Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Whole Lotta Love for Bohol: My Life-Changing Travel Story

I am still basking in the overwhelming feeling of bliss after one of my dreams came true just last week. Our vacation to Bohol was planned long before it was hit by an intensity 7 earthquake. Despite the images we saw from the news about the devastation, we were still determined to visit Bohol.

This would be our first time to travel to Bohol. Days before our take-off, I was done with our itinerary. Detailed as it may seem, I did not want to stress over it. The schedules were flexible because more than anything, what I wanted was to relax during our travel. Taking vacations are supposed to relax your mind, body and spirit and not to tire you even more. It’s like taking a medicine when you’re sick. It should make you feel better not worse. So, the day before our trip, I went on a coffee date with my Date and committed our travel plans to Him who can make us that perfect itinerary and knowing fully well that with His blessings, guidance and presence, nothing could go wrong.  How I wanted to experience and longed to commune with nature.  

The day of our arrival in Bohol came. The 30 minute drive to Doljo, Panglao was smooth yet uneventful.  We passed by a lot of damaged church buildings on our way to our resort. Bohol is a quiet place, we thought.

As I stepped out of the van that took us to our hotel, I gazed at the lobby and at the far end across, something captivated me - the smell, sight and sound of a beautiful ocean. WOW!! Complementing the clear blue sky was the calm sea in all its turquoise glory. It was spectacular! I immediately felt refreshed just by staring at the beauty in front of me. 

Just a good two-minute walk from where we were staying was this quaint resort and restaurant where we had what we wanted to have for our meals – all kinds of seafoods at very reasonable cost. Walking along that short stretch was therapeutic. It was like having our own island. Neither was there any sign of “busyness” nor loud crowd.  Everything was serene and I liked it that way. 

For the adventure part of our vacation, we went on a city tour. I was excited and eager to finally see the pictures I would just usually read from my children’s Araling Panlipunan textbooks come alive. 

The tarsiers are Bohol’s living treasure. Yes, they are the stars of the show, so to speak.  I never knew they were that small and fragile until I was face-to-face with them. They are a perfect symbol for Bohol --  a picture of gentleness and quietness.  

Reaching the viewing deck at Chocolate Hills Adventure Park required us to embark on another journey-- that of climbing approximately 250 stone steps. Initially, I thought we signed up for the “Biggest Loser”, but, I took it as a challenge. Anyway, I haven’t been exercising for the longest time so I thought, taking those steps would pretty much count as my work-out days for the whole year. I was too exhausted to admire the view when I reached the top but just like eating real chocolates, the moment I saw the hills which, by the way, are made of limestones, I felt re-energized. And then, it was time to take those stone steps once again, this time going down.
Passing by the Man-made Forest was like being transported to another country. I was thinking what if zombies appear while we were having our pictures taken in the middle of the road surrounded by those gigantic trees.  But no, there weren't any zombie, only fast cars that made our photoshoot even more exciting.  

The River Cruise was another lovely experience. The live band and singing all the more made the experience one-of-a-kind. I couldn’t help but admire the picturesque sight of everything green in all shapes, shades and sizes while our big boat raft traversed through the wide and serene Loboc river.     

What I loved most about our tour to Bohol’s different tourist destinations was that each spot showcased Bohol’s natural beauty. There’s something here for everybody. Whether you are young or old, you will surely have an experience in Bohol that you will want to come back for.  Bohol is a big showcase of nature at its best.     

There were many moments during our vacation that I felt God’s love and hand upon us. I felt that this vacation was really meant for us.


It was such a joy to see our kids and hear their laughter while playing in and just relishing the pool overlooking the beach.

I had fun watching them fill their beach pails with starfish. But the following day, it was a touching scene when they bid their catch goodbye while releasing them back to the ocean.

I was thrilled to see my husband having a time of his life taking pictures left and right. Panglao is a slice of paradise and it is a photographer’s haven.    

Everything was wonderful, but what was life-changing to me about this travel was that I got my wish – to feel His gift of life through His works of art. As I stared at the vastness of the ocean in front of me, I couldn’t help but say, “Thank You, God, for this wonderful vacation.” My soul was refreshed and rejuvenated.
Then and there, I experienced the joy and peace of living in the present moment  and savoring it.  I realized that "everything has God's fingerprint on it," which makes every moment spent with those I value the most in my life so special.

I believe I found the secret to having an amazing & life-changing travel story to tell– it is simply having that “let-nature-take-its-course” attitude or better yet, it’s letting the One who commands nature to take over… Just as it should be in our lives. And yes, I wouldn’t want it any other way.   


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