Despite the months of July and August being the rainy months in the Philippines, the kids and I traveled to see my family again. This year, my parents celebrate forty years of being married to each other so I thought it was a great reason to convince them to get out of the house. These two people do not travel much, especially on the rainy season but I assured them, the first two weeks of July is still ok, weather wise.
We got on a boat and crossed to Bohol island and stayed at the wonderful resort called The Bellevue Bohol Resort in Panglao island. Once we were there, with the help of Bohol Tourism, we spent half day to see some guide-recommended places in the small island.
Panglao island is a very small island and though there aren’t much to see really, there were still a few we squeezed in our itinerary.
1. Bohol Bee Farm
The Bohol Bee Farm is an eco-friendly village that promote healthy lifestyle with its organic food which they grow in their premises and products they manufacture within the property. Given the name, we were with the impression that honey is actually produced here, however, we were wrong. The guide told us they buy honey from Mindanao and manufacture it to by-products here. Here, the guide is holding cultured bees (I cannot recall the reason why they kept these there when it’s not producing honey). He explained the bees’ behavior and everyone loved the piece of education.
There were lots of different native crafts done at the bee farm and these products are sold at their souvenir shops.
We had our breakfast here and while the service was ultra slow and breakfast menu was not that impressive, the view from our breakfast table was!
Only after visiting this place that I learned their ice creams were to die for! How does salted honey ice cream sound like?
Entrance fee: PHP30/person
Tips when visiting Bohol Bee Farm:
- Try the ice cream.
- Maybe try the food for lunch (we were only there for breakfast)
2. Stroll along Alona Beach
Alona Beach is a small stretch of tropical paradise on Panglao Island, Bohol in the Philippines. There were so many tourists but mainly Koreans and Chinese. It is quickly becoming one of the top travel destinations in the Philippines because of it’s wonderful white sand beach, (reportedly) world class diving and beautiful blue waters.
We loved our stroll at Alona Beach though I feel that the restaurants and hotels were placed really close to the shore. If they pushed them back a few meters away, that would have been better. Place is overly crowded with restaurants and people and peddlers.
There are so many inns and resorts, hotels big and small along Alona Beach. They say the night life is vibrant. To me, the place was too crowded and I am so grateful the resort where we stayed in Panglao island was located at the other side of the island, away from this. The water looked absolutely wonderful to swim in: very clean and clear but it’s quite crowded with boats from the diving centers.
Tips when visiting Alona Beach:
- Find some place to eat farther away from the shore since the restaurants near/along the beach tend to charge more for the same type of food you can get from other restaurants.
- If you want to swim, swim at a later time when the boats for island hopping have departed. (They depart early mornings)
3. Hinagdanan Cave
Hinagdanan cave is probably the most interesting place in Panglao Island for us. Stalactites and stalagmites surround a purest underground lake inside the cave. It was our first time going inside a cave and I did not know what to expect (I prayed there would be no bats!!). The kids didn’t say anything, just went with the flow…brave kids. They truly go wherever I go, no questions asked!
The first entrance to the main area is a man-made stone gate where visitors need to pay a PHP50 (US$1.2) entrance fee (as of this writing) to get inside. The Hinagdanan Cave’s entrance is merely one meter wide in diameter, and the descent to the cave is steep.
I expected it to be cool down there but it wasn’t! It was hot and humid, the water looked so inviting! The holes above the cave provided natural light to the cave below. The scene look out of this world, yes?
History says that during the 16th century, early settlers of Panglao had begun removing thick vegetation around the island to make way for their homes. In Bingag, one of the locals was clearing his land of old trunks of trees and decaying branches when he discovered two holes on the ground situated right next to each other. He was curious about the holes in his land so he dropped a few rocks on it and heard a water splash. The locals eventually explored the unknown area below the ground using a ladder, discovering a cavern with a deep catch basin at the center.
Here’s a high resolution photo of the underground lake inside the cave.
This is a beautiful cave, and the guides are hilarious. He also offered to take our photos and I am thankful he was so adept enough and did not drop my SLR camera!
Tips when visiting Hinagdanan Cave:
- Wear durable and non-slip footwear. The path is slippery and there are many people who got out with worn out flip flops.
- Bring extra clothes in case you get wet! You can also use the extra shirt when you’re soaked in sweat. It was hot and humid when we were there and we got out wishing we had an extra dry shirt!
- Bring a bottle of water to hydrate yourself, especially if you plan to stay there for a bit longer.
- Protecting your equipment, cameras and cellphones with a trusty all weather, waterproof casing would be a wise move, just in case!
- Bring cash for entrance fee.
Souvenir shops line outside the cave which sells everything from colorful hats, shirts and dresses. The price is fair and not overly inflated.
There’s something big happening in little, humble Panglao island: construction of an international airport! The above photo is the clearing of the huge space to construct Bohol’s first international airport. It is intended to support its tourism industry, especially on Panglao Island which is being promoted as an alternative destination for Boracay Island.
We concluded our short tour of Panglao island by having lunch at a restaurant just outside Alona beach and went back to our resort to enjoy the rest of our stay. There are other places to see in Panglao island. You can even rent a motorbike and drive around yourself.
There are old churches and traditional houses, farms and small markets. It’s a rural area and if you live in a big city like me, I am sure you will appreciate this small town’s charm and of course, the fresh, clean air.