Baluarte Granada

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

History, with is flickering lamp, stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of days gone.”

Sprawling, baroque, and historically and culturally rich, the town of Boljoon boasts of an interesting array of colonial heritage: a 17th century church and a string of centuries-old structures like the baluartes (Spanish for watch towers). One of the oldest towns in the country, Boljoon is geographically unique and strategically located facing the Bohol Strait. A seaside municipality, it has been called the “Postcard Town,” with many undiscovered natural wonders.

One such place is a secluded beach resort in Barangay Granada. In fact, many have referred to this place as a “secret paradise,” but for the local folks it has always been known as Baluarte Granada because within the resort is found the 17th century coral stone watch tower. But for the owners, Stu and Antoinette Gould, they simply call this rustic property on top of a cliff as their private paradise.


“We are very lucky and so blessed to have found this place—there’s nothing like it,” the couple said. “Where else can you find a beach resort with a 180-degree view of the ocean, with a miniature forest, and a remnant of the warrior-priest Fray Julian Bermejo’s baluarte?”

Stu Gould is from England but has found his home in this town and his wife Antoinette is a Cebuana and a former beauty queen titlist. And the popular Philippine Azkals football team central defender and striker, Chad Gould, is their son. Together, the couple has transformed this place into an amazing place where people can stop over to relax and even spend days for a delightful vacation. The entry to the resort, a winding driveway lined with a colorful array of bougainvillas, gumamelas and suntans, already suggests the nature-packed ambiance. And when you reach the top, a large, cool swimming pool greets you, and the blue ocean not far behind is really fantastic! There is a big house with simply furnished rooms provided with private verandas where guests can get a perfect view of the ocean with only the occasional fishing boat breaking the “kaleidoscope” of blue and green waters. And the food, since it comes from the couple’s kitchen, is all home cooking.

But what makes this place really spectacular is the lush canopy of endemic trees that surrounds it, among them the rare blue narra and bantigue.

And, of course, the Spanish baluarte on the edge of the cliff, which the couple has restored and re-enforced so tourists can go up and get a good view of the beautiful scenery. And the moment one steps into this watch tower, one can’t help but be transported to the time when Padre Bermejo and other Spanish friars have stood here on the lookout for Muslim pirates who tried to invade the town.

“Of course, the baluarte is open to the public since it is a national treasure,” Antoinette explained. “Not only that, the resort welcomes all travelers and those looking for a unique adventures, and we have much to offer and to share,” she added.

One great adventure, indeed, is walking down history lane, reconnecting with a rich past. For as one wise man said (author Michael Crichton), “If you don’t know history, you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 09, 2014.


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