Have you heard of the virgin island in Bohol? Which one have you been to because there are actually two! Well, I will be talking about Isola di Francisco on this blog. The island’s municipal name is Pontod island. They just called it Virgin island to attract more tourists. It is owned by Ramon Rodriguez who also owns the Pio Del Pilar church at Eastwood, Libis. He was blind for 13 yrs and a devotee of St. Pio and when he got his sight back he promised that he will open this island to the tourists for free.
This is not part of the tour. I was only informed by one of the locals that I can go to the island at a cheaper rate after telling him my plan of going back because I wasn’t able to see the sand bar the first time I went. He told me to go to the port the next day before 9am. There is a boat that services the locals to and from the virgin island.
I was expecting that the virgin island I will be seeing that time was the island I went to 2 days before when I was on a tour (island hopping tour) but guess what? It was a different island!! It was the island I saw near the so-called “virgin island” I’ve been to the other day when I was on tour with the other tourists. The first “Virgin island” I was talking about looks like a sunken island or a naked island with a shack in the middle where they sell fresh bukos, banana cues, fried abalones, and sea urchins. There were also locals going from one boat to the other selling pearls etc. The water was knee to waist deep high. it was a fun experience too and a different one.
Now the real Virgin Island is different!! This one is guarded. It has security guards and lifeguards. It has trees, a chapel, life-sized statues, a store, and a clean comfort room. There are lots of doves too!! The sandbar can be seen and experienced on this island too. I stayed here from 930am till 3 in the afternoon just to experience the sand bar during low tide. Sandbar showed up at around 230pm. You need to check the tide calendar first before going here if you want to see the long stretch of sand or you can just ask some of the locals.
Everything in this place is for donation. I was able to go here and gave 70pesos to the boatman. I saw some just gave P20 or P50. You can also grab some snacks at their store like banana cue etc. some chips and soft drinks just by donating any amount. One of the guards told me that I can just give 1 peso. Lol. They also have shirts and Padre Pio’s figurine available at any amount you can give. You can also do kayaking for free or donation.
The island can be reached within 15minutes if you will come straight from the port.
Some might be disappointed because of what they did to the place. It doesn’t look like a virgin island at all but it has a great story behind it and the owner is generous enough to let people in, eat and kayak for free. It was once a private island but was opened to the public for free.
Total Expense of the trip = P140
Boat – P120
Bananacue and Softdrink – P20
**one of the locals told me that they saw a 3ft wide 4-toed footprint after the place was hit by Yolanda and there are ghosts too.