Even Paradise Requires Flexibility – Bohol Bound, Part 1

Bohol BeachTime has been flying!  It’s been about two weeks since I’ve had either the time or energy to even update the site other than some new photos in Bohol last weekend.  A few of you were kinda worried maybe something had happened to me.  I suppose if a few weeks had gone by it would mean I was in one of the usual places.. hospital, jail or morgue.. so check those if I go MIA for more than a month.  For now I’ve been here on Mactan, finishing up my last week before making the move to Bohol.

 

But no, this time what’s been keeping me busy has been a mixture of moving stuff to Bohol a little at a time, a bit of drama and a general melancholy as I’ve been deeply pondering what mindset to have regarding this move.  Now, I know what you’re thinking.. “it’s just a move to a new location, what’s the big deal?“, right?  Well, for one thing.. I analyze everything to death and then I just leap into it.  But in this case, making a move to another island will mean some definite changes apart from where I lay my head late at night.

For one thing, there’s Delia.  I won’t go into details, that’s our own private thing.. but what I can say is that the circumstances have been rough for the two of us.  It’s hard enough doing a long-distance relationship, even harder when you can’t legally be together in the first place.   Good thing is that after much conversation we came to the same conclusion we did back in October last year that it’s just best we each live independent lives and see how things pan out in the future.  I might meet someone new in Bohol.  She might not love me anymore in a few years.  Who knows?.. kinda hard to plan too far ahead when certain things are outta your control.

The second thing to consider is the change in lifestyle.  If there is one word that sums up the Philippines for me it is; “Contrast”.  Much of life here is extreme.  Ever since I got here in July I’ve been just loving it here on Mactan.  It’s got some fun places to hang out, not too many beaches and no movie theater . but Cebu is just 20 minutes away.  I can walk out my door and I’m right in town, just three blocks from the local mall.  Everything I need is convenient and I can get street food as late as one in the morning, some places 24/7.  Lots of pretty girls everywhere I go.  My buddy, Kristine, is just down the street.. all in all I’ve liked it here.  It’s a busy place, but not TOO busy like downtown Cebu or Manila.  It’s kinda like a  combination of Mayberry meets Cebu with it’s small-time charm and modern franchises all within reach.  A bit gritty, but I like it like that.

But Bohol.. now, that’s a whole other mango.  With its pros and cons, naturally.  Loboc-River-BoholGeographically, it’s an amazing paradise of natural beauty.  It’s what you think of when you think of hiding away to a tropical island.  No industrialization.  No big cities.  One big mall.  Pristine beaches.. coconut trees swaying in the breeze, tropical weather and hundreds of miles of jungle around you.  It’s a beautiful island where people go for vacation.. and I get to actually live there.  I am one lucky guy.  Yes, there are many islands here which also have the same natural beauty.  Some are kinda expensive (Nido, Boracay) and others are paradise but with little city to speak of for convenience (Gamaras).   Bohol is in a niche of it’s own, in my opinion.  But.. socially, due to the fact that I’ll be moving to the province instead of the actual town of Tagbilaran, it’s gonna be a bit reclusive to say the least.

For one thing, the only way outta that area of the jungle is either (a) have your own motorcycle, (b) hitch a ride with a neighbor to town or (c) walk your ass the two miles to the edge of civilization and hope a tricycle passes by.  It will be a few weeks at best before I can afford my own motorcycle so aside from the kindness of a neighbor.. I’m gonna be kinda stuck in the jungle for quite a while other than a few food runs to the grocery store once a week.  In the area I’ll be moving to its about a 40-square mile area with maybe a dozen homes scattered through the jungle via a network of unpaved ‘roads’.  Paths, really.  It’s beautiful country, clear-blue skies, stars and even fireflies at night with not a bit of pollution or smog to be found.  I have met my future neighbor, he and his wife are super-nice people and have helped me out a lot by letting me store some of my stuff there each visit until my rental home is vacated.

