Inside Bohol > Kaliwat Bol-anon

Bohol’s simplicity and serenity


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By Cherry Ballescas (The Freeman) | Updated August 13, 2015 - 12:00am

Bohol is an island province that is naturally beautiful. Filipinos and foreigners have been treated to meet the famous, lovable tarsiers, view the unique chocolate hills, enter cool caves, enjoy the beautiful beaches and river cruises, play and pose with butterflies, search for fireflies, and more.

Bohol is also abundantly blessed. The deep blue Visayan Sea and the numerous rivers continue to supply fresh fish and other marine products. The vast, green fields are not only beautiful green carpets to behold. Bohol rice has been added to Bohol fish among the island's products sold in Cebu and elsewhere. There are the native chocolate or tableya, the delicious kinampay or bohol ube, the calamay, peanut kisses, ginamos, native coconut vinegar, the chicharon, torta - the list can go on and on and on!

No wonder, many Spanish friars decided to build huge churches all over this naturally beautiful and resource rich-province.

Bohol is also proud of heroes who fought for independence against the colonizers. With a President and prominent politicians in national positions, the "republic of Bohol" and the Boholanos have so much to be proud of.

Yet, this island and the people exude so much refreshing simplicity and serenity - it is such a restful paradise ever ready to soothe those with weary bodies and hearts.


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One is still treated to experience seeing rice grains and copra being dried along the roads. Instant stalls appear showcasing newly caught, fresh fish for kinilaw and tua lovers. Oh, there is the fresh sea urchin as well!

We are not sure if Bohol is still a predominantly out-migration area. Despite its natural beauty and bounty, in the past, many left for higher education and better professions. More left to look for work and money to send to their families back home. Boholanos are known to flock back home for fiestas - especially during the merry month of May - a happy reunion time for families and friends from all over the Philippines and the world.

Why the out-migration? Much of the island's lands were sadly not owned by the tillers. Businesses were also not controlled by native Boholanos. How we wish the situation has changed favorably for the tenants and the rest of the hardworking Boholanos.

Resilience is another beautiful quality shared by Boholanos with those affected by disasters. While the flattened churches await restoration, the religious Boholanos continue their worship and devotion in temporary, makeshift structures. Depending on their financial capacity, social capital and network, one observes disaster-affected units completely or partially restored or still awaiting repair and reconstruction. Loon town still has a number of observable remnants of the destructive earthquake. Certain roads and bridges, especially in the Calape area and between Tubigon and Tagbilaran are still under repair.

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However, there is a palpable upbeat ambience of resiliency - with all seemingly doing their best to move forward beyond the disasters of the past.

And the island and the people continue to exude enviable simplicity and serenity, despite the harsh challenges of nature in the not so distant past. Is this the Boholanos' expression of their  continuing gratitude and unwavering faith in God , His beautiful and bountiful nature, and His continuing grace and care for all?

This remains an ardent prayer for Bohol - for the province and people not to lose their simplicity and serenity - not to lose their beautiful, bountiful natural environment despite aggressive tourism.

Panglao is developing more and more for foreigners. We pray Boholanos will not allow unregulated tourism and immediate profits to rob the island and the Boholanos of their beautiful nature, their proud historical legacy, and their strong faith in God that has allowed them to remain wonderfully simple and serene through the years.

May the Boholanos preserve and sustain their beautiful and bountiful nature that has allowed them in the past and has continued to allow them still to go through life with refreshing simplicity, quiet peace, and strong faith.


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