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Our city tour of Bohol was kind of like a tuck and roll act. YES, just like what robbers do – quickly get out of the car while donning their hoods (without tripping), purposely do their clockwork mission, hop back to the car and put the pedal to the metal while constantly looking back to see if they’re being followed. NO! Me and my girlfriend, Edith, didn’t performed such Bonnie & Clyde acts, but the kind of traveling we did was not the most ethical. We would pull over, wander around, take pictures and return back to the car, ready to roll again to the next.
It’s just that there’s plenty of destination stops that we, I mostly, didn’t want to miss. I would talk to our driver in trying to pursue on hitting the best that we can cover. We, I mostly, were overtly demanding especially we added the zip-lining to our tour. You can read my Edith’s side of story on how she conquered her fear of heights … here.
We zipped by a rope above Loboc River. We also ate our late lunch on a Floating Restaurant navigating through that river.
The Floating Restaurant took a stop…
…to watch a traditional folk dance called “Kuradang”. It started with a welcome greeting of a children choir. Then it continued with pairs of male and female, portraying courtship and wedding through this interpretive dance. It ended with an altogether ensemble Thank You finish.
I really like this part of the tour. They also performed the Philippine national dance called “Tinikling”, an acrobatic dance of skipping between two bamboo sticks.
The first picture above is Chocolate Hills. It makes a visit to Bohol, Philippine an automatic MUST. Together with tarsiers, both signifies Philippine tourism so much. Tarsiers are small animals with big eyes. Philippine Tarsier Foundation saves their dropping population as they can only be found in four Southern Eastern countries.
I can tell my girlfriend particularly liked the Butterfly Garden and the Bee Farm.
I suggest trying the BUZZZ Ice Cream. *grin*
You see that’s a lot of activities, sights and senses to do in a day. We started early in the morning …
…and finished at night.
This is our Day 2. Our Day 1 includes a church, exotic animals, a beach and an underground cave. Our third day is a Sea Tour in Balicasag Island, Dolphin Watching and Virgin Island. Hope you can understand now how we did it the tuck and roll style. It’s not like we didn’t stop and smelled the flowers. The picture below is a man-made forest.
With me, I have no problem with the exhaustion. My girlfriend, Edith, she surprised me in dealing with me, for enduring her challenge of going through her ziplining adventure, and catching up with the speed of travel engine I’m always prepared for. I extra love her for it.
I’ve only been following this blog for about a month. I just can’t resist. It isn’t just because we have a lot of common, esp. Italy. A post after another, I get more and more impressed with her travel destination posts. Do check her Italy posts, her 7 Super Shots entry, and her submission to Travel Challenge: Leading Lines. A visit to her blog is A Day in Paradise.
I feel the need to squeeze these …our food.
By the way, I want to thank all who viewed my post on Balicasag Island, that post has never left my Top Posts.
This post is part of Flashback Friday.
Authentic, it’s the perfect word to describe Vigan. It’s almost automatic to call as such for what it sets out to be. But not so fast, if or when you get there, you’ll be amazed on how Vigan stretches that perfect description.
Evidences of the colonial times still exist and modernism hasn’t spread all over the place. Calle Crisologo is the main attraction. It’s a famous cobblestone street lined with antique and souvenir shops where people can walk through history with the old and in disrepair houses. Boarding on a carriage, as one of the many stops, me and my girlfriend, Edith, toured Former Philippine President Elpidio Quirino’s old Syquia mansion.
Vigan is genuine and true to its root. One major influence from the Spanish colonization is Catholicism. Certainly committed in keeping history and traditions, Vigan lives up to that area of expectation as well.
Our last stop was St. Augustine’s Cathedral. The views here are not only incredible from the outside but also from the inside looking out. We climbed atop the belfry and got rewarded with the bird’s eye view of the town.
Pottery industry still runs as good business. You can ask the carriage driver to make a quick stop to a pottery market. Maybe you can buy one like I did. Livelihood in Vigan sure is basic. You don’t have to physical see the authenticity of Vigan, you can just feel it from the atmosphere and from people. Life is simple there, and it’s highly visible. The garden part of the tour was an off-set for anything Vigan, but a pleasant stop nonetheless.
Authenticity is written all over Vigan’s restaurant’s menus, its antique looks and their bucolic way of living. Vigan and the rest of Ilocos region has their own culinary style and tastes. They pride for their distinctive quality of food. Vigan’s one of a kind empanda is my most craved food of all my travels. See my post here. Also, don’t miss going to Baluarte where the zoo offers plenty of animal interactions unlike others. Vigan remains pure and unerring. The Baluarte Zoo is not abused and rules are highly respected by its visitors.
