“It looks better than the photos,” I told Ralf of my first impression of his resort. I was comparing it to the photos I saw on the website, Facebook, and Tripadvisor. Of course, that comment wasn’t intended to pull his leg. I meant it. To which he replied, “It’s better than the other way around.”
It was the third day of our Bohol tour. From the quaint town of Loboc, we asked Mike to give us a ride on his tricycle to the northeastern tip of Bohol. The destination: the rustic peninsula of Anda which is known for its white sand beaches, cave pools, and the mystical Lamanoc Island. The road trip stopped over Jagna so we could try making calamay, and then the second leg ended at J&R Residence, a lovely resort about two kilometers from the town proper.
J&R Residence is the home of Jilo and Ralf. It’s a small resort with five rooms, an outdoor pool, and an open-air restaurant overlooking a pristine shoreline. During our stay in July, I fell in love with this resort for many reasons. Here’s how it knocked us off our feet.
#7 A quiet spot by the beach
The resort is about two kilometers from the highway, a rather long walk especially under the hot sun. But, as you will see during your stay, this is more good than bad, because this place is in a quiet spot under the coconut trees right in the white beach of Sitio Dagohoy. You’ll definitely love the serenity, the feeling of being one with nature, the sight of refreshing blue and green and beautiful sunsets. Plus, unlimited beach time.
#6 The chef knows yummy
When it comes to restaurants, there’s not too many great options in town except those in the resorts. There are snack houses along Quinale Beach and karinderia in the poblacion. So, to make life easy, we decided to eat at J&R’s Sea Breeze, an open-air bar and restaurant overlooking the beach. Their staff, Zen, took our orders. She’s fantastic, smiles a lot, and knows her stuff. And the food, it was great. Generous serving size, tasty, reasonable price. I later learned that even guests of other resorts go there just to eat, which speaks much about the dining experience.
#5 Lovely pool area
There’s a cute outdoor pool with jacuzzi just beside the resto-bar where you can chill for a morning swim and sunbathing moments while you sip that fresh buko or mango juice. A short walk from the pool is a shared bathroom and shower area.
#4 Everything you need
Manicure, foot spa, or massage—name what you need and you get it. Just tell Jilo and Ralf and they’ll walk the extra mile to make their guests happy and comfortable. Also count here the free internet access which, although somehow slow, at least lets you access Facebook for your social media updates. Jilo also helped us contact the van going to Tagbilaran, it was a great help.
#3 A long list of what to do
For a complete experience of the countryside, there are a lot of activities you can enjoy while checked in at J&R. If you know how to drive, rent their bike and go to Lamanoc Island or the tourist attractions in the adjacent town of Candijay. If you come in a group, J&R has a van for rent that will take you all the way to Candijay and back to the resort.
This part of Bohol, which is away from the crowded destinations, is also a good spot for snorkeling and diving. Guests can use the resort’s snorkeling gears at no additional charge. For diving, J&R partners with another resort, Amun Ini, who has PADI-certified divers to assist you. And if you want some romantic touch to your day, you can go on a two-hour sunset cruise on their “King Fisher” and, if lucky, spot some dolphins in the ocean.
#2 Elegant, modern rooms
During our visit, we stayed in the ocean front apartment. It has a small balcony facing the beach, perfect spot to have coffee in the morning, or read a book before heading to bed. The room itself is a spanking-clean and spacious living area with minimalist design and modern fixtures. I liked how Filipino craftsmanship was used to add a local flavor to the design through the bamboo furniture–from the bed to the lampshade, the chairs and cabinets. The tiled floors and sliding glass doors bring elegant vibes to the whole space, and the details put in the design tell you that everything has been meticulously planned. Check here for more info about the rooms.
#1 First-class customer service
The warm accommodation that Jilo, Ralf, and their staff give their customers is what stands out from everything. “I love it that we only have five rooms. I don’t want our place bigger, so we can really interact and attend to our guests,” says Jilo whose contagious positive vibes will help you make the day.
No wonder, as of July 2016, J&R Residence has 142 Excellent reviews out of the 154 total reviews on TripAdvisor. And in Booking.com, it’s a sure winner with a whopping 9.6 rating that’s equivalent to Exceptional.
There are many accommodation options in Anda ranging from budget cottages, some mid-range backpackers’ place, and several high-end resorts that have mushroomed over the past few years. J&R Residence, as their customer reviews say, is excellent and exceptional. So, when Jilo and Ralf said they had guests who stayed with them three times…five times… I wasn’t surprised. Even I would love to stay here for good!
HOW TO GET THERE
Anda is about 100 kilometers from Tagbilaran, the capital of Bohol. To get to Anda, you can take a bus for a three-hour trip or a van for about two hours.
You can also take a bus to Guindulman, and then take a tricycle or habal-habal to Anda.
Bus (Tagbilaran to Anda)–about P100
Van (Tagbilaran to Anda)–about P120
Tricycle (Guindulman to Anda)–about P30
Bus–5 AM, 12:30 PM, 2:30 PM, 5:30 PM
Van–6 AM, 8 AM, 10:30 AM, 11 AM
M O B I L E P H O T O G R A P H Y
All photos in this article, unless otherwise captioned, were taken with a smartphone. For this post, we banked on the power of Huawei Mate S, which is a super phone for both outdoor and indoor photography. Visit Huawei’s Facebook page for more details about their products.