Bohol Travel Guide and Travel Requirements in the New Normal

Bohol Island, one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines known for its world-class diving and natural spots, is reopening to welcome leisure tourists, including those from GCQ (general community quarantine) areas such as Metro Manila, starting December 15, 2020.

 
The world-famous Chocolate Hills in Carmen, Bohol

This is good news to all domestic travelers, including me, who have been waiting for Bohol to reopen after it was closed for several months due to lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local tourists can now add Bohol Island in their places to visit -- whether for business, leisure or vacation -- after Boracay, Baguio City and other local destinations reopened their doors to general tourists a few months ago.

Last December 7-10, I was fortunate to be invited to travel and experience Bohol in the "new normal". The trip which was organized by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the marketing arm of the Department of Tourism (DOT), was my first travel outside of Luzon since the community quarantine last March. We got to personally see and experience the efforts that Bohol is making to fight COVID-19 while getting the island ready to welcome tourists.

 
Have your lunch on a floating restaurant while cruising along the Loboc River

My recent trip to Bohol gave me a first-hand experience of traveling in the "new normal". As a travel blogger who has traveled extensively around the Philippines before the pandemic, I can say that the pre-pandemic way of traveling has tremendously changed. Aside from observing strict health and safety protocols, tourists will now have to adapt to the changes and adjust their expectations when traveling in the new normal -- from complicated travel requirements to a more restrictive travel experience.

Due to the ever evolving COVID-19 situation, travel requirements and guidelines also constantly change which sometimes result to confusion to travelers, which is why I created this travel guide in an FAQ format to help you plan your trip to Bohol Island in the new normal. I'll continue to update this post as soon as I receive new information.


Is Bohol open to tourists?

Starting December 15, 2020, Bohol will be open to all leisure tourists, including travelers from GCQ areas such as NCR, Batangas, Iloilo City, among others (as of December 1, 2020). 

Is there age restriction? 

Bohol will be accepting tourists of all ages, including senior citizens and minors.

What are the requirements for traveling to Bohol?

1. Negative RT-PCR result taken 72 hours (or 3 days) before date of departure.
2. Confirmed booking with a hotel/resort that is DOT-accredited and has UBE (Ultimate Bohol Experience) certification.
3. Pre-booked transportation and tour from DOT-accredited agencies
4. Online registration on tourism.bohol.gov.ph and QR Code to be sent after registration

What are the steps to register online as a tourist?

1. Visit https://tourism.bohol.gov.ph/ and click the "Registration" button from the pop-up window.
2. Fill out the registration form. You will need to input your flight details, hotel booking reference, etc.
3. Wait for the confirmation of registration that will be sent to your email. This will also include additional instruction and information such as your unique QR code and how to upload your RT-PCR test result.

Where can I find the list of DOT-accredited transportation providers and tour agencies/operators?

When you register on https://tourism.bohol.gov.ph, you can select your preferred transportation service from the list. For the complete list of travel and tour agencies, please visit https://tourism.bohol.gov.ph/establishments-authorize-to-operate-during-the-new-normal/.

Which hotels and resorts in Bohol are open to accept tourists?


In Panglao, the following DOT-accredited resorts are open to welcome tourists:

1. The Bellevue Resort - click here to book
2. Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort - click here to book
3. Best Western Plus The Ivywall Resort - click here to book
4. Bohol Beach Club - click here to book
5. Amorita Resort - click here to book
6. Twin Tides Resort - click here to book

In Anda, the following resorts are open:

1. Amun Ini Beach Resort and Spa - click here to book
2. Parklane Bohol Resort and Spa
3. Anda Pearl Premier Resort - click here to book

You can find the complete list of accommodations in Bohol that are authorized to operate here: https://tourism.bohol.gov.ph/establishments-authorize-to-operate-during-the-new-normal/

 
The Bellevue Resort in Panglao, Bohol

Is there a need to undergo quarantine? 

