Overnight at Bee Farm or Nature Resort

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 13, 2007 | Go to article overview

Overnight at Bee Farm or Nature Resort


Byline: Mike Snow, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Bohol is reachable by air and boat either from Manila or, more conveniently, Cebu (only limited international flights arrive in Cebu) on Silk Air, Malaysia Airlines and Cathay Pacific. Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Air Philippines, Asian Spirit, Astro Air and Grand Air offer connecting flights via Cebu, arriving in Bohol's capital, Tagbilaran City, in about 30 minutes.

Transfer by taxi from the airport to the pier takes about 30 minutes in normal traffic and costs about $3.20. Flying costs vary, but it's worth the effort to look for a promotional fare. Regular boats out of Cebu take about four hours to reach Tagbilaran, while a speedboat requires 1 1/2 hours. Overnight ferries offer the best deals.

Bohol Bee Farm (www.boholbeefarm.com) is a quaint boutique hotel with a stunning ocean view. It was built by native Filipina Vicky Wallace, who lived for years in the United States. The grounds and rooms were designed and decorated painstakingly, and the food is organic. All of this is encompassed modestly in a farm where organic vegetables, fruits, flowers and, of course, honey, are produced. Cost: $190 per night.

Panglao Island Nature Resort (www.panglaoisland.com) has well-appointed thatched cottages 15 minutes from downtown Tagbilaran or a 90-minute speedboat trip from Cebu. Rates for this oceanfront property begin at $187. The resort offers round-trip transfers from the airport and seaport, mountain biking, snorkeling, diving, kayaking and windsurfing.

The Bohol Beach Club (boholbeachclub.net), nestled in Panglao Island in the Central Visayas, is about 30 minutes by land from Tagbilaran. The hotel has pool and beach bars, a restaurant, swimming pool, outdoor Jacuzzi, scuba diving, tennis court, billiards, darts, backgammon and a glass-bottomed boat. Rates start at $107.

Finding potable water and good food in more remote parts of the Philippines can be challenging, but this usually is not an issue at major resorts and hotels. The Bohol Bee Farm has the best tasting and most original food on the island. The ambience matched wooden and bamboo furniture, floral prints and colorful artwork is unique.

Bohol has four major rivers, the Inabanga and Ipil in the north and the Loboc and Abatan to the south.

From Busay Falls, cruise down Loboc River in a pump boat. Take one of the floating restaurants through the seaside towns of Loboc, Loay and Bilar. At lunch, sample fresh lapu-lapu, shrimp, and squid to the tune of strumming guitars. The fish is named after Lapu-Lapu, the Philippines' first national hero, who with the men of Mactan, fought Spanish soldiers in 1521, killing several, including their leader, Ferdinand Magellan.

The Bohol Museum: A showcase of the province's exciting history, culture and natural resources.

The Chocolate Hills: The 1,268 haystack-shaped hills are considered a Philippines National Geological Monument. In summer, the dome-shaped, grass-covered limestone hills dry up and turn brown, transformed into rows and rows of huge Hershey's Kisses. To get to the hills, take a bus to Carmen, from where you can hire a motorbike or hike the remaining 21/2 miles.

Heritage Tour: The province of Bohol is an early Spanish settlement filled with old churches, tree-lined plazas and ancestral houses. Visit the Bohol Museum in Tagbilaran, the Punta Cruz Watch Tower in Maribojoc (a wooden cross supposedly bestowed with mysterious powers), the Baclayon Church, and the marker commemorating Sikatuna and Legaspi's blood compact.

Bohol's numerous hills, valleys and plateaus are ideal for hiking and cycling.

In Bilar, a man-made forest gives sanctuary to the province's endangered species, including the tarsier.

Hinagdanan Cave: About 11/2 miles from Dauis town, Hinagdanan Cave offers a stunning display of stalactites and stalagmites; a mountain spring for swimming is nearby. …

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