An interview with Vincent White, owner of Panglao Villa near Bohol, Philippines
This is the first in a series of weekly interviews. We'll be chatting to various owners of our holiday villas and apartments - asking them a bit about themselves, their properties, and what they love about the location. Today we are talking to Vincent White (on the right in the photo) who has a large villa near Bohol, Philippines which can sleep up to 18 people. Property Ref: 25767 Tell us a little bit about yourself Vincent. I am now fifty-eight years old, an ex-private detective and I'm now currently working for the local government as a seasonal grounds maintenance worker. I have worked with Villarenters for some time now, and most of my guests book through the website. When I was 36 years old I had a heart attack and I decided to travel around the world on my bicycle. I started in Europe but after a while I got bored of the touristy areas and didn't think I was getting an authentic experience. I wanted to try somewhere totally different so I read loads of guides on other worldwide destinations and the Philippines appealed most. It was very different but still Christian, so I could identify with culture - it felt instantly familiar, safe and friendly. My life in the UK is from April to October and I live in the Philippines from October to April, I have been doing this for the past 18 years, so it's been 18 years since I have experienced a proper cold winter! When I am in the Philippines I help the property staff with customers and develop and upgrade the property making sure everything is going well. Tell us a bit about your property and its location. Panglao Villa is a beautifully maintained villa ideal for couples, families or small groups. Also, there are now three extra double bedrooms in a newly built extension so we can also accommodate for large groups and family reunions. The apartments are only used by the guests renting the villa, if they need extra rooms. So when guests rent Panglao Villa, it truly is their own private retreat. I've thought of all the modern amenities that a guest might want or need - wifi, TV, DVDs, and air-conditioning in all bedrooms. The secure private garden includes a volleyball/badminton court, a BBQ area, and a summer house with a pool table. The villa is surrounded by coconut trees and is accessed by a small private road. When you leave Panglao Villa, if you turn right there is a very pleasant 10-minute walk past the coconut trees to the nearest beach, and if you turn left there is a 5-minute walk to the local village. The villa couldn't be in a better location in my eyes - it's close to beaches, dive sites, restaurants and the local village. Why do you love the area of Panglao and Bohol? Panglao Island is famous for its unspoilt white sand beaches, world-renowned dive sites, historical landmarks, and exotic flora and fauna. Panglao is connected to the island of Bohol by two bridges, so it’s easy to visit the sites there too like the waterfalls, caves, scuba diving spots, and the famed Chocolate Hills. It’s paradise for someone like me who loves a good adventure! The villa itself is so peaceful because it’s on the edge of a sleepy Spanish-style village. I fell in love with it because it’s not just a tourist trap - here our guests can experience authenticity and the welcoming hospitality of the Filipino people. I love the Philippines in general because it truly is ‘Asia with a smile’. I have travelled the world but I always go back to the Philippines. Who would you recommend this property to?
- Family reunions – simply because people who visit Philippines often have relatives to see whilst they’re out here. We used to get huge numbers of people staying and sometimes there would be people sleeping on the floor, that’s why I built the apartments.
- Families – something a little bit different!
- Adventurers – you can explore the coral reef and jungle, and the area is famous in the scuba diving community.
- Big events – Panglao villa would be a perfect wedding location as there is a beautiful church down the road, and my team could even help with the preparation.
Talk us through your routine for making sure your property is perfect for your guests when they arrive. I have a team of people that come in to clean and it’s quite a strict, 4-hour cleaning process. I like to make sure that everything is fresh for the next guest, even down to replacing the salt and sugar in the shakers. Finally, give us a recommendation for your favourite local activity. I would highly recommend a boat trip to Balicasag Island – it’s a world-renowned dive site and marine sanctuary as 15 metres from the beach it drops off and you can see turtles and all sorts of stunning fish and coral.