When I went there, it was not the perfect season for vacation people but there are a lot of people that went to the 10th largest island in this side of the planet: Bohol.
So early in the morning, as our team departed to the sea from the powdery white sand beach of Alona in Isla Panglao, after packing up something to munch of and taking pictures. And the motor banca stopped and there was silence.
Bohol Sea is part of the whale’s and dolphin’s migratory route and habitat and so therefore there are many passers-by here. Between the island of Panglao, Balicasag in the west and Pamilacan in the east, the dolphin watching was a thing to get entertained, but to our dismay, the only thing that we saw are few dolphins with their fins the most visible.
Native fishermen once hunted these marvel of the sea for their meat. Yet ever since the media in Manila opened up this issue, the fishermen stopped slaying these gentle creatures and turned into subsistence fishing and now Bohol’s top industry, eco-tourism.
Paradiso Mar: Balicasag
After that dolphin watching and rocking with the waves and the deep blue sea, we head on to the island with a parola on his head. Named perhaps form a specific type of crab that was abundant back then: Balicasag. One of the country’s declared marine sanctuary, the main scene that made Balicasag famous is not on its shores but below the water.
Balicasag is a city of marine proportions. Fish and sea creatures here there and everywhere. The color was azure and the water is clear. It was a sight to behold.
We went their unprepared and no reservations with the PTA-owned resort but with the help of the local residents who are hospitable enough to accept these estranged visitors from the city, we had a sumptuous meal of fish and kilawin. Yum yum! Fresh catch from the sea.
The sun is blazing on a windy habagat breeze, the sky was clear, and we had satisfaction on our faces. Manong Bangkero (boatman) asked us if we wanted to go to a certain place named “Virgin Island” which is near mainland Panglao but for an additional fee. We agreed, it was early to go back to the resort and paid an additional P500.
As we left Balicasag Island, people who are into snorkeling and diving multiplied off-coast of the island. It was one in the afternoon. And we were off to this certain island that is isolated and uninhabited.
Isla Virgen (“Virgin Island”)
It was a choppy 45 minute ride with our banca as we braved the already rough waters of the monsoon wind. It was a thrill of a ride when suddenly the waters were calm. We were approaching Panglao Bay, a very shallow body of water made from several shoals, coral reefs and magnificent and a very virginal island known as, Virgin Island.
It was low tide and we can see the stretch of white sand beach stretching from the island, all the way to the sea, and we were just in time for it disappears during high tide. Silent and no people around. We disembarked and spent an hour in the said island. It was hot yet we relaxed in the shallow clear waters of Panglao.
Habagat sets in
The weather seemed to be very cooperative as we had our morning dolphin watching, an outdoor lunch and going to a different world known as a sea. But it was turning late in the afternoon when dark clouds are already appearing in the sea. As we went back to our resort, we went back again for half an hour snorkeling. And as the rain approaches, we decided to call it a day.
We weren’t tired. It was satisfying. Bohol by the sea has something truly amazing to offer. Azure, verdant and fish. That was one September day that we would never forget and oftentimes still convinces me to go back there again.
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