Coming back to a place called home

Retiring, relocating or investing? Why not give Bohol a ring?

Bohol remains as a model province as far as “unity and homecoming” are concerned.

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Nobody beats the Boholano spirit in bonding as one family and community. This is where being clannish can sometimes work positively.

Proof to this is that the “Tigum Bol-anon sa Tibook Kalibutan (TBTK)” was endorsed by then Tourism Secretary, now Senator Dick Gordon to be the “perfect” execution of his program of “bringing home a friend.”

In the words of Gordon, he described TBTK as a “heart driven” activity wherein Boholanos from all over the world are filled with so much excitement to come home.

And coming home for a Boholano comes with two reasons. First, to bond again with relatives and friends. Second, a chance to let friends from abroad feel the warmth of a hospitality that one can probably not find in any other province in the country. 

Because of this two-pronged rationale on why homecoming is an activity worth looking forward to, July’s Sandugo continues to generate more and more “balikbayans” coming home at every turn of the year.” 

For this year’s festival, the Boholanos residing in various provinces in the country took the center stage in announcing to the whole world that it’s always the “best fun-filled” activity to be back home in Bohol.

In fact, they gathered as one yesterday to choose their new set of officers who will lay down more and better preparations for next year’s TBTK here in the province.  

The “Balik-Bohol ” (Philippines)  is now led by Iligan City- based businessman Marianito Alemania and Manila- based businessman  James Porter. It seems the group is serious in their efforts to further unite the Boholanos from all over the country and at the same time bring here more of their friends. 

This is a major leap to make every Sandugo more lively, with more warm bodies dancing and eating together- feeling the intensity of the festivity.  The objective of the “Balik Bohol group” is let the Boholano associations in their respective provinces drum beat attendance to this annual Sandugo during the month of July. 

It is far more different and far reaching when the Boholano associations in every province will entice people to come home. While coming home traditionally happens as a family affair, it will be bigger in volume if they come as one united Association from their respective provinces.

This “Balik Bohol” program is, therefore,  a step in the right direction to let every Boholano see again their hometowns and compare the development unfolding in the countrysides especially that Bohol is now a prime tourist destination.  

Now that the homecoming efforts are getting more organized, then we need the provincial government to establish an active secretariat to inventory all Boholano associations worldwide. And in the provinces where there are none, we should encourage the Boholanos residing there to bond together and organize. That way we can feel the Boholano spirit in every nook in the country.

Giving credit where it is due, we salute the Boholanos abroad who blazed the trail in organizing the TBTK a long time ago. This time we hope, the Boholanos who are nearer home in the various provinces will copy or even surpass the dynamism of TBTK. Thus the “Balik Bohol” activation is a development whose time has come.  

But, let us not forget the potential of bringing investors in Bohol through this “Balik Bohol” program.  We have heard of many Boholanos doing well in business in the various provinces. For one, the new ” Balik Bohol”  president owns a chain of bakeries in the country.   There are many other Boholanos who are mightily doing good in their businesses and crafts, as well.

And these are the very people who should rethink their business plans and perhaps now consider Bohol as one of their business expansion areas.  Surely, when they left Bohol decades or years ago, the province was like a desert with no signs of development and progress. In fact, some people, years back, did not know the location of  Bohol in the Philippine map. 

Now, the glory that is  Bohol is no longer of another day- but it is here and now.  Especially in tourism, we need more investors, preferably the Boholanos who once thought of writing off Bohol.   We do love to see more business activities run by Bol-anons.They could also entice their associates and friends to do likewise- as individuals or as their own partners, perhaps.

We have thousands of acres of vacant lots and hundreds of opportunities that can be done in Bohol..Come home, paisanos.  Invest in Bohol. 

Progress, particularly, in tourism, agriculture, and the forthcoming BPO industry creates a consumer market who will be teeming with pesos to spend for houses, cars, food, appliances and other consumer goods.

That means subdivisions and commercial establishments to service their demand for goods and services. Necessarily more infrastructure is needed in roads, bridges, ports, communication, and transportation.  

Tourism and the upsurge of the population call for new ventures in agriculture to feed their daily sustenance needs. Entertainment can become Big Business. Bohol would need more and better hospital facilities and insurance businesses.

Imagine retiring in a modest home here- where the white-sand beaches are just a few minutes drive away.  Imagine no longer hacking the horrendous traffic and smog of cities which can raise one’s blood pressure and exacerbate one’s lung problems.  Imagine, waking up on a Monday morning and not feeling stressed?

Imagine grouping together twice a week in the malls-walking and just playing chess at the food courts-and hearing Mass in the afternoon.

Imagine the joy of having neighbors who will care if you’re alive, sick or well. And an extended “family” that extends to the sixth degree of relations.

Most of our malls are equipped with the tools and enticements one expects in modern day living. If one gets truly bored- Cebu City is just one pleasant ferry ride away and Manila can be reached in many available daily flights. Getting in and out of the city-via, the city port is “class” in a display (see Mr Possibilities column in this issue). And, hey, the airport with international standards in Panglao is just a breath away.

Except when the NPAs held sway, the aborted foray of the Abu Sayyafs in Inabanga and the intensified “drug war”, Bohol is hands down a peaceful province, relatively speaking.

And the countryside- the countryside beckons like “sinangag and buwad” in the morning. Every day, new places of scenic, cultural and historical interest are being discovered. Getting immersed in a whole new wonderful world of discovery in Bohol is really up to you.

Bohol is our home. Isn’t it a thrill that we have a place like this which is absolutely, endearingly so hard to say goodbye to?

Come home, and live your dreams. 

For comments: email to dejarescobingo@yahoo.com or bohol-rd@mozcom.com



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