[Video] – A Tour of My Neighborhood in Bohol

my life in the philippines boholI originally thought, back when I was still on Mactan, that I would simply load up everything on the boat.. get here.. unload and be back online writing in two days.  Yah, so much for that plan.  It’s now been exactly seven days since I brought my things to the new island and only now is the primary dust beginning to settle.  It’s been a busy, but fulfilling first week here on the beautiful island of Bohol.. my new home!

I will be doing a tour of the actual home later, after I’ve had a chance to do some fixing up.  The home was built only two years ago, so it’s a new construction.  But the original owners stopped at the finishing items such as painting, tile, etc.  I see it as an opportunity to paint and design the way I want it and already have some cool ideas for the bathroom (CR).  It will take about six months or so but there’s a carpenter here in the small ‘village’ to do all the stuff I don’t know how to do.  (which is most anything aside from painting)

As for the neighborhood.. it is extremely QUIET here, both day and night.   No traffic aside from maybe three times a day when the neighbor passes by on a motorcycle.  Aside from that, maybe a rooster or a dog wanders lazily by once in a great while.  I have my PC desk located at the window which looks out into the yard.  Over the bamboo fence, from the window, I have a great view of the green trees that surround the place for miles.   Twice it has rained extremely hard and glad to report no leaks in the roof and no matter how much water comes down, there is a small trench in the cement that redirects the excess water right back out of the property and down into the path that is used as a ‘street’.  The islandsFinally Taking A Break here are actually coral formations so when there is massive rain you don’t get much ‘mud’ to even take notice of.  The water just moves along cleanly and ten minutes after a downpour.. everything is clean and green.  🙂

As you’ll see in the video (below) the ‘village’ is not all that big.   Maybe less than twenty houses in an area about 25 square miles, with lots of trees in-between.  There are some paths nearby that lead into the uninhabited areas.  I plan to check that out on a day-hike sometime.  Not so sure I’ll find anyone willing to go with me.  The neighbors I’ve met so far are very friendly but they pretty much keep to themselves.  It’s mostly families with kids, a few older people and a small gaggle of teenagers who play basketball around sundown at a make-shift dirt court down the road.

There’s one, single ‘sari-sari’ store located about five blocks from here.  It’s run by an older woman from her home.  She mostly sells stuff like packets of Nestea, coffee, sugar, rice, eggs, dry noodles and some candy.  No actual ‘groceries’ to speak of.  For that I needed to hitch a ride with a neighbor who was kind enough to take me to the supermarket at the mall so I could get what I needed for the week.  Interestingly enough, the home I’m renting has a sari-sari store already built into it!  It has the windows to the street, inventory room and is connected to the main living room so I could actually start up my own store here if I wanted to.  If.. and that’s a big ‘IF’ I were inclined to do so, I’d simply sell anything the other lady doesn’t sell.  There aren’t many people out here but if I can save them a trip “into town” then I’d be sure to get their business since I’m right here within walking distance.

On the positive end.. it would be some extra money and since I’m usually home, I could monitor it while working online with no real change in my schedule.  It would act as a ‘pantry’ in case I needed anything from town as well.  And, as I said, the store is already built and part of the house so no construction needed.  However, on the down-side.. I know from speaking with others that you gotta be a hard-ass “No Credit / Cash Only”, no-exceptions kind of guy or else the sari-sari store becomes a “sorry-sorry-can’t-pay-my-tab” enterprise.  People swear they will pay at the end of the week and then, they’re back for more stuff on credit without paying their first tab.  But.. when I have some extra cash I may give it a go.  Maybe I’ll just sell booze, cigarettes and cold sodas.  I don’t know.. I’ll have to give it some more thought.

The walk I took in this video was about two hours before sundown.  Later that day I took a walk around in the dark.  With no moon out.. out here when it gets dark it gets DARK.  You know how dark it gets in the forest when you’re out camping and stray from the campfire? Yah, that dark.  But you look up and it’s the most beautiful thing you ever saw in your life.  When I did so that night, without even hesitating I said the same thing Dave Bowman said It Gets Really Dark Here At Nightin the film, “2001”.., “My God, it’s full of stars!“.   It was like standing on a platform at the edge of outer-space itself.  I tell you.. being on an island out in the ocean with almost zero light around you.. the stars are so numerous and bright you feel you could just reach out and grab one.  It’s the kind of experience that strikes awe down to your primal core.  Both frightening and amazing at the same moment.

