Getting from Manila to Bohol can be as fast as hopping on a plane or as slow as boarding a bus or a boat. Bohol sits right in the midst of the Visayas region, and the distance between Manila and Bohol is approximately 920 kilometres via the Pan-Philippine Hwy/AH26.
You can conveniently reach Bohol by air via Tagbilaran airport in just about one and a half hours. In the meantime, if you decide to take a bus, it will take you up to 2 complete days. If you decide to cross the sea, then expect to be o the move anywhere between 25 to 30 hours.
As far as the budget is concerned, flight tickets are available for as low as PHP1,500 to PHP3,000. Bus ticket will cost around PHP2,500 and boat ticket will set you back PHP4,500 on average.
Flights from Manila to Bohol
The first two are budget airlines and regularly run seat sales so we recommend subscribing to their newsletters to get promo alerts. Even without discounts though, you can book tickets from PHP1,500 to PHP4,000 with either of them.
Philippine Airline tickets are a bit more expensive, ranging from PHP2,600 to PHP14,600 but even the cheapest fares are already inclusive of a 10-kilogram luggage allowance as well as a light snack.
Flight time between Manila and Tagbilaran is 1 hour 30 minutes. Please note that Tagbilaran airport has no night landing facilities. Because of this sunset limitation, there are no late evening flights and afternoon flights can be delayed till the next day due to poor visibility. To avoid any inconvenience, get a morning flight if possible.
Flights from Manila to Cebu and ferry to Bohol
Alternatively, if you want to make a side trip to Cebu or you are unable to get on a Manila–Bohol flight, you can fly to Mactan International Airport in Cebu instead. You can then proceed to the pier and get on a ferry to Bohol which is approximately 2 hours away.
Buses from Manila to Bohol
We do not actually recommend you travelling from Manila to Bohol by bus as the trip is very long, tiring and does not cost you much less than an air ticket, but it still can be done.
As of this writing, there is only one bus company that plies this route. If you don't mind spending on the move about 2 days with plenty stopovers for meals and toilet breaks, then you can board a Silver Star Bus Line bus in Cubao bound for Tagbilaran. The main company’s terminal is Dela Rosa Terminal located in C. Benitez cor. Aurora Blvd., Quezon City. On their way from Manila the buses pass by their second terminal in San Pedro, Laguna, to pick up additional passengers.
Buses serving the route are air-conditioned 30-seaters equipped with a TV. There is one trip daily that departs Cubao at 1.30pm but you should confirm it at least a day prior to your trip. It is highly recommended to book your tickets in advance. The seats often sell out quickly.
To our mind, the only thing which can make you consider taking a bus is if you are travelling with a lot of luggage – and have plenty of time in your pocket. Ticket price is about PHP2500.
Boat from Manila to Bohol
If for some reason you have an irrational fear of flying and you also do not fancy spending 2 days on a bus, a more comfortable option is to take a boat to Bohol from Manila.
Boat tickets cost between PHP2,000 to PHP8,000 depending on the type of the cabin you choose. The cheapest options are nothing more than dorm-like beds in a huge non-AC room while the higher price buys you a private hotel-like room. It probably worth investing into a more luxury accommodation as you are going to spend on board between 25 and 30 hours.
Shipping companies usually make voyages to Bohol once a week but you have to check in advance as cancellations due to the bad weather are possible.
Sulpicio Lines' vessel, M/V Dipolog Princess departs Manila every Wednesday at 12 noon and arrives to Tagbilaran on Thursday at 4pm. Other lines that service this route are WG&A SuperFerry and Negros Navigation.
All the boats normally depart from Eva Macapagal Super Terminal at Pier 15, Manila South Harbor, and passengers disembark at Tagbilaran City Wharf. Expect rough waters during bad weather though. If you are prone to seasickness, come prepared or – better! – choose another means of transport, especially if traveling during the typhoon season.