Pamilacan Island is a tourist destination in Panglao, Bohol that’s known not just for its charm, but for its dolphins and whale sharks. The water surrounding this island has a rich variety of marine life. Its abundant coral reefs make it a haven to these magnificent creatures.
About Pamilacan Island
According to our boatman, the dolphins and whale sharks are mostly out early in the morning only. For this reason, this island has become the common “first stop” for island hoppers.
The island got its name from the Filipino word pilak. It is a large hook for catching manta rays, whale sharks and Bryde’s whale. Today, the islanders are not catching those sea creatures anymore but are helping to preserve them. With the help of the government, their livelihood changed from fishing to become tour guides.
This island is part of the list of protected areas of the Philippines administered by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau under the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992.
Exploring the Pamilacan Island Area
Like most visitors, we never set foot on this island. Most tourists only come to its nearby waters just to watch the dolphins and whale sharks. My regret is our failure to ask the boatman to take us on the island itself not just near it. The island has a 200-year-old Spanish fort. It used to be a watch station for pirates and enemies of the Spanish colony. Even just a short walk on its white sand beach would have been nice. There might have been an additional charge, but I think it should be part of the island hopping package since we’re close to the island already.
Some people book in its one and only resort which is the Pamilacan Island Paradise Hotel. The price of their rooms ranges from P5,000.00 – P17,000.00 depending on the season which I based on Agoda’s online booking website. Details of rates for meals and amenities can be found on their website http://www.pamilacanislandparadise.com/rates.html. This is definitely not an option for us since we’re trying to keep our expenses as low as possible.
Spotting the Dolphins and Whale Sharks
Finding the dolphins was a bit challenging that morning. I was already thinking that they may never show up anymore and we’ll end up heading to the next island empty sighted. It might have taken us 30-45 minutes to spot them. The boatmen were really working together to spot one. When one of them finds the dolphins, that boatman gives everyone a signal.
Unfortunately, there were no whale sharks or Bryde’s whales when we went there. The boatman said that they appear from time to time, but it’s really tough to spot them. We later went to Oslob, Cebu because we were eager to have a close encounter with the whale sharks. It was really a one of a kind experience.