I’m celebrating my one year work anniversary at Pure Shores Villa as the Content Manager/Copywriter/SMM-er this month. Working with the team behind the scenes gives me a sense of purpose at work, an appreciation of Bohol, and insights about luxury travel and tourism industries in and around Asia.
In this blog post, I want to share what I discovered during my stay last year.
Dean and Marcelle, the villa owners, shared with me their dream and why they built their little paradise on the east side of Bohol. They’re both contagious and passionate about their vision. As a travel junkie slash creative person, I tried my best to translate that vision into words through my skills.
When they invited me to visit the private villa in Anda, that was my second time to explore Bohol. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. And that time it was away from the hustle and bustle of Panglao island.
Travel tip: When traveling, never lose your sense of wonder even to little things.
#1 The calming view of Anda coastal road
The calming view made me appreciate more of nature and the rural life. The 90-120 minute ride and the sceneries gave me a glimpse of our weeklong holiday. Away from the city (and the buzz in Panglao), that was my first time to see the other side of Bohol.
#2 A private, intimate place in one of the famous tourist destinations
The idea of a private villa or renting out your luxury vacation villa is a nascent concept among Filipinos. (If you only knew how many gazillion inquiries we received since the website launch – visitors kept asking if they can rent a room, where in fact, we already have a page and information about the villa concept).
But veteran and luxury travelers, especially those who have been in Bali and Phuket, are familiar with the concept of villa rentals. And I must say that renting the whole place is economical for groups and family holidays, allowing them to enjoy the amenities privately.
#3 Refreshing Guindulman Bay scenery
What a refreshing sight to behold when you just sit still in the living room or stand in the garden, overlooking the Guindulman Bay. The stillness and solitude of the place gave me unspeakable contentment.
#4 Glorious, enviable sunsets overlooking the sea and mountains
What more could I ask for if my work involves chasing sunsets and taking photos of them? Dean, the villa owner, prompted Mae, our villa manager to wake me up from my afternoon nap so I could take videos and snapshots.
I was a bit embarrassed I slept that afternoon. I was exhausted from the transfers and flights. LOL.
#5 A wealth of marine species below the villa
There’s direct access to a protected marine sanctuary from the villa. Mae and I went down via a private staircase, and I took some photos and videos. Guests can snorkel and ask assistance from the villa staff. Guided tours, snorkeling gears, and life jackets are available upon request.
#6 Andakidz Mangrove boardwalk and TAFIAS
We visited TAFIAS (Talisay Fisherman’s Association) and had a chance to explore their Andakidz mangrove boardwalk. The Andakidz project was turned over to TAFIAS management for development. TAFIAS is a non-profit organization that aims to empower local women from low or no-income families with children to build the income by helping them learn new skills.
#7 TAFIAS: World’s Famous Tilapia Chips
Probably this is one of my highlights in that itinerary because I never thought there’s such thing called “Tilapia chips.” Food makes me excited. LOL! What’s more, they’re low-carb and available in different flavors. When you buy these local products, you are also supporting the women’s livelihood.
Other products you must try: Hot chili flavored ice cream
#8 Unadulterated white sand beaches and beautiful rice terraces
My tour guide knows the nooks and crannies of Anda. He brought me to these pure white sand beaches near the villa. Yes, some are only a stone away from Pure Shores. You can check the Anda’s Quinale Beach, perfect for your morning walks and picnics. Another must-see, you can also ask for a short visit to Candijay rice terraces.
#9 Exploring the pool caves
Your east side experience won’t be complete without experiencing the pool caves in and around Anda. My tour guide and I went pool-cave hopping and took some photos of the kids and locals as they play and swim.
Don’t expect a luxurious cave pool. Anda is still an emerging tourist spot so there are no bath stalls where you can take a shower. My suggestion is: If you’re traveling in a group, better spend half or the whole day cave hopping or add nature trips around Anda and bring some toiletries and towels (and handy wet wipes with you).
#10 Hidden diving spots for the curious and adventurous
Another highlight that I should say took my breath away: explored some of the hidden diving spots.
I suggest you wear comfortable sandals because some places require a little bit of hike here and there. Check out the photo above. It’s worth it.
#11 Family-friendly park: Sagbayan Peak
If you’re traveling with kids, the Sagbayan Peak is another good option. I suggest you set aside your whole day if you want to visit the place. From the peak, you get a glimpse of Bohol’s famous Chocolate Hills. Kids will enjoy the life-size figures of their favorite cartoon characters, action figures, animals, and superheroes and more.
#12 The ancient Lamanok Island
The place was featured on “Biyahe ni Drew.” We had to get on board the “bangka” a small wooden boat to get to the island. Tour guides highly suggest visiting the place during mornings and low tides. Locals believe that the Lamanok Island is the “Cradle of Civilization.” It’s home to the famous red hematite paintings, which the locals considered as signs of early civilization.
If you’re interested in folklore, mysticism, and history, make sure you bring your hiking or comfy sandals with you as you explore the place, if not, the trip is nothing but a boring one except for those petrographs, eerie skulls, and ancient coffins.
#13 Century-old acacia tree
We passed by this century-old acacia tree. I’m not sure if you’ll be interested in it, but I just wanted to take a photo of that huge tree! Imagine, this tree stood the test of time! It’s planted near a public school, and only a few meters walk from the main road.
#14 SUP (Stand-Up Paddle) board across the Loboc River
It was one of the most satisfying and relaxing activities in this trip as we – a certified SUP instructor and I – paddled across the famous Loboc River. I’m writing in the context that I’m physically active and I don’t mind paddling for a few hours across an 8KM-10KM stretch of water for some upper body exercises.
#15 Serenity after a day’s worth of fun and adventure
Vacation at its core is all about rest, serenity, and enjoyment. I must say that the east side of Bohol offers a variety of options for all kinds of travelers. Something new. Something different. Aside from the sumptuous dinner prepared by the kitchen staff, you get to enjoy the solitude at the villa and stars at night.
Disclaimer: This blog post was written in partnership with Pure Shores Villa. Photos are All Rights Reserved. For bookings, you can contact me directly for an exclusive discount. 🙂