Archive for the ‘Philippines’ Category

 

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it…. People think pleasing God is all God care about.  But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.”  – Alice Walker, The Color Purple, 1982

Let me start off by saying that I’m definitely not a vegetarian, I’m a carnivore. I do love meat but I thought I’d try out The Farm at San Benito. I have been eyeing the farm for a visit when I read a blog regarding this place. It wasn’t the fanciest resort I’ve ever stayed at, but it was definitely top quality. It was all natural. It’s a wellness retreat with a spa/massage services and consultant who will give you recommendations during your stay. You would be greeted by nature through its lush coconut plantation and tropical trees here and there with the smell of lemon grass all over.

It’s a 3-hour drive from Manila, We booked for an overnight stay and arrived passed 3pm. there are complimentary daily activities that you can choose from like yoga, meditation, power walking, trail walking, jogging, etc. We attended  meditation session and decided to walk around  the whole place holding a map and a flashlight. The place was amazing and huge,  it was nature at its best the scenery was awesome. The guests are mostly foreigners, the room that we stayed in was a 2 storey nipa hut and downstairs is the bathroom so good luck pissing in the middle of then night there’s nothing much to do. There’s no TV in the room and the place was so dark and cold and all you can hear are insect noises reaping thru the silence. We decided to book the entertainment room and watched DVD-movie from their list (Brother’s Grim). We asked for assistance to take us to the area because it was all dark and we are scared like hell if we got lost. Our guide took us to this all glass room in the middle of the swamp where people from the outside will see what we are doing but from the inside looking out, its pitch dark. – Great setting for watching a medieval suspense/horror movie.

In the morning you will wake up to yoga and afterwards a five course breakfast affair. The foods are very well presented, most are delectable and flavorful but some are bland to taste, free of dairy of course. It consists of fruits with coconut yoghurt, healthy cereals with nut milk, tofu or corn scramble.

There are a couple of pools at The Farm, my favorite being the one outside of the spa. It’s an infinity pool overlooking the trees and the mountain. Yoga is offered twice a day, in a peaceful outdoor setting which definitely got my mornings off to a good start! There are a few other daily activities, such as Pilates, flower arrangement demonstrations etc. They have great gym and pool facilities. The staff at The Farm are all very accommodating and friendly. All in all, I’d say the farm is a very peaceful place, perfect for those who want to just get away from it all.

Discovering this idyllic place, I find myself filled with a  yearning to linger here, where time stands still and beauty  overwhelms.

 http://www.thefarm.com.ph/

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Kill nothing but time…
Take nothing but pictures…
Leave nothing but footprints…

-Marine Sanctuary (beach guidelines)

Bohol is an island province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas region, its capital is Tagbilaran City.White sandy beaches dot the coast of the island. The sand is often of such high quality that it is exported to other beaches in the world. The most well known of these beaches are in Panglao Island, and there, numerous islets have similar, yet untouched and pristine beaches.

We stayed at Bohol Beach Club it’s a huge resort with long stretch of white sands and lots of amenities, the staff are friendly and they offered superb quality service. Most visitors are foreigners because it’s pricey but its well worth it when buffet is included in their summer package.
When you want to relax or spend quality time with your family or significant other this is the place to go.

So what did I do in this place? Let me count the ways…basked in the sun, walked in the sand, swam, slept (I had a lot) and ate all the mangoes I can in their buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For my activities, there’s  kayaking and went on country side tour to see the famous chocolate hills, had lunch in floating restaurant and visited the the relatives yoda.

The Chocolate Hills

Everybody knows that the Chocolate Hills can be found in Bohol but not everybody has the opportunity to actually see where it was. Being there beats the books and whatever the teacher taught us back in secondary grade. It’s an awesome view and all along I always knew that one day I’ll get to see this place and I thanked God that I did though it took me decades, it was all worth it.

The Hills dominate the island of Bohol. There are 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres (20 sq mi). In Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan, these hills form near perfect cones in great numbers and are collectively referred to as the Chocolate Hills. The Chocolate Hills in are considered one of Philippine’s natural wonders and Bohol is often referred to as the Jewel of the Philippines. They are hills made of limestone left over from coral reefs during the ice age when the island was submerged. They turn brown during the summer, hence their name. The country’s 3rd National Geological Monument and proposed for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List
 

