Friday, 18 January 2019

Philippines - Batangas to Panglao Island

Saturday, 15th December -  Batangas
After an afternoon refreshing dip in the pool at the compound where our daughter Karina and husband Thomas live, we got ready to go into town for an early dinner at the Estasyon Restaurant.

The always empty pool, Coconut trees surround the area and Jose on the diving board

Because we were 7 and instead of Thomas or Karina having to return home to get the others, Karina, Jose and Benoir (Thomas brother) took a tricycle into town.         I went outside the gates to see them off and take a photo.

Jose sits behind the driver and Karina and Benoir on the sidecar

Lunch was tasty and good value. 
Because Thomas's Mom Isabelle is celiac she is always worried about the food she eats and Karina had an internet printout in Tagalog and English about what foods to avoid. Every time we would go out, the list would be handed to the waiter to give to the Chef. 
This time there was nothing that was safe to eat, so Karina asked if they could just prepare boiled vegetables or a salad and a couple of boiled eggs, and Isabelle was happy with that.

Karina had mentioned this restaurant had the best coconut pies, so everybody was eager to try them, but when dessert time came the young waitress said they only had 1 pie available as the others had been pre-booked for people coming later for dinner.

One pie was ordered, it was huge so it was cut in 4, with Isabelle not able to eat it and Karina and Thomas not eating either as they could have it any other time.
The pie really was special with slivers of real coconut in the cream, the crunchy biscuits and perfect pastry case.

Estasyon Restaurant, the famous coconut pie

The European looking houses across from the restaurant was an Hotel, the local Church and the SM Shopping mall

After the early dinner we walked about 10 or 15 minutes down the road to the Brewista Coffee & Hookah Lounge, where we had been the day before, so that the coffee drinkers could get their espresso adrenaline shot 😉.
Even though we were walking on the pavement once in a while a tricycle would climb on the pavement to overtake a car or jeepney. Although they drove slowly we still glued ourselves to the other side so as not to get clipped by them.

On our return home we packed our bags and made sure our possessions weren't left behind, as the next day we would be leaving to Panglao island.

Walking to the coffee shop after dinner (Thomas's dad on the right at top)

Sunday, 16th December - Panglao Island
We woke up very early as we would be picked up by the driver (that Karina and Thomas usually hire)  at 7am on the dot, and he would drive us to the Airport in Manila.
We had a quick coffee stop midway the 80kms to Manila and arrived at the Airport just after 9am.

Manila Airport, our Air Asia flight, taking off over a foggy Manila

We joined the throngs of people in one of the queues, but a few minutes later an Air Asia official redirected half the queue to the other end of the airport.
Don't know why they haven't figured out that it would be easier to have one queue and then have people go to whatever counter is free instead of having a dozen different queues and then have people come from left, right and center when someone from the counter calls 😡 and then people getting upset that someone has gone ahead of them! 

After about 1 hour we managed to dispatch the bags and went through Security, which was actually reasonably quick.
The Domestic airport looked old and obviously not big enough for the amount of people that travel through it. The waiting lounge for all flights was crowded, and the smell of typical food being sold from the shops behind us was a bit nauseating so early in the morning...

Even though our tickets mentioned we were flying to Tagbilaran Airport in the Island of Bohol, we were told that that old airport had closed on the 27th November, and our new destination airport would be the newly opened Bohol-Panglao International Airport.
The brand new "green" airport will be able to handle 2 million passengers a year.

Almost there - flying over turquoise waters

NEW BOHOL AIRPORT. The Bohol-Panglao International Airport will be the sole commercial airport servicing the province starting November 28, 2018. Photo from Cebu Pacific
The new modern Bohol-Panglao Airport (photo from net)

We took off from Manila at 11,40am and arrived 1,30h later, retrieved our bags from the carousel, and outside the driver from the Bluewater Panglao Resort was waiting for us.
Bags loaded, passengers strapped in and 15 minutes later we arrived at the resort.
We were warmly greeted by the staff, filled in the paperwork and left our suitcases to be delivered to our rooms after the 3pm check in time.

Street sign for the resort

The resort reception hall with the main pool in the background

Next came an orientation tour and finally we were taken to the restaurant close to the beach so we could have lunch as we were all starving!

On the way to the restaurant I could see that arrangements were being finalised for a wedding renewal taking place later that afternoon - the ceremony under a tree canopy and a dinner table under twinkling lights was being set on the small private beach by the restaurant. 

On the way to the Eating hall - corridor of bamboo, bridge over pond

Wedding preparations at the resort
The Meals room opened to the beach on one side and one of the pools on the other

After lunch Karina and Thomas had a meeting with Sunshine, the wedding planner, while the rest  of us went back to Reception.  The porters carried our luggage into our separate rooms, two on each side of the two level building.  Not sure why but two of the couples were given twin beds, and the other two got queen beds. Still, the queen beds were large enough for two people and the room was spacious. The beds hung on the wall, no legs...

View from our bedroom, the spacious bathroom with a shower under a skylight and the spacious bedroom

Views of the main pool with a little island in the middle

Infinity pool next to the Eating Cabana  and leading to the beach


After unpacking I returned to the beach area to take photos of the sun set at 5,30pm.

Sunset at the Bluewater Panglao resort beach

The Christmas decorations in the gardens were lit when I returned from the beach

From 2 to 4 pm and from 6 to 8 pm the Resort Bar had Happy-Hour. That evening before going to dinner at the resort restaurant we got together at 7pm for a drink. My choice was a delicious Pina Colada 😄.