Up the ‘street’ is a woman in her 60’s who is also really nice and cooked me lunch one day.  There’s also another couple up the way from there but I’ve only met the wife so far. Other than a few kids who play basketball at sundown and a retired foreigner I’ve only ‘heard’ about in the area.. that’s pretty much it.  No gaggles of young ladies to found anywhere.  Lots of coconut trees.. banana trees.. mango trees.. shade trees, vines and mosquitoes.  But no ladies.  So.. yah, it’s gonna be a big change from here where I can just walk down the street and see about 100 amazing women every hour as I enjoy a pineapple shake.

The road where my future home is I'll be renting in March.  It's on the left, can't see it though.

The house I will be renting is a one-bedroom home with a big kitchen (I love to cook), a modest sized living room and a bedroom much bigger than I need just for myself.  It is fenced in with a nice yard that gets lots of shade so I have my privacy as well as comfort for the occasional bbq.  For company, aside from Skype’ing with family/friends.. I’ve decided to paint a face on a coconut when I get there to keep me company.  Not gonna name him Wilson though.. I’ll probably go with Jimmy.  As I walked through the place last weekend I kept thinking to myself, “THIS is the perfect place to write a novel.”  It really is a writer’s dream come true for me.  I plan to begin both the novel and some short stories once I’m settled in.  Soon to be made available online (hint, hint).

People who know me have expressed concern that I might go a bit stir-crazy, being all alone both in the home as well as so far from town.  Everyone else around there has their spouse and family to keep them company.  I’m the only lunatic out there living by myself.  Delia went so far as to suggest a live-in maid.  I thought about it for.. 30 seconds (you can imagine what I was thinking, I’m sure), but then decided against it.  If I were in a relationship with someone, then it’s a good idea living together.  But a live-in maid, with me; a single-guy?.. no.  She’d be bored outta her mind watching me type all day.  With someone there I’d either have to ignore them or entertain them.. which would interfere with my writing.  No, not going to move anyone in, too counter-productive and it’s just asking for painful drama.

Panglao-Bohol Alona Beach GirlsNow, the good news is that the island does have lots and lots of single women.. out there in town and at the beaches and barangays everywhere.  A few days ago I began chatting with a select few via an online Filipino singles site and it looks like moving there won’t be entirely a lonely experience.   For now I just need some occasional company when I go on a break from days of writing.  I hope to go to town for a good massage (writing/sitting for hours can be killer on your back) and then meet up with someone for a movie, swimming or whatever so I get some exercise.

The home itself is nice but the owners didn’t really finish the details such as window screens or tiling the counter-tops so I’ll have a bit of home-project stuff to keep me busy.  Not that I’ll be doing the work, I can’t even hang a towel rack.  But I’ll ‘supervise’ while someone else puts in tile and knocks out a wall so I get more light in via the new windows.  The yard is nice and only needs some minor cleaning.  There’s an outdoor additional ‘dirty kitchen’ but I’m thinking to build my own bbq as a project.  That I can handle.  Some brickwork.. cement, a pre-made grill from the mall and I’ll be bbq’ing just like back home.  I’m also thinking of getting a karaoke machine sometime later, both for my own amusement and maybe once in a while have the neighbors over to kick out a few tunes.  Nothing like karaoke, sangria, some cold San Miguel’s and a tropical night to kick off the weekend.  Eventually I’ll put in some cheesy electric lantern outdoor lighting along the bamboo fence.. kinda make it like my own little bar-scene at home.

