Bikini open ‘strange to Bantayan’

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #newmedia specialist

BANTAYAN ISLAND, CEBU, PHILIPPINES — Out of sight.Out of mind.

Bantayan Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Arthur Despi pointed out that because some beach resorts here rent out their spaces to private event organizers, the latter think they already have the freedom to stage any show they want even if such collides with local sensibilities.

“As for BCCI, the staging of a bikini open is out of sight and out of mind. I mean, it is not the Bantayanons’ spirit, therefore it is strange to us,” he said in reply to a concern that such an event may happen again now that the island has already risen after being ravaged by Yolanda.

The influx of tourists is expected already weeks to the observance of Lent. Bantayan Island has always been a favorite destination of domestic and international tourists alike because it has fine sandy beaches, 14 islets suitable for hopping, distinct fishing practices having the sea as a natural resource heritage, and interesting religious practices like feasting on meat on supposed fasting season. This is in relation to a past Papal Bull exempting the island from fasting because of oversupply of food stock in the old days.

The anxiety over staging of bikini opens stems from a past event that obviously scandalized the locals and brought the organizer, including celebrity guests from Manila, apologizing to former Governor Gwen Garcia for hurting local sensibility, emphasizing stomping on women’s dignity here. ###

South Palms Resort Panglao marks 12.13.14

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, newmedia specialist

Contributed photo

PANGLAO ISLAND, BOHOL — A tough shift from retail to resort property development has led to prosperous outputs in just a year’s time. To underscore a year of success despite a series of natural calamities here in the Visayas Region, South Palms Resort Panglao threw a “First Anniversary” party to make raves of partners’ unwavering support and to dedicate the coming years to strengthen a regional market.

Says Fe Ginete, sales and marketing manager, that while Bohol properties and lives have suffered from the aftermath of a major earthquake and a super howler thereafter, South Palms was just at its soft opening phase at that time. “Kami ang nakaumang. So in a way we also directly suffered from loss of tourist arrivals. Di lang siguro that bad because we’re just about to start pa lang. That’s why we have so many people to thank for kay they came at a point when we needed them sooo badly.”

Thus, 12.13.14 was marked with overflowing food and drinks, live music-mixing featuring disc jockeys, fireworks display on a section of South Palms’ 700-meter beachfront. The event was graced by no less than Bohol Governor Ed Chatto, the Uy family that owns the Alturas Group of Companies, stakeholders, and media partners.

Ginete described how tough it was to to undertake a rebranding. South Palms’ 43-hectare property was part of the Bohol Beach Club of the Fonaciers from Ilocandia. The Uys acquired three-fourths of the said property.

“Mahirap kung sa mahirap ang pag-uusapan when it comes to rebranding kasi there’s that feeling na after you nurtured a certain brand, babaguhin mo lahat ng sinabi mo tungkol don. Parang snake na kinain sarili niyang buntot. Ganon. And of course the Uys are used to retail management – Alturas, Plaza Marcela, Island City Mall, two Colonnades in Cebu, nya resort property development lahi man gud na siya sa retail. Let’s put it this way: sa retail it’s like a sack of rice, buksan nimo, ilatag nimo, pagkahapon you have your returns. With resort, magtanom pa ka. You have to establish goodwill with your clients. You have to nurture them, attend to their needs. After-sales or after-service is the real customer care. Will they come back again? Will they take time to talk about our products and services to others? Will they recommend us? Ana man gud na. How much more if gi-rebrand? It’s very, very challenging.”

Ginete boasts of 65-percent occupancy of a total of 90 rooms. Guestroom types are the following: Deluxe Garden View, Deluxe Pool View, Deluxe Beachfront, Premium Beachfront, Beach Villa, South Palms Villa, and Panglao Villa. This writer found the Deluxe Beachfront accommodation perfect because of its fine amenities like shower enclosure, soft beds and pillows, a patio with portable stand for hanging wet beachwear, complimentary items like Peanut Kisses and tarsier blings that you can hang either from your bags or mobile phones. You can also take home the slippers. There’s a 32-inch LED TV, mini-bar, coffee maker and tea service, and Free Wi-Fi Access. The only glitch this writer encountered was the blank channels on Cable TV which she perceived to be triggered by reception problems.

Outside, my fellow media practitioners enjoyed most of the time the rectangular hammock. It’s a bed mounted on wooden rectangular frame, tied on ends to bamboos attached onto coconut palms. The typical hammock can only accommodate two at most and with room difficulty. But the rectangular hammock could carry up to six pax. We were like kids taking turns in swinging the hammock so the others can shout to the top of their lungs upon the joy that rocking and swaying can bring. Yes, because you can move it not only to and fro, but side to side as well.

Beforehand, we had a taste of Oceanica Blue at the Coat Pool Bar. It’s that shot of vodka’s character and fluidity with a jigger of curacao and calamansi puree. Then we combed the beachfront where we sat on bean bags scattered all over. An LPA was developing at that time east of Samar, but that night the sky afforded us a few stars – the Little Dipper most visible, and a pallor moon that’s about on her half-moon stage yet.

Ginete shared she might be too ambitious but she looks at an 11 to 15-percent target in tourist arrival growth and penetrate to its core the BPO sector because of the segment’s spending power and creative means to help promote South Palms. “Three more properties will be opening soon here, I know eight percent target is the safest. But I want to be ambitious about this because we take pride in our property. We are sure to create for our visitors wonderful memories here. We have the longest stretch of white sand beach, our reefs and dive sites are just a leisure walk away. We have the right staffing – a mix of veterans and young, dynamic people. We want the BPOs because of their strong knowledge on virtual commerce. And take note: We are just a Supercat trip or an Oceanjet away.”

Finally, the way a Bohol beach holiday should be!

Check, FB/SouthPalmsResortPanglao, email: