Time Flies. Remembering Bohol.

It’s 2016.  Wow, time really does fly.  It’s been more than a full year since I last tapped out an article for the blog website here.  The last year or more has been devoted to video, travel and romance.  But as diversions go, it’s been an amazing sabbatical from the keyboard.  When living in the Philippines, you never really do know how your day will go once you venture out from your doorstep each morning.

I suppose I should skip back and began where I left off, living on the island of Panglao.  It was March ofCAM00101-02 2014 and I had just returned to the ‘PH” after making my first return trip to California.  That trip to California, just a few weeks after both the big 7.2 quake and the typhoon Yolanda was actually more traumatic for me than either of the natural disasters.   Dealing with an earthquake, loss of water, electricity and driving around for food until anything returned to normal a week later was much easier to deal with than the prospect of returning ‘home’ to California and feeling like a ghost lost in the wrong time period.  I wrote about that in detail Here.

Now prior to leaving Bohol, which is connected by two bridges to the island of Panglao, I met a wonderful Filipina woman around September of 2013.  She was 39 years old, widowed the year before, no children.  She owned the small resto where we first met, owned her own home as well her own motorbike and tricycle.  She was tall for a Filipina, about five foot and seven inches without heels.  With heels she was simply elegant.

And so it was no surprise when I returned to Cebu airport that she was there to greet me after my long flight.  She’d already gotten us a hotel nearby and by the next morning we were on a ferry back to Panglao where her home was.

Upon arrival she insisted I stay at her home where her two parents also lived.  We were not engaged, but we were in an exclusive relationship by this time.  Even so, her parents being a bit conservative, the sleeping arrangements found me sleeping in her room while she slept with her mother.  Her father was already in the habit of sleeping on a twin-sized bamboo cot near the kitchen.   And that was all fine with me.  I was in no hurry to rush things.  All things in their own good time.  I didn’t even bother taking my luggage to my previous home on nearby Bohol for a week or so.  I settled right in at her place at the center of Panglao surrounded by a forest of tall coconut trees.  It was serene and beautiful.  I was so glad to be back in the Philippines once again.

To skip forward a bit, things seemed great for the next five weeks.  I worked on my videos at her home while she worked her small resto near the mall.  In the evening we’d have dinner with her parents, do some karaoke or take a ride around the island to Alona Beach.  But it was during the last week or so that I learned two crucial pieces of information.  One is that during my absence, the neighbors of the home I had previously been living at (on Bohol) had been telling my landlord that since January I was already living with some woman somewhere else on the island.  They even claimed to have talked to me and met this mystery woman during January.  Which, of course, was a completely fabricated lie since I was in California from November until March.  It was March when I returned to the PH, not January.

This would be the moment where I interject how the PH differs from most Western nations.  In the PH two things rule;  Gossip and Cash.   Those are the currencies in operation here.   So you might be wondering, “Why would neighbors go to the trouble of telling a landlord some detailed lie?”.  Well, very simple; self-interest.   My landlady happened to be my ex-girlfriend who was living on the island of Cebu.  The gossiping neighbor happened to be my ex-girlfriend’s sister-in-law.   And this neighbor also happened to be an old schoolmate of my new girlfriend’s business partner.  As to motive, if the sister-in-law could convince my ex-girlfriend to lock me out of the house I was renting from her.. she could then weasel her way into the home herself.  Considering she was living in a two-room nipa hut made of bamboo and palm fronds, the idea of moving into a brick home was quite the upgrade for her.  And so began her campaign against me in my absence while I was in California.

Eventually my ex-girlfriend and I figured out what was going on and who was at the center of all this gossip and manipulation.  To this day my ex and I have remained good friends, so no harm done there.  But since I had moved in with my new girlfriend on Panglao (in March), I gathered my belongings from the house, which wasn’t much, and stored it in a few suitcases with a buddy of mine on Bohol.   And no, the sister-in-law did not get to move into the home.  It was later rented out to someone else.

