After leaving Pamilacan, we returned to Casa Filomena for the remainder of our stay on the island of Bohol. After settling in, we were once again picked up by our driver and taken on a sightseeing tour of this beautiful island. Our first stop was a statue of the Blood Treaty showing the signing of a treaty between the Filipino people and the Spanish. Datu Sikatuna, a native Boholano chieftain, forged a Blood Compact with Don Miguel Lopez de Legazpi,representing the King of Spain, for the purpose of fostering friendly relations between the two countries. The Blood Compact that took place on March 16, 1565 is considered as the first "Treaty of Friendship" between the brown and white races. The famous Baclayon church was next on the agenda. The Baclayon Church is the oldest Catholic stone church building in the Philippines. It was constructed during the Spanish occupation and the first Spanish missionaries settled in the area in the late 15th century.
Next was a floating restaurant with a buffet lunch as we were taken down the Loboc river with the bountiful shoreline overflowing with waterfalls, bamboo, rainforest and children swinging on ropes then splashing into the water....everyone enjoying the beautiful day. After lunch we visited a sanctuary where a species of monkey, indigenous to the area is found. The Tarsier measures 4 to 5 inches and is considered as the world's smallest primate. Its size is no longer than an adult man's hand and they weigh four to five ounces. They date as far back as 45 million years.
Mahogany is a popular wood used in the Philippines and one of the sites to see are the Man Made Woods of towering mahogany trees lining the winding roads on the way to the Chocolate Hills.
Located in the town of Carmen, 55 kilometers from Tagbilaran City, the Chocolate Hills are undoubtedly the most famous tourist attraction in Bohol. Among the 1,268 perfectly cone-shaped hills, which abound in Central Bohol, two have been developed into a resort. Last on the agenda was another popular tourist stop the Tigbao Hanging Bridge made entirely out of a bamboo flooring woven through cables suspending a cavernous drop to the Loboc River and the trees along the banks below.
On our return to Casa Filomena we enjoyed a drink and another swim in the pool followed by a leisurely Filipino dinner prepared by our private chef. The lemon chicken, pork ribs, veggie dish and onion rings, Chilean red were followed by what was becoming our favorite dessert 'Halo Halo', a local favorite loosely described as a conglomoration of fruit, ice cream and sauces smothering a bed of shaved ice....very refreshing. It was then off to the beach town of Aluna for some nightlife. We were collected by our private driver who would wait for us while we did some 'bar hopping' on the beachfront haunts in Aluna. The tiny town was a collection of boutique hotels primarily offering 'scuba diving adventures' and was a hub bub of activity. We spent several hours sampling some exotic drinks and munchies as well as dancing on the beach with our fellow revelers. We enjoyed ourselves and decided to return the next day and relax on the beach and do some final snorkeling on the massive reef located 100 meters offshore in a sanctuary. We could not resist a refreshing midnight dip in our private pool when we returned to Casa Filomena. A fitting end to an unbelievable day. Sleep came easily.
Our final day was another blistering sunny day, excellent for going to the beach. After yet another power breakfast on the Filomena deck we set out early for Aluna and found a quiet spot on the snow white sandy beach with nearby palm trees to afford us some shade. Another amazing snorkeling sojourn and some fantastic relaxing on the beach. We also took advantage of refreshing 1 hour massage being offered by one of the hotels for the ridiculous price of 250 pesos which worked out to just over $6.00 each. After our massages we dined at a beachfront bar and had our farewell drinks to this enchanted island. We were starting to feel sad about the impending end to our magical vacation. It was back to the airport for the the quick flight back to Manila for our final night.
Henson and Alex Tan picked us up at our hotel for a farewell dinner. We had a smorgasbord of culinary delights from the Chinese restaurant owned by Alex's dad. You can get no better service than dining at a family restaurant and we were not disappointed. We extended our time with them by returning to the Sanctuario Spa for one final pampering session. We bid our sad farewells to Alex as Henson was driving us to the airport in the morning.
Our final hugs with Henson the next morning were quite painful as the realization that the trip was over hit us. We regretted not planning to stay longer and continue our tropical island getaway.
Our trip to the Philippines was an exciting adventure not soon to be forgotten. We had the pleasure of judging at a well run show, were wined and dined and then sent on a fantasy vacation. We would like to thank the Beagle Fanciers All Breed Club, especially club President Jed Chua for inviting us. All of the Club members made us feel so welcomed. Thank you to Henson Tan and Alex Tan of Artemis Shih Tzu for also extending us some awesome hospitality. Last but nor least to Frank Lao for enabling us to catch a glimpse of the life of the 'rich and famous'. The adventure he sent us on was a once and a lifetime experience. THANK YOU............