Tourism certainly has not been swayed and exploited by too much commercialism. It is untouched by corporate world, not congested with big companies and no big cheese walking around. I hope that, like their ancient houses, everything stays as it is. It’d be nice to know for Vigan to remain… with valued, and appreciated well-kept authenticity.
- A fellow blogger, who I met before, recommended Grandpa’s Inn. We certainly enjoyed our accomodation. -
This post is part of Flashback Friday.
Here’s to a very memorable blog post I know. Also a flashback post, Photo Flashback, this time last year, Kate presented these remarkably fine portraits of a Brazilian family she visited living simply and peacefully in a rural location. Kate Anthony Photography may not blog as much as everyone else. But when she does, rest assured that her blog posts and her impressive images are done with sheer brilliance and excellence.
Reflection. It’s always good to reflect, to contemplate, or to mull things over. When your world is revolving so fast and you’re overwhelmed, when it drops a bomb on you and you have to react, or when it presents all its magnificent nature in front of you and you found yourself so blessed. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to pause and not jump immediately to the situation, and take a moment of reflection, compose yourself and sigh to what life hands to you, good or bad.
It’s a universal feeling- returning back from a vacation of a lifetime and couldn’t return back to reality. It’s hard to wake up, especially with the annoying alarm clock. It’s hard to stand up, drag your feet, and face your responsibilities. To sit and ponder, to find your peace, when nature is staring back at you, is a beautiful thing to do. The world is vast and wonderful, but it is also cruel and unforgiving. It is unstable, and that you need to locate your balance to everything. That, in every greatness, every grandeur, every splendour and all things glory and holy, it can be deathly. While its best to have moments of reflections, you also need to snap out of it for it can eat you alive and then swallow you whole. Too much reflection can bring you down, and pondering too deep can lead to procrastination. I know it’s a difficult thing to do but you need to stand up and shake that feeling.
Survivor Caramoan premieres this Wednesday, on September 19. I do wish and plead for you to see it even just the very first few scenes where they usually show the beauty of the location they are in. I’m just proud of my motherland. I’m glad that I’ve been to Caramoan. And that, I would want you to see what Philippines has to offer despite many setbacks.
Capture the Colours and let Lance Romel be your guide to some of the most beautiful locations in the Philippines. Take a tour to Zamboanga, Bohol, Tagaytay and more. Clicking on his blog, it doesn’t take a second for you to realize how captivating, arresting and impressive his photos are.
I didn’t have much more to say about our trip to Caramoan than what I already narrate to my related posts. But I knew, even way back then, that I still old some pictures that I’ve been dying to share. To stop me from thinking too much, and to just let it out, I decided to segue it to Jake Printer’s Sunday Post. Thank you Jake for the save. Here’s the link to participate to his photo challenge.
This post is also a part of Flashback Friday. *sticks tongue out*
My sophomore blog right now contains images of my own. My old blog, circa 2008, was combined with other web finds. I just thought I’d resurrect a sample of my old blog …
A video collection of Americans singing in Tagalog, the native language of the Philippines.
First off is Tara Lynn, a member of Peace Corps, who took a liking to a song by Yeng Constantino.
Most of the videos here are taken from circa 2008. Since then, she has learned a lot of Tagalog words and already performed in front of a crowd in the Philippines. She has also successfully encouraged her friend to sing Tagalog songs with her.
The next one is arguably the most famed foreign musician singing in a different language. AkosiChrisTV made his own youtube page of his recordings. Like Tara Lynn, he has been featured to a lot of TV sightings in the Philippines.
His slogan: “It’s OPM with an American twist, I call it jOePM.” His recordings has been digitally available since April this year. He also have visited the Philippines a number of times before and after Filipino recognition. Throughout the existence of his Youtube page, he has gained over 5,000 subscribers and 1.5 mil views. He now has an album and has been a favorite guest player of Filipino bands in the Philippines.
Isiak Holiday Jr. has performed to a popular noontime show in the Philippines. Here he is and his piano playing a song from a Filipino star veteran, Gary Valenciano.
He succeeded on his goal to perfect pronunciation of Tagalog words he uses in the songs he sings. He also have recorded this song producing physical and digital copies.
There have been many foreigners who followed suit in pursuing of singing in the native language of the Philippines. Again dates back in 2008, this last one has also been featured to small TV news segments. Not as popular, but one I really love plainly because he’s covering an all-time favorite song of mine, “Buloy”.
