Tagbilaran, Monday, 7 February 2011 03:59:03
While waiting for the van last Wednesday, I overheard two female students talking about their deans and teachers. Students are free to talk anything about their teachers with no fear and apprehension when they are outside the school. The first student talked about a certain dean in a school who is facing "massive" protest from students and faculty because of "personality problem" and "extortion." The other student made tsismis about their dean who is very miser (she's making a tight-fist sign) that her maid has to borrow money from the neighborhood to buy soap for laundry and tinapa for meal.
On the two-hour trip, mi amiga para vivir De Ers and I heard (familiar) tsismis (the names are crystal clear you know) from other passengers, including:
Anyway, stories like those didn't dampen De Ers and my excitement for our "Bien Unido visit" in the northern Corregidor of Bohol.
Leave your notions about Bien Unido behind—the reality is far more intriguing. Bien Unido is Bohol's last frontier and the home of the double barrier reef in Asia. I like the welcome note of Bien Unido in their website (www.bienunido.com):
You've seen the hills, the tarsier and even the python... you've done the plunge, the beach, and the river cruise.
But you could never have the ultimate Bohol experience until you explored Bien Unido-Bohol's Last Frontier.
Be captivated by its majestic natural wonders explored only by a few. Dive or snorkel and see the beauty of the world underneath the crystal clear waters.
Visit the underwater grottos and other spectacle in the Bien Unido double barrier reef-the only one in Asia.
Jetski, kayak or relax in the sand bars with ice cold drinks and wait for the migrating birds' afternoon flight. And go back home sailing into Bien Unido's infamous sunset that will make you fall in love.
Escape from the ordinary Bohol experience and let Bien Unido do it for you.
Visit us and find out that there is so much more to discover in Bohol...
Tranquil Bien Unido is culturally rich, endowed with natural beauty—utterly fascinating. People are coming because of the underwater attraction— the Bien Unido Double Barrier Reef. The dashing Mayor Niño Rey Boniel said the underwater attraction is first in Asia and 5th in the whole world. The Island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea has underwater grottos for tourism.
Mayor Boniel thought of installing 14-foot statues of Mother Mary and the Santo Niño, which were installed 60 feet below sea level, not just to boost its tourism industry but also one way of preserving the natural resources of the town.
"This is to discourage illegal fishing in the Danajon reef and to remind also of God's gift of nature and life and nobody can destroy it for the sake of the future generation," said Mayor Boniel. After they installed the statues, illegal fishing activities are no longer rampant and schools of fish are coming back. It also helps the tourism industry of this town.
"Divers can also pray underwater to have a moment of deeper reflection than those normally experienced, and be very thankful for safely guiding through all their diving adventures, because when in diving, one is immersed in another amazing world where everyone can really appreciate God's wonderful creation," a statement from the mayor's office of Bien Unido read.
To encourage more tourists, the LGU constructed a mini hotel, dive shop and other basic facilities. Visitors who plan to stay overnight or longer can stay at the Bien Unido Double Barrier Reef Dive Camp. Visitors can settle into clean and gracious rooms. There are drinks, gourmet meals and fabulous memories-in-the making with fellow travelers.
Several islets of Bien Unido have unadulterated nature. Sailing small banca, visitors can visit the islets with distinct ecologies.
The LGU is also offering seaweeds farm tour. Bien Unido prides itself as the Seaweed Capital of the Visayas. People can learn how seaweeds are planted, harvested and processed in the municipality's 2,500 hectares farm. Bien Unido also offers technical assistance on seaweed health management and they can help develop a strategy to start a new seaweed farm.
All the while De Ers and I were there, we were amazed on coral gardens and sea life. With Mayor Boniel, the town's vision to become a prime eco-cultural tourist destination and a balance agro-industrialized governed by God loving and socially, economically empowered community, is putting Bien Unido in the world map.
Mayor Boniel told us to stay overnight but we politely refused the offer because of our busy schedules. Some other time, we said.
The people of Bien Unido are a true delight, and always return our friendly curiosity in full.
Before we left, I asked Mayor Boniel if he is getting married this year. Again, Bared's HulaHula Who 2011 is true—he has no plans to settle down yet this year. But that's another interesting story, ayt?
(Note: For inquiries, call Leony at +639153229874or go to www.bienunido.com.)
Leo P. Udtohan