I also have to mentally prepare to do battle, mainly with the mosquitoes.  A mosquito-net for the bed is first on my list.  Baygon spray, lotion and incense coils will be in my arsenal as well as putting screens in the windows.  The Baygon will keep all the other bugs out as well.  Whatever they put in that spray.. it works damn well, even months later.  Been using it here at the studio and not a bug in sight for weeks.  The fence in the yard has brick along the base, but it’s not cobra-proof so I’ll be keeping my eye out for those sneaky bastards.  Neighbor says they’ve only seen one the whole time they been living there and that was in the jungle behind the yard.  It’s more of an issue on other islands but.. still, gotta keepOnly Room For One Rooster Around Here vigilant.   I might get two chickens and a rooster just to study and observe.  I’ve raised chickens before and two chickens with one rooster is about all I want to deal with.  Any more than that and they start crapping all over the place.  It’s nice getting the eggs once in a while too.  Free eggs and a chicken dinner if one of them pisses me off.. can’t beat that.  They don’t eat much and keep the bugs and snakes to a minimum outdoors. I’m sure one of the neighbors has 3 chickens they’ll part with to keep me company.

So, it’s goodbye yellow brick road.. I’m going back to the country, back where I belong.  With some of the world’s most beautiful women, I mean, beaches and well.. okay, women just a short drive from home.. I think I can adjust to this with time.   Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to think up three new names for the chickens.

Click here for “Bohol Bound – Part 2”

Henry V.
www.lifebeyondthesea.com

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Author: Reekay

After 49 years living in Southern California, USA, I decided to move to the Philippines despite never having been here before. In July, 2012, I took a leap of faith and transplanted myself to the amazing Philippines. I am a single man taking an honest look at all that the islands here have to offer, one day at a time. I hope you find my LBTSea site informative, entertaining and hopefully a bit of each. 🙂 Be sure to visit the Forum and other parts of what the site has to offer. Browse around and be sure to sign up for updates via email. Enjoy!
— Reekay

12 comments

  1. nice article. living alone can be a challenge. and for me and my mom too….that's why we share a home and most likely will for the rest of her life. and the life of a writer can be quite lonely as the mind must have peace to bring the words. thanks again for the article. I can hardly wait to visit bohol when I finally make it to the RP.

    1. That's why I prefer to not have a live-in maid.. when I write, or even just reading on the net, I can't hold a conversation at the same time. I get so focused I often go until 4 or 6pm before remembering I haven't even eaten breakfast yet. No kidding. My friends here send me texts to remind me to eat.

      But when not writing, it's my approach that I need to be "out there", in the mix of people, crowds, life, activity.. observing and participating so I have the seeds for more writing. 🙂

  2. Henry, I was worried about you for a moment. Glad to hear you are allrigt. Bohol is a beautiful place. Nice to visit but to live there requires a strong mindset.

    Be ready for the typhoons. They will come.

    I’m trying to get funds to be there in November If I do I’ll give you shout out.

    Peace.

    1. Awesome! Hoping you get to make it here on your schedule. As for living in the country and the typhoons, I was just telling someone today I’ll have to stock up both a pantry and have a first aid kit in case the rains leave me stranded out there.

  3. Hey Henry, Israel here. Well, my friend (lol just kidding, I do that a lot gotta remember round you, lol) I am sitting here in Las Vegas with my bowl of oatmeal, my cinnamon toast my green tea (from China) just taking in every WWWWWORD of this post. I can't remember that last time my nose almost touched the screen not because I am blind but I am literally trying to drink in every word and savor the feeling it brings. You and I are alike in that I TOO analyze everything, and every move IS A BIG DEAL TO ME…..I don't care if its down the street. I love the way you write and how it literally puts us right there wherever you are.

    I keep thinking this is heaven. I write as well and I am an accomplished Pianist (gotta talk to you about what kind f halls are there to rent to put on programs for tourist) I have played in many places but that's another story. Anywho, living in that environment I believe is what I have always dreamed of. I think I would choose the city first, like where you are leaving and then eventually move to somewhere remote like where you are going. Now I must admit…….I DON'T WISH TO BE FAR FROM THE WOMEN. SMH No, no. LOL. So I will need that city experience for the first year I think. hahaha. Ahhh Henry thank you SO MUCH, I wish you knew how grateful I feel to have found your blog. I have lots of work to od (I build websites too and I am working on a new for a new company of mine) but I am going to take an hour and just read some more from this marvelous site. I think you will be just fine.

