Balikbayans are great because of two things: One, they become Mr. Santa. They give us stuff (usually bought abroad) ; they treat us to dinners, parties and the like; they visit us wherever we are.
And two, they make reunions of the busiest of people possible.
Mike, one of my closest childhood friends is a balikbayan– he went back to his home country after years in Australia. He’s been a classmate since the 4th grade until high school. It has been years since I last saw him- it was probably during College when we last bonded (I honestly can’t remember). After high school, mid-college, I think, he and his brother went to Australia to be with their mom. They had to stay there for a while to be immigrants. You get the picture.
High school is one of the best times of my life. I think it was the most unforgettable. It was the happiest. My high school friends and I are close, and I really mean close. We’ve managed to maintain that closeness until now. We’ve kept our communication lines open, despite the busyness of this world. We try to see each other from time to time, but because we’re now grown-ups (ewwww), we rarely have time for meet-ups and such.
Because Mike missed us- his childhood friends, so much, he planned a trip just for us. Like literally splurged his hard-earned money just for us to be together. Sweet, huh? 😀
Last weekend, my high school friends and I went to Bohol, courtesy of Mike. And I do mean courtesy, if you know what I mean. I have never been out of town with them so it was really an exciting trip for us. And I have never been to Bohol so that added to the excitement that we had. Our Bohol trip was by far, the best getaway I have ever had in my entire life. Allow me to tell you why.
DAY ONE. Our meeting time was 6AM at Manila Domestic Airport. I thought I would be the latest to arrive because I left home at 5:30AM. Oh and I live in Fairview. So there. Haha. But because it was pretty early, I arrived at around 6:15, just 15 minutes late. But don’t hate me for being late, because the one who arrived the latest was our Queen Bee, Lalay, who arrived just 30 minutes before boarding. Of course I’m overreacting. Haha. So we were rushing to check-in and to boarding until…. one of our boys had an umbrella inside his hand-carry bag, and another one had a pair of scissors inside his. So yes, that scene was another cause of delay for us. But ’twas fun. Of course it was.
Fast forward to Bohol. Our itinerary was planned by dear Kuya Dodong, who happens to be one of the best trip planners in Bohol. If you’re low on budget but you want to have the best experience in Bohol, I would recommend that you contact him. He has the best rates for every individual. He would make your trip an unforgettable and enjoyable one.
Upon arrival to Tagbilaran airport, a driver named kuya Jude welcomed us. He is one of the many drivers kuya Dodong has. He advised us of our itinerary.. then our Bohol experience started. Here are the places we’ve been to on our first day:
- Blood Compact Shrine
- Baclayon Church (one of the oldest stone churches in the Phils.)
- Python Snake (the largest in captivity 250kg.)
- Loboc River Cruise and Luncheon
- Tarsier Watch (smallest primate)
- Manmade Forest
- Butterfly Sanctuary
- Chocolate Hills
- Hanging Bridge (where we bought our souveneirs… according to kuya Jude, they have the cheapest souveneirs in Bohol)
We stayed at Tierra Azul Alona Beach House. It was just 8 steps from Panglao beach. So after the places we’ve gone through the first day, we were supposed to take a dip at the beach but because it was already 7 in the evening when we arrived, we just thought of taking a bath and having dinner by the shore. Little did we know that the beach had a surprise for us! We never really expected the mood to be party-ish. Really. We thought it wouldn’t be like Bora or Puerto where there was dancing and bars and live bands and the like. 🙂
DAY TWO. You’d think that fun would begin after we leave our resort but no, the fun began exactly when we woke up. I woke up with the sound of Lalay opening the restroom door. I went to her bed to chat with her then she asked me where Bandol, one of our friends was! She was missing. She slept beside Lalay but when Lalay woke up she was gone…only to find out that she moved to another bed which was beside me. When we asked her, she had no idea how she got there. It was hysterical! Haha. She could not remember moving to another bed. Oh my, the thought of her clueless face makes me laugh until now.
So here are the places we went to the second day:
- Bee Farm
- E.A.T. Danao (Eco/Educational/Extreme Adventure Tour)
Sounds few, huh? Don’t be fooled by the number. Our second day was the highlight of our Bohol trip. Danao Eco Park is an activity center (Duh. Eco Park. Haha) where it has caves, zipline and “The Plunge”.
Yes. THE PLUNGE.
Plunge: a canyon swing adventure attraction mounted over a 200 meter high and 300 meter wide gorge. A person would have to do a 45 meters free fall before being launched on a pendulum swing measuring to a hundred meter diameter. Cable has a maximum working load of 5 tons. Now longer (70 meters).
