A week on Alona Beach, Bohol, Philippines
Anybody who knows me knows that I’m all about beaches. And Alona Beach is one to remember.
The beach is beautiful, with powder-like white sand and coconut trees leaning out toward the blue-green waters. Although I’m usually not a fan of beaches crowded with boats, I love the outrigger style white and blue boats they use in the Philippines, so to me, it just added to that tropical feeling. And the sunsets. Wow!
As much as I love being at the beach, I rarely spend any time just sitting in the sun. In fact, one of my goals in visiting the beach was to get some work done, so I spent a lot of time just sitting in the restaurant working on my laptop.
This was not, however, always an easy thing to do. The Philippines is a decidedly friendly place, and people, both Filipino and foreign alike, will stop by for a chat. In most cases, people just stopped to ask about how I was getting a wireless connection (I wasn’t), or about the size of my super small “Toughbook” laptop. At least two times, that resulted in an afternoon of chatting over beers with some very interesting travellers. And one time, as I was sitting there working, I was approached by a group of Tourism students from Mindanao, in the south of the Philippines. We talked for ages, and finally took a few pics together. Not that I needed any to remember: experiences like that are the ones that I always remember.
Due to the last minute nature of this trip, I had difficulty finding a place to stay. Indeed, I actually found a place by calling places listed in Lonely Planet as I drove in the taxi to the airport in Manila. As is typically the case on beach resorts here, every place is fully booked when you call. This is entirely due to budget travellers who walk up the beach looking to save an extra 200 pesos a night on a room, leaving a long line of reserved “just in case” rooms in their wake. The best option is to just book one night in advance anywhere you can, then spend your first day doing research up the beach seeing what’s out there.
On this trip, I spent my first two nights at the Alona Kew White Beach Resort. Although it is well landscaped (see the bungalow pic above), it is a CRAP place to stay. It is way overpriced — 4,000pesos a night for a room that is falling apart. They couldn’t even bother to put in a holder for the shower, which had fallen out long before. Basically, they took a budget bungalow, put in an air conditioner and a hot-water system, and raised the price by 500%. I don’t have a good thing to say about the place.
For the next 5 nights, however, I DID have a great place to stay. I was lucky to find the Lost Horizon resort, (http://www.losthorizonresort.net/about-us) just a minute walk down the beach. The owners, Duane from the US and Mennie from the Philippines, are fantastic people and they have raised the bar in terms of service and quality on that beach. The room I had was spacious, clean, everything worked, and the walk-in shower was a treat, as they are one of only 2 places on the beach with fresh, hot-water showers (most places use a semi-salty kind of water). The bar was great, the food was good (try the baby-back ribs), and the tables by the beach made working a pleasure.
But there are some good places. As I wrote above, Lost Horizon is great. Other good places based on reports from people I met there were the Isis Resort, and the Alona Vida resort. In fact, I usually ate and had beers at the Alona Vida every night. The owners, Thomas and Brenda from Switzerland are VERY cool, and the head barman, June, runs the bar with a professionalism you rarely see. All of the waitresses were so friendly and nice, it was hard to say goodbye. Definitely worth a visit there, even if you can’t get a room (it’s usually fully booked).
We’ll be going to Bohol a few hours from now so I am browsing on blogs about what I can do in Alona and I came across your old blogsite. So, yeah, I’m excited that we have booked our stay in Lost Horizon after reading this blog. We’ll be staying in Alona only for a night and come back here in Cebu on Sunday.But I can’t wait to experience even a day in it! It’s gonna be my first time. Thanks to your post, it gave me enough insights!
Glad this post could help. Make sure you do the touristy thing and rent a taxi and do the Chocolate Hills. And if you post it on hour own blog, give me a heads up as I’d like to see how Lost Horizon is after all these years 🙂
oh we’re just staying for a night, so I’m guessing we’ll be staying around the beach and make the most out of it. Unfortunately, we won’t be doing the Chocolate Hills 😦 But it’s good enough that we can spend a night in Alona, for a first timer like me. haha I hope I can blog about it. But then,Im kinda busy with work. hahaha But I’ll definitely let you know how our stay in Lost Horizon will be! And will might show you some photos. I’ll be spending the overnight with my instagram-community. Definitely, we’ll have photos. 😀 Thanks! 😀
Yeah, I’m on instagram, also. Not sure how to search people on there. I mostly use it just to post to Facebook. lol As for Alona, at night I actually would walk up to the Alona Vida hotel — they had a restaurant on the sand and a bar with a couple of cool bartenders who were great to talk with. I definitely gotta get back down there. Well, there, Camotes Island, Bantayan Island and back to Malapascua etc etc etc…just no end to the gorgeous places I want to see or visit again in the Phils!!! Have an awesome visit to Alona! Are you based out of Manila? Then I guess it’s easy to get there again directly to Tagbilaran.
I’m currently based in Cebu. But I’ve stayed in Davao and Leyte during my childhood years. Then, Cebu to Manila. And now, Im back in Cebu. haha Whats your Instagram name? I’ll follow you! 😀 And oh how I envy your job! hahaha! Been going to Bantayan before but I havent gone back since I came home here in Cebu last year.
On Instagram I’m fareast555
As for Cebu, I’m not sure if I would want to be based in the city there for the long term, but as the gateway to so many beautiful places, it would be nice to hang there for a bit!
Hey I just nominated you for two awards. In order to qualify you have to answer the questions that are in my post and nominate 10 others that you think deserve the awards. Congratulations!! Manboy.
Thanks! I’ll check it out!