After having our delightful breakfast at Metro Center Hotel in Tagbilaran, we were off to Panglao Island. When you put the words Bohol and beach together, Panglao would most likely be the place that would come on top on people’s minds.
From Tagbilaran, you may be able to reach Panglao via jeepney or bus bound for Tawala but I highly recommend the latter as the former can get very crowded. Since public transportation in the province is very difficult, it is normal that jeepneys have extra benches in the middle space, usually up to three, where extra passengers can sit back to back. Buses get crowded too but is much more spacious.
Alona Beach is our destination in the island of Panglao. This is one of the more popular beaches on the island because of its powdery white sands to rival those of Boracay, but with much less crowd. Upon our arrival, we immediately checked in into our hotel and explored the beach. It was still cloudy and sometimes raining, but it didn’t matter.
Then hunger set in. There are quite a lot of food choices around Alona Beach, but we were more “ambitious.” Based on Google Maps, we realized that one of my favorite spots in Bohol, Bohol Bee Farm, is around six kilometers away from our location. Unfortunately, we don’t have much choices when it comes to commute from our area: tricycles are asking ₱300, and I just refused to ride “habal-habal” because there are no helmets for passengers in any case there’d be an accident. And so we just walked towards the main road hoping to catch a bus or jeep there.
Upon getting to the main road after that arduous and muddy roads, we didn’t see any jeepneys or buses so we just hailed a tricycle and just told the driver to drive along the road. We really intended not to mention where we were headed because we’d be charged “tourist rates” which was quite too much for the distance. We just alighted on the main road to avoid some rates and walked the rest of the way into Bohol Bee Farm. Now this is the true definition of “walk in!”
All that walking is worth it because of the delicious and healthy meal that we had. I really haven’t tried anything here that I didn’t like. The salad made of flowers may seem “exotic” to some, but trust me, it’s good!
We were also able to go down the seafront area to enjoy the sceneries and take some pictures as well.
Going back to Alona Beach presented another challenge as well. The road is just muddy. As in Cavinti Marathon muddy. But fortunately, we didn’t have to walk all the way back to Alona Beach as buses do pass by occasionally. We just had to catch two buses though as the first one doesn’t reach Alona Beach and had to walk as we wait for the second one to arrive. It was a mini adventure just to have lunch!
As expected, we were frolicking in the beach as soon as we returned to our hotel. The cloudy weather didn’t improve, but it was still pleasant nonetheless.
For dinner, we decided to savor what the restaurants nearby had to offer. And if you really look there’s one bound to catch your attention, and for us, it was this place called Alona Hidden Dream. They offer a lot of items, but I settled for this:
It was one last visit to the beach for us before we headed back to the hotel. Alona Beach gets pretty quiet pretty early so it may not be for those who likes to party all night. It would be good though for star gazing as the beach isn’t so bright, but the weather wasn’t in our favor. Oh well, we still have less than half a day to spend in this beautiful island!
The following day was just difficult. Leaving a beautiful place like Alona Beach is never easy, but since it’s inevitable, might as well explore the beaches one last time.
Finally, it was time to check out and head back to the port of Tagbilaran to go to our next destination, Cebu. I didn’t notice it when we arrived, but the old building where people wait for their ferries is no longer in use. Instead, there are tents setup where people wait. There’s still Wi-Fi in the area though, and the entertainers.
Using public transportation and walking around Bohol made me realize how bad last year’s earthquake was. Even before the earthquake, the province was already beleaguered by the lack of paved roads and poor public transportation infrastructure, and now the situation is worse! The asphalt roads are now dirt roads. The concrete roads are cracked all over and in some places became uneven. And getting around is much more difficult as some roads remain impassable.
But despite getting around being very difficult, visiting Bohol is worth that effort. Although losing many of the old churches was just tragic, not all is lost as Bohol has so much to offer. I’m glad I was able to visit the province now and I hope you too get to visit as each visitor helps the province and its people to recovery.
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Bohol + Cebu (2014)