I recall recently talking with a friend about sunscreen and tanning and how I’m not super into sunscreen for a variety of reasons having to do with chemicals and the real need for vitamin D. We use the all natural zinc oxide when necessary. I stand by my opinion that its often overdone, but here I am in the Philippines nursing my red shoulders and really eating my words. And here’s the clincher, we used sunscreen! The sun here is intense and pure and direct, and we were not out in it directly for nearly as long as I would suspect for a burn.
So, we ended up nursing with local made honey balm from the Bohol Bee Farm where we are staying. We swam in the pool as it is quite cool and shaded, we walked along the cliff coast after the sun moved, and listened to the amazing piano player in the little cafe.
On the way to Panglao the other day we took a late night flight from Seoul into Cebu, and stayed the rest of the night near the ferry dock. In the morning we visited Magellan’s cross – it supposedly encloses the actual wooden cross he erected. we also happened to be there on Sunday and watched part of a mass in the adjacent cathedral; it a massive outdoor affair. The cheap ferry ride across to Panglao was uneventful, but hot and crowded. Our little tuk tuk ride to the Bee Farm cooled us off, and got the kids excited again about southeast Asia. They feel like they are missing out on ‘real life’ – tuk tuks and wild chickens and all manner of “un”safety when they stay away too long.
The rest of that evening found us exploring the rocky coast along the hotel with its incredible sea stars.
The plan for our first full day was to walk along the base of the rocky cliff until we reached the neighboring beach. This took a couple hours, somehow, with all the interesting things to see and sharp rocks to avoid. Once we got there, I claimed some sand the in the SHADE and was immediately enjoined to the local employees on their day off. They offered us some of the fish they were grilling, and continued their days’ revelry. Eventually, I got names: Win (Darwin), Kot, Jonco, and Jonca, plus the old guy guitar singer who sang love songs to me. He loved Air Supply, and did play Knockin on Heavens Door when Avi requested a BMX song. These guys were a hoot!
Zoe plopped herself in the sand and created; this is her forte! Avi swam and played with Win in the water. Soon they were tying up a rope swing and flinging themselves into the surf. I mostly played with the nasty, but super sweet, mangy beach dog. It was a great day! But, now we are burnt.
With shoulders fully covered, we spent the most of the next day in a ro-tuck visiting the biggest sites on Panglao. It started at the Tarsier Sanctuary to see those tiny little primates, and then we drove on and on to the Chocolate Hills. This was a hot location, but super neat to see the conical hills across the landscape. Finally, we drove down to the Hinagdanan Cave to swim in the cold water free from sunburn potential. In the evening, we walked out the road to an Italian restaurant along the main road, and loved on their fleabag puppy and mangy thin cat.
On our final day, we braved the beach again. I rented a scooter and we pig piled on to drive down to the tourist town along Alona beach. In the end, I found a small, let crowded, strip of sand at the end of Alona. This was a great spot, just past Kalipayan beach resort, where I could park the scooter for free and not need to be fussed by so many touts and drunk folks from the Alona bars. We had a blast snorkeling. Zoe and I were surprised by spotting an octopus!!
Then, it rained, so we huddled under the cliff cave to wait it out, and we swam again. Then, it torrented, so we huddled under a little hut roof atop the cliff to wait it out. When the water was finally a simple drizzled, the kids and I bolted for the scooter and safely drove back the the Bee Farm. The rest of the afternoon was a total washout, but we still had an enjoyable dinner. The food at the Bee Farm is really good, creatively made, and local. Its a bit pricey, but the breakfast is the best deal in town so it all works out. We spent another pleasant evening searching the coast for creatures and swimming in the hotel pool.
On our final morning we enjoyed the actual tour of the Bohol Bee Farm, and had a final taste of their delicious non-dairy ice cream. With fond memories to take, and a burn lesson, we packed out and had a crazed hour of panic as I couldn’t find our passports. We tore apart the room, unpacked everything, and asked at the front desk. I was attempting to find our rotuk driver, and considering renting a scooter to search the beach. I was truly panicking and looking up the US Embassy, when we did a final super search of the room, turning over mattresses, looking behind the toilet and in the frig, then dumping the trash and there they were!! They must’ve slid off the stand at some point.
We all cried.
And then we left. On a ro-tuck, on a ferry, in a taxi, on a plane, then another plane, then a train all the way home.