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BOHOL TOURISM

Chinese arrivals ease fears of terror

PANGLAO ISLAND, Bohol—Chinese national Xi Shilin, 52, was eating dried mangoes while waiting for her husband to check them in.

She was talking to a friend, Xiao Yuying, about their ferry experience from Cebu to Bohol and how she had looked forward to this trip to the Philippines.

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“We are excited! The Philippines has been in our travel list for a long time. We want the beach. We want to see the small monkey,” Xi said.

Xi was one of 40 people who traveled from the city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province in mainland China to spend a weeklong vacation in Bohol.

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Asked if they knew of the recent incident in Bohol involving members of the Abu Sayyaf Group, Xi said they were informed that the bandits had been neutralized and that police presence on the island assured them that no harm would befall on them.

‘Strength in numbers’

“Did you see how many buses arrived in the port of Cebu to come here (Bohol)? There are so many Chinese tourists here, I don’t think terrorist groups can touch us. We will overpower them. There is strength in numbers,” Xi said.

At the Cebu port, at least three buses carrying 45 to 60 people took the 9:20 a.m. trip from Cebu to the capital city of Tagbilaran in Bohol. They almost filled the entire boat.

One group came from Shenzhen while the other group was from Hangzhou. The third group was from Taichung, Taiwan.

Couple Zhang Ming and Wu Yimo, who traveled with their two children, said they learned about Bohol from relatives who had visited the province.

The couple, who hailed from Taichung in Taiwan, said they chose Bohol over other Asian destinations like Bangkok or Hanoi because the province had a good reputation for international cuisine.

Duterte impact

Resort operators on Panglao Island have been getting bookings from Chinese tourists since President Duterte signified a shift in foreign policy from reliance on the United States to broader ties with China.

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“That created a significant impact on tourism for us here in Bohol,” said Pearl Lorraine Yang, manager of Be Grand Resort.
Yang admitted her resort lost reservations for 150 rooms four days after Abu Sayyaf members clashed with government soldiers in the town of Inabanga.

She said the resort quickly recovered because of prompt response.

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