This is not how I pictured the island of Panglao. It was supposed to be full of fun and adventure – the way my classmates enthusiastically described it back then. But definitely there was no fun in chasing those poor dolphins. There was no adventure in going to that Virgin Island when the island has sunk already. So I was left to wonder on what really makes Panglao Island worth the visit and why people kept coming back to this place despite the crowd and environmental issues it’s facing.
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About Panglao Island
Panglao Island is a separate island located in the southwestern tip of the main island of Bohol. It is directly connected by a bridge to Tagbilaran City. It is known for its beautiful coastlines, white sand beaches, island hopping, and rich marine biodiversity. Some places to visit around the island of Panglao includes:
Places to visit around Panglao
Known as a snorkeling destination, Balicasag Island is a perfect spot for those who want to see rich marine biodiversity because of its crystal clear blue waters. It is mostly frequented by divers because of the superb collection of coral formation and marine animals (like sea turtles, lionfish, scorpionfish) that can be found in the island.
By far, my favorite among the nearby islands of Panglao is Isola de Francisco (or Isola di Francisco). It is a small islet located around 10 minutes away from Panglao island proper. Compared to other tourist destinations, Isola de Francisco is usually visited by devotees and those who seek peace and meditation. Upon arrival, guests are greeted by the statue of St. Pio of Pietrelcina. It houses a natural museum, prayer garden, statues depicting a scene from the Gospel of St. Matthew, birdfeeding station, and long white sand bar.
Note: It is not usually included on island hopping tours, but you may manage to negotiate with your boatmen to visit this island or you may grab the opportunity to visit it for free through the free public boat in Panglao Port. Passengers are accepted from 9am to 2pm. Simply make a donation to the boatmen if you can give a little extra.
Hinagdanan Cave is one of the many astounding cave formations in the island of Bohol. According to locals, it was discovered by accident by a local famer who found two holes going down to the opening of the cave. He then made a “hagdanan” (local term for ladder) which then became the origin of the name of the cave. It is made up of limestones that boasts with stalactite and stalagmite formations and a 10 meters deep fresh water lagoon.
Bohol Bee Farm
This unique Farm is a privately owned resort that promotes organic farming and sustainable livelihood among locals. It offers a Bee Tour for those who want to learn about bees and their honey production. Guests may also avail the products sold in the resort such of their locally-produced unique ice cream (comes in offbeat flavors like malunggay, ginger, tomato) that sits on top of dried cassava cones or tour around the vicinity of the resort.
Tip: It’s quite tiring to go down their scubadiving area but the view in the lowest area near the sea is totally therapeutic
Built in 1851, the hexagonal Panglao Watchtower is located near San Agustin Parish Church. It is said to be the tallest of its kind because you rarely see a hexagonal structure in the country and served as a vantage point for lookout during the Spanish colonization.
Panglao Beach Resort
Because of the great number of visitors coming into Panglao, resorts have mushroomed all through the shores of the island. Some of the renowned beaches Panglao Island includes Alona Beach Resort, Bagobo Beach, Danao Beach, and many other public beaches.
This is not how I pictured the island of Panglao. It was supposed to be full of fun and adventure – the way my classmates enthusiastically described it back then. But I guess at some point, the way we define fun and adventure depends on the phase that we are in with our lives. After such tiring day of going around the Panglao Island, I found a rather different kind of fun and adventure while lazing around with friends, discovering sea creatures exposed on low tide, and marveling the picturesque sunset while discussing about the unessentials of life. I used to question the philosophy of the great Christopher McCandless back when I was solo backpacking, but I guess I now understand his wisdom when he said: Happiness (fun and adventure) is only real when shared.
How to get to Panglao, Bohol?
- Flights to Bohol are available daily from Manila. You may also book a flight to Cebu and then ride a boat going to Bohol. Upon arrival in Tagbilaran, Bohol, you may ride a taxi or tricycle going to Panglao Island.
- Friendly tip: In case you’re traveling with a group of friends or family members and want to avoid hassle, it’s best to book an exclusive tour or car service with local tour operators like Yuki Wanders Van Rental or Cebu B&L Tours. Rate per head can get as low as possible depending on the number of individuals. Contact them on Facebook for details. They also offer Bohol Countryside Tours, Cebu City Day Tour, South and North Cebu Tours, and Cebu Mountain Tours.
Always be a Dakila. Be a responsible hiker. Be a responsible traveler. Let’s follow the LEAVE NO TRACE Principles and keep the integrity of creation. Let’s stop the hate; rather, let’s educate. See you on trails!
Read other places that you can visit around Bohol here: