Panglao Island is known for its beautiful small islands such as the famous Balicasag Island, Gak-ang, and Puntod or which is now called as Isola di Francesco. Isola di Francesco was first known to travelers as Bohol Virgin Island and it’s a place of meditation and reflection owned by the Philippine Center of St. Pio of Pietrelcina.
I’ve been to this island two times already, the first one was with my sister, and the latest one was with the JaVaMay gang which you can read our whole Bohol adventure in this post. It pretty much covered some basics on how to get there, but for this article, I’m going to dig deeper and talk more about this amazing island with more pictures ofcourse, yay!
HOW TO GET THERE?
It’s pretty much easy to go there since almost all island hopping packages includes a tour in Isola di Francesco. But what if you’re only planning to visit Isola? Well, it’s your lucky day for I’ll tell you how below:
- The start off point is Tagbilaran City. If you’re in a hurry, you can haggle a tricycle driver to take you there. But if you’re not in a hurry and in a very tight budget, I suggest you take a jeepney. You can either take a jeepney bound to Alona/Tawala, Dauis or any jeepney as long as it stops at Panglao Public Market. The earliest schedule they have is 6:00 AM and I guess it will only take you a half to quarter an hour reaching Panglao Public Market.
- After dropping off at Panglao Public Market, you can either ride a habal-habal or motorbike to Panglao port or have a little exercise and walk. You can ask some locals on how to get there. Pretty much, you just need to walk straight until you see the Panglao church and on right side is the port.
And that’s it! easy-peasy right?
The Isola management has their own boat shuttle service that starts to operate and accepts passengers not earlier than 9:00 AM unless it’s high tide. You just need to register your name and then, they will give you your priority number. And by then, you will be called once it’s your turn to ride on the boat.
Please be reminded of Isola’s boat schedules:
Mondays – Sundays
Back and forth: 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM
And max of 3:00 PM going back to Panglao Port
Just like going to the island, you also need to get a priority number and a boat pass if you’re ready to head back. You can get them at the island’s canteen.
THINGS YOU NEED TO OBSERVE WHEN VISITING
- Always observe silence – the island is a place of meditation and reflection, so keep your voices down while in the island.
- You are not allowed to bring foods and drinks. Only foods from the island’s canteen can be consumed while staying in the island.
- The place contains numerous doves and the Isola management refrains from touching or shooing them away.
- Observe cleanliness
- For more, kindly refer to the picture below:
SOME FACTS AND REASONS WHY ISOLA DI FRANCESCO IS A MUST VISIT ATTRACTION IN BOHOL:
- Isola was first named as Puntod Island but is popularly called as Virgin Island.
- The raising of the Philippine Flag to the island was done on June 12, 2013
- Isola di Francesco is open to everyone with no entrance fee with free boat shuttle service and only accepting donations.
- At the middle of the island is the statue of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina that stands tall over the pious guests and devotees.
- It’s a quiet place for relaxation and meditation with art installations of scenes from Jesus’ life and ministry.
- It features a mini-museum of the stigmatist Padre Pio, who is known as the saint-confessor for Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.
It’s low tide when we arrived to the island and the scenery is just so breathtaking. How much more when it’s high tide! Well, if you’re curious, you can check this video of Isola di Francesco from above. Amazing isn’t it?
It’s not yet summer when we visited the island but the heat is quite unbearable, so make sure to bring an umbrella, a cap or sunglasses with you. It’s so picture-perfect too that’s why my sister and I can’t get enough taking pictures at the place lol.
Aside from taking amazing photos of the place, I also enjoyed walking to the white sand of Isola di Francisco. There’s no shades while walking to the island’s sandbar but if you walk through the water, just like me, you’ll forget the scorching heat of the sun.
Isola di Francesco is absolutely one of my favorite islands in Bohol and I pretty much took a lot of pictures that I can’t posted in here or it will take a day for this post to load lol. So, you can all check them out in our Flickr account and let those pictures convince you to visit this island. *wink
The island has the best restroom so make sure to stop by while visiting the island, you’ll be amaze on how cool it was.
They have kayaks too, so you can absolutely borrow it. Just don’t forget to drop some donations *wink
If you’re hungry or thirsty, you can absolutely get some on their canteen in exchange for a donation.
Aside from Padre Pio’s mini museum, godly statues and reflective scenes from Jesus’ life, you can also find a small chapel in the island. Which they also conducts mass every 23rd of the month at 10:00 AM.
- If you want a more peaceful travel, it is advisable to go there on weekdays.
- It’s not advisable to go there during the BER months because of the wind, the best time would be during summer.
- If you plan to go swimming, you can absolutely enjoy when it’s high-tide. Make sure to check your calendar for the perfect date and time to go there.
- The island could get too populated, so if you’re availing their boat shuttle service, make sure to get your priority number early to avoid longer waiting time.
- The perfect time to go to the island is when its high-tide. Believe me, the experience is more enjoyable when you walk in the sandbar while feeling the cold refreshing water.
- It could get pretty hot, so make sure to bring an umbrella, a hat or sunglasses with you.
Browse more photos in our Flickr account.
- Place: Isola di Francesco
- Location: Isola di Francesco, Panglao Island, Bohol
- Ticket price: Free
- Date of the trip: January 2017