Tuesday 24 October 2017 12:09:04 PHT

Reader Comments on 'Bohol: the good, the bad, and the ugly'

This article on Bohol was originally placed on Businessworld Online of Monday 15 December 2008. Since it is no longer available, I've reproduced it here with permission of the author.

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Bernard wrote:
Monday, 25 July 2016 06:33:13 PHT
This morning i woke up terrible, alot of fighting chicken crying, i cant even think how these people sleep at night with this chicken? Wish municipal can do something about this. This place is a tourist place, a place to relax but with alot of crying fighting chicken? Terrible place.....
Sustainability Guru wrote:
Thursday, 21 May 2015 03:12:40 PHT
High time for Bohol public and private tourism stakeholders to embrace and espouse sustainable tourism criteria (global sustainable tourism criteria) and best green practices for hotels, resorts and tourism establishments! How we can help -> http://sstdi.org/take-action/
Christine wrote:
Sunday, 27 September 2009 05:42:24 PHT
I'm glad to have read this article. I'm sure it will help other travelers to have a balanced perspective about Bohol. I hope you don't mind my asking but I plan to visit this place around December 2009. Jeroen, since you know the place very well, could you please tell me where's the best place to stay for 2 days and 2 nights. I want to have a memorable stay in Bohol just like what most people had without over spending.
Sam wrote:
Thursday, 30 July 2009 02:26:30 PHT
Your Comment: I have been to many cities, and have been directed by friends to visit Bohol,,as they tell me,its where a guy like me wants to be. Why not be a part of the solution rather a contributer to a problem? I would love to come, retire,invest in Bohol, sounds and looks like a boat dock builder,would open up some space,and remind the resorts they do not own the beaches,a community clean up day would also help a little. I'm willing to help out,, anyone else? The surroundings are too beautiful to let go. We may need some people who build mound septic systems as used here in Indiana in our Karst areas, but a sewer plant could bring em a long way. Seems like a win/win for investors.
freida wrote:
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 23:30:56 PHT
The beaches are beautiful. The "bad" is not so difficult to improve...
Randolf Tejano wrote:
Saturday, 24 January 2009 14:16:36 PHT
There are valid observations in the above article. I agree, Alona Beach has become very unsightly, and the pictures are a testament to it.

But instead of agreeing wholeheartedly with the writer, one tends to resent him instead. While the article does cite valid observations, unfortunately, it's also tainted with a certain degree of self-importance of the writer, who probably wants to impose his own ideas of taste and propriety on the rest of the population.

True, videoke is hated and shunned by foreign tourists, but in a country where about 70% of the tourist market is domestic, whom should you primarily accommodate? Banning videoke is like telling Filipinos, "Baduy ang videoke, baduy ang taste nyo, so stop being yourselves and pretend to be European."

And it's not like ALL tourists hate videoke anyway - just ask the Koreans or the Japanese.

Uncontrolled development is a bad thing, but Bohol might not be the most glaring example of it - a better example would be Boracay. And if the writer gripes about the sprouting of "me-too" resorts, tell me WHAT PROVINCE in this country does not have any of these types of resorts.

The problem with the article is that it seems more intent on disparaging the object of its purportedly constructive criticism, and that the writer's evident sense of self-importance and superiority leave a bad taste in the mouth.

And oh, if had bothered to do a MINIMAL amount of research, he would have known that the proposed Panglao Airport is going to REPLACE the Tagbilaran Airport (which even at this time is TOO SMALL as it is). Whoever gave him the idea that the two airports would operate simultaneously? That's idiotic, and certainly ridiculous coming from a UP professor.

Thanks Randolf, for your comments. Some of your remarks are on my response, not on Mr. De Vera's original article. I've reproduced on this site mainly to evoke some discussion and reactions, as, like most of us, I do not want Panglao to become a second Boracay, and I certainly do not want to dissuade tourists to visit Bohol. The key to all this is proper planning. How much I would like it to be different, Asian, European, and Philippine tourists often do not mix well -- the taste for Karaoke is just one example --, so you plan areas that appeal to the taste of each group (not by explicitly reserving areas for certain countries, that would be discrimination, but by setting up a profile for the facilities in each area. Visitors will be quick enough to find out.)

The Panglao airport is another hot topic. I don't believe in it. The proposed location is actually on the spot where in the seventies a small airstrip was located, suitable for Cessna type aircraft. It is not well though-out. It would cause plains to land and start straight over Alona beach, causing considerable noise pollution. You are right that the Tagbilaran airport needs replacement, but we can see no sign of that, as improvements are still being made to the place. In my argumentation elsewhere on this site, an International airport will be quite redundant so close to Mactan, and an alternative national airport can better be located somewhere else, not too far from Tagbilaran. Of course, any location will lead to a "Not in my backyard" type of response.--Jeroen.

