After a rugged night missing out on much needed slumber I arrived in the province of Bohol under sunny skies – barely escaping the wild weather brewing in Manila. I have been looking forward to a return trip to the island of Panglao and as I survey the scenery along the way I can feel sleep starting to take a grip of me. The idea of resting would soon come as I arrived at the doorsteps of Eco Hotel and was handed my room key fixed in a small wine cork. The amiable front desk staff smiled and welcomed me instantly. Preparing to nap the remaining morning I hurriedly entered my room – a King Studio nestled beside the garden side, only to be greeted by an interesting set of interior fixtures; the eco bricks adorning the walls of the shower room, the headboard made of reclaimed woods, up-cycled wine bottles turned into hanging light fixtures, a framed art work featuring intertwining tree branches and the wooden based aesthetics made from refurbished furnishing - all combined to give the room a unique and Earthly vibe.
The feeling of exhaustion from the trip was quickly replaced by a growing curiosity, as I shelve my need to rest and went outside of my room to explore the small yet charming space encompassing the rest of Eco Hotel. As I stepped out into the outdoor lounge, I met four female Spanish travelers who were staying at the Dormitels wing of Pops District – which is built a few meters from the hotel and offers dorm type of rooms for the more budget conscious travelers. They offered me breakfast consisting of bread, I said “Si salamat” as I grabbed a piece.
We were huddled around a table at the breakfast area built around a century old tree. The setting dishes a more provincial feel typical of island living. A stark contrast to the huge and modern themes that dominate the insides of the surrounding resorts in the island.
Wooden floors, tables and counter tops highlighted by hanging recycled bottles further inject that eco-friendly feeling to the hotel. Because they were heading out to catch an afternoon flight out of Tagbilaran, our small talk lasted for a few minutes as they excused themselves to pack their stuff. Under the giant shade of the century old tree I plotted my itinerary for the day. I decided to rent a motorcycle or a mountain bike the next day while I take it easy the rest of the afternoon.
The notion of sleeping was soon thumped out of my mind as I stretched my feet and enjoyed the cool breeze of the wind. For the next three nights I would find the modest yet pleasant character of Eco Hotel as the perfect base of my brief stay in the island of Panglao. Quiet, less crowded and not too far from the beach and the nightly happenings.
Situated an easy 10 minute walking distance away from Alona Beach and smack in the emerging Pops District along Ester A. Lim Drive, Eco Hotel sits in the middle of an exciting part of Panglao where rows of restaurants, pubs, convenience stores and tour offices dots the street leading to the aqua blue waters of Alona Beach.
|The Family Room|
Back in my room I noticed the other features such as the fully-equipped small kitchenette, solar powered shower heater, flat screen TV and a soft King-sized bed that has been calling me out to doze since I arrived. Surrendering to its heed, I spent my first few hours in Panglao making up for lost sleep.
The next day, the helpful front desk helped me in finding a place to rent a mountain bike – ditching my plans of exploring the island on a motorbike. This way, I will have a much needed cardio workout since I have already missed gym time for a few days. My next few mornings in Panglao was spent on riding the bicycle taking me as far as Baclayon Church and to other less crowded beaches such as Bikini Beach. After each day of tiring exploration, I found myself fortunate to have a place to recharge my energy, as comfortable and homey as Eco Hotel.
Almost lost among the towering walls of its neighboring beach resorts, Eco Hotel occupies a space where one can still feel the island ambiance while being surrounded by artistic representations of nature. At nighttime as the other guests lounge by the common area, the atmosphere turns notches more 'chill' as mellowed talks of travel floats away under the signature upcycled spoon lanterns adorning the branches of the century old tree.
About Eco Hotel Alona
Address: Pops District, Ester Lim Drive, Alona Beach Area, Panglao Island, Bohol, 6340 Panglao City, Philippines
Central Reservations (open daily from 8am to 6pm)
+63 2 8815318 to 19
Alona Hotline (after 6pm): +63 917 8553869 / +63 38 4228490