TIEZA reopens doors of Panglao resort

Balicasag Island Dive Resort in Panglao is now accepting bookings for the summer season, and the management commits safety and security for tourists who plan to visit.

The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) last Sunday reopened the dive resort in Panglao, Bohol, to up to 40 travelers in a bid to increase tourist activity in the province this summer.

After a year of shutting doors, Balicasag Island Dive Resort is now welcoming domestic tourists back to its isolated shores brimming in cerulean waters in the southwest of Panglao.

In an interview with Property Report, OIC Ellen Gumastin said the resort brought down its capacity to 40 people, from a maximum of 80 prior to the pandemic, to comply with the health precautions set by the government. Also, its open air restaurant that can hold up to 50 diners now allows just 20 at the same time.

Gumastin said the new normal demands tourism enterprises to secure the health and safety of both guests and workers. As such, Balicasag Island Dive Resorts wants to lead by example how to provide just that, she added.

The TIEZA asset is built with 16 standard rooms, four deluxe rooms, two family rooms, a guest room and four dormitory rooms, but Gumastin said only the duplex cottages that house standard and deluxe rooms were reopened by the management.

Gumastin said travelers must present a negative RT-PCR result and process documents at the Bohol-Panglao International Airport before they can head down to Balicasag.

Visitors are mandated to show a negative COVID result taken within 72 hours prior to the travel date and a confirmed booking at an accommodation accredited by the Department of Tourism to acquire a certificate of acceptance from the local government of Panglao.

The resort has yet to see a single guest since its resumption last week. 

Gumastin pins her hope on travelers originating from outside of Metro Manila and its nearby provinces. Under the amended omnibus guidelines, leisure travel is no longer allowed in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), but is permitted under modified GCQ.

The whole of Visayas, except for Tacloban City, is granted a modified GCQ status by President Duterte for up to April 30.

Gumastin shared with Property Report the rates of staying in Balicasag Island Dive Resort.

• Deluxe room: P3,700 per night, includes breakfast

• Standard room: P3,200 per night, includes breakfast

• Extra bed: P650 per night

To go to Balicasag from Manila, travelers need to go to Panglao first by air (Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific or AirAsia) or by sea (Oceanjet, Supercat or FastCat).

From Panglao, they can either head to Panglao Island or Alona Beach by land transport. Finally, they can take a motor boat to touch down in Balicasag Island.

Balicasag Island is encircled by dive spots where explorers can observe marine flora and fauna. Likewise, the 1.5 hectare resort offers water adventures and underwater sports that tourists can take to enjoy the isolation away from the urban sun.