Perry wrote:
Sunday, 4 January 2009 00:47:54 PHT
I believe Mr. de Vera is a co-conspirator of Mr. Pernia who has a dubious behavior of destabilizing a wholesome provincial entity, struggling hard to reach the pinnacle of progress. He is more likely telling the truth, but he is certainly driven by his superego attributed to his superior professional or financial achievements than any average Filipino. It is in his subconscious part of his psyche that he thinks he deserves better and special treatment. Ain't we all human beings? Yes, but he does not need to cry to the whole world about his personal predicament. A lot of narrow-minded would be tourist to Bohol will be swayed away by the power of Mr. de Vera's pen and the photos that may no longer be accurate.

Sorry Bohol, you've probably just lost an unaccountable number of prospective tourists due to the above article.

Since you know Mr. Pernia, you probably also know Bohol well enough to know that my photographs are quite illustrative of the situation. Suggestively claiming the 'may' no longer be accurate is misleading. An ad hominum attack does not help the least to counter Mr. de Vera's arguments. I have spend a lot of effort to promote Bohol by running this website, out of love for this beautiful province and its friendly people. I would hate to see its development stalled. Destruction is not development. People who do not care about the island wouldn't care to write, or come at all.

I do not share all Mr. de Vera's sentiments. For me, riding habal-habal on rough roads is one of the charms of Bohol. But I too don't like to sleep next to a Karaoke bar. The proper solution here would be to develop a part of Tagbilaran city for such activities, not to organize such things near the beach. The whole issue is one of planning, organizing, and keeping an eye for limits. Otherwise, you will get worse than a bad press, something Bohol does not deserve.--Jeroen.

angkoldoy wrote:
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 08:28:04 PHT
Having worked in Bohol as a Marketing and Finance Advisor for the Ministry of Ag Bureau of Coops under Marcos and Aquino in the mid- eighties, I had numerous opportunities to spend my off-duty time on Panglao and other islands off Bohol. My wife and I return to Bohol every three to four years and stay four to six weeks. Although we are acutely aware that the Philippines offer a vast variety of travel destinations, we spend all our vacations in Bohol. We never lack things to do and the kids, the wife and I play til we are about to drop. For eighteen years, I've been a natural resources crime investigator for the State of Hawaii (USA). My wife works in the resort industry in Hawaii. We have some of the top resorts in the world here. I could go on and on about what the leaders in Bohol and the Philippines could do to improve the guests' experiences. Don't fix it if it ain't broken. Those 'bad and ugly' experiences are part of the mix of Bohol's and the Philippines' culture. If the educated and "smart" bureaucrats attempt to administer tourism programs, the cronyism and nepotism will surface. Tourism can be part of an economic program. Some very good tourism attractions have come about by Boholanos being creative... without substantial government intervention. Let the innovative Boholanos do their stuff. Whether it is dolphin watching or any thing goes karaoke, what is good will survive and be successful. Feedback such as Mr. De Vera provided should be used by those wishing to attract tourists. It is all about tourists speaking highly to their friends, relatives and co-workers about their experiences. Note: In Hawaii beaches are considered unencumbered public lands, whether they front a resort or a residential property. Several times in my career, I've had to convince an ill advised manager of a multi-national resort, that they have no power or authority to attempt to regulate activities on the beach fronting their resort. I've had the same confrontation with the BBC Security as did Mr. De Vera.

Aloha

Thanks for your comment. I tend to agree that calling government intervention is often equivalent, especially in the Philippines, to inviting corruption and bureaucracy in on a grand scale. Just look at the government run Chocolate Hills Complex, or some other projects in Bohol for sad examples of government inefficiency.

I have heard a lot of grand scale plans that turned to nothing, such as a Raffles five-star resort on Bohol, expensive foreign consultants, etc., I haven't seen it materialize into better facilities on the island. What I do see, and do like are interesting private initiatives on a scale that the local infrastructure can sustain, and have unique selling points--such as Bohol Bee Farm. We do need a mix of both reasonable budget and more up-beat resorts.

We do need the government, however, to maintain a level playing field, maintain some kind of oversight, and the rule of law. No haphazard building of ugly high-rise resorts that destroy the landscape. Enforcement of anti-pollution laws. A tough stance against appropriation of public beaches by private companies, and allowing more beds/resorts/boats, etc. than the island can facilitate. Bohol should be careful not to kill its goose with the golden eggs.--Jeroen.

A Visitor wrote:
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 00:17:37 PHT
I stayed at both the BBC and the Dumaluan Resort. First at the BBC which I found expensive and not very friendly or helpful. Then we went next door to the Dumaluan which as ok. The trick is that the BBC doesnt want Dumaluan people wandering onto their private beach. That's why you where kicked out.

The point is here that it is NOT the BBC private beach, but government property, to which they have no more rights than everybody else. It is illegal for them to try to kick you out.--Jeroen.

HannahLT wrote:
Saturday, 27 December 2008 12:56:35 PHT
I'm with an inter-company group/org that supports and promotes Global Sustainability. Thanks for this article! We may have Bohol on our Go-To list, based on the environmental concerns that it faces due to increase in tourist traffic...

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