ISLA DE PANGLAO. We had flown to Tagbilaran from Manila the day before. We have spent our first day in Bohol looking at antique churches from the road; enjoying the delicious local cuisine while cruising down a river in Loboc; and climbing up the highest hill in Carmen to be rewarded with a panoramic view of Chocolate Hills.
In the evening, we found ourselves relaxing in our hotel room while looking at a huge picture window with the romantic sunset view of Panglao.
PANGGAW. ocated on the southwestern edge of Bohol, separated from the mainland by the shallow Dauis Strait, Panglao is an island comprising the coastal municipalities of Dauis and Panglao.
The name panglao derives from the fishing device called panggaw. When the Spanish explorers came into Panglao to get water in 17th century, they found locals making the fishing device. With difficulty in pronouncing it, they named the island Panglao.
PANGLAO ATTRACTIONS. The main attractions of Panglao are its white sand beaches packed into just 20-kilometer long limestone island. Beyond the beaches are the caves, old churches, and dive sites.
HINAGDANAN CAVE. Some say that the name Bohol derives from the word Bo-ho which in local dialect means holes. There are more than 1,400 caves have been identified in Bohol. One of the most popular is Hinagdanan Cave is in Panglao at the municipality of Dauis.
Hinagdanan Cave was named as such because of the hagdan which leads to the underground pool in the cave. With its large cavern and some gaping holes on its ceiling, natural light sparingly illuminates the otherworldly shapes formed millions of year ago.
DAUIS BELLFRY. Also in Dauis is the second oldest bell tower in Bohol. It was built in 1774 to protect the shallow and narrow straight between Panglao and Tagbilaran. The tower’s architectural detail shows folk-baroque characters like the small heads that decorate the corners of the tower and Saint Augustine’s flaming heart carved on one side of the hexagonal tower.
DAUIS CHURCH. The church in front of the old bell tower is also full of surprises. According to a legend, when the town of Dauis was invaded by Moro pirates, the people lock themselves inside the church until they ran out of food and water. A well miraculously appeared at the foot of the altar. It was said that the taste of the water is sweet even thought the church is located a few meters from the sea.
Although sealed by trapdoor, under a red carpet, the water from the well is believed to posses miraculous powers to heal sickness.
It was Panglao were we found a host of activities on land, sea and under the sea. But for the most part in Panglao, the sea is the vacationer’s playground.
Setting off early for our day two in Bohol, we board into a boat that would take us out in deep sea to spot for Bohol’s resident dolphins and whales. We had been out for two hours and have not spotted a single marine life. From a distance, we could see other boats, about 10 or more turning around. It seemed that all those who went for dolphin watching that day has given up.
BALICASAG FOOD TRIP. To nurse our disappointment, we were taken to Balicasag Island for brunch and other activities like snorkeling.
BALICASAG ISLAND. Snorkeling and scuba are the favorite sports in Balicasag Island Marine Reserve. From the surface, we peeked into the reef below with all sorts of corals, starfishes and anemones. After a few paddles away from the beach, we plummeted into an underwater cliff. Like the world above, the sea boasts of untamed creatures, large and small. It’s amazing to see schools of jackfish nibbled a piece of bread we held on our hands.
EPILOGUE. After lunch, we were on our way back to Panglao when we spotted humps on the sea –the dolphins and whales of Bohol.
– 17 February 2011 | Glenn and Anne Martinez 6th Wedding Anniversary