Jan 23 - Feb 16, 2018
24+ Days at Lyn's Backpackers Inn
Location: Lyn's Backpackers Inn, Loboc (municipality), Bohol (province), Philippines
Lyn's Backpackers Inn
After my 5 weeks at Fox and Firefly, I would have left Bohol altogether, but no place excited me. So I decided to use-up the remaining 24 days credit I had at the family-owned Lyn's Backpackers Inn where I first stayed 3 months ago. It also meant going back to the Huertes - a family that has already endeared itself to me.
Goodbye and Hello Again
After 24 days at Lyn's Backpackers Inn, I packed-up and said my goodbye to everyone. But later that night, I was back to extend my stay for another month! It's beginning to look like a comedy, but to begin with, I didn't really feel like traveling again, but I took it upon myself to stay true to my 30-day policy of not overstaying. I sent feelers and marketing pitches to resorts in Panglao, Camiguin, Apo Island, Dauin, etc. I spent the entire day in Dauis and pounded the pavement for possible room deals. I attempted to consult with Fr. Kiking, but he was not around. I even went as far as texting a hotel general manager who already went home that I wouldn't mind making my presentation in her house. Nothing came out of it and I returned to Loboc to extend until my March trip for Cebu City.
In a way, I feel better that my Loboc extension happened this way. Having done my due-diligence and not come up with anything, means my universe didn't really want me to leave Loboc. But had I stayed in Loboc without even trying if there is something out there for me, I wouldn't really know if I forfeited an opportunity because I chose to be complacent.
The peoplescape hasn't changed radically - just more layered dimensions to people I already know, plus a few surprising characters.
Winfried and Jesa
Straying into the new resort, Riverside Native House, I met the amicable owners Winfried and Jesa with whom I've had a budding friendship with. I was invited for Jesa's birthday bash and met their friends and guests. Sometimes, I'd hangout by their cottage stilted on the river and enjoy cold beer and leisurely talks until late at night. We talked about future and current projects for the resort. I wouldn't be surprised if we end up collaborating on something in the future. I feel good about it.
I wish I discovered Sapa Foods earlier. But I only visited the carinderia/mini-mart during this visit where I met the affable owner, Raymond. We started talking and found common interests. He invited me to his first ever drum-roasting of cacao seeds harvested in his 2-ha farm in Candasag where he grows 500 cacao trees. A few days later, he invited me again to the 240-ha family farm in Buenavista where he planted 50,000 cacao trees, all of them fruit-bearing now. I would occasionally stop by in the morning for my sikwate indulgence and trade a few stories with him before going on with the day.
Mr. Raymond is a renaissance man with innovative and clever ideas. I would feed into it and together, we hatch creative ideas on what can be done in the coming months/years. Again, I feel good about this collaboration and remain optimistic.
Surprisingly, I was invited by Mr. Raymond to his mother's 88th birthday party. It was a major event with all the bells and whistles - live band, lechon and enough food to feed a barangay. Family flew-in from as far away as Tampa, Florida. Lea, daughter of Mr. Raymond and Loboc choir teacher, together with siblings and nieces, gave an angelic rendition that validated once again why the Loboc choir is world-famous. The older siblings who are now stalwarts of Loboc's community, went on stage as well and belted-out a few tunes. It was an evening of good fun, great food and awesome company. I was the only outsider, so it was a privilege to be invited to this intimate family gathering. Thank you Mr. Raymond!
Jeffrey would be my workout buddy whose friendship I enjoyed specially during my last few remaining days. Before, we would just hammer on our bikes. Now, we ventured into other forms of video fitness programs - high intensity interval cardio, abs workout and calisthenics, all of them with the added elements of pranayama and meditation. For local knowledge and know-how, I would defer to him. With his blueprinted career in front of him, I see him as a future mover and shaper of Loboc. We've talked about creative innovations for Loboc (outdoor fitness facility, ambitious mountain bike resort, neighborhood cafe, etc.), which I hope will someday find fruition.
Juan (Jeffrey's dad), or as I would refer to him as 'sir' is always the pleasant guy around who keeps himself busy with things that excite him - kinda like me! He refurbished an outdated furniture into bamboo chairs, embarked on a hydroponics project, etc. He's too busy this time around so we didn't spend the usual time biking to Sikatuna. When he comes up with quality fruits or make tableya or cooks something special, he makes sure I get some. I somehow feel treated like an extra member of the family, even though I'm technically just a passing transient. I will miss his reassuring and pleasant demeanor.
I met Leonid through Jeffrey when we went freediving in Molave the first time. We met again at Fox and Firefly when him and the rest of the Loboc Crew paid me a visit (with 5 bottles of red wine and a ton of food), again at Lyn's Backpackers Inn and an all day fun gathering that ended up in a karaoke bar.
Jolly, street-smart and generous, with a thirst for more than a few drops of spirits, he exemplifies the adage, "everybody happy". I feel a kinship to him and I would reiterate my open invite for him to join me and Jeffrey in our fitness program. The thought of the 3 of us bombing-down technical single-tracks on our mountain bikes....is simply priceless!
