Birthdays. More Fun in the Philippines.

30 Jan

Like my birthdays in the past, I made sure I was not in front of my work desk on my birthday this year. It’s sort of a personal tradition to not work (or go to school when I was still a student) on my birthday. No way I’m working like a horse on my day! I know others treat their birthday as normal day – they go to work or school, do the usual things they do everyday and maybe have dinner at night with some friends or family and that’s it. But not me. I want that day to be different from the 364 (365 this year because of leap year.) days I have. It is when I feel special, when friends and family are super nice to me (LOL), when I feel I deserve to be pampered and well-treated.

So I thought I’d go to some place I’ve never been to this time. So I filed for a 1-week leave from work and booked a flight for my four-day holiday in Bohol Island, Philippines with my family. 🙂

I have been to another country, but I haven’t been to a lot of beautiful places in the Philippines. I’m not proud of that. I know I shouldn’t be  a like “foreigner” in my own country that is why I promise to take a trip to some island or province in the Philippines  at least once per year. So my trip to Bohol was actually the first time I am going outside of Luzon (Philippines’ largest island, where Manila, the capital is located) and my first time in Visayas region.  So I was kind of excited. Though, initially I either want to go to Cebu or to the famous Boracay instead. Well, next time.

Sadly, my 2 sisters, my bro-in-law and my niece were not able to come with us due to school, work and other commitments, so my Bohol getaway was spent with only my parents and my auntie from the US.

Day 1 – January 9

Still in Manila, I spent the day preparing for my things for our trip the next day. Went out to a coffee shop in the afternoon, while I waited for my mother to finish work.

Day 2 – January 10 

Our flight is at 9.30 but I was up at 7am. 😀 Haven’t learned yet from my last flight experience? I have. Mom kept telling me ‘get up now, you don’t want to miss another flight!’ LOL. Even best friend Idy reminded me of the same. Hahaha.. Come on! I’ve learned. And the airport is just less than 30-minute drive from home. Well I was just hoping Mr. President won’t travel that day so roads won’t be congested again. 😀

So there, we left at about 10am (yeah delayed flight) boarding AirPhil Express and arrived at past 11am at Tagbilaran Airport. It was hot in Bohol’s capital. We were greeted by a family friend’s cousin who became our driver and tour guide in Bohol and his wife. My parents met them before when they visited the island back in 2008.

Don't know if this is Bohol island but I saw this when we were about to land in Tagbilaran.

They took us to a mall for lunch where there is a local restaurant called Payag that serves yummy but inexpensive meals. I swear their barbecue chicken is the best!

After that, they took us to our first destination where we will spend a night – Panglao Island. We checked-in at Dumaluan Beach Resort, where the pristine and lovely white-sand beach is definitely an attraction. Our room was beside the pool so I mostly stayed in the veranda writing, reading or just people watching. I also talked to best friend Idy and reminded him to prepare for his song. LOL. He even talked to my auntie and he was given a new nickname that I am not telling here. Hahaha.. (But I might. :D)

Late afternoon we decided to walk around the beach. It was lovely. The water is clear, the sand is white and fine and it wasn’t crowded.  I noticed there were lots of foreign tourists in the island. Some were there to just plain swim and enjoy the sun and others to scuba dive and see the other world under the sea.

Late afternoon at Panglao beach in Bohol

We went back to the resort just in time for dinner. Their restaurant is located just beside the beach so you can actually hear the waves while enjoying the local cuisine. And that’s not all. We were even serenaded with a beautiful and live acoustic music as we eat. It was a lovely night.

We returned to our room after some more music and then decided to swim for an hour or so. I also chatted to best friend F who forgot about my birthday. 😦 I still had to remind him of it. 😦

I went back to the restaurant for my late night brewed coffee. They were still playing lovely music. The singers are just awesome. I love them! There were only a few people in the restaurant and some of them were having beers and the like, while I sip coffee. LOL. But I didn’t mind. I felt safe. I knew they won’t do anything stupid. I was chatting to Idy and kept telling him how beautiful it is in that island and how nice was the music playing in the background. I even mentioned it in this post.

I wasn't able to take a picture of the singers and musician. But this was taken at night when they were playing beautiful music

After a while, I was joined by mom who needs to check some work online (Ma, you are on vacation!). And after she saw some people having drinks, she thought it wasn’t safe for me to stay there anymore. Oh come on! Mom, what am I? A 16-year old? Well yes, I just turned 16. Sweet 16 that is. 😛

Well the restaurant closes at 12 midnight so we went back to our room quarter to 12. I stayed in the veranda while mom already went to bed. I think I was the only one up that time because the villas near ours were already quiet and lights were off.

