Saturday, November 20

giving in to the twitch

admittedly, adri and i had been resisting the urge to twitch for quite a while now.  we passed up on the blue and white flycatchers at palay palay a couple of years back, a nesting besra at makiling, and we made no effort to pass by candaba for the grey-headed lapwing, mallard, spot-billed duck or even the record-breaking taiga bean goose early this year (in spite of the fact that candaba could be en route to subic, our fave birding spot in the vicinity of metro manila). all would-be lifers, but... we were just too proud (or maybe lazy) to give in to the twitch.

there had been recent reports however of a ferruginous flycatcher in up diliman, and we could not ignore something which was so close by, and, according to reports, seemed like a guarantee (of course there is no such thing as a guarantee in birding... except maybe the eurasian tree sparrow).

harry potter had us up til almost 1 am, but the next day, promptly at 730am, we were at the reported spot.  wondering how we would find such a tiny bird, i stepped out of the car to have a look around when one of the construction workers asked me if i was looking for the bird. it seems that the bird photographers have made it famous!  i was told that it was right there behind the fence and adri and i were invited to come in just as jops and maia (wbcpers) had driven up to park behind us.

once inside, the worker pointed out the non-descript brownish-red bird perched not 3 meters away from where we were standing.  he said that they had been seeing it for several weeks now, since october.  as i showed him and another worker the picture of the bird in the bird guide and explained that it had come all the way from mainland asia to spend the cold months here in our wonderfully warm country,  the older man mentioned "eh grasya pala ang ibon na yan eh. siguro kahit kalahating kilong lamok at langaw kinakain nyan araw araw" (that bird must be a blessing.  it probably eats half a kilo of mosquitoes and flies every day). it was a pleasant surprise to hear their appreciation for the bird which lived right beside their make shift shanties. they probably thought it strange that so many people would actually come to see this little brown job.

the ferruginous flycatcher: a rare migrant

the ferruginous flycatcher is described by kennedy as a rare migrant and "not shy".  definitely not shy at all!  it perched nearby and surprised us by hawking for insects not an arms length away (literally).  we were joking that we should hold out a finger in case it decided to perch in mid-flight. i guess it takes it name from it rusty brown color (or in birding colors "rufous").  its white eyering and round dark eyes reminded me of japanese anime characters... definitely a cutie.  we stood patiently watching it for over an hour, briefly distracted by other birds flitting in the acacia branches high above our heads. gerygones, several arctic warblers, white-eyes, even an immature brush cuckoo!

an immature brush cuckoo flitted about silently above us

eventually adri got a good photo and we decided to go back home (for breakfast!). i have it in my head that i could actually check on this guy everyday to or from school if i wanted too!  as long as it stays that is.

with the almost non-effort we gave to finding this lifer, i must say that this is our most satisfying twitch to date.

(thanks to adri for the photos!)

for the non-birders, here's an excerpt from Birdwatching for Dummies (which i got at book sale for a mere 45 pesos!) written by Bill of the Birds:
"Listing has become an obsession with some bird watchers.  They live for the chance to add a bird to any of their various lists... In Great Britain, listers are called twitchers because of the uncontrollable twitching that takes over their bodies at the prospect of adding a new bird to the list.  Listers and twitchers take themselves very seriously, which is good because if they didn't, who would?"

Wednesday, October 27

sablayan tales: the one that didn't get away

nothing was going as i expected, birding-wise.  we had spent the last 4 rainy, rainy days in the siburan sub-colony of the sablayan penal colony and farm hiking up hills (with me avoiding the dreaded limatik), trudging through mud and water-logged lake shore, rivers and streams, clambering up rocky trails, sitting helplessly in huts while the rain poured. "nicky, no birds!" i could hear mr. stone's famous one-liner echoing in my head.  but this time it was true!  sigh.

