Ashiyana Resort, Alona Beach

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Alona Beach

Ashiyana Resort, Alona Beach

To get to Alona beach, we needed to arrange transport from Pangangan in central Bohol. We left our guesthouse at Isla Hayahay, and took a trike to the bus stop on the main road (100 pesos). We then took a yellow air conditioned bus down the coast road to Tagbilaran (26 pesos).

The bus wasn’t busy, but the driver was moving like he was in a real hurry, and we were tearing along. He was possibly inspired by the movie they were showing on the overhead screen (Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, about a runaway bus…).

Tagbilaran Mall

Tagbilaran Mall, Panglao

Tagbilaran – Central Hub before Panglao

The bus took about an hour to reach Tagbilaran, where we found ourselves in a large, busy car park full of jeepneys and trikes. There was a market on one side, and a large shopping mall on the other.

The mall was well stocked with goodies, including ready-cooked suckling pig (Lechon).

Ashiyana Resort, Alona Beach

The infamous Philippines Lechon

We took the opportunity to load up on snacks, fruit and wine (only 200 pesos for a bottle of red!) from the mall before jumping in a trike and heading for Alona Beach on Panglao island (300 pesos).

The ride from Tagbilaran to Alona beach took about 30 minutes, with access along a narrow causeway. The total travel time from Pangangan to Alona beach was 2 hours -excluding shopping.

Alona Beach… A Pleasant Surprise

Alona beach came as quite a pleasant surprise. If you read up about it online as we did, you get the impression that this is an overcrowded tourist magnet. It’s true enough that we saw more tourists here than anywhere else, but (in March at least), its not overcrowded.

In fact, there’s plenty of space on the beach during the day, and its pleasantly animated during the evening. No head-banging music, just 2 or 3 groups of talented musicians playing laid back reggae and blues.

Alona beach restaurants in the evening

Alona beach restaurants in the evening

There are a couple dozen reasonably-priced restaurants (count on around 600 pesos for a meal for two, including beer), and plenty of bars offering all-day happy hour discounts.

Cocktails on Alona Beach

Cocktails on Alona Beach

There are around a dozen or more dive/snorkeling shops where you can rent gear and arrange dive trips. One days rental of snorkeling equipment costs 300 pesos.

We found an internet cafe just behind our resort, and you can get a 1-hour massage at many locations along the beach for 300 pesos.

Alona Beach - Looking towards the snorkeling area

Alona Beach – Looking towards the snorkeling area

The beach itself is only about 700 metres long and from 10 to 30 metres wide. Its called a ‘white’ beach, but I reckon that’s more to do with the colour of the newly-arrived tourists than the quality of the sand 😉

Alona Beach, Panglao in the afternoon

Alona Beach, Panglao in the afternoon

Heading up the road away from the beach, you can find a variety of small souvenir shops and food stores, as well as some less expensive but equally good eateries. There’s also a European-style pub called Helmut’s, if you feel the need.

Helmut's Place at Alona Beach

Helmut’s Place at Alona Beach

Ashiyana Resort, Alona Beach

For our accommodation, we booked the Ashiyana Resort, just 5 minutes walk from Alona Beach. This is a beautiful little gallery lodge with 7 or 8 ground floor apartments comprising a good sized bedroom, shower room and toilet.

Ashiyana Resort, Alona Beach

Ashiyana Resort, Alona Beach

The style is very Feng shui and comfortable. The staff are helpful and attentive, providing mosquito coils in the outdoor sitting gallery.

Hot and cold water is provided on tap, and a good breakfast (included in the 32 euro price) is served at a private table in front of your room. There is also a solid combination safe in the room.

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The location is quiet, yet close to the action. The only drawback with this place is there aren’t full solid walls between each lodge. This means you can clearly hear all speech and activities in the adjoining lodges, as if they were in the same room. This is the only negative point we have with this place, but it is a significant one.

Moving on to Loboc

Following our 3-day stay at Alona beach, we were next heading back up north to Loboc. Here we anticipated a change in pace and scenery, with a 3-night stay by the river at the Fox & Firefly resort.

Article updated in May 2019  (originally published in 2015)

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2 Comments

Ayman

September 11, 2015at 6:07 pm

I’ve been to Bohol 3x times already. 1st xmas holiday vacation with my family: 2nd a treat to my Dad’s first airplane ride and visit to his mothers’ home province. 3rd summer vacation with all my in-laws. I wish you’d included Dolphin watching on your itineraries.

    SandSpice

    September 12, 2015at 5:54 pm

    Unfortunately, our time in the Philippines was limited. If we had a few extra days, we would have tried the Whale Shark experience in Cebu. We only heard about this when we got to Bohol, and didn’t have the time to take the trip (you can do this as a full-day trip from Alona beach, but it includes a lot of travelling back and forth).

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