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Traveling the Philippines: Panglao Paradise

Dolphin watching has never been as exciting and easy as tourists travel to Panglao, one of the 7,107 islands in the Philippines. This destination boasts of pristine beaches, spectacular coral reefs, honest and endearing local guides and most of all, peaceful waters under the hot sun.

Panglao Island has many beach resorts lined on its coasts. The place welcomes both back packers and first class tourists. Travelling to Panglao is an hour plane ride from Manila, the Philippines’ capital, to the province of Bohol. When the traveler reaches the Tagbilaran Airport, they then take a 30-minute taxi ride to the Panglao resorts. It’s that simple!

Tourist packages include sea tours and land tours. While the land tours will bring tourists to amazing destinations such as the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, the emerald green Loboc River, pools under caves, viewing of the smallest primate in the world called the Tarsier, and walk the aisles of century old churches with walls made from egg shell concoctions, the sea tour should not be missed by first time travelers to the island.

The sea tour starts at 5 am when tourists clad in favorite swim outfits are welcomed by the sunrise with breakfast in motorboats. The motorboats’ destination is the breakfast areas of the dolphins a few kilometers away from Panglao shores. Due to the keen skills of the boat drivers, tourists will see the dolphins in no time. It would be hard to get camera shots of these beautiful harmless creatures because they would be swimming here and there and everywhere by the dozens!

After two hours of sheer madness looking at dolphins bobbing up and down, swimming right beside one’s motorboats, the sea tour will bring the travelers to Balicasag Island for snorkeling. Balicasag reef is a protected sanctuary where fishes abound due to the untouched corals. Big motorboats park in deep waters while smaller canoes called “bancas” bring the sea travelers to the snorkeling site. The boatmen let the swimmers bring small pieces of bread because once in the waters just barely half a foot deep, the bread will entice fish to go near it. Literally dozens of fish in varied sizes and colors instantly appear right in front of one’s mask. The famous Captain Jacques Cousteau once said that the Philippine coral reefs diversity is the best in the world and Balicasag Reef Sanctuary is living proof of this remark.

After snorkeling for an hour or two, the travelers grab early lunch at the Balicasag Island where fresh fish can be bought and have a friendly local cook prepare it. By 1pm, the swimming travelers would be back in their resorts in Panglao and laze away the whole afternoon, reminiscing the excitement of Philippine dolphin watching at its finest.

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