it was our last night.  so far, i had "only" seen the mindoro tarictic, and possible splits philippine coucal mindorensis and philippine bulbul mindorensis.  other lifers where the black-bibbed cuckoo shrike, pechora pipit and blue-crowned racquet-tail.  the black-hooded coucal was driving me crazy with its constant calling but invisible presence.  the mindoro bleeding-heart... just that one picture that seemed to be plastered everywhere in mindoro, including the guesthouse wall behind the dining room table. the scarlet-collared flowerpecker... nothing.  i was happy to see other birds of course, plus a plethora of butterflies, but i just wanted more!

this was really our last go at it.  the only evening it wasn't raining.  the target: philippine hawk-owl mindorensis.  definitely a future split.  it sounds really different, it looks really different.  nicky chose our location, adri and i kept our fingers crossed and our guides curiously regarded our owling mode.

success!  this has got to be the nicest pairs of owls i've encountered (and we are probably the only humans they've observed so closely)!  and as with other wonderful birding moments, time seemed to dilate and we savored every moment.  the pair of owls were easily illuminated by the flashlight, flitting from branch to branch.

you win some you lose some.  i suppose it could've been worse, birding in the wake of a typhoon which devastated northern luzon.

but that one bird can make the difference and make your trip worthwhile.

see more pictures of our adventures here:

Thursday, September 9

M ... moth. M ... mmda.

of moths and the mmda...

the mmda has planted several ficus benjamina saplings along the length of commonwealth avenue and elsewhere in the metro in an effort, i suppose, to green the city.  i don't really know why they chose this particular plant (fast growing? none destructive? pollution tolerant?) but i'm glad they chose ficus, the birds love the fruit.  and adri & i discovered another creature which loves the plant.

the mmda has lined many of the metro's main roads with ficus benjamina. here's one on busy commonwealth ave.

one day, after i dropped off adri at commonwealth i received a text message from him describing how one of the ficus plants was covered with white caterpillars.  during the weekend, i got the chance to see the cats myself and to take photos.  we parked at the shell station beside the INK hospital and inspected the bush, right there on the sidewalk of commonwealth avenue.  i suppose the pedestrians and the hospital guard found our behaviour a bit strange. after our "it-turned-out-to-be-a-sphinx-moth-caterpillar-eating-the-rosal-bush" incident, we figured out that these tiny caterpillars eating up the ficus were moth caterpillars, and their little horned backs indicated they were probably some sort of sphinx moth. not wanting to agitate my mother by bringing home a slew of caterpillars (again), we decided to just wait and see.  we hoped that they would not require burying underground in their pupal stage... there was a bit of exposed ground where the ficus was planted, but it didn't seem very hospitable right there on the sidewalk.

several plain looking "horned" caterpillars:  a very recent expereince tells me these will become moths!

anyway, a couple of weeks later, adri announced that the cats had indeed metamorphosed into moths, and strange-looking moths they were.  i couldn't go and see them until the next day, a saturday, and i hoped that they would stay in place.  sure enough, there they were... we counted more than 20 small moths on the ficus. 

a newly eclosed moth next to its cocoon

that single ficus (and even its fence) was adorned with these funny-looking moths!

it was a bit strange that they stayed in place, i wonder why they didn't fly off.  anyway, there was a pair already starting the next cycle.

a pair starting the next cycle already

here's to the greening of metro manila for the crawlies!

Tuesday, September 7

care for invasive species with that?

kuya ramil was carefully snipping of the whiskers of the very fresh river shrimp(lets) my mom had bought from the market when he asked me, "gusto mo ng janitor fish?" sure enough, in the half kilo of very fresh, still jumping shrimp, he had found 4 baby janitor fish, 2 still very much alive, inspite of being out of water for probably several hours.

it makes me wonder just how much ecological havoc these creatures have caused in our rivers and lakes.

