When people come to Bohol, they usually stick to the typical itinerary of the Chocolate Hills, Tarsier Monkey viewing, Loboc River Cruise, old churches, and a bit of swimming at the beaches at Panglao Island. These are all great attractions and sights that shouldn’t be missed if you have the pleasure of visiting Bohol. In fact I have a previous post on some of the top attractions in the area if you feel like checking it out for your reference. Although these sights are great and probably what attracted most people to Bohol in the first place, the east side of Bohol has an abundance of fun activities and natural wonders that I feel are often overlooked by most people who visit the island. I can understand why, as many tourism websites and bloggers have not written as much about this side of the island and it isn’t quick or super cost effective to get to either (roughly a 2-hour ride and cost of transportation varies if you are taking a car, v-hire, renting a scooter/motorcycle, etc.). I’m here to tell you that you should definitely not let any of this deter you away from probably the best part of Bohol yet. The journey to the east side is well worth your time and money and you will be thankful for the experiences and sights you will get to enjoy, many that are unknown to tourists, where you will get to share these awesome experiences with other locals or even get the whole place to yourself! My only regret is that I didn’t have more time on this side of the island as I only really got to explore the Anda area and the Candijay area and definitely not in their entirety. I will be writing about the Candijay area next time, but for this post I want to let you in on some of my favorite places we visited while in Anda and other useful tips during your stay. Here are some of our favorite spots we spent some time at:
This spot is well known to the locals and becoming more popular among tourists as well. Bohol has an abundance of awesome water caves just waiting to be explored, but it seems that some of the best ones are on this side of the island. There are a few in Anda but Cabagnow is the largest and the deepest (some areas reaching about 25 feet) and therefore the most fun to take a dip at and swim in. Cabagnow is close to a lot of the lodging in the area and I really love how Anda is laid out because there are tons of directional signs leading you along the way to all the popular spots around town, Cabagnow included. Once you get to the cave, there will most likely be a man (or some other local) sitting by a little shaded hut and he will ask if you want to swim. To swim in the cave you need a metal ladder to get in and out and he provides it along with floaties for a very cheap price. The man who was there that day was really nice and helped calm my nerves as I was a little nervous to go into the cave, I guess the movie The Descent got to me haha, but once I immersed myself into the cool blue water below I was in awe at how cool the inside of this cave was. From the opening above it doesn’t look like it would be very expansive but it was really large once inside with plenty of room for multiple people to swim around in. The water itself is a striking deep blue tone with a little tint of an almost grey-like color to it, however it was very clear. The water was the first thing I noticed when we walked up to the opening of the cave, it truly is a gorgeous tone. While swimming in the cave we saw little fish inside which surprised me. I believe they come from high tide when the salt water mixes with the fresh water. There were also plenty of stalactites. Overall, this place is a must see if you are in the Anda area. I hear it is pretty popular amongst the locals but I believe we came when most of the teenagers were in school so we only shared this place with another local couple. It was very peaceful. There are other caves right by Cabagnow (Combento Cave being one of them) so if you love watering holes like this, there are plenty for your cave-hopping enjoyment!
I had done a lot of research before heading over to Anda and I knew I had to add this beach to my list. Quinale Beach is known for its incredibly long stretch of white sand and aquamarine waters. And by white sand I mean the finest softest white grains as far as you can see. The water is calm and great for swimming and there are plenty of shady tree areas and a little hut serving food and drinks on the beach. This beach is very popular amongst locals and I hear it gets pretty busy on weekends and holidays. Being that we were on vacation and there during the weekday, we didn’t have to deal with any huge crowds. There were people there, but since the beach is so big, there is plenty of room to find a nice quiet spot to yourself. I loved watching all the families enjoying their time together there and tried to imagine how life would be like living so close to a beach as beautiful as this one. While we were there we actually made friends with a big group of super friendly local kids. They came up to me in the water to chat because they thought I was Filipino but then we ended up hanging out with them for over an hour! I swear they were some of the nicest kids I have ever met! We talked about all sorts of interesting topics and they taught me a few words in Tagalog and I taught them the few words I knew in Khmer. They loved Joe and I and they thought that he was very handsome (guapo) and that I was beautiful (guapa) and they said they could tell that we are soulmates for each other. See, like I said, such cute and sweet kids haha! One of them even called me Auntie as a sign of respect since I am their elder. We got to meet their mother who took pictures of all of us and we got some selfies with some of them as well. Overall it was an amazing and fun filled beach day and reminded me that this is what travelling is all about. Interacting and meeting with all sorts of new people with different perspectives and ways of life. Anyways, if you end up in Anda make sure to spend a day (or two!) at Quinale.
