A couple of years back, my ma got an invitation from one of her girl friends to tag along on their company’s little outing in the summer. A lot of that company’s people couldn’t come with so there was more than enough room for my six-person family. The company outing was a two-day trip to Bohol, complete with seeing all the famous sights like the Chocolate Hills, the tarsier conservatories, and even the famous beach in Panglao. The trip was a blast, though admittedly I would have preferred it if we weren’t with all those strangers or bound to a strict itinerary.
Two weeks a go, years after that first Bohol trip, my family visited that humble little province once again and, honestly, it was a lot more fun than the first time around. Aside from the wedding and reception of the son of Pa’s friend, we mostly had the entire trip to ourselves. We brought our family car with us too so we literally had the freedom to go wherever we wanted. The two-hour barge trip was totally worth it.
I actually honestly considered not coming with my family on the trip in order to focus on my publication work more. However, my parents very gently (sternly) told me that I can’t not go because it’s a family trip and I shouldn’t waste it on something as trivial as work responsibilities. I reluctantly caved, especially after ma told me that we need to spend more time as a family now that my sisters and I are older and are on the verge of having a completely separate life of our own. The fact that I seemed to value my work more than the trip (initially) was proof of that so I didn’t argue further.
Anyway, I’m glad I didn’t go through with not coming with the family because the trip turned out to be much more eventful than we had expected.
After the two-hour sea trip and around four-hour land trip, we reached our destination, which was a quaint Bed and Breakfast tucked above a little hill, right around the corner of the highway.
We could have spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the nearby sights (like the adventure park not too far from our B&B) but we were too exhausted and our room had this external hard drive full of cool classic movies. I dutifully copied a few movies on my laptop before we left.
I also managed to squeeze in some writing time because, despite being on mini vacation, I had a deadline to catch. It was tiring but at least the view was nice. Distracting though.
I’m gonna skip the wedding and the reception that we had to attend despite the fact that we knew almost no one there. Seriously, it was so awkward not seeing a single familiar face in a sea of people who intimately knew one another. It was sweet of my pa’s friend to invite us but… really, we could have done without feeling completely out of place.
The drive to our second destination, Loboc, was long but pretty enjoyable. It really helped that there was hardly any traffic there. Unlike here in Cebu where the traffic congestion just never ends.
At some point, we noticed that the trees lining the road were different from the usual coconut trees that we had been passing by. Before we knew it, we were deep in Bohol’s man-made Mahogany forest. It was beautiful there because the trees were so tall and leafy, the light in that stretch of road was beautifully dim and cool.
The place was like a forest filled with magic and wonder. We couldn’t help but stop for a while and admire the view.
Eventually, we made it out of the Mahogany forest and reached Loboc. Ma insisted that we try the river cruise even though the line for it was atrociously long. Thankfully, I had an episode of The Newsroom in my phone to keep me sober.
It’s not that clear in this picture but there’s actually a teeny-tiny waterfall wedged in between those rocks. An anti-climatic ending to our otherwise exciting river cruise, I must say.
After that, we went to Panglao. The little island reminded me a lot of my hometown, Lapu-lapu. I mean, it was an island that jutted a little ways away from the main island (like LLC), it’s known for its beaches (as is our island), and there’s literally a strip of beach resorts in some areas (ehem, Mactan). I was back home!
The resort that we booked was pretty cute. The sand was incredibly soft on our feet. It was nothing at all like the rough and rocky sands that I’m used to. And the sea was so deliciously clear and silky. Even though the hours of travelling nearly depleted all my energy, I couldn’t help but check out the beach with my sisters.
It was low tide when we got there so there was hardly any sea left. It was fine though because we were okay with just dipping our feet. There were a lot of sea slugs on the sand, to be honest. I think I even stepped on one. Sorry, tiny, translucent friend.
In spite of Ma’s reluctance, my family and I decided to go island hopping. We missed the dolphin watch though so we only got to see like two other islands in our little hop.
We went turtle watching in the first island and I nearly threw up from seasickness. Turns out that I’m a-ok on a wave-beaten boat as long as I wear my glasses but I’m weak and powerless when I don’t wear them. Seriously, astigmatism is a bitch if you want to swim with the turtles. Unless you can wear your glasses under your goggles, I guess. God, I felt awful then. I didn’t even see a real turtle up close. A shame.
We did see this cute little dog at the beach though. He reminded us of our puppies back home.
The second island that we went to wasn’t really even an island because the tide was super high. We anchored in this somewhat shallow place and explored a little before leaving. There really wasn’t that much to see.
Though the weekend was fun and all, I was really glad that we finally got to go home. Coincidentally, I saw a friend of mine at the pier. She had her camp thing in Bohol, I knew, but I never dreamed that I’d see her there. I thought she left the island days before I did. It was a delightful surprise.