Wednesday, September 1

puddle, puddle, toil & huddle

The Molawin Creek at the Makiling Botanic Gardens has not yet recovered from the very dry summer and much of the creek bed is still exposed. So on our last visit, Adri & I were distracted from birding by the butterflies that were sipping minerals from the damp ground, a process aptly called puddling.

a pair of v. dejone jostling for position (spot the c. roxus in the picture)

we spotted several mapwings (c. maenalis)

Why do butterflies puddle?  Well, the explanation I always come across is that it's to extract important minerals (like sodium) which the butterflies can't get from their normal sugary nectar diets.  The sodium of course is needed for several physiological activities (but let's not get into molecular biology here!).  While puddling, you can see the butterflies ejecting the excess fluid (in filipino: sumisirit), much like pee-ing!

dragontails (l. meges) hardly stand still enough for a photo except when puddling

But the thing is, when butterflies puddle, it's a wonderful sight. They may puddle on the ground, on rotting fruit, on dung, urine or even carrion.  They often do so in high numbers (well higher than one), and it's a great opportunity to take photos of butterflies which otherwise never perch long enough for a decent picture.

there were more than this pair of c. roxus on the creek bed

this common jay (g. doson) and dragontail were taking turns "pee-ing"  (you can spot a drop on the tip of the dragontail's abdomen)  it was like they were engaging in pataasan ng ihi!

I've always thought of puddling butterflies as a social activity, but, these puddling butterflies probably only congregate because of the available prime puddling spot.  I've seen butterflies so "drunk" they become immobile and ignore even the most distracting movements.

some dragontails puddle with their wings laid out flat

Still... it's nice to imagine them exchanging the latest butterfly gossip in (im)proper lady-like fashion!

Thursday, August 26

luck like the weather at makiling

Despite the rainy days of the work week, Adri and I decided to spend the weekend at Makiling hoping for good weather.

Having spent the Saturday night at TREES, Adri and I were up to an early start up the Makiling trail.  It was unusually quiet at the start of the trail, no shama calling, no spotted wood-kingfisher, not even the balicassiaos. Two philippine bulbuls broke the silence but nothing more.  We began to question our early morning start.  Were we too early?!? Was the weather too gloomy? Upon reaching malkoha lane, a single red-crested malkoha made a brief appearance.  Finally! I thought that would've broken our bad luck streak. We continued up the trail, but whistler, no white-eared brown dove, no guaiabero. Where were our regulars?  

Finally, the familiar calls began to sound.  Shamas, tailorbirds, pittas, tarictics, cuckoo-shrikes, a black-chinned fruit dove.  It seemed that we were doomed to "heard only-s".  Past the mahogany plantation and still nothing.  Frustrated, we decided to end our hike when we reached the fenced bend where we usually stopped for tailorbirds and sunbirds.

When we reached our designated stop point, we realised we were in the territory of another of our regulars. So we decided to check on 'Spotty', this years' no-fail spotted wood-kingfisher. Sure enough, right at the edge of the bend, we immediately heard his call and caught a glimpse of him. He was giving us his usual I'll-let-you-view-me-from-all-angles-but-I-think-I'll-stay-perched-the-longest-on-the-branch-right-above-you-so-you'll-hurt-your-neck-looking-at-me-and-you'll-get-a-good-view-of-my-backside.

Spotty the spotted wood-kingfisher

While Adri was drinking in his views of what we both probably thought as the only good bird we would get, a slight movement caught my attention.  In circling around us, Spotty had flushed a beautiful male philippine trogon!It perched several meters from us just above the trail in full view.

Now the trogon is one of my most favorite birds in Makiling.  The pink breast, red belly, blue facial skin, yellow-tipped beak, rufous back and b & w striped  primaries just come all together in a beautiful, beautiful bird.  These birds usually perch in dark recesses and are very quiet and therefore very hard to spot. And because they are sooo hard to spot in spite of their gaudy colors, each sighting is made even more delicious.  As we were admiring it, a motorcycle coming up chased it into darkness of the vines across the trail. While we were trying to see where it went, what would follow in the same direction but a female trogon!  Not as colorful as its mate but still a beautiful bird.

