Sunday, December 21, 2014

Trail Talks: A First Timer’s View of Bohol

[This has been brooding in my mind for a long time now and has finally decided to give it a shot. Since doing informal interviews was one of the activities that were often assigned to us during high schools days, I hope that this one would not be that different. And as with all novice activities, it seemed more appropriate to do it initially with someone I am more familiar and comfortable with.]

Sie has been my partner-in-literally-everything. From smooth travels to travels gone awry, from good food to bad coffee, this person proves to be a very resilient one. And so when this travel of hers finally pushed I knew it that she would cover too what could be historically and culturally important in this part of the Philippines. Then that devastating earthquake hit Bohol and nearby places in 2013. A few days later, I took the time to ask her recollections and thoughts about her travel to that province. What follows is my rough transcription of our q-and-a in Filipino: 

Back Trails (BT): Was it your first time in Visayas?
Sie (S): Yes.

BT: First time to travel by airplane too?
S: Yes. 

BT: How does it feel that those churches [in Bohol] that you’ve seen are already in the news and most of them are destroyed already?
S: Of course, it’s sad. 

 * Tagbilaran City: The City of Friendship

* Baclayon town hall

BT: What do you remember when you had the Loboc River Cruise? Was it a festive atmosphere?
S: Yes. Food was definitely delicious. Plenty and delicious. 
BT: Is it delicious when the food is free?
S: (laughs) Yes, especially when it’s free. It’s not free! We also paid part of it. 
(then question-and-answer about the food that was prepared for them)
S: One food that was different there was, what was it, algae?
BT: Seaweed salad?
S: Yes, seaweed salad.
BT: Where did you dip it? In vinegar?
S: I don’t know what it was. What else, there were people serenading. As the boat moves through the river, you’ll get to a portion where you find the musicians and they will serenade you.  Then you give them money.

 * Loboc River Cruise

* the famous Loboc church and the infamous Loboc bridge

* Museo de Loboc

* Bohol’s famous tarsier

* souvenir items up for sale

* Bohol = Chocolates Hills; Chocolate Hills = Bohol

BT: But what was the general atmosphere of Bohol? Was it rural or more like Cebu?
S: Yes, it is rural. I don’t know. Even though you are in the town proper already it still feels rural. When we went to a certain mall, what was that mall again? I forgot. There was a mall and the atmosphere was like in San Juan, Batangas. In Rosario [Batangas] town proper? It’s like that. But you’ll know that it is a tourist spot because there are many products that are being sold. Then the vehicles, it was the first time I saw some of them. 

BT: But given what happened in Bohol, would you still want to go back there?
S: Of course.

BT: I mean right after your trip, do you already want to go back there?
S: Of course. Remember it was a package tour. We went to a certain place but we just visited it briefly. Like in Baclayon church. It was already nightfall went we got there. We were in a rush. 

 * sea travel in Bohol

* Señor Santiago Apostol Chapel, Balicasag Island, Panglao, Bohol

* lighthouse, Balicasag Island, Panglao, Bohol

* Coast Guard Outpost, Balicasag Island, Panglao, Bohol

* Bohol sea treasures

BT: Did your visit to Bohol somehow spark your historical interest?
S: Oo naman. Like in Loboc, the bridge, you would ask why it was not finished. I was also looking at the houses, what they look, if they were able to maintain them, then the churches. I actually saw an old, beautiful house in Loboc.

BT: Most likely you’ll be returning as a tourist. What can you possibly give for the place’s progress except for your dollars? 
S: Dollars!?!?

   * Dumaluan Beach Resort

* Island City Mall, Tagbilaran City, Bohol

[The ‘Trail Talks’ portion engages people of different ages and background to talk about their travels and other related stuff. It aims to look into views of various people as it relates to travel, history, and culture.]

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