In order to appreciate the beauty of Panglao, one must muster a curious and adventurous heart, as its glory extends not only above water, but also under. I am personally excited to explore the island. By 6 in the morning, we were on our feet, watching the sun rise at Alona Beach, ready for our first activity—dolphin watching.
I didn’t have the time to watch the dolphins at Majuyod during my visit to Negros Oriental. I know, sad, but on the bright side, another reason to come back! LOL So getting a second chance to watch dolphins migrate from one place to another had the kid in me all hyped up.
The time we spent on our way to the area where dolphins are usually seen was painfully long or so it seemed. I was worried that we might not be able to see the dolphins swim for reasons like they might not want to surface themselves, or we might be late. Finally, the boat driver pointed out something in the water, something gracefully swimming. The dolphins!
These smart creatures were wonderful to watch. It was spectacular to watch them surface, dive down, then resurface again. Our boat kept a good distance as to not harm or scare the dolphins from the motorboat. Overall, I enjoyed witnessing them on their natural habitat.
BEAUTY UNDERNEATH IN BALICASAG
After watching the dolphins, we went to Balicasag Island. Most people snorkel on the marine sanctuary and swim with the fishes; few others continue their snorkelling to the turtle sanctuary, which I suggest my readers visit, too. The turtles in the sanctuary were humongous, you’d think the turtles in Apo Island are babies! You’d definitely wonder how old they are. Probably older than you and me, and that’s pretty incredible.
I was so fascinated with Panglao’s beauty that I finally asked our boatman if he knew someone who could assist us for a fun dive. I’ve always wanted to do scuba diving, and I heard that Panglao is one of the best diving sites in the Philippines, so I took the opportunity to try it for the first time, and I’m so glad that I tried it! More about my first scuba diving experience here.
SANDBAR IN VIRGIN ISLAND
Finally for our next stop, we went to Virgin Island. It’s a long stretch of white sandbar in the middle of the sea. There was a welcome sign posted on front for visitors, and there were vendors around. In my opinion, it was disheartening to see how commercialized it has become. We only spent a short time around because the sun was scorching hot as we arrived past 12:00 in the afternoon.
Our tour to the different islands around Panglao is definitely one of the highlights of our trip. Make sure to include this on your itinerary when you get the chance to visit Bohol.
- Fly from Manila to Tagbilaran. Travel time: approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- From Tagbilaran, you can hire a tricycle (good for 4 pax) to get you to Panglao. Travel time: approximately 30 minutes
- There are plenty of resorts in Panglao. During peak months (December-May), make sure to book in advance to your desired resort.
- Make sure to wake-up early. Dolphin watching starts early in the morning at around 5 or 6 AM.
- Snorkeling gears are available in the island. You can rent one, but it’s better if you have your own.