Traveling around Panglao, Bohol, Philippines

The Philippines is comprised of more than 7,ooo islands, marinate on that for a sec. This fact made deciding where to land insanely difficult. Researching these tropical islands led to being overwhelmed, wanting to drop everything to go frolic around all of them. The investigation eventually pointed towards Panglao, an island located in the north Bohol Sea. Panglao promised gorgeous beaches, intriguing animals, and unexplained land formations, yes please.




Beaches in the Philippines have a reputation for being the creme dela creme, not even sure a photo can provide evidence as to how they've gained this prestige. The color palette of the beaches have enough power to hypnotize. Turquoise waves crash onto blindingly white sand while deep green palm tress rustle against a violet-y blue sky. It can't be helped but to bronze the day away on beaches that prove their point of being some of the best in the world.




Loboc River, a secluded waterway lined with dense walls of lush greenery, snakes its way through Bohol and is a river worth rolling down. Twists and turns take you through what seems like a maze,  stumbling upon local children attempting to impress with back flips into the river.  The Loboc flows by the village of the indigenous Ati tribe. The Ati are thought to be the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines.

 

 Heading higher into the hills a pit stop was made at one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. Baclayon church is said to be one of the countries first Spanish missionaries. In 2013 a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit this region damaging the church. Scaffolding and piles of stones lying around give witness to the repairs still underway.


 Unexplained land formations peaked my interest. Standing mysteriously in the center of the island are the Chocolate Hills. There are over 1200 of these puzzling mounds. Many rumors fly on how these formations were formed, most of them include giants of some sort. I headed to the highest point to witness these hills of chocolate and create my own theories. To get to the Chocolate Hills you have to drive through the man-made forest, and it is literally man-made. During WWII this forest was hit by deforestation, and in the efforts to bring it back many people flocked to the area during the late 60's in order to help.Today what you get are walls of beautiful mahogany trees towering overhead.
What Bohol has to offer on land is quite marvelous but what's in store underwater is particularly mind blowing. The Banca, a traditional indigenous boat of the Philippines, is a must do in order to explore the waters around Bohol. Gliding over turquoise waters so clear you could see what the coral and fish were up to below.


Docking up on Balicasag a tiny Island where around 100 indigenous families live. Hanging with the friendly and curious locals while taking a beer break in the sun on the rocky shore. Chickens hobbled by and children played hide and seek cracking themselves up into an infectious laughter.


Back on the water it was time to see what lay underneath. Free floating offshore while sprinkling fish food (crackers) into the water drew schools of brightly colored fish, I think I found Nemo. Dipping down into the reef you are smacked with stunning beauty. Countless corals in vibrant shades lay below as schools of fish zigzag by in neon color combinations reminiscent of Lisa Frank. Watching sea turtles float into the abyss still has me awestruck.





The end of this journey was made complete with a visit to a place I've been lusting after, the Virgin Island (tons of puns can go here). There are no inhabitants on this tiny island and during high tide part of the island sinks below the water leaving only the palm trees visible.


p.s. the fruit here was the icing on the cake of this place I now consider a little slice of heaven.

Bohol, Phillippines, Travel, Panglao, Virgin Island, Tropical, Bohol Beach Club
© VINTAGE SLANG
Maira Gall