As if that weren’t enough.. for the first time I looked around and there were fireflies.. real fireflies lighting up around me in random fashion.  Like little flying LED’s they flitted about me turning on and off.  I stood still and just watched them.  At first many of them were about ten feet away.  But then one of them slowly came directly to me.. almost as if it were curious to view me closer.  It hovered in front of  me only two feet away for about ten seconds and then drifted off back to join the others.  Altogether I’d say there were about 30 or 40 fireflies around me.  Up until that night the only ‘fireflies’ I’d ever seen were the fake ones in the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean‘ ride in Disneyland.  The real thing is just fascinating.  Every so often one comes by my window at night.  I just can’t get over how magical they seem.

I’ll go into more detail on life here my first week in another article.  For now, enjoy my little tour of the locale and be sure to visit our new Forum that I recently added.  See you there!

Henry V.  (Reekay)


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, U are out there in the middle of nothing. It is quiet. What do u all do with the garbage, burn it ? U need a dog to keep that old man in the woods away. Naming chickens b4 u even own them? Damn, U are bored lol I hope u are taping when u see your first cobra lol Oh, what is it’s name? lol sry, had to ask

    Good luck, Henry!

    1. Yep.. it IS quiet out here.. almost, too quiet. I have a story about that I’ll cover in the next article. ha! As for trash, folks here separate the paper, plastic, glass and metal. Those are bought once a week by a dude who comes out here from the recycling place in town. The rest of the trash, yah.. just burn it. In fact, sometimes I start a fire of twigs and leaves just for the hell of it to drive the mosquitoes away from the porch so I can hang out on the hammock in the late afternoon. 🙂 Soon I’ll be posting photos of Mr. Jimmy.. he keeps me company and always seems to be in a good mood.

  2. I envision two coconuts on sticks with faces painted on them next to your hammock (spaulding and rawlings maybe?). Hey, make sure when you go hiking, don’t forget your cobra spray! lol

  3. Chuck Noland: Gotta love crab. In the nick of time too. I couldn’t take much more of those coconuts. Coconut milk is a natural laxative. That’s something Gilligan never told us.


    From Cast Away.

    Good luck on where ever in the hell you ended up Reekay lol

  4. Hello, Mr. Henry! Google redirected me to your website while I was searching few minutes ago and now I find your site really interesting. It’s good to see that you are enjoying your new house here in the Philippines. Good luck and have a great stay. 😀

    1. Thanks Kristine. 🙂 Feel free to drop in anytime, or join the Newsletter in the upper-right corner to get updates on new adventures. Are you here in the Philippines as well?

  5. Hey Henry what’ s up? I stumbled on your website by accident and pretty much spend the last 2 hours reading your amazing stories. What an adventure! Keep it safe brother and hopefully i get to hook up with you next year when i visit Cebu, Bohol and Palawan. Cheers!

    1. That would be cool. Just give me a heads up on when you’ll be in the area. More adventures on the way, so be sure to subscribe to the Newsletter in the upper-right corner. 🙂

      1. Will do. I will visit in May for a backpacking/island hopping trip with 2 of my buddies. Your blog gives me a real perspective of what to expect when we get there. Stay out of trouble and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

        1. That sounds like a blast. Just be sure to have a first-aid kit, never know when you’ll run into a cobra or sea urchin. ha! As for staying out of trouble, it seems to cross my path but always works out in the end. There are some paths near my house as well I plan to do some photography there once I get caught up on things with the new move here in Bohol. Have fun!

  6. Always enjoy your adventures. Can’t stop reading. You should write books. I’m seeing another side of my country thru your experience.

    1. Thanks. Actually, coming here to write some short stories and a novel or two was part of the reason I came to the Philippines (as well as Filipina I’d met in the States). It’s a wonderful country here and I’m so glad I made the decision to move here. I’d never been here before so it was a huge leap of faith for me and it paid off. Thanks for reading and hope to see you here again. 🙂

  7. I agree with Irma! You really got “a pen in your hand!” (Can say as the ex- owner of a books store for almost 30 years) You made my day with your post of videos & articles about simple life in Phils!
    Hope to hear a lot more in the bright future of yours! I think your children are very wise what comes their encouraging words for you! It`s about your life and I know you just had to do the step……in a time I hope I can do the same! All the best! God bless! Hope we someday can “talk” more! Leo from Finland
    Ps. One filipina ..now in USA also encouraged me to dream about Philippines..Jane P. and bc of her talks I dSomeday in the near future we thinking settle down somewhere near in Visayas.

