Bohol has always been close to my heart. No matter how many times I go there, I always find something new to love.
The first time I visited the province was more than eight years ago when a friend brought me to Bohol to spend the summer holidays. He was a native Boholano and lived in Tagbilaran City.
Their house was just a tricycle ride away from the airport, and I distinctly remember their neighbor – the warehouse and manufacturing plant of famed Bohol delicacy, the Peanut Kisses. Needless to say, we snacked on the scrumptious treat copiously during the entire vacation.
Being a native, he brought me to the usual tourist destinations of Bohol. We went to see the beautifully preserved churches in the towns of Baclayon (before it was destroyed by the earthquake of 2013) and Loboc, had lunch at the Loboc River Cruise, and of course, visited the renowned Chocolate Hills.
A visit to Panglao was mandatory. We had a splendid time relaxing in the beaches of Panglao. We also went dolphin watching.
After clapping at the dolphins the entire morning (which is said to compel them more to follow the boat), a peaceful sojourn to Balicasag, with its excellent snorkeling spots, capped the day for us.
It would seem that this first visit would be hard to top, but after numerous return visits to Bohol, I always find something new and interesting to experience. And it is a pleasure to see that the province’s infrastructure keeps on improving. You wouldn’t believe that this province was decimated by a catastrophic earthquake just five years ago when visiting it now.
A recent media trip by Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort and Coordinates Travel and Tour in Bohol gave me another opportunity to revisit one of my favorite provinces.
Bluewater Panglao (resort info) is an excellent base of operations for first-timers and veteran Bohol tourists alike. The resort is a veritable self-contained community, tucked away inside its own private beach. The shores of Bluewater Panglao adjoin another famed beach, Alona, so guests can jump over to the next beach when so inclined.
The complex has a sprawling quality to it, with its expansive grounds, and well-manicured greenery. The main hotel itself is excellently designed. The exterior architecture of the hotel is filled with wooden accents, giving it a beautiful Filipiniana characteristic.
The rooms are spacious, with modern appurtenances like speedy wi-fi and HD television. The bathrooms are almost inordinately large, with a freestanding bathtub at its centerpiece. I remember thinking that the hotel can definitely fit a king-sized bed in that bathroom. To top it all off, the bathroom is naturally lit by a transparent sky-roof – positively swanky, indeed.
Numerous swimming pools are scattered throughout the property. The biggest pool is right outside the rooms of the main hotel. There are pools near the hotel restaurant and private beach as well. Various aqua sports can also be enjoyed in the resort, as well as ATV rides and duckpin bowling.
Bluewater Panglao has a total of 54 Rooms. Four of the rooms are family lofts, while forty-six are the deluxe pool view rooms. There are three Honeymoon Villas and one Family Villa as well.
Bluewater Panglao guests have two dining options. The Baroto Pool Bar offers all-day dining options for hotel guests; afternoon cocktails are served here as well. The Aplaya Restaurant, on the other, has offered local and intercontinental dishes.
With Bluewater Panglao as our base of operations, we then explored some new tourist spots in Bohol. First up was the Candijay Rice terraces, with its rolling hills and beautifully stepped rice paddies.
The terraces are a little-known tourist attraction. My native Boholano friend didn’t even know it existed until I recounted our trip to him back in Manila. Though not as grandiose as the Banaue Rice Terraces, the terraces in Candijay has its own charm and unique beauty.
From the windy hills of Candijay, it was a few minutes trek thru densely wooded forests to reach our next destination, the Can-Umantad Falls.
You’ll hear the falls first before you see it. A sort of rumbling sound that is overwhelming first but then becomes a relaxing reverberation. A soothing white-noise, as it were.
The falls itself is magnificent. A full 60-ft drop from the top, all told. The tallest in Bohol Province, according to our guide. Tourists can swim in the clear, pristine pool at the base of the waterfall.
The plunge pool is cool and clean, a relaxing and satisfying stopover after the tiring trek from the Candijay Rice Terraces.
After the terraces and waterfall, we went to Anda White Sand Beach. Think of Boracay, but without all the congestion and noise pollution. Just the beautiful sea, fine sand, and the clean breeze caressing your head.
After experiencing these attractions, it was a relief to go back to Bluewater Panglao. We had dinner at the Aplaya Restaurant, with its wonderful Filipiniana interior architecture. The thatched nipa-hut-like structure is airy and conducive for a night of drinks and food with good friends.
Leaving Bohol was difficult for me, but I’m sure to be back, and I can’t wait to experience more of what Bohol has to offer.