Monday, June 2, 2014

Featured in InFlight Traveller Magazine: Paddleboarding in Bohol, whale-watching in Oslob

Inside cover image from InFlight Traveller Magazine by Ferdz Decena
"There was hardly a breeze but the trees seemed to sway and undulate with tiny sparks.  For like an hour, we sat on the kayak mesmerized by this phosphorescent mating dance of a thousand fireflies..."

Each assignment brings a new, fresh challenge and this one from last February courtesy of InFlight Traveller Magazine was no different.  Trading a few days of my regular online work for a momentary whiff of the outdoors I so badly missed, I found myself back in Bohol, equally curious about the province's condition months since the 2013 earthquake as well as the prospect of learning the rudiments of paddleboarding from no less than a local icon, Buzzy Budlong.  Buzzy kayaked from Saranggani to Pagudpud in 88 days as guide to Singaporean, Koo Swee Khoo, in 2009 so it's fairly easy to justify this curiosity.  Oh, never mind if I almost always lack sleep prior to an assignment (or any early morning appointment for that matter as I am used to working during the wee hours of the morning) and that this one is no different.

While I cannot reprint the feature here, I can perhaps look back and relate the salient points of the 4-day assignment -- of an impromptu paddling lesson all of 8 kilometers long on the very first hour at that, from the Banacon mangrove sanctuary to Jetafe on the northern tip of Bohol.  