Panglao is an island in Bohol Province in the Philippines with world-class diving and many tourist resorts. The resorts and other tourist facilities are concentrated in the Alona Beach area, but there are some other tourist areas and beaches scattered around the rest of the island.
For administration, the island is divided into two roughly equal-sized municipalities, each with a small town as its center. Wikivoyage has an article for each:
- 1 Dauis, on the northeast, right across the bridge from Tagbilaran which is the provincial capital and the region's main ferry port
- 2 Panglao Town, on the southwest
There are also beach towns around the island, particularly in the south. While these are in the municipal regions listed above, many of them are separate enough from the municipal towns and have enough tourism to get their own Wikivoyage article.
- 3 Alona Beach on the southeast coast is the island's most popular tourist destination. Many visitors to the island spend all their time in just this area. Administratively it is within Panglao Municipality, but Wikivoyage treats it in a separate article.
- 4 Bolod and 5 Libaong are east of Alona Beach; they are covered in the Bolod and Libaong Wikivoyage article.
- 6 Danao Beach is between Alona Beach and Panglao Town, and it is covered in a separate Wikivoyage article.
- 7 Momo Beach is considerably less developed and less hectic than Alona. It is just east of Panglao Town and we cover it in the town article.
All of these islands can be visited on a separate tour or as part of dolphin watching or island hopping ones.
- 1 Balicasag Island. Island 8 km offshore from Alona beach.
- 2 Virgin Island (Pontod Island) (west of Panglao Town).
- 3 Pamilacan island. Tour there is more expensive among other islands, prices start at ₱3000 per boat (2016), as they say, it's a more authentic experience, where dolphins and whale sharks can be seen wild and not in a artificial environments like in Oslob where animals got attracted to the place by being fed by locals.
Panglao is often reached via Tagbilaran, the capital of Bohol Province, where there is a ferry terminal. Tagbilaran on the larger Bohol Island and Dausis on Panglao Island are separated by a narrow strait, and there is a bridge between them. You can also fly directly to Panglao which has the province's main airport.
Most visitors reach Bohol via the large modern ferry terminal in Tagbilaran. The most common embarkation point is Cebu City; see the Tagbilaran article for details on that, and for boats from other places.
A taxi from the ferry terminal will cost ₱500-600, whilst a local tricycle will set you back ₱350-450 to Alona Beach on the far end of the island.
Alternately, you can get a tricycle or taxi from the ferry terminal to the bus terminal then get the air conditioned bus to Alona beach. Southern Star transit Large air conditioned buses from Tagilaran bus terminal going to and from Alona Beach via Panglao international airport, every 45 mins from 6.45am till 6pm ₱50, takes about 30 minutes, has room for Luggage.
- 1 Bohol–Panglao International Airport (TAG IATA). A new airport, large enough for international flights using large aircraft. It is expected to handle many charter flights for package holiday companies. Until this airport opened Cebu Airport was the only one in the country close to beach resorts and capable of handling these flights.
When Panglao International Airport opened in November 2018, the older and much smaller Tagbilaran Airport was shut down the same day. The new airport inherited the old one's code, TAG IATA.
The island has two main roads; the Circumferential Road circles the island near the coast while the Dauis-Panglao Road goes lengthwise through the center of the island to connect the two main towns.
Tricycles and habal-habal (motorcycle taxis) are abundant, with prices ₱20-50 for a ride. The trikes can take more people, have room for luggage, and are safer and considerably more comfortable. Frequent jeepneys cruise the island with rides as low as ₱15.
In the highly developed Alona Beach area where many of the tourists stay, tours can be organised to various diving sites.
- 1 Hinagdanan cave. There is a tiny lagoon inside a coral cave. Enjoy a dip in a fresh water. The cave is completely dark, the guides have a flashlight. The admission is around ₱20. To get here, you can take a bus or mini van towards Panglao island from Tagbilaran. If you tell them you are going to Hinagdanan cave, they will know what intersection to drop you off at. ₱50.
Massages are available on the beach. ₱350 for an hour Swedish massage.
Scuba Diving: The most famous diving location is Balicasag Island, a marine sanctuary 10 km (6.2 mi) from Alona Beach. Other well-known spots are Doljo, Pamalican Island, and Napaling.
Yoga: Daily yoga classes run in many studios around Panglao Island.
- 7-Eleven convenience store. Alona Beach.
- BPI Bank ATM Alona Beach. It takes Mastercard & Visa cards with a ₱250 fee for overseas cards.
Both the towns have some restaurants, including some candelaria which are plain cheap Filipino places, with food that is always filling and often quite good. Almost every resort has a restaurant, the airport has several, and there are a few more here and there around the island.
The heaviest concentration is along Alona Beach which has a few dozen tourist places — mostly international cuisine at mid-to-high prices — plus some chains like McDonald's and Dunkin Donuts.
Most restaurants also serve alcohol, except for some of the candelaria. On Alona Beach, many are more bars with food than restaurants with drinks, and quite a few have live music in the evenings.
There are hotels, mostly beach resorts, all over the island. Alona Beach in particular has a everything from luxury resorts to backpacker hostel dorm beds from ₱350.
At peak times, like Christmas and Easter, it is quite difficult to find accommodation unless you have booked well in advance. Many of the hotels are on the usual hotel booking sites.
This is a heavily touristed area and, while most locals in the tourist trade are honest, many of the common scams used against tourists anywhere will sometimes be found here. As almost anywhere in Asia, take precautions against pickpockets.
The entire island of Bohol is right next to Panglao, with Tagbilaran city lying just over the bridge connecting two islands. Bohol's main tourist attractions are tarsiers (rare small primates) near Corella, and the Chocolate Hills. Tours to either are readily available from Tagbilaran, and many of the hotels on Panglao can make arrangements for them.
Anda is another beach destination on Bohol, quieter and less crowded than Panglao.
Other places are easily reached by ferry from Bohol, mostly from Tagbilaran. Two nearby and much less touristy islands are Camiguin (ferry from Jagna) and Siquijor. Cities that are popular tourist destinations are Metro Cebu and Dumaguete. There is also a ferry from Ubay, on the eastern side of Bohol, to Maasin on Leyte Island