Bohol: Beautifully brillant with a typhoon named Pablo

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December 5th 2012
Published: December 5th 2012
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a cute primate

After five wonderful days on the Island of Malapascua, it was time to carry on the journey to a new locale. Continuing our pursuit of rest, relaxation and the ultimate tan, we headed to Bohol and the Peacock Garden Resort. Yes, our plan required that we stay the course and not overextend ourselves in order to achieve our goal of total relaxation and enjoy a bit of opulence. Gritty stuff, but we have the drive to succeed.

We climbed aboard a small skiff and headed out a few hundred yards to a larger craft which took us to Maya on Cebu, then a three hour ride to Cebu City to catch the ferry to Tagbilaran City, Bohol. Getting around the Philippines takes time and patience as there are no direct routes given the 7000 or so islands that make up this nation. Yes, only 2,000 are inhabited but that is a lot of islands. We had hired a car rather than take a bus so we gave a lift to two locals who were on the island. They seemed appreciative, as they didn’t have to take the public bus.

The ferry terminal
The Peacock GardenThe Peacock GardenThe Peacock Garden

Night time view
was fairly high on the disgusting scale, but we bought business class tickets and had a nice, uneventful ride to Tagbilaran City.

We were met by the Peacock Garden Resort’s driver, who proceeded to give us cold hand towels and fresh water once we were in the van. We looked at one another and knew that we were off to a great start for this portion of the island trip.

Remember we upgraded this portion of the trip? This is proving to be one of our better ideas….

A short ride later, we arrived at the resort. Sufficed to say, it is quite the place. We may never want to leave this place………It is perched up on a hill some one hundred feet up. Not only that, on any given day, we represented about 50 percent of their guests. This translates into a fabulous staff-to-guest ratio and even more importantly, the only people utilizing a magnificent infinity pool with a view of the nearby Bohol Sea. It was only fitting that we made great use of the pool during our stay. Our room overlooked both the pool and the sea
A strawberry daiquariA strawberry daiquariA strawberry daiquari

Brutus hanging out
as well. They gave us a free upgrade on our room. Score!!

The cuisine at the Peacock Garden made us forget some of the more bland and repetitive meals we’ve experienced on this trip. The chef is German and creates some wonderful menus. We wish our good friends Brendan and Chuck (both chefs) were on this trip. They would agree that this gent could produce some tasty dishes. The resort even has a wine cellar with quite a few choices. Did we mention that we might not want to leave this resort….ever. Seriously gourmet food!

After two days of enjoying the pool and the cuisine, we arranged for a day trip to take a look at what Bohol has to offer. We read that the world’s smallest primate, the Tarsier live on this island. Of course we had to check out these wee creatures for ourselves, being the intrepid explorers that we are. The Tarsier did not disappoint. They are only about six inches tall with long tails and basically resemble Yoda from Star Wars. Being nocturnal, most of them looked quite sleepy, except when the staff from the reserve would gently shake a
Daytime viewDaytime viewDaytime view

The Peacock Garden
branch nearby to get them to open their incredibly large eyes. All in all, very unique creatures.

Our voyage also included a trip to the famous “Chocolate Hills.” With a name like that, you can hardly resist having a look at them. Turns out the name really should be the “Mint Chocolate Hills.” The reason is that for a few months a year, it gets rather dry and these geologic mounds turn brown in contrast with the green trees around them. The current problem is that the “dry” season hasn’t been so dry for the past three years or so, making the hills green year-round. They most likely look pretty cool when brown, but when they are green, they’re just so-so, but worth having a look, nonetheless.

We also visited a butterfly sanctuary (not really worth the time), took a lunch cruise on the Lomboc River where we were serenaded by a children’s choir and stopped at a local church which was built in the 1800’s in a Spanish architectural style. The church had great character, as it was more or less the same as it was over one hundred years ago and was
An amazing infinity poolAn amazing infinity poolAn amazing infinity pool

we could stay here forever
minus the usual opulence that Catholic churches possess in other countries. Of course after all this, it was straight back to the pool for some more relaxation….one must stay the course.

