Panglao Island Hopping

The first time I went to Bohol, we failed to go on island hopping as we were short of time. So when I returned together with the husband, I made sure to include this to our itinerary as the underwater life in Balicasag Island is divine, they say. Additionally, the husband is also a beach monster (he is practically happy when he’s in the beach, swimming and exploring marine life) so this activity is a MUST.

Unlike our hotels which I booked months prior to our trip, we arranged this activity right there in Bohol, the night before our planned visit. I think it is okay to not book this in advance as there are many operators offering this tour when you are in the vicinity. We met ours when we were having dinner by the sea during our first night. A guy approached us carrying their leaflet but the husband told him that we will entertain him after our meal so probably he never took his eyes away from us because when we were done eating and my husband moved away from our table to take pictures of the fire dancers, he approached me again and offer his goods. :D

I was sold by his sales talking so we closed the deal and agreed where to meet up the next day. I also gave him down payment (to buy gasoline, he said) at the same time praying that he is not a scam. He promised to fetch us at 5:45 am from our hotel as meet up time with the boatman (his cousin) is at 6am. True enough, he was at the front desk before 5:45. We walked to Alona beach (passing inside Alona Tropical) and waited for the boatman. After we settled our fees and everything, we leave the beach at exactly 6am.

By 6:30 in the morning, we were already in the middle of nowhere waiting for the dolphins to appear. Waiting time didn’t take long as a few minutes after, our boatman Eloy pointed to us a small group of dolphins. They are fun to watch and I felt like a child back there. One even got separated from its group and almost hit the front portion of our motor boat. That was the closest encounter I had with those sea creatures. While they are free to explore the vast Bohol sea and seeing them made me really happy, I can’t help but feel sorry for them at the same time as there were around 15 boats racing to get the best view. It looks like we are chasing them without the intention of actually touching them.

After around 30 minutes of our crazy dolphin chase, we decided to proceed to Balicasag Island while others (especially the late comers) go on with the chase. From the dolphin-watching area, it took us around 30 minutes to reach the island where we ordered (in advance) our lunch and rented our shoes (they are actually just plastic shoes, not the ones intended for underwater activities). From that island, it took us another 30 minutes to reach the diving/snorkeling area.

The island where we ate our lunch.
When we arrived, there were many people already and given that our pump boat is big, we went a bit far from the spot to anchor. I thought we will be transferred to a smaller boat to go back to the spot but to my horror, we were expected to swim. A non-swimmer me almost backed out but I wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity (for the second time) to see the famed underwater life so I decided to go for it. At first, the journey is alright, I was enjoying the activity.

I was amazed by the colorful fishes of varying sizes. The corals look divine! If only we have an underwater camera, I would be so thrilled to share to all of you the beauty that is Balicasag Island. As time goes on, I was getting exhausted so I asked our boatman to take me back to the pump boat. To my disappointment, it is so far from our location. It was like 300 meters away! But I have no choice, I have to go back. My husband stayed behind as he was still enjoying so our poor boatman had no choice but to assist me all throughout. He cannot even swim properly as I won’t let him go. I just kicked and waded with my one hand but I wasn't sure if it was  helping us reach our destination fast. Yes, I am that wimp! It was the most unforgettable part of the trip. There was a time when I almost pass out due to exhaustion but thankfully, I didn't. Fast forward to 100 years, we reached our boat and I never felt so relieved in my whole life. LOL! We stayed there for an hour or so, with me waiting in the boat while my husband swam to his heart’s content.

We then decided to go back to the restaurant and eat lunch we ordered earlier. We ate our lunch and spent another couple of hours there before travelling to Pungtod Island. We reached Pungtod Island after about 30 minutes.

One of the many statues in Pungtod Island
Pungtod Island is an island owned by Padre Pio devotee so it is understandable that there is a giant statue of the saint there. Actually, the island looks more like a sanctuary dedicated to the saint than a summer getaway destination. There are huge statues of various saints and small angels everywhere. The place is so peaceful it’s perfect refuge to those who are going through a difficult situation or just want some quiet time alone. We stayed for an hour or so and headed back to Alona beach after.
Cherubs are everywhere in Pungtod Island
Travel time from Pungtod Island to Alona Beach is 30 minutes but it took us longer because of low tide and our boatman had to slow down and look for less shallow path.

Check out my other posts about this trip:

Bohol Itinerary and Travel Expenses
Commuting from Cebu to Panglao via Tubigon
Review: Panglao Regents Park Resort
Review: Gran Tierra Suites Cebu

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