Thursday, December 31, 2015

Island Hopping in Panglao, Bohol: Alona Beach, Dolphin Watching, Balicasag Island and Virgin Island

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If you think that the province of Bohol is just about old churches, hills, tarsiers and all on land travels, well, better think again. As this province is also blessed by stunning beaches, rich marine life and incredible islands and islets. In fact, Panglao is an island in the southwest region of Bohol which is famous for island hopping activity. The island hopping covers a visit to Alona Beach, Balicasag Island and the Virgin Island. Along side, some of the activities you can do during island hopping are: dolphin-watching, fish feeding, snorkeling and of course swimming.

How to get there?
Going to Panglao - if you are coming from Tagbilaran airport you may ride a taxi to take you to Panglao. Taxi ride may costs you 500-600 Pesos. Or if you are in a tight budget, you may rent a tricycle which you can haggle for about 300 Pesos. Inform the driver to drop you at Alona beach as that will be your jump off point for this island hopping activity. Alona beach is a well known spot in Panglao so most of the drivers know where it is located. Island Hopping Tour - Once you've reach Alona beach, there are bunch of agents/boatmen which will approach you that offers island tour. Price ranges from 1800 - 2600 pesos depending on the season (off peak season is of course much cheaper than peak season). This is the time where you should use your haggling technique. 

You may contact Kuya Bernie for Panglao service and island hopping tour at 0999-929-8445. Tagbilaran to Panglao charge is 500 Pesos. Island Hopping Tour charge is 2,500 pesos. Both are at group expense and NOT per head.

With our bangkero

Alona Beach

The busy shore of Alona Beach

Just like what I've stated before, Alona Beach will be the starting point of your island hopping adventure. It is usually the area where you will be picked up by your boat. But aside from that, Alona beach is also a nice beach to for you to relax. Alona beach has this long shore which is characterized by creamy white sand. The water here is pretty clear which is perfect for swimming! There are also a lot of hotels along the shore as well as restaurants just in case you decided to stay a couple of days in Panglao.

Alona Beach during night time

Dolphin Watching

Trip start very early in the morning

Island hopping adventure in Panglao usually starts at 6 am or earlier and it is due to the dolphin watching activity included on most of the package. As per our boatmen, dolphins are only visible early in the morning. In fact, if you happen to see a dolphin around 8 am then you're one lucky person. So I strongly encourage you to wake up early and be there on time for you not to missed this activity.

However, although we we're on the right spot and time where dolphins are usually seen, we still had a hard time to see them. Our boat was sailing round and round hoping to see even a single dolphin. After sailing for almost 30minutes, thank God that He heard our prayers and wish that day! We're blessed because we did not only saw a single dolphin but we found a group of dolphins swimming along. Once we had them in sight, we started chasing them on different directions which is kind of crazy yet super fun and cool! They're even flipping in mid-air while we were tracking them which WOWs us! These creatures really swims fast. There are times that they're meters away from us and there are times where they're just right in front of our boat and seems like touring us in their habitat! Dolphins here are free which makes it fun to watch.

Finally! A group of dolphins show up!
Got lucky to have a shot like this

Balicasag Island

Right after our encounter with the dolphins we then head to our next destination, at Balicasag Island. From the dolphin watching area, we traveled for no more than 30 mins to reach Balicasag Island. The island is known for marine sanctuaries and with that, this site makes it a perfect place for snorkeling and fish feeding activities.

Hep! Hep! But before you can dive into the sanctuary, you have to settle first some fees:
  • Small boat - 250 pesos/head (mandatory)
  • Snorkels and goggles - 150 pesos/head (optional)
  • Water shoes - 150 pesos/head (optional)
  • Fins - 250 pesos/head (optional)
  • Underwater camera - 1,000 (optional)

The small boat includes a boatman/guide which will take you to the sanctuary. I find the snorkeling gears too pricey so if you own these gears, I strongly recommend that you bring them with you so you don't have to rent from them.

Moving forward, as we alight and jump on the sanctuary, I was amazed on the different fishes I saw in the area! It exceed on what I expected to see because there are LOTS of fishes nesting in Balicasag Island. And if you're lucky enough, you might able to see turtles as well. Too bad we don't have underwater camera to document what we saw. (Soon: The pictures I am sharing for this section are from my officemate who also happened to visit Balicasag Island)

Virgin Island

Just enjoying the sun...

As for our final stop on this island hopping adventure, we visited Virgin Island. If Balicasag boasts its rich marine life, Virgin Island of Panglao is popular for its simplicity. Simple in a sense that the main attraction of this island is its long and narrow sandbar. Just prepare to be burn because there isn't much shade in this island. Who cares anyway? Just enjoy your island escapade!

The long sandbar of this island
Hahaha... Trying out some dancing pose here

To sum up my experience, it has been a great trip to see the other side of Bohol. Island hopping in Panglao is a really must try activity when visiting the province of Bohol. It was worth the penny and time. Just don't forget to bring your snorkeling gears in case you have them. It will surely save you and your pocket! Haha

Breakdown of Expenses:
Island hopping tour - 2,500 Pesos/good for 6 pax
Small boat at Balicasag Island - 250 pesos/head (mandatory)
Snorkels and goggles - 150 pesos/head (optional)
Water shoes - 150 pesos/head (optional)
Fins - 250 pesos/head (optional)
Underwater camera - 1,000 (optional)
Food - **.**


  1. I have to go back to bohol soon :) Great read

    1. Book now, different local airlines are o sale! :)

  2. I hope to go back to Panglao Island too. There may have been changes since my last visit in 2011 but the allure is still definitely there. I enjoy reading.

  3. Awesome work.Just wanted to drop a comment and say I am new to your blog and really like what I am reading.Thanks for the share


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