Isola di Francesco

Pontod Island, Panglao, Bohol

Isola di Francesco
4.5 Stars

8 Reviewers

  • 5 stars 5
  • 4 stars 2
  • 3 stars 1
  • 2 stars 0
  • 1 star 0
  • 8 Reviews
  • 0 Recommend
  • 8 Reviewers
Tourist Attraction

Most Recent Reviews

Loren L P.
5.0 Stars

Isola di Francesco is different from what they call the "VIrgin Island". The so-called Virgin Island is a tourist trap. Go at your own risk. A reputable tour guide would know and not bring you there, Instead, they will bring you to this beautiful island.

This is a place of meditation and reflection owned by the Philippine Centre of St. Pio of Pietrelcina.The beautiful sandbar is open to the public with free boat shuttle service going to and back from the island for those who wish to pay tribute or simply just want to visit the place. You can stay as long as you want. We swam in the vast sandbar shoreline- it was a wonderful way to end our island tour. It was my first time to see a sandbar and I was so happy to be here. I would surely go back on my next trip to Bohol.

  • No. of Comments: 4
Mary Love S.
4.0 Stars

One of the perks of having a local contact in Bohol is that they'd know the best places to visit in the area. And if they have their own boat, you don't even have to worry about transportation. And that was pretty much what happened when R and I visited Panglao. It is still one of my favorite vacations to date as everything was well prepared by R's dealer, I. And for our second and last stop for island hopping, we went to Isola di Francesco.

Hello, Isola di Francesco.

Isola di Francesco is located at Pontod Island and owned by St. Pio devotee, Mr. Ramon Rodriguez. Designed to be a place suitable for retreat and reflection, the place is adorned with several religious sculptures. It also holds regular mass in the island's chapel.

Though this is often not included in island hopping packages in Bohol, you can easily visit this place by riding one of its shuttle boats from the port. As for the fee, it is up to you. Yes, Isola di Francesco practices the pay what you want scheme as you could avail anything from this island by donating any amount of money.

Wonder what you can do in the island?

Aside from the chapel where you could pray or attend mass, you can also visit its museum (which I totally missed as I was distracted by the doves and its eggs), kayak, or eat some local delicacies or even sea urchin. You can pay as little as PHP1 to get a banana cue but please don't be like that as the donations go to the maintenance of the whole island.

The highlight of our trip there though was the long sandbar. We spent about half an hour just by the sand bar. We didn't swim much as there were some trash in the water. (I saw an island keeper trying to fish out the trash though.)

As much as I wanted to take more photos, heavy rain hit the island we we were forced to run to the nearest roofed area and got stuck there for about 15 minutes. We left as soon as the rain turned to drizzle.

I do hope that visitors will be more respectful and keep the place clean. And can someone tell me what kind of fruit this is???

  • No. of Comments: 0
Carla Fenella A.
4.0 Stars

The island's municipal name is Pontod island. They just called it Virgin island to attract more tourists. It is owned by Ramon Rodriguez who also owns the Pio Del Pilar church at eastwood, libis. He was blind for 13 yrs and a devotee of St. Pio. When he got his sight back he promised that he will open this island for the tourists for free.

This is not part of the tour. I was only informed by one of the locals that I can go to the island at a cheaper rate after telling him my plan of going back because I wasn't able to see the sand bar the first time I went. He told me to go to the port the next day before 9am. There is a boat that services the locals to and from the virgin island.

I was expecting that the virgin island I will be seeing that time was the island I went to 2 days before when I was on a tour (island hopping tour) but guess what? It was a different island!! It was the island I saw near the so called "virgin island" I've been to the other day when I was on a tour with the other tourists. The first "Virgin island" I was talking about looks like a sunken island with only just one plant I think? There is a shack in the middle where they sell fresh bukos, banana cues, fried abalones and sea urchins. There were also locals going from one boat to the other selling pearls etc. The water is knee to waist deep high. it was a fun experience too and a different one. (First 4 pictures)

Now the real Virgin Island is different!! This one is guarded. It has security guards and life guards. It has trees, a chapel, life-sized statues, a store and a clean comfort room. There are lots of doves too!! The sandbar can be seen and experienced on this island too. I stayed here from 930am till 3 in the afternoon just to experience the sand bar during low tide. Sandbar showed up at around 230pm. You need to check the tide calendar first before going here if you want to see the long stretch of sand or you can just ask some of the locals.

Everything in this place is for donation. I was able to go here and gave 70pesos to the boatman. I saw some just gave P20 or P50. You can also grab some snacks at their store like banana cue etc. some chips and softdrinks just by donating. One of the securities told me that I can just give 1 peso. Lol. They also have shirts and Padre Pio's figurine available. You can also do kayaking for free or donation.

The island can be reached within 15minutes if straight from the port.

Some might be disappointed because of what they did to the place. It doesnt look like a virgin island at all but it has a great story behind it and the owner is generous enough to let people in, eat and kayak for free. It was once a private island but was opened to the public for free.

**one of the locals told me that they saw a 3ft wide 4-toed footprint after the place was hit by Yolanda and there are ghosts too.

  • No. of Comments: 0
Shiela B.
5.0 Stars

A long Fine white sandbar, turquoise waters, blue skies---ahh! Indeed! This must be a paradise! 128525128525128525 (ofcourse, finding my hubby as the model for this photo)

Another island near the virgin islands in panglao, bohol is "Isola de Francesca". It is a private sandbar (but made it opened to the public), which owned by the francescan friars.

This is a must visit island for island hopping in bohol! 128525128525

  • No. of Comments: 0
Tei A.
3.0 Stars

It's not as beautiful as I remembered. 128532
It's not a Virgin Island anymore. There are now structures in the island, lots of boats that are docked and so many sea grasses.

  • No. of Comments: 1
Aileen M.
5.0 Stars

It's my first time to see a sandbar and yes, I am in awe! Pontod Island or Virgin Island in Bohol is a small island where you can chill, frolic in the sand, or simply get lost. It's best to visit the place during low tide for your sand bar hunting. There's also a shrine of Padre Pio for his devotees or for those who simply want to say a prayer of thanks for just being able to see such a lovely place. Ahhhh... I miss those moments when you are stuck at the office staring at your computer. Take me back there!!!! 128526

  • No. of Comments: 2
Yen D.
5.0 Stars

When in Bohol, take a side trip to Isola di Francesco. It is a private sandbar but the owner has opened it to the public.

During low tide, you can see the sandbar. You can go down to swim, walk or just bask in the sun. You can also buy fresh assorted seafood being sold by the locals and grilled on the spot. Enjoy fresh Uni of Abalone at Php100/stick.

Such a beautiful place!

  • No. of Comments: 3
Nesty A.
5.0 Stars

This place is also called Pontod Island but well-known for Virgin Island.

One of the top tourist destinations in Panglao Island. And there's only one thing I can describe it: BEAUTIFUL.

When it's low tide, the white powdery sand leading to the island is exposed. It's where the boat duck also so you can enjoy exploring the island by walking on the white sand.

When it's high tide, you can enjoy yourself bathing on the crystal clear seawater.

  • No. of Comments: 2