Behold Bohol: Of Villages and Life

By Elie - 2:04 PM

I usually don't quite like it when I am nearing the end of my holiday posts but what has to close just has to be, right? So let's get talking about my 3rd day in the Philippines. The itinerary seemed simple enough - we were just off to a river life tour before being guided to an island called La Manok only to end the day at the Anda White Beach. But let me tell you that it isn't all that simple!

The Life

There has always been a saying that when you know a place, that's when you fall in love with it and Abatan River in Cortes, Bohol isn't anywhere different from that. The Abatan River flows over 13.5km and the word "Abat" is taken over the context of "converge" where fresh water meets sea water at the Abatan River.

Heading for the cruise.

Open for boarding.

Shaky as the boat may look, it is in fact powered by motor and everyone on board are required to wear life vests for safety. That said, I am really intrigued by how much safety means to the people in the Philippines because they remind you each and every time we get off and board again to put on our life vests.

And they worry for you when you sit on the deck to take pictures.

Even when it's just like this. Meet Ashman from AirAsia.

Along the river cruise, you will stop by several villages and be greeted with numerous sights that you hardly ever see in town. In fact it actually looks as though the Abatan River is their only way of getting away from home, though I have no idea if that's true. Scroll through my pictures, it's the first time ever that I'm not leaving captions through them.

Pretty quaint, no? Truth be told, I was really sleepy when we first arrived the beginning of our tour but heading on to sights like these made me wake up to take it all in. To call it an eye-opener wouldn't just be a pun anymore.

The fallen bridge: A remnant of the earthquake.

I hope you see the boys above the temporary bridge throwing flowers down!

Watching as petals fall.

Literally watching.

 And admiring as it does.

Our first stop was a village called Maribojoc (Pronounced Ma-Ri-Bo-Hoc if I'm not mistaken) and we were greeted with so much enthusiasm and smiles, it was difficult not to smile right back through our sleepy faces.

Welcome to Maribojoc, they said.

Prior to arrival: The greet.

Being helped off the boat. I must say it's quite a feat with the rocky boat and unbalanced platform.

We were told then that the villagers would usually be told when people are visiting through the art of knocking, something we witnessed as our boat was blessed with flower petals by the boys of the Maribojoc village. What would truly happen is that they would have the boys knock as though it were their secret signal and the villagers would be at their best to welcome us, a true feeling of being VIPs.

They had prepared us a show. This boy was a crab and the happiest one I have ever seen.

Several other tricks and jumps.

 Having our shot taken with everyone from the village.

And watching as they make their roofs from what they call the "nipah" leaves.

Our tour set us off a little while after we watched as the villagers made their roofs from "nipah" leaves and were guided to a village called Antequera, a place so vastly wide in greens that it's impossible to NOT feel at peace when you're there.

With happy greets and cheery smiles.

 Watching the roofs of the Antequera village.

And me getting all...posey.

Did we nail the Bollywood thing right? 

But the greens weren't the only things at sight in Antequera because we got to see them do up on little things that were traditionally what they do all day, everyday while we were there with no special treatments. In fact I actually thought this was nicer as it felt more like having us watch what their everyday life could be rather than to work out something huge just for us.

Meeting an extremely shy little boy. 

Watching as a creation takes place. It took us forever to know what was coming up.

And then they showed us: It was a chair that you could put down and bring up for comforts.

Being in Antequera made me feel thankful over all that we had because the villagers didn't seem like they had a lot but their life looked happier than we could ever be. The fact that they didn't have air-conditioning or big computers with music blaring brought me back to be one with nature and just chill out like we all should.

Pounding grains of rice.

Results of the pounding.

Just as the chair was made, this lady sat by them lifting her pound and went ahead to stomp on the piece of what appeared to be a tough wood and I was at awe. "What could she possibly have been doing?" I asked. It turned out that this was how they got the rice inside of the shell: By pounding on them endlessly. The result is indeed grains of rice but in tinier pieces compared to what we usually have in Malaysia. Forgive the city girl, I have never quite seen the shelling of rice grains this way.

Ready, steady, jump!

The nicest thing about Antequera is the fact that their children have an ultimate loving to nature. As we were leaving the village, we watched as two boys swam in the river over to the slanting coconuts trees before climbing high enough for a cannonball jump into the water again. It was almost like this was their entire playground and nobody would say otherwise. Me? I can hardly climb the stairs without heaving in breaths now.

Fooling around with "nipah" leaves on our way back.

Our guide teaching us how to make the leaves into a ball; a staple entertainment for children in the villages all around.

Trying it out for myself.

For a great taste of local life, the Abatan River Cruise is something that I think you absolutely cannot miss. I had so much enjoyment over the 2 hour cruise that was complete with wonderfully cooling winds, I just wish we continued onto look at the other villages that were available. One thing for sure however, the villagers were all living together really harmoniously and were happy to do so.

For clothes, for bikes and for people: A place where water is free for all.

Disclaimer: This has been a trip graciously sponsored by AirAsia and the supporting parties on hotels, tour services and visitation fees in the Philippines. Much thanks shall be given to AirAsia MY and AirAsia PH as well as the F1 Hotel Manila, South Palms Resort Panglao, Angels' Wings Tours and Tourism Bohol for the gracious 4 days 3 night AirAsia Media Familiarization Trip. 

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