But.. par for the course here in the PH.  It has nothing to do with being a foreigner.  Having or creating gossip is how many people get things done around here.  It’s what people do when they are low on resources or options.  Just comes with the territory.

I mentioned there were two pieces of crucial information I came across during my first five weeks returning to the PH.  The second item was discovering that my new girlfriend was asking either of two other men to get her pregnant.  She knew from the beginning I would not, could not, have children.  She herself told me that at age thirty-nine she did not want to risk another miscarriage and had accepted a life without children.

Well, apparently that was not the case.  She was hot on the idea of marrying me and having a long life together.  What she didn’t tell me is that she planned on slipping a pregnancy into the plan and hoping I would think it was mine or that I would simply love her enough to accept it.  I came across her messages to each of the men.  She seemed to favor having a baby from the guy from Spain, perhaps figuring the resultant baby could pass easier for being my own.  But she was also putting out requests to a man from the UK.  She didn’t want them to stay around.  Just get her pregnant and leave.  Well, needless to say I was not too keen on this hidden agenda.

When I first sat down and calmly confronted her, she gave it her best to “deny, deny, deny”.  She even threw in some emphatic phrasing such as, “Oh Gwapo.. I would never, no, I would not do that!”  When I mentioned the two men by name, that was when the blood drained out of her face and her eyes glazed over for a few moments.   I knew at that moment I could never trust her again.  We were ‘done’.  She was sweet as sugar-cane and as lovely as the day is long.  But now I could not trust her.   I saw no reason for yelling, arguing or name-calling.  I simply let her know I’d be on my way and it had been a pleasure up until then knowing her.  In my own estimation she had a good thing and lost it.  That would be punishment enough.

I found out later the Spaniard had moved on to some other Filipina.  So she continued in a relationship with the UK guy.  If there is such a thing as destiny, then I wish her all the best.

I hired a tricycle to take my two suitcases from her place to my buddy’s home where he let me crash on a sofa for two days while I formulated my next move.  I’m a big proponent of the “Plan B” school of adaptation.  I truly did love her and the thought of driving past her resto every day with the UK guy sitting there in plain view every time I drove into town was just too much for me to bear.  I knew that as much as I loved Bohol and Panglao for the ten months I’d been there, it was time to leave.

I pared my belongings down to a backpack for my laptop and an overnight bag for my clothes and decided that since I’d already been up the Cebu coast to it’s northern end in Bogo, I would go South and see what I encountered along the way.  I saved a few maps to my phone’s photo gallery and rode my bike onto the ferry leaving Bohol.  It was a hard thing to do.  Very painful.  It was like leaving the closest thing to ‘home’ I’d found in the PH since I got there almost two years before.  But it was time to hit the road.  That much I knew with complete conviction.  Somewhere ‘out there’ was something different, maybe something better.  And I would only know what it was by putting the gears into motion.  As Bohol slipped away behind the ferry I knew the island itself would faithfully wait for me to return.  I then went to my bunk and with the smell of the sea air around me, I lay back for a much needed rest.  I’d be hitting the coast of Cebu before long and I could foresee many miles of riding ahead of me.  I figured I’d circle around Cebu and Mactan to visit some Filipina friends of mine and then ride my bike south to a place on the map called Moalboal.

The story continues in this next section, ‘My Long Trek to Moalboal‘.


philippines survival guide advice expats

Author: Reekay V.

Since 2012 I’ve been traveling through various islands of the Philippines as a full-time Expat and spent 1999 living in Vietnam.

Share with me my ongoing adventures of life in the Philippines. Hopefully you find my observations helpful in your own adventures.
— Reekay


  1. Henry, you have a gift that holds my interest and keeps me reading. I hope you have a goal to one day publish a book documenting your Philippine adventures.

  2. I wondered what happened with her. Too bad — she missed a good thing. One wonders if a paid background check is a good idea, when things get serious with a Filipina. I believe I saw one guy (and his spouse) who does this, for a reasonable fee. Not sure which forum he’s active on.

