Alona Beach is much more beautiful from the sea ... (Visayas, Philippines, February 2008)
Alona Beach is much more beautiful from the sea ... (Visayas, Philippines, February 2008)

Why I'm running away from Alona Beach

#Philippines

  Philippines: Visayas - February 2008

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 


Turquoise water and white sand... The beach of Alona, on the island of Panglao, in the Philippines, is certainly very beautiful. But as soon as I arrived, I have only one desire: to flee as soon as possible.

Alona Beach ... the clash of cultures

How can I put it... I knew that I might find the crowd at Alona Beach, but I had no idea that it would be this big!

Of course, there is something for everyone. But the vacations I aspire to do not correspond at all to what I discover in Alona. I don't 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 seaside resorts are clearly not made for me.

Alona Beach is much more beautiful sea view ... From here, we can not distinguish so many resorts, restaurants, bars, dive shops that pile up along the beach. (Visayas, Philippines, February 2008)
Alona Beach is much more beautiful sea view ... From here, we can not distinguish so many resorts, restaurants, bars, dive shops that pile up along the beach. (Visayas, Philippines, February 2008)

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 stay 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 little afraid of having a hard time, but in fact, it is very easy to go 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.

In fact of "ferry", the boat that I take is a big banca or banka or bangka - traditional rocket boat, typical of the Philippines - which is designed to accommodate passengers.

The 8h Bato-Ubay banca, between the islands of Leyte and Bohol ... The canvas in the foreground protects from the sun that hits some forty passengers. There are still about twenty others in the cabin. (Philippines, Visayas, February 2008)
The banca Bato-Ubay from 8am, between the islands of Leyte and Bohol ... The canvas in the foreground protects from the sun that hits some forty passengers. There are still about twenty others in the cabin. (Philippines, Visayas, February 2008)
Passengers and luggage (my bag is on the right, in the foreground) pile up on the benches away from the sun. (Visayas, Philippines, February 2008)
Passengers and luggage (my bag is on the right, in the foreground) pile up on the benches away from the sun. (Visayas, Philippines, February 2008)
Sun of lead and sea of oil during the crossing Bato-Ubay, between Leyte and Bohol ... (Visayas, Philippines, February 2008)
Sun of lead and sea of oil during the crossing Bato-Ubay, between Leyte and Bohol ... (Visayas, Philippines, February 2008)

For 200 pesos (less than 3 €), I took the very first boat, the one at 8 am. Flat sea like a lake, quiet crossing of a little more than two hours. A friendly Filipino made conversation with me politely and told me about the rest of the trip.

Once in Bohol, all you need is a tricycle (bike or motorcycle with a sidecar, the local version of the becak Indonesian, from cyclo Vietnamese or tuk-tuk Thai) to be taken to the bus terminal. There, you can find a minibus (ask for the V-Hire) which makes the connection to Tagbilaranthe big city located just before the peninsula of Panglao (connected by road to the island of Bohol), where Alona Beach.

The bicycle tricycles (pronounced "traille-ci-keule", in English) wait for the customer at the terminal of Ubay, port located north of Bohol. (Visayas, Philippines, February 2008)
The bicycle tricycles (pronounced "traille-ci-keule", in English) wait for the customer at the terminal of Ubay, port located north of Bohol. (Visayas, Philippines, February 2008)
Minibuses, the "V-Hire" will leave once filled. (Bohol, Visayas, Philippines, February 2008)
Minibuses, the "V-Hire" will leave once filled. (Bohol, Visayas, Philippines, February 2008)

Tourist crowd at Alona Beach

I think I preferred the trip to the arrival itself... My fears about the crowds at Alona Beach were quickly confirmed! Fortunately, I found a nice tricycle driver, who kept my big bags while I went around the hotels, resorts, cottages, dive-shops piled on top of each other, on this stretch of beach.

I miss my quiet place in Leyte...

