 pesos while tricycles or taxis will try to charge you hundreds.
How to get to Bohol airport by public transport?
As I didn’t find any relevant information on how to get to Bohol airport by public transport, I made my research on the place and here is the answer. Staying anywhere on the island you need to get to Tagbilaran city first. The bus or jeepney will drop you on Integrated Bus Terminal. From the bus terminal there are frequent buses going to the airport on Panglao Island (the airport in Tagbilaran has been closed for most of the flights). The first bus is at 4 am and second at 5 am. From 5 am onwards there will be a bus every half an hour until 5 in the afternoon, when the buses will come every hour until the evening. The bus costs 50 pesos and takes around 40 minutes.
Going to Alona Beach from Tagbilaran by public transport
You can hop on the same bus which goes to the airport from Integrated Bus Terminal in Tagbilaran. The bus goes to the airport first, later through Taporok to Alona Beach and the ticket costs 40 pesos.
Check my adventures in the Philippines: my favorite island in the whole country, laid-back beach and village of Port Barton or stunning lagoons of Coron. Get authentic off the beaten path experiences in Busuanga (Coron) and vibrant street markets in Cebu City. Enjoy the Philippines!