    1. Always love your daily adventures in Paradise. I’m sitting here in Murrieta, California wishing I were in the Philippines !!!!!

    2. Trying to get a good background check is sketchy at best here. If you hire a ‘kano’, he sticks out like a sore thumb and interviews with her family will be useless. Following her around can be tedious and not produce much. Especially hard to “blend in” if she goes to a small village where she’s got a local boyfriend hidden away. Hiring a local Filipino, that’s not much better. They blend in and “could” get some useful information. But just like many contractors here, why complete and get paid 3 days wages if it can be milked out further? If there’s a reliable, productive gumshoe working the PH, I’ve yet to hear who he is. Best bet is TIME. A guy needs to get himself here and verify her stories over time. Anything less is pretty much a roll of the dice to some extent.

      1. sir can you pls help us my bf was here in the philippines for 2yrs now he doesn’t want to go back in new york or travel over over again bec.of his medical issue.he wanted to stay here in the philippines longer. but we don’t know how and where to go get this done as soon as possible and in a proper way..i really appreciate your help Sir.. i emailed you about this matter. you can email me
        thankyou so much Sir have a nice day

        1. The only way you might be able to convince him is to contact his family in the States.
          Let them know of his medical condition and it’s possible they could convince him to
          return for treatment. But apart from that, you won’t be able to force him to return
          if he doesn’t want to go. (I will remove your email so you don’t get spam email.)

          You can contact me privately via PM at my FB here;

  3. Glad to see you are posting again. Missed reading about your adventures. All the best from Japan

  4. Man Henry ,,, you get around . I was gettin a little confused with all the girlfriend ,best friends bosses sisters cousin thing. LOL You did the right thing man.I could just picture the scene from Easy Rider as you pulled off on your bike to the tune of Born to be Wild. I wish you luck and much happiness dude. Take care.

  5. I met and married first philipina with in 2 weeks. she did good for 2 years then started slipping. tried to work with her but to no avail. after i retired she became little violent. so on a trip to the phils. i packed my backpack and rode my bike from bogo cebu to cebu city. met girls at every stop. after living in the city and having friends in bogo. would ride up to see them, was introduced to lady from bohol by one my friends..lived with her for 2 years till i thought i knew her n after divorce and annulment. married very nice lady. wise old reeky figured this out early…

  6. Very good story Henry………..typical Philippine Drama………………sounds like you had a CRASH COURSE on the way things work there……………enjoyed our chat at Lord Byron’s last Jan. 2016…………my trip went well with my gf going on almost 2 yrs. now……….went to Siquijor after the day we met you and Lyn and enjoyed it much for a day trip. I highly recommend it.

  7. Reekay

    Have enjoyed yr adventures a lot over the past months. Clearly no straight lines down where u live.

    Meantime I’ve gotten a contract to do a corp film here in Hong Kong, where I lived for years in another era. It’ll be wrapping up soon and — due in good part to what you’ve written — I intend to take a flyer down to Cebu, literally. Have booked an affordable resort with swimming pool on Mactan Island near the airport, facing the sea. Looks cool on the IN.

    But what I’d really like to do is connect with some expats no longer young (I’m 69), who live there, allegedly happy, at an affordable price. Frankly sounds too good to be true in this world. But hey, in for a penny, in for a pound. After all, I’m in the neighborhood now; best take advantage of the oppo.

    Would also be delighted to meet you for a couple three hours, and pay for the privilege. But I am a complete ingenue about the southern Philippines; and I know nobody down there. So feel a bit exposed in just ambling around.

    I only have a couple of weeks this time. But very much intend to tidy up my stuff back in Vancouver and return with me pension to have a longer term run at finding a life down there.

    Any comment, suggests?


