Weekly Photo Challenge: Family 2

ImageAnd of course, I cannot resist from highlighting my own family in this photo challenge.

“The family that travels together, have fun with each other…”

– against the scenic greenery of the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines, May 2013 –

Bohol Before the Quake

Oh no!  Why am I swaying?  Am I awake?  Definitely not.  Then I woke up.  My daughter woke up too.  Rather, let me emphasize, we were forced to wake up.  Involuntarily, we hugged each other.  I hold her tight while we both watched the vigorous dancing of the electric pole line outside the bedroom window.

Though the heavy shaking of the bed waking us happened last October 15, 2013, around 8:10-8:15 in the morning, that moment when I thought “This is it Lord, is it?” is still vivid up to this day. We later learned that the epicenter of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake hitting the Philippines was in  Bohol, the nearest province to us in Cebu reachable by 4-hour plus regular boat ride.

We watched the evening news and was devastated to find out that the most hit were those destinations Bohol is so proud of, the Chocolate Hills and its century-old churches.  I remembered how quaint Bohol is.  Its charm originated from its provincial and laid-back appeal.

And we did witness this allure Bohol offered to its visitors.  My family explored Bohol in May 2013.  This is what I aim to feature.  Bohol, as beautiful as it was, before the earthquake.  Just don’t mind the presence of my family in most pictures.  As it was a family trip, they claimed it their right to plaster their faces on most photos.

Let me start with a close-up look of one famed Chocolate Hill.  So called because of rows of hills in chocolate brown color during summer.



Bohol is also well-known for the smallest primate Philippine Tarsier, commonly known as the world’s smallest monkey.  It’s so small you can’t really decipher it from the picture (haha! I’m just actually making excuses for this bad shot).


But this is how the tarsier looks as drawn.  There were few of them housed in Sagbayan Peak Resort and Recreation.


Sagbayan also had a view deck overlooking the rows of thousands of chocolate hills.

ImageAnd a butterfly sanctuary as Bohol is rich with different species of butterflies.

ImageThere was a themed-park for children…

Imageand for child-like adults too.

ImageAfter Sagbayan, we drove down to the town of Carmen, the original viewing place for the chocolate hills before the town of Sagbayan built its own view deck.

ImageOne has to climb those steep steps if one wants to see a more captivating view of the hills.  So there…

ImageWhile driving through to the town of Bilar, we came upon a rare structure along the road.  It was a house built like a ship.  No wonder since the owner is a ship captain.


It was raining hard when we arrived to the Simply Butterflies Conservation Center in the town of Bilar.  It was educational for kids and adults alike to see different species of butterflies and learn their life cycle.

ImageThe rain did not stop the kids from hoping for butterflies to land on any parts of their bodies, just to feel how ephemeral their delicate wings are.

ImageNext town to check out was Loboc.  But before arriving at Loboc, we passed through the man-made forest in Bilar.  It was a long section of the road, and we felt too the cool air along this part.

ImageThen came Loboc, famed for its river cruise…

Imageold bell tower…

Imagescenic old church…

Imageas repository of culture…

Imageand not to forget, the town that bred the Loboc Children’s Choir (sadly, I don’t have a pic of them).

Further down the road, next town to offer us something was Loay.  We went to the Xzootic Animal Park in Agape, Loay to check out primarily their pythons.  Yikes!  I abhor snakes.  I really detest them.  But you know kids, they fear and at the same time are fascinated with these slimy, treacherous crawlies.  Be quick Jim!  My hands were shaking taking this shot.

ImageAt least there were other attractions in the zoo.

ImageAlmost there, down to the last spot.  Baclayon Church, declared as a National Historic Treasure in 1995. It is considered the best preserved church in the region.  And I’m so proud of this church and the town itself as this is my father’s native town.

ImageThen the Sandugo or the Blood Compact Shrine in Tagbilaran City.  Sandugo, a Visayan word meaning “one blood”, was performed between the Spanish Explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Bohol chieftain Datu Sikatuna on March 16, 1565.  It was considered the first treaty of friendship between Spaniards and Filipinos.

ImageBohol is also a beach getaway.  Never miss the white sandy beaches in Panglao Island.  Let me showcase such beauty at Dumaluan Beach Resort.


the long shoreline…


lovely nipa hut…


the powdery sand…


to infinity & beyond…


low tide charm…


and sun setting beyond rows of coconut trees…


Before parking for the night, we dropped by the town of Dauis.


The cave closed at 6pm.  While going down to take a quick look, bats were also clamoring to go outside to I don’t know where.  Our fun-loving grandma reminded us it’s time to head back home.


So long Bohol!


Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy


Ah-ah!  My niece was not frowning.  She was actually joyous, and a little bit ticklish, with her first encounter with this beautiful winged-creature.  Not that she did not see a butterfly in all her 17 years.  But born and reared in the city, she was only afforded a fleeting glimpse of the rare presence of this flighty insect.

Last May 2013, we were fortunate to visit the Simply Butterflies Conservation Center in Bilar, Bohol, Philippines.  We were introduced to various species of butterflies and felt some of them.  I envied my niece’s reaction.  It seemed she can’t believe the butterflies landed at the side of her face, she had to shut out the world and just feel the moment.  Afterwards, she was a bit shy, wondrous, but joyous, that she reacted towards a butterfly that way at her age.

Go Girl!  We all have our moments.