When we speak of Bohol, the Philippines, tourists often think about the island of Panglao with its long sandy beaches or Loboc with its relaxing river cruise. As this Visayan island continues to soar in the world of tourism, Bohol is now more than just Chocolate Hills and tarsiers. Travelers, specifically frequent visitors, are now “discovering” its other towns. One of them is the town of Anda on the eastern coast of Bohol. An emerging local destination, Anda has the best beaches in the country, a mystic off-shore island, friendly locals, and cave pools. Read on to learn more about the best things to do, see, and experience while visiting Anda in Bohol, the Philippines.
1. Enjoy Anda's pristine beaches
For a relatively small island, Bohol boasts soft sandy beaches, and Anda isn’t left out. Its most popular beach is Quinale Beach. Visitors named this public beach not just Bohol’s most beautiful, but probably the best beach in the Philippines. Other local beaches in Anda are Bitoon White Beach, Talisay Beach, and Arthoghin Beach. Many of Anda’s resorts and hotels are beachfront properties, where guests can enjoy the clear waters and soft sands just a few steps from their accommodations.
2. Have cocktails at one of Anda's resorts
What is the best way to enjoy your downtime (if there is any!) in Anda? By getting a refreshing drink from the bar! Enjoy your cocktails with stunning views of the beach or your resort’s property preferably as the sun begins to set. Many resorts, like Anda White Beach Resort, have two bars — one in the restaurant and the other one on the beach. Other accommodations, like J & R Residence, have an outdoor restaurant complete with a full bar.
As the sun completely sets, enjoy happy hour with a martini or your favorite vodka-based drinks. Unlike other destinations in the Philippines, Bohol remains peaceful with less nightlife, so what better way to have a relaxing yet enjoyable night out than a drink or two, right?
Website:Anda White Beach Resort
Website: J & R Residence
3. Dip and dive into cave pools
Totally uncommon and a highly rare experience in the Philippines, Bohol’s natural geographical features resulted in various cave pools. In Anda alone, there are 30 cave pools, four of them are accessible to the public. Most of them are located near the beach, others are shallow enough for everyone to dip into while some are literally a hole of saline water for adventurous travelers to jump right into. The most famous is Combento Cave Pool, while Cabognaw Cave Pool goes as deep as 25 feet (7.6 m)! Other cave pools to visit are Kalingoon Cave while East Coast Cave Pool is located within a resort.
4. Explore Anda's rich underwater world
Anda is blessed to be a part of a 8.7 mi (14-kilometer) reef, with various coral formations, walls, and even underwater caves. Just a few meters way from the shore you can go snorkeling, but if you want to go deeper and see more marine life diversity, a dive is a must.
There are many diving sites in Anda. To name a few, there is Chameleon, named after its changing underwater landscape from wall to slope, which is and perfect for beginners. Paradise Garden diving site is best for snorkeling, too, but you need to dive to marvel at its 98.4 ft (30-meter) sea wall and stunning coral landscape. Those who love to dive in caves or advanced divers should head to Snappers Cave. Expect to see turtles, barracuda, rays, sharks, and in rare cases, whale sharks.
Blue Star Dive & Resort
Website: Blue Star Dive & Resort
5. Feel the supernatural energy of Lamanoc Island
With majority of Bohol composed of rural towns, the local culture still believes in supernatural beings and this can be best “felt” on the island of Lamanoc, situated 10 minutes away from Anda by boat. In Lamanoc historic caves with coffins and burial jars have been discovered, thus support the beliefs of ancient people living in the island, and their spirits may still linger in Lamanoc till this day. The island must-stop is Shaman’s Cave, in which mystics and shamans are believed to have used.
Thus, don’t be surprised if your guide keeps on saying “tabi tabi” during your tour. Such phrase is used to ask permission from the spirits that you might disrupt them with your presence. Mysticism aside, Lamanoc is an archeological gem, as visitors can see prehistoric drawings on cave walls.
Lamanoc Island Mystic Tour Experience
Address: Sitio Dapanas, Brgy. Badiang, Anda, Bohol
Price: from 7 USD / 350.75 PHP
Opening Hours: 8 am to 4 pm. Daily.
Duration: at least 3 hours.
6. Feel love from the locals of Anda
The kind-hearted personalities of the local people of Bohol are the best complement to the charm of Bohol’s attractions and things to do. The same holds true in Anda with their friendly and trustworthy locals. They treat every visitor as real guests, allowing travelers to feel safe and welcomed while in Anda. Nothing beats visiting a place where you feel at home and not worrying about being scammed, but rather, feeling blessed to enjoy Anda’s warm hospitality.
Bohol’s hidden gem
Lying two hours from the capital city of Tagbilaran, Anda offers solace to those who want to escape the crowds of Bohol. Perfect for those who want to see and experience rural life in Bohol, Anda is more than an eco-cultural tourism destination but a place that is slowly capturing the hearts of those who want authentic nature-filled travels in the Philippines. See more of Bohol and enjoy Anda!
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