The plan for our third day in Bohol is to visit Balicasag and Virgin Islands. In order to go to those islands we rented a motorized boat for PhP 1,500 round trip. If you are traveling with a group you can split the cost with everyone. Most boats can ferry 10 persons only. If you want to get cheaper deals, I think there are some boat drivers that offer PhP 1,000 only for the round trip. You can try negotiating with them the night before your planned island hopping tour.
Our first destination was the Balicasag Island. It is an island 30-45 minute boat ride from Alona Beach, Panglao Island. It is famous for its marine sanctuary and ideal for snorkeling and diving activities.
Upon arrival at Balicasag Island, I noticed that the beach is different from that of Alona. Even though Balicasag has white sands, it has a rough beach with slabs of rocks all over it. So I advise everyone to be careful while walking to avoid hurting yourselves.
We had our lunch at the island. You can buy fresh fish, crab, squid, or prawn from the locals and let them cook it in any way you want. They will only charge you PhP 100 for the cooking service.
While waiting for our food to be cooked, we decided to stroll around the island. We went to the middle of the island and found a lighthouse tower.
After having a great lunch we spend an hour enjoying the scenery at Balicasag and then continued to our next activity which was snorkeling at the marine sanctuary area. In order to snorkel at the marine sanctuary area you will need to hire a small paddle boat for PhP 400 together with the paddler who will also be your guide/cameraman. Another necessary equipment that you can rent is a diving boots which costs PhP 150 a pair. If you want to protect your feet from sharp corals then make sure to have one. They also rent out a diving mask with snorkel for PhP 150 a set. If you don’t have an underwater camera but you have a regular digital camera, you can rent their water-proof casing for PhP 200.
Snorkeling at Balicasag is a great experience. Many schools of fish are visible at the sanctuary area. I suggest you bring something to feed the fishes like bread if you want to take great pictures with them. I also observed that the water current at Balicasag snorkeling area is quite stronger than at Alona Beach and it pushes you farther away from the island. For those who do not know how to swim, please be cautious because the water suddenly runs deep in about 100 meters away from the shoreline.
After two hours of fun snorkeling, we hopped back to our boat going to our next destination, a 20-minute ride to Virgin Island. On the way we were lucky to have a glimpse of dolphins swimming as we pass by. Dolphin watching is usually part of the island tour package but it is best done in the early morning around 5-6 where dolphins are very active.
As we arrived at the island, we were welcomed by vendors selling sea urchins. It is offered raw and you can put vinegar as you eat it. But we never tried it, maybe next time.
The island is a crescent-shaped white sandbar with green trees on the center which made it much more beautiful. The surrounding waters are covered with sea grass thus making it not ideal for swimming but great for picture-taking.
After thirty minutes of pure awe and appreciation to the island, we were called back by our boat driver because we had to leave before low tide hits or else we will be stranded on the island since the surrounding water is shallow. We also needed to get back at Alona Beach before it gets dark.
That ends our fun third day in Bohol. We just continued the day resting and preparing for our next day adventure which was scuba diving.
Part 1: Bohol Tour – The Summary
Part 2: Bohol Tour – Bohol Countryside Tour
Part 3: Bohol Tour – Alona Beach
Part 4: Bohol Tour – Balicasag and Virgin Islands
Part 5: Bohol Tour – Scuba Diving Experience