Isola de Francesco, formerly known as “Pungtod Island” is a hidden oasis off the coast of Panglao, Bohol. Since there are a growing number of Padre Pio devotees in Bohol, the island was then named after this miraculous saint. Francesco Forgione, popularly known as Padre Pio of Pietrelcina is an Italian Capuchin monk who is the first stigmatized priest in the history of the Church.
Going here is FREE! Just take the yellow shuttle boat from Baybay, Panglao near the San Agustin Parish Church. Yellow shuttle service starts at 8 am and ends at 3:30 pm every day. Food and amenities like Kayaking to water-based religious statues, museum, canteen, and swimming are all free of charge, although, donations are highly appreciated in the entire island. A small chapel was also built on the island for the devotees, where you can write your petitions and prayers. A dress code is also correctly observed when you want to enter the chapel. Personnel lend the female devotees a wrap around skirt in case one has failed to use the proper dress code.
Aside from the religious significance of the island, the locals regard this place as a hidden paradise. A long white sandbar can be explored during low tide, and clean, serene water during the high tide is highly anticipated by the tourists. Local and international tourists love the smooth white sand beaches surrounding the island, which is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and picture taking.
If you’re not into swimming, then you can just grab some local Filipino snacks like puto, kuchinta, and biko. Drinks are also available free of charge. While eating your snacks, you can unwind under some shady trees with a flock of pigeons around the island. For some reason, Isola de Francesco is flooded with an insane number of pigeons which also attract the curiosity of the tourists.
Isola de Francesco is a great place to escape the hassle and bustle of the city while pondering on your spirituality. It is a decent place to relax and unwind. The best part is, it is free!