My Week With the Dolphins and the Durian

I am happily back in QC and have just spent an uncomfortable afternoon under the sweltering heat that no AC could conquer.  
I wrote about one aspect of this business trip in my other blog.  This one will be about the short R and R that we had during our 9-day, 6-destination trip.  I traveled from Manila to Mactan/Cebu, Tagbilaran, Panglao, Tagbilaran, Cebu, Davao, Tagum, and Davao.  I got sick for a couple of days and worked for the most part, but some aspects of the trip are worth mentioning here.
Last Thursday, I was able to indulge in one of my favorite fruits: the exotic durian.  I am a recent convert to the magic of durian, having only tasted the fresh fruit a couple of years ago, straight from a fruit stall along a dark Davao city street.  It was love at first bite for me, as I discovered the milky consistency that the durian meat actually had.  Since then, I had only tasted durian from a fruit vendor’s bench.
Until my new friend Anna introduced me to a restaurant that served the fruit for groups to enjoy.  I already had a filling dinner of oysters, tuna belly over rice, and mango shake, so I did not have much space for that most notorious of fruits.  I happily shared one durian with Anna over durian anecdotes.
Last weekend also, I was able to visit one of my favorite islands, Panglao.  I stayed at Alona Tropical Beach Resort for one night only.  My friend and I were able to walk the length of Alona Beach before sunset as it was not as long as Boracay, but it was enough to give us our summer fix.  Not too many people were lounging around the beach chairs and getting their coconut massage on the sand, and that was exactly how I wanted my vacation – away from the crowds.
I was so caught up with work the week before that I forgot many things as I was packing for our trip from Cebu to Bohol.  My digital camera was first on my list of regrets.  I had to make do with my cellphone’s tiny camera.
A boatman convinced us to go dolphin-watching on Sunday morning.  It turned out to be the highlight of our trip.  We woke up early to catch them swimming in the wild, in the middle of the sea.  We were rewarded after nearly two hours with the sight of a school of dolphins swimming in perfect harmony with the waves.  We let out squeals of delight.  Alas, the lovely creatures were camera-shy, and were also playing hide-and-seek with the motorboats that were chasing them, loaded with tourists like us who were disturbing their morning exercise. 
The above was my futile attempt at capturing the beautiful dolphins.  It was so hard to catch them as they had the same color and shape as the waves created by the movement of the boats on the water.  It was quite exciting, actually, as everything became silent, waiting for a glimpse of the shimmering fins, and then when there was a sighting from any boat, the motors of all the other boats roared to life and everyone started chasing after the dolphins.  I felt guilty for disturbing the peace of the sea creatures, so after about 30 minutes of dolphin-chasing, I asked the boatman to take us back to the shore.
And then, for the second time, and on my fourth trip to Bohol, I took the Countryside Tour and rode the Floating Restaurant along the famous Loboc River.  It was exactly as I remembered it – relaxing, calming, and inspiring.  The view of the river and the trees all around was breathtaking.  Music accompanied every floating restaurant, showcasing the Boholanos’ gift of music.  It was the local version of Venice, although there were about sixty people inside our Floating Restaurant, a number not exactly ideal for a romantic getaway.  
I am grateful for these little moments and memories that made my work life bearable the past couple of weeks.  God indeed knows the desires of my heart, and He allowed me to receive these blessings through the help of CD Asia, Lingkod sisters Leslie (of Bohol’s Travel Village) and Anna, and my wonderful travel partner, officemate and friend, Edith.
My next business trip will be in Bacolod by the end of this month.  It’s Lent, and I associate Bacolod with good food, so it’s going to be a challenge not to turn that into a Food Trip.  Stay tuned.


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