A pair of Philippine trogons: male on the left, female on the right.

Perhaps Mariang Makiling had decided to bless us after all.

The trogon pair was a good distance away from us now, but still in sight (we could still hear the soft nu-nu-nu-nu-nus) so we decided to stay a few more minutes.  We were discussing the strange calls 2 balicassiaos were exchanging when one of the blue-black birds decided to  show itself... it was not a balicassiao but a Philippine Fairy Bluebird!  We couldn't believe how our luck was quickly turning round.

After another few minutes another large bird flew over... a Greater Flameback!  And it wasn't just one or two other flamebacks that followed it but three of them!  Greater Flamebacks are a common sight in Subic (or even Palay-palay) but I had never seen a flock of four in Makiling!  The woodpeckers flew back and forth, climbing up and down the tree trunks.

In the end we stayed for almost an hour at Spotty's bend:  a pair of spotted wood-kingfishers, a pair of trogons, a pair of fairy bluebirds, a quartet of flamebacks, and another red-crested malkoha.  Makiling's fickle nature has definitely given us worse birding days than this! Even with just these few sightings, we were completely satistfied.

Monday, July 19

Monday, July 12

the north just got nearer...

... from my place at least.

yesterday adri and i tried out the new NLEX entry and exit via Mindanao avenue... and it cut our travel time by almost 30 minutes! woohoo!

i was surprised at the underpass in front of the Splash offices on Mindanao avenue.  when i used to work at the Splash plant in Canumay at Valenzuela, it took me more than a year to memorize the circuitous shortcuts through private subdivisions and dirt roads which circumvented the toll fees of the NLEX. now the 2-3 lane concrete road (expandable for sure) can take you from the old "end" of Mindanao avenue to the NLEX exit (a couple of kilometers before the Valenzuela exit) in under 10 minutes! (of course, you still have to pay the 36 peso toll fee, but at least it doesn't make use of too much gas running into EDSA traffic or too many brain cells trying to remember the route!)

now i can avoid EDSA altogether when traveling up north via private car. that means subic has become an even more accessible birding destination!

eventually the mindanao avenue-NLEX link will be continuous with the C5 all the way to the SLEX... and so i'd better enjoy the light traffic while i can!

Tuesday, June 8

how we DIDN'T get to go up mt. pinatubo...

when edna, aldous & cecille asked if adri & i wanted to go to pinatubo with them i immediately said "yes!"

first... i had always wanted to go to the fabled lake created after the explosion of mt. pinatubo. and second... well, i had never really gone on an outdoor activity with my doctor-friends (or at least  i don't recall anything past college!). so i said no to all birding activities that coincided with our scheduled trip, adri hurried back from his dot fam tour,  and last sunday, a bit behind schedule, we found ourselves at the jump-off point to the mountain: brgy. sta. juliana in tarlac.

and guess what?

the rains which had started at 3am up in the mountains had caused all trips up to be cancelled! the lahar was too soft and the danger of a landslide was too great.
just to give you an idea of how far off from civilization we were, sta. juliana is accessed via capas, and it's past camp o'donnell and somewhere in crow valley. it was just 830 am, and suddenly, we were in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do!

 road -trippers (minus adri who took the picture) in the middle of nowhere...
having seen the signs which pointed to the monasterio de tarlac, a pilgrimage site set in the hills of san jose which housed a relic of the true cross of Christ, we decided to go there. we backtracked to a small road where we had seen the sign and started a journey across a rough road... with patches of good road. (and would you believe adri and i got a lifer? a ruddy-breasted crake was crossing the road!) we hadn't realized how far it was! it was past 10am when we got there, just in time for the start of Sunday mass.

