Although I said we went to Bohol, we really spent the weekend on Panglao Island, a smaller island at the tip of Bohol. On day 2, we decided to head to the other side of the small island to go to Alona Beach, a more commercialized area with restaurants, resorts, and a better beach for swimming. Late morning, we began to walk down the dirt road from Natura Vista to the actual road, in order to catch a taxi. As we walked, we discussed our surroundings. “That reminds me of such-and-such a place,” we kept saying. I find that we do this every time we travel. We immediately begin drawing comparisons to places we have been before. It’s like our minds need a frame of reference, like our brains are trying to pinpoint a location on the map of our experiences, in the same way gps drops a pin for our physical location. So we compare and contrast.
As we walked past houses, kids played alongside the road and roosters crowed. Many of the houses were made of concrete, like ours. But many were constructed from panels of woven bamboo strips.
Several of the postage-stamp yards were carefully manicured and filled with blooming flowers, and I saw collections of orchids being cultivated on groups of stumps. Neighbors peeked out of windows and waved hello. We walked past a cow lounging on the side of the road, and several goats wandered nearby.
From our limited experiences, it reminded us of Puerto Rico. And Zambia. And Kentucky. It had the island feel of Puerto Rico. Also, certain aspects left over from Spanish colonization strengthened that comparison. I’m really not sure why it reminded us of a place we stayed in Kentucky. I think it was just that it felt so remote.
As we walked, we began to hear tinny music playing, like the kind played from an ice cream truck. We looked up the road to see a man walking a bicycle along, with a contraption strapped to the front. In fact, it was an ice cream bicycle. Some things are the same the world around. The music got louder as the man approached.
“Ice cream? It’s the cheapest around!” he called. “No thanks,” Ben answered. He smiled and kept walking. It was clear he was not looking for tourists from the way he asked only once. He knew there were plenty of children further down the road to buy his ice cream.
Soon after, a minivan pulled up beside us and asked where we were going. He said he could bring us to Alona Beach, so after agreeing on a price we all climbed into the van. When we turned onto the main road, we were soon hurtling along at 50 mph. We all realized it felt dangerous to us because we can seldom drive above 30mph within Cebu.
We rented a sun-lounge (umbrella and two beach chairs) in front of a resort and spent the afternoon swimming and playing with a family of Filipino kids. Ben and I also spent the afternoon trying to get two babies to nap at the beach, and getting minor sunburns.
We went to the Bohol Bee Farm restaurant for dinner. The food was delicious, but we particularly enjoyed the trio of ice cream flavors we sampled for dessert–buko (green coconut), mango, and spicy ginger.
After supper, returned to the backpacker by tricycle. Say what?
Yes, we took a tricycle taxi back to Natura Vista. Tricycles are motorcycles with a covered frame attached to the side for more passengers to ride, also known as tuk-tuks or auto-rickshaws. In Bohol, they look like this:
There are varying sizes, but the one we rode in had only 1 seat. By Philippine standards, it is a 2-person seat, but Ben and I could hardly wedge our hips in to sit side by side. Clementine rode on my lap, in her carrier. Knox rode on Ben’s lap, and Zion sat more-or-less on top of Knox. Daniel rode behind the driver, on the motorcycle seat.
It was a noisy, dusty 20-minute drive, but the breeze felt good after a long day at the beach. Knox and Clementine fell asleep almost instantly–apparently the roaring motor of the tricycle was more conducive to napping than the gentle whispering breeze of the seashore.