Friday, April 9, 2010

Homestretch: (of) Our Unusual Bohol Day Tour

So there we were, roaming the surroundings of the Baclayon church. All 3 companions seemed to have enjoyed marveling at this olden church of stone. They circled the insides and external areas together with many other tourists. They also marveled at that part of the external wall chipping off to become sand. Ah yes, all too many of them were not there to witness how the material of this church is slowly succumbing to the elements or what might the future of this structure be. They were all there to exclaim their wide-eyed awe at the semblance to Mama Mary of what that eroding portion seem to be making out. No I don’t have any comments about that hehe. Then I told them they could go up and see the museum. They were unanimous in saying “pass”. So I silently wondered why these 3 blokes I was traveling with did not quite have a thing for museums hehe. They said the same when I suggested the Museo De Loboc, I recall. Anyway…

Moving onwards there were those sporadic drizzles again… and I couldn’t anymore count how many times during this trip have we been drenched by it then become dry again from the wind as our motorbikes zoomed through the highway. That made us omit the blood compact site, especially that the sun seemed to be in too much of a hurry to rest, with the clouds apparently in equally the same haste to blanket Bohol in darkness. Oh well.

Arriving at Tagbilaran, we all decided to turn left and go straight to Panglao Island. The place was rather dry as if saying come and enjoy the beaches hehe. We had to go slow crossing that causeway to the island, just to savor the wind with nothing but the sea on both sides of the road. Nice experience! In all my previous visits I have passed this area always in an air-conditioned vehicle. So I think that was a new thing for me!

Reaching Panglao, we veered right from the causeway following the highway that would lead us in the middle of the island all the way to Alona Beach area. But we were not even 200 meters off the Dauis Church when all of a sudden we heard some kind of a “plok, pffffft and swish-swish" sounds. Bad news, we all readily recognized that! The rear tire of my companion’s motorbike blew. And his driver looked worried. Of course there was no spare! Motorbikes on earth don’t go around a zooming with spare tires on the saddle, right?! We were just off that bridge along the highway and thankfully, my memory seemed to be working well this time. I broke the silence by telling the group that I remember there seemed to be a vulcanizing shop over near that main intersection (entrance to the island) we just came from. I said I remember its located somewhere to the left instead of veering right as we did. My driver in his bike went to scour the area for any such shop or even nearer and came back to confirm that indeed there it was. However, a kid walking by told us there was another such shop just a few meters onwards. So we went forth to it.

Decisions, decisions… If we waited for that flat tire to be patched and running, that would have meant we’d have waited for early evening to set in, and would have been useless roaming Panglao any further. We all remembered we were still very far from home – Tubigon and it was already something like just a few more minutes to 5PM. Ack! Good that my driver quickly thought and offered an option – both companion and I ride in his motorbike, we leave the other bike and driver at the vulcanizing shop, if done early he follows us, otherwise we come back for him on the way back to Tagbilaran and onwards home to Tubigon. I hesitated as our combined weight might mean another flat tire. He assured me, that would have been very unlikely as he said he has new set of tires.

So, in just one motorbike, we three forged onwards leaving the other driver and his bike at the repair shop. My bearings told me it was already impractical rounding Panglao Island literally. And hitting the town proper or Doljo would not have been a fair experience for my first-timer companion as we were already being chased by sunset. And how much more if from there we still circled towards Alona? Argh! So I declared that, and suggested we instead turn left after that high school and cross via the middle roads towards Dumaluan. Of course I did not reveal my biases hehe. That if I had to be in this island just very quickly, I would rather find myself in front of BBC. Yep, that’s the Bohol Beach Club. Besides, I thought the companion would have appreciated Panglao’s beaches more if he saw the strip of white sand in the said area than Alona. I was never wrong hehehe…

On arrival, I commandeered our driver to hit the parking area of Dumaluan and we quickly excitedly walked towards the beach. I might have bragged to say that I know this place like the back of my palm but I opted to stay silent about it. On reaching the beach driver and companion immediately walked to water’s edge where there were still a lot of people – it was still summer vacation, remember?! Ah, as for me, I walked to Dumaluan Resort’s beach-side bar. The crews recognizing me immediately opened a freezing bottle of SanMigLight (that’s ‘secretly’ reserved for special or favored guests like me by the way hahaha). I walked with the bottle to a square monobloc table outer in the sand area just by the fence separating Dumaluan from BBC. The two joined me in a while.

“Seeer, naa diay ka, wa jud ko kabantay”!!! So came an excited squeal from BBC’s guard stationed at this end of their property as he approached me! Hmm, that alarmed the companion and driver a bit hehe! Our driver recognized him though and immediately sprang to greet the guard. We said hi and hello, and what a small world! Guard is actually from Tubigon who incidentally is a “silingan” (neighbor) of our driver. So they had quite a banter as I and companion drank our beers. Driver declined beer and opted for water instead, explaining that Tubigon was still a long drive from where we were. Hmm, I admired that. Even the guard, who of course may not and cannot drink as he was on duty, joked that it was admirable for our driver to not touch even just one bottle of beer.

Companion was all praises of the beach, the sand, the structures, the far and stark difference with Mactan and the crowd of vacationers local and foreign! But it was now getting dark, and over my 2 bottles of beer (just 1 for the companion) we all planned and agreed it was already futile to pass by any other place anymore. So that, once we started moving onwards, it would have been zooming all the way through to Tubigon. Alright, beer bottles clean, we paid the bill and off in the darkness of the roads we went to fetch our other driver and motorbike.

We just zoomed though the city center of Tagbilaran and continued northwards. The cold winds meant it was again going to rain. Golly the skies! And true enough, as we approached the town of Cortes, there was quite a heavy downpour I had to hide the body bag tight between me and the driver, lest the camera and phone be soaked. Argh! But along the way, the skies played it wet and dry as we kept zooming through. Hah, a number of times, I had to remind driver to go slowly safe since we were already wet anyway. Amazingly, reaching Calape, everything was windy dry and we all arrived in Tubigon as if we all never got wet!

Reaching Tubigon town proper, both drivers revealed it was their most adventurous run ever yet and that they enjoyed it with us! As we wrangled our wallets to pay for the agreed P800 per bike/driver, the other driver was a bit sad telling us to just subtract the P100 I advanced over at the vulcanizing shop. That touched me a bit, but the companion was quicker this time and announced that we were instead paying P1,000 to each of them because we enjoyed the tour and we went way past beyond sundown. Hmm, that surprised me but I liked it since I thought so too! Honest!

We looked around the plaza where we might catch a morsel at 8:48PM. Both drivers whisked us instead to “Chicken Ati-atihan” before they said goodbye and quickly headed for home.

After dinner, without even talking much, we dipped and lazed at The Monina’s pool where the water was admirably still warm from the day’s sun. What a welcome-home treat!

That was some tour! And, Whew really!

If you want to read the chronology of all stories on this tour, click the following:
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34


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