M is for Mighty Cerulean Sea
October 2006, Panglao Island, Bohol, Central Visayas, The Philippines
Our vacation to Bohol is one experience that we will continue to cherish the most. It was our first holiday destination in the gorgeous Philippines, where we lived from 2006-2007. Bohol is an island province in the Central Visayas region, consisting of the island itself and 75 minor surrounding islands. We took a short flight to Tagbilaran, Bohol’s capital city, from Manila. The fresh balmy tropical breeze started seducing us or was it just me; the moment we landed. I love the tropics. I thrive in that weather just like the nature there does. My hair and skin feel healthier, and I’m far more energetic. The humidity doesn’t bother me as much. The option of jumping into the sea is the cherry on the cake.
We were staying at the Bohol Bee Farm, a completely organic, healthy getaway, snuggled on the rocky beaches of the Bohol sea. The view was beyond spectacular. We were served healthy organic food, grown in the farm. This also included multiple varieties of salads (salads are my favourite food) garnished with flowers, and yes we could eat those flowers!!
The 18-year-old was all of 8 then, but her appetite for adventure was as big as ours. On an early morning we took off on a boat to go Sperm whale watching. Sperm whale??!!! He no way looks like a sperm so why that name. Well, much of the bulk of a sperm whale’s enormous head is taken up by a barrel-shaped organ called the case. Inside the case is a clear, liquid oil that when cooled, hardens to resemble white paraffin. Because whalers thought this stuff looked like whale sperm, they called it spermaceti and named the animal as Sperm whale.
Yes, we got lucky!!! Though not the season for sightings, we saw one for just about a minute,. It was frightened away by a bunch of tourists on the other boat who started screeching at the very sight of it. That was a complete spoiler I tell you. The poor creäture who must have been at least 30 feet if not more, was driven away. Ironical right? Well, luckily we just caught a short glimpse of him spraying water above his head. It was a spectacular sigh to behold..
What followed next, was a snorkelling expedition. A first for us, and a fascinating experience, but of course. The diving experience happened later that year. (You can read it here: Died and Went to Heaven.) We were snorkelling close to a school of Dolphins. Though we weren’t lucky enough to see them, we could hear them nearby. Our girl’s life jacket was a size bigger so she had to go back to the shore, to exchange it. Our guide asked me if I would be fine alone in the middle of the sea. Without giving it a thought I agreed. I’m not much of a swimmer. Though I had the life jacket on, so I assumed all was fine. But as they left, I suddenly felt desolate, right in the middle of the mighty cerulean sea. A dreadful silence surrounded me. I could neither hear or see a soul. Not even the dolphins. The deafening silence for once was scary. The DH had taken off to another end, snorkelling and swimming on his own. What was I fearful of? Being eaten live by a whale, or some sea sharks. I have no idea if that was it. I think it was just that feeling of being all alone. Not a soul in sight.
In retrospect when I ruminate that we all come alone in this world and we have to go back alone. No one gives us company in those two major events of our life. It’s our courage, confidence, might and strength that will take us through, every challenge, and solitary moment. People can support us, but finally we have to do what needs to be done, all by ourselves. Our loved ones may leave us, but we will have no other choice but to continue to survive, till our journey lasts.
Well, the boat was back with my girl. We headed to where the DH was swimming. We were then ferried to a tiny island for some local, tribal lunch at a very hospitable fisherman’s home. Lunch was a lovely spread, Uni being one of them-the roe of sea urchins. This was to be eaten raw like any Japanese food straight out of the sea urchin shell. We were touched by their humbleness, warmth and love. We returned to the Bee Farm with a spring in our feet and gratitude in our hearts.
P.S: Pardon the tardy post dear readers. I’m currently on one of my travel trysts and in the process of spinning an adventure straight off the oven especially for you. The actual pictures for this post will follow in a day or two once I return, as they are back home in my album. Meanwhile, have a great weekend and a blessed Easter)