Despite the white sand and the coconut trees, Alona Beach is actually a beach without much charm, totally dedicated to tourism. You can see old men in underwear with reserved deckchairs, young redheads in shorts with a beer bottle in their hand, hordes of Asian families on vacation (Koreans, Chinese from Hong-Kong, Shanghai or Taiwan, etc.). And everyone is crammed into one place, in overpriced resorts. 😱

Alona Beach is much more beautiful from the sea ... (Visayas, Philippines, February 2008)
Alona Beach is much more beautiful from the sea ... (Visayas, Philippines, February 2008)
At night and day, do not expect tranquility on the beautiful Alona Beach. (Panglao, Visayas, Philippines, February 2008)
At night and day, do not expect tranquility on the beautiful Alona Beach. (Panglao, Visayas, Philippines, February 2008)

In short, I found to lodge a little apart, 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 given to me by Tess and Marilyn, two very nice young Filipinos, who wanted to sell me their cheap bamboo bungalows on the beach. The bungalows are not bad at all (but full for the evening), except that the bungalows are just in front of a building under construction. Hello peace and quiet...

A banca for Siquijor

That evening, once I was settled at Cherry's Home, I went to inspect the surroundings. I found a couple of nice places to stay, a bit far from the beach, like bungalows in a big tropical garden. Argh... I don't even want to think about settling there tomorrow. It's full everywhere!

But this little tour allowed me to meet Jeril, a Filipino who runs the Bananaland Cottages with his sister. The place is quite charming. A vast garden not far from the beach, very peaceful, with bungalows of different categories spread quite far from each other in the shade of the trees.

And I did well to stay and chat a little... Because Jeril organizes a trip in banca for its customers to Siquijor, tomorrow! And it is precisely the next step I was considering in my journey. An island known to be quiet and very beautiful, still a bit off the beaten tourist track.

Jeany Rose, the owner of the very nice "Bananaland Cottages" in Alona Beach, her brother Jeril, and the little Lauren. (Panglao, Visayas, Philippines, February 2008)
Jeany Rose, the owner of the very nice "Bananaland Cottages" in Alona Beach, her brother Jeril, and little Lauren (Panglao, Visayas, Philippines, February 2008)

So, my decision is made! I will flee Alona Beach, the atmosphere does not please me at all. I don't want to stay here more than one night. Thanks to the banca of Jeril, I will be tomorrow in Siquijor. Moreover, this improvised excursion will avoid me to have to take two ferries (because there is no direct connection to Siquijor). A very good plan!!!

  Philippines: Visayas - February 2008

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  1. I rushed to your blog as soon as I came back from work, I love road movies, so yours even more; I can imagine your relative disappointment at the sight of these cosmopolitan bikers, and indeed, the escape was certainly necessary, but there is not always a way out... Finally, I see that you have resources, and I would love to be there and share these "special" moments that would make us laugh!

    Tonight paella chorizo leclerc, while waiting for tastings of candlemas pancakes, and Schubert this weekend.
    In what language did you speak with Jeril and his sister? Come on, I know the answer, in English, no doubt ...
    No episode of the Nudibranch soap opera this time, I'm starting to get a taste for it...just for the evocative power of the name of these little beings!
    Mil needs, mam

  2. 🙂 To Eric: Thanks for this "bravo". Yes, I am very lucky to be here... But I finally gave up the dives around Panglao (Balicasag, Cabilao) since I left Alona Beach for Siquijor the next day. However, the ones in Leyte were so beautiful, that I am already satisfied. But there are also nice dives to do in Siquijor, if I believe the reports I read on Diver.com... So I will go to make some bubbles these next days, and I will tell all this in a future article.

    🙂 A Mam: Yes, obviously, we communicated in English, I don't speak Tagalog at all... I did well to flee Alona. Siquijor is much nicer, more peaceful, more authentic. Since you like nudibranchs, I will make a special "nudis" article with the most beautiful specimens I have already seen... Mil besos too. See you soon!

    1. My dear Corinne, I am a lover of tranquility, if you have the best plan in the world, I'm a taker ..... soon / Pat. tell me about Leyte or other .... I flashed on Patawan, south of Palawan.....you know? Thanks

  3. I am publishing below a comment from an Internet user, Momocar (whose first comment I had originally banned, because it was advertising what I suppose was his guesthouse).

    I am not a cow, I slip you his link anyway (http://www.reggaeguesthousephilippines.com/I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to find a good address for him, but I'm sure he's taken the trouble to reply to me by e-mail to defend his point of view on Alona Beach and to criticize my way of talking about it:

    —–

    By Momocar:

    This Alona Beach on Panglao Island is so beautiful, that I want to talk about it in positive +++.

