Touring Bohol Part 4: Dolphin Watching and Boat Tour
On our second day in Bohol, we started out early for our boat tour.
A typical boat tour package includes dolphin watching early in the morning followed by a snorkeling experience in Balicasag Island’s marine sanctuary then a short visit to Virgin Island.
We woke up at around 5:30 AM to have our free breakfast before heading out to the motorized boat at around 6 AM.
The resort’s boat tour rate is P2,500 and this includes a set of mask and snorkel per person. Life vests are also provided.
If you want to save money, you can talk to boat guides directly the day before to arrange the same tour. No snorkeling gear but their rate is only P1,500 per boat. Here’s Dodong, our guide’s number; 09081534117.
It took us around 30 minutes to reach the site where the dolphins are and that’s considering Dodong’s skillful maneuvering (riding the waves) of his boat. There are already plenty of motorized boats in the vicinity chasing dolphins but luckily, there are still lots of dolphins around.
Our guide said that dolphin numbers start to dwindle at around 7:30 AM to 8 AM so don’t be late.
We didn’t spend a lot of time watching the dolphins and after about 30 minutes and our fair share of dolphins, we head out to Balicasag Island which is a 20-minute ride.
Balicasag Island is marine sanctuary and offers plenty of dive spots around it. It was about 9 AM when we reach the beach near the fish sanctuary and dropped our things in one of the cottages. The beach is not that impressive with its rough sands and small rocks but you will definitely love the sanctuary.
Dodong told us that we were to ride a small rowboat (2-3 people capacity) to where the coral bed and fishes are for our snorkeling. We left our things on a cottage (Dodong assured us that nothing will get lost) and just brought our snorkeling gear.
They will offer you rental of aqua shoes for P200 per pair but I personally think it’s not needed. Even though it is shallow in the coral bed, you would want to swim on the edge of it where the fishes are and your feet won’t touch the corals.
We’ve snorkeled in Palawan before but never on a marine sanctuary. I really wished that we brought an underwater camera with us here because the sights are really mind-blowing. This is the first time I’ve seen a school of medium-sized fishes up close (from jackfish to barracudas).
Bring an underwater camera! If you can’t dive you can ask your guide to take pictures from below. Ask him to take a picture of you snorkeling too while he’s at it.
After almost an hour, we got tired from snorkeling and asked to be brought back to the beach for an early lunch.
Lunch at Balicasag Island
You can opt to have freshly cooked lunch at Balicasag Island. There is a cooking station near where the cottages are and you can choose from their fresh catches of the day and some meat.
There is a cooking fee of P100 aside from the price of your food but they can do different kinds of cooking.
We ordered half a kilogram of Yellowfin which is some type of tuna and had it grilled. With 2 cups of rice our bill reached P300.
Lunch at Balicasag Island is cheap if you’re in a group but if there’s only two of you, I’d suggest bringing some snacks and just have a late lunch in your resort (if it’s cheaper there).
We were done with our early lunch at around 11:30 AM and got ready to go to Virgin Island.
For Scuba Divers
Balicasag Island has a private dive resort that is suitable for scuba divers and those who enjoy underwater photography.
If you’re willing to spend a lot of time diving around the island, better check in at Balicasag Island Dive Resort. They have professional diving classes and organize dive tours around the island.
You can go to some of the best dive spots in the world: Cathedral, Royal Garden, Black Forest, Diver’s Haven, Turtle Point, and the Marine Sanctuary.
Check out Pinoy Lakwatsa for info and rates.
From Balicasag Island, Virgin Island is a 40-minute boat ride. It is an uninhabited boomerang-shaped island and according to our guide, this is one of the location where Cesar Montano shot his movie Muro Ami.
We saw a group having lunch here so I guess you can arrange that with the tour guide. Not much to do here other than enjoy walking on the fine sand and taking pictures. The water here is full of sea grass so it’s not really ideal for swimming.
At around 12:30PM it’s time for us to head back to our resort and spend the rest of the afternoon swimming at the beach.
Snorkeling on Balicasag Island makes this day the highlight of our whole trip. Next part will be all about our Panglao Island Tour.