My favourite man Rhett Butler from the classic Gone With The Wind had romantically said, “You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how”. I find this the most romantic dialogue in the world and fromย my teenage years have secretly desired for someone special to make me swoon by these very same words. While most would find this empty headed desire to be too wishy washy to be of any importance, I, like a lovesick puppy had harboured this secret desire well into my adulthood, but in vain. Finally in my mid 30’s, when my romantic notion had started to crack under impatience, I had gone ahead and taken things in my own hands to make it come true. The only difference had been that, it had been me who, in a very masculine manner had quoted that famous pickup line, but the end result had been so nice that I had no complains. The effect had been as impressionable as expected and my mesmerized love had swept me off my feet to a magical island in the Philippines. Thus had begun our brief Bohol break and it had indeed been as sweet as a kiss.

Lovingly called the Republic of Bohol by its proud residents, this lovely Filipino island is one very attractive destination. Famous for the minuscule bug eyed tarsiers and the extra terrestrial looking Chocolate Hills, Bohol is synonymous with the word idyllic. With abundance of emerald green rice terraces and a dense jungle heart, the island had been a treat for the sore eyes and the languid Loboc river had been enchantingly honey coloured. It had meandered lazily on soft shallow bed past drooping palm trees and tangly vines into the gorgeous mangrove populated sea and everything in Bohol had run on strict Filipino time. Needless to say, it had been a far cry from the busy, hectic nearby Cebu and we had heaved a sigh of relief when our transfer ferry had left the frenetic port for Bohol. The journey had been a brief and breezy one and we had watched the unruffled blue strait change colours in the sun. Traveling the local way is one of the most fun things in the Philippines and we had ignored the roped off, air conditioned first class cabin for the inexpensive upper deck. It had been for the ‘not moneyed” commoners and the cheap plastic chairs had held an awe inspiring multitude of passengers and goods. Babies had wailed as placid local mothers had squashed between bags of food, fish baskets, sleepy old gents and bewildered backpackers and the mood had been warmly festive. Filipinos are one of the friendliest folks in the world and it had been easy to give into their happy joie de vivre.

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Bohol had started

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With a kiss

Bohol had arrived with a small port in which shiny yachts had floated on glassy waters and we had fallen in love with its infectious laidback style from the very first sight. The island had been the largest of the 72 minor surrounding islands which had fallen under its provincial jurisdiction, yet the residents had not seemed to be in any hurry. Instead they had laughed, joked and gossiped as coconut milk sellers had dished out endless cups of cold beverage to thirsty passers by. Flowers had popped bright jewel like colours from every where and the sun had been typically tropical. A huge blue sky had stretched overhead and it had been the kind of a place which gives you the craving to head for the hammock. We had watched slices of lazy island life as our taxi had sped towards the smaller Panglao Island and life had seemed to get greener by the minute. Touted as one of the best diving spots in the world, Panglao had an excellent array of pristine beaches and our seaside hotel, Villa de Gloria had also been located in the middle of a small village there. Deeply pockmarked with mango groves, coconut and pineapple patches, a few wooden huts had called the village home and a lonely basketball field had been hand erected on brick red earth.

Without a single trace of touristy commercialization around it, Villa de Gloria had seemed straight out of our dreams and its cozy sea facing wooden villa, private beach cove and lush gardens had sealed the deal. Maintained and hosted by a friendly Filipino sailor, the resort had been more like a home and a fat resident cat sitting on the reception desk had purred as we had checked in. It had been a very happy place to be and during our stay the smiling staff had pampered us with delicious fresh seafood and tropical fruits everyday. They had loved to cook and we had loved what they had to offer and thus had rolled our beautiful Bohol days with sea, sun, jungle, waterfalls, hills and kisses.

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A magical island

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It also had deep blue sea

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The sun

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The jungle

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The wildlife

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And bucolic countryside

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And when coupled with great food

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Awesome sunsets

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And loads of private paradise

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Bohol had been unforgettable

RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE