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Situated in the Visaya Islands, Alona Beach is located in theThe waters near Alona Beach, Bohol south of Panglao Island, which is connected to the larger island of Bohol by bridges. Panglao Island is an increasingly popular tourist destination in The Philippines. Only about 25km long and 10km wide it is very easy to travel round. Lots of sandy coves and beaches fringe the island but it is Alona beach and the immediate surrounding area that attracts most holidaymakers in general and divers in particular.
Located in the middle of Alona Beach and surrounded by a tropical garden lays the Alona Vida Beach Resort which was built in December 2006 and is one of the most comfortable resorts on the island. Situated directly on the beach all the spacious deluxe rooms have air conditioning, cable TV and bathrooms with hot and cold shower. It also boasts a swimming pool which is located at the back of the resort under coconut trees.
The resorts Coco Vida Restaurant offers delicious European and Philippino dishes with a large selection of fresh seafood. Coco Vida Bar is well known for its large variety of exotic cocktails and plays a wide selection of music.
A vacation to Alona Beach can include a wide range of activities including relaxing on the white sandy beach, a trip to see a large group of dolphins or even a visit to Bohol's Chocolate Hills or visiting a Tarsier (smallest monkey in the world) sanctuary.
However, if it’s the diving you’ve come for, in the front part of the resort, only 25 m away from the sea, you will find the top equipped Sea Explorers diving-center. Sea Explorers is a PADI 5 Star centre and one of the first to be established in the area. The centre has all the facilities you would expect including Nitrox availability, (training pool), library, equipment hire, etc. There is also a newly established Technical Diving Centre.
The diving is great and it’s what keeps bringing divers back to the area. Within easy reach are a number of very well known sites in particular Balicasag and Pamilican.
Balicasag is a small island within a 40 minute journey from the dive centre. It is a marine sanctuary and the island is ringed by 40m deep walls which play host to hard and soft corals, nudibranch, shrimps and eels. Close to the wall are schools of snappers, fusiliers, turtles and mouth mackerel. Head out a little into the blue water and you may well see the schools of barracuda and big eyed jacks that have made residence here. Watch out too for passing giant trevally and tuna. Usually divers will do 3 dives a day here.
Pamilican is also about 40 minutes from Alona Beach and is excellent for drift dives – on occasions manta rays and even whale sharks have been spotted here.
Closer to the dive centre, Arco Point often has good currents. It also boasts a swim through tunnel and numerous soft corals. Moray eels, frog fish and even sea snakes are common here. The house reef is ideal for training and orientation dives there are a healthy variety of corals and numerous species of reef fish.
At Alona Beach the emphasis is firmly on sunbathing and diving which means a very relaxed feel to the place. Evenings are generally spent chatting with new friends and watching the star filled skies.
Photographs courtesy of Alona Vida Beach Resort & Sea Explorers