A day after the Sagada adventure, Dianne and I had a day's respite with our respective family and friends. It was an opportune time to sort out stuff and things needed for the next leg of the journey -- Bohol! From the mountains of Luzon, we headed down south to the seas of the Visayas. We reached Tagbilaran on Saturday morning, May 15, 2010. The sun was shinning, the sky so blue and the sea! It glimmers and glistens. In thirty minutes, we were at Alona Pyramid Resort. It was a striking contrast to our Sagada days yet, we were welcomed with the same friendly smiles and warm greetings from the locals. These islands are as diverse and varied as a jar of jelly bean candies but each is flavored with a delightful sweet taste.
We took it easy the first day and decided to go island hopping and sight seeing the next day. Dianne hired a bangka so we could see the dolphins and snorkel. At 7.30AM we were out in the open sea. Once in the middle of the sea, the dolphins made their appearance. They were so fast! You have to carefully watch for them for they disappear too soon. After a few rounds, we headed to the island of Balicasag for some snorkeling.
A starfish I found on the shore of Balicasag. I threw it back to the sea where it belongs.
My first snorkeling experience was a disaster. In Balicasag, we were blessed with a competent guide, Sinio, who taught me how to use the snorkeling gear first. On the small bangka, he gave me instructions on how to use it; made me breath using the tube before going down to the reefs. Dianne was a snorkeling pro. Growing up in Hawaii sure has great advantages.
With the help of my life vest and Sinio's assuring words, I was snorkeling in no time. He allowed me to hold his hand as he led me to the rope that marks the drop off - the end of the coral reef. It was awesome! The reef was teeming with marine life. There were parrot fishes, blue devil fishes, clown fishes (Nemo) butterfly fishes and small yellow fishes that come near snorkelers. I was up close and personal with nature once again. I thank God for giving me this life and this wonderful world!
Once the snorkeling was over, we headed to the island to rest before going to another. There at Balicasag, Dianne met some local islanders selling jewelry. It was the children who were more than endearing. For a few minutes, Dianne played with them and told them stories. Too bad, we had to leave for Putod island. At Putod, we met vacationers too - a Polish couple, Pinoy balikbayans and their friends from Siliman University. They were having a grand time as well.
By lunch time, we headed back to Panglao island. We set up our laptops at the resto to work. Yes, it's a working vacation. We have a book to plan, write and finish. The moment was perfect to note observations and list down insights. All these will fuel inspiration for Tales From the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories!