So this time, I decided to take the Island Hopping Tour in Bohol. Even Mr. Sherwin is offering me a Dive Package for only Php. 1, 600 in Balicasag Island. The Balicasag Island is one of the islands that you will be visiting on this package.
The first Island Tour offered to me by the guide would normally cost Php. 2, 000 but when I said I’m a solo backpacker and accompanied only by my shadow, he just gave it to me for only Php 1,500. This included the snorkeling gear and life vest for free. Normally, you need to pay an additional Php. 150.00 for the snorkeling gear in Balicasag Island. The deal is to meet him in Alona, Panglao by 6 in the morning.
6:00 A.M. – Where the hell are you?
6:30 A.M. – There you are, and you still need to make a trip to the gas station and buy some GAS. XD
7:00 A.M. Departure. Okay, first stop and is a part of the tour (and hopefully I am lucky), is the Chase.
What is the Chase? We arrived and joined the other boats around 8:00 A.M. The time between 8:00 A.M. and 9:00 A.M. is the time where there is maximum sightings of dolphin packs in this area. So, why call it the Chase? You need to position yourself in front of the boat and have your trigger-happy finger ready on your camera. The chase is on to see if you can keep up with the Dolphins. If they could speak, they would probably say, “Catch me if you can!” Well, I can say that I am quite lucky to have had this kind of experience. Racing with dolphins. Crossed this one off of my bucket list.
Unfortunately, we almost run out of GAS in the middle of Panglao, Bohol and Cebu. So the boatman already called and said that we need to get to the next island for GAS.
This is one hell of an overrated island. Much expensive than the other islands that I’ve ever visited. Why? A breakfast meal cost me Php 300.00 and it’s not even in a restaurant, more like a carinderia. I have nothing against carinderias. I love carinderias. But Php 300.00 for breakfast? What’s in the Menu? Three slices of bread, an omelet with nothing much special on it, 3 pieces vienna sausage (which on the photo in their menu looks like Hungarian Sausage, however looks can be deceiving), 3 tablespoons of corned beef, and a Nescafe 3 in 1. The fresh buko is Php. 100.00. After that, I never bothered asking for the price of the other items in the menu.
What else do you need to pay? Php 100.00 Entrance Fee which is just fine for the environmental fee, Php. 150.00 for Snorkeling Gear (but my tour guide already included this in my package), and the tour guide for which one person has to pay Php 250.00 each. Wait, what? Per person? So, if you’re in a group of 10, Php 2,500 would go to the tour guide. They’ll just bring you to the snorkeling site which is 300 meters from the shore. By the way, Balicasag Island is one of the Marine Sanctuaries of Bohol. And if I want to see some Pawikan, I need to add Php. 200.00. Then if I want to see the Giant Clam, additional Php. 200.00 again.
Ginagawa nyo akong Dayuhan sa sarili kong Bansa. Presyong Foreigner.
One hour of Snorkeling is enough. He might offer another thing. Next island, please.
Or maybe I’m on the wrong side of the Island.
Isola di Francesco
Last island, formerly known as Virgin Island or Puntod Island of Bohol. A private island with a religious statue and now they are building a little chapel on it. Enjoy taking the usual selfie on the long stretch of sandbar of this island. No entrance fee, sacred, and way better than Balicasag Island.
How to get there?
Charge to experience, I will not recommend the boatman I hired for some personal reason. If you want to get a much cheaper rate, ask the boatmen on the bridge connecting Panglao Island and Tagbilaran City. I heard that sometimes they just give the tour for Php. 1,300 for solo backpackers.