ONE OF THE LAST PLACES YOU SHOULD SEE BEFORE YOU DIE
Right smack between Cebu and Mindanao is Bohol province, one of the last places in the Philippines which every Filipino should see before he or she dies. This is not about a long-lost nirvana or an urbanized patch of land tucked in some place but it surely is a piece of paradise. It is an interweaving of mysticism and homegrown charm sprinkled with a little bit of modernity. Sounds like your favorite bread rolled in a bed of cinnamon sprinkles? It is more than that. Just where can you see on this side of earth a breathtaking view all over while going through a manmade mahogany forest? And it is not just a forest, it is a beauty. Lofty, huge mahogany trees blocking the day’s rays while you crawled your way into a more mystical experience: Chocolate Hills. Experience it while it sends shivers into your spine. Where on earth have all these mounds came from, you wonder. But no one knows. Only the gods know. Enjoy the Loboc River and its feast of culture and food, and as an added bonus, be hooked up with that warmth from the local smiles while they prance to a native tune. Frolic at the pristine Panglao beaches lined up with corral-covered seashores and wonder at the historical Baclayon Church and all the other long-standing churches, You, too, will love the wide-eyed Tarsiers almost succumbing to lethargy. All these make Bohol a very good travel destination. As a last hurray, try its kalamay before you board your ship, that sweet delicacy made of coconut and brown sugar in a coconut shell with that famous red line around it. Very Filipino.
In a developing world where culture and progress claws at each other in the eye, Bohol retains its charm, still placid and rustic. While wildness and hysteria intoxicated Boracay at its peak, its commercialism ravaging itself while leaving no stone unturned, Bohol remained calm and unagitated. Tranquil, unperturbed and serene are the exact words. So, go now, people, and quick, and see Bohol in its most unspoiled landscape. Go before Henry Sy beats you.
Jane Arrieta Ebarle is a marketing practitioner for the last 12 years. She is advocating art education in the country and is the current president of Phil. Art Educators Association. Ms. Ebarle took up units in B.S. in Architecture and completed her B.S. Fine Arts major in Advertising Arts at the University of Sto. Tomas. She recently launched herself as an artist through a one-woman exhibit entitled "Filipino Ethnicity" at the Art Gallery of the Phil. Heart Center last Nov. 3, 2008. She is starting to write again after a long hiatus.
She is the founder of Birthday Club, an open ended group of women volunteers whose vocation is to share their talents and skills and celebrate their birthdays with underprivileged women. To prepare herself for this undertaking, she is currently taking up her Master of Arts in Women and Development at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.