It was my first trip to Bohol in a while, and I wanted to get it right. Actually, let me back up, because I was in Bohol – the Philippine’s fourth largest island if memory serves –a couple of years ago. But, at that point, I wanted to purposely stay AWAY from all of the tourist-riff raff and opt for some peace quiet in nature, so I booked a little cabana on the Loboc River in the interior of the island. The place was ok and it definitely was quiet, but after one full day of sightseeing (I fly through most tourist attractions in 1/10 th the time it takes others), I feel ill with some soul-crushing flu or virus (maybe Dengue?) and couldn’t leave my room the next two days.
Needless to say, I was hoping for a better experience to Bohol this time, including some white sand beach, sun, and a little nightlife. So, I booked a Fast Craft ferry ride from my town of Dumaguete to the main city and port in Bohol, Tagbilaran, and then a bump 40-minute trike ride over the bridge to Panglao Island.
I’m super happy to announce that Panglau Island definitely delivers, as four days chilling (and working) in the popular Alona Beach area is good for the soul. However, not having been to Panglao Island or Alona Beach before, I wasn’t sure what hotel to book online before I came, but there was no way I could leave it to chance once I got there and explored because it’s the high season and a busy weekend.
So, I found a hotel – or hotel name – that I can always count on: Alona Swiss Beach Resort. I’ve found that any hotel with “Swiss,” “German,” or “Austria” in the name are usually well maintained, clean, and safe. They tend to be a little older, as there was a huge wave of Germans and their neighbors moving over to the Philippines in the 1980s and 90s, for some reason, and they all opened up their own hotels and/or restaurants.
This Swiss Hotel was a little hard to find, as the trike driver dropped me at the head of a dirt trail off the main street, too narrow or bumpy for his liking. After walking down, I did see the signs for the Alona Swiss Hotel and was pleasantly surprised.
The grounds are really gorgeous, with well-maintained landscaping, flowers, huge tropical bushes and plants, and more. Spread out among the grounds are smaller guest rooms and then bigger cabanas that are private. They even have a huge and clean pool to hang out at.
I was given a deluxe cabin because they actually couldn’t find my reservation, and it was perfect. With a big sitting area and “dirty” (outdoor) kitchen in front and a large double bed, twin bed, table, flat screen TV, aircon that kicks cold, and a modern, spotless bathroom.
I’m ecstatic with my stay at the Alona Swiss Beach Resort and Alona Beach in general. There are only two bones of contention I have with this hotel: it is NOT on the beach, despite the name. In fact, it’s an almost-significant 7-minute walk to the beach, which isn’t a big deal except you’re in the hot sun, up hills, fighting traffic and crowds. Also, there is no restaurant in the hotel, which I find curious -even for breakfast, although there are plenty of great places right next door (like Shaka).
Enjoy Alona Beach and Bohol!