Our Family’s First Panglao Adventure: A Day to Remember

Imagine waking up to a perfect sunny day in Panglao, just right for an island tour. That’s how our adventure began. After a quick chat with a friendly tourist guide, we chose a private tour just for the five of us. For Php6000 ($120), which covered the car and the driver’s fee, we felt like we had the freedom to explore at our own pace. Our driver, an expert on the island, mapped out our day, which would take us from ancient churches to refreshing caves.

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Nostalgia of Dauis Church

Our first stop was the Dauis Church, a serene sanctuary known for its blend of Byzantine and Romanesque architecture, not to mention a miraculous well right inside the church believed to have healing properties. The drive there was a breeze, less than 20 minutes with no traffic, a welcome change if you’re from the city. Stepping inside, I was hit with a wave of nostalgia, the church’s solemn atmosphere and beautiful ceiling artworks reminded me of the old church at our place back in Manila.

church aisle with black and white tiles, with traditional church chairs and artwork on the ceiling and some people inside the church

Cool Off at Hinagdanan Cave

From there, we headed to Hinagdanan Cave. This natural wonder was found by accident and is famed for its dramatic stalactites and stalagmites and a clear underground pool. The cool interior was a refreshing escape from the heat, and the faint sounds of bats added to its mystical vibe. My kid was intrigued, and even though I skipped a swim, just watching the clear water from a distance was quite an experience.

3 women wearing outdoor clothes, and a small girl all inside a cave with the background of a pool of water
here’s my family NOT wearing a swimwear in Hinagdanan Cave

Discoveries at Nova Shell Museum

Then it was on to the Nova Shell Museum. This place is a treasure trove with one of the largest collections of marine shells in the Philippines. My four-year-old daughter was absolutely enchanted, her excitement was very visible as she discovered shells of all shapes, colors, and sizes. Her countless questions and bright-eyed wonder made this visit particularly memorable for me.

a small girl infront of shelves with different shells looking at a shell shaped like a seahorse

Panglao Church’s Majestic Watchtower

A quick stop at Panglao Church allowed us to marvel at its massive watchtower and ancient religious artifacts housed within Spanish colonial architecture. Although we couldn’t go inside, the surrounding park-like area provided a tranquil spot for a brief rest.

panglao church on the left with a tourist taking a picture and the watchtower with a man with glasses in a blue shirt on the right

A Flavorful Lunch at Bohol Bee Farm

By noon, we were ready for a break at Bohol Bee Farm. The farm no longer keeps bees, but their commitment to organic farming and sustainable practices is impressive. I sneaked a peek at the ice cream making process where they used honey as a natural sweetener. We then enjoyed a meal at their restaurant overlooking the ocean. The grilled ribs with mango were a hit, I even contemplated a second helping but decided against it, much to my wife’s relief.

grilled spare ribs with mango strips and a side of green salad on a white plate

Relaxing at Alona Beach

With the afternoon sun high in the sky, we decided to cool off back at our hotel before venturing to Alona Beach around 5 PM. The beach was lively with a festive vibe, yet it wasn’t too crowded. Watching the sunset while listening to the soothing waves was incredibly relaxing and a perfect way to wind down the day.

man sipping an iced coffee on the beach

Evening Fun at Alona Square

Our final stop was Alona Square, where my daughter played to her heart’s content in both the indoor and outdoor playgrounds. We ended our day with dinner at Gerry’s Grill, enjoying live music and an unexpected fire dance show.

a girl playing inside a ballpit inside a kids playground

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