Another Shot at Bohol (Part 1)

*Originally posted in Multiply on 19 March 2006*

White sands, clear waters, bikini-clad Europeans, nipa cottages- with a very persistent “tuko”- and very friendly mosquitos… ahh, the makings of a summer vacation. 😀

I just came back from a relaxing time at Bohol with Nessie and Dad. We spent three days of sun and sand at Alona Beach, renamed after the famous Filipino actress, Alona Alegre, after a movie stint there during the 70’s. It was the second time for me and Nessie- we were there on my birthday two years ago. It was Dad’s first time on Panglao Island, having been only to Tagbilaran, the city proper.

We left on a Thursday morning, driving ourselves to Park n’ Fly, an airport carpark. The shuttle brought us to the Centennial Terminal (PAL) and had ourselves cheked in. My trolley bag exceeded the required weight for carry-on baggage so I had to check it in. Hmm, must be following my weight.

Breakfast was chicken arroz caldo- yum! Boarding and take-off was on time. There were snacks on board- a slice of chocolate cake and your choice of beverage. Took the drink and held off the cake for later. We landed after an hour and ten minutes. The weather was very good- sun, sun and all sun.

Being in the province, Tagbilaran airport still lacked a conveyor belt. So, in true Pinoy fashion, the bags were loaded on the baggage cart from the plane and towed to the arrival area. As the first cart came in, everybody just went for their bags. Wow, what a sight to see: you had both Filipinos and foreigners pulling off their stuff from the cart, not minding the baggage on top of theirs. It was really amusing. I got my small trolley bag by the fourth cart. By that time, I was already anxious to get out.

We were met by the driver for the resort when we got out. We boarded a van and the driver introduced himself, Boy Lastimosa. On the way to the resort, he offered his rental car’s tour services. He gave out a map of places to go and referred drivers. We said we’d give his agency a call.

Alona Tropical, the resort, is splendid. We were given a family room, though we were not intending to cook. The resort is mostly filled up with Europeans and a few Americans. We felt like the foreigners ourselves instead. The staff were courteous and cordial.

Majority of the visitors to Bohol’s beaches are divers. There are a lot of islands to go to- the nearest from Panglao are Balicasag and Pamilacan islands. Pamilacan is where you go for dolphin watching.

Bohol is also the home of the Philippine tarsier, the smallest primate. I fell in love with it the first time around and can’t wait to see them again on the tour. Did you know that the tarsier do not have a skull and touching its head can kill it? Also, if its mate dies, it will commit suicide by banging its head. Fascinating, eh? More of that later.

We had a late lunch- I had my fave chicken adobo, Dad got kilawin (which was weird as it was pulutan) and Nessie had… corned beef??? When we went in the restaurant, there was this really intoxicating smell and we knew it was corned beef. Nessie was salivating and had to order it. When it came, it was really small and after one taste, she knew it was some cheap brand. Well, regardless of what it was, we ate everything up.

We rested for a bit before we changed into our bikinis. Oops, correction: bathing suits- I don’t think I have the nerve to show off my “bilbils.” Dad went ahead to get a massage, a common sight on beaches. It was around 3pm when Ness and I went to the beach. It was already low tide so we had to walk really far out to sea to really get a decent level of water to swim around. We had to get to the area where there was grass and we were careful not to step on any of the starfish lying around. To avoid the grass area, we had to stick to the white sand part, which was either on our left or right side. Well, the most important thing is to get wet with sea water, right?

After swimming for a few minutes, we decided to get some sun before it started setting. Nessie had a good nap and I read a book. After Dad had his massage, he rested for about 20 minutes then went to swim. He was the first one to have a shower and prepare for dinner. Ness and I followed after a few minutes.

We had dinner at the resort restaurant. After that, we just moved about for awhile before we all started to really feel sleepy. I guess we retired to bed around 10pm, really early for me as I usually sleep around 1am. Well, the island life is like that, right?

We have our tour tomorrow at 9am. More on this on my next blog. Cheers!

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