Bossing, as everyone fondly refers to him, is the trusted hand at Lyn's Backpackers Inn. He makes sure operations in the small farm are running smoothly from feeding the fighting cocks and dogs, planting seedlings, maintaining the structures and ensuring the place is clean. He works hard without being told and keeps a muted contentment. Oftentimes, he would bring me fresh-cooked garden soup or heat-up water for my sikwate - which I greatly appreciate. He would always talk to me in Bisaya (local dialect) and I nod and smile even though I understood nothing. He was always the reliable presence in the farm I have come to admire.
Even though I was already out of Fox and Firefly, I continued to conduct yoga classes there when there was a guest booking. Time was moved to 3pm-4pm daily as the owner/couple couldn't sleep with my 6am class. I've met wonderful people on the mat after conducting a class. Some, we've exchanged contact info for a possible yoga encounter again should our paths cross. I've developed a deeper sense of ownership to my class while doing this. This is perhaps the legacy of Ubud for me. I've had classes from many good teachers there and the ones who impressed me the most were the ones to took ownership of their class, as if to say, "you all came here for yoga...I'm gonna work my ass off to share you MY yoga". Yes, it's not somebody else's yoga, but THEIR yoga. They go the whole 9 yards for a class. It doesn't matter if it's one person or a full house. I've come to emulate that.
To this date, I still don't know the full extent of my injury from this face-plant dive. I may have recovered quickly, but I'm far from 100%. I know I've sustained internal damage and I continue to heal myself through intention, meditation, breathing, etc. But until I get a better sense of my health, yoga at Fox and the morning workouts with Jeffrey will have to wait.
As a creature of habit with pressing online imperatives, I would default to my morning sikwate, carinderia food, Villagio Pizza + beer dinner and my workouts before my laptop sucks me in like a black hole. It's not all work on my laptop. It's where I attend to my research on anything I'm curious about, upgrade whatever skill set I have, online documentary indulgence and keeping tabs with my online friends (mostly travelers I've met).
With encouragement from Jeffrey, I began to venture more into workout videos instead of static images with lots of text description. Admittedly, video is more fun and more engaging, although it takes longer to upload to Youtube. This is perhaps a turning point for me - more videos if movement is warranted. Video also allows my readers to get to know me a little better. They would hear me talk (instead of reading text), see my facial gestures when I speak, body language, etc. I'm no longer a 2-dimensional static character but a moving, breathing, talking online presence!
Even though my Loboc stay has been a continuity, I somehow feel that my extension heralds a new chapter. There must be some unfinished business for me here - otherwise my benevolent universe would have lined-up something else for me. I love being in Loboc and I don't have the feel for continuous travel anymore. At least for the next 3 weeks, I can still call Loboc my home.
Next stop: The Silent Killer has Arrived
Loboc, Bohol, Philippines
Bohol FYI / Tips
- the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is located within the Alona Beach area
- the tourist attractions in Bohol are far apart and spread-out. It would be difficult to visit them all using public mass transit. Better hire a van (P3500/day) if in a big group, or rent a motorcycle (P400/day + gas)
- Bohol relies on its tourism for revenue. As expected, everything they can capitalize on from tourism is extensively used and developed
Tagbilaran Port to PanglaoYou can charter any tricycle from the port all the way to Panglao (~P300), but if you want to do it on the cheap,
- don't take the tricycles lined-up inside the port. Walk past the port gate and immediately outside, you'll see many tricycles. Take one to the bus terminal in Dao (~P15)
- in Dao, take the jeep that plies the Panglao route (~P20)
Tagbilaran (Bohol) to Cebu City by boat** schedules and rates keep changing, call for latest schedule
- Weesam Express - departs 6:15 AM, 11:30 AM, 4:00 PM
one way: Economy (aircon) P500.00, Economy (non-aircon) P400.00, First Class P600.00
round trip promo (at least 2 days advance booking): Economy (aircon) P600, Economy(non-aircon) P500, First Class P1200
round trip promo (1 day or on the day booking): Economy (aircon) P800, Economy (non-aircon) P700, First Class P1200
- Ocean Jet - departs 6-7:05-8:20-9:20-11:40AM, 1-2-3:30-4:20-5:30-6:30PM, 2 hours, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
Open Air / Tourist Class P800, Business Class P1000
+63(32)255 7560 / +63 (32) 255 0115 / 0917 638 0000
- SuperCat (2GO) - departs 5:50-11AM, 3:45-5:25-8:15PM, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
+63 32 233 7000
Things to do, Places to go in Bohol
- Chocolate Hills - this is a clustering of more than 1200 hills within a 50km2 area. They range in height from 30-50 meters. What's unusual is their near-perfect conical shape resembling an individual chocolate chip. No one knows how they were formed. Entrance is P50/pax.
- Tarsier Conservation Area - located Upper Bonbon, Loboc. The tarsiers are no longer being played at by tourists as circus props, but instead, visitors now view them in cordoned-off areas in their natural 6ha habitat. As they are territorial and nocturnal, they are predictable on where they can be viewed. P50/pax.
- Alona Beach (Panglao) - Alona Beach is the tourist hub of Bohol. It has 1.5 kms of white sand beach lined-up by bars, hotels and restos. Alona is also the jump-off point for Balicasag Island, a world class dive destination.
- Danao Adventure Park - located in Barangay Magtangtang, 72 kms (2 hours ride) from Tagbilaran. Adventure activities include river trekking, tyrolean traverse, rappelling, bouldering, rock climbing and ziplining.
Carlos P. Garcia Island
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