Discover Bohol's Best-Kept Secret: Virgin Island Paradise
Bohol is an island province located in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. Known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and unique tourist attractions, Bohol has become a top destination for travelers looking to experience the beauty and culture of the Philippines. One of the must-visit destinations in Bohol is the Virgin Island, a small but beautiful sandbar that is surrounded by turquoise waters and picturesque views. In this travel writeup, we will explore the beauty and charm of Bohol Virgin Island.
Located in the municipality of Panglao, Bohol Virgin Island is a small island that is surrounded by crystal-clear waters and stunning views. This small sandbar is accessible by a 20-minute boat ride from Alona Beach, a popular tourist destination in Panglao.
The only way to get to Virgin Island is by boat. Visitors can take a day trip from Panglao Island or hire a private boat for a more customized experience. There are several tour operators that offer island hopping tours to Virgin Island, which typically include transportation, equipment rental, and lunch. The boat ride to the island is an experience in itself as you can see the beautiful coastline of Panglao and the surrounding islands.
One of the most popular activities on the island is swimming and snorkeling. The waters around the island are crystal-clear, allowing you to see the colorful marine life and corals that inhabit the area. The island also has a designated snorkeling area where you can rent snorkeling gear and explore the underwater world. The area is home to a diverse range of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and beautiful corals. It is a perfect spot for both novice and experienced snorkelers.
Another popular activity on the island is island hopping. The Virgin Island is just one of the many beautiful islands that you can visit in the area. You can take a boat tour and explore the nearby islands, each with their unique charm and beauty. The island-hopping tours usually include a stop at Balicasag Island, which is known for its diving spots and beautiful coral gardens.
If you want to relax and unwind, the Virgin Island is the perfect place to do so. The island is relatively undeveloped, so you can enjoy the peaceful surroundings and escape the crowds. You can rent a beach umbrella and lounge chairs, enjoy a cold drink, and soak up the sun while listening to the sound of the waves. The island also has several shaded areas where you can rest and take a break from the heat.
One of the unique features of the Virgin Island is the sandbar that connects it to another island. During low tide, the sandbar emerges, creating a picturesque view of the two islands. You can walk along the sandbar, take photos, and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding islands.
The island also has several stalls that sell souvenirs and local snacks. You can try some of the local delicacies, such as grilled squid, kinilaw (a raw fish salad), and fresh coconut juice. The locals are friendly and welcoming, and they will be more than happy to share their culture and traditions with you.
If you are planning to visit the Virgin Island, it is essential to plan your trip carefully. The island is relatively small, and it can get crowded during peak season. It is recommended to visit the island early in the morning to avoid the crowds and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. You should also bring enough water and snacks, as there are no restaurants or food stalls on the island.
To get to the island, you can take a boat from Alona Beach, which is the main tourist hub in Panglao. The boat ride takes around 20 minutes and costs around PHP 1,500 for a roundtrip, which can be split among a group of people. You can also hire a private boat if you prefer a more exclusive experience.
When visiting the Virgin Island, it is important to respect the environment and the local community. Avoid leaving any trash on the island and take only memories and photos with you. Also, be mindful of the local customs and traditions, such as dressing modestly and removing your shoes before entering a home or a place of worship.
There are plenty of things to do in Bohol Virgin Island, aside from lounging on the beach and soaking up the sun. Here are some of the top activities to try during your visit:
- Snorkeling - The waters around Bohol Virgin Island are crystal clear and teeming with marine life. Snorkeling is a must-do activity that lets you see colorful fish, coral reefs, and even sea turtles up close.
- Island Hopping - Bohol Virgin Island is just one of the many islands in the area that are worth exploring. You can go on an island hopping tour that takes you to nearby islands, such as Balicasag Island, Pamilacan Island, and Pungtud Island. These islands are known for their pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and diverse marine life.
- Beach Volleyball - If you're traveling with friends or family, why not organize a friendly game of beach volleyball? The wide expanse of sand on Bohol Virgin Island is perfect for a game of beach volleyball, which is a great way to get some exercise and have fun.
- Picnicking - There are plenty of shaded areas on the island where you can have a picnic. Pack a basket of your favorite snacks and drinks and enjoy a leisurely meal while taking in the beautiful views of the sea.
- Island Walk - Bohol Virgin Island is small enough to explore on foot. Take a leisurely walk around the island and explore its hidden corners. You'll be rewarded with stunning views of the sea, colorful flora, and unique rock formations.
- Star Gazing - The night sky on Bohol Virgin Island is a sight to behold. Away from the city lights, the stars are bright and clear, making it the perfect place for stargazing. Lay down on the sand and marvel at the beauty of the universe.
- Kayaking - If you want to explore the waters around Bohol Virgin Island at your own pace, rent a kayak and paddle around the island. It's a great way to get some exercise and see the island from a different perspective.
- Fishing - If you're into fishing, you can rent a boat and go on a fishing trip around the island. The waters are rich in fish, including tuna, grouper, and snapper.
- Scuba Diving - If you're a certified diver, you can go on a scuba diving trip around the island. There are plenty of dive sites in the area that offer diverse marine life and stunning underwater scenery.
- Sunset Watching - Finally, don't miss the opportunity to watch the sunset on Bohol Virgin Island. The sky turns a beautiful shade of orange and pink, making it the perfect backdrop for a romantic moment or a memorable photo.