The Monasterio de Tarlac, Sanctuary of the Holy Cross

afterwards, we decided to take a much shorter (and concrete) alternate road which would take us to tarlac city (aldous had thankfully bought a map at the gas station where we had breakfast so we had some idea of where we were going) and lunch.

with cecille intent on going swimming ("we brought our swimsuits! we might as well swim"), it was decided that the closest (in terms of travel time) beach would be... subic. so we took the sctex all the way to good old sbma where we enjoyed the last few hours of daylight at camayan beach. after all my trips to subic, it was actually the first time i went swimming there! the beach wasn't so bad... in fact there were so many fish! too bad i didn't bring my underwater camera case (which i thought wouldn't be useful in the mineral-rich pinatubo lake!). we enjoyed the beach until the sun set.

sunset over subic bay from camayan beach...

i think this would be life's way of telling me that my summer break is over, the rains are coming and school is about to start again...
just to give you an idea of the mileage we gained, here's a map (c/o of the wonderful google maps):

1. baranggay sta. juliana, capas, tarlac :  we found out that all trips to mt. pinatubo were cancelled because of the rains.
2. monasterio de tarlac, sanctuary of the holy cross, baranggay lubigan, san jose, tarlac:  at least i got to go here at last, i've always been wanting to visit the pilgrimage site
3.  fortune restaurant, tarlac city:  good chinese food, and best of all, really fast service
3.5.  floridablanca, pampanga:  ok, we had to actually exit the sctex for gas!  must be a regular occurence though because the toll gate person was able to give us precise instructions to the nearest gas station
4.  camayan beach, sbma:  who would've thought i'd be swimming here?

Friday, May 28

swimming with giants...

I glanced nervously at the deep green water.  I was never much of a swimmer and jumping into deep water (and I mean can't-see-the-bottom-or-anything-else-deep) is always pretty daunting.  I clutched at my bright -orange life vest and took a deep breath.  "How big will it be?" I wondered.  Elmer our BIO (that's Butanding Interaction Officer) was explaining how it was easier to be at the head of the animal rather than staring at a the tail swimming away.  Head? Hmmm, head = mouth.  Well, even if it was still technically a shark and I kept reminding myself that it ate microscopic animals.

"Ayun! Ayun! Meron na!" the boatmen shouted, themselves surprised.  We were only 15 minutes away from the beach!  I didn't expect a sighting so soon!  There was a mad scramble as Suzy, Bigi, Adri and I grabbed our fins and snorkels.  Elmer quickly grabbed the 2 closest people to him (Suzy and Bigi) and without warning, jumped off the side of the boat.

 I sat on the edge of the boat hesitatingly.  "Jump! Jump! Jump! Faster, faster!" screamed the boatmen at me.  And in my confusion... I jumped off the boat, praying I wouldn't hit the katig.

Salty water entered my snorkel and I blew hard to clear it.  I looked down... it was so murky!  This thick plankton soup must be what these fish are here for, but where was it?  

I looked down and blinked.  All I could see was gray... and... spots?

What the....?  It was right below me!  I was never good at estimating depth in the water but I glanced left and right... spots... spots... spots! Holy cow, how big was this animal?  And all of a sudden I saw a giant tail sweep... and it was gone.  Everything was murky green again.  Had I imagined it?

I lifted my head out of the water and saw that everyone else was smiling and talking excitedly.


Our bangka, the Giana Bless circled back and let down a ladder to help us get back on. "Nakita nyo ma'am?" asked the smiling spotter who, not 10 minutes earlier, had been screaming his head off at me to jump.

What an encounter.

For the next three hours we would repeat the routine 8 more times.  Sometimes not all of us would see it, the best sightings were when we were dragged along by Elmer so we could actually swim right beside or on top of the beast.

  The polka-dotted giant

Gone with a sweep of a tail

There was an encounter with one small one, probably 5 meters long, which sticks clearly in my mind.  Several boats had seen it so there were several snorkelers in the water.  I couldn't see where it was, when Adri pulled my arm and pointed to my left.  The was sunlight streaming in ribbons in the green water and it hit the "tiny" shark just as it turned and opened its huge mouth.  The sunlight on its back made the spots shine like diamonds.  Because it was "small" I could see it from head to tail. I stopped and watched it swim away unmindful of the small throng of snorkelers following it. Wonderful creature.  God must have had a good laugh when he decided this giant beast should have spots.

