The beauty of Bohol is a natural beauty like no other. One of the best ways to explore this natural beauty is to discover its marine world and island seascapes that will surely let you utter the words - awesome, stunning and wow! The natural beauty of Bohol does not end only in Tarsier encounter or seeing its famed Chocolate Hills in the land but continues to the underwater bloom of its marine life and its pristine island beaches surrounding it. These authentic natural wonders can only be found in exploring the natural beauty of Panglao Island and its nearby isles - Balicasag, Virgin, and Pamalican Islands.
|Seaward to Bohol's islands.|
Panglao Island is known for its diving locations and tourist resorts. At the pristine Alona Beach, tours can be organised to world famous diving sites. The dive sites that can be found on the northwest tip of the Panglao Island are Doljo Beach, Napaling and Puntod. These sites are deep and the currents are strong. Panglao island is the site of Habitat for Humanity's "Tabalong Habitat Village". The village, still under construction, has capacity for 500 houses on land donated by local merchant Alturas. So far, around 200 houses had been built and inhabited.(Source) Politically, it is divided into two municipalities: Dauis and Panglao, part of Bohol Province. Panglao is located southwest of the island of Bohol and east of Cebu. Currently Panglao is one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines, famous for its beautiful dive spots and its coral reef, as well as many several islet ideal for beach bathing like the islets of Gak-ang and Pontod.(Source)
|Good morning Bohol!!!|
|Island hopping starts 6 in the morning|
|The marine sanctuary island of Balicasag.|
|Special shoes for the underwater world of Bohol.|
|Balicasag Island marine sanctuary.|
|We love Balicasag Island!|
|I didn't know that fishes loves mocha cake too...|
After an exhausting but exhilarating snorkeling, we rest for a while in the island where there are a hundred families are inhabiting the island. Most of them rely on tourism and fishing industry so its good to buy or eat something in their businesses. It adds to their income. There are no resorts in the island as it mostly inhabited by the locals and few establishments of restaurants only catering to tourists can be found. Electricity is regulated in the island. Only 6 hours of usage for a whole day according to the locals. So it definitely has a rural-feel to stay in the island but it also laid-back and relaxing at the same time. After a 30 minutes of rest, we were told that our boat is now ready (and no more motor malfunction, it was fixed at Balicasag) for next island to explore.
|Seagreen! Going to Virgin Island.|
As we sailed through the ocean, our boat is greeted with warm sunshine of summer with the cool breeze blew by the sea. The cool breeze of the ocean is relaxing. It you gives a taste of summer. Where the sun is crispy hot but elicits lovable mood to enjoy summer. The ocean view is marvelous. I can see the island slowly growing small as we sail away. The colors of the sea are interplaying with the vast layers of shades of blue, cerulean and sea green. Ocean views at Bohol are definitely picturesque worthy to be treasured.
|The stunning Virgin Island and its sandbar.|
|Sandbar of Virgin Island.|
|Sea Urchins for sale|
|Exploring Virgin Island|
Even under the scorching hot summer sun, together with travelmates, we explore the second arm of Virgin Island's sandbar. This sandbar is partly submerged in the water. Maybe 6 inches like walking in a flood. The submerged part of the islet is a good spot to take photographs because it gives an illusion of walking over the water. In this area, we saw a lot of starfishes just lying at the bottom of the sand. Some were even mating! They thrive in this area probably because of rich sea-grass also thrive in the area. Aside from these star creatures, I also find a lot of sea urchins thriving in the area. They are also scattered all over the sea-grass filled area of the submerged sandbar. Sea urchins or urchins are small, spiny, globular animals which inhabit all oceans.
|Starfish living in Virgin Island's sandbar.|
|The lush vegetation at the center of Virgin Island. |
|Can you see paradise beyond?|
After exploring the sandbar and sea creature encounters, we returned to the main island to explore the other side of it. On the other side of the island, one will definitely appreciate the beautiful mountain views and scenic sights of Bohol island adjoined by the vast ocean view as this side of the island faces the main island of Bohol. Sea shells can be collected in this area as they are scattered all over the shore. As the noon sun continues to shine high, we walked through the beach of Virgin Island that gives a stunning reflection of light in the water. Whilst, the reflection of sun made the sandbar whiter added a dramatic of effect in viewing the seascape of the whole island. It was a sight to behold at Virgin Island that I won't forget.
Several locals were selling ornamental sea shells and buko (coconut) juice for refreshments in shaded tents of the sandbar. Some were consistently convincing us to try the sea urchins again. I said no. It is not a must to buy from the locals but buying their commodities somehow will help in their rural livelihood. I wonder how they reach the island since it is uninhabited. We did try the refreshing buko juice to ease the heat of summer while continue to admire the alluring sea views of Virgin Island. This is a perfect way to experience island life in Bohol.
|Walking in the water.|
|Scenic seascape of natural beauty of Virgin Island's sandbar.|
|So many stars in Virgin Island!|
|Unspoiled beauty: the back side of Virgin Island.|
|Virgin Islands stunning sandbar...|
|Enjoying summer to the fullest at Bohol.|
|No cats in Cat Island.|
|Reflection of light in water.|
Home bound to Panglao Island.
Bohol's Island Escapades is the second part of my Bohol: Allure of Natural Beauty series that happened last March 15-17 on my birthday week. This trip is memorable as this is the first time I traveled and celebrated my birthday out of home. This is a true experience of a lifetime trip!
You might be interested in reading the other parts of Bohol: Allure of Natural Beauty.