Sunday, October 23, 2011

Island Hopping in Panglao

Coming to Panglao will never be complete if you don't go island hopping.  It's recommended to have an arrangement in the beach area as it's more expensive if you have it negotiated by the resort or by those from the pier area.  The cost is Php 1,500 good for 15 persons and includes dolphin watching, island hopping and snorkeling in Balicasag and Virgin islands.  You have to arrange the activity day before as you have to leave as early as 6 am as the dolphins comes out early according to the folks there.  Indeed these dolphins are early dolphins as we were able to see only a few of them since we left late around 7 am.  Nevertheless, it's an unexplainable feeling to see these huge and friendly creatures swimming beside our boat and seems to enjoy the attention from all the other island hoppers surrounding them.  After the dolphin watching, we proceeded to Balicasag island.
Balicasag shoreline.

This small island is a protected fish sanctuary where you can go for snorkeling.  I was expecting that from our boat, we will just dive right into the sea with our snorkels and feed the fishes.  To my surprise, we docked into the sea shore and suddenly guys came over and offered to give us a ride in their small boats which can accommodate only 3-4 persons for a whooping Php150.00/person! Imagine 150/person for a ride in a boat to bring you to the fish sanctuary which is a just a few meters away.  I asked the boat men and he said that walking in the sea is not allowed as it will destroy the corals, understandable but the 150??? never mind, I will just swim. God must have heard our prayers as there is one who offered us for 50.00/person in exchange of keeping it a secret to the other boat men as it will cause him trouble.  We readily grab the opportunity and proceed with snorkeling.  The sanctuary is rich with different species of fish but still if i paid 150 was not worth the price.  The last island we visited was Virgin island.  True to its name, indeed it was a virgin.
 Excited to reach Virgin Island

Enjoying the clear, blue waters in the Virgin Island.

No touch of human destruction and exploitation only nature at its best.  This island is very small you can tour it for 10-15 minutes just by walking.  It has a very long sandbar that extends for a number of meters and goes very shallow especially during low tides.  This island completed our island hopping and we rode home, with wide smiles and sun-darkened skin.

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