D(R)IVE thru Bohol
FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez Ventura (The Philippine Star) - November 4, 2018 - 12:00am

We planned to RoRo (roll on-roll off) to Bohol. It would take three days. The ladies — Mandy and I — had misgivings. Mandy was afraid of a backache she experienced recently after a three-hour car ride. I was afraid of a backache, too. Neither man had qualms about the RoRo trip. They had both done it before. To explore what the right thing to do was, we decided to go to Ugu Bigyan in Tiaong, Quezon. To adventure, we took the long way through Antipolo then Laguna onwards.

 We left at 9:30 a.m., lunched in Pagsanjan at around 2 p.m. It took us that long to get there because of traffic, not as bad as Manila but bad enough. We got to Ugu at around 4 p.m. and back home at around 9 p.m. That changed our minds about RoRo. We took the plane to Bohol. That was a breeze.

 We took the arrival time in Bohol as the departure time from Manila so we got to the airport thinking we would be early but we were there only 25 minutes before boarding. However, we made it and we didn’t have to wait as long as we did coming home when we made it to the airport two hours before departure.

My husband Loy has two brothers in Bohol. The eldest, Lito, and his wife Mila were there temporarily staying in their outstandingly beautiful home, which they are now trying to sell. They are both residents of the United States who planned to retire there but changed their minds. We went to see them first.

 Then we visited Loy’s youngest brother Carlitos, his wife Tess, and two of his sons, Toti and his wife Didi, and his youngest son Dindo and his wife Carol. They are all permanent residents of Bohol. Dindo invited us to dinner the next night at his resort. Being seniors, we just passed by Carlitos and Tess, who were waiting for us patiently in their small car, almost like my small car in Manila. They led the way.

 It was dark already and the road seemed endless. “Hanggang sa dulo ng walang hanggan,” I said, which translates to “an endless road to nowhere.” As it turned out, it was just a half-hour drive, much shorter than a drive from Mandaluyong to Makati and the “nowhere” was the biggest somewhere I had ever seen. The resort’s name is Dive Thru Resorts and it was fabulous.

 As you travel through endless wide cement roads going to Panglao, you turn down a small stony road that winds into a forest. You’re hoping you will be nowhere soon, when suddenly you see an impressive gate and a man opens it for you. You climb a flight of stairs and arrive at a wide landing; there’s a check-in desk on one side and on the other, stairs that descend to an open bar and dining room. Then there are more stairs that descend to the rooms, designed like town homes on both sides and in the center of the garden the swimming pool where they teach you to scuba dive. The pool where they do that is 16 feet deep, the standard for scuba diving lessons, Dindo tells me, and I know that not all pools for scuba lessons follow that prescription from the days my daughters took their scuba diving classes. But there are smaller pools around it.

Beyond is the beach and the sea where they have jet skis and all sorts of other equipment for scuba diving and for simply enjoying the beach.

What a wonderful dinner they spread for us. And what an inviting bar! Bars mean something mysterious to me. You could sit at this bar and talk to the other tables if you wanted to make friends or you could drink alone if you were not in the mood. If I were 35 years old again I would have loved to stay at the bar drinking all day. Once upon a time, when I was young.  Now I just look at them wistfully thinking… once...

 Mandy and Ruben thought they had found the ideal place for a massive family reunion they are planning to have in December 2019, when their children who live in the States are coming home with some of their in-laws. They promised to close the place for them and even included Loy and me on their list.

I do not make recommendations easily. On this trip to Bohol I found two places that were truly outstanding. This was one of them. If you are planning a vacation trip, I would look them up (divethruresorts.com) so you can see what I’m talking about. It’s a fabulous vacation place. If and when you are there, have a drink at the bar and think of me; thank me for the recommendation.

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