Singing a song not of our own tongue is something most people won’t even dare try, even speaking it is a challenge. For us Filipinos, we can’t help but smile to the amusing attempts and accents that are squeaking by their lines. What really admires us in is their extensive appreciation to our language and their passion to Original Pinoy Music.
So, what is everyone’s worst transportation experience while traveling?
I had my fair share of grueling travel experiences during transport.
Sabang Port definitely came as a surprise, and is quite unusual. From starting point in Manila, we encountered a test on endurance of boarding a 9-hour bus drive to Naga. Finding a comfortable sitting (sleeping) positions was a quite a challenge. Straight after was another hour minivan drive of cramped space.
As soon as we pull a stop in Guijalo Port, BAM! the commotion began. A group of men were running and hustling each other in pursuit to offer service of carrying the bags of passengers. We chose to carry our luggage ourselves. It was a short and easy drag. It was puzzling why these men were so eager to offer assistance.
And so we hit the sands of Guijalo Port, which is nothing like a port but a shore with a small beach hut for all the transactions. I took the first picture …
The view was massaging my aching back, neck and shoulders from the trip.
We had to wait long for the motorboats to get to our side of the shore. Actually, quite very long given our limited time in Caramoan. We had to board on the second arrival.
Nothing left to do but take pictures.
And so, our boat arrived. This is the point where the servicing men came into play. They went on again into dealing with the passengers to carry our luggage. The idea is, in order to ensure seating, the bags are used as a way to save the seats. A seat with a bag means that seat is marked seat-checked. Also, carrying the bags overhead is part of the offer…
We finally gave in, handing a tip to one of them.
They also have these men with their hands on this platform that is used to transport passenger from the shore to the boat. They use it in order for the passengers not to get their feet wet. Portion of the transportation fee goes to them.
If you plan to go to Caramoan, or any similar islands in the Philippines, be sure to be ready to cough off some extra, questionable and out-of-nowhere bills.
We finally boarded …
Following to the other side, we gingerly went up the port as it was slippery. There was actually a tripping accident. After that, we met our guide and boarded a tricycle. Again paying a fee before entering the island.
Was this trip worth the visit to Caramoan?
I’ll let the Last Calls answer that…
Caramoan is the next destination of the realty show Survivor.
More on my post about Caramoan: It’s more fun in the Philippines (part deux)
Sabang Port is not my worst nor the most grueling. It’s so different, so something else, that I find it to be exciting, interesting and a kind of transportation to remember.
My two worsts are the slippery roads due to snow in our way to Jose Rizal’s statue in Germany, and the one in Rocarasso in Italy where we had frequent stops to fix our tire chains and refilling anti-freeze.
Actually, journey of bumpy rides, winding roads, gruelling drives, long bus drives, uncommon forms of transportation, small mishaps, and problems on the road contribute to the travel making it more memorable, adding something to take about, and turns misadventures into adventures. Just please, no traffic.
I can’t seem to figure out the highlight of our tours in Bohol, Philippines. Is it my brave instinct of wrapping myself with a python? Ziplining? The Floating Restaurant? We get to see the famous Chocolate Hills and the highly-protected tarsiers. Is it dolphin watching on our way to Balicasag Island?
Or, is it snorkelling there? The incredibly beautiful beach view of Virgin Island can easily be the highlight. Balicasag is more or less 20-min boat ride away from it.
We hopped out of our boat full of great excitement, but with empty stomachs. It’s was so cool that we can select from the morning catch of fresh seafood and have it grilled while we snorkel. We rented the gears and camera cover for underwater picture-taking, wore our life vests, hopped back in to another boat and off we go with even higher expectation.
Sure, it is fascinating to watch marine life from aquarium tanks. However, having the aquatic animals right at the tip of fingers is even more wonderful, and an absolute fun. Darn great time being my first snorkelling experience.
There was no specific highlight. The highlight of the trips is for the personal reason that I shared all these amazing adventures and beautiful travel destinations with the woman I very much love. I know romanticism comes out every time I post about my visit back to my motherland, and granted the kind of relationship that we are in, I can’t help but go back to that fact that I enjoyed it most because of the people close to me.
We then had another diving experience. This time into a deliciously food. When we headed back to shore, our hot and ready fresh meal was already grilled and served.
Overlooking the beautiful water, we let our savage nature show and had the plate a fishbone finish.
Please check out my It’s More Fun in the Philippines blog post for pictures of me underwater, the fishbone finish and dolphin watching.
