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Bohol or Boracay?

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Brisbane, Australia
posts: 30
reviews: 111
Bohol or Boracay?

We are planning on visiting either Bohol or Boracay...which is better? Any opinions? I love snorkelling and my husband is into diving. We were thinking Bohol as it seems just a little more laid back and prettier. Or is Boracay better?

Thanks in advance for your help.

52 replies to this topic
Bohol
posts: 17
reviews: 23
11. Re: Bohol or Boracay?

Your OP mentions diving and snorkelling. I would think out of the two destinations Bohol would be the better choice however as other posters have pointed out if you want night life, Boracay is the place, and no I am not accusing it of being 'just' a party island. We love our trips to Boracay.

Toanash....I don't know about Boracay but plenty of snorkelling is available off beaches in Bohol.

boracay
posts: 9,282
reviews: 12
12. Re: Bohol or Boracay?

Boracay's snorkeling is not up to much compared to other Philippine islands. The best I have seen personally was at Apo Island. But Boracay doesn't necessarily deserve it's reputation as being nothing but a party island. It's great for watersports and beach sports enthusiasts and nature hiking tours are even available to visit caves, waterfalls and cold springs on nearby Panay. If partying and loud noise are not your thing, avoid the station 2 area.

Manila, Philippines
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong
posts: 5,365
reviews: 16
13. Re: Bohol or Boracay?

Just came back from a trip to Bohol and recently took a trip to Boracay as well so I will write my own comparison.

By the way I went to both places during their off-peak seasons.

When it comes to sand, Boracay's white beach is still very hard to beat. I have been to El Nido, Coron, Panglao (Bohol) and Anawangin but it really is so hard to beat the powdery white sand of Boracay.

For snorkeling, Bohol wins over Boracay. I enjoyed snorkeling in Palawan and Bohol offered a similar experience. Can't comment on diving since I don't dive. Bohol also has dolphin watching which Boracay doesn't have.

Alona didn't offer much choices when it came to water sports, I only saw a couple of people kayaking. They used to had jetski but not anymore. Unlike Boracay, there was no jetski, banana boat, parasailing, helmet diving, ATV rentals, etc.

But in terms of none water activities, Bohol will have more things to offer. There are the old churches and Spanish structures, Chocolate Hills, the cute tarsiers, Hinagdanan cave and a bunch of other activities offered at Loboc. The only downside is the long car ride needed for these places. Some roads are under construction right now, hopefully they will be done during the year.

Panglao island's Alona beach which should be Bohol's "mini Boracay" feels like Boracay 10-15 years ago. Or you can also say it is like the station 3 now. There are beach front commercial establishments including lodging and restaurants but none are as fancy and commercialized as the ones you see in Boracay. You will only see a couple of vendors, a couple of boatmen and a couple of massage therapists. Alona has a "nightlife" but it's nowhere near Boracay's nightlife; better than nothing though. What you see in Boracay, scale it down to a small fraction of that.

Alona beach is definitely no Boracay. There were portions that had fine sand but also big portions of not-so-fine sand. I don't know if it's just seaweed season but the sight of seaweed near the beach wasn't very pleasant. I'm used to seeing blue/green water for several feet into the sea. Same thing with Balicasag and Virgin island so maybe it really is seaweed season.

Accommodations: Both places have their fair share of budget accommodation. Boracay though, has choices for every budget. In Bohol, it's either a 5 star resort or a 1-2 star establishment. The ones in the middle are hard to find. Those who have the budget can choose between Amarela, Amorita, Bohol Beach Club and Eskaya.

Food-wise, I saw a bunch of foreign cuisine restaurants behind the beach but unfortunately I wasn't able to try them. The grill restaurants by the beach were OK. Nothing spectacular but not terrible either. Seafood was a bit overpriced even for a tourist destination. You won't go hungry for sure.

People were generally very nice. There were no annoying or pushy touts or vendors. Because Bohol isn't as popular as Boracay yet, the hospitality and service felt more genuine for me.

Safety: Totally not a concern, Bohol felt very very safe.