    1. Hello, Leo from Finland! Thanks so much for the encouragement on the writing. Fortunately I’ve never known what “writer’s block” is.. it’s usually just a matter of me stopping all the other stuff I’m doing to sit down and start a new writing project. ha! I wish you all the best in getting here and that you arrive soon. I had the most amazing night walking around in the warm air here. Temperature on Bohol fluctuates only about 5 degrees from winter to summer.. the nights here are always.. ‘sultry’. ha!

  8. Wow, Henry. That's so mesmerizing. What epitomizes the whole jungle thing, Bohol that is, is: "It’s the kind of experience that strikes awe down to your primal core." It applies not only to the night stars, but also to everything you're surrounded by.

    This narrative reminds me of Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, a novel that journeyed me into the very soul of the nature.

    With the words that you weave, I also walk along those spiraling alleyways under the spell of dense foliage, bird chirps, and oxygen-laden air.

  9. Wow, Henry. That’s so mesmerizing. What epitomizes the whole jungle thing, Bohol that is, is: “It’s the kind of experience that strikes awe down to your primal core.” It applies not only to the night stars, but also to everything you’re surrounded by.

    This narrative reminds me of Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, a novel that journeyed me into the very soul of the nature.

    With the words that you weave, I also walk along those spiraling alleyways under the spell of dense foliage, bird chirps, and oxygen-laden air.

    1. Yes, despite the many wonders mankind creates in the ‘big city’.. even the grand architecture of Singapore or Dubai.. it is the simple grandness of nature that is most amazing.

  10. fun video to watch. i am not sure what i am feeling right now. i think i am experiencing some culture shock overload. wow, not much around you there. that can be both a positive and a negative thing. i would want a yard full of pets to keep me company and let me know if I am about to have some company. how about Henrietta for the second hens name? sounds filipina to me. ha! I am amazed that you walk the two miles or more to town on a regular basis. have you thought about getting a bicycle? that is one of the first things i plan to buy when I get there or maybe i will buy one here and ship it when i come but not sure because of the shipping cost. but it seems even used bikes are pricey there. i really want a schwinn with all the “bells and whistles” ha! not literally a bell or a whistle. but do have some requirements for comfort and easy rideability. cant wait to find myself in a similiar situation like yours but maybe with just a few more neighbors. if you ever do a sari sari i think beer, cigs, soda and even ice cream would be profitable as long as you stick to your guns and NO CREDIT allowed. cant wait to come check out your place. maybe with the cold beer you had available you might lure the mysterious old man out of the jungle into your good graces. beer……the international drink of friendship. ha! Sorry to steal your trademark Ha! but think its amusing. ha! the bit about the cobras and scorpions is a bit hair raising. have never had any encounters with either of those myself although it is said there are some scorpions here in the ozarks. but we do have native to our area tarantulas and brown recluse spiders so maybe getting used to the jungle wont be so hard afterall. great video and i am looking forward to many more to come. Mabuhay

    1. I keep meaning to get around to getting some chickens for here but by the time I leave the mall I’m too tired to be carrying a box of live chickens all the way home. I plan to get a mini-truck around August, for about $1,500 or so. I thought about getting a bike but not really practical to me. The road thru the jungle is very rocky so it’d have to be a mountain bike.. sturdy with no weak parts. Riding it in the sun, you’d be sweating like dipped-dog and riding home in the dark with all the rocks would be more dangerous than walking. I think either a motorscooter w/light or minitruck will be the answer in the coming months. But for now, I’m ok with the walk.. I find it relaxing and I definitely need the exercise since I sit at the laptop alot. I’m thinking of doing Zumba here at my place via Youtube.

      I spent time in Arizona and finding scorpions and tarantulas in the house always freaked me out. I used to hunt down rattlers, but because they sound a warning. The cobras wait in the trees and grass, and they don’t give a warning. Plus I hear they are more aggressive than rattlers. Rattlers will slink off after two minutes of no movement. But to be honest.. this island (Bohol) doesn’t seem to have many cobras. Nobody I talk to can remember the last time they saw one. But over on Gamarais, I hear more of them there. As for bugs, a hand-held bug-zapper, some Baygon and a mosquito net and I’m good. 🙂

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