Our day with the Kids Snorkeling at Balicasag Island and Walking the Sandbar of Virgin Island, Bohol

September 25, 2010

Our day with the Kids 
Snorkeling at Balicasag Island 
and Walking the Sandbar of Virgin Island, Bohol

8 AM         
  •  what to bring to the sea tour:  

    waterproof backpacks, extra change of clothes, cellphone, swimsuit, sunblock, off lotion, coconut oil, hand sanitizer, underwater camera case, underwater plastic case for gadgets, cellphones, wallet, toilet paper, emergency medicines, slippers, bottled water, cookies or biscuits
My tip: for feeding fish, tear the white bread in small pieces and place it inside an empty mineral water bottle. Then while snorkeling, fill the mineral water bottle filled with bread then feed the fish so you can see them up close. It's easier to hold the mineral water bottle than the plastic bag containing a loaf of bread. See pictures below:
Mineral water bottle filled with bread for fish feeding
This is how it is used to feed fish

9AM: Pick up by the boatmen to go on Sea Tour

Our boatman, Dodong
Our boatman, Dodong, picked us up from our resort, Isis Bungalows, which is located along Alona Beach. The night before, we were instructed by Tatsky, our tour guide, thru text, to look for Dodong's boat called Starseas,  near the beachfront of Isis Bungalows. 

9AM-930AM: Travel time from Alona Beach to Balicasag Island

We boarded the boat from the beachfront of Isis Bungalows. We were given lifejackets as we traveled from Alona Beach to Balicasag island. We had an uneventful banca ride.

Riding the boat going towards Balicasag island
My daughter wearing the life jacket provided by the boatmen

I noticed that they're not strict with the use of lifejackets during banca rides. Unlike in Palawan where we were admonished to wear the lifejacket at all times until the moment before we get off the boat. The waters at Honda Bay, Palawan have strong undercurrents, unlike those in Panglao Island, Bohol. 

My tip: If they don't immediately give you lifejackets, ask for them, especially since kids are with you. It's better to be safe than sorry.

9AM-930AM: Travel time from Alona Beach to Balicasag Island

As soon as we arrived, we were met by boatmen offering themselves as guide to the snorkeling site. The snorkeling site of Balicasag Island is just a few meters from where our boat docked. Since Tatsky already arranged everything for us, Dodong called the guide Tatsky hired.

Approaching Balicasag Island
930AM-1130AM: Snorkeling at Balicasag Island Marine Sanctuary

The guide to the snorkeling site also owns the boat we rode to the snorkeling site. You ride a big boat frm Alona Beach to Balicasag island, then transfer to a smaller boat  The fees of the guide includes the use of the boat and assistance during snorkeling. The guides also rent aqua shoes at 100pesos a pair. Aqua shoes are needed only if it's low tide and you're forced to walk on the corals. Otherwise, you don't need it if you're floating on your life vest.

Boats at the Balicasag marine sanctuary, 
which is the snorkeling site.

This is the small boat used to go to the snorkeling site of Balicasag Island. 
It is a different boat from the one we used to travel from Alona Beach to Balicasag Island
This is the snorkeling site and at the background is the shore of Balicasag Island, where the boat we used from Alona Beach is docked. 
You can see that the snorkeling site is just a few meters from the shore.

We hold on to a rope as we feed the fish.  
This and the following series of underwater photos were taken with a camera encased in a DicaPac WP410  Waterproof Digital Camera Case with Optical Lens (Clear) 

You can see how shallow the waters are at the snorkeling site.
This is the aqua shoes we rented from the snorkeling guide we hired. At low tide you can practically walk on corals while snorkeling

I chose this photo to show the amazing diversity of fish swimming through us and around us. 

This felt like we were swimming in a very large aquarium. You can see the diversity of fish in a very small area and in shallow waters

1130AM-1PM: Lunch at Balicasag Island

After snorkeling, we immediately paid, thru Dodong, our snorkeling site guide. The fees we paid are P150 per person guide fee and P100 per pair of aqua shoes. 
The makeshift tent is where we had lunch at Balicasag Island. You order fresh seafood kept in a styrofoam cooler and the locals who live on the island cook it for you. They charge you per kilo of seafood that you buy, plus cooking charge. They also sell softdrinks and bottled water.

The sand at Balicasag island is rough with crushed corals and shells
The part of the shore of Balicasag Island, where our boat docked and where we had lunch has shallow waters

1PM-130PM: Travel Time from Balicasag Island to Virgin Island

We traveled for 30-40 minutes from Balicasag Island to Virgin Island.

130PM-3PM: Virgin Island, Walking the sandbar

Virgin Island is an uninhabited island. If you know the local film, Muro Ami, they shot scenes of the movie here. Virgin Island is a very small island. It is known for its fine white sand and its very long sandbar. While on the boat, we spotted tourists walking the sandbar. It seemed like they were walking in the middle of the sea because the sandbar stretched that far.

The shore of Virgin Island. We were preparing to walk the sandbar.

This is how far the sandbar stretched from the shore. The camera man is on the shore.
Virgin Island is at the background

Starfish found while walking the sandbar of Virgin Island
Virgin Island at the background while floating on the sandbar
My daughter floating on the sandbar
The sandbar in the afternoon at low tide.

3PM-330PM: Travel Time from Virgin Island to Alona Beach

4PM: Back at Isis Bungalow
When we returned to the beachfront of Isis Bungalows, we paid Dodong the sea tour fee of P1300 and tip.


soumoeTRAVELS said...

Hello! I am planning on going to Bohol in 3 weeks and am very interested in doing all of the things you have done in this blog. What is the name of the company that you booked this tour through? All of the ones I see online are P 2300+ and I see you've only paid 1300. Thank you!