Serenity*Sun*Sand and Sea

IF YOU want sun, sand, sea and fish by the thousand come to the paradise island in the peaceful centre of the South China Sea…Panglao Island, just off Bohol, right in the middle of the Philippines.

Alona Beach has 28 resorts on less than one kilometre of coral white sand, plus 15 top-class dive shops – that alone should indicate what thousands of other people have discovered…including a team of 21 marine scientists who say we are one of the ‘hot spots’ for marine life in the South Pacific, with everything from macro-life to whale sharks… and the scientists have yet to classify some of the underwater life that they found!

We don’t like to boast (but we will!) that the explorers found more than 6,000 gastropods and decapods around Panglao and over 600 different fish…so why not come and explore our reefs for yourself? 

Where the beer costs less than the water... 

IT’S A FACT. You won’t find much cheaper good-tasting beer anywhere in the world than in the Philippines…or a bottle of rum, gin, whisky or vodka…and the brew made from our local coconut trees costs less by the gallon. Even the food is cheaper than you can find in many restaurants back home.

            Okay, okay – that’s not a reason to come here, but what about our coldest day…it’s about 26 degrees C in December and January and it goes up for the rest of the year to something like 36 degrees C by Easter: what’s your home temperature right now? Freezing? And the sea temperature here is always like tepid bathwater, except when you go a bit deeper. And we only have two seasons: the wet and the dry…it’s mostly dry from the end of February to the middle of September when the typhoon season to the north of us brings us some clouds.

            So – is language your problem? Don’t worry: most of us here all speak English, and we also have some Visayan, Tagalog, German, Swiss, French, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Korean and Japanese-speaking people as well. Actually, Spanish words form part of the Visayan language, so most South American tongues are not a problem either. One or two residents here even claim to be able to speak Kiwi, Australian and American, although our Swahili speaker has just left for another island!

            Can’t swim or dive? Not a problem – we can teach you that in no time at all: in fact, we’ll have you diving even if you can’t swim like a dolphin…give us a couple of days and you’ll believe you’re a mermaid!

            Did we mention how friendly our local folk are? No – well this is the friendliest island of the lot, with parties almost every night of the week: in fact, every local village here has a party day for its’ local saint, and there are 1,109 little villages and towns when we include the main island of Bohol: you’ll be spoilt for choice.

            So – what are you hanging about for? Click on the buttons to explore our world in miniature and then catch the next plane and head for the airport at Manila or Cebu and then mosey on down to Tagbilaran City on Bohol: Alona Beach is just a few kilometres away and is open all year round and just waiting to greet you and give you the holiday of a lifetime…you might even decide to live here, like us. 

Getting here…

NOTHING worthwhile is simple…so you’ve got a little bit of work to do to get to Alona Beach. The hardest part for you is getting to the airport at Manila or Cebu and then across to Bohol: in some cases, dive shops and resorts can even help there – some will meet you at the airport to guide you the rest of the way if you lack the navigation skills!

            Long-haul flights with changes tend to get in late, so you may have to arrange to stay in Manila or Cebu for one night. From Manila, one-and-a-half hour domestic morning flights can take you direct to Tagbilaran on Bohol (or the long-way-round via Cebu) and you can either make arrangements with your resort to pick you up from the flight or take a vehicle yourself at Tagbilaran airport (usually cheaper) for the 20 km trip to the beach.

From your hotel in Cebu, take a taxi to either Pier 1 (Ocean Jet) or Pier 4 (Weesam Express) for a fast ferry (again, one-and-a-half hours) to Tagbilaran port terminal, where you can be picked up by pre-booked resort drivers or take your pick from the many drivers who will be waiting for casual customers (taxi, car, van, multi-cab or even a tricycle if you’re not in a hurry and want to enjoy some local flavour!). Again, do-it-yourself is usually cheaper.

The trip by car from Tagbilaran takes about half-an-hour: add another 15 minutes for tricycles, the cheapest way to travel for those with the minimum of luggage. Be warned: by taking pre-arranged vehicles from the resort, you do avoid the hassle and the bargaining at the port or airport from local drivers…and by carrying your own luggage, you avoid the hassle from the porters…and try and bring some small denomination notes or change with you – no one ever has any change, even if they have been working all day!

There are two flights a day from Manila to Tagbilaran, while there are six fast ferries a day between Cebu and Tagbilaran…and obviously we have the same number of outbound vessels! 

THE Alona Beach Community Foundation, Inc is a non-profit making charitable organisation set up by local residents who are aiming to make life better for everyone - visitors and residents alike.

            Working with subscriptions from local people and businesses which are concerned for the well-being of everyone, this international body is concerned with local environmental issues and effective and sustainable growth for the area and its’ people.

            It has been successful in formulating many schemes, like the Alona Beach Tourist Police force, and is involved in the work of the National and Provincial Government and down to the Municipal level in making tourism an eco-friendly part of daily life on the island.

            Promotion and marketing the beach is part of the aim for improvement and Alona Beach has three times helped Bohol to become the Number One Tourist Destination in the Philippines, taking the crown away from Boracay and Palawan, while the nearby town of Panglao has become the ‘dance capital’ of Bohol itself.

            The government envisions Panglao Island as becoming a special Tourism Estate and has plans to develop some areas as retirement and tourism entertainment villages with access to international and domestic travel in the future. Come now and see it before that happens!