After the devastating 2013 earthquake, some of our friends claimed that Bohol was not as enticing as it was before, so it was always crossed off our preferred destinations. But we eventually convinced ourselves to finally book our flights and see whether Bohol has really lost its charm. While it was true that some renovations have been done to ensure the integrity of the old structures, we were deeply mistaken! Bohol was still as fascinating as how they described it before the tragedy.
Since we wanted to stay in a resort near the beach, Amarela Resort in Panglao Island was our best option! Situated just half an hour away from Tagbilaran, Amarela Resort offered us access to some of the most celebrated features of Bohol – the pristine beaches of Panglao, the historic sites, and the famous Chocolate Hills. And when we found out that Amarela won the ASEAN Green Hotel Award for being an eco-friendly boutique resort, it was a no-brainer choice! Overall, we had the best time, and we somehow regret why it took us this long to visit this beautiful island again!
We chose to stay at the Superior Room because it was the most affordable, and we had no plans to stay in the hotel room much because we wanted to exhaust our tour in Bohol. Because of the price, we conditioned our minds not to expect a lot but we were so surprised when we saw the room! It was very homey and it felt like we were going to stay in an ancestral home, but in a good way. It was the first time that we actually encountered a hotel room that perfectly blended antique furniture and modern amenities! We were wrong again. We didn’t want to leave our room anymore.
Curious as to how the more expensive rooms look like, we asked the housekeeping staff if we can have a tour of the unoccupied rooms. Without hesitations, she granted our wish and took us to the Deluxe Queen first. Just like the Superior Room, the Deluxe is still accentuated with old hardwood doors and floors. What we particularly liked here were the Bohol local artworks displayed in every room!
The Deluxe Twin is relatively bigger compared to the Deluxe Queen. It features two single beds and a small balcony that provides a view of the luscious garden within the resort. We liked the fact that the room is surrounded by glass windows giving guests the option to use natural lighting. Talk about conserving electricity!
The Antequera room is part of Amarela’s specialty series. It maintains the exquisite design and the ethnic vibes Amarela is known for. The best part about this room? It’s a corner room so we got to enjoy a sweeping view of the Bohol Sea and the lush vegetation surrounding it.
Liking what we saw, we decided to upgrade to one of Amarela’s specialty rooms, the Samia. The Samia is way more spacious than our previous accommodation. It offers a grand view of the Bohol Sea and has all the essentials needed for a comfortable stay. We had to wake up really early though because of an insider tip that you’ll see the best sunrise from the balcony. Indeed, it didn’t disappoint!
The Amarela is the resort’s signature room. It really embodies what Amarela is all about – a unique blend of elegance and comfort that celebrates local artistry and culture. For travellers who are willing to spend a bit more, this room is definitely worth every penny! It was night time when we had a tour of the Amarela Room and we can actually see hundreds of fireflies flying around the trees near the balcony! It was such an amazing sight to behold!
Their newest addition, the Bohol House is a free-standing private villa that features an enticing plunge pool perfect for an invigorating dip! If you want to have a private getaway without disturbance, the Bohol House is most definitely for you! The private garden surrounding the accommodation gave us the relaxing vibe and we can actually see ourselves (and our future partners) spending our honeymoon here!
Amarela’s in-house restaurant serves a wide variety of selections ranging from local favourites to famous international cuisines. It also features a rustic vibe with antique embellishments that make you feel that you are dining at a colonial era restaurant. To top it all, the restaurant also offers a magnificent view of the ocean.
During our stay in Bohol, we challenged ourselves to explore the different local cuisines while we did our tour of the local spots. But we came across Amarela’s restaurant, and truth be told, we had no reasons to dine outside anymore! The typical Filipino food was given a Bol-anon flare, using herbs and spices from the hotel’s organic vegetable herb garden, giving it a distinct burst of flavour. You must definitely try the Bohol Express, Amarela’s own take on the famous Bicolano food.
