Many readers have asked me where to get really good pure honey locally. I have so far opted to suggest imported bottled honeys as they seem to have the most consistent quality and attention to detail regarding say the source of the honey such as a particular flower on some Italian mountainside. So I was just bowled over, incredibly thrilled and amazed when we sampled the honey at the Bohol Bee Farm over the weekend. They had three different types of 100% pure honey made the old-fashioned wayâ€¦ a dark coconut honey made from the flowers of coconut trees that I found a bit molassey in nature, a lighter colored acacia honey that was good and incredibly sweet, and my favorite of the visit, a Molave honey that was an incredible flavor standout!
I will have a couple more entries on this wonderful farm/restaurant/hotel that seems to be in the middle of nowhere on the island of Panglao in Boholâ€¦but first letâ€™s talk honey. Victoria Wallace, the Filipina behind the Bohol Bee Farm is clearly passionate about her honey. She took us for a tour once the rains let up (bees get aggressive when they are flying back to their hives to avoid the rainâ€¦think thatâ€™s why all those old cartoons had the characters dousing themselves with water or jumping in lakes when they were being chased by a swarm of bees?) and showed us one of her bee colonies. In a small white box, each colony has one queen and 60,000 other bees.
Vicky and one of her beekeepers explained the fascinating life cycle of the bees where they go from nurse bees that take care of feeding the colony, then worker bees that stay in the hive cleaning up after all the slobby older bees, chucking the dead bee carcasses, etc. then they evolve into guard bees bees that secure the entrance to the hive and refuse to let anyone in who hasnâ€™t brought back honey or repel intruders, freeloaders, potential rapists, foreigners likes wasps, then another five days later they become field and scout bees that search out new sources of nectar. At about 40+ days, the female bees keel over and newer blood takes over. Each queen lays thousands and thousands of eggs in her lifetime and will have mated around 17 timesâ€¦
Since learning it takes over 12 bees to make just a teaspoonful of pure honey, I will pay more attention to using every single drop of the stuff in the future. She has over 60 colonies in Bohol many of them near stands of Acacia and Molave trees so that the bees can feast on their flowers and create the honey. The flavor of the Molave honey is just really very goodâ€”while I cannot profess to any expertise in honey, it just tasted like
â€Nectar of the Godsâ€ should taste like. We bought five bottles to take home with us and some of them will go as presents to special friends who enjoy good food. I also managed to take this picture of Molave flowers which I have never paid notice to before. Considering how small these flowers are, I appreciate the volume of Molave honey in each jar that I bought!
There were a phenomenal number of interesting facts thrown at us but the one that sticks is that once the male bee (drone) mates, it withers and dies. So the queen does all the managing, the females all the work, and the males just buzz around happily checking out the scenery until they decide to do it and dieâ€¦Worse, their thingee falls off after the act itself! Yikes! Imagine if humans were the same way? There would be a whole lot less shaking going on! Since the drones only live 89 days, the post bee farm car jokes were centered on counting carefully then on day 88 start chasing those queens like madbees so that you got the longest lifespan and still got to do it! Heehee. But seriously, bees roles in pollination and all those good natural things is seriously underreported and underrated.
The next time you are in Panglao, I strongly recommend a morning or afternoon visit to the Bohol Bee Farm; my daughter enjoyed it immensely and my wife and I found it simply fascinating. Bohol Bee Farm, Barangay Dao, Dauis, Panglao Island, Bohol, Philippines. Tel 63-38-5017819 or Cell 63-917-3041491. If you call her and place a decent order, I think she will even ship it to you elsewhere in the Philippines!