Muah + Choco Hills = The hills have eyes

Legends of the Hills

Legend 1
The legend relates of two quarrelling giants who threw mud, rocks, boulders and sand to each other. Nobody knows what the reason behind their feud was only that it lasted for a few days leaving them weak and exhausted in the end. Without their knowing it, some of the boulders, stones, sand and mud stuck to each other and formed mounds. Thousands of years of wind and rain erosion eventually formed the hills into what it is now.
Legend 2
It relates of Arogo, an extremely powerful and youthful giant falling in love with a mortal maiden named Aloya. They lived together and were happy for a time until Aloya got sick and died causing much pain and misery to Arogo. In his sorrow, he cried and cried, and every time his tears fell on the ground it dries up and form into mounds, thus the Chocolate Hills.
Legend 3
It relates that the flatland of Carmen, extending outwards, was the playground of giant children. That day the children where pretending that they were baking cakes, molding and forming them from mud and sand in a half shell of a giant coconut and letting them “bake” under the heat of the sun. It was a contest. The one who makes the most wins. After a time, the children were called home. When they came back to play, they found their cakes “cooked” and were very happy and did not have the heart to destroy their masterpieces and so left them as is.
Legend 4
The last legend is about a Gluttonous giant named Dano that eats everything in his path. One day he came to a plain. He saw a beautiful young woman named Eng. To win her affection, he needed to lose weight. So he excreted everything he ate. In the end, his fecal matter covered the land and he won Eng’s affection.

The Tarsiers

Tarsier and Friend

Looking at them makes me think of the great Jedi yoda and the ewoks. So to me tarsier looked like half yoda half ewoks not larger than your hand. They referred to as the world’s smallest monkey. Among the locals, the tarsier is known as “mamag”, “mago”, “magau”, “maomag”, “malmag” and “magatilok-iok”.  The species is believed to be about 45 million years old, dating back to the early Eocene period, and probably one of the oldest land species continuously existing in the Philippines.

They are nocturnal has gray fur and a nearly naked tail. The middle finger is elongated. The eyes of the tarsier are enormous. The tarsier has a relatively very long tail its tail is used for balancing like a tripod. The head looks like an owl and they have sharp teeth. The name “tarsier” or “tarsius” is derived from the animal’s very long ankle bones. They live in and around the base of tree trunks and the roots of plants such as bamboo.
  

Loboc River Lunch Cruise

As the boat takes off, the buffet begins. On the middle table all kinds of Philippine delicacies are presented, and while eating, you can enjoy the lush green

apple and angel

landscape slowly sliding along your table. There’s also a band playing the oldies songs while you are having your lunch in this floating restaurant. Along the way it will stop for some entertainment as the locals will dance the tinikling and sing complete with their traditional saya outfit. The end of the trip, which takes about an hour, is Busay falls.

Bohol  Feb 15-17 2010

Boracay

Posted: July 30, 2009 in Philippines
Tags: , , , , , ,
Boracay Grotto

Boracay Grotto

Well, I was born in the sign of water
And it’s there that I feel my best
The albatross and the whales
They are my brothers
It’s kind of a special feeling
When you’re out on the sea alone
Staring at the full moon, like a lover
Time for a cool change
I know that it’s time for a cool change
— Cool Change, Little River Band

This song was always in my head whenever I get near the beach. Probably it’s because I’m a Pisces- born in the sign of water. So there’s the connection. Anyways, It’s hard for me to put into words why I like the beach so much especially Boracay. I have been there 3 times but nothing beats my first Boracay experience. It was Labor Day weekend of May 2001 we arrived late afternoon but the place was still happening in spite of the sun almost hiding in the horizon. The bars, the dinner and even just lounging at the beach front were fabulous.  The crystal clear water and the fine sand that’s comparable to a coffee creamer are awesome. Foreigners are in awe of this place and so am I. I remember one European asked me ‘have you ever seen such clear waters?’ The crowd are cool and in vacation mood. No ranting, no bitchiness. Nobody gives a damn of what you wear because less is absolutely more!  Celebs are walking around trying to blend in with the crowd and enjoying the sun.

Whenever I went for a swim I waited for 4pm to hit the water. By that time, the sun produced less heat and my fair skin will get less tan. In Boracay, I was in the water in midday.  I couldn’t care less if I’ll toast, I’m having too much fun. Island hopping and banana boat ride are the few activities I partake when I was there. Also, I loved that before going back to Manila we have to stop at Kalibo to have lunch at Minggoy’s. Life’s a beach!

Notes:

Boracay is an Island in the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region.  According to Wikipedia It was only in the 70s when, it is said, a foreign movie crew accidentally “discovered” this island paradise. Others maintain that it was the German traveler, ‘Jens Peters’ book, which included rave reviews of Boracay that changed the island’s pace from that of being a quiet secret to eventually being voted as having the best beach in the world.