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Panglao Transportation – A Practical Guide

Hey there! If you’re planning a trip to Panglao Island in Bohol, Philippines, you’re in for a treat. I’ve just been to Panglao and I noticed that one of the main factors that affect my travel is the transportation. So I decided to make this article to document the things I’ve gathered so far. I also hope to help you navigate all your transportation options, ensuring your journey is as smooth as the island’s famous white sandy beaches.

Key Takeaways

Getting to Panglao from ManilaBy Air: Direct flights from Manila to Bohol Panglao International Airport (BPIA).
By Sea: Ferry from Manila to Cebu, then Cebu to Tagbilaran.
Air TravelDirect flights available from Manila, Cebu, and Davao.
International direct flights from Singapore and Korea.
Sea TravelManila to Cebu: Ferry by 2GO Travel, 22-31 hours.
Cebu to Tagbilaran: Ferry by OceanJet or SuperCat, 2 hours.
Tagbilaran to PanglaoTaxi: 20-30 minutes, PHP 500-700.
Tricycle: PHP 150-300.
Jeepney: PHP 20-30.
Bus: 1 hour, PHP 75.
Getting Around PanglaoTricycle Taxis: PHP 200 for short trips.
Motorcycle Rentals: PHP 500-1000 per day.
Bicycle Rentals: PHP 500 per day.
Car Rentals: PHP 1500-3000 per day.
Other TransportationBuses: Connect Panglao to other parts of Bohol.
Jeepneys: Affordable, around PHP 20-30.
Popular DestinationsAlona Beach: Accessible via tricycles or on foot.
Chocolate Hills: Day trips available.
Tagbilaran City: 1 hour by bus, PHP 75.

How to Get to Panglao Island from Manila

By Air

Traveling from Manila to Panglao Island is pretty straightforward. The fastest way is by air, and you can enjoy some scenic views as you descend towards Bohol Panglao International Airport. If you’re in the Philippines, then you can catch a direct flight to Panglao Airport from the 3 main airports, Manila International Airport, Cebu International Airport, and Davao International Airport. If you’re from Singapore and Korea, there’s a direct flight from that country to Bohol Airport. For other countries, the only way to access Panglao via air is by booking a connecting flight from the 3 major airports in the Philippines mentioned above.

  • By Air: The quickest way is to hop on a direct flight from Manila to Bohol Panglao International Airport (BPIA) with Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific. The flight takes about 1.5 hours.
  • Airport Transfers: Once you land, you can choose between taxis, tricycles, or even pre-arranged transfers from your hotel or resort. I personally find pre-arranged transfers hassle-free. Although in my last trip to Panglao, I didn’t pre-arrange my transfer and I found a tricycle just waiting near the arrival exit so I just hopped on that.

By Sea

Your sea journey begins at Manila North Harbor Pier 4, where you can catch a ferry operated by 2GO Travel to Cebu. This trip takes approximately 22-31 hours, depending on the specific ferry and weather conditions. The ferry operates four times a week, and the ticket prices range from PHP 1,100 to PHP 7,000, offering various classes from Mega Value Class to Business Class Premium.

a boat with the name oceanjet and some people lining up to get in to the boat

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Ferry rides from Cebu to Tagbilaran are quite popular and offer beautiful sea views. The port in Cebu is bustling with activity, and ferries depart every hour.

  • Ferry Services: Ferries from Cebu to Tagbilaran are operated by companies like OceanJet and SuperCat. The trip takes about 2 hours.
  • Cost: Ferry tickets range from PHP 400-800, depending on the class of service you choose.

Is Panglao Airport the Same as Tagbilaran Airport?

This is a common question for travelers, and the short answer is No:

  • Bohol Panglao International Airport: Located on Panglao Island, it replaced Tagbilaran Airport and is now the main gateway to Bohol.
  • Tagbilaran Airport: The old airport in Tagbilaran City is no longer operational for commercial flights.

But if you look at your plane ticket and boarding pass that you get from the airport, if it still says TAG(Tagbilaran), you will still land in Panglao. Something that should’ve been fixed a long time ago, not sure why airlines won’t fix this in their system. I heard a lady last year complaining when we landed that she was expecting to land on Tagbilaran.

