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Beyond Bohol (Part 1: Art, Heritage and Adventure Tours)

CEBU, Philippines - The lures of Bohol are endless.

This I discovered after a day tour around Bohol upon the invitation of Amorita Resort, highlighting some of its “unexplored” attractions, to experience true Boholano art,  culture and history.

Amorita, perched atop a seaside cliff in Alona, Panglao, mounted a tour package for its guests to experience Bohol beyond sand, sky and sea, called Bohol & Beyond Tour – snippets of heritage, crafts and mystical tours. 

Cloribel House

Nestled along Brgy. Lourdes, Panglao, the Cloribel House a.k.a. Bahay na Puti (washed in white paint) or Bahay na Bato is steeped in history, served as the home of the first lawyer in Bohol and in the Visayas, Gaudencio Cloribel, who belonged to one of the province’s opulent families. Built in 1926, this two-floor abode flaunts true Spanish authentic architecture of elaborate lattice workmanship with ornate carvings/designs evident in the living room and in the kitchen. The residential space exudes a classic influence from the time-worn furnishings to antique furniture pieces. Another signature Spanish architecture are seen in the ventanillas, those small windows below the large windows, that cool the home during summer when left open, as well as the shiny two-toned floorboards. This very well-kept ancestral home made of wood was made out of two or three trees, huge ones that were able to erect a modest abode. Some of the parts of the house were reinforced with concrete yet it did not undergo any major renovations by far.

Jewelry Making

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Erma Bunachita of Dauis Jewelry Makers Organization does not own certificates nor graduated from a jewelry design school in Milan. What she has is a jewelry art craftsmanship that has been handed down from pre-Hispanic times. The Bunachita family is one of the affluent families in Dauis that has carried on the tradition of handmade jewelry-making in gold and silver, using traditional designs. The creations are sold at the Handumanan Souvenir Shop at the Dauis Pilgrimage Heritage Center, situated a few steps from the Dauis church.

Our Lady of the Assumption Shrine Parish, Dauis

It’s the third oldest church in Bohol built in 1820 with a Gothic inspired exterior. The ceiling frescoes by two Cebuano artists, Rey Francia and Canuto Avila are original, as well as the flooring and the pulpit. At the foot of the altar is the Mama Mary well, which the natives claimed to be in existence since the 1600s, before the inception of the church. It’s three meters deep with potable, Alkaline water – believed to have healing and miracle wonders. At the rear of the church is Bohol’s oldest watchtower.

Broas/Ladyfingers

More than a main act in our all-time favorite desserts, ladyfinger a.k.a. broa is a tasty snack on its own. Baclayon’s D’Original Osang’s Homemade Pastries’ ladyfingers are a hit among tourists. This crunchy, sweet and light munch made from flour, eggs and sugar undergoes a three-way preparation: mixing, piping and baking, and voila, it’s good to take home! Prices: 45 pieces – P50; 90 pieces – P100.

Catigbian DATE (Dagook Adventure Tour Experience) Park is Bohol’s newest adventure enclave designed for a specific test of courage amidst thick foliage and towering trees. The Green Recreational Eco-Adventure Tour (GREAT) starts off with a Canopy Walk, a 60-meter foot bridge, then, the thrill is taken a notch higher with the Monkey Bridge where a thrill-seeker crosses a 45-meter cable wire at 90 feet elevation. One gets to take occasional pauses and enjoy of the view of the cascading Dagook falls. The Cable Slide, or the zipline, awaits on the other side. The GREAT adventure ends with a trekking to the majestic Dagook Falls. Fees: P700 per head, 50 percent off for students; P150 lunch, P60 snacks

(Side trip) Balicasag Island

Off the coast of Panglao Island is every diver’s dream. The palm-fringed, white-sand beach that is the 1.5-acre Balicasag Island draws a string of underwater enthusiasts all year round because of its rich marine life of vibrant coral gardens and diverse schools of fish that play up an underwater visual feast in multi-hued grandeur. The sea always fascinates me and upon my entry into the pristine waters of Balicasag, I got smitten even more as a sea turtle swam by me, gracefully descending into a magnificent coral-dotted drop. So, take a snorkeling or a diving jaunt to Balicasag, either way you’ll fall in love with the deep. Balicasag can be reached via an outrigger for 30 to 45 minutes from Alona Beach.

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Amorita has the best view of the two-kilometer Alona stretch, bird’s eye view at that. Its elegant Garden View Villas, Sky Suites, Ocean View Villa and Deluxe Rooms provide the right elements to a well-deserved vacation. More on what Amorita can offer in the next story.

CREDITS:

Photography by Mark Gallardo (www.triptabai.com), Mary Angeli Bas (www.foodiecraft.com & www.adventurouslei.blogspot.com), and Ruben Licera

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