TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, August 23 (PIA)—It may be an experience reserved only for the moneyed, or those who can pay their way to this kind of foot-spa.
But if you come to Celing, in Antequera, all you need to do is sit on the levee and dip your feet in the clear pond.
As you do that, there is in fact a certain assurance that you won’t be able to survive the tickling nibble of hundreds of tilapia, koi, mudfish and catfish taking off the dead skins from your feet.
“We had this tilapia seeded in the pond,” tourism officer Lorna Jadulco shared to the guests who inspected the ready tourism product within the Celing Barangay Hall complex.
Protected by a signage that fines P500 to anybody caught fishing in the pond, the fish were rather prolific that some tilapias have grown to about a 10 inches, the koi at about the same size. Smaller mud and catfish are also occasionally joining in the mad nibble.
“People used to come and feed the fish with bread but we think we’d go for fish food, bread is not among fish diet,” she added.
Popularly called the famous fish spa in several high end resorts, this experience in Antequera runs as part of the Farm and Cave tourism which the local government unit puts up for the eco-tourism Bohol program.
The fish spa is the first activity that greets the tourists alighting off their rides. After the feet dipping, tourists need to wade through the ankle deep but cool water of the irrigation canal to the paddy where they would try their skills in rice planting.
A short carabao sled ride takes them from the paddies to the hut where Antequera basket making demonstration and hands on weaving happens.
Cold refreshments of buko also await the tourists.
A short step off the demonstration hut is Celing Cave, a deep pooled cave which also acts as the refreshing pool for bone-tired farmers out in a days tasks at the fields.
In attempts to dissipate the onslaught of tourists coming in when the airport in Panglao operates, airport builders and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) capacitates Bohol communities to come out with alternate tourism sites and activities.
In a project called Sustainable Environment for Panglao Project (SEPP), JICA, along with Bohol Ecotourism Council led by Nonette Bolo, recently completed over 60 eco-tourism sites which would be additional options of the already established Bohol standard Chocolate Hills Countryside Tour. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)