Last call …
I asked if it’s okay for me to sit in front of the boat going back to our lodging. I was tippy-toeing getting to it, but it’s fun to play navigator for a little bit.
Going to Cebu?
Here is Arvee. He posts everything and anything about Cebu including travel spots, events (look for Sinulog Festival), hotels, to-do’s and how-to-go-to’s. A great ambassador of his birthplace, make him your virtual tourist guide of Cebu.
My favorite is his escapade to Santa FE, Bantayan Island.
Here’s more of the fishes, the snorkel and the island…
There’s so many islands there that I don’t even dare remember each one every time our navigator or guide mention their names. Caramoan is actually my first island hopping experience. To avoid too much crowd, I didn’t want to choose the country’s more popular summer destinations like Puerto Prinsesa or Puerto Gallera or Boracay. Some of the islands were off-limits because of the production of the next Survivor season. It’s good enough that there weren’t as much people as one would expect for such a beautiful place. We were there considerably time-served. There’s a good possbility that people we’ll be more aware and curious about Caramoan after Survivor.
We played with Patrick’s relatives as my brother-in-law, Red, kept bringing the starfishes for us to look at, feel and take pictures of. We sure had our fun “star-gazing” within reach. I was there with my two sisters,each of their husbands and my grilfriend, Edith. Below is my sister, Analyn, who I always love and miss a lot.
Water is not the only exciting thing in Caramoan. There’s also something-something for the ground areas. There are wonderful rock formations en route to different islands. You can also get the chance for some mini rock climbing. It’s always me and Red who were nonchalantly braving it up for it while the women were keeping their fingers crossed.
Keep your eyes peeled for this one, if you do go there.
Although our island hopping tour was only half day for me and Edith because we had to depart to another Philippine travel destination, Caramoan certainly accomodated the fun and good time we expected. Knowing I was with my family and love one was an icing on the cake. With googles, mouthpiece and lifevest, I also had my first snorkelling experience in Caramoan.
More ‘More fun in the Philippines’?
I don’t know where is Jesse Jaca now. I do know he has a great great great photography gallery. I actually first found out about the ‘More fun in the Philippines’ slogan through his page. Check out his submissions here. I’ll add one for preview …
And prepare to be impressed by the rests of his photo exhibits.
By the way, my featured blogs have a new spotlight. Look up at the menu bar on top!
We were disheartened accepting that our Caramoan tour was cut short due to inadequate time for traveling back to Manila then to our second trip to Bohol. It weighed to my disappointment that my two sisters and brothers-in-law were going to have a great time exploring Caramoan and its cityside and more islands while we sit and endure a hustling bus ride back to the airport. The excitement of going to Bohol was the only thing that keeping us from jealousy. We still had a very limited time before we leave Caramoan so me and Edith decided to just walk around.
So we woke up early and lazy the next morning, not as earlier as planned and certainly not as purposely compared to the locals. We started dragging our feet and unto our consolatory gander. Do you know that people tend to talk more when they are walking? Yup, it’s true. It IS scientifically, psychologically proven by yours truly. The topic of our discussion drifted mostly about her fear of feathered animals, and the subject of my camera focus was carabao and farm fields.
What the local farmers do is create fire to create smokes. The smoke is for enriching the trees and the rest of the vegetations. For us gawkers, it creates great combination of the sun’s silhouettes to the trees down to the ground.
Other than that dog yawning in that first picture, the animal you see there is called “Carabao”. For fluent pronounciation for foreigners, you can acceptably read it as “Care a bow”. It is in the family of water buffalo. It is used by many farmers to plow their fields, hence heralding as the national animal of the Philippines. Here it is in closer view…
Our walk may not have panoramas of interesting buildings and historical structures or beach views or famous landmarks, it’s just that sometimes …
The simple things is what my heart beats for, and I genuinely swallowing that notion. We were away from the big cities which also means we’re away from population and pollution. You got to agree that sight-seeing sometimes feels like work in itself. I know exploring Caramoan would’ve been great. But, it’s only suitable to sink in these moments of tranquility that are often hard to come by in our often busy, stressful lives. The sceneries of the simple life in Caramoan perfectly allowed us “JUST” that.
It’s no wonder why this …
… is meeting it’s 50,000 views. Backpacking with a Book is a Grade-A Philippine Travel Blog. Join Jona Bering to her endless excursions to the depths and heights of wonderful places in Philippines. If you’re planning a visit to the country, esp. to Cebu, make sure you visit the site. It has provided enough information and provided professional photographies to fully convince you to Explore Philippines.
