Bohol is a beautiful island in the center of the Philippines and close to Cebu island. In this article, I will share with you how to get from Cebu International Airport to Bohol by ferry and what’s good to know beforehand.
I took a taxi from Cebu Airport to the pier and it costs around 300-400 PHP. It depends a bit on how much you are able to bargain from the original price. At the airport when you come out from the arrival doors there will be many counters and people selling you transfers. Just walk straight past them and you’ll find the taxi stand. Remember to confirm the final price from the driver before you leave. It’s also good to have the exact amount of money for the driver because not all of them have enough change. The taxi drive takes around 20 to 30 minutes from the airport to the ferry pier.
Arrival to the Cebu ferry pier
At the port, Cebu Pier 1, there will be counters of different ferry companies side by side. There are two main companies that operate between Cebu port and Tagbilaran port and they are SuperCat and OceanJet. The travel time for both companies is approximately 2 hours. SuperCat might be a bit cheaper but it doesn’t operate as often as OceanJet. I would just pick the one that is leaving at the best time which in my case was OceanJet.
There are some differences between the companies like OceanJet has a baggage handling fee because they take your baggage to the storage and with SuperCat you have to carry your own bag. Then again arriving to the destination might be easier with SuperCat because you already have your baggage. It’s a bit of a hassle with OceanJet and I will tell you more about it later on.
Three tickets needed for Bohol
OceanJet has three types of tickets: business seats, air-conditioned indoor seats called tourist class and open air. I chose open air which was the cheapest one for 450 PHP. I didn’t want to have the air-conditioning because it’s always too cold for me. You can also select your seat which I didn’t know when I bought the tickets. There are actual seat numbers on the ferry so you can request for an aisle or a window seat. Window seat in the open air section is alright if you can bare with some wind hitting you. The middle seats are the best ones to see the movie which in my ride was Avatar. (It was just a small TV and you can’t really hear it so don’t get too excited, haha!)
Even though the ticket is “open air”, it is not a sundeck like e.g. in Thailand. There’s a roof to keep everyone in shade and tarps that can be rolled down as walls so it can actually get quite chilly. I got so excited when on my way back from Bohol to Cebu I got a window seat and the sun was shining on me. I was feeling comfortably warm and enjoying the sea views when some Korean tourists demanded the shade to be put down. That’s how I lost my sun and sea views and I was freezing cold the entire trip.
In addition to the ticket price I needed to pay 25 PHP terminal fee as well as 50 PHP baggage handling fee. In total I payed 525 PHP for the ferry ticket. Those are not paid at the same counter when you go in to the terminal building.
When you go in to the terminal make sure you first pay the terminal fee at the counter which is 25 PHP. Then go to the baggage handling counter if you have a big piece of luggage. So in total you will have three tickets when entering to the waiting area: ticket for your seat, terminal fee receipt and baggage receipt. Without all these three tickets you won’t be let in.
Baggage handling hell
What really is a pain in the ass is the baggage handling of OceanJet. When you arrive to Tagbilaran you have to go out from the pier to the waiting area to wait for your bag. They will load the bags to some carts and push them to the area which takes loads of time. When the bags arrive it will be a complete mess and chaos because they don’t organize the bags in any way. They just arrive in random order and you get your bag by showing your ticket.
What happens is that everybody shouts their numbers and points to their bags to get their baggage first. And they also deliver the suitcases first which means backpackers need to wait a bit more. Horrible chaos I must say. You will get through it though, I did too.
If you are heading from Tagbilaran to Alona beach you can take a tricycle or a cab. Tricycle is around 300-400 PHP if you bargain it well enough. The starting price will probably be around 600 PHP.
Bohol is totally worth visiting even though getting there via ferry might be a hassle! I hope you found this article helpful!