Everybody is excited about the long holiday break, but beach lovers are cringing at the thought of overcrowded beaches with barely enough room to walk and be alone.
Still, there are places around the country that are nice and quiet and far from the madding crowd. One of those is the island province of Bohol, specifically its Panglao Island.
While the island was left devastated by an earthquake in 2013, its many longtime visitors still see it secretly as the perfect island getaway.
Spanning a little over 80 square kilometer, Panglao Island has a handful of beaches, Alona and Balabog beaches being the biggest.
The island that is primarily one big piece of limestone is beginning to fill up with properties.
Interestingly, one resort shows that one doesn’t need a beach to make its guests enjoy what Bohol has to offer.
BE Grand Resort offers exclusive one- or two-story villas, 188 well-appointed deluxe rooms and suites complete with modern amenities.
The deluxe rooms are 38 sq m; the suites, at 78 sq m, have a living room, mini-office table, kitchenette and a plush bathroom. All have a view of the Bohol Sea.
Room to pool
Spread over 5 hectares on Panglao Island, BE was designed by architects Luijo Nakpil and Paolo Alcazaren.
BE Grand does not have a beach; it has built a sandy enclave on its coastline to create that beach-like feel. That is if you can get past the stairs leading down to the water. Still, the sand is deep enough to bury your feet and soft enough to let you play your favorite beach activities.
Villa guests will enjoy the resort’s unique continuous pool that snakes around the property so that getting to the pool is as easy as opening a door. Each villa has its own space so privacy is ensured.
The food hall is a multi-function restaurant; it is the main café restaurant that turns into a gastro pub at night. Those familiar with places like Todd English and Eataly will recognize and appreciate the smorgasbord of food choices ranging from Filipino to Western.
And if that is not enough they have a “wet dining” area with semi-submerged pool chairs and tables where you can enjoy your meal without having to get out of the water.
There is Bridge Bar that serves refreshments and light snacks meant to help guests enjoy their pool experience without going hungry.
The Monkey Bar located near the resort’s makeshift beachfront is the perfect spot to enjoy a drink at sunset or for an al fresco seafood dinner under the moonlight.
Villa guests actually have their own private restaurant called the Boathouse, its menu offering what is available in the market and from the sea.
During the holidays the family comes first and BE Grand is not short on family fun.
The resort offers activities for its guests, from aqua-zumba to cooking and swimming lessons.
Guests love Bohol tours, whether it is a tour of the countryside to see the famous Chocolate Hills or snorkeling with sea turtles.
And since Panglao is an island within the larger Bohol island province, sea activities such as parasailing, jetski and banana boat rides, and scuba diving are always available.
All these spell a fun relaxing family vacation to end the year.