If You Think You’re Having Fun …

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Prescott and I journeyed to the Philippine island of Bohol today! Getting here was quite a project – it involved a taxi to a flight to a taxi to a ferry to a van. Fortunately, I enjoyed several of these forms of transportation. There’s a lot to be said for a window seat on some planes:

 

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But there’s nothing to be said for the immigration terminal in the Cebu airport. That was an exercise in one of the many kinds of patience that I’ve never had.

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The ferry, on the other hand, was my favorite part of the day. I always love ferries, especially if I can stand up on deck and look out over the water. This was the view back toward the island of Cebu:

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There’s nothing like having the wind whipping around when you lean back over the railing.

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This is what we saw as we approached the island of Bohol:

 

 

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And as we came into the port of Tagbilaran, the water turned from blue to green:

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Most of the settlements on this island are strung out along the coast. People largely get around by car or motorbike, but there are some interesting transportation options. In the central city, in lieu of taxis, many people take “tricycles”:

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And while the island does have some large public buses that travel long distances, people taking smaller trips are served by private jeepneys:

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The tourist base on Bohol revolves around resorts on the beach – but for the first two nights, Prescott and I have decided to stay at a small place called the Fox & Firefly in a village on the Loboc River. Our bungalow/hut is quite cute…

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… though our room is tiny, and the mosquito netting is not exactly encouraging (and the enormous tokay gecko hanging out in the eaves as I type out on the porch is downright spooky).

 

The outdoor shower is definitely the highlight:

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There are downsides to this lodging option, however, that were not adequately laid out on Trip Advisor. These are, in no particular order:

  • A group of guys is blasting super-loud karaoke from the house just next door.  Filipinos love karaoke — these guys appear to have their own giant karaoke machine (it looks like a 1980s video game) that lives in its own straw hut.  The music has been blaring since we arrived at 4:30, and the quality of the singing has been getting increasingly worse as our neighbors have had more to drink.  They’ll go on until until 10:00pm.
  • There’s only one obvious restaurant here, and it serves truly terrible food.
  • A small road with occasional but very loud motorbikes sits about 20 yards from our doorstep.
  • The mosquitoes strike in force just after the sun goes down.
  • Someone is burning leaves or trash (0r both) on the lot just behind us, which leaves the air with a sweetly acrid smell.

That said, there’s a lot to like here. Prescott and I took a walk before dinner to get ourselves situated. The first thing we noticed is that, true to their reputation, Filipinos are remarkably friendly – lots of people said hello to us as we strolled by. This group stopped between shots to wave out greetings:

 

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We also found lots of animals: chickens and their chicks, dogs and puppies, geese and pigs, and Prescott’s new friends …

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… and this guy:

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There are lots of little gathering huts like that one by the side of the road and along the river. Other roadside findings included stacks of traditional roofing materials…

 

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… lots of laundry …

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… and lots of coconuts:

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We also found this guy climbing way, way up a coconut palm – amazing!

 

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Vanda orchids line many people’s front lawns (I’m using the term “lawn” very loosely here). And while I’m used to seeing orchids when I’m out and about in Southeast Asia, I’m not at all used to seeing their leaves looking like this:

 

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As you walk by the river, you sometimes see people in narrow outrigger boats:

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And on the other side of the road, sunset over the rice fields is stunning:

 

IMG_1358They speak English in the Philippines, so the signage isn’t as entertaining as it has been in some other countries. But I do like the way that Filipinos are asked to queue:

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And this sign speaks for itself:

 

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