MANILA. –Â Starting in November 2013 as America’s ambassador to the Philippines, Phillip Goldberg was interviewed last week Â by TV ANC of ABSCBN as he is about to end his “tour of duty” in the country shortly.
After several questions, Karen Davila ,program host of “Headstart at ANC” asked the urbane graduate of the Boston University which places Â in the Philippines he was impressed the most- Goldberg’s Â first answer was “Bohol”.
In Bohol a few times, he expressed particular fondness for the “warmth of the Boholanos ” as a people and the sensational tourist spots in the island paradise. He is not, of course, guessing for having been assigned earlier to many places such as Kosovo, Chile and Bolivia, among others. He worked for a long time in New York City.
(Goldberg’s immediate predecessor ambassador Harry Thomas also eventually married a Filipina after his assignment here. Something about the Philippines and its people,perhaps).
Even stronger in her conviction in awe of Bohol is Carolyn Glassman, the Counselor of the Public Affairs section of the American Embassy who has been placed in many foreign assignments for more than two decades.
Her decision in branding Bohol as “the best destination” came as a result of her one week Christmas holiday recently spent on a popular resort in Panglao with her family and five kids in tow. “Bohol is truly a value for your money type of destination”.
Again, it was the “people factor” that placed Bohol on top of her list. “Friendly, accommodating and smiling”Â was her choice words for Boholanos who spared no effort in making the Glassman family feel at home wherever they went.Â Even the local cuisine was “exquisite”Â with Carolyn resisting the temptation to endorse names.
They sampled Bohol music and culture in the Loboc river cruise ride and marveled at both the iconic 1000 chocolate hills and lovable tarsier. But the younger members truly savored the beach adventure: swimming, snorkeling,dolphin watching and (boy!) riding on top of sea turtles two hours away by boat from their place of anchor.
“When are we coming back?” , was the unanimous chorus of the Glassman children.
They also were enthused in viewing the devastated century-old churches as one ofÂ the advocacies of the embassy in many parts of the globe is also the preservation of the host country’s cultural heritage.
An active person engaged in sports and gardening, Carolyn has enough warm and beautiful memories of the island they call Bohol to review her calendar soon as when to catch the next flight with her family -back to Bohol again.
Heart-warming indeed to hear such sincere complimentary words from the ambassadors of goodwill of the most powerful nation in the world – as they are enthralled Â in awe by this Â tiny island in the Visayan Sea. A time for BoholanosÂ to really count their blessings.
They would be Bohol’s best tourist agents globally, unwittingly.