Sea and Sand at the Bohol Beach Club

There’s a reason, or “reasons” to be precise, why the Philippines is considered a destination to watch in 2013 by a reputable international travel magazine, Conde Nast, which noted that “the Philippines has around 7,000 of the most heavenly islands in the world.” One of those islands is Panglao Island, a stone’s throw from, and an administrative adjunct of, the province of Bohol.

And nestled amongst the clear waters, white sand, and verdant canopy of Panglao Island is a resort long established yet waiting to be rediscovered — the Bohol Beach Club.

The plane touched down at the Tagbilaran Airport, the main airport of Bohol, on a balmy morning. Tagbilaran City is a happy mix of busy excitement, principally due its status as the capital of Bohol, and of a laid back atmosphere one expects from the province. Hop in a taxi and in 15 minutes, you’re on the short stretch of bridge that connects the main island to Panglao Island.

Another 10 minutes or so through smooth concrete roads, absolutely free from heavy traffic that has defined Metro Manila, through lush green foliage, and the Bohol Beach Club comes into view.

Lazier tongues call it the BBC.

It’s like therapy. Entering the unpaved road that leads to the reception area,  one gets a heavy dose of tranquility and a sense of release. The cottages, though side by side, seems far apart. The great expanse of white beachfront exudes a sense of solitude, a vast playground waiting to be explored. The sea at the right side of the Bohol Beach Club is littered with stones and seaweeds. Farther to the left is the all-sand beach, with a sandbar around 5 meters into the sea, with the fine sand comb by the waters to a wavy perfection. That’s where you want to be.

BBC is massive, mind you, and walking the entire length of its 1.5 kilometers beachfront is a challenge. We’ve heard that it’s going to be divided, with constructions in full swing. We’re not really sure how that will play out, but just in case your travel schedule gets caught in the partition, remember that the Habagat Wing is the older wing, with the standard rooms (cottages), while the Amihan Wing consists of the newer structures, the executive rooms, the bigger swimming pool, and, most important of them all, the better beachfront. That’s where you want to be.

The food at BBC’s Kalubihan Restaurant is so-so. We wished the buffet would feature different menu items from time to time. This request is more on variety, considering that the Kalubihan Restaurant boasts of a number of choices in its menu (although more menu items would be most welcome). But enough about the food. This is not a place to hibernate inside the cottage (and whatever shortcoming on the food is compensated by the warmth of the personnel’s service).

BBC’s sand is meant to be enjoyed and Bohol is meant to be explored (see sample itinerary). Go scuba diving or dolphin watching. The entire Bohol province can be toured in one whole day — the tarsiers, the man-made forest, blood compact monument, old churches, Loboc river cruise and, of course, the Chocolate Hills.

BBC is highly recommended. Nice place. Nice service. Nice beach. Very reasonable price.

If we could take home one part of the Bohol Beach Club experience, it would be the white sandbar, complete with its cascading fine sand and different kinds of starfish. We can’t do that, of course, and not because the sandbar won’t fit in our luggage — Bohol is pretty serious in ensuring that what you find and experience in Bohol, stays in Bohol. Or you could tempt fate and bring something out of the airport. That would be another “I Almost Got Away With It” story for cable TV.

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