I terribly missed the beach. Swimming and snorkeling are one of the pleasures of pre-quarantine life.
When veteran journalist Ric Obedencio asked us if we could join him for an excursion in Panglao town, Helen Castano and I didn’t waste time.
We visited Alona first. The place is almost empty where it is used to be packed with tourists. Without all the boats and people in the sea, the water is as clear as it’s been in a long, long time.
In an interview with Panglao Mayor Leonila Paredes-Montero she told us that Panglao tourism will be back to business this week if they will be allowed by the Inter-Agency Task Force, Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to re-open.
And if allowed to open, Maam Nila said the target would be domestic tourists.
Maam Nila said at least 5,000 tourism-related business establishments in Panglao were affected since February.
The tourism industry in Bohol has been tested by times. The 1990 typhoon Ruping (international name: Mike), the 2000 Y2K bug and the 2013 7.2 magnitude earthquake crippled the tourism industry particularly in Panglao. But slowly, the tourism was able to bounce back.
“The tourism stopped and it took us years to recover. Since this is pandemic it will take time to recover because the world economy is really affected,” said Maam Nila.
But even if tourism is back, some resort owners chose to suspend operations for fear of the virus.
When I met Anthony Ceniza, supervisor of Marilou Resort in Barangay Bolod, he said they will remain close indefinitely.
“So far, we can’t open until there is a vaccine. It will be difficult since there’s no assurance of what will happen to us. Let’s us leave it this way, we will wait and follow the government,” he said.
Anthony said one seemingly positive impact of the majority of Bohol remaining inside during the coronavirus outbreak is being seen off of our shores.
He said the beaches become clearer with less garbage in the absence of human activity due to the government’s efforts to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
Anthony said visitors can see a refreshing Panglao during their next trip in Bohol.
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