“The family that travels together, have fun with each other…”
– against the scenic greenery of the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines, May 2013 –
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.
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.
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.
Almost 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.
Then 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.
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!
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.