Whenever I’m asked, “Where to go in the Philippines for such a limited time?” My immediate answer is, Whatever you do, do not skip Alona Beach in Panglao Island.
Alona Beach is a perfect coalescence of beach-lazing-out and “the action”. There’s your crystal-clear waters, sparkling white impeccable beach but not too isolated either that you would miss great food on restaurants and splurging into accommodations, and “the action” is at night, you can practice tapping your feet to the tunes of music.
One time my friend from Hungary asked me, what would I suggest for a things-to-do when in the Philippines for 5 days.
I suggested, of course you might land in Manila since that’s the capital. But don’t stay there too long. Personally, I find capitals in the world as the most polluted like Bangkok. Also make sure you’d stay in Makati if you decide to stay; since that’s the safer and most-decent in the wide Manila Metropolitan. Hotel options is massive. If backpacking, search on Booking.com for hostels right on or close to Makati Avenue. While in Manila explore Makati CBD, Fort Bonifacio or Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City (Makati and Taguig are close) and 2nd day would be a daytrip to Taal Volcano. 3rd day or the second night, fly to Boracay.
Don’t take the ferry for long-distance trips, i.e. Manila to Cebu or Manila to Davao or Cagayan de Oro. Philippines is facing the Pacific Ocean and ferries aren’t reliable anymore. Fortunately, discount airlines are incredibly cheap even for backpackers. If Boracay – the Philippines’ most stunning beach spot – is cheap on your books, fly to Boracay from Manila. Promise, you would see one of the best beaches in your entire life that your eyes have ever laid onto. For more adventure sort, fly to Coron, Palawan from Manila. It’s unspeakably amazing and looks like Ko Phi Phi of Thailand but not that expensive and ain’t that massively-destructed by tourism. Or fly to Cebu and leave from Cebu to Malapascua Island if you fancy diving with the thresher sharks.
Now, like I’ve already said, don’t even dare to skip Alona beach (lol). That serious.
A little serenity on one side, and a little fascinating-night life on the other. I mean, when you had 3 straight days of silence on an unexploited beach with nothing else to do, I think I might turn into a hermit. So, I would say I would go to holidays with a mix of somewhere I could go for drinks & music at night if I want to, but then I could also have the most peaceful time with my book on a sunlounger in the afternoon then sip my fav mango smoothies… and also I can relax most times under the beautiful sun peeping over the silver clear azure emerald waters infront of me! Perfect!
Been to Alona beach many times and each visit is always entirely surreal!..
Experience it yourself from the photos below :
Each time I set foot on this beautiful amazing place, I’m on fit of giggles as if I’ve seen a high-school crush. In this case, crush on the beach. Just plainly gorgeous!
The Philippines and its spots is not short for accommodations. But since its not so popular yet to the backpacking world, dorms and bunk beds have low competition that’s why its very rare to find these. There could be one or two and not as ‘majestic’ as ones you can find in Singapore, or Ao Nang in Thailand. Accommodations are yet expensive in the Philippines – well if you’d compare ’em to the neighboring Southeast Asia.
I stayed in Oasis Resort. Rates start at 3,300 for AC rooms (Single Occupancy) and Poolside and Garden Bungalow fan rooms at 2700 pesos. Lovely place which also got Bar and Resto of their own, they have these cool relaxing resto cabanas that I almost fell asleep :
When in the Philippines, you couldn’t afford to miss the Mango Shake!!! A glorious smoothie made from Philippines’ famous mango native variety you couldn’t find in any parts of the world, hehe!… In Oasis Resort’s case this is only 105 pesos (that’s 2 dollar fifty U.S.) but you could have this for just a dollar and 25 cents in regular restaurants in the city :
Mango Shake, coming up!
If you please, we’re on holidays so forgive me for these treats! Wink* :
Beachfront accommodations scores high, therefore more expensive though its got the ambiance of rustic feel.
News that a favorite place has closed down at Alona. Be breaking your heart with this news : OOPS BAR HAS CLOSED DOWN.
Yes heard it right, Oops Bar (and Restaurant and Cottages/Accomm) has CLOSED DOWN. I was flabbergasted since their Italian Coffee perks me up to start my day at the previous visits. According to few that I’ve asked, the woman owner had a heart attack and the only son went back to UK then and just gave up Ooops Bar when it’s (I think) most popular there on Fridays and Sat nights.
Fun facts and tips that might help:
1. Alona beach according to its history is named after Alona Alegre (photo appears below), a Filipina sexy film star in the 1970’s. I honestly don’t know what’s the connection, but perhaps she could have had film shot there and locals were so enthralled with her beauty that the beautiful beach was named after her, I don’t really know.
(photo from : http://www.philstar.com/entertainment/663533/loyalist-stars)
2. Panglao Island is in Bohol, two-hour fastcraft (which is safe) from Cebu City. There are varied schedules so you are flexible there.
3. June to December 1st – 15th is most Philippines’ holidays spots Low Season. April and May is absolutely peak since it’s school break and least possibility or rains, sun is high.
4. Disadvantages in coming on low season:
– seaweeds on the shore is inevitable because of course it rains.
– most shops and accommodations take advantage by doing repairs or other constructions; therefore, noisy.
– not everything on the menu is available
– apparently, it rains… or worse, typhoons! 😦
On a final note, when you are in the Philippines, do not eat streetfood. Filipinos are hygienic and we are conscious with our food-handling. We teach our kids not to eat streetfood. Food at restos are really cheap anyway so run for that.
So lovely readers, that is revisiting Panglao Island, and see you in the next ones!
In love with the sun and sands,
Fritzie xoxo ❤