The funniest thing with Bohol/Panglao this trip was that there were actually more foreigners in Alona than locals. I could count the number of domestic tourists in the beach. Maybe because I went on a weekday. There were also a lot of white men with Filipina wives. Something you don't or no longer see in Boracay.

Tagbilaran airport is like Caticlan airport many years ago. It feels more like a bus terminal than an airport. Renovations are on-going so I hope it will turn out like the Caticlan airport now.

What I loved most about Bohol was the experience at Bohol Bee Farm. It was very relaxing, very naturesque and food was good. The souffle at Cafe Lawis was also very good.

My only complaints about Bohol are the long drives between different points. The long drive to Alona from Tagbilaran, the long drive to Chocolate Hills, etc. I suggest you get a comfortable car/van when traveling. Lighting could also use some improvement. Even Alona and its vicinity was very dark during the evenings.

Bottomline: If you are looking for the best white sand, water sports, restaurants and nightlife, go to Boracay. If you are looking for a more laidback but not totally uncivilized beach, good snorkeling plus activities on land and a bit of culture, go to Bohol.

Edited: 7:11 am, May 19, 2012
Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Philippines
posts: 15,849
reviews: 773
14. Re: Bohol or Boracay?

Justin great insight between the 2 destinations.I would totally agree with your comparisons having been to both places as well.

Tommo

boracay
posts: 9,282
reviews: 12
15. Re: Bohol or Boracay?

It's all pretty accurate except for the bit about "no white men with Filipina wives in Boracay." or did I read that wrong? There are heaps of them here!

Baguio, Philippines
Destination Expert
for Philippines
posts: 3,797
reviews: 238
16. Re: Bohol or Boracay?

Snorkeling and diving? It HAS to be Bohol!

Boracay has some of it., but not much. Bohol on the other hand, has excellent live corals, and if you go to Balicasag island, the marine life and turtles are fantastic. Great for both - snorkellign and diving. There is 1 dive shop on balicasag island and about 20 along Alona beach.

The beach on Balicasag is coral, but completely devoid of people and I absolutely loved it! Photos of the beach and accommodations here -http://www.flickr.com/photos/tintinthetraveller/4998679520/

shanghai
posts: 57
reviews: 28
17. Re: Bohol or Boracay?

Go Bohol been both place,Bohol are much better for combination of scuba and relaxation

Baguio, Philippines
Destination Expert
for Philippines
posts: 3,797
reviews: 238
18. Re: Bohol or Boracay?

@ Sirena.. perhaps the poster was being polite when he / he said "no white men with Filipina wives in Boracay."... probably meant no lolos with twenty year olds. Something which, thankfully, I did not see in Boracay

boracay
posts: 9,282
reviews: 12
19. Re: Bohol or Boracay?

There are a few lolos with 20year olds but not many. And they are surely not their wives!

Bohol Island...
posts: 1
reviews: 23
20. Re: Bohol or Boracay?

Nice comment, I get it all the time even though I am walking with one of my three daughters and I am only 40, although most think I am 30. It makes it so difficult to travel and just be a dad because the stereotype placed on "white guys" here in the Philippines. Let me tell you, there are plenty Filipino men that are 20yrs older than their significant others, but most think they are actually their lolo not asawa also not as easy to spot as an older white man with a Filipina. I cannot even go to the mall or market with just my daughters because of people's reaction, so sad but truth to the prejudice of most Filipinos (travelers get ready). My advice to most foreigners is be prepared for everyone to stereotype you in Bohol or Boracay although no one has the courtesy just to ask what is the truth. Most people are ashamed when they learn it is my daughter or my wife looks young and is only 6 years younger than myself - as they should be ashamed. Sad state that in Panglao most white guys live there, they are not tourists. Most tourist in Bohol are domestic, not foreigners. I know have lived here for a while now and talk with those white guys, everyday. Remember some white guys don't age well as their wives do. Besides what does this whole thing have to do with vacationing anyway. Leave the Philippines and vacation in Thailand, no one cares who you are with, why should they? These last few posts are a testament to the prejudice you will experience in the Philippines if you are white.

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