Happy Hour at the Resort bar and 2 Pina Coladas

Our first day in Panglao Island was over, and it was a very happy day 😉.
Bohol Island (right) and Panglao Island (left). Our resort was next to Alona Beach (bottom left)

Manila to Bohol-Panglao islands


  1. The resort certainly looks idyllic!

  2. Have just been back to catch up on last post too Sami.. goodness you have had some fun and games at a few of the airport's! I would say this was, once again, a successful holiday.. It's all in the planning ✨

    1. This time Karina organized it all Grace, I just booked our flights to Manila and back, everything else she booked. Thanks to her we had a great time :)

  3. Such beauty. I had some of the food and I drank one of the drinks.

    Have a fabulous day. ♥

    1. Thanks Sandee, hope it was to your taste, lol.

  4. Being on any kind of restricted diet must make it really difficult to eat in a restaurant. It's bad enough if its for religious reasons, but if the consumption of some items is life threatening that is obviously a bigger problem.

    1. I really felt bad for Isabelle, half the time she ate salads and eggs, but she was ok with it. It's one of the reasons they don't travel much, because they don't speak English well they are scared to be unable to communicate her problems. Thanks David.

  5. Oh mi gosh that looks amazing! You certainly do get around - I love following along on your adventures.

  6. Discutiu os preços das viagens previamente?
    É que pode apanhar surpresas.
    Para ir, 100.
    Para voltar, 200.
    O mesmo caminho, o mesmo transporte.
    Aconteceu a um amigo meu.

    1. Sim Pedro, a Karina ja e "expert" nisso e era ale que regateava precos.
      Nos taxis so com o taximetro ligado, senao discutia precos para serem identicos ao que ela sabia ser o normal. Em Panglao era sempre 100php para ir do resort ao centro da vila.

  7. That pool is always empty??? What a waste, aw, if I had such a pool (and the heat)...
    I´ve never seen such a tricycle, doesn´t look that comphy for adults.
    Eating out. Sadly always an adventure for some, I can relate...
    The pie sounds delicious, and you found a good way to have that only one, too.

    Ingo must have some Filipino blood, he always has all queues in view, seeking for the quickest/shortest, driving me nuts!
    The resort looks beautiful, you need to trust those beds, though, no....

    A very happy day does sound wonderful :-)

    1. Sadly there were hardly ever any people in the 2 pools, but I suppose people are always out seeing the sights. I just swam twice in the 5 days we spent there. Some of those tricycles are too low for tall Westerners, in some we had to sit sideways as they didn't really fit 2 people comfortably. Others were more upmaket, lol, more spacious, higher...
      The resort was beautiful and the beds comfortable, I actually didn't realised the bed was hanging on the wall until the last day :)

  8. Ii should know to never be hungry when I visit you. You eat more than any family I know. Poor Isabelle. I would hate to have such a restrictive diet, but Karina seemed to know exactly how to handle the situation.

    That's a lovely resort. I would be relaxed there, too.

    1. Lol Elizabeth, I tend to only eat 3 meals a day.
      I agree Isabelle has to be very careful and avoid all gluten, which in Asia with the use and abuse of soy and other sauces was a no-no for her. Luckily Karina was always on top of the situation :)

  9. Estou a gostar de fazer esta viagem através das fotos da minha amiga, aproveito para desejar um bom fim-de-semana.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
    O prazer dos livros

    1. Obrigada Francisco, ainda bem que esta a gosta. Bom fim de semana para si tambem :)

  10. What a wonderful looking retreat!

    1. It was beautiful indeed. Thanks Revrunner.

  11. It all looks so tropical and nice! Especially the coconut pies!
    The resort looks great too, and with two happy hours to keep all guests happy.

    1. Thanks Sara, lots of coconuts and delicious mangoes everywhere.
      The resort was beautiful.
      Thanks for the lovely email :)

  12. Dearest Sami,
    Another adventurous couple of days for you!
    Hah, talking about queue jumpers, like in Indonesia, they would slip past and under you before you even knew what happened!
    Wonder about those hanging beds, no legs for support... For some heavy weight Americans it could mean disaster!
    Anxious to read your next post...

    1. Lol, Filipinos are not the only ones then :)
      Don't know how the hanging beds work, I suppose too much weight could be a problem, lol.
      Have a lovely weekend.

  13. The coconut pie sounds delish but that resort is really something to die for! It's gorgeous. I could never imagine a reception room like that. It's -12F today here and just looking at this warms me up a bit!

    1. I was quite impressed with the Reception as well, it was tropical :)
      The coconut pie was super delicious. Thanks Jeanie.

  14. Goodness me it all looks fabulous … but those hanging beds are different!

    All the best Jan

    1. Thanks Jan, weird at first as I worried about it supporting two people, but it was ok.

  15. Dear Sami! These are super beautiful memories! I am so honored and happy that you liked my country and our islands! I have been to Bohol but never set foot to Panglao which is one of the best islands in our country :) I also love that you guys got to try the tricycle and jeepney, they are my modes of transport and commute to work HAHA

    1. We enjoyed the tiny bit we saw of the Philippines. The people were super friendly, the food was good too. Enjoyed the tricycle, but travelled by jeepney in Manilla and it was scary :)


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