Philippines – Panglao

Panglao is a small island connected to the mainland Bohol by a couple of road bridges. It was just a 90mins ferry ride from Siquijor but we soon knew we back on the mainstream tourist beat.

We stayed near to Alona beach and missed the wonders of Siquijor, luckily our accommodation was clean, modern, spacious and had a lovely pool so all was well.

We hired a driver for the day and head out to Bohol island to see the sights.

First stop was the Chocolate Hills. These turn a yellow/brown colour in summer when dry so ours was a green chocolate experience 😉

There are around 1300 of these hills around this area, formed by the build up limestone on marine deposits and river erosion over millions of years to create these conical karst hills.

Along the way our driver stopped to show us the man made forest of mahogany trees along a 2 km stretch of the highway. Its a nice place but there seemed no where to get out and explore the forest so not quite the experience we had expected…

We stopped briefly to look at a statue made to commemorate the ‘blood signing’ between the local Philippines Bohol elders and the Spanish explorers in 1565. The influence left by the Spanish can be referenced in some of the local languages and the catholic churches on the island.

Next stop was a butterfly enclosure, we saw some beautiful butterflies and this couple were, er a bit connected at the time!

Taking the river cruise in Loboc was one of the highlights, its a 2 hour cruise on a on barge along the river with a tasty lunch included.

Along the way we stopped at a pontoon to watch some local dancing and singing which was really nice.

My wife had a go at their traditional dancing, hopping over bamboo sticks, i opted out as I’m way too clumsy for that!

Our final stop was to see the wonderful Tarsier monkeys. They are nocturnal creatures about the size of a tennis ball and only found in four countries in south east Asia.

They are the cutest little creatures and an endangered species too. Their large eyes are the same size as their brains. They are also the only completely carnivorous primates.

There are a few places in the Philippines where its possible to see Whale Sharks.

We went to a place in Bohol to do this. To get the whale sharks in the location they feed them. That’s a bit controversial but has meant that the locals now look after these great creatures rather than hunt them.

You get a briefing beforehand to ensure you keep your distance and don’t touch them.

But they are large creatures and just appear out of nowhere and you find yourself scrambling underwater to keep out of their way. They are no danger to you and their deftness in the water is amazing to see.

Another wonderful experience which ended our Bohol/Panglao experiences. Next stop is Manila and then we fly to Vietnam!

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