The ferry to Bohol was about a 2 hour journey, and really smooth.  Nice goodies to be had on board.  Tagbilaran City was the destination and it was similar to some of the smaller ports around New Zealand / Aotearoa.

The first order of business was to find the tour guide, the tour minibus/van and the tour party. It was amazing (I thought anyway) how relaxed I was about finding all those things.  It wasn’t so long ago I would have been full of anxiety about locating everything.  Maybe as one gets older there is less concern about things that don’t really matter too much – maybe life experiences since 1999 have shaped my way of thinking.  Anyway, Pedro was located as was the van and the tour party. Bohol  (20 of 1) Bohol  (60 of 3)

And so began an amazing day involving lots of countryside, village life observed as the van passed through,  the tarsier, the tarsier man, Loboc river and a leisurely cruise and sumptuous lunch,  chocolate (well starting to become chocolate) hills, butterflies and moths,  rice fields, workers in rice fields, rice drying,  mahogany forests (quickly passed through), Bacloyan church, the blood compact memorial, and then back to the Super Cat ferry for a trip back to Cebu City.  A most enjoyable and most interesting and quite tiring outing.  Bohol  (15 of 1)Bohol  (25 of 32)
Bohol  (26 of 32)
Bohol  (33 of 32)
Bohol  (22 of 32)

Bohol  (31 of 32)

Bohol  (30 of 32)
Bohol  (29 of 32)
Bohol  (27 of 32) Bohol  (26 of 32) Bohol  (34 of 32)

One of the things that stuck in my mind was I was introduced to vanity at its extreme.  One of the tour party wanted everybody else to take pictures of her at every location as well as passing her camera over to have a minimum  of 50 (maybe 10) photos on everyone’s camera.  And poor Pedro was becoming anxious about making  the ferry – but did it worry Ms Vanity – not a bit she just kept holding up the van until she was ready.  Wow – thankfully she got out in Tagbilaran City itself, and then a fast trip to the wharf, out of the van, onto the ferry and 1 minute later the ferry had cast off.

Bohol  (40 of 32) Bohol  (39 of 32) Bohol  (37 of 32)

Bohol  (60 of 1)-3 Bohol  (52 of 32) Bohol  (51 of 32) Bohol  (50 of 32) Bohol  (49 of 32) Bohol  (48 of 32) Bohol  (47 of 32) Bohol  (35 of 32)

But what a sunset to behold on the way back.  Most spectacular.  Phew!!!  Moral of the story? none really as your tour party members are outside your control.  Maybe take time yourself to explore  all these things in a more leisurely fashion.  In reading up on Bohol on Triposo, it was clear that we had hardly seen anything of the island or its people. It is a beautiful island, smallish population but very very go-ahead – so much construction was occurring, some towns expanding, mostly fuelled by Tourism.  However, a more challenging side of Bohol (from an outsider’s point of view) was that Bohol until recently had little in the way of employment, and so many families were forced to have mum or dad travel to Cebu/Mactan to work to finance day to day living at home in Bohol.  Maybe travel home to see family every 2-3 weeks.


Having settled in to the lovely accommodation in a private home, it was time to meet a new friend on Mactan Island and then explore … the shops.  I had heard so much about the magnificent malls all over the Philippines, and it was luck time – a relatively new mall, the Ayala Mall in Cebu City was still being tenanted in its upper floors, but it was a real hive of activity and what a lovely setting.

Ayala Mall (5 of 1)        Ayala Mall 2 (5 of 1)

And then a lunch in one of the many many restaurants on the balconies showing in the image to the right.

Ayala Mall (3 of 1)             Ayala Mall (4 of 1)

Ayala Mall (4 of 2)

And then, to top it off a jeepney adventure and return to the in-home accommodation, knowing that the next day was going to be busy catching up with a long-time friend who is the hospitality manager at Marco Polo Hotel in Cebu City.

Ayala Mall (4 of 1)-2                 Ayala Mall (5 of 2)

Ayala Mall (4 of 1)-3

And yes young
people the world over have that device in their hands.

More to follow

Passing through Bangkok

On our trip to Eire in December 2014, we stopped over in Bangkok for a couple of nights.  This gave us one full day in Bangkok, and there is so much to see and to do.  Our hotel was very nice, old traditional “Shanhai Maison” in Chinatown – very central and close to everything we wanted to visit.  The atmosphere in the hallways was quite lovely, not to mention the salubrious 4 poster bed


We chose to explore the Royal Palace and associated temple.  To get there we used the river ferries – better than taxis and super fast.  If we had more time we would have hired one of the little personal boats to explore the canals in the old part of Bangkok.


At the grand palace, a retired school teacher offered a guiding service and we were glad of his running commentary on the walk through – so many stories – the one that sticks the most is that Siam changed its name to Thailand because Thailand means FreeLand – never been subject to foreign rule.  Amazing.






Then we explored the temple of the reclining Bhudda and around the temple grounds.



We followed that up with a walk along the banks of the rivers and there was one of the little barges we could hire.  We then walked through the streets and into Chinatown market – wall to wall people.






And we finished our day off with a meal at the Baiyoke Sky Tower Restaurant 82 stories above ground level – after going to the 84th level to experience the outside view.


Galway Ireland – Day 1

We drove across Eire in about 2.5 hours in drizzly weather.  It continued as we arrived in Galway but we wanted to get out and walk around the city before we found our cottage out near Oughterard.  We had lunch in a the middle of the city, then ambled out to the cottage, disembowled the car of its luggage and then went back to Galway City to have a bit of a tourist look.

We walked around the harbour a little, across the river, around Nuns Island and back to the city.

Galway-001 20141216-Eire_042

Looking from the bridge over the river along the lock towards the  river mouth.  Quite stunning even though it was overcast and damp and so grey.

Next we stopped for a cup of tea at CupnTae.  What an experience. We had heard the Irish loved their tea – this left in the dust anything we knew about tea drinkgin from our home country.  It’s almost worth returning just for the tea experience alone.


The next thing we discovered was the excavation of the Hall of the Red Earl.  This Hall dates from Norman times, and was visible on a map produced in the time of Cromwell (a reproduction of that map was hanging on the wall)

Galway-003                                  Galway-004

Wandering through the town centre of Galway was interesting with many brightly coloured buildings which truly contrasted with the grey day.  Apparently there are four seasons in Ireland, and each one features an umbrella and a heavy raincoat and gumboots.  We also stumbled on the Claddagh ring museum.  Quite fitting seeing how there was a lovely claddagh ring waiting in Wellington for the 40th wedding anniversary.

Galway-005                                  Galway-006

It started getting dark around 3:30 and by 4pm it was dark enough to see brightly lit xmas lights on the trees in the town square.  So we wandered off  to Oughterard to shop at the supermarket, and organise dinner and breakfast. So that brought day 1 to an end.