Panglao is an island 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:
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 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.
- 7 Danao Beach is between Alona Beach and Panglao Town, and it is covered in a separate Wikivoyage 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 generally reached via Tagbilaran, the capital of Bohol Province, where there is an airport and 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.
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 the amazing local tricycles will set you back ₱250-300 to Alona Beach on the far end of the island. The latter is the most enjoyable of rides and takes 25-30 min.
Jeepney ride is ₱25 per person, but first you have to get to the jeepney stop where they leave to Alona Beach.
As of August 2018, reaching Panglao by plane involved landing at Tagbilaran Airport. Ground transport options from there are about the same as those described above for getting to Panglao from the ferry terminal.
- 1 Panglao Airport. When this airport opens, it will be large enough for international flights using large aircraft. It is expected to handle many charter flights for package holiday companies. Cebu Airport is now the only one in the country that is close to beach resorts and capable of handling these flights. Panglao Airport was scheduled to enter service in October 2018, but as of early October, it is not clear when the opening will take place.
Once Panglao Airport opens, the older and much smaller Tagbilaran Airport is to be shut down.
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 taxies) are abundant, with prices ₱20-50 for a ride. 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.
If you want to experience something memorable, although short lived, try the fish; it is some of the best in the Philippines.
At peak times, like Christmas and Easter, it is quite difficult to find accommodation unless you have booked well in advance.
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.