I had been to Bohol twice—both times within the context of work, and each time bound to an itinerary that just offered bite-sized portions of Bohol’s many charms without actually letting us savor the full portions of its delectable fare. But I am a creative soul in frequent need of inspiration, and I find that, of the places in the Philippines that I’ve been to so far, Bohol is one of those locations where I’d like to be a frequent flyer.
Here’s a rundown of the things I’ve enjoyed, the things I’d like to go back for, and the things I’d like to try (in no particular order):
1. Bluewater Panglao is a perfect getaway for couples or for intimate groups of friends. It is a 30- to 45-minute ride from Tagbilaran Airport and is a great hideaway if all you want to do is relax, take a breather, and take long, meditative walks on the lush, landscaped garden leading up to the dining area. I found myself waking up early just to try taking a “Zen meditation walk” along the garden’s pebbled pathways, but I found the scene too picturesque not to photograph and tweet about. There went the Zen. Next time, I’ll make sure to have enough time to walk, meditate, and then go back for photos.
And I almost forgot: the swimming pool looks absolutely gorgeous! I wasn’t able to take a dip and sunbathe on the lounge chairs right in the middle of the water. That certainly deserves a try.
2. Bohol Bee Farm is not just a charming bee farm with great produce and great food—it’s a bed & breakfast, too! Bohol Bee Farmis another of the biggest reasons why I’d like to go back to Bohol. If I had the opportunity to do so, I’d stay a night or two in its quaint, country-style accommodations and enjoy more of its healthy but filling fare. The dishes I enjoyed the most were the Mixed Green Salad, Seafood Lasagna (an absolute must-try!), and its Honeyglazed Chicken. For dessert, try the Spiced Ginger and/or Malunggay ice cream.
(Then, while you’re there, make sure to shop for pasalubong since there’s plenty to choose from. What I’d like to take home next time are the Chocolate Spread, Pesto Spread, and, of course, some honey.)
3. You will never run out of great accommodations by the beach. I’m also saving another trip just to savor Bohol’s ultra-luxury resort, Eskaya, and also to try the more modest accommodations along Alona Beach. It’s a bit like Puerto Galera without all the gay noise—or, like a friend said, like Boracay 25 years ago.
4. I have yet to sample traditional Boholano fare! While my trips to Bohol have allowed me to taste gluttonous breakfast buffets and healthy options with lots of vegetables and fish, I feel like I haven’t yet truly sampled the best of traditional Boholano fare. I’d like to know more about the island’s cuisine, and I’d like to do this as close to home-style cooking as possible.
5. Café Lawis deserves a sunset date. We discovered Café Lawis while walking around the Dauis Church Complex and then wandering into a picturesque tree-lined street with a 19th-century-inspired structure. Café Lawis, as we discovered, serves European-style pastries and delicacies (such as paninis and soufflé cakes) but with a tinge of Filipiniana. The interiors are as Filipino as it gets, though, and the building also has a generous space for a mini-“museum” of Dauis life and a showcase of Boholano handicrafts.
The real treat here, however, is the expansive garden that opens up behind the café—and the breathtaking view that you will enjoy from there. The focal point of the garden is a large tree whose leaves form a laced canopy, and, since we went there in December, was adorned with beautiful rectangular capiz lamps. The mystical effect was not lost on me, and at some point I imagined hearing Enya singing in my head. As you can imagine, this view is best shared with a loved one—or else a really good camera. (I, however, had to content myself with a Blackberry.)
I’ve got more reasons to visit Bohol coming up. Stay tuned for Part 2!
Disclosure: My most recent trip was made possible by a media fam tour organized by Philippine Airlines and Allied Bank, in partnership with Bluewater Panglao, under the Mabuhay Miles program. For more information on Mabuhay Miles, visit <www.mabuhaymilesmastercard.ph>