At the end of the morning, each of us had seen at least 6 whale sharks each.  After the fourth sighting or so... we just really enjoyed jumping in the cool water and looked forward to the sight of (part of) a butanding swimming gracefully beneath us.

This is one animal encounter that I'll never forget.  (And I didn't even have to climb a mountain or stay in the middle of the jungle!) Another reason to love the Philippines.

The Giana Bless

BIO Elmer

Elmer & the spotters

Butanding Interaction
Donsol, Sorsogon
May 2010

video clip:
more pictures:

Friday, May 14

attack of the hydras

2 days ago i noticed that my little aquarium cube had these things on the glass.
i realised they're hydras... tiny freshwater relatives of sea anemones and jellyfish.
now they're on the glass, on the substrate, hanging from the plants...
they're pretty cool, but i hope they don't get out of hand.

Monday, May 10

bumoto ka ba?

3 and a half hours and 170 voters before me...
that's how long it took me to cast my vote in the national elections today.

and although i filled in all the bilog na hugis itlog for my chosen candidates, the PCOS machine in our precinct cluster wasn't working!  we just dropped our ballots in what one neighbor described as a box that looked like a garbage can. so much for partial automation... i hope that at least the count is actually automated.

here's hoping for change... the kind that starts within each and every Filipino.

Sunday, May 9

B? Bohol! - Beach...

Early morning on Thursday, we still had to get up with the sun because we were going to be fetched at 6am for dolphin watching and a visit to Pamilacan Island. Over breakfast, we thanked the staff of Simply Butterflies for our very pleasant stay in Bilar and hurriedly boarded the car sent out to fetch us.  I had made arrangements with Jojo Baritua of Pamilacan Island Dolphin and Whale Watching Tours  ( with whom I had a very unforgettable dolphin encounter seven years back. The sun rose quickly and it was a little past 7am when we reached the Baclayon pier in front of the lovely Baclayon Church.  Jojo B. was there to greet us, and after quickly filling up the maritime forms, we were off! Nenel was a small, smiling woman who accompanied us as our local guide and the captain of our bangka was mang Teodoro.  Adri was struggling with the names of the crew we had several years earlier (I was sure I could not remember them), when he remembered one of them, Idot.  By wonderful consequence, mang Idot and mang Teodoro were the same person! It had been several years and he didn't remember us in particular, but he did remember how we had tied Vir's kite to the boat. It seemed like a good foreboding for our adventure.

Pamilacan Island - home of former whalers

It's time for some sun exposure!
We circled the rich waters around Pamilacan Island for a couple of hours.  And just when I was losing hope that we would see dolphins, there was a splash on the horizon.  There they were!  A small pod of spinner dolphins!  As we approached cautiously to join them, we saw that a young dolphin was the one most active with the acrobatics of spinning and jumping out of the water. The dolphins kept their distance from the boat, but they were near enough for us to enjoy their antics.  Sometimes, a couple of them would approach and ride the bow.  They moved so swiftly, there would be times when they would disappear completely and I would think they had left when they would suddenly appear on a different side of the boat. We all clapped and shouted with glee, Adri, Mel and I, trying to get photos and video, but not knowing where their sleek bodies would suddenly break from the waters' surface. It must be wonderful to be a dolphin and move with such agility and freedom in the water.  (

Wonderful spinner dolphins

Eventually, we decided to leave the dolphins to their frolic and feeding.
We headed for Pamilacan Island for lunch, and upon stepping onto the beach we were immediately greeted with the customary frangipani leis.

