Sunday, July 1, 2007

Bohol, here I come again!

View from the Tagbilaran-Panglao Bridge

If there were a place that I sought the most for my holiday destinations, it would be no other than Bohol. I was first introduced to this beautiful island through a very good friend of mine, Bianca. Her family owns a quaint boutique beach resort in the east of Panglao Island called, “Amarela”. I was invited to visit Bohol sometime July of 2006 and from then on I’ve frequented the island. Each time I went for a visit I have never failed to discover so many new things about the place and people of Bohol.

Bianca with the Lost Sputnik

And true enough; in my fourth visit to Bohol, I finally went pass the stage of what most tourists do. I came to understand a bit more about Bohol, its people and its heritage.

Tina and I were lucky to have been accommodated by Bianca and her Dad, Tito Doy. We could not thank them enough for having us stayed in Amarela for almost a week. Learning a bit about the culture and heritage of Bohol was easy, as Tito Doy loved his hometown so much; the insights shared to us about his childhood in Bohol flowed naturally. Staying in Amarela was the best place to be for our purpose. The beach resort itself tells so much about Bohol.

Amarela could easily be given a 5-star rating for its facilities and amenities, but more than that I believe that it deserves such rating as it showcases the heritage of Bohol. It’s more than just a beach resort. All he intricate details in the resort has its own story to tell, which makes the place even more special. The paintings that were nicely hung on the walls are from Tito Doy’s collection of many years, some of the paintings were given to them by some guests in exchange for few nights in the resort, or painted by local boholano artirts, or either by Bianca or her artist friends. Also, on the foyer table, an old wooden eggbeater is neatly placed. It came from Tito Doy’s old home in Antiquera and was used by his family back when he was still young. The big solid doors in the entrance and some latices in the resort were from old houses around Bohol. Most of the wood-carved furniture such as dining tables and chairs, bed frames and even beach chairs were made in Tito Doy’s hometown, Antiquera, a small town in Bohol popular for wood carving and hand woven things.

It was a must for us to visit Antiquera, but unfortunately I’ve fallen sick the day we were scheduled to go, so I wasn’t able to join them. It would’ve been nice to see the workshop and meet the people behind all these fantastic furniture. Tito Doy shared to us that some of the guys in the workshop used to be ‘habal-habal’ drivers and now have developed a talent for woodcarving. Thanks to the photos taken by Tina, Margaux and Bianca. At least I was able to see the gist of Antiquera even through photos.

I’m always awed each time I come to Amarela as I have witnessed how it had blossomed to its full splendour. And now that I’ve learnt more about the stories behind the resort, I felt like I was also able to learn more about Bohol and its people as well.

Also, while in Bohol, we visited the Bohol Deaf Academy. It’s an institution ran majority by Americans that provides primary and secondary education and most importantly livelihood for the deaf and mute people of Bohol. In the earlier days before the Academy was built, the deaf and mute kids are treated like they were autistic, as the family members didn’t know that they were either deaf or mute. So, there were neither proper guidance nor care given to these kids at that time. Thanks to the Academy, these kids are now given the equal chance to live their own lives and are given opportunities they deserve. They are given the education to better equip them in the future. Most graduates of the Academy rightfully belong to the workforce already, making them feel that they do have a part in this world to partake. Some of them work for the Academy, the garden café and restaurant and hotel diamond. These structures were all built by the Academy to provide jobs for their graduates.

Apparently, majority of the sponsors of the academy are Americans. We were even able to meet 30-40 volunteers from America who stays in Bohol for two weeks building more dormitories and facilities for the academy. I was moved to see how sincere the volunteers were in helping these people. At the same time, it was sad to find out that there isn’t much Filipinos involved with their projects. I think as fellow Filipinos, we ought to help them like these American do. There isn’t enough awareness and importance given to the deaf and mute people in the Philippines despite their growing number. I think it’s about time for us to do our share and help them in whatever way we can.

This Bohol trip was truly unforgettable, not only that it was part of my sputnik adventure but because it has opened my mind to things I have never thought of or even gave importance to. I’m definitely looking forward to my next Bohol trip as I know that there are more to learn and love about this place.

Bianca, Marguax, Tina and I at the Alona Beach

Til then,

The Lost Spuntik

How to get there?

There are daily flights via Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines that goes straight to Tagbilaran (Bohol) from Manila. It will only take an hour to get to Tagbilaran by plane. Be sure to book a few weeks ahead to avail the cheaper airfares (1,200-2,000 pesos with tax already for one way). If you’re coming form Cebu or Dumaguete, there are daily ferry rides that go straight to Tagbilaran. The ferry ride would only take about an hour and a half from either Cebu or Dumaguete. Fares are 500 pesos from Cebu, 520 pesos from Dumaguete.

Where to Stay?

Amarela Resort, Panglao Island

To book or to check room rates visit

Dao Diamond Bed and Breakfast (owned by the Bohol Deaf Academy)

Room Rates
$14-$20 for standard/double
They also have dorm types for 300 pesos a night

Contact Numbers:

Tel: (63)(38) 411-5568
Fax: (63)(38) 411-5568



What to do?

Bohol has got almost everything one would fancy in a much-deserved vacation. The island has an abundance of white sand beaches and clear blue water for those who love to bask in the sun or just frolic in the beach. It also has a number of rich marine sanctuaries for the divers and snorklers to enjoy. For those who love river cruises, the long stretch of Loboc River is something to be experienced as it offers a very relaxing and enjoyable ride. For the animal lovers, the tarsiers (the smallest primates in the world) can easily be seen in their natural habitat near the Loboc River. A visit to the famous chocolate hills is something awe-inspiring as it’s just amazing to see hundreds of them right in front of you. A swim in the basin of Mag-aso waterfalls would be something worthwhile to do if you’ve never done that yet. Lastly, a barrio tour would be an awesome thing to do while in Bohol. You’d be able to see how people live their lives. It’s a new and enriching experience especially for those who have lived all their lives in the city.


dedicated staff outsource said...

It is always my dream to tread the different places in the Philippines but unfortunately I was unable to do so for so many different reason. I will take on your offer to visit one of this place, I live most of my life in Davao yet I have never been outside of Davao yet that doesn't shake my will to travel, LOL, If I were given the chance to trek different places Bohol and Camiguin would be the first on my list.

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

margaux said...

nicely written darling.:) I do miss you a whole lot! hehehe. YOu take care okay? Try not to get sick most of the time k? Hope to see you when you get back.:) Oh and the mags out na.:) Love yah!

Anonymous said...

do you have any suggestions kung san may medyo maganda and cheap na resort?

- k

Irene Tan - Gurango said...

hi there! :) it's irene gurango, from ctc! we met briefly at the amarela booth at the travelmart last weel. ;) hey, i cant seem to get thru the email address on the amarela website. do you know how else i can contact bianca? :)