Have you ever gone to a place with high expectations just to be let down that it didn’t nearly come close to all that you had hoped it would be? Well that was not the case at all when it came to Anda and the east side of Bohol. In fact it far exceeded my expectations, and I had done plenty of research so the bar was set high and the east side more than delivered! As much as I loved Panglao Island and the western/southwestern/central areas of Bohol (in fact I could probably live on Panglao Island and feel comfortable), there was something really special about the east side of Bohol and the municipality of Anda in which we made our homebase for our adventures while there (Barangay Virgen to be exact). If you have been to Bohol/Panglao Island and didn’t have the pleasure to visit this side of the island, please make it a large part of your trip next time you come back, or if you plan on visiting Bohol, please add a few days on the east side to your itinerary. If I could come back and visit I honestly would probably just stay on the east coast the whole time, maybe even venture up north. The east side just felt right for us, and if you’re a bit introverted like me, you may feel the same way. You don’t even have to be in Anda, there are so many other places to visit (Candijay for one which I will be writing about later!) and each place will not disappoint. Think culture, solitude, and lots of outdoor adventures all wrapped into one and that would describe the east side of Bohol.
The east side of Bohol pretty much has everything you could want when you think about visiting Bohol, except without any tourist crowds. And that is saying a lot because honestly, aside from the hot spots like the Chocolate Hills and Alona Beach, there weren’t many crowds to begin with. While exploring the east side you definitely get this isolated feeling quite often, likely even at the lodging you will be staying at, but especially while scootering around through the area. Fear not, the locals will be quick to poke their heads out and greet you when you drive on through their little towns. It’s a perfect mix of peaceful solitude and friendly civilization. One of the main attractions that attract tourists to Anda and the east coast are the beaches. They are probably some of the best in Bohol, with ultra soft refined white sand, crystal clear turquoise blue waters, and lots of swimming and snorkeling to be had, and again NO tourist crowds (but you may see plenty of locals!). The east side also has no shortage of outdoor adventures. Waterfalls, water caves, rice fields, cold springs, and tons of other natural wonders await you on the east side of Bohol. Many unspoiled and you will likely get to yourself for a bit! There is plenty of culture here and an authentic/not yet completely taken over by tourism feel from the towns in the area. Most of the locals are very friendly, although of course we ran into a few that were not (mostly older folks that seemed to disapprove of Joe and I, this will be saved for another post) and even a few “sketchy” characters, but overall the locals here were some of the friendliest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. So many of them made me feel so welcomed and like we were a part of the family. From the moment a man ran up to us because he could tell we were searching for the ATM and showed us the right one that worked, I knew that we had made the right choice coming here. It was funny because he thought I was Filipino (most locals did) and tried to speak to me in Tagalog. Then when he realized I spoke English he started talking to me in English and said he was so surprised that I am Cambodian haha. I actually enjoy blending in, it was the same in Bali as well. I had some great times with the locals here, I even made friends with a group of children and their mother and it was the highlight of our trip. I’ll be telling the story in depth in a later post so be sure to tune in! Lastly, the scooter ride/car ride to the east coast is absolutely stunning. It is approximately 2 hours long (a bit longer with a bike) and you will ride through many cool towns and likely stop at a lot of places along the way to explore. A majority of the ride is coastal with incredible views to take in. We had to scooter in the rain most of the time, which was tough, but still was an enjoyable ride and such a great experience! Something I highly recommend if you are the adventurous type!
Before I get into all the stories of our adventures in Anda and the east side, I wanted to start off this part of my Philippines series with highlighting our #Agodabasecamp while there, because honestly without this little gem I don’t think our trip would’ve been nearly as fantastic. Casa Amihan has to be at the top of your lodging possibilities while you are staying in Anda. It was the perfect spot to come back to after a long and tiring day of exploring the outdoors. It is situated at the end of a dirt road so you are not off the main road and is very quiet. It is very close to the main town, however, as I said it’s off a dirt road and a lot of the tricycles do not want to ride back there in case they get stuck. You will have to walk to the main road to easily get a tricycle or just have your own scooter like we did and that’ll solve all your problems! The place is also gated with a guard 24/7 so you can sleep a little easier at night. The villas are super clean and tastefully designed. Very Mediterranean-inspired with its textured white washed walls that give it a very “Greece” feel mixed with the perfect laid back island vibes that you expect from the Philippines. We booked the King Suite Sea View which has the most perfect view of the ocean from both your veranda up top and the balcony down below. One of the best views I have ever had at a lodging. The grounds are gorgeous and pristine. Lush green and tropical and situated right by the ocean. In fact this place has a small stretch of private white sand beach just steps from the little restaurant onsite. The ocean down below is breathtaking and you can even swim and snorkel in the waters safely. Casa Amihan has snorkeling equipment for you to use! The restaurant had some of the best and authentic Filipino food I have ever had. I highly recommend the Kinilaw and their chicken adobo. The breakfast is also very good and although I only ordered one cocktail, it was so STRONG! They definitely want you to have a good time haha! There is a stone pool right by the restaurant and it is big, simple, but still very beautiful and situated against a jungle-like area with a nice view of the whole grounds. Be sure to look out for the little cat that belongs to a neighbor nearby. She is small, has a little bobtail, and has a fierce and mighty meow! She really helped me get my cat-fix in while there.
(Just a couple pics, there are more photos at the end of the post)
What really shined the most though out of everything was the staff. From the moment we arrived we felt so welcomed, and not the normal welcome you feel out of obligation…it felt so genuine. Every single person we interacted with there, even the awesome gate guard, was just so nice and friendly and real. I enjoyed seeing everyone everyday and the smiles on their faces. I really liked that you could sense the camaraderie and the family-like atmosphere between the staff members. They all got along so well, I saw them playing around with each other sometimes (piggyback rides and stuff) and I thought it was awesome since they seem to spend so much of their time together. One of the ladies, and I am so upset I forgot her name, but she is the main host while you are there, words cannot even describe her! She is so friendly, social, and genuine. She made me feel so great about myself and talked to us every time she saw us. She said I looked like one of her cousins, beautiful with nice skin and dark curly hair haha. She said that the whole staff was so curious about me since I look Filipino and they were surprised to learn that I am Cambodian but they still had so many questions haha! The staff there really deserve so much praise and I hope the owners are treating them all well because without them, no matter how gorgeous the place is, it just wouldn’t of been the same. They elevate the place to a new level. Overall, this has been the most relaxing and beautiful lodging I have ever stayed at thus far, and for the price you cannot beat it. We love to book ahead of time and used the pay later option on Agoda.com which is great because it charges you a couple weeks before you stay there, leaving you with ample time to cancel for free beforehand. Below are some photos and website links with pricing:
the most gorgeous sunset right off your balcony
Our 1st day there enjoying complimentary drinks and taking in the view
One of the delicious breakfast options
The dirt road to the main road. Lots of privacy!
Unfortunately I don’t seem to have any photos of the interior. I think I did a video walk through on Snapchat and Instagram Stories and did not save the videos. I will say that the interior photos on the website are 100% accurate. There is also free Wi-Fi included, though I will say it is not the strongest connection. Well I hope you enjoyed this little introduction to Anda and I can’t wait to share our stories with you and which outdoor adventures I highly recommend on the east coast! I really hope I can convince you to add this side of the island to your itinerary when you come, and if you stay at Casa Amihan enjoy your time! Tune in next week for some of the best beaches and water caves in the Anda area!
Until next time!