NOT all life exists in the seas around Panglao – there is a lot of it on land too. It may not be as diverse as the wildlife on the plains of Africa, or in the jungles of Borneo, but it is just as wonderful and wild and equally as old as time itself.
A prime island for ecotourism - where man and nature live together in peace and harmony, instead of in competition with the needs of each other - Panglao residents are putting their established fame for friendliness to wok for their betterment by showing how it can be done.
Tami Farms at Doljo is one instance: there former film director, producer, stuntman and ex-Elvis Presley bodyguard Mike Stone (the undefeated World Karate Champion) and his wife have set up a business, which not only helps the local community produce food on a commercial scale, but have also made it a visitor-friendly tourist destination for old and young alike.
Although in its’ infancy, the farm is already attracting many viewers and beginning to sell its’ produce to them and helping local employment at the same time.
In the middle of the island, just outside of Lourdes, Daks and Gams Wildlife Park has been established to show the original wildlife of the island, which existed before man decided to populate it.
Varieties of animals that are indigenous to the island - and that of adjoining Bohol itself - are on display. These include the rarely seen coconut crab, which climb local trees and have claws powerful enough to snip off a coconut for a snack or chop off unwary fingers that come too close, plus many snakes and a wide variety of large lizards, monkeys and birds, including the Philippine Sea eagle.
On occasions, you may even find a pool containing young rescued sea turtles, which have been collected from local fishermen’s nets and are usually taking a little bit of rest and recuperation before being returned to the sea.
Just a short distance away from that, on the road to Dauis from Alona, Vicky Wallace and her partner have set up the Bohol Bee Farm, which is adjacent to Chicken City, which not only supplies birds for the table in vast quantities but also provides local cockfight aficionados with fresh stock.
The bees on Panglao also manage to work part-time for the growers of hectares of maize and mango trees on Panglao: the busy little bees in trees pollinate the mangoes, buzz the nectar back to the farm on the next scheduled flight, and happily make honey into money for Vicky.
Open to the public close to the ever-expanding Chicken City, the bee farm began after Vicky got a bee in her bonnet about the health-giving properties of honey, that sweet. supersaturated sugar solution that is manufactured by bees to feed their larvae and for subsistence during the period when flowers are scarce: then a solution of sugar and water has to be provided for them if there is not enough comb left undisturbed in the larder.
Honey from the farm can be bought - plus some crafts made locally - in various localities around the Visayas and not many people have visited and left without a jar or two of honey in their hands after tasting samples.
Not far away is the Panglao Bird Sanctuary, a large area of mangrove swamp, which attracts migrating and resident birds all-the-year-round.
Thirteen endemic species for Panglao Island have been recorded in the area so far by Silliman University investigators from Dumaguete.
The Cattle Egret was noted as the most abundant species at Danao barangay’s inland lagoon and inter-tidal flats, where the Wandering Whistling Duck and the Philippine Mallard were recently spotted and were previously unrecorded on the island.
On top of that, Panglao Island itself is noted as one of the major stopping off, resting and refueling points for birds migrating from China to Australia and back each year and shows a need to conserve this site for future generations to enjoy.
Watch out for the signs on the road near the Blue Sky-Sea Resort as you drive back to Alona Beach from Tagbilaran.
Kilroy Was Here © 2006