A lil after midnight, best friend Idy called.

Day 3 – January 11 (My Birthday)

It was around 4pm in his side of the world, so he asked for the time.

“Past 12”, I said.

“So it’s already your birthday.”

“Yeah, so you may sing now.” 😀

Days before my birthday, he told me he’ll be sick on the 11th day (LOL) or he’ll be unreachable and will be back on the 12th. Trying to hide from me!

He was trying to negotiate, giving some conditions, like he will sing but I shouldn’t mention it anywhere in the net, not even here in this blog or even in my journal. Oppps…I just did. LOL Oh well I didn’t agree to any of his condition anyway. 😛

After some more excuses and negotiation, my “good looking” (ehem 😛 ) best friend sang happy birthday to me. LOL. (Thank you Idy! Btw, I will be unreachable on May 23. LOL)

After that, I also talked to a few friends who greeted me too.

“Yay! So I’m a year older again.” I thought.

It was quite scary.

After documenting everything in my journal, I went to bed.

In the morning, I was greeted by my parents and auntie as soon as I opened my eyes. We went to the restaurant for our buffet breakfast, by the beach again. We wanted to swim in the beach but it was low tide, plus it was also time for us to leave by noon time and move to another hotel in Tagbilaran.

Good morning Panglao. Low Tide

Dumaluan Beach Resort

Pool side

Pool right outside our room

It was bright and sunny in Panglao Island in Bohol

Noon time while it's too sunny and bright, I went to the beach to film the scenic place. Taken on my birthday, January 11, 2011

January 11, 2012

Kuya Pete picked us up and took us back to TagB. We were greeted by the friendly staff of El Portal, left our luggage and off to Loboc River for our late lunch in their floating resto.

Lunch at the floating restaurant in Loboc River

Cruising the Loboc River

Other boats cruising the river.

It was an hour cruise in the river while we enjoy a buffet meal and the beauty of nature.  On board  was a singer to entertain us – he was good. We also made a stop at some platform (Balsa) near the riverbanks where we were greeted by the locals and performed their traditional song and dance.

The locals performing their folk songs and dances to entertain the tourist.

Loboc River

Our tour guide Kuya Pete took us to where the cable car and the zip line is. I said, I will give zip line a try. Since it’s my birthday, I thought it would be a great time to try something different, something adventurous and daring. But after I saw how high and long the zip line is, I backed out.  LOL I was scared. Hahaha… Maybe if I have someone to do it with, I would give it a try, but unfortunately the people I was with were too old for that kind of adventure. 🙂 So I just took some photos. LOL

The Zip Line that I wanted to try but I got scared. It's too long and high. LOL

No they're not supermen. LOL. They tried the Zip Line

Going back

Mom started to feel somewhat ill, probably because she had too much seafood for lunch, so we dropped by a hospital to get her blood pressure check. Well doctor just told her to get some rest and take some pain killer and she’ll be fine.

Then one more stop – Bohol Tropics Resort, took some more pictures and left for dinner. After that, we only stayed in the hotel watching TV, while I talk to a few more friends.

Bohol Tropics


The night was about to end and suddenly, I felt sad.

He hasn’t called yet.

I thought I already conditioned myself about it. Yet, deep down in my heart, I was expecting. Damn.

Idy said, “Look at it as a new chapter of your life…. Don’t look back at what went wrong.”

My day didn’t end well. 😦

Day 4- January 12

We had a long day. We went to a lot of tourist spots around Bohol like the historical site where a monument of Blood Compact was erected to commemorate what happened back in 1500s between Spain’s Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Bohol’s Datu Sikatuna. We also went to a mini zoo where you can take a picture with some huge pythons, touching or even hugging it.  Yay! And even though they told me they are harmless because they were already full eating two chickens that morning, I still didn’t dare touch them. It was just so scary! LOL.

Blood Compact (google images)

The mini zoo care taker, getting cozy with the huge python. Yay! I swear I was so scared. LOL

Wooden Tarsier

Next was the hanging bridge in Sevilla. Below the bridge is the famous Loboc River. We bought some souvenirs and had some fresh coconut juice.  There were quite a few tourist in the area. There was even this German woman, who I think is in her mid-twenties, traveling alone.  How brave!

Hanging Bridge in Sevilla

Then we went to see the endangered and famous tarsier in some conservation site. We also pass through the man-made forest.

