Before he was mayor of the municipality of Candijay in Bohol, Christopher B. Tutor was first an engineer and a family man who dreamt of building his own beach resort. That dream came to fruition in January 2012 when East Coast White Sand Resort (www.eastcoastwhitesand.com) opened its doors to the public in Anda, an adjacent town which is about 30 minutes away from Candijay.
The resort has modern family cottages, a restaurant, three swimming pools, a freshwater cave pool, and its own private beach that boasts of pristine white sand. For a minimum of 25 guests, it is also possible to book the entire resort for your private function.
Now that he is a municipal mayor on his second term, Mayor Tutor has made an arrangement with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Anda to promote Anda’s accommodation establishments in Candijay. In exchange, the LGU of Anda has agreed to promote Candijay’s day tour packages in Anda, an arrangement that benefits the tourism sector of both municipalities.
For tourists and guests who prefer to spend the night in Candijay, they can check in at BISU (Bohol Island State University) Hometel, Cogtong, Candijay, Tel. No. 526-0118 (http://www.bisu.edu.ph/bisu-telephone-directory/), a campus-based accommodation where tourism or HRM students earn their training hours on the job.
The Municipality of Candijay is approximately 2 hours away from Tagbilaran City, the capital of Bohol. It boasts of sustainable agriculture and prime eco-cultural tourism destinations as sources of livelihood for the local community.
Luzon holds no monopoly on rice terraces. Start your tour at the Cadapdapan Rice Terraces located in the uplands approximately 30 minutes away from the poblacion or town center. Cadapdapan has several farm owners who have converted the mountainsides and hillsides into rice farms, bursting with verdant green color during planting season and turning into gold every fourth month or so during the harvest season.
One of the most photographed locations is the farm belonging to the Eleuterios who registered their property as Eleuterio’s Can-umantad Falls & Rice Terraces Resort Inc. in 2015. For a minimal entrance fee, you get to saunter around the fields for some souvenir shots.
According to the owner, they are able to harvest an average of 300 sacks of rice every cycle. It is common to see locals hard at work during harvest.
Since no modern farm machinery can plow the sloping terrain, it is also common to see farm animals such as carabaos (water buffaloes) wallowing in the mud after a hard day’s work, with a few endemic birds as audience.
Can-umantad Falls is the highest waterfalls in Bohol at 60 feet (hence its name can-uman or 60). If you are up to hiking, you can follow a trail from the rice terraces down to the falls, or you may opt to ride a car or motorcycle through an access road down to the site.
The clean, cool waters are ideal for bathing during the hot summer months. You can go directly to where the water falls and let the pressure of the water cascading down massage your back.
Do not miss the Canawa Cold Spring which is also 30 minutes away from the town center. The spring got its name from the shape of its core (cawa or vat-shaped), and no one has ever fathomed its depths. During summer months, it is a clear blue-green color which turns muddy brown during the rainy season because of siltation. Ropes have been strung across the spring to enable non-swimmers to enjoy bathing in it. Run-offs from the spring are channeled into a pool which is also used to irrigate the farms downhill.
photo credit: mustachioventures.blogspot.com
From the mountains, you can go to the coastal barangays for some fresh seafood.
The Municipal Tourism Port in Pangpang Panas, Candijay can take orders in advance so that the seafood is ready when guests arrive. Take your pick from the fresh catch of the day, from fish to shrimps, crabs or clams and shells.
At the Cogtong Bay, you will be able to see some fish pens (mostly milk fish or bangus) and seaweed farms which are part of the community’s livelihood.
Marine seaweeds are a good source of colloidal materials which are used as gelling agents, emulsifiers, and stabilizers in pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food products.
The seaweeds are dark in color when freshly harvested and turn to light brown when sun-dried. They have buyers from Cebu who buy in batches.
Further out in Cogtong Bay is the Kawasihan Sandbar which is surrounded by a marine reserve on its fringes. Snorkeling is highly recommended to enjoy the underwater view. Boats may be rented from the fishermen for a 15-minute ride to the site.
Several cottages are currently being constructed onsite for the ease and convenience of picnickers. Sunset at the bay is a sight to behold.
Cap off your day with dinner at the Candijay del Rio Floating Restaurant (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Candijay-Del-Rio-Floating-Restaurant/306207569730120) in Lungsodaan, Candijay. The ambiance is built around organic lightweight materials. They serve an assortment of grilled food, sizzlers, and a la carte entrees in their menu, as well as group meals.
The location of the floating restaurant is also the jump-off point for Candijay’s Firefly Watching tour which is the latest addition to their tour packages. First organized in August 2016, the tour traverses the nooks and crannies of the Lungsodaan River for about an hour for a spectacular view of fireflies lighting up various trees along the waterway. The river is part of the Carood Watershed. It is where waters from the basin of six municipalities congregate to finally exit at the Cogtong Bay where a mangrove forest protects the coast.
photo credit: Marco Sumargo of @whatsupmarky
Do not wonder if you happen to pass by the newly built Candijay public market at dusk. They have a huge LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screen which takes the place of billboards for important community announcements and tourism promotional videos highlighting Candijay’s tourism assets.
Sincere gratitude to the Bohol Tourism Office, Candijay Municipal Mayor Christopher Tutor, Municipal Tourism Officer TJ Tutor Janiola, the barangay captains and Bantay Dagat staff who facilitated our media coverage of Candijay.