    I can only be surprised by some of the things I read on this blog, and I only want to praise this place, where tourism is essential to the economy of this country.

    I quote: "Alona Beach, apart from the white sand, is a beach without much charm, and totally dedicated to tourism. There are beautiful fat steps, young redheads in shorts with bottles of beer in hand, hordes of Asian families on vacation (Koreans, Chinese Hong Kong, Shanghai or Taiwan, etc.). And all that is piled up in the same place, in expensive resorts. And another person replies: "I can imagine your relative disappointment at the sight of these" cosmopolitan bidochons ", and indeed, flight certainly was necessary ..."
     
    But in which category do the authors of these messages fall to make such a judgment? It is to make a caricature, a little easy and breaking of the place, as well as of the tourist population...

    You are one of the tourists who come to visit the Philippines, right? How do you define yourself? Are you an elite? With a model size? Who doesn't drink alcohol? Who doesn't blush in the sun? Who is not Asian? Give me the definition of : "fat not beautiful belly" and other "cosmopolitan bidochons" and please revise the definition of the word "tolerance" (i.e. that the Asian "hordes" are a bit at home).
     
    Here's the message I would have liked to get across:

    We love this magical place that is Alona Beach in Panglao, on the island of Bohol. I stayed there for 1 month. First: I discovered guesthouses and restaurants at very interesting rates, and very friendly, as well as smiling and welcoming people, both Europeans and Asians! We visited, one day out of two, and by motorcycle, the Chocolate Hills, the very lively and colorful city of Tagbilaran, saw the tarsiers monkeys, took jeepneys, made the Loboc river, the tour of Bohol Island, diving in Balicasag "Virgin Island", etc. etc. In short, a treat for the eyes! And alternately, we gilded ourselves on the beautiful beach without being crowded...

    Cordially.
    Momocar

    ——–

    My answer to Momocar:

    Absolutely, I am a tourist, and I do not pretend to be anything else ...
    😉

    I really liked the Philippines, on this 2008 trip, but I'm not a fan of very/too crowded places like Alona Beach. By taste. Which didn't stop me from going to see what it looks like anyway.

    Anyway, just understand that I don't like crowds, whether they are made of beautiful or not, fat or thin, drinking or not, European or Asian...

    My mocking remarks (and certainly easy) towards the tourist population of the place engage only me and are obviously to be taken in the second degree!!!

    Contrary to what you imply, I am very tolerant of my fellow human beings. When I find it hard to put up with certain behaviors or people, I just go elsewhere, that's all...
    🙄

    That said, in relation to your remarks : I'm not a party girl who drinks too much in the evening like some young tourists do (and I'm not judging, everyone does what he wants, as long as it's in the respect of others); I'm also lucky enough not to blush in the sun 8) and not to be "paunchy"; finally, if I don't like groups, Asian as well as European, it has nothing to do with their country of origin, but because in groups, people are often noisy, disturbing, not very respectful of the neighbor's quietness... For this destination, inevitably, it is the Asian groups that are the first represented (normal, it is the next door for them), that's all.

    Finally, this kind of remarks is valid for Alona Beach as for a lot of other places (and I have the same for Koh Phi Phi in Thailand, or Kuta Beach in Bali, which are places I went back to several times).

    In short, during this trip to the Philippines, I was at that time in search of a calmer and more quiet place, that's all. That I finally found in Siquijor...
    https://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/siquijor-lile-tranquille-20080201/

    But don't worry, I plan to go back to Bohol and Balicasag one day soon. But maybe not to Alona Beach itself. The islands are beautiful, indeed!!! I'll just manage to stay away from the tourist hordes...

    🙂

  4. Hello Corine,

    I agree with what you say about Alona beach, but :

    - This is one of the best places I've done for diving in the Philippines;
    - If you look around, you can always find a place away from the groups at affordable rates;
    - There is even a way to eat local for cheap

    But to do that, you have to look up 🙂.

  5. Hello your trip my much to question, we are currently with friends on Alona Beach and we would like to go on Siquijor.
    After many trips and some galley we do not want to take a ferry or plane.
    Talk to you about a trip by bangka to go on siquijor.
    Where to find them? Where to get information ? How long did it take you to cross this river? Thank you in advance for your precious advice.
    Beautiful day
    Miss Virginia

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