Insider tip: If you want to explore the local market and buy your own choice of seafood, you may request the chef to cook it for you!
Yes, you read that right! This place may not be a usual place to bond with friends but Amarela’s library does not only offer a wide selection of interesting reads, but it also features several activities that you can do as a group! They have board games, ping-pong table, and our personal favourite, the DVD library!
You might think, if we were on vacation why would we want to spend time playing indoor games with friends? Trust us when we say that there will be down times when you just want to relax and chill at the resort, and definitely, this library is the best place to do it!
We tried almost all the board games but we spent most of our time with Monopoly, and we finally learned the basics of table tennis! We also watched a couple of movies including a Disney film that involves a snow queen. Please don’t judge us! *wink*
Since most of the people in the group regularly go to the gym, we had to channel our frustration of not being able to work out, elsewhere. So we decided to have our own sports fest! And of course, it was the best way for us to take advantage of the outdoor activities being offered at Amarela Resort.
There were 6 of us in the group so we randomly divided it into two, the Blue team and the Red team. The first sporting event was the Kayak relay. Because of our enormous biceps, and unparalleled upper body strength, our team, the Red team, won! Next sport was Volleyball. Since we just basically laughed our way throughout the game, the Blue team won. Our last and deciding sport was the French game Petanque. The staff cordially explained the mechanics of the game since none of us knew how to play it. It was basically like the Filipino childhood marble game but it uses larger balls of steel. The aim of the game is to throw the steel ball and whoever gets closest to the target wins. Since our gameplay got a bit complicated, we decided to settle with a truce. In the end, nobody won!
Owned by a pure Boholano family from Antequera, Amarela was initially designed to be a private family rest house. However, during the planning phase, the family found out that the area was developed to become a tourism estate. This means that only resort-type establishments may be constructed within the location. This prompted the family to establish a resort that will retain the homey atmosphere of a rest house, with facilities that will showcase the Bol-anon spirit. Thus, Amarela was born.
As the famous Coldplay song goes, “Look at the stars, look how they shine for you, and everything you do, and they were all Yellow”. The Amarela stays true to its promise of being the yellow star that continuously shines for their guests, ensuring comfort and providing assistance in everything that the guests wish to do. It also lives up to what the colour yellow symbolises which is happiness, by giving its visitors a memorable experience that will put a smile on their faces whenever they remember their stay with Amarela.
Proud of its 100% Boholano roots, Amarela aims to showcase what Bohol has to offer. All of its facilities including the rooms, restaurant, the library, the boutique, and the gallery are embellished with artworks and handicrafts made by local artists. The materials being used in the hotel including the doors, hardwood floors, windows, and posts, stood witness to the stories of different Bol-anon families, as most of them were repurposed from old houses around Bohol.
There are several airline companies offering multiple flights from Manila to Tagbilaran City, the capital of Bohol. Travel usually takes around an hour and 15 minutes. Amorita Resort is only a 40-minute drive from Bohol’s Tagbilaran Airport.
You can also reach the Tagbilaran City Port from Dumaguete, Cebu, Manila, Cagayan de Oro and Dipolog.
Make sure to give a head’s up to Amarela Resort
so they can arrange port transfers for you.
Bohol is one of the Philippines’ most iconic travel destinations. It features tourist attractions that can only be found in this province. It has become a favourite destination for travellers because of its amazing array of heritage sites, tourist spots, and outdoor adventures.
When in Bohol, you should never miss the famous Chocolate Hills. It is a geological formation that is composed of more than 1,200 hills, mostly brown in colour. You may directly visit the Chocolate Hills or you may also opt to join the Countryside Tour which will take you to other famous destinations including some of the oldest churches in the Philippines, the Loboc River, and the Tarsier Conservatory, which houses one of the smallest primates in the world.
If you want a beach adventure, you may join the boat tour that lets you experience dolphin watching and snorkelling at the Balicasag Island. At night, be enchanted with the Firefly Watching Tour along the Loay or the Abatan rivers.