Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.

Part V - Bohol series (2.11)

Everything comes to an end. It seems like we've just arrived in Bohol a few days back but now we're hopping back on a plane back to the big city this afternoon. [Hope you don't get tired too soon back.] Just when I'm getting the hang of it and loving the place... Well, it's always like that. Sigh. But before goodbye, we gotta say hello first!

Hello Mag-aso falls!

Mag-aso Falls is found in Antequera, 19 to 20 kilometers or approximately a 30 minute ride from the city of Tagbilaran. We got into a tricycle that took us to the small terminal where the jeepneys are found. We waited for sometime once again for it to be filled up to the brim. Every inch of space occupied by a worn out duffel bag, a weary and still sleepy child, a huge basket of vegetables, etc. And not just inside the jeep, but also on top! After a much longer time, we finally got moving. But since we made a stop every once in a while to pick up and drop things and people off, we arrived a bit later than 30 minutes. 

It was a Sunday, so the market where the Antequera terminal was located  was all abuzz with activity. Antequera market, by the way, is famous for local handicrafts especially if you want to buy by bulk. We found a tryke and a kind driver who agreed to take us to the falls and back for just a 150 bucks. 

We were the only ones in the park. Maybe because it was still too early for people to start coming. We paid the entrance fee of 20 bucks each and was guided down the 197 slippery steps to the waterfall. It is so named because of the smoke or mist it produces especially during rainy or cold mornings. Aso in the local dialect translates to smoke. Hence the name Mag-aso.

We were heading home after this pit stop so we din't get to enjoy the water and frolic in the pool as I would have wanted. I'd definitely take a dip next time!


More SeaStars!

Part IX - Bohol series (2.11)

The dolphin thingie wasn't much of a success. So we broke off from the pack and went our way. Good thing there were two more stops to look forward to. So first one.

Balicasag island is a marine sanctuary known for snorkeling and diving activities. Manong A took us here and 'parked' the boat several meters away from the already-congested shore. Way before anchoring, Manong A already briefed us about what to expect upon arriving on the island. Guides in their much smaller bangkas will swarm all over us offering snorkel gear for rent and similar services. Snorkels, shoes, life vests usually costs around 50 bucks each/pair while guide services are around 150. He told us we have the option of taking a guide or we could just swim around our bangka. The two girls opted for the former. We would've opted for the latter but we sat this out since we'll be heading straight back to the city once we got off the boat. So we were left on the boat hurting our butts and baking in the sun while Manong A and Totoy had their lunch. We got so bored and the sun's rays were becoming scorching hot that we urged Manong A to take us ashore. And since the other girls were told that the bangka will be waiting for them at that exact location, we ended up being taken ashore by one of Manong A's guide pals. 

The island itself is more pebbly than sandy unlike Panglao. You've gotta wear some footwear or you're sure to hurt your feet. There are several fishing boats all around but most are busy ferrying tourists to and fro rather than really fishing.


Watchers to Hunters

Part VIII - Bohol series (2.11)

After a light and dreamless sleep, for me anyway, we woke up to a slightly less dark sky still dotted with a billion stars. Such a pretty picture and I couldn't capture it quite nicely with my camera. Kainis. Anyway, we hurriedly changed into our swimsuits, lathered some sunscreen, and dashed off to the meeting area where we're supposed to meet up with kuya Renz - the kind tryke driver yesterday who helped us find a cheaper boat to rent, and the Korean girls, of course. After loading our stuff and fitting ourselves, all four of us, into the three-wheeled taxi, we sped off along the deserted road to Alona beach where our bangka is waiting for us.

Alona beach is a small community with an abundance of inns, hostels, B&Bs to choose from depending on your preference and budget of course. We opted to stay at the Dumaluan resort since we wanted some peace and quiet and a cottage right by the beach. Anyway, the place is already swarming with people and the shore dotted with bangkas waiting to take tourists out to sea and to the smaller islands. We were introduced to our boat captain - I totally forgot his name, an old man of about 50 or 60. A fisherman, I'll just call him Manong A, he knows the sea and the area quite well. I settled the package price with him while the girls kept themselves busy with pictures. I didn't haggle much for I know we already got a good enough bargain at 1600 bucks for the boat. And I know for a fact that tourist season comes once a year and it'll be lean times for the rest of the months for them. So... we headed to our  tiny bangka and boarded it with the help of this lad of 14, who I'm gonna call Totoy (I forgot his name too..I'm bad at this..remembering names), Manong A's first mate. 

The water looks very shallow as the rocks and corals at the bottom can be clearly seen from the boat. We slowly navigated our way through the many scattered boats. I wanna help out and get things moving just so we can get ahead of everybody else..as if I knew how! I know nothing about sailing, boating, etc. But at least I know how to swim. Haha.. Finally we got away from all the congestion and the water was deep enough to start the motor. Off we went!

We've been riding over waves some small, some smaller, for some time already. The sun continued it's slow climb up illuminating the world. We were already partially wet from the spray. We on our side are enjoying the sun's rays and the warming weather. The sky is such a clear powder blue. And cloudless. I uttered a short prayer of thanks for the great weather. Yesterday was raining. The other girls on the other side however, have covered themselves more..with sarongs and towels and wide-brimmed hats in protection from the sun. I find this funny because here I am among three other girls who are all Korean by race. Two are Koreans by heart and the one beside me doesn't know a single Korean word! :D Anyway, we've been navigating the sea for over a period of  20 or so minutes and we haven't caught a single glimpse of what we came out early for. Not even a single sign of frolicking when they were said to love playing at dawn. Though we've been ahead of everyone else at the start of this sorta race, we're lagging behind the bigger boats with the more powerful engines. Boats were lured by other boats just as people are by huge crowds. So after much effort on Manong A's part, we finally caught a glimpse of the suddenly-illusive creatures. I bet they felt like Michael Jackson  hiding and shying away from the paparazzi. As it turned out, we went dolphin-hunting. Not dolphin-watching. But none of them were physically harmed by anyone. :)




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