“The Plunge” is the best “fear factor” experience among other adventure activities on offer. One has to literally plunge to an open air where about two seconds, the plunger will all be defenseless, feel nothing and left all alone. (http://www.eatdanao.com/2009-plunge.html)
Because all 10 of us are brave little soldiers, we all did the Plunge. I literally almost backed out!!!! Okay, before you raise your eyebrows and tease me of being a coward (HAHAHAHAHAHA), I have my defense. You see, I, together with my bro Ked (who almost backed out too) were the ones taking photos and videos of the others while they did their plunge. So imagine our fear as one by one our friends went up and did the plunge! We saw their reactions and we saw how high they came from.. so we trembled in fear as our turn came (we even had to draw lots as to who goes first, special thanks to our gentlemen)!
But yeah. Even if I cried (tears rolled down my cheeks involuntarily) after taking the plunge, I must say IT WAS ONE HELL OF AN EXPERIENCE. Their tagline says it all: YOU’RE NOT PAYING FOR THE RIDE. YOU’RE PAYING FOR THE EXPERIENCE.
Some of my friends did the zipline, too. I didn’t do it anymore because I already tried it before.
Danao was 2-3 hours far from where we stayed so when we arrived at our resort it was already night time again. We were welcomed by kuya Dodong who cooked his famous tempura. After that we swam at the beach… then we did some partying by the shore. This time all 10 of us were there.
DAY THREE. We were told that our banca will fetch us at 5:30 AM to accommodate our snorkeling and island hopping. We will leave Tagbilaran at 3:00 pm so we had to squeeze whatever we had left in our tight schedule.
So I woke up way too early, around 4:00 am, despite the alcohol in my system. I gave the boys a ring for them to wake up too. We were already busy preparing, changing our clothes when the boys entered our room to give us their breaking news:
MIKE WAS MISSING.
Yes, our balikbayan, Mike, the one who made the trip possible was missing! When the girls and I went to our rooms to sleep, the boys still did some drinking session. They went back to the shore, Mike and the boys, with an old German woman who wouldn’t take his eyes off of him. :b After a few drinks, Dong, who was with Mike the longest the previous night, left him with the woman so he could go to sleep.
That was the last memory Dong had of Mike. When he woke up, he thought Mike already went back to bed but apparently HE DID NOT.
It was already 6:00 am, and we would run out of time if we don’t leave our place yet. We were literally re-tracing Mike’s steps and we were thinking where the old woman might have brought our Mike. It was like a scene from a Hangover movie, really! The girls were blaming the boys, nagging them because they should have not left Mike alone. Add to that is the fact that no one could remember the woman’s name nor her room number-which she gave to them! It was so hillarious! We had to go to Bohol Diver’s Inn and look for Mike, show his pictures to the receptionist, and ask if a certain “old German woman” checked in there.
It was past 6..almost 7. We will be late if we don’t lave our resort yet so… after a series of acting like CSIs, we surrendered and left Mike wherever he was. We left him with a lot of calls and messages just in case he wakes up and realizes how worried we all were. A lot of thoughts were playing in our minds: what could have happened to Mike? What if the old woman took him and brought him to her room, did something really bad to him? You know, those creepy stuff. But at the same time were were also laughing so hard because we were disgusted by the thought that he was with a old woman! Like really old. Like grandmother old! Hahahaha.
So after almost an hour of travelling to the island, Mike called!!!! It was like victory for us. Haha. He said he fell asleep at the bar, and he would follow us to the beach. Just so you know, a boat ride costs roughly around 1,500 php .. so if you’re not Mike, might as well stick with your itinerary. Haha.
We did some snorkeling- the Bohol corals were really amazing! After that we did some island hopping at Virgin Islands. Unfortunately it rained so we didn’t get much time swimming. Which was still okay because we’d be late had we chose to explore the Island.
The third day was more fun than the previous days. I mean, our days just couldn’t get any better! We had a running joke with Mike: we called him Mike, The Grandmotherf*cker. Hahahahahahahaha.
Photo credits: some of the photos I took from my brother from another mother, Kedked. He’s a really good photographer. The other pictures were from me.
For a getaway to be considered good, it should have either of the following:
1. The presence of wonderful company.
2. A Great itinerary.
4. A balikbayan or two.
Now if you have all four, it’s to be considered the BEST.
Our Bohol trip was by far one of the most unforgettable trips of my life. It was the best. To my balikbayan friend Mike, thank you! You definitely brought our worlds closer together. We will be forever indebted to you for giving us the best trip EVER. I love you. You are the GRAND. HAHAHAHAHAHA.
And to the rest of my high school friends, you know I love you. Until our next trip.♥
- Photo of the Week: Bohol Chocolate Hills (3pko.com)
- The Friendly Flippers of Bohol, Philippines (theblacktwig.wordpress.com)
- What are the beautiful spots at Bohol (wiki.answers.com)
- BOHOL-CEBU 3D2N Getaway Package w/ Airfare! Php8250/person (tripediaexpresstravel.wordpress.com)
- Amazing Bohol (spotsandgreens.wordpress.com)
- Great Bohol Weekend trip (lonelytraveler.asia)