Day 5: Bohol
In early history, Panglao was known to Chinese, Malay, Siamese and Indonesian traders. In 1803, Spanish explorers came to the shores of Panglao in search of fresh water. At the time a couple of natives on the seashore were making fishing devices called “panggaw“. One of the Spaniards asked what the name of the island was. The natives–who thought the visitors were asking what they were making–then replied “panggaw“. Hence, from that term, was derived the name Panglao.
The main attraction in Panglao is the white sandy beaches along the coast. Here you will find many hotels and beach resorts such as Alona Beach, Bohol Beach Club, Danao Beach, Dumaluan Beach, and others. The beaches of Panglao are also used as a jump-off point for boat tours for dolphin watching, island hopping to Balicasag and Pungtud/Pontod Islands (more popularly known to tourist as Virgin Island), and are also popular with divers.
Alona beach is about 250 meters (ca 10 minutes on foot) from where we stayed. The resort actually lies just about on the second row away from the beach, but the new “Hennan Resort” already closed the pathway to the beach, so the guest from flower garden resort and others have to go around to the main street and walk past the village centre onto the beach.
A bit annoying is the never-ending call “Do you want a ride?“ from the tricycle drivers or the people who haggle you with their “Do you want a tour?“ dialogue. Before we reached the beach, we have made a stop at a restaurant, right between the ATM and the Tourist Information where we booked a “Bohol tour“. Everyone was friendly and very helpful. The bank (BPI) is almost always online, so one can always use the ATM. In this shopping street, there are actually pretty much everything you need – in addition to numerous restaurants at the beach, there were bakeries and grocery stores and stores where you can buy postcards, t–shirts, bathing needs etc. On the way to the beach just at the end of the road is also the booking office for the ferries going to Dumaguete, Dapitan, Siquijor and Cebu.
During high tide, the beach area is limited since the cafes are already on the beach. You cannot walk without bumping into the chairs and tables. During low tide, swimming could be a little tricky since you have to walk far on the tidal flats until you can reach the shallow waters with sea grasses. On the beach, there’s a lot of vendors selling all kinds of items, and masseurs walking around to find customers.