We set out at sea at the break of dawn during our second day- which marks our 2nd anniversary together! I remember being told that the dolphins come out to play early morning. Unfortunately though, the rain decided to make an appearance. Torrential waves made for a bumpy boat ride. Foggy clouds obstructed our view, and our boatmen looked at each other, speaking only in their dialect. Joshua’s hand squeezed mine in anxiety- “we shouldn’t have gone out in this weather.” Because we couldn’t see ahead, we felt like we were the only ones in the vast ocean.
Minutes later, they appeared before us. Majestic blue creatures with their fins on the surface, swimming alongside their family. They would leap high up in the air, flipping their bodies up in a cartwheel. And that’s when we knew we were not alone. Too bad I forgot to pack my GoPro charger for this trip, so I couldn’t capture it, but some things are better off stored in our memory than on camera.
After getting a good view of the dolphins at play, we headed out to Balicasag Island. I was really excited to be there because I remember 2 years ago, the moment I jumped out of the boat, we were surrounded by a variety of fish and some pawikans.
This time, we had to hop onto a smaller bangka. The weather slightly improved at this point, but it was still raining. Each time I tried to swim away to explore, my group would call me back and tell me not to swim too far. Josh clung to the boat, floating on his back the whole time, while I was face down on the water, trying to spot some fish. However, the visibility was not good at all, so I don’t recommend snorkeling even when it’s just drizzling.
When the waves got stronger, we knew it was definitely time to go. Our bangka brought us to shore, and we waited it out on the island. A local was kind enough to adopt our shivering selves, along with some kids, on his terrace while we ate cups of hot noodles. It took about an hour for the sun to finally show itself for a bit, but as we got on the boat, it started to drizzle again. I was looking forward to visiting Virgin Island next, with its white sand bar and fresh coconuts, but Josh didn’t wanna risk getting stranded again.
So back to land we went. Alona beach was now more developed than what I remember as a kid. We settled down in a nifty bar whose main selling point was their P50 rum cokes and beers! Plus the music of course. That’s always important.
The bar’s name is Aluna, and I highly recommend it not only for their cheap drinks, but also their killer tacos/burritos and fun-to-chat-with bartender, Cris.
Chilling there for hours, I couldn’t help but notice the ad playing on loop on their TV. It was for a hotel on a cliff with an amazing view of the beach called Ocean Suites. Cris told us that her French employer owns it as well. Looks like it’s worth checking out based on the photos, and not to mention affordability- P4k for an ocean view room for two. Cris has been helping her boss run his business finances’ because he apparently loves to treat newly acquainted people who visit his bar.
She’s been working there for quite some time now, so she and her husband have been able to build their own boat for island hopping tours. It comes out much cheaper if you book with her or a local, than what you find online or through travel agencies. Figured it would be more of help if we go directly to the locals for their services so they could be better compensated for their labour.
Several beers and rum cokes later, we not only made friends with our bartender, but with a buncha beach dogs as well!
They weren’t so fond of taking photos though…
Oh well, we tried hahaha!
Went out for a nice swim because the sun was finally out and I was so tempted to get on one of the boats to reach Virgin Island. After swimming in Panglao’s clear waters, we retreated back to our hotel in Doljo beach, Bellevue. What’s so beautiful about it is its seclusion from the rest of Panglao, and the fact that it’s beach front. More on that in my next post!
We were so tired from being out the whole day that we slept through dinner. Got up at around 11PM, went down to scavange for food, only to find that room service was the only thing available. We had been so used to lodging in budget/botique hotels that such a term came as a pleasant surprise for us.
What an adventure our 2nd anniv turned out to be!