What's up with Bohol?

Photo: Dauis Church from bohol-philippines.com

What's up with Bohol?*
TRAVEL UPDATE By Marlinda Angbetic Tan (The Freeman)
Updated July 15, 2010 12:00 AM

I have just been to Bohol last weekend to attend the wedding of Enrico Miquiabas, a handsome young man teaching in an International School in Mainland China, to Austrian (of Italian descent) Maria Kattavenos who looks like a dark-haired Barbie doll. The wedding took place in the charming 16th century church of Our Lady of the Assumption Shrine in Dauis. There were over 20 Austrians who came all the way to Bohol for the wedding, while we were close to 50 from all over the Philippines representing the groom’s side.

That was my fifth wedding in Bohol, of couples who came to this lovely province for a vacation, loved with the ancient churches and the white sand beaches and decided to make Bohol their wedding venue. It helps that the resorts are ideal for romantic wedding receptions, with staff eager to give newlyweds a moment to last their lifetime. Marching down the aisle of a centuries-old place of worship, lit by the glow of intricate altar retablos and glittering chandeliers hanging from high ceilings, elicits overall dignity lent by the historic landmark.

Bohol also provides lots of attractions and diversions for the visitors. Tours can be easily arranged for the Loboc River cruise, over lunch or at night. Of course, the fame of the healthy dishes you get at Bee Farm – all organic ingredients freshly picked from the gardens – should not be missed. Don’t forget to have a photo taken with you holding a beehive!

Not to be outdone are the cuddly tarsiers, huge-eyed tiny mouse-like creatures, which can be viewed up close near the pier where you get unto your daytime river cruise. Then, a couple of hours away from Tagbilaran are the equally world-famous Chocolate Hills. The climb up to the viewing deck may be challenging but well worth it.

The Bohol Beach Club, where we stayed and where the beachside reception took place, boasts of having the longest beach area in Panglao Island (where most of the white sand resorts are located). Service is also excellent, even if room facilities need upgrading as this resort is the pioneer upscale resort in Panglao established way back during the Marcos era. Food is delicious and prices are reasonable, the reason why locals prefer to spend day trips here.

However, there are resorts nearby that price themselves way out of competition. Marketing for these places are probably done out of the country, as room rates are ridiculously high -- what we call “dollar-pegged prices.” I will not mention names but you will be astounded as to their price range after you check the vicinity they are in, amenities notwithstanding.

Yet, one can find Boracay-like gaiety and party-like atmosphere along Alona Beach where resort rates are much more pocket-friendly. The young travelers and families stay in this area and they do wedding receptions as elegantly as the high-end resorts. Beware! The noise level, like in Boracay, may not be ideal for a relaxing break. Stay here if you want to party all night and wake up late the next morning. (No guarantee for early morning peace, though! Travelers arrive at all hours here.)

Bohol is fast overtaking Cebu as the preferred destination. With convenient flights direct from Manila, as well as almost hourly trips to Cebu and to other islands in the Visayas and Mindanao (three shipping lines ply the fastcraft ferry routes: Supercat, Ocean Jet and Weesam), Bohol has become tantalizingly accessible.

Take a day trip to Bohol: early morning Cebu-Bohol boat trip (two hours) which allows for a city tour and even a side trip to the Chocolate Hills. Lunch can be at either Bee Farm or the Loboc River lunch cruise. Then catch the trip back to Cebu by 5pm.

Travel easy now!


First accessed from The Freeman newspaper on 16 July 2010.


mikeygatal said...

went to Dauis, Bohol last year, they sell blessed holy water now.i love it there and played tennis with some of my tennis buddies.


Anonymous said...

I was quite happy to stay in the place next to Bohol Beach Club, even easier on the pocket! That was there was more money for Scuba Diving, Karaoke, good food, and plenty of SMB! Life doesn't get much better than that, unless maybe you LIVE there! Kano gyud

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