Yoda. LOL. No that's a Tarsier, the world's smallest primate.

Man-made forest

After that was the famous Ship Haus that was once featured on national television for it’s unique design.


Then of course, what is a trip to Bohol if we won’t get to see the chocolate hills! It was a wonderful view. Why is it called Chocolate hills when it’s green? Well the locals said they are brown during summer that’s why.

To Chocolate Hills

Chocolate Hills

Tourist in Bohol

On one hill, which is located in another town, Sagbayan, the island of Cebu can be seen from a far.

Sagbayan Peak

Cebu City (the island from afar) as seen from Sagbayan Peak

We had a long day.  So after our dinner in Payag Restaurant back in Tagbilaran City , we called it a day.

Payag Restaurant

Day 5 – January 13.  

It was raining on our last day in Bohol. At least we’re done with our tour. We spent the day buying souvenirs for friends and family back home.

Our flight going back to Manila was delayed. An agent from Air Philippines called me the day before to inform about the changes in our flight schedule. It will be delayed for an hour. We didn’t mind at all. But what supposed to be an hour delay, took another hour or so.

At the airport, I heard my dad was talking to another waiting passenger probably to ease boredom. But I kind of got irritated by what the man said. He booked a Philippine Airlines flight while we had the AirPhil Express. After learning this, he said arrogantly, “I don’t trust AirPhil Express that’s why I chose PAL.”  I was a few seats away from them but I heard what he said. I wanted to butt in and tell him, “You arrogant fool! PAL owns AirPhil. They have the same owner and same employees! And don’t be too proud, both our flights are delayed.”  (*AirPhil is a low cost carrier owned by PAL (Philippine Airlines). But I kept my cool. I told dad what I wanted to say when the guy left. My dad laughed. He said, “I know. He was so arrogant.” He just paid a few thousands  for his PAL flight that’s why he probably thought he’s way above the AirPhil passengers. Some people really have misconception about low cost carriers.

When the PAL aircraft arrived, I laughed and thought about how ignorant the guy was. It was an Airbus 320, same type of aircraft that AirPhil uses. Like I said, same owner, same service, same aircraft and same delayed flight.

A few minutes later, AirPhil’s plane arrived.  We left at around 530pm even though it was raining cats and dogs in Tagbilaran Airport. After an hour, we were in Manila.

Our holiday was over. I had fun at Bohol. I was happy I chose the island to spend my birthday. Next year, I should celebrate it again in another place, either local or international. 🙂

Thank you Bohol. I had a nice week. See you again next time.

~ ~ ~


And since the successful launch of the recent tourism campaign in the country- “It’s more fun in the Philippines”, people have started to participate and showed their creativity and wit (sarcasm and negativity for some) with coming up with their own ways of using the tagline and promoting the culture and the country’s natural beauty , by associating almost everything to being “More Fun” when done or experienced in the Philippines. Everyone seems to be having a lot of fun using the slogan to everything they could think about, and yes even “Birthday!”

See what my co-workers gave me as a present when we had our “Birthday Month” last Friday, January 27:

"Birthdays. More Fun in the Philippines"

That’s where I got this post’s title. 🙂

And indeed, Birthdays are more fun in the Philippines! 🙂

6 Responses to “Birthdays. More Fun in the Philippines.”

  1. yannahthewanderer January 31, 2012 at 12:02 am #

    Wow! what a great birthday! My birthday is January 10, a day before your birthday 🙂 .. I envy you because you celebrated your birthday with a bang! While I celebrated mine in my room, quarantined because of chicken pox 😦
    Thanks for sharing by the way! I’m planning to go to Bohol this summer, so, I’m doing some research… your blog really helps! 🙂

    • Y January 31, 2012 at 12:50 am #

      You’re welcome Yannah! That’s okay, you can celebrate your birthday again even if it’s no longer January 10. 🙂 Hope you’ll have fun in Bohol. 🙂

  2. Malou February 2, 2012 at 5:46 am #

    Great post! You transported me back to the holiday we had in Bohol ages ago. Happy birthday, by the way. You started another year right with a wonderful holiday. 😉

    • Y February 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

      Thanks Malou! I hope to visit more places in the future like you did. 🙂

  3. kap10bob February 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    NIce blog! Made me convinced that I really need to see Bohol soon! Cheers Y 🙂

    • Y February 5, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

      Thank you very much Kap10Bob! Glad I was able to influence someone to visit the beautiful island of Bohol. Have fun! 🙂

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