There’s a new Category and Tag to my blog – Animals. Check it out!
For once, I let someone else do the talking. Please do read entirely. She wrote this enjoyable entry for us bloggers, even if she’s not one.
Why am I writing a blog? My boyfriend told (more like forced) me to do so. I haven’t written anything since …umm, I can’t remember! Okay here it goes,
GOOD MORNING BOHOL!!!!☺ It’ll be a busy day for us! We will be heading to:
- Bee Farm
- Sandugo Monument (a.k.a El Pacto de Sangre or Blood Compact)
- Lunch at Loboc River, while watching Loboc Choir
- Butterfly Garden
- Albuquerque Zoo
- Tarsier Conservation Area in Loboc
- Man-Made Forest in Loboc
- lastly, a long trip to Chocolate Hills before heading back to Panglao
That’s the itinerary. But since I’m with my boyfriend, oh well, he suggested that we should try zipline. After having eaten a lot in a floating restaurant cruising over Loboc River then to do an EXTREME Adventure, I think you know what I’m feeling that time! We passed by the Albuquerque but our tour guide was very helpful saying we can visit the zoo before heading back to the resort. Now, did I hear it correctly?! Adventure Park wasn’t part of the itinerary.
Then the car stopped, “We’re here, Loboc Ecotourism Adventure Park” our tour guide said. There’s no turning back! Am I really going to try this? Before I even answered that question, my boyfriend bought two tickets of combo package which includes zipline and cable car. He seemed to be enjoying my anxiety because he kept looking at me with a big grin on his face. He told me it will be fun, and I believe him.
We had a long walk from the ticket booth towards the zipline launching area. I needed some quiet time. If there are two things I’m not very fond of, that’ll be heights and birds, most especially rooster.
“Cable One Ready!” the crew said. I did not say I’m ready, I haven’t finished my prayers!!!! Waaaahhhhhh! I’M SCREAMING ON TOP OF MY LUNGS!!!
He kept on taking pictures, he’s really enjoying this! I was a bit behind him. I shut my eyes and was just feeling the breeze. I opened my eyes …
…and it was one of the most beautiful views I’ve seen.
After a few minutes, we arrived on the other side. I was beginning to enjoy it! Oh well, I’ll just have to wait for our turn. We waited for about half an hour for the cable car. I thought it’ll be romantic since we will be 120 meters high with the famous Loboc River beneath us. Awww. Then…Am I hearing things? No wait! Is that a rooster hiding behind the bushes? OMG!!!!! This really is an adventure. I began sweating, then palpitations. I immediately went down to the launching area because I need to run away from the roosters even though the crew haven’t called us yet. I think I saw 4-5 roosters in the area. The crew started to prepare the ride, finally.
I was a bit worried hearing a squeaky sound. Just my luck! My boyfriend is having a good time. He kept on looking back, left and right, then back again. I begged him to stay still and stop telling me to look down at the river. I know it’s pretty but it’s hard to concentrate when I can hear the squeaky sound and it’s a very shaky ride because he can’t stay still! I told him, I’ll look for it on the web so stop moving! And that besides to the fact that I already saw it when we did the zipline!
We started to enjoy the ride. And yes, he’s a sweet and caring boyfriend. The only person who can tolerate my imperfections and loves me for who I am.
It was an awesome experience! I conquered my fear of heights because I trusted the man I love. I can never thank him enough for being all I have ever needed. I did enjoy our adventure, and I’ll do it a hundred times as long as he’s holding my hand.
I made a commentary on my 100th post on how awful I am in story-telling. Give it up to my girlfriend. She really did write a very entertaining narration.
Bookending our back-to-back trip is Virgin Island, pinchly small yet so unmissable.
Throughout my stay in the Philippines, I had to economize the use of my camera because, forgetful that I am, I didn’t get to bring its battery charger with me. I had to refrain from taking random shots and sacrifice capturing the urban life of the city where I grew up in. I just had to save the battery life for our back-to-back trip to Caramoan and Bohol before anything else. With the urge to capture each destination stops, it was quite a task for my hard-laboring camera to capture it all.
I’m very glad my cooperative camera managed to click its last pic to the very last tourist spot. It would’ve been a pity, a crime to my trigger-happy camera not to capture these sights.
The cotton candy clouds against deep blue sky stretching along every horizon really added lace to the already delectable views of Virgin Island. It catches my eyes every time.
Convenient to our late schedule, the entirety of the island is a stroll of even as quickly as 15 minutes. You know what they say …
“The best things come in small package.” Virgin Island definately proves that.