Matet: As blinding light peeked into the dark skies at sunrise, the beautiful coastal town of Anda in eastern Bohol gradually unfolded before our eyes. Our first stop: the Quinale beach in Brgy. Poblacion—an unassuming public beach with an expansive powdery shoreline.
Its immaculately white sand, cerulean waters and laid-back vibe captured my heart. It was love at first sight. The sand is perhaps the finest you could find in the country, rivaling that of the famous Boracay and Malcapuya Island in Coron. Quinale Beach hosts a collection of rustic and budget friendly resorts, as well as a camp site and a local government-run beach bar. Away onto the horizon, we could see the neighboring island of Camiguin, the second smallest island province in the country.
Brgy. Candabong (the first barangay we saw upon entering the municipality of Anda) boasts charming cliffside resorts fringed with picturesque rock formations and abundant coral reefs perfect for diving and snorkeling. The marine life is fabulous. On this side of Anda also lies the very first beachfront resort in town. For over 25 years, Bohol Dapdap Beach Resort has been a refuge for locals and tourists alike.
Nestled further east is Talisay Beach in Brgy. Bacong. The 2.8-kilometer white shoreline and the sober waves made us feel that we were alone in this part of the world. It reminded me of how Alona beach in Panglao looked a decade ago—quiet, calm, and relaxing—nothing but sand, sea, and sun. Seasonally, sea turtles make their nests and lay their eggs on this shore. A hidden gem, indeed! Resorts here are priced reasonably and are far from each other, so privacy is not a question.
Besides the spectacular beaches and marine sanctuaries, Anda is also famous for its intriguing caves and cave pools. We explored three of the town’s cave pools: Cateres, Combento, and Cabagnow. Cateres cave spring in Brgy. Bacong is perhaps one of the smallest yet one of the hardest to get into, as you would have to rappel down before reaching the surface. The Combento cave pools in Brgy. Virgen consists of two pools, features crystal-clear waters, and is easier to access as rocks are less sharp and are not too steep. For those who like extreme adventure, free diving in Cabagnow cave pool will definitely give the adrenaline rush you want. It is a seemingly normal pit that reveals an enchanting cave whose floor is a natural enclosed pool with a depth of about 25 feet. The water, clear enough for you to see the stones and some fish swimming on its bed, is pretty in dark, with cool hues of blue and aquamarine.
Anda is also home to the mystical Lamanoc Island, famous for its red hematite rock painting, rock shelters and caves, Shaman’s trail, burial caves, and interesting folklores. It is a few minutes away by boat, paddling through expansive mangrove forests and walking on bamboo footbridges. Adding to the already captivating experience in Bohol is the heartfelt hospitality the Boholanos are known for.
Matet Garcia-Reyes writes to travel and travels to write. An AB Communications Arts graduate from the University of Santo Tomas, she gave up her six-year career in Marketing Communications and Public Relations to fulfill her dreams of becoming a travel, food, and lifestyle writer. Her works have been published both online and in print, locally and internationally. She advocates promotion of local tourism and supports initiatives on sustainability of indigenous communities.
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