The boys were so funny!
Loved these sweet girls!
This is the only selfie we got with them on our camera and we look horrible haha.
Us taking turns playing games in the water with the kids
This beach was number 1 on my must see beaches list in Anda. When I first saw pictures I fell in love with the stunning color of the water, the creamy bright white sand, and the big rocky cliffs to jump off of. This beach is another one that is popular with the locals but once again we managed to get the place to ourselves for a bit. It helped that we went right after a rainfall had just finished up. We walked around the beach and took a lot of pictures on top of the rocks and just sat and admired the glorious turquoise blue waters for a while. Eventually some teenagers showed up and we all watched each other for a bit. They stayed on the rocks and we took up shelter along the small sandy cove under the huge Talisay tree. The Talisay tree is awesome but be careful as a ton of equally HUGE tropical spiders have made the canopy their home! I was so thankful for being short because when I stood up I was just underneath one. I looked up and was staring deep into its evil menacing eyes…I grabbed our stuff and got away from that tree haha! Anyways, spiders aside, we really enjoyed our short time there. We took a dip in the water which was warm with plenty of tropical bright colored fish inside. The waters near the shore were perfect for wading and it does get deep quite fast so it is a great beach for swimming and getting some laps in, especially if you jump off the cliffs. We didn’t stay too long as I was feeling a bit tired but I wish we had spent more time there. If we had more time in Anda I would have came back on a bright sunny day and stayed for hours. It truly is a beautiful and fun little beach and one that should definitely go on your must see list while in Bohol.
I’ll admit we didn’t spend a ton of time here but we decided to stop before heading to Quinale as it is right by the Cabagnow Cave Pool. This beach didn’t pull up in my research and I can see why. It is very small but don’t let that deter you because it could be your perfect little spot for some isolation! It is a very picturesque white sand beach with beautiful blue waters just like all the other beaches in Anda, tucked away from the main streets. My guess is that it is really only known to locals and maybe tourists like us who stumble upon it while visiting Cabagnow. If we didn’t have Quinale already planned I think we would have stayed for a bit as there were only 2 other people when we stopped by and I love the promise of some privacy on a beach. If you do stop by and spend a couple hours here let me know how your experience was in the comments!
The town of Anda itself is fun to explore. I’ll admit we didn’t eat in town a lot because we were out exploring most of the day in other areas nearby. We would either eat at restaurants in the areas we were exploring or would eat at the restaurant at the lodging we were staying at because we would be so tired by the time we got back to our villa that it was just the most convenient place to grab a quick bite (plus the food was AMAZING!). There is a little convenience store near the west end of the town that we loved grabbing cheap snacks at. The people were very friendly there and always chatted us up. I can’t remember the store name but they sell fresh chicken there and I think they are well known in town for their chicken. Again, I am not sure about that this is me just taking a guess! We also were frequent visitors to the Park and Go bake shop. In fact, I fell in love with all the little bake shops in the Philippines and I sure do miss them! Delectable, soft, fresh homemade baked goods… I could get a whole bag of goodies for under $1 USD!! I recommend getting the ube breads and the cheese breads. They were my absolute favorites. There is also an ATM in town, which I believe was recently put in. It worked for our cards no problem but as always bring some cash just in case. Jagna and Candijay, the next towns over, have ATM’s but are roughly 45 mins away.
Overall, Anda is one of those crowning jewels of Bohol that should not be missed. It is also a great central location to make your homebase if you want to explore other areas on the east side of Bohol. We had the pleasure of daytripping to Candijay nearby and seeing some of the magnificent sights in the area and it is just under an hour away from Anda (it may be a little longer if your transportation is a scooter which is what we used). I will be blogging all about Candijay and our adventures exploring the Can-Umantad Falls, the Candapdapan Rice Terraces, and my most favorite place of all, the Canawa Cold Spring. These must-see sights will be in my next post so please stay tuned! If you’ve been to Anda/the east side of Bohol I would love to hear about your adventures and experience in the area! Feel free to message me or leave a comment on this post. I hope I helped encourage any future Bohol visitors to put the east coast on their itinerary!
Until next time,