Find the best car hire deals with www.liligo.co.uk : simple, fast and independent

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Panglao Island in Bohol, Philippines

In November 2009 my friend and I had a chance to spend a week in Panglao Island in Bohol, Philippines.  We were looking for a nice place to relax, not too many tourists to bump into. Arriving in Panglao Island made it real. The island is rarely struck by typhoons even if the country regularly gets one especially in July to November.There, I was captured by the crystal clear water of the beach and its white sand. Obviously this beach is not as developed compared to other white sand beaches that exist in the country and I think this one reason why it remains beautiful and calm. It is also a nice place for diving and snorkeling. Many resorts offer this adventure. 
We stayed in a
very nice hotel right in front of the beach: Lost Horizon Resort.  The people working here are polite and our rooms were cleaned and towels were changed every day. The hotel has a diving school which is really great for beginners. For our case, we didn't dive but snorkeled in one of the islands nearby. There are many restaurants situated right along the white sand beach. Of course it is a bit more expensive compared to eating out in the town area but it is worth it, eating out while having the sound of the sea waves and enjoying the crystal clear water. On our third day, we decided to take a day trip in the province and moved away from the beach.  
In Panglao there are plenty of people who will approach you proposing a day trip visiting 6 sights:
-          - dolphin watching (has to be early morning)
-          - climb the (100 or more) steps to see the Chocolate Hills
-          - visit a man-made forest
-          - visit the statue of the Blood compact depicting the history of the province
-           - See a Tarsier which is the smallest monkey that exist in the country and I think in the world.
-          - A visit to the virgin island and Balicasag island for diving and snorkeling
Yes, it was a day-trip costing 1,800 pesos and that includes the car, gas and a very nice driver that also served as our tour guide. The dolphin watching and the visit to at least 3 islands nearby was done another day and it costs us 1000 pesos.
Our visit to the virgin island is the best for us. There is a certain time when to go as it is a very small island surrounded by sea and one can stroll around the island walking on a knee-deep water. Many local tourists go there, posing with their nice bikini tops and take photos. There were also plenty of people living in nearby islands selling shells with pearls in it, a rare collection to hold!
Getting to Panglao Island is easy by plane. We took a flight from Manila to Tagbilaran via Philippine Airlines and had 45 minute taxi ride from Tagbilaran airport that took us straight to our hotel for 600 pesos. Apparently there are also cheaper flights via Cebu Pacific. And if one is coming from Cebu, one can take a 2 hour boat to Panglao island.
One week stay may be too long for someone looking for more island hopping adventure in the Philippines. Yes, it is a country with more than 7,000 islands! I suggest a stay of not 3-4 days to really relax, enjoy the beauty of the island and the nearby islands.
In the photo page of this blog, you can find some pics of our visit to Panglao Island, Bohol.