Welcome complete with calachuchi leis
It was still early for lunch and they asked us if we would like to snorkel in the marine sanctuary.  Adri and I immediately agreed, while Mel exchanged snorkelling for a relaxing massage.  The only boats allowed in the marine sanctuary were small paddle-driven bangkas and I immediately thought of how difficult it would be to get back on the bangka! Our guide, Reno, pointed out the giant clams that had been seeded recently and took us to the edge of the sanctuary where we enjoyed the thrilling sight of a school of more than a thousand jacks swimming at the edge of a steep drop, their bodies glinting in the sunlight ( .Each talakitok must have weighed 2 kilos or more said Reno, but the fine for fishing in the sanctuary was 1,500 pesos per catch.  It was good to hear that the locals protected their natural bounty.  Later, we snorkelled at the Coral Garden, where clownfish, butterfly fish, damselfish and other colorful reef fish danced through the soft and hard coral. 

Ready to snorkel!

Boatman in the water

a school of jacks

in the coral garden

When we got back on the beach, lunch was ready... grilled tuna steak, native chicken soup (was it tinola or binakol or a cross?), chicken adobo, sayote and upo tops, banana and fresh buko juice. The heat of the day reflected on the sand made us very sleepy after our lunch and we did our best beach bumming by just staring at the crisp blue waters in front of us.  We took a short walk to the ruins of the lookout tower (which, just like 7 years ago, still had chickens) and watched the local kids enjoy swimming at high noon. 

lunch on Pamilacan

Melanie making friends with a goat

pamilacan island scenery

Before we had a chance to drop off to sleep permanently, we decided it was time to move on.

with mang idot and nenel

We had checked out of Simply Butterflies that morning and all our things were loaded on the boat because they planned to bring us to the Bohol Bee Farm on Panglao by boat (rather than returning to Baclayon and bringing us by car).  It was a 45 minute boat ride which would have lulled us to sleep except for an occasional large splash of water since the afternoon had made the mornings' calm seas a bit rougher.  As we approached the Bohol Bee Farm, Adri, Mel and I were surprised to see that it did not have a beach front, but that good-sized wooden dock and lounging area was built on the side of the cliff.  The waters were turning rough and it was quite a challenge to jump form our large bangka to the wooden dock while the boat was roughly tossed about by the waves.  We thanked Nenel and Idot and the rest of the crew and waved at them as they left.

the dock at bohol bee farm

Wet and looking very bedraggled, Mel and I climbed the steps to look for the front desk where we informed the staff that we had arrived... the back way!  It was obviously not the normal route taken by their guests and they quickly dispatched bellboys to help Adri bring up our things.  We were assigned to the Radish room, a very neat and home-y room... with air conditioning and a television set. 

Again we didn't want to waste any time, and before we would get too comfortable, we returned to the dock where we spent the rest of the afternoon til sunset playing with the crashing surf that threatened to bash us into the nearby rocks. The place was the perfect photo-op location, and I think Mel was the most delighted at this.

For dinner, we had the most colorful meal... bread and 3 kinds of spread (honey, mango and pesto), spicy flower salad, squash soup, spare ribs and curry pasta (and I had tarragon iced tea).  I was hesitant to eat the flower salad (which we had ordered out of curiosity), when I saw the flowers in it: cosmos, bougainvillea, gumamela, ternate blue pea, katuray!  It was like my mother's garden on a plate!  Of course there was a bit of lettuce and mushroom and nuts.  But the dressing was good, and the flower salad tasted... like salad!  I didn't know what I was expecting. Everything else was yummy, and once again, we had stuffed our selves’ silly. We were happy that we had yet to have a bad meal during our entire trip. 


When we got back to the room, there was the gecko on the wall and after a good shower and bath I fell asleep almost immediately, happy to remember that there was no wake up call the next day.

After breakfast of omelette, waffle, chicken ham and papaya juice, we took our time preparing for our flight back to Manila.  Before Chito would come to pick us up, we took the tour of the Bee Farm, checked out their gardens and bees and handicraft center. 

how can we resist ice cream on a hot summer day?

us with chito... last minute pasalubong shopping
bye bye bohol!  thanks for a wonderful time!