NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Bohol, and its crown-jewel Panglao Island, has been regularly featured in the lists of top island destinations or beaches in the country by some of the world’s respected travel magazines.
Most recently, National Geographic – Travel has featured Bohol and Panglao Island among “4 dream destinations” in the Philippines. This as the country moves toward allowing travel in selected islands and destination-provinces where natural spaces and “new normal” guidelines are being set in place for tourists to have a safe experience.
The province of Bohol, and Panglao Island in particular, is reopening to tourist beginning today as one of the few selected destinations under the travel bubbles initiative of the Department of Tourism (DOT).
Guidelines are being implemented for a “new normal” in tourism to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (see separate story). Measures such as mandatory use of face masks, body temperature checks at entrances of business establishments, testing before travel, and reduced capacity in resorts and restaurants help to create as safe an environment as possible for rediscovering the joy of travel.
So what does the prestigious National Geographic – Travel have to say about Bohol and Panglao Island? Following is an article reprinted from the National Geographic:
Eco-friendly Panglao-Bohol International Airport is the gateway to Bohol, the island province famous for its conical Chocolate Hills. Golden brown in dry season and luxuriantly green much of the year, the grass-covered limestone domes dot nearly 20 square miles of pancake-flat plains. Climb up to the viewing platform for Instagram-worthy shots of the legendary, rounded mounds.
Close to the hills, catch a glimpse of one of nature’s most adorable creatures, the tiny Philippine tarsier. Weighing only up to five ounces, tarsiers are nocturnal primates with gigantic eyes. Rarely seen in the wild, these cool creatures can be spotted sleeping at the Tarsier Conservation Area.
White-sand beaches and vibrant coral reefs beckon on Bohol’s Panglao Island, departure point for water adventures like dolphin and whale-watching tours and dive trips in Balicasag Island Marine Sanctuary. Go into the deep to swim among the sanctuary’s sea turtles and explore colorful coral gardens and steep submarine cliffs.
Back on Bohol’s main island, kayak through mangrove tunnels, plunge into otherworldly cave pools, and wind along jungle waterways on a stand-up paddle board. For over-water views, cross the turquoise Sipatan River via the bamboo-and-steel Sipatan Twin Hanging Bridge. As with all Bohol tourism establishments that have reopened, the bridge has earned the Ultimate Bohol Experience Seal of Excellence indicating strict adherence to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Aside from Bohol and Panglao Island, the three other tourist spots featured as “dream destinations” by National Geographic are Boracay, Baguio and Palawan.