    Brian Mac

    1. Hi Brian, drop me a Message at my facebook and we’ll see what we can do to get you networked with some expats in Cebu. If your schedule allows for a visit in Dumaguete we can meet over lunch, no charge, just as a social call and get to know each other, do a bit of brainstorming over any ideas you have. Message me here;

  8. Henry, think back to 2012-2013 when a respondent asserted that affairs of the heart would go badly for you because of your Pollyanna-esque outlook of life in the Philippines. Inherent in his message was the thought that you had spent too little time in the Philippines to develop a viewpoint that enabled you to hand out factual advice in that realm.

    You teamed up with Gary McMurrain to declare that person “burned” example of crab mentality.

    Your travelogue is entertaining. Stick to that. Your failure to understand and deal with man-woman sociological phenomena in the Philippines continues. Your disclosures prove you’ve yet to get that right and still too junior to know the ramifications of treading in unmapped territory.

    1. Yah, i’m just going to have to disagree with you on that. There’s this mentality that says you can’t speak until you’ve been in the PH a few decades. I call b.s. on that. There are guys in the PH been here almost a decade and they haven’t observed, learned or evaluated anything. They’re still making the same mistakes other guys make fresh of the plane. Time alone does not vest anyone in anything.

      As for the g/f pulling her nonsense, anyone who’s been here should know that’s par for the course. Find a faithful pinay rarely happens on the first meet. To my own credit, I didn’t rush into some marriage and have her pull this nonsense on me after a wedding. I take my time and advise others to also take it slow.

      But if “taking it slow” is bad advice because I’ve only been here just over 3 years… then anyone is free to do it their way and rush in. But that will be their bed to sleep in, not mine.

  9. in fairness to Henry this could happen to anyone as some women are so devious also its the same old story some women even in a so called stable relationship are always on he lookout for some action on the side if they can get away with it

  10. Gidday from Down Under Henry and just wanted to agree with the comments here that you are creating some good Videos etc,
    I guess many are like me,read and watch your video’s and actually admire your activities and from 2 eyes that are truthful to my many years of travelling and having a pinay fiancee in Dumaguete
    Keep the good work up mate and best wishes always.

  11. Interesting story thanks for sharing. I have a question I’m trying to get ansered. There a girl I’ve been video chat with from Carmen cotabota area. Lately for about 3 weeks now on and off she claims to keep losing the electricity for periods of time. When you’re away from the bigger populations like in the mountain areas how likely is it to keep losing the power. I’m from the states and to me it seems a little strange. Do you know if this could be true. I’m planning a trip to meet her in person but I’m just trying to get some understanding to see if my trip will be worth it thank you keith

    1. Power outages are a regular thing here in the PH. Depending on the area, it can be every 6 weeks for a whole day or it can be almost once a week. The electrical grid for the PH is simply not able to keep up with the demand, so rolling ‘brownouts’ occur to compensate.

  12. Hi Reekay! My name is Robert and I live in Las Vegas Nevada. I’m going through a divorce now in which I was married for 13 years but we had no children in the marriage. I am 53 years Young and I’m currently in a long distance relationship with a Filipina girl through asiandating. My goal is to Marry a filipina. I am planning a trip there next month in April to meet a few of the girls I have met on the Asian dating site. Hopefully this will make two of us Hispanics there in the Philippines….lol
    Let me know what the best way to contact you directly Something tells me we will be friends!

  13. I have watched many of your YouTube videos and read many of your posted news artlcles. I am moving to the Phillipines next week. I am taking the plunge and committed myself to learn as much about the people and culture as possible. I am initially staying in Panglao and have arranged a longer term rental just outside Tagbilaran. Can you recommend any good places to purchase fresh beef and chicken. My place has a full kitchen and I want to try my hand at various dishes. Also is there a decent western restaurant you would recommend in Tagbilaran? Thanks and keep up the good writing.

    1. There is a merkado (outdoor market) near the south (older) bridge to panglao, on the Tagbilaran side.
      They have fresh pork and chicken (go around 6am), but there are no cows being butchered on the island. Beef is usually
      brought in frozen from australia, and pricey.

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