A GUIDE TO ISLAND HOPPING

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I assume you’re reading this because you are interested to go Island hopping with your family or friends 🙂  Me and my colleagues went Island hopping last summer of 2016. We we’re very excited as most of us haven’t experienced Island hopping yet. This was my first time to go Island hopping. Things to bring and how to go Island hopping in Mactan, here is a blog post for you.

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1. Follow the schedule

Island hopping is an 8 am-5 pm activity so if the departure of the boat would be 7:00 in the morning, you should go there early. Don’t let them wait for you. In our case that time, we left the meat in the Van we rented so, we had to wait for an hour and about a couple of minutes as we were waiting for our other colleague to get the meat! Gosh.

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2. Wear light clothes and Sunblock

If you’re living in the Philippines, you know how hot it could be. So for me, I brought with me a hat and a long summer dress. Protect your skin with sunblock because sunburn would be too painful 😦

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3. Look for affordable Boat Rental rates

In an Island hopping package, you may choose 3 Islands. For us, we chose, Gilotungan Island, Caohagan Island and Nalusuan Island. If you wish to go down to the Island, you need to pay 100-200 pesos for each person, for you to step the sand bar but most of the tourists stay on the boat instead of going to the Island itself. YEP I SWEAR NO LIES. But we were not able to go to Nalusuan Island because of the tragedy and Nalusuan was one of the best Island to visit because of the clear waters 😦 So my tip for you is to look for a banca that is very affordable but can bring you to good islands without getting stranded. Here are the standard Boat Rental Rates good for 3 Islands only:

  • P 2,500 pesos good for 1-5 persons
  • P 3,000 pesos good for 6-10 persons
  • P 3,500 pesos good for 11-15 persons
  • P 4,000 pesos good for 16-20 persons
  • P 4,500 pesos good for 21-25 persons
  • Surcharge of P700 if you include Pandanon island
    • Pandanon Island is very faaaaaaaaaaaar!! You may just try to go back next time for you to have a reason to go back and experience Island hopping agaaaain. It is located east of Mactan, South of Olango Island, and north of mainland Bohol.

Boat Facilities:

  • Comfort room
  • Grill
  • Life vest

Island entrance fees

  • Hilutungan island: P 100 per head
  • Caohagan Island: P200 per head
  • Olango island: P 75 per head
  • Nalusuan island: P 200 per head
  • Sulpa island: P 100 per head
  • Pandanon island: P 150 per head

Snorkeling rental fee – P100

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4. What to Expect when you go Island Hopping:

  • Most of the Island hopping package does not include food. The price stated above, does not include lunch so you can save more if you bring your own food. You can grill in there. Just bring charcoal, gas, and a match. You can also bring your own cooler and your own drinks. Don’t worry the boat is big enough so you have much space in the boat. You may share your food to the crew. This is not mandatory but this is already expected. Just to make them smile and also share your blessings. This is not too much 🙂
  • There are Comfort rooms in the boat where you can just Pee and change clothes but do not expect much on this Comfort room as this is just at the back of the boat and this is just a small Plywood room.
  • If you go with just a few friends for about 1-5 or 6-10, please, please do take care of your belongings. Do not leave them unattended. I believe that you are smarter than that. Leave at least two people in the banca while some of your friends/family go on Snorkeling. Keep your money, cellphones and cameras inside your bag. Or you may just buy a small padlock to lock your bag.

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5. Bring your Gadgets

Island Hopping is fun!! Really!! So bring your gadgets with you for you to take beautiful photos: DSLR, Underwater Camera, Go Pro and oh by the way, if you bring your phone with you, make sure to buy a Waterproof Gadget Pouch we can’t guess, maybe your phone will get wet along the trip because of the waves. This is worth 100-150 Php only. They sell this when you hop in the banca, but if not, you may buy this from malls. So if they ask more from you, they usually sell this very expensive to foreigners. So if you are a foreigner and they sell this to you, just tell them you read it from a blog that this costs 100-150 only and just try to bargain. Don’t buy if it costs 200-500 Php as it’s not in a reasonable price already. The gadget pouch I’m talking about looks like this:

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And please, do not dip it in the water. This is just a protection for your phone not to get wet. There are some Waterproof Gadget Pouch that’s torn when you buy one. *Believe in me*

6. Things to bring

  • Towel
  • Bikinis/Trunks
  • Extra clothes
  • Extra shoes and slippers
  • Sunblock
  • Sunglasses
  • Gadgets: DSLR, Phone, Underwater Camera, Go pro and Waterproof Gadget Pouch
  • Small padlock for your bag
  • Charcoal, Match, Gas- if you want to Grill inside the boat
  • Food, Water and Drinks- Beer/Wine

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7. Appreciate Nature

We go on Island hopping to have fun and to escape reality but most of all, is to appreciate Nature and support Tourism in the Philippines. Don’t ever try to destroy the wonderful nature around us. Beautiful corals and fishes are just for our eyes only and to experience the beauty under the sea. Don’t throw garbage at the water.

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And lastly, have fun with your friends/family 🙂 ❤

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Great post! But living in Mactan ourselves, we can’t help but compare the island hopping here and the various destinations we have visited.

    One, the entrance fees to each island are absurdly expensive. They actually border on unreasonable; in many of the other destinations we’ve visited, the entrance fees are nil or range up to P50 max.

    Two, Pandanon Island is not really far (well, when compared to other island hopping tours/destinations we’ve experienced). For us, it doesn’t warrant the extra fee.

    Three, the fact that you need to pay separate fees for the boat and the islands that are to be visited makes it very confusing and an outright inconvenience for visitors. Packaging the rates, which many other island hopping outfitters do, is better.

    One more thing; avoid pooing in those boat toilets. The waste is dumped directly to the sea without treatment. And untreated human waste is the harbinger of E.coli bacteria.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree with you about the entrance fees to each island that’s why the last time we went Island hopping, we did not bother going down to each island because it’s costly. We just went to Caohagan Island’s Shore and Gilutongan’s Diving spot. We we’re even surprised when the man in Caohagan drove us away and didn’t want us to step on the sand bar until we don’t pay the entrance fee. I even don’t understand the “Package” they are talking about when Entrance fees in each island is not included. Yes, they do charge a lot if you want to visit Pandanon Island too 😦

      I also agree on the Pooing part! The C.R on the boat serves as changing area only but not Pooing 🙂 We even had a problem when we reached Caohagan. Our boatman didn’t warned us that it was low tide at 12 noon so our boat was stuck on the island until 8PM in the evening. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

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