How to Get to Panglao Island from Tagbilaran

Tagbilaran is the capital of Bohol and a common starting point for travelers heading to Panglao. Here are your main options:

  • Bus: There’s a line of bus that goes from Tagbilaran to Panglao in Dau Terminal. This is near the Island City Mall. I forget the name of the bus but it’s the one with the orange/yellow paint. It’s air conditioned so it’s pretty comfortable. If i’m not mistake I paid Php 75 from the terminal to Alona Square. The ride is about 1 hour, it’s a bit slow because it picks up some passengers along the way and it has to make a stop at Panglao Airport.
  • Tricycle: For a more local experience, try a tricycle. I have to say the fare is much higher compared to the bus, usually around PHP 300, You can negotiate the fare but in my experience only a handful of drivers will agree to bring the fare lower than 300. A tricycle ride can be quite an adventure though.
  • Jeepney and Taxi: I have not seen many of these but I’m putting it here because it’s still an option, you just have to be patient if you want to catch one. I know taxis can cost arond Php 700 up to Alona Beach.

Getting to Carmen, Bohol from Panglao

If you want to visit the famous Chocolate Hills in Carmen, and all the other tourist spots near the place, here’s how you can get there:

  • By Bus: Buses from Tagbilaran to Carmen take about 2-3 hours. Again, this is in Dau terminal. It’s a scenic ride that lets you soak in the island’s beauty. They usually depart on schedule and are a cost-effective way to travel around Bohol. I won’t put the price here since it constantly changes.
  • Private Car/Taxi: More convenient but pricier. The journey takes around 1.5-2 hours. Hiring a driver can be the best way to get there if you’re short on time.
  • Tour Packages: Many tour operators offer day trips to Carmen, including visits to the Chocolate Hills. These packages are great if you want an all-inclusive experience

Getting Around Panglao Island

green tricycle on the upper left, yellow buses on the upper right, chrome mitsubishi suv on the lower left, motorcycles on the lower right

Tricycle Taxis

Tricycles are very traditional in the Philippines. They’re great for short-distance travels. A bit noisy and bumpy but it gets the job done when you want to get somewhere close, quickly. In panglao though, in my observation, tricycle is king!

  • Cost: It used to be really affordable. Recently due to the rising prices of oil I noticed a significant fare increase. Expect to pay around PHP 200 for a short trip.
  • Availability: This is the top advantage of this transportation mode, you’ll find tricycles everywhere, making them a convenient option for quick trips.

Tip: I usually get the contact number of the driver so just in case I get stuck I have someone to text for rescue. They can be a life saver sometimes.

Motorcycle Rentals

If you love the thrill of the open road, renting a motorbike is the way to go. It gives you the freedom to explore Panglao at your own pace. Motorcycles are available for rent in many spots around the island. And I mean many motorcycles for rent are on display on the side of the road so they’re very hard to miss.

  • Advantages: Renting a motorbike gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace. It’s perfect for adventure seekers. And if you’re going to multiple places, this is way cheaper than renting a car or riding a tricycle to those places.
  • Cost: Typically around PHP 500-1000 per day, depending on the model.

They require you to leave a valid ID before you rent. And whatever gas is on the tank you have to fill the same amount upon return of the motorbike. And don’t worry about language barrier, all of them understands english. And some of them even understand other languages like German, Chinese, Korean.

Bicycle Rentals

For the eco-conscious traveler, bicycles are a fantastic option. Plus, it’s a great way to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Panglao. You’ll find many rental shops offering bicycles for a fee that fits your budget. They’re not as obvious as the motorbikes so you either ask a local or try to observe establishments. I found one this way, near Alona beach, Giuseppe Italian Restaurant is renting out bicycles. Who would’ve thought. I just noticed that there were bicycles hanging near their restaurant and asked if they were for rent.

  • Eco-Friendly: Ideal for short distances and a great way to enjoy the scenery.
  • Cost: Around PHP 500 per day.

You also need to give a valid ID before you are allowed to rent a bike.

Car Rentals

If you’re traveling with family or a group of friends, renting a car or van offers the best convenience and comfort. You can choose from a variety of vehicles, including sedans and minivans.

  • Convenience: Perfect for families or groups. You can rent a car or a van for comfort.
  • Cost: Expect to pay around PHP 1500-3000 per day.

I will not recommend any companies for now, you can ask on Facebook groups if you need one. The quickest way though is to ask your accommodation for referral. Sometimes they bump up the price, most of the time they don’t. For your reference, A compact sedan, Toyota Wigo, is priced at Php 1300 per day, that’s the cheapest one I’ve used.

Resort Transfers

Resorts often provide transfer services, which can be very convenient, especially if you have a lot of luggage or are unfamiliar with the area. Many resorts in Panglao, Bohol offer this service free of charge for guests.

  • Pre-Arranged: Most resorts offer transfer services. It’s a stress-free option, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area.
  • Benefits: You won’t have to worry about negotiating fares or finding your way around.

