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Moonstruck at a Panglao Beach getaway

Sautéed shrimps with garlic, onions and peppers

At Bohol Beach Club we had Filipino beefsteak, pinakbet with lechon kawali and extra lechon kawali for dinner for only P500. We both couldn’t believe it.

MILLIE:  Every year for Karla’s birthday we plan a bonding activity. This year, we both wanted to go to the beach, as we had not been for almost three years due to a heavy workload. We headed for Panglao beach and learned we would be there on the night of the blood moon, a phenomenon that occurs once in a lifetime!

KARLA:  For my birthday, all I really wanted was a swimming party but I got a beach party instead. It was the perfect kickoff to my birthday festivities. The last time I was in Bohol was in 2015 and I’ve been itching to go back ever since. Bohol is our beach getaway go-to. My lolo Joe loved it there, so we would find the time to take him very year. When he passed on, Mom and I would still continue the summer tradition even if it meant it would just be the two of us going. I spent the summers of 2016 and 2017 in the US for school and my graduation so this year was my first time back in two-and-a-half years and all I could imagine doing was just hanging out on the beach the entire day.

MILLIE:  As we arrived in Tagbilaran, our reliable transporter Germie Gatchalian met us and took us to Bohol Beach Club, our favorite beach resort on Panglao Island. We weren’t in the mood for sightseeing, but we did make one stop in Poblacion at the back of Baclayon church to buy our favorite Osang’s special broas. These awesome homemade ladyfingers are baked in an old-fashioned way by Baby Maristela, whom we have patronized for over 30 years!

Arriving at the Bohol Beach Club by noon, we were welcomed with open arms, literally, by owner Boom Fonacier and sons Paolo and Anton, and we chatted for hours until I noticed Karla squirming in her seat, wanting to head for the beach.

KARLA:  Bohol Beach Club has been our home in Panglao for as long as I can remember. I still remember the time when the tap water was still salty, and brushing my teeth always tasted so weird.  When we were little, I remember my cousins complaining that we didn’t even have TVs in the room. But really, that’s the point. Who goes to the beach to watch TV? They have flatscreen TVs with cable now, by the way, but we hardly turn it on.

We were there for all three phases of their expansion and have stayed in all three phases. We would come so often that the staff would remember us from the previous year and would take care of us. Sometimes we didn’t even have to ask. Once my lolo Joe got in the water and the bartender knew already to send fresh buko because Lolo Joe loved drinking while swimming. And the best part was that it floated so he didn’t have to carry it the entire time!

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A local vegetable dish, pinakbet topped with lechon kawali or deep-fried pork belly
 

When happy hour came, my mom, Tita Dorcie and I would be having buy-one, take-one cocktails on a sandbar and the waiter would deliver our drinks to us on the beach. We have been witnesses to all the improvements, expansions and menu developments of the resort. Their food isn’t pretentious; it’s not trying hard to be something it’s not. It’s simple, it’s familiar, and affordable. It’s comfort food, and that’s more than enough for us.

Before heading to the beach, we had a late lunch. We ordered pinakbet with lechon kawali, gambas and beef salpicao. For dessert, we had these little kalamay tarts that were really good and not too sweet.

After lunch, I left mom and Tito Boom to catch up, while I headed to the room. We got the beach-view suite with a super king bed and a day bed that can be for an extra person, or in my case, this is where I put all my beach stuff like sunblock, speakers, etc. My favorite, though, is the private veranda where I would work for an hour or two every day after sunset, before dinnertime.

On our first night, we didn’t feel like going to the restaurant so we ordered room service instead and ate at our private veranda. We had Filipino beefsteak, pinakbet with lechon kawali and extra lechon kawali for dinner. We were so full but the bill was only P500. We both couldn’t believe it.

MILLIE:  Getting up at sunrise to enjoy a walk along the shore, we reserved sunbeds at our favorite beachfront spot. We enjoyed a breakfast buffet spread with Filipino and international dishes including cereals, fresh fruits, bread assortments, jams and cheese.  We spent the whole day at the beach and forgot about the time until a food attendant approached us and asked if we wanted to order anything. We didn’t realize it was 4 p.m., so we ordered a meat-lover’s pizza and Karla had a mango daiquiri while I had a fresh buko.

KARLA:  Lolo Joe always wished he had pizza on the beach, so when I heard that BBC, or Bohol Beach Club, finally had a brick oven for pizza, I couldn’t help but order one. The meat-lover’s pizza consisted of peperoni, bacon and chorizo. It wasn’t happy hour yet but I ordered a fresh mango daiquiri. We enjoyed it so much that I immediately said I would order it again the following day. Ha ha!

After a full day on the beach just listening to music and taking 15- to 30-minute dips in the water, it was time to head back to the room. I was on the veranda getting a bit of work done when mom told me about the super blue blood moon happening that evening. So we transferred our coffee table and chairs out of the veranda to an area in front of our suite, where we could get a good view of the moon.

Purple and orange sunset at the Bohol Beach Club
 

Since we waited for about two and a half hours, we started off snacking on Gruyere, salami and prosciutto, then later on Cheetos, until we decided to have some food sent to our room. We ordered inihaw na liempo and the BBC burger. The waiter who brought our food was amused at us because we looked so comfy outside. We were eating, chatting, attempting to take photos of the moon but could never get a good-enough shot, we had background music through Spotify playing while the chilly breeze kept us curled up in our seats.

The next day, my friends Danielle Chen, who is based in Los Angeles, her brother Paolo Chen and Jharvis Ong arrived from Cebu. We had a picnic lunch by the beach. We ordered mango shakes, Filipino beefsteak, gising-gising, and grilled squid stuffed with green mangoes, tomatoes, spring onions and ginger. Mom and I had a full breakfast earlier that day so we didn’t eat much for lunch. By 4 p.m. I was starving and ordered a couple of margaritas and the meat-lover’s pizza again. Mom and I had leftover salami and prosciutto and added it to our pizza. Perfect merienda!

This was definitely one of the best Bohol trips to date. I got to spend time with mom, with friends and we watched the entire transition from a full moon to a super blue blood moon for three hours, indeed a lunar show stopper.   It was not our first real experience to be moon gazing but it was the first time we both witnessed this great phenomenon and we were both moonstruck! What an eventful birthday!

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Send email to milliereyes.foodforthought@gmail.com and quichethecook.ph@gmail.com. Find us on Facebook:  Food for Thought by Millie & Karla Reyes.

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