If you are planning a trip to Bohol, you’d probably stay on Panglao Island. It is located southwest of Bohol, and is connected to the main island by bridges. Panglao is mainly made of Maribojoc limestone, so vegetation and putting up of infrastructures like airports are tricky. Coralline limestones are soluble and causes the formation of sinkholes and caves! Alona beach is probably the main attraction in Panglao, with its white sand and clear blue waters and the strain of hotels and resorts that serve tourists all year round. But Panglao has a lot more to offer! Day 6 of our Bohol escapade was spent with a delightful tour of Panglao! 😉
Kuya Arnel was our tour guide for the day. We booked all our tours, including airport and seaport transportation service, with WOW Bohol Travel and Tours. I was in contact with three tour agencies, but Wow Bohol was the easiest to deal with. We spent PHP 10,090.00 for everything, all tours were private.
Interestingly, we saw a Swedish flag on our way to the first stop!
So, here are the inclusions of the Panglao Tour:
1st stop: Panglao Church and watchtower. The Catholic Church of St. Augustine was established by the Jesuits in 1782. Later on, the Recollects took over and has been renovating the church ever since. It faces a wide plaza, which is typical for Catholic churches in the country. Unfortunately, the church suffered damage by the 2013 earthquake, and it was still under renovation when we visited. One could only assume that the damage was huge, considering that it has been 3-4 years since the devastating earthquake.
About a few meters from the church is an old 5-storey, octagon-shaped bell tower built in 1851. The tower was obviously re-painted and renovated, but still not available for public visits.
2nd stop: The Nova Shell Museum. This museum has a huge collection of rare and common Philippine seashells, and we were amazed by the diversity it contains! It has probably one of the biggest collections in the world! Privately owned by Mr. Quirino Hora, the museum displays his vast collections, gathered from his own expeditions in the country and bartering with other collectors and enthusiasts. Two shells found in Bohol were actually named after him: the Bursa Quirihorai, discovered in 1987, and the Primovula Horai, discovered in 1994.
The museum also has a souvenir gift shop, where expensive pearls, handicrafts, sea animal skeletons and teeth, jewelry and such, are being sold.
However, we were a bit disappointed that the ambiance in the museum was gloomy. Many seashells were not highlighted and identified. And there was a section with antiques and relics, and I had no idea what connection it had with seashells. Nevertheless, the museum is worth a visit! Also, I was wondering the whole time why Panglao was named as such. The word means “sadness” in tagalog. Through the visit at the Nova Shell Museum, the answer was given to me. Panglao came from the word “panggaw”, which is the local term used for a fish trap basket.
3rd stop: Hinagdanan Cave. This cave was pretty darn cool! It was naturally lighted, with a very deep blue water lagoon, and teeming with stalactites and stalagmites! The tour guide said that many Korean and local tourists take a dip in the blue-green lagoon, but I have read that the water was rich with various pollutants. The entrance was only about a meter wide, so it was like entering a movie-inspired bat cave. Paved steps led to the cave, with ropes that served as assistance, as it could be very slippery inside.
The owner of the cave accidentally discovered it, when he found a hole in the ground. He threw a stone afterwards, and when he heard a splash, he took a ladder and voila! The cave was named Hinagdanan, from the word “hagdan” which means ladder.
4th stop: Bohol Bee Farm. This was our final stop for the tour. It started raining, so we had to wait a bit because the bees get aggressive when wet! And we didn’t want cranky bees. 😛 The farm boasts of being organic, and we were truly awed by the vegetation in the farm. They also have a resort, where guests can stay longer, and a store with Bohol local products and delicacies. A famous treat from the farm was the ice cream! We made sure not to miss that.
Sadly, we didn’t get to try the restaurant, where the owner Chef Vicky Wallace prepares meals from the farm. And because the weather was bad, we also did not get to see the view from the cliff where the farm was located. But overall, the tour was great and it was nice to see how they also help give livelihood to the locals.
The tour took about 3 hours, and then, we had lots of time to ourselves. It was also my birthday, and Carl surprised me with a lovely dinner at Scent of Green Papaya Resort. We shared the cake and free fruit platter with the staff, and ended the day with a fire show by one of the staff. My husband never fails to surprise me!
Our last day in Bohol was spent just swimming at the resort. And the day after, we took SuperCat ferry to Cebu! The adventure continues in the next entry… Cheers!