Balicasag Island, Panglao, Bohol
- 9 Reviews
- 15 Recommend
- 9 Reviewers
- Great Outdoors
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One of the best diving spots in the country so I chose to upgrade my license here. Happy to report that I’m now a master diver.
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Love the snorkeling here. The island has a drop off starting around 8-10meters from the surface making it ideal for wall dives. I actually do some freediving so this is a really good depth for me.
The reef has so many fishes and corals that even if you are just snorkeling or skin diving, there's a lot to see already. I feel like I can spend the whole day on this island.
The boat to the island cost around 1500 Php for a private one, you can still haggle a little more to save some money. (We did and got a better price.) The tour starts early in the morning so you can catch some dolphins swimming around your boat (we didn't see any and this is not a guarantee since they are wild animals.) And after Balicasag, you can go to this beautiful sandbar called Virgin island where you can take photos. (Well, that's about it.)
Anyway, I didn't give Balicasag 5 stars not because it's not a 5 star island. It is! The problem actually lies in the locals managing the place. Upon arriving, we were asked for 250 pesos each for entrance and snorkeling. I later on found out that it's only 100 pesos for the entrance and the other 150 goes to the snorkeling guide. I actually don't think you need a snorkeling guide with a small 6 seater bangka in this area as you already have your bangka from Panglao right? And also the smaller boat can't really go that far also. I feel like you can just swim to the snorkeling area from the shore. I've actually done some swimming in much much harsher conditions and much farther than the distance of the snorkeling area from the shore. I think maybe it's just about 20 meters from shore. We also paid additional 150 pesos to see the turtles because it's "too far." They're actually just located on the right side of the island when you are facing the sea. Aside from this, the main bangkeros will ask you to bring your stuff in one of the tables in the island which is run by one of the "restaurants." So you'll kind of be forced to buy food at expensive prices. The one we had was a filipino breakfast with corned beef, vienna sausage, rice and milo and it cost us 300 pesos. It's not even the good kind of corned beef and sausages. I mean, come on. If this isn't some sort of tourist trap, I don't really know what to call it. Better just leave your things on the boat and insist on it or turn a blind eye on these events and enjoy your day.
As for the snorkeling guides, I think we got good ones who said they trained under the DOT. They have other colleagues who haven't done any training and charge the same amount of money. 150/pax so insist on getting a trained guide (if you are getting one) because you will feel safer. They have a 3 is to 1 guide policy there so if your guide gets more guests on their tiny bangka. Let's just say that that is a red flag.
Anyway, if you can past all that crap about the people managing the island, I think Balicasag is still super beautiful for underwater stuff. I'm not sure you can lounge by the beach since the whole shore area is crowded with boats. (You can see from my aerial photo how many boats there are and it's supposed to be lean season. Haha!!
Hope this review will help those people planning a trip to Panglao!! :)
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Beautiful! Though they can provide nicer and newer lifevests.
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Balicasag Island is a popular Diving and Snorkeling site in Panglao,Bohol. It's around an hour by boat from Alona Beach. I honestly was expecting a lot from this island since it's has always been talked about for having beautiful underwater sights. It's also famous for it's diverse marine life.
P200 was collected as entrance for the Island, P100 for the Guide and P100 Snorkeling Gear Rental. Imagine naka P400 na agad kami hahaha!
The day trip starts at 530am where you have to leave Alona Beach and then go whale watching for about 20-30min. In the middle of the sea. After that the boat will go straight to Balicasag Island.
Upon arriving at the island, we were bombared by people offering us overpriced breakfast, fruit shakes, buko juice and snorkeling gears. I suggest you bring your own snorkeling gears and aqua shoes. Mahal ang rent dito around P150 and short time use lang.
We were asked to ride a smaller boat around 4-5 maximum capacity, some 8-9 then the boatman will bring you to an area where you can start snorkeling.
Some offers additional P500 to do paddleboarding and P200 if you want to see Pawikans. Grabe diba!
Sobrang konti lang ng nakita kong fishes. Puro dead corals and sobrang maalon that day. Sobrang malas lang. Ang dami pang floating seaweed(not sure what plant was that talaga) pero it caused me major skin allergies! PLEASE WEAR RASH GUARD!
After that we had to wait for the other guests to come back, those who availed the paddle boarding and other packages. Mas matagal pa yung hinintay namin sa boat kaysa sa snorkeling. So napaorder nalang kami ng P100 Buko Juice! Hahaha!
I just had to express that we had a very bad experience at Balicasag. The whole island hopping is only a half day trip so at 10am we had to leave. Was so frustrated that the baotman obviously got lazy cause we were 9 in the boat and he was the only one doing the paddling. So sa mababaw na area lang kami nadala. Nafrustrate din yung mga kasama kong foreigners.
If I were you, if you'll go here, go here na ito lang and destination instead na island hopping because you won't enjoy it mabibitin ka. I know some na whole day nagstay dito and talagang nagenjoy may kasama png lunch, So sad di ko naenjoy yung trip.
I wish I could go back here. I won't rate it for now cause basically di ko talaga naexperience yung Balicasag, biased lang kasi badtrip yung Boatman!
Anyway, not all experiences are great. It's a choice to be happy (wow sa hugot!) so instead na magmukmok, my boyfriend and I still tried our best na maenjoy yung island. We took lots of photos, nagtimelapse pa kami. You can even roam around the island pero matagal lang nga mga 30min to an hour pag inikot mo :)
Hope this review helped a lot kahit na it wasn't all the good stuff.
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One of my best experience in Bohol.
In our sea tour, we go dolphin watching, went to Virgin Island and go snorkeling in Balicasag Island! We bought some bread first in the island store and use it to feed the fish. We ride a small boat going to the snorkeling area.
Waaaah! I got to see Nemo, Dory, sea turtles and other marine life. I am really in awe! I've only seen this breathtaking view in pictures and NatGeo shows and now I'm here. I'm in tears.
I'm just a bit sad that I wasn't able to bring underwater camera to capture my underwater experience.
I recommend that everyone try this when they go to Bohol.
- No. of Comments: 26
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My balikbayan friends are around and they were asking for tips since two of them are going to Bohol tomorrow... The conversation turned to the must do things while in Bohol...
Of course, there's Chocolate Hills... The Loboc river cruise... The tarsiers... The adventure park... And the dolphin watching... But one of my favorite memories of Bohol was dropping by Balicasag island...
This island is pretty near Panglao and it is well known... Just in case you ask the boatmen to take you there... Better to ask them directly than to have your resort arrange it for you... Way cheaper!
It is serene and quiet when you go here... The water is so clear and snorkeling in the area is really really nice!!! There are more fishes here rather than in Panglao, which had lots of weeds and starfishes (at least to my best memory of our trip, years back)... The island is so picturesque, such a beautiful place for a day tip... The sand isn't as fine as in Panglao, so if lounging around on the sand is your thing, it migt be a bit uncomfortable... But the beauty of the island is raw and undeniable and it will be part of my must-see places while in Bohol! I would totally love to come back, as soon as schedule permits!
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I loved it.
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Great for snorkeling and diving! Our guide suggested that we could bring Skyflakes for fish feeding! Hope the local government continue to take care of this island.
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Amazing experience! This island is teeming with rich marine life and colorful coral gardens. I hope the local govt & tourism continue to preserve this marine park. We saw several green sea turtles, school of jacks, and so much more! 🏻 there were also some small jellyfishes but luckily was able to avoid them .
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