Get the number of the driver. Just in case you don’t see him waiting at the arrival area exit at least you have a way to contact him directly.

Boat Rentals

Exploring by boat is a fantastic way to see the nearby islands and beaches. It’s a must-do for any island adventure enthusiast. Renting a boat at the local port can be arranged with a simple pick-up and drop-off schedule.

  • Exploration: Renting a boat is a fantastic way to visit nearby islands and secluded beaches. Don’t miss out on a boat trip to Balicasag Island!
  • Locations: Available at popular spots like Alona Beach. Or you may contact an operator via your hotel staff.

Other Public Transportation Options

a white passenger bus with a rising star on the body

Buses

For longer distances, buses are a reliable option. They connect Panglao to various parts of Bohol and are an economical way to travel. However, buses have 30-minute distance in between each other.

  • Availability: Buses are limited but useful for longer distances. They connect you to various parts of Bohol from the Dao Terminal in Tagbilaran.
  • Cost: Inexpensive and depends on the distance traveled. From Tagbilaran to Panglao if I remember correctly it’s Php 75.

Jeepneys

Jeepneys are a quintessential Filipino mode of transport. They’re colorful, fun, and an adventure in themselves. They’re also very economical. Riding a jeepney is a great way to travel around Bohol and Panglao Island. Unfortunately, with the recent jeepney modernization program in the Philippines, many jeepneys stopped their operation. Panglao was affected by this too. This started in late 2023, so in my last visit in 2024 I rarely see jeepneys in the island.

  • Routes: Jeepneys cover the main areas in Panglao and routes to Tagbilaran. They’re an authentic way to experience local life.
  • Cost: Very affordable, usually around PHP 20-30.

Popular Destinations and How to Get There

Alona Beach

Alona Beach is the heart of Panglao’s tourist scene. It’s bustling with activities, eateries, and nightlife. Here’s how you can get there:

  • From Panglao: Easily accessible via tricycles, or even on foot if you’re staying nearby. Alona Beach is bustling with activities, so make sure to check it out!

Chocolate Hills

The Chocolate Hills are one of Bohol’s most famous attractions. You can plan a day trip to see these unique geological formations.

  • Day Trips: You can book day trips from Panglao to see the famous Chocolate Hills. Tours often include other attractions like the Loboc River and the Tarsier Sanctuary.
  • Cost: Prices vary depending on the package, but it’s worth every peso for the experience.

Tagbilaran City

Tagbilaran City is the capital of Bohol and offers a mix of historical sites, shopping, and dining options. It’s a short trip from Panglao.

  • Transport Options: Taxis, jeepneys, and buses can get you to Tagbilaran City, the capital of Bohol. The city has plenty of spots to explore, from historic sites to modern conveniences.
  • Travel Time: About 1 hour by bus, giving you a quick and easy way to access city amenities.
  • Cost: Bus fare is around PHP 75.

Practical Tips for Tourists

Here are some practical tips to make your travel around Panglao and Bohol smooth and enjoyable:

  • Buying Tickets: Always purchase tickets at official counters to avoid scams. This is especially important for ferry and bus rides.
  • Airport Navigation: Familiarize yourself with Bohol International Airport to ensure a smooth arrival and departure. This is not hard to do, as the airport is pretty small. If you stand on one end of the airport, you can clearly see the other end no problem.
  • Safety Tips: Always agree on fares beforehand and keep an eye on your belongings as the road can get bumpy and things from your bag or pockets can fall out. It’s also wise to avoid traveling alone at night.
  • Travel Apps: Use apps like Google Maps for navigation. It’s a lifesavers, especially in unfamiliar places. When we decided to rent a car and tour on our own, we just used Google Map to go to any place we wanted. Pretty reliable most of the time. Make sure your phone is connected to a reliable wifi source.

Reviews and Recommendations

Before you travel, it’s always a good idea to read reviews and get recommendations:

  • Traveler Reviews: Check out reviews on travel forums and blogs. They offer real-life insights and can help you plan better. Consider subscribing to travel blogs for timely updates. TripAdvisor and Booking.com are my go to resource.
  • Top Transport Services: Most providers here offer great service. Ask your hotel for a recommendation, sometimes they even have their own.

Conclusion

So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to navigating Panglao Island. From taxis to tricycles, and from jeepneys to boats, you have plenty of options to explore this beautiful part of Bohol. I hope you find this useful. Share it, bookmark it. I’m going to update this from time to time. I’m also going to link some articles to this for more reference. And don’t forget to visit our Blog page for more Bohol adventures.

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