Bohol Still A Treasure

It will soon be three years since the intensity 7.2 earthquake left the province of Bohol in ruins.

Many of its historic churches were heavily damaged in the Oct. 15, 2013 tremor, but these houses of faith have not completely lost their allure as tourist destinations in Bohol, with groups of tourists visiting daily. Temporary chapels have been built beside some of the damaged churches, such as the Loboc Church or the San Pedro Apostol Parish Church.

The Museum Gift Shop at the La Purisima Concepcion de la Virgen Maria Parish Church, or the Baclayon Church, continues to draw visitors who are awed by its collection of vestments, chalices and other religious artifacts dating as far back as the Spanish era.

The restoration process of these centuries-old churches is tedious and requires precision, as the National Museum hopes to recreate the splendor of these structures, some of which are recognized as among the oldest in Asia.

At least three of these churches have been declared National Cultural Treasures by the National Museum ??" the Loboc Church, the Loon Church or the Nuestra SeƱora de la Luz Parish Church and the Maribojoc Church or the La Santa Cruz Parish Church. These will soon undergo restoration.

National Museum acting assistant director Angel Bautista said in an earlier interview that they are finalizing the master plan for the restoration and reconstruction of these three places of worship.

"Hopefully, we could bid it out this year so we could go full blast on the restoration next year," Bautista said, adding that they would need a contractor who has experience in heritage reconstruction work.

Aside from these iconic churches, there are other interesting places to visit and activities to do in Bohol, such as the Tarsier Conservation Area, enjoying lunch on the Loboc River Cruise or be mystified by the Chocolate Hills.

Doing the many attractions of the province is a joy and a discovery, but it could also be tiring. Fortunately, Bohol offers a wide variety of accommodations for visitors, where at the end of a day of sightseeing, they can put up their feet, relax and have a sumptuous dinner.

The four-star Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort sits on a 5.5-hectare property that offers a quiet respite to guests.

"Unlike the other areas that is crowded, at Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort we offer serenity, peace and relaxation," said Bluewater Resorts general manager Rhyz Buac.

Buac is general manager of the six resorts owned by the Alegrado family, namely the Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort and the Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort, both in Cebu; the Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort in Panglao, Bohol; the Almont Beach Resort in Surigao del Norte; Almont City Hotel and the Almontinland Resort, both in Butuan.

At the resort the guests are assisted by the hospitable hotel staff who are always ready to serve and make one's stay at the resort memorable.

The resort's Filipino-inspired villas and cottages give their foreign guests an opportunity to live in Filipino-type homes and not in high-rise hotels, which is probably similar to the homes they left behind, said Buac.

For adventurous guests, the resort offers a variety of recreational activities such as diving, snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, catamaran ride, dolphin and whale watching, island-hopping and an obstacle course for team building.

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