Saturday, November 23, 2013

Winter Break Pt II

Christmas Eve was enjoyed by all where we had Turkey with all of the fixings with several QSI families in Shekou. Thank you to Grant and Paula for hosting! Good times were had by all.

Christmas Day arrived and we had to travel to Cebu in the Philippines. It was supposed to be a nice beach vacation on Bohol Island. Unfortunately, with Nicholas in a cast, we had to find other options.

We arrived late in Cebu on the 25th and spent one night at a hotel close to the airport. The next day we were to catch a ferry to Bohol. Well, Mother Nature had other plans. A typhoon kept all ferries from traveling and we were left stranded on the dock. We found a nice hotel close to the ferry terminal and we decided to hire a driver and toured Cebu for the day.

Fort San Pedro
(A lot of history since 1565. The Japanese occupied the fort during WW II)

Magellan's Cross
(This preserved cross is the original cross Magellan used to symbolize the colonization of Cebu.)

Bantayan Church (Cebu)
(construction started in 1591 and was completed in 1909)

Chief Lapu Lapu
(liberated Cebu from the Spaniards and is credited with killing Magellan)
We were able to take a ferry to Bohol and enjoyed several days touring the island. Our intention was to use the island of Bohol as a beach destination where we could enjoy the sun, the surf, and the sand. With Nicholas in a cast, we had to get creative. In reality, we ended up doing a lot of amazing tours on the island. We went on a river tour of the Loboc River. On the tour, we heard a choir of children singing to us from a local school. We realize that this was a tourist attraction, however, we were happy to help support the local economy.

We went to a tarsier monkey conservatory on the interior of the island. These are the smallest primates. They are nocturnal which explains their enormous eyes. We wonder if Steven Spielberg used these tiny creatures to inspire his movie "Gremlins."

We toured Hinagdanan Cave. The cave was accidentally discovered by the landowner after working the land. Bohol has around 1400 caves. It was pretty amazing with all of the stalactites and stalagmites and the lagoon in the interior.

The Chocolate Hills was a favorite by all. We enjoyed the views of the countryside from atop one of the hills.

We toured the Bohol Bee Farm. This is a favorite destination by many of the teachers in Shekou. The food is all natural and is grown exclusively on this working farm. We toured the site and enjoyed a nice meal and ate their homemade ice-cream.

We did manage to do a snorkeling trip despite Nicholas' broken arm. We did manage to see some amazing wildlife. Kristie did see a sea turtle as well. Mike's exploration was cut short. Nicholas was staying on the boat and he started to get a little upset being left with the Philippine tour guides. He started to cry and the men kept saying, "Don't cry, baby." Nicholas misinterpreted what they were saying and heard them calling him a cry-baby. This got him more upset and caused him to cry even harder. The guide told me that my baby was crying and I got back to the boat and calmed him down. The good news is all is forgiven and we all had a good laugh.

After Bohol, we went to a resort on Cebu. We were thankful that we were only there for a few days. The beach was washed out from a previous typhoon and there was not much to do on the resort other than swim at the pool. We made the best of it. The staff hosted a New Years Eve party and invited us to eat with them. The hospitality that was offered by the local Filipinos was very kind. A lot of local dishes were presented and was enjoyed by all.

Loboc River
Local children entertaining us on the Loboc River tour. 
Our Lady of Assumption in Bohol
One of the many fresco paintings on the inside of the cathedral. 

Suspension bridge in Bohol

Tarsier Monkey

Exploring the beach in Bohol

Inside a cave in Bohol 

Chocolate Hills

Nicholas and Mom enjoying the pool in Cebu

Sunset in Cebu

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