That same day, we had the TV on and they were talking about a “super typhoon” coming towards the Philippines. What??? Seems that a late season whopper of a storm was bearing down on these islands. Quite unusual for this time of year, let alone the size and fury associated with it. It was rated as a Category 5 storm, which is the biggest and baddest.

After our tour, we quickly held a meeting in the pool and decided that we would leave a day early and retreat back to Manila out of harm’s way. We weren’t happy about leaving early, but felt it was the best course, seeing as how the storm appeared to be headed almost directly our way. So, we changed our flight, secure in the knowledge that we had a place to stay in Manila (thanks again Lili!!) until we left for Palawan.

So, two days later, we packed up and headed for the airport. The winds were picking up and the rain was beginning to fall. No worries, we were going to escape all this and hide out in Manila. We pulled in to the airport and the driver in broken English tells us to check to make sure our flight is still scheduled. Dave went in, chatted with some people in line who told him that the flight had not been cancelled yet, but the plane was still in Manila. As he headed back to the van, an announcement came over the loudspeaker informing everyone that the flight to Manila and the subsequent flight had both been cancelled. Our grand plan had been foiled!

Back to the resort we headed, where arrangements were made to fly the next day (the original day of departure) and also to wait out the storm…..which wasn’t much more than a little wind and some rain. Frankly, we’ve seen much more impressive storms in the Midwest U.S. and Florida.

But this is serious business here, as many people don’t take heed or simply cannot. They wait it out in their domiciles and hope for the best. News reports indicated that dozens perished in
Chocolate Hills? Chocolate Hills? Chocolate Hills?

Not in the past 3 years
mudslides. A few were killed when trees fell on them. One poor lady died in her home when a coconut tree fell on the house. So while we remained unimpressed, it was a much more serious situation for many others on the islands to the south.

After a few afternoon beers and some appetizers, we were off to the pool (after all, what’s a little rain when you’re in a pool)? Looking out over the sea and observing some white caps from the strong winds. We wiled away the day reading and catching up on a few emails and arose the next morning to red-glowing clouds. Pablo had moved on…..and so did we.

Additional photos below
Photos: 44, Displayed: 27


Minty colored hillsMinty colored hills
Minty colored hills

Not Chocolate Hills
Fine diningFine dining
Fine dining

at the Peacock Garden
Lovin' the poolLovin' the pool
Lovin' the pool

and the view of the sea
Lovely gardensLovely gardens
Lovely gardens

At the Peacock Garden
A local waterfallA local waterfall
A local waterfall

smaller than the ones in Iceland

6th December 2012

I love you guys! Storm? oh? well why not wait it out in luxury - the hotel looks amazing and the food pictures have me drooling. You both look amazingly happy :)
6th December 2012

Ahhh, what a life !!! Soooo jealous. I'd say it's more fun when you can splurge and do it in style :)
6th December 2012

Action packed
First the earthquake, then the typhoon - where to next?? Now that I am in Australia, the Philippines isn't far away, and it looks gorgeous! Definitely planning a trip there soon.
6th December 2012
Rather big hands

Master Yoda, I really thought so too ^_^
That's a lovely swimming pool you got there. Good to hear that the storm didn't quite materialise during your stay in Bohol. It was pretty bad at the other side of Visayas & Mindanao, we've been having bad storms right before Christmas two years in a row now :( Enjoy your Palawan trip! x
6th December 2012

You must have done something good in your past.....
My dad would say that whenever we hit unbelievable luck. But really, I'm relieved you guys are fine and safely off to Palawan. So, you've met yoda! Cute-sy primates, huh? And I knew you'd love Peacock Hotel. The few trips I've made to Bohol, I've always complained about the lack of good dining options. Thank God there's Peacock now, and there's Bohol Bee Farm too run by a returning overseas Filipino worker. About the Chocolate Hills, I love how you called them Mint Choc Hills. Should have warned you they're chocolate-ty brown only during summer. [:)]
7th December 2012

Now this looks like a VACATION!
well, minus the typhoon.
8th December 2012

It isn't every day you get to experience a Cat 5 Super Typhoon. Glad to hear you came through it unscathed though, even if many others weren't so fortunate :( What is it with you two and natural disasters? You seem to be a magnet for them. Oh, by the way, I've just heard that the Indonesian authorities have now officially banned you from their volcanically active islands :P

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