For a 5-day stay in Bohol, quarantine is NOT required. However, if you're staying for more than 5 days, you will need to undergo a repeat RT-PCR test on the 5th day and you're only allowed to go out after a negative result. If your swab test result is positive, you shall undergo a 14-day quarantine in an isolation facility for tourists. Tourist will shoulder the expenses for the additional RT-PCR test and quarantine room accommodation.

Where can I have my RT-PCR swab test and how much does it cost?

Tourists can have their RT-PCR testing at any DOH-accredited testing center or laboratory of their choice. Click here to see the list of licensed COVID-19 testing laboratory in the Philippines. In Metro Manila, the prices of RT-PCR test vary from PhP 4,000 and up.

UPDATE: As of December 15, qualified domestic tourists can avail of the RT-PCR test at UP-PGH for PhP900 only. Visit this link for more information: https://www.pinoytravelfreak.com/2020/12/rt-pcr-test-for-900-pesos-filipino-domestic-tourists.html

As of December 28, leisure tourists can avail of much cheaper RT-PCR test at PCMC for PhP750 only. Visit for more information: https://www.pinoytravelfreak.com/2020/12/rt-pcr-test-750-pcmc-filipino-tourist.html


Are walk-ins and DIY tours allowed?

Walk-ins and DIY (do-it-yourself) tours are NOT allowed. Stopovers and deviation of itinerary is also NOT permitted. Itinerary and trips outside the hotel/resort should be pre-arranged only through DOT-accredited travel and tour agents/operators.

 
A sign inside the floating restaurant in Loboc to remind tourists to observe social distancing

Are there flights from Manila to Bohol?

Yes, Philippine Airlines and AirAsia now fly between Manila and Bohol. If you're originating from other cities, visit the website of the local airlines to check for the availability of flights, schedules and fares. All flights in Bohol arrive and depart at the Bohol-Panglao International Airport (which replaced the old Tagbilaran Airport).

 
Wearing of face mask and face shield is mandatory while outside of your resort/hotel

What to prepare at the airport?

Aside from your confirmed ticket and valid ID, all passengers traveling from, to, and within the Philippines are required to have the free Traze Contact Tracing app prior to your flight. You can download the app from Google Play or App Store.

What to expect upon arrival in Bohol?

Hand-carry bags and luggage are sanitized at the arrival entrance. You will also need to present your personal QR code that is sent to you when you pre-register on Bohol's website. This unique QR code can be downloaded to your smartphone. If you don't have a smartphone, you will be provided with a physical contact tracing card with your unique QR code on it.

Tourists are also mandated to strictly observe health and safety protocols such as wearing of face mask and face shield, social distancing and frequent hand washing/sanitizing while in the island.

 
Hand-carry bags and luggage are sanitized at the arrival entrance

What to expect during the tour?

Temperature check is required. You will also need to present your unique QR code at each establishment or tourist spot you visit. It will be scanned as you enter and leave the place. As mentioned above, deviation from the itinerary is not permitted.

Quick briefing and orientation before the start of Chocolate Hills ATV tour

Which tours are currently available in Bohol?

As of December 14, tourists are allowed to explore Panglao Island only on its reopening day. For more information about specific tours, reach out to your preferred travel agent/tour operator.

What's new in diving and island hopping tours?

The new centralized jetty port will be used as the entry and exit point for all snorkeling activities and island hopping tours. Island hopping tours can no longer be offered directly from Alona Beach or different resorts.

The number of visitors in Balicasag Island will be limited to 200 tourists per day in each of the two designated snorkeling sites. On the other hand, there will be five designated diving areas around the island and each will have a limit of 60 tourists per day. Contact your preferred DOT-accredited travel agency/tour operator or dive shop to arrange for these activities.

The new jetty port in Panglao that will be used for snorkeling and island hopping activities

Is it a good time to visit Bohol?

Since Bohol has just opened to general tourists, expect that the airfares and room rates are lower (some hotels/resorts are offering up to 50% off to attract tourists) and most hotels and tourist spots are less crowded, even around the holiday season. As the travel requirements and restrictions are getting eased, more and more tourists will become interested to visit Bohol. But until that happens, now is the time to enjoy cheaper rates and less crowded Bohol.

 
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