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“a boat trip full of...colors”
Review of Balicasag Island

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Hangzhou, China
Level 5 Contributor
95 reviews
79 helpful votes
“a boat trip full of...colors”
Reviewed August 22, 2010

We left for the boat trip at 6:00 AM from Alona beach. We were 2 persons and paid 1,300 P, including snorkeling gear.
We were not that lucky with daulphins, because we only managed to see a few of them from the distance. It is a nice view, even though to see so many boats racing to follow the few daulphins appearing on the surface of the sea might give an awkward feeling..., something like a hunt...?
Balicasag island is certainly a nice place. Excellent reef and good snorkeling. Unfortunately there were so many people that you had to be careful not to bump into somebody else while snorkeling. You have to pay 150 P a person to use a paddleboat bringing you to the reef, but if you can swim the boat is not really necessary. I wish that money would help the local authorities to preserve the reef: right now it is not so, and just too many people are stepping into it without anybody watching over the place.
Virgin island was the last stop, beautiful place to take pictures and see the many different colors of water, sky and nature in general... The trip can take basically as long as you like, just talk to the boat men.

Thank caligola44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
15 reviews
13 helpful votes
“A sanctuary for fish and humans”
Reviewed April 27, 2009

After the dolphin-watching, our outrigger canoe took us to Balicasag Island for some brunch.

We ordered what we wanted so it would be cooked while we were snorkeling. You have to pay P250 to the cook as a service fee, use of utensils and table. We thought that it was a bargain.

We ordered cuttlefish calamares, kilawing tanigue (raw fish cooked through the acidity of vinegar), and sinigang fish (a local sour soup). We also ordered three cups of coffee, a 1.5 L coke and eight orders of rice--there were only four of us in the group plus our two bangkeros.

The food was superb. The calamares was crunchy and tasty, and the kilawin and sinigang where done nicely. The serving size was huge! There was enough to take with us home.

We even ordered an extra serving of cuttlefish calamares as something we can munch on at the Alona beach. We paid for all of it at P1,400 or P350/pax. We all agreed it was worth it given the price of food in Alona Beach.

Plus, nothing beats fresh seafood. I think I've been craving for their calamares eversince we got back home.

Balicasag Marine Sanctuary is something you have to experience underwater. Our guide took us beyond the boundary and into the trench to perform acrobatics underwater!

The fishes are protected for 500m around the island. It illegal to capture the fishes and corals. It's a good thing too given the myriad of species of fishes found there.

Everything is surreal, it's like watching National Geographic or Discovery Channel!

After we had our fill of our snorkeling, our guide encouraged us to swim from the boundary back to the island. I'm glad he did because it gave us more chance to view the spectacular marine life of Bohol.

If you can only stay in Bohol for one whole day, spend it in Balicasag. Great beach (at the other side), great snorkeling venue, wonderful, wonderful food!

1 Thank Wanderella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Metro Manila
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
5 helpful votes
“Bring extra money for unexpected fees”
Reviewed April 17, 2009

Date: April 12, 2009

The tour to Balicasag Island is planned. I prepared money for the boatman, snorkel gears, and lunch in the beach. And of course I added money for extras. The boatman's charge is P2,000 which includes dolphin watching (but dolphin did not show up that time), going down at Virgin Island, touching the turtles. I know the snorkel gears rental per person is P150. But I was not informed that there is a separate banca ride in going to the marine sanctuary. This is P150 per person. We are 4 so I paid P600. And then there is another rental for diving shoes which is P100. The lunch in the locals is about P250/person. Expensive. I brought along my own softdrinks. These eateries are those owned by locals. They have small houses and offer fresh seafoods to tourists. There is one resort there which was too late when I found out. The Balicasag Island Beach Resort. I saw it after I have ordered lunch. It looks developed and legitimate.

We are 5. Let me count how much I spent. P2th for the roundtrip ride to Balicasag, 600 for the banca ride to sanctuary, 450 for the snorkels, 150 for diving shoes, 1000 for the lunch. All in all I spent P4150. Expensive for a low quality service tour. The name of the motorboat is JS. Don't get that service.

3 Thank ElvieMetroManila
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level 4 Contributor
11 reviews
6 helpful votes
“One of the best days in the Philippines right here”
Reviewed February 9, 2009

First you need to allocate a whole day for this trip, i.e. 6am-4pm. We had such a great time that we didn't leave the island until 5pm. We also were fortunate enough to have our own boat.

Your day starts with dolphin watching, lots of 'em. You then go to Balicasag island to snorkle. There are lots of people that would offer to cook fresh fish for you. We were sorta vegetarian, so I asked the lady to cook us up something with only vegetables, and she did. It was one of our best meals in the Philippines.
After snorkeling in this beautiful coral reef, we went to Virgin island. It's a sand bar about 12 feet wide and 2 km in length that connects you to another island. Beautiful, clear water.

Please be mindful of the environment: don't step on the coral reefs, help pick trash, etc.

1 Thank jensfbay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
1,999 reviews
4,175 helpful votes
“Dolphins, snorkelling and sun all in one”
Reviewed June 5, 2008

The going rate for hiring a boat leaving Alona Beach at 0530 is P2000, plus a tip of perhaps P300 to the 'captain.' This gives a couple or small group sole use of a 'banca.' It includes mask and snorkel (but not fins.)

We departed Alona Beach at 0530 and within two hours saw many dolphins,. a couple of whom obliged with triple somersaults.

At Balicasag from 0830 we found a privately owned shady spot and ordered lunch - calamari and eggplant (enough for two persons) at a bargain P180 plus fruit juice drinks P30.

We then hired another small boat whose captain took us the short distance to the reef where a large variety of tropical fish were observed. This boatman provided one set of fins.

After lunch I snorkelled again closer to shore where fish were not as numerous, but waters seemed crystal clear.

The souvenir vendors were persistent but after some firm 'nos' they got the message that our purchases had been completed.\

At 1300 we boarded the banca for the 50 minute trip back to Alona Beach.

A great day and as usual in the Philippines no one treated us poorly.

3 Thank Victorianlad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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