There's something for everyone on Bohol Virgin Island, whether you're looking for adventure, relaxation, or simply a chance to enjoy the beauty of nature.
If you're planning to stay on Bohol Virgin Island, there are a few options available to you. However, it's worth noting that the island is not heavily developed and there are limited accommodation options on the island itself. Here are some of the options available:
- Beach Camping - If you're up for a bit of adventure, you can camp on the beach on Bohol Virgin Island. You'll need to bring your own tent and camping gear, but it's a great way to experience the island's natural beauty and tranquility.
- Day Trip - Many visitors to Bohol Virgin Island opt to visit the island as part of a day trip, and return to their accommodations on the mainland. This is a good option if you're staying in one of the many resorts or hotels in Panglao Island or other parts of Bohol.
- Stay on a nearby island - If you're looking for a more secluded getaway, you can stay on a nearby island and visit Bohol Virgin Island as part of an island hopping tour. There are several resorts and guesthouses on nearby islands, such as Balicasag Island and Pamilacan Island, that offer accommodations and activities.
- Homestay - If you're looking for an authentic local experience, you can consider a homestay on one of the nearby islands. Many families in the area offer homestay accommodations, which give visitors a chance to experience local culture and traditions.
- Private Boat - If you're looking for a more exclusive experience, you can hire a private boat and spend the night on Bohol Virgin Island. This option gives you the flexibility to explore the island at your own pace and enjoy the tranquility of the island after the day-trippers have left.
In summary, while there are limited accommodation options on Bohol Virgin Island itself, there are several nearby islands and the mainland of Bohol that offer a variety of options to suit different budgets and preferences.
There are several types of boats that you can use to explore Bohol Virgin Island and the surrounding islands. Here are some of the most common types of boats you'll find in the area:
- Motorized Banca - This is the most common type of boat used for island hopping tours in Bohol. It is a traditional Filipino outrigger canoe, with a motor added for propulsion. Motorized bancas are typically made of wood, and can carry up to 20 passengers. They are a great way to explore the nearby islands and reefs.
- Speedboat - If you're looking for a faster and more thrilling ride, you can rent a speedboat for your island hopping tour. Speedboats are typically smaller than motorized bancas, and can travel at much higher speeds. They are a good option if you want to cover more ground in a shorter amount of time.
- Catamaran - If you're looking for a more luxurious and spacious option, you can rent a catamaran for your island hopping tour. Catamarans are multi-hulled boats that offer more stability and comfort than traditional motorized bancas. They often have amenities such as sun decks, lounges, and kitchens, and can accommodate larger groups.
- Kayak - If you prefer a more eco-friendly and active way to explore the waters around Bohol Virgin Island, you can rent a kayak. Kayaks are small, narrow boats that are propelled by paddles. They are a great way to explore the island's coves and hidden beaches at your own pace.
- Stand-Up Paddleboard - Another eco-friendly and active option is to rent a stand-up paddleboard. Stand-up paddleboarding involves standing on a large board and using a paddle to propel yourself through the water. It's a fun and challenging way to explore the island's coastline and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
- Private Yacht - If you're looking for the ultimate luxury experience, you can charter a private yacht for your island hopping tour. Yachts offer a high level of comfort and privacy, and are often equipped with amenities such as a chef, a bar, and a hot tub. They are a great option if you want to enjoy the beauty of the islands in style and exclusivity.
In summary, there are several types of boats available for exploring the waters around Bohol Virgin Island, ranging from traditional motorized bancas to luxurious yachts. Choose the type of boat that suits your budget, preferences, and group size, and enjoy the stunning beauty of the islands in comfort and style.
Aside from visiting the Virgin Island, there are plenty of other things to do and see in Bohol. Here are some of the must-visit destinations in the area:
- Chocolate Hills - Located in the town of Carmen, the Chocolate Hills is a geological formation that consists of more than 1,000 hills that turn brown during the dry season, resembling chocolate mounds. The hills are a unique natural wonder and a top tourist attraction in Bohol.
- Tarsier Conservation Area - Bohol is home to the Philippine tarsier, one of the world's smallest primates. The Tarsier Conservation Area in Corella is a sanctuary for these nocturnal creatures, where visitors can see them up close and learn about their behavior and habitat.
- Loboc River - The Loboc River is a tranquil river that flows through the heart of Bohol. You can take a river cruise and enjoy a buffet lunch while taking in the scenic views of the river and the surrounding forest.
- Hinagdanan Cave - The Hinagdanan Cave is a natural cave that features a crystal-clear underground pool. Visitors can swim in the pool and explore the cave's unique rock formations and stalactites.
- Panglao Island - Panglao Island is a beautiful island that is known for its white sand beaches, clear waters, and diverse marine life. It is a popular destination for diving, snorkeling, and island hopping.
Tips for Visiting Virgin Island
Wear Sunscreen and Protective Clothing
The sun can be intense on Virgin Island, so make sure to wear sunscreen and protective clothing to avoid getting sunburned. It's also recommended to bring a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes.
There are no ATMs or banks on Virgin Island, so make sure to bring enough cash for your expenses, including rentals, food, and drinks.
Respect the Environment
As with any destination, it's important to respect the environment when visiting Virgin Island. Make sure to dispose of your trash properly and avoid touching or disturbing the marine life and coral reefs.
Plan Your Visit During the Week
Virgin Island can get crowded on weekends and holidays, so it's recommended to plan your visit during the week to avoid the crowds.