To launch their freshest merchandise catalog, AirAsia Philippines brought a few of us lucky bloggers to Bohol for three days of playing in paradise. If Bohol was paradise, its doors were the One-Of Collection’s Amorita Resort.
The owners of the Amorita Resort must be Beatles fans. Several times a day, I would hear “Here Comes The Sun” and “Oh, Darling!,” odes to the beautiful resort that they built. Spanish for “little darling,” Amorita fully embodies its namesake — sweet, charming, intimate, delectable, and cherished.
I sent a photo of my room to a friend, who knew full well that I was going to enjoy it by myself. “Damn, they expect you to make babies alone! Make it happen — The Immaculate Portillo,” he said.
Of all the resorts I’ve enjoyed over the course of my life, the One-Of Collection’s is, so far, my favorite. Taking both Bohol’s Amorita and Coron’s The Funny Lion into consideration, aesthetically, they gravitate towards clean, minimalist finish with multiple layers of functionality, accented by exquisite native treatments. Both romantic and wholesome, it walks that fine line between honeymoon and family room.
Of course, everything is delicious, from the bed, to the complementary treats they “leave on your pillow” — cookies, fresh fruits, rice cakes, and other Filipino delicacies.
What To Do:
You don’t go to a place like Bohol and not play in the water. Luckily, you’ve got several options just outside your door.
Just a few steps away (or a really short bicycle ride!) from your bedroom are a couple of cool blue pools, perfect for lounging around in. One is long enough to do laps in too, if it ever strikes your fancy, because it did mine.
A few steps and a wooden staircase further, on either side of the resort, are gorgeous beaches. To the right is the main Alona Beach, which is shared by the resorts and restaurants that line that coast.
To the left is a private cove and fish sanctuary, protected by Amorita itself. Having such rich wildlife at their backyard, the resort is fully equiped with recreational gear for diving and kayaking. Tin Fernandez (of JovialWanderer.com) and I took a kayak from Alona Beach and into the Amorita cove, where we went nuts snorkeling and skindiving.
If you feel like taking it further, Amorita can work out a couple of special trips for you. They can take you dolphin watching and/or island hopping to Balicasag Island.
Our dolphin encounter was brief, but really exciting! Ideally, you’d get up really early for this, and you’d find them by sunrise. Luckily, the dolphins were still out and about at around 6:30. We chased them around on boats for about 15 minutes. I thought there’d be a more intimate encounter with them, and we’d get to swim with them like we do with whalesharks. But, I’d rather that we were chasing them on boats than exploiting them and altering their behavior with our intrusion into their habitat.
Going to Balicasag will take about an hour from Panglao, or 1.5 hours if you’ve got the dolphins on your itinerary, too. My stomach had turned upside-down by the time we got there, but 15 minutes of settling it was enough to get me ready for more snorkeling and skindiving in the protected marine sanctuary. On some days, when you’re lucky, there are sea turtle sightings. We weren’t; I suppose both dolphins and sea turtles all in one morning, before noon would be just too much!
What To Eat:
To tell you the truth, with a menu like Amorita’s restaurants’, there is really no reason to leave the resort. They’ve got all that you need, and more than you’d ever want.
Saffron Restaurant offers casual poolside dining, of creative renditions of true Filipino cuisine, and inventive cocktails, in a lush, open space with easy access to the resort “backyard” — by this I mean pool and seafront.
In the morning, there is a generous breakfast buffet. The spread differs from day to day, and it is varied enough for a three-course meal. If I had to recommend a constant though, I insist that you try their chocolate milk. It might be an odd recommendation, as milk is a negligible breakfast staple past the age of 6, but trust me on this. I traded my cup of coffee for this; it is an amazing way to add kilig to your morning, without the direct assistance of caffein.
Another odd, but innovative and uniquely Amorita beverage that you shouldn’t miss out on is their Chili Mojito at happy hour. And yes, it is a spicy drink.
Ordering ala carte is where it gets exciting, because that’s when you can freestyle your food adventure. Luckily, they’ll sometimes have some of the menu items on their buffet spread, too, so you can try a little bit of everything.
For appetizers, try their Sisig Quesadilla and Dinakdakan. I’m not sure whether or not the dinakdakan was in the menu, but if it’s on the buffet spread, take it. Clearly, my tastes seem to gravitate towards similar things, but the latter has a fresh, ginger element to it that the former does not. Also, sisig in quesadilla form just works. Especially because the sisig itself is infused with chorizo de Bohol, mozzarella and kesong puti, and then lay in between freshly made tortilla. Oh. My. Gosh. Somebody should have thought of this sooner.
Another favorite is the Binagoongan. To tell you the truth, growing up, I was never a fan of bagoong (sautéed shrimp paste). Only recently have I developed a taste for it, and I’m glad that I did because the way that Saffron serves it is, to tell you another truth, quite heavenly. It is a roasted crackling pork belly resting on a bed of grilled eggplant and bagoong, sitting under a generous foliage of green mango, tomato, onion, and fried garlic bits. DIVINE.
And for dessert: Turon. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this Filipino delicacy, it is banana wrapped in spring roll paper, either with or without langka (jackfruit), doused in butter and sugar, and then deep fried. All well and good, but then Saffron ups the ante and makes it undeniably Bol-anon by infusing it with peanut cookies (see: Peanut Kisses), topping it with homemade ice cream, and drizzling it with salted caramel. You think five on a plate is enough? NOPE!
And that’s just downstairs.
Upstairs is Tomar Tapas and Wine Bar. Like I said in a previous entry, after being fed some of the best Spanish food I’ve had in my life, I didn’t feel too great looking at my bikini-clad self the day after. But I regret none of it! It was sexy, hearty, lustful, and a rollercoaster of flavors — just like that last affair I had with a Spanish dude.
The pleasure didn’t just end there. After a day full of exciting things, sailing around Bohol, chasing dolphins, and skin diving, my final treat was a luxurious Urduja Aromatherapy massage at the resort’s Sea Tree Spa. I thought it might be wise to allow some time to pass between my last meal — the aforementioned Spanish fiesta — and my massage, so I asked for the last slot at 10:00 PM before everybody turned in.
It really doesn’t take much to make me happy — I’m happy with a good bed to sleep in, good food, adventure, and a bit of relaxation. It sounds simple enough a formula, yes, but when done right, can be magical. And there are many things you can do to get it right. But at Amorita, a little love goes a long way.