Panglao Island is currently the hub for Bohol’s tourism. With a new international aiport earmarked for construction in the near future this place is likely to “take off” even more. The beaches really are beautiful, white sand and happy days. Each beach has its own distinct flavor and accommodation ranges from high end to budget. In some spots its hard to find the real backpacker budget spots to stay, but it is unlikely that this island will disappoint. The great thing about the place is that as you cross the bridge from Tagbilaran you will be taken you from small bustling city, to island life almost instantaneously.
Where to Stay
Oh so many options here! Let’s look at this one beach by beach!
- Alona is the popular one! This small strip of resorts and dive shops is the jumping point for diving around Panglao and the beautiful Balicasag island. Attracting a lot of European tourists Alona is, on a scale of not developed to highly developed, towards the latter end of the spectrum. Resorts cover every inch of the beach, but there’s an amazing night time feel to the place which is quite different to the raucous Boracay. If you’re looking for cheap and cheerful then try the fan rooms at Philippines owned Alona Grove (700Php, just back from the beach). This is probably about as cheap as you can get in the Alona area.
- Beaches just south of Alona (Danao): a lot more low key than Alona however with a similar set up for diving. Go here if you want a less crowded and perhaps cheaper experience.
- Doljo Beach: Here there are a few resorts scattered along the beach, and a couple of large scale resorts currently under construction, but generally this beach has a more local feel about it. Go here if you want to be different. Amazing corals can be found out from the point and within the doljo reef, just grab a mask and snorkel and explore.
- West coast: Along the west coast there are scattered resorts, you’ll just have to drive down the random side roads to find them and your own slice of Filipino paradise.
- East coast: On the way towards Alona beach from Tagbilaran you will pass the likes of Bohol Tropics and Eskaya resorts. The majority of the accommodation along this strip is high end, but the beach is fantastic for day trips.
Things to do
- Swim with bats: Go swimming in Hinagdadan cave whilst the resident bats circle your head!
- Visit the ancient Church: Rent yourself a motorbike and explore the Island. Whilst you’re on two wheels, check out the 300-year old colonial, spanish church in Panglao town.
- Scuba Dive: Strap a tank onto your back and descend beneath the waves. This seems to be a reoccurring pattern in Philippines activities!
- Play games with locals: Meet friendly locals for a basketball game.
- Get exercise on the waves: Get into some watersports at Dumuluan beach, from sea kayaking to windsurfing.
From Tagbilaran airport, or the port, head over the bridge to Panglao Island. You can hire a bike, tricycle, or go into town and ask how to catch a taxi van to Panglao. A lot of the mid-high end resorts do transfers. Depending on where you are going on the island and your mode of transport it will take between 20 minutes to an hour to get to your chosen destination.
Where to next:
- Explore the less “beach resorty” Bohol interior.
- From Alona beach you can actually arrange a pump boat transfer to Siquijor, although depending on how many of you there are the ferry is likely to be the cheaper option.