Sunday, March 13, 2016

Panglao Take Two with Scent of Green Papaya

Doljo beach

My first visit, three years ago, was a sneak peek of this beautiful island as I spent most of my time in my aunt’s gorgeous home, The Glass House, which she herself has designed.  She took me around the city and around some resorts.  We had ice cream, pizza, and a movie date to let me get a feel of how life is in Panglao. 

I spent an afternoon at Alona beach taking a stroll, sitting by the beach,  enjoying the sunset with a cocktail drink in one of the beach bars.   My stay was a dream as I woke up to a gorgeous sunrise view and closed my day taking in an inspiring sunset view of Panglao every day of my stay at the Glass House.  

From that experience, I learned how to get around in Panglao which is so much simpler than traveling to Boracay.  Going to Boracay, involves a plane ride, a van ride, and a boat to get to my destination.  In Panglao, I just had to take a trike from the airport to my accommodations.

After my initial trip, I was certain to return to Panglao.  When I chanced upon bargain ticket prices with Air Asia two years later, I grabbed the chance to return to Panglao the year after. This time around, I planned to go island hopping with the many white sand beaches in the island.

After days of researching and comparing to get the best value accomodations for my budget, I found decent beach front accomodations in Bolod  and Doljo beach area.  I wanted to visit more beaches but I only had 4 days of stay so I simply booked for a day or two in each beach area. Thanks to the convenience of my reliable paymaya card, booking in advance was a cinch, as well as paying for my stay.   I just had to load my card the day before at any 7-eleven branch and I was assured of a place to stay.'

From the airport, we (including my son and daughter) took a trike that charged P300 for the three of us already to Bolod beach.  The beach was peaceful and gorgeous, (that is my concept of how heaven should look like) I was in heaven. 

Clear water, super fine sand, coconut trees framing the blue ocean and blue sky, I was in awe of such a picturesque scene and the magnificent creator.  We had the beach to ourselves.  I just kept taking pictures capturing the beauty and memory without realizing the slow sunburn.  

I kept strolling around, sitting in the sand, and the shallow water simply appreciating the blessing and meditating on such wonderful creation.  I was alone most of the time,  but  I enjoyed just being there. 

The nights were cool in the balcony that had a rocking chair.  The quietness was refreshing as I simply sat on the rocking chair alone, while the kids were watching tv inside.  There were so many opportunities for a prayer of thanks.

From Bolod beach, we proceeded to check out Doljo beach. The hotel got us a trike which charged P250 to Doljo.  The afternoon we got there, I  wasn’t as impressed with the beach compared to Bolod. 

But early the next morning was a different story.  The beach was just as gorgeous as Bolod, I couldn’t decide which was better anymore.  I spent the whole morning strolling to the left end of the beach not realizing my sunburn was starting to hurt.  I took as many pictures as possible even selfies to prove that I was really there.  

The accommodation was decent, not as comfortable or scenic as the earlier one.  But the people were the plus side to all insufficiencies,  the staff in all accommodations were helpful and welcoming.  The provincial feel was more apparent in my accommodations at Doljo.  After an overnight stay, we left after lunch to our next and final destination.

For a change, we  took the ever-present habal-habal or motorcyle ride from Doljo to Scent of Green Papaya Resort.  I was glad I did because the kids clearly enjoyed the motorcycle ride which cost P50 per head from beach to beach.

From Doljo beach,  the next stop was Alona beach.  One has to visit  the most popular beach in the island because of its nightlife and sunset.  Apparently, everyone seemed to be in Alona beach.  It was packed to the shoreline, I mean literally.  There was hardly a shore to stroll in.  I got to Alona beach after we dropped off our bags at Scent of Green Papaya resort. 

The kids decided they wanted to  hang out in a pool this time around after Bolod and Doljo so I just left them by the pool as I took the resort’s free shuttle to Alona beach.  After an hour of taking photos and enjoying the sunset view of Alona beach,  I was looking forward to spending time in my comfortable room at the Scent of Green Papaya resort .  

There was a brown out all over Panglao that day so the resort was on generator.  We lingered in the warm pool for the meantime until the lights went on in the room.
The brown out wasn’t an inconvenience at all as the pool was so relaxing. 

When the lights went on at around 8pm, I wanted to  savor the clean shower before snuggling between the crisp,  comfortable sheets of the spacious bed.  

The time went by so fast, we had to pack that night because of our early flight the next morning. So after packing, I simply fell asleep without even opening the flat screen TV.  

There were more than enough charging outlets in and out the room, one of the few important details that other accommodations overlooked.

We woke up the next morning, rushed our American breakfast, before the hotel called for a trike to bring us back to the airport. The trip back cost P300.

The early morning drive to the airport was another visual treat with greeneries on both sides of the empty street and blue waters occassionally peaking on the left side.  The clear, fresh-aired morning capped our memorable stay in Panglao. 

On the way, the driver shared about their apprehension over the Panglao airport project which would begin construction soon.  This clearly would change the feel of the island: trees would be removed, more cars on the road, the temperature would increase, the fresh air would decrease with more polution and traffic. 

 I forsee another overcrowded Boracay in the making . . actually it is already happening in Alona beach.  Hopefully when I return for my third visit, I will still see the beautiful clean beaches and add two more beaches to my itinerary: Momo beach and Danao beach,

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