Looking for a dreamy honeymoon destination? We found it for you
BY chance, are you planning a honeymoon in the Philippines, an archipelago of over 7,000 islands boasting endless white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters?
That’s just great. Unfortunately, the world knows all about them, so here is how to honeymoon without the tourists! This is your honeymoon after all, so why not start your lives together with the most romantic getaway yet in your own personal tropical paradise.
Choosing the right island for you
Panglao Island is a destination unlike any other. Located in a colorful corner of Bohol island, it is a hidden gem that offers some of the best beaches in the Philippines – and arguably the best sunsets.
With a sea of infinite blues and powdery white sand on your doorstep, Panglao should be top of your travel bucket list. Located just a hop across the water from Bohol’s main island and the city centre of Tagbilaran, day trips off the island are easily accessible by car, tricycle or motorbike depending on your sense of adventure.
Your own slice of paradise
Choosing your accommodation is key to designing the right getaway, and The Ananyana Beach Resort and Spa on Panglao Island is the perfect choice for some much-needed privacy.
Ananyana is the perfect paradise hideaway that honours the natural beauty of Bohol. Located just north of Panglao Bay, it is just a 30-minute drive from the airport (with free pick up and return transfers of course). Ananyana features modern amenities, superb service and an exquisite menu boasting fusion cuisine with everything from mouth-watering thin crust pizza to prawn tempura in squid ink or fresh tuna steak in rum-butter-ginger sauce. The more adventurous palate might even want to try the sea urchin tagliatelle.
Ananyana takes pride in its quiet, tranquil surroundings. An eco-focused initiative, this retreat offers peaceful typical nipa huts with grass thatched roofs made from local materials. The rooms’ interiors and furniture are largely built with bamboo giving the resort’s eleven rooms their unique native feel and the contemporary furniture is created by renowned designer Kenneth Cobonpue.
For newlyweds, there is surely no better option than the spacious open plan honeymoon suite. The room is bright and airy and comes with a large balcony overlooking the pool and with views of the ocean beyond.
Landscaped with palm trees and with hammocks and lounge chairs interspersed between the greenery, here you will find peace and tranquillity far from the hustle and bustle of city living.
Once you’ve had a chance to unwind and soak in the sun, you may consider getting out and exploring the surroundings. If so, the resort also provides bike rental and car rental to reach several of the nearby beaches and inland activities on Bohol Island.
Want a change from Ananyana’s delicious menu then tear yourself away and you will find dotted along the main stretch of Panglao Island, a choice of restaurants and bars in resorts overlooking the sea. Such as the Tarsier Paprika and The Bellevue resort which is just next door, feel like trying out the local cuisine, head into the centre of Tagbilaran for a night on the town.
There is an endless choice of beaches on Panglao to visit. Alona beach is perhaps the most popular and arguably the best, a 1.5 km stretch of white sand, vibrant crystalline water and the perfect spot for scuba diving. What Dumaluan beach, just next door, lacks in coral gardens, it surely makes up for it with its expansive white sandy beach, with shallow water great for swimming.
Beyond these on Panglao’s southern coast, you will find many more upmarket hotels and restaurants like the South Palms Resort and Amorita Resort which, with a small entry fee, provide the perfect for a spot for lunch by the pool or an afternoon cocktail on the beach. Bohol Beach Club’s beachside hammocks set against aqua waters will make you the envy of your Instagram followers.
Panglao has limitless activities begging to be explored from incredibly preserved Spanish churches to mangrove forests and waterfall treks but it is most renowned for its waters.
If swimming, snorkelling and diving are what you want then rent a private boat for the day to swim with whale sharks and then go on to Balicasag island to snorkel with turtles at turtle point and dive amongst vibrant corals and caves.
The Cebu whale shark watching can get very busy so I would recommend taking the boat in the early hours of the morning so as to not hit the big rush. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, they are such magnificent creatures and when else would you get to swim up close with the largest fish in the sea.
Balicasag island is a marine sanctuary and a literal paradise with pristine waters and untouched beaches. It is also particularly famous for its diving, with its rich marine life, and abundance of corals. The Black Forest of the most popular dive point, with its steep slope extended 40m. Diver’s Haven, The Royal Garden and Cathedral Wall are known for their caves and variety of fish and plants from jackfish to barracudas to eels living on various coral on this underwater plateau.
Turtle Point is where you will get close encounters with sea turtles at a 60 to 75m depth. The Balicasag Marine Sanctuary is the deepest dive in the area, with a wall dive that runs 200 meters deep. Don’t miss out on a visit.
If you still have some energy in you, go on to the picturesque Virgin Island for some final sun and sea before heading back to Panglao Island.
If you fancy a half day trip out, ask the boat to head to the sea between Balicasag Island and Pamilacan Island, where you can witness dolphins jumping and doing stunts in groups, usually in the early morning hours.
Up for some land-based adventure? Head to Bohol’s iconic Chocolate Hills on Bohol Island, an hour and a half drive from Panglao Island.
The chocolate hills are an unusual geological formation. A cluster of 1,268 uniquely stunning brown and green hills that come with a range of theories as to their origin, Whatever story you believe, they still baffle geologists to this day.
You can drive straight to the Chocolate Hills viewpoint or for the adventure sports lover, rent quad bikes and whizz through rice terraces and see the three sister hills and eight sister hills.
On your way home swing by the Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella, close to Tagbilaran city. Tiny animals with big eyes and soft fur, yes please!
Their 134-hectare sanctuary is dedicated to the protection of the Philippine tarsier, one of the smallest primates on earth which can fit in the palm of your hand. The majority of tarsier species are now endangered or threatened, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to get up close and observe these furry creatures while you still can.
After all that excitement, and before you head back to reality, be sure to take time to unwind, relax and rejuvenate at Mithi Spa and Resort. Just a 15-minute drive from Ananyana Resort, on a mountain top, it has exquisite views of the ocean. Spend the day in a choice of infinity pools and indulge in a large selection of treatments including couple’s massages, facials and body scrubs.
Back at Ananyana, sun-kissed, we collapsed into a hammock with a large glass or red, feeling like castaways in our own remote hideaway retreat.
We would really recommend The Ananyana Beach Resort and Spa on account of its price, location, restaurant, facilities and first-class service. If you want a quiet and private accommodation, Ananyana is perfect but if you want a bigger resort with more activities as your disposal, head to Alona Beach and you will find several to choose from.
Head to Boracay for partying, Palawan for adventure and exploring, But head to Panglao island for the ultimate romantic getaway and the right balance of activities and blissful beach time. Now get booking, the Philippine big blue awaits.