Getting to Bohol via Manila and Cagayan de Oro

Boat boys swim around the ferry to catch coins
Boat boys swim around the ferry to catch coins

A few months back I wrote about how to choose an island to live on. Now, I get to visit one of the islands that was on my list, but I choose not to live on. Was I right in choosing Palawan? Or would Bohol have been a better option?

I’m sure there are easier ways to get to Bohol, but I landed in Cagayan de Oro with the idea of scoping out Camiguin island as well. It turned out the overnight ferry to Bohol was easy to get a ticket for. Right on the pier. With that I was soon on board economy class and getting worried about over crowding already.

Ferry port at Cagayan de Oro
Ferry port at Cagayan de Oro

The weather was turning. It was raining, and no one could tell be where the heck the lifeboats were. Even the sign for the emergency exit was neglected to say where they were. It only showed a maze of black faded lines. A roost to anyone not panicking enough to find it.

The main area in economy is vast open air room filled with bunk beds squashed together. Thankfully, because it was open air the sides let in blasts of cooling wind. That is until the sun set and the staff who couldn’t tell me where the life boats were pulled plastic sheeting down around the sides of the boat. I guess this is to prevent rain from getting in?? But all it did was send the heat and humidity inside through to near unbearable levels. No sleep expected.


(Video – Kid’s jumping off Ferry in the Philippines, along with some comments directed at me :))

Economy class ferry room on the way to Bohol, Philippines
Economy class ferry room on the way to Bohol, Philippines

I took a high bunk, for the sole reason that it was closer to a row of compartments that contained life vests. An eavesdropper came over and began to fill me full of more reassurance.

“Life boats upstairs on top deck.”

I thanked him and then raised an eyebrow as his help became a tease.

“But they old, no work. Lots of holes. Maybe nothing inside.”

A few other men nearby laughed and spoke in a local dialect. I had a feeling I’d made the right choice in staying on Palawan for longer.

Looking out at the sea from the a Filipino ferry
Looking out at the sea from the a Filipino ferry

At dawn the ferry arrived and I held back until the squash of people all piled out. The usual plethora of jeepney drivers swarmed as I grabbed tricycle and headed to the only place I knew that was in my price range.

The driver over shot the stop to jump off for Nuts Huts. There wasn’t a sign either. I asked some locals who were perched on a concrete bus stop. I was beginning to see a difference in Filipinos not so much based on their ethnic group, but on what island they were from.

Unlike in Palawan, or North of Manila, people were very quiet here.

Ask a question, and get nonchalant answers. Tourist overload??? I didn’t know. But first impressions count, and so far Bohol was not doing it for me. After a short trek I arrived at the place. Thankfully, it was a friendly reception. A couple of expats had been running the good value accommodation for many years.

One of the huts at Nut's Hut's, Bohol
One of the huts at Nut's Hut's, Bohol

I had a cottage to myself that was nicely decorated and staff all smiled and waved. A vast difference to life outside the hotel. I ate a great meal, and sat back overlooking the emerald green river below. There were only two real things I wanted to see in Bohol, the Chocolate hills, and the Tarsiers. However the woman running the place told be of a lot more things to do. Caves, bikes, rivers … so familiar.

For sure this was no desert island. More jungle / small town island. I’ve learned to go with my gut on my search. It was telling me this wasn’t the place that will be home. I could explore though, the people had me curious.

And then again, it is one of the most famous islands in the world. Hopefully for good reason …

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Coming soon:

The Chocolate Hills of Bohol

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11 Replies to “Getting to Bohol via Manila and Cagayan de Oro”

    1. -Ivy- Hi there, erm… a place called home?!! It’s kind of what the whole site is based on!

      Or if you mean what’s my definition of home, then throughout my journals I’ve written about this. Maybe I will write up an overview article about this?

  1. Not much longer and I may be catching up to you. Manila on 1/23, Palawan on 1/26, Cebu on 2/1 and Bohol on 2/4. I’ll keep checking in.

  2. No, there no need for this. But, i begin to wonder if there is a place that will satisfy you. :)

  3. Dear me, Ivy sounds a bit harsh. I’ve been following your site for some time and while you might have a single quest in mind, it seems your site poses the question of what exactly is home?

    It can mean many things. I personally think the process of searching can be more important than where you end up.

    But, just my opinion.

    Good luck, and love, love your photos. You’re talented!

    1. -Ivy- It’s a valid point. However I have learned a lot on my journey, and while no place will ever be 100% perfect (life would be boring if it was :)) I am on the right track. It’s not as simple as getting up and moving to a new place, there a many things to take into account. I’m doing just that. What is 100% is that I certainly know where home is not. And if that’s not a valid starting point, I don’t know what is!

      -Nomadic Chick- Hi there, thanks for commenting! I’m glad to see you here, and really happy to know you’ve been following along for a while now.

      Yes you are right, the process of searching and the journey itself is in away more important. Without the journey and the lessons I’ve learned from it I would surely have settled in the wrong place by now. That said, for me, it’s all combined, without one the other does not make it. Hence I am doing this. It’s another reason for the website – so that it’s here laid out in the journal, and along with the resources section etc it helps me, and others on similar journeys.

      Thanks for the kind words, and good luck on your own journey!!

  4. hi i only just started following your blog and i’d like to say that i totally agree that if you know where home is not your on the right track .cause then when you find it (and i hope you do and even if you dont just the fact that you tried and did so much will do)you’ll know for sure.i also noticed that you havn’t visited sri should it’s amazing here !!

    1. -riko- Hi, glad to have you following along! Yep, it does make sense that when you know something is not for you, then what’s right is a little easier to find.

      No I haven’t visited Sri Lanka yet, it’s certainly a country that sounds amazing and one that conjures up all sorts great ideas for travelling there

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