    I would like for you to be a bit more detailed on the "gritty". LOL. What is that exactly. Good to hear about the magic bug spray cause that…well hate roaches. Also my biggest concern is the internet and you mentioned a bit about it and yet I wonder if you could give more detail on how accessible it is from where you are now and where you are going. My work is ALL or can be online with me coming to the states once a month or bimonthly for a little bit. I have a melt down when internet is bad here in Vegas so just wondering. I know this is long but you have just made my day. I really look forward to meeting you one day. Really. IN-JOY your adventure.

    Israel E.

    1. Hola Israel, thanks for your kind words and appreciation.. makes it all worthwhile. Well, that and the money from Google ads.

      In regards to the 'gritty'.. I was tonight on an open mall balcony on the 2nd floor over looking the Basak area I live in. A fantastic sunset, amazing cloud formations, a guy trying to catch a chicken in the field below, smog, pretty girls, tricycles, the smell of food cooking on the street, ladyboys tucking in their package when they think nobody is looking, guys hustling for 5 pesos hailing taxis for foreigners.. it's the inner-city menagerie that I surveyed which makes up the 'grittiness' of city life here.

      It's in some ways 'similar' to Los Angeles. But I've walked late at night from Hollywood boulevard all the way up and back down through Sunset and Los Angeles 'grit' has a whole other smell to it. A fecal one. Here, it's all about food cooking and pretty girls. I love it here, I drink it in. As I looked out from the balcony for almost an hour I thought to myself, "I'm gonna miss this."

    2. Ahh man I love it! I know exactly what you mean now that you describe it. You know I will be 49 March 5 and was born and raised in Los Angeles. Worked there and hung out there a lot growing up in into adult years. Step mom worked for Universal Pictures for years and I love movies and entertainment which kept me loving the place in all its grittiness glory. I know it like the back of my hand. But yeah it got pretty "gritty" in the way you described many years ago. I too have walked the blvd all the way to where it turns to Sunset. You brought back memories with that one. Lived in Burbank for a couple of years as well.
      What you describe as grittiness there, I love taking in all that. What was so good about LA for me was, I ended up moving to the Inland Empire for the quietness back in the early 90's but Dad lived in Gardena/Hawthorn so when I wanted to do the LA thing I could always go down and when I had enough, I just made sure I was on the 60 or the 10 fwy before 3 pm. So I get it.

      Anyway, thanks again for your post. I have been looking on youtube at a ton of videos of all the places you mentioned; where you are and where you're going. Bohol it appears is really not that far from Cebu or the city so that's good I would presume? One last thing and I know you are busy so since I'm not going anywhere wherever you address it I'm sure I will see it. I'd like to hear more about the state of the internet there…AND when is the best time to come and stay a month in CEBU? I was thinking May or June (more June) which will work for me. My plan is to visit a couple of times (each time staying for a month or two) and by 50 birthday when all duckets are in order get that one way ticket just like you did! Food cooking and lots of pretty girls….yep I would miss that too. Take care Henry!

    3. I wrote an article that goes more into detail on getting internet here, you can check it out at this link;
      http://lifebeyondthesea.com/?p=3043

      Some people, who live in a home they intend to rent for years, go for the home-DSL service. Me, I say the best way to go is with a Net Adapter. That way you can take it with you on a whim with your laptop. My personal preference is Globe since they have the strongest network and customer support right in the malls. Smart and Sun, only the website which.. you can't see if you're having trouble getting online. (duh)

  4. Don’t know whare my other comment went? Anywho…migrated my site yesterday and with Danika Patrick hanging out at GoDaddy, they screwed me up and had to relaunch again today. Lost a bunch of traffic and starting at zero today. Oh well. Make sure you drop the extension “wordpress” off my web address.

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