Getting around Bohol is easy during the day time. There are a lot of different rides to choose from. The most versatile option would be the tricycle. They can take you anywhere within city limits like your own personal 3 wheeled taxi. If all you only have little luggage tricycles can even from the airport or pier and take you to your hotel if it’s in the city or can recommend one for you if you don’t have a reservation.
For short distances (within 3 kms) the fare is just 10 Php (20 US cents). But they tend to ask for more when the destination is out of the way of the main roads, JA Clarin and Carlos P Garcia Avenue (called CPG by the locals), because they risk not picking up passengers for their return trip. But except for heavy loads, or ferrying more than two passengers you wouldn’t want to agree to anything beyond 50 pesos (1$). If you’re willing to part with that kind of money then I suggest you just get a cab.
Cabs are not as abundant in Tagbilaran city as other bigger cities but it’s adequate for our needs. There are only two fleets working the 7km space. I guess each fleet only has around 30 cars or less. Even so they are easy to spot near the grocery exits of Island City Mall (ICM), Bohol Quality Mall (BQ) and Plaza Marcella. But when somewhere else you may call for a cab, now that’s convenient. The dispatcher will remind you that you will be charged an additional “pick up charge” for the special service. For a steeper charge they can even take you out of town.
For the expert Philippine commuter one may try to get around by riding connecting jeepney routes. In Bohol multicabs have replaced the jeepney for most part though there are still some jeeps going long distances, but within the city multicabs are it. Those used to riding Manila jeepneys and the like look for little signs in the windshield which announce the routes. In Tagbilaran City the routes are number coded. If you were to ride from downtown Tagbilaran to the east side of CPG for example you would need to ride the Multicab with 05 on the front.
This is all fine and dandy until you hit 8:30 pm. After that most of the multicabs are in their garages and tricycles are less abundant. By 10 pm, tricycles are rare and multicabs are all gone. You can either call for a cab or ride the king of the night roads, motorcycles for hire known to Bol-anons as habal-habal. In other Visayan speaking provinces, habal-habal rides mean heavily modified motorcycles with extensions in several directions giving it the monicker “Skylab” which looks like a wheeled cousin of the antique space station.
In Bohol habal-habal are simply private, underbone motorcycles, used as as public transportation by guys who want to earn an extra buck or so. A good driver can transport three average sized Filipinos in a tight fit. They’re not regulated so it would be natural for them to pay 20 pesos per person or higher for their fare even though they say, “It’s up to you sir.” They’re your best bet if you intend to stay out for a late movie or a little weekend partying. Basically motorcycles are the way to go in Bohol.
Finally, a word of advice for backpackers, assuming you haven’t booked a place to stay and intend to try your luck with the driver’s recommendations and since your luggage is light enough to walk around with and since you’re roughing it out already, you could try walking from the airport or pier just till you get to the first intersection on the main road. That easily shaves off 100-150 pesos (2-3$) from the agreed on price. You can start the bidding at 50 pesos (1$).