April 3, 2008

Feeling at home in Baclayon

Baclayon baluarte 4

Baclayon baluarte

We were met with lousy weather when our plane touched down in Tagbilaran city, the capital of Bohol. By the time we retrieved our luggage, the rains were coming down hard and I was sticky from the humidity. I started to fret that this would ruin our weekend, but quickly resolved to make the most of it. It was just rain, after all, it doesn’t bother me much. Two years in London had taken care of that.

My friend’s uncle kindly arranged for us to be picked-up at the airport and dropped-off at the Bohol Narra Homestay in the town of Baclayon, some 10 minutes from the capital. We opted for a place on the mainland instead of on Panglao island because of the nature of our trip (our main objective was to do a heritage homes/historic churches tour). The homestay was recommended by my friends who are getting married in Bohol in September. This is where they stay each time they come over to take care of wedding preparations so I knew it was clean and decent at the very least.

Clean and decent, it sure was. But more than that, our hosts were a very pleasant bunch! The rooms they rent out are separate from the main house within the family compound which is located by along the national road with a mangrove for a backyard. I’ve never been a guest at a homestay before and I have to say that it made our trip even more special.

On top of all the wonderful new experiences Bohol provided us first-time visitors, living with a local family was the cherry on the sundae. The adorable family dog kept watch outside our door every night. In the mornings, we watched from our second-floor balcony as one of the sisters tended to the garden while her brother chopped wood nearby. One of the brothers also volunteers his time as a driver for their homestay guests. Emee, the family assistant who doubled as our guide and companion on the first day, prepared our breakfast every morning in the main house.


Our daily breakfast feast overlooking the lush garden and mangrove beyond

It was in that cozy breakfast nook overlooking the mangrove where the Mendez sisters and Emee would later answer all our questions about their town and enlighten us about the BAHANDI or Baclayon Ancestral Homes Association, which they are a part of. I’ll go into more detail about this in another post where I'll show you some of the beautiful heritage homes we visited.

Baclayon baluarte 1

Our first order of business after we checked in was to feed our grumbling tummies. It was almost 4pm and we hadn’t had any lunch. Fortunately, the rain had let up for the day. Emee led us to her friends’ stall, aptly called Comeda del Mercado, at the Baclayon public market where we had some yummy longganisa (local sausages) and native chicken adobo with rice. The market is located in the town center right beside the famous Baclayon church and across the ‘baluarte, or wharf. After our meal and a tour of Baclayon church and museum (also for a later post), we took a stroll along the sea wall and down the baluarte.

Baclayon baluarte 3

Dusk was settling in and it seemed the entire town had retired for the day, save for a couple of young romantics and a handful of locals waiting for the sunset. It was so serene out there, The only sounds were that of seagulls and the occasional bus lumbering past. The rainclouds had parted to let the sun’s last remaining rays of the day stream through, causing some of the most beautiful reflections on the water. I let out a sigh and offered up a prayer of thanks. I felt truly blessed at that moment as I always do especially when I’m traveling and experiencing more of the world’s beauty. I couldn’t wait to see what the coming days had in store for me…

Baclayon sunset

Bohol Narra Homestay
P1,200/room (max 2 pax)
Contact: Ms. Letty Mendez or Ms. Emee Abu-abo; (+63) 0906-2284477


oggi said...

I love your photos! What a beautiful place Bohol is and I can't to read the next post.:)

oggi said...

oops sorry. I mean I can't wait to read the next post.:)

isabelle said...

you should post this on TB too :-)

bealtea said...

gosh gypsy soul, LOVE your photos! and i love your idea of a heritage/historic tour, not the usual white beach trips. gotta try that next time...

Chubbypanda said...

Those are some spectacular shots.

ChichaJo said...

Loved reading the post Nens...as usual got so lost in it and felt I was really there! You have convinced me 200% to do a homestay next time I go to Bohol :)

christine said...

Thanks Oggi! Bohol is a super photogenic place! :)

Hey Belle! Ok, will copy-paste this there. :) I don't know if I can add another site to those I'm already juggling though haha but will definitely try.

Bea!!!!! :) So nice to hear from you! How's everything since you've been back home?

Thank you very much, Chubbypanda! :)

Thanks, Jo! I'm glad to hear that, I hope I can convince many more. :)

Marvin said...

Lovely post, Christine. But I have a silly question: what's a homestay?

Is that similar to a bed and breakfast?

Sidney said...

Next time you should try Nuts Huts near Loboc. Managed by Belgians. In the middle of the jungle.
700 pesos per night. Cottages are very basic but you are in an "almost" unspoiled place.

christine said...

Hi Marvin! That's exactly right. When they say homestay there, it means B&B really. I've always understood homestay to refer to arrangements for exchange students, where they literally live inside the home as one of the family. And for many of the homestays in Bohol, especially the ancestral homes, that's exactly the case. :)

Sidney, that place sounds nice! In the middle of the jungle, I think I'd love that. Thanks for the reco, I'll keep that in mind for another time I go back after the wedding. :)

ben said...

Astounding photography and accounting as usual! Waiting eagerly for the next posts. :-)

Anonymous said...

I never knew there were such places in Bohol, as homestays. Thank God for websites like yours that are so informative.

christine said...

Thanks, Ben! :)I'll try to write them up as fast as I can.

Hi Anon, I would be thrilled if my writing this post would help the homestays and give them business. :) So thank you.

supporting our soldiers overseas said...

What a lovely post, love the idea of going on a homestay for the weekend.