Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text:
Turquoise water and white sand... The beach of Alona, on the island of Panglao, Philippines, is certainly very beautiful. But as soon as I arrive, I have only one desire: to flee as quickly as possible.
Alona Beach ... the clash of cultures
How can I put it... I knew I might find the crowd at Alona Beach, but I had no idea it was going to be that big!
Certainly, it takes something for everyone. But the holidays I aspire do not correspond at all to what I discover in Alona. I do not see the point of staying in the middle of this not very pleasant tourist fauna, in crowded and overpriced hotels. In the Philippines, the big resorts are clearly not for me.
Of course, as I come from the peaceful village of Padre Purgoson the island of Leyte, the contrast is violent. After the crossing, I decided very quickly not to hang out more than one night on the spot.
It all started well though…
From Leyte to Bohol by ferry.
I made the crossing between the islands of Leyte and Bohol...early in the morning. I was a bit afraid I was going to have a hard time, but it's actually very easy to get from one to the other! The morning boat, which connects the ports of Bato (on Leyte) and ubay (on Bohol), is not hypothetical at all, contrary to what I feared.
Actually, the ferry boat I'm taking is a big... banca or banka or bangka - traditional rocket boat, typical of the Philippines - which is designed to accommodate passengers.
For 200 pesos (less than 3 €), I took the very first boat, the 8 o'clock boat. Flat sea like a lake, quiet crossing of a little more than two hours. A nice Filipino guy politely talks to me and tells me the rest of the way.
Once in Bohol, all you need is a tricycle ride (bike or motorcycle with kind of sidecar, the local version of becak Indonesian, from cyclo Vietnamese or tuk-tuk Thai) to be driven to the bus terminal. There, we can find a minibus (ask the V-Hire) which makes the connection until Tagbilaran, the big city located just before the peninsula of Panglao (connected by road to Bohol Island), where is located Alona Beach.
Tourist crowd at Alona Beach
I think I preferred the journey to the arrival itself... My fears about the crowd at Alona Beach were quickly confirmed! Luckily, I came across a nice tricycle driver, who kept my big bags while I went around the hotels, resorts, cottages, dive-shops stacked on top of each other, on this end of the beach.
I regret my quiet hometown in Leyte ...
Despite the white sand and the coconut palms, Alona Beach is actually a beach without great charm, totally dedicated to tourism. We meet old paunchy people in underwear with reserved deckchairs, young redheads in shorts with a bottle of beer grafted in their hand, hordes of Asian families on vacation (Koreans, Chinese from Hong Kong, Shanghai or Taiwan, etc. ). And everyone crowds in the same place, in overpriced resorts. ????
In short, I found to stay a little away, for the night, at Cherry's Home : a small family hotel, in a new house, without charm but clean, and above all within my means.
The address was unearthed by Tess and Marilyn, two very nice young Filipinos, who wanted to get me out of their cheap bamboo bungalows on the beach. Which are not bad at all (but complete for the evening), except that the bungalows in question are just in front of a building under construction. Hello tranquility & #8230;
A banca for Siquijor
That evening, after I'd landed at Cherry's Home, I went to check out the surroundings. I found a couple of nice places to stay, a bit away from the beach, in a quiet bungalow style in a large tropical garden. Ugh... I don't even have to think about moving there tomorrow. It's sold out everywhere!!!
But this little tour allowed me to meet Jeril, a Filipino who holds the Bananaland Cottages with his sister. The place is quite charming. A large garden not far from the beach, very peaceful, with bungalows of different categories spread far enough from each other in the shade of trees.
And I did well to stay chatting a bit ... Because Jeril organizes a trip in banca for his clients until Siquijor, tomorrow! And that's just the next step I was considering in my journey. An island reputed to be quiet and very beautiful, still a little off the beaten tourist track.
So my mind is made up! I'm going to run away from Alona Beach, I don't like the atmosphere at all. No question of staying here for more than one night. Thanks to the banca from Jeril, I'll be in Siquijor tomorrow. In addition, this improvised excursion will save me from having to investigate two ferries (because there is no direct connection to Siquijor). A very good plan!!!