The Central Visayas region was one of the first in the Philippines to become recognised as a major diving destination and Panglao island – an extension of larger Bohol – is definitely one of the best places to be based.
Alona Beach has many small hotels and dive centres dotted beneath coconut palms. Rows of native bancas, or outrigger canoes, line up along the shore, waiting for divers to head off and explore the huge number of dive sites around Panglao – including some really easy ones just off the gorgeous white sand beach.
However, what makes this such a must-do area for scuba divers is the access to other nearby islands like Balicasag, which is a designated marine sanctuary and Pamilican, a sunken island, which is a haven for sea snakes. All the reefs are in excellent condition, with nudibranchs, small fish and sea stars, schooling jacks, barracuda and huge fans.