Philippines Travel: A day in Bohol

Strangely enough, I found out today that my good friend John was in Bohol for a week and just left two days ago! Although I missed him, he gave me some insights on some interesting places to visit, so I increased my stay for another day and had a nice day out.

I have to admit…it’s given me something to be introspective about. In my travels, I know I get addicted to motion…most of my recent blog posts are about the challenges of making connections, about figuring out bus schedules, dealing with logistics, etc. And there are very few posts about the beauty of a specific place, and the joy of just finding a beautiful spot and staying there. I get caught up too easily in the allure of ‘the next place’ and the inherent dissatisfaction of knowing that there might be a better place just around the corner. It’s a failure on my part, I know it, and I’m going to try to work on it. I’ll try to see the beauty of where I am, and not feel like I’m missing out if I don’t start moving down the road.

What really brought it on was seeing John’s Facebook posts for the past week of lovely restaurants, blue oceans, and the smiling faces of him and his girlfriend, and thinking ‘I wish I could find a place like THAT’. But when I realized that he was posting from exactly where I am right now, it was like a cold slap in the face. So like I said…I’m going to work on it and slow down and smell the roses. I’ll let you know how that goes. I can already hear the collective chuckle of all my friends saying “Yeah, right!”

So I started out this morning by dropping off some laundry (watch for a future post about how to travel really light) and caught a tricycle to take me to the Nova Shell Museum (recommended by John). Sort of a quirky and dusty little place, but it’s a great example of how somebody took his lifetime passion for collecting seashells and turned it into a moneymaking thing, and even got some international attention. People who study seashells use his collection regularly, as he has many shells that no one even knows about, and possibly the best collection of diverse shells in the world. Certainly of SE Asian shells.

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After that, I headed out to see the Bohol Bee Farm. It’s a working honey producing farm, as well as guesthouse and restaurant. On John’s suggestion, I had lunch there…..fantastic! They grow all their own veggies making all sorts of creative use of spaces, and produce fantastic meals, both in taste and presentation. I had a ‘flower salad’, something I had wondered about for years since my friend Teddy, who was a chef, gave me a green salad once at his restaurant that had a peppery Nastursium flower on it. I always wondered if you could make an entire salad from just flowers, and the answer is not only ‘Yes’ but it can be fantastic! They used only flowers and flower parts, and then arranged them to look like a flower! Then it was served with a honey vinaigrette dressing (homemade, of course), in the most amazingly scenic setting. Really satisfying moment.

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They also run a store with fantastic items: honeycomb soaps, homemade breads, different types of honey-based products like bug dope, antibiotics, skin lotions, shampoos, etc, and of course lots of honey-based foods. I got some lemon/honey spread and a loaf of squash bread that didn’t even make it past lunch.

I know what I want to do when I retire. I’m going to build a place like this….I’ll find the tropical paradise and buy it, my friend Mark has the skills to build the resort using local materials and making it fun and funky, my friend Kevin has the skills to grow the gardens, and my friend Ofir has the skills to oversee the restaurant. You guys reading this…? I’ll get your wives to pressure you to get on board, since this place will also have a spa.

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Now it’s back to my guest house for a siesta, then this afternoon I’m going to go snorkeling in the warm water, and then maybe a tour of town, and then dinner (as per John’s suggestion) at the Paprika Tarsier Restaurant. It’s a splurge, but hey….you only live once. He recommended the Sirloin steak that is as big as my head…splurging is such a sacrifice. 🙂

Tomorrow morning, I’ll catch a ferry to Siquijor Island for the next few days. I’ve decided to slow my pace down (as promised) and see fewer spots but enjoy the ones I DO see more, so I expect a few days, maybe three or four, in Siquijor. Bohol has been fun, especially considering that I was ready to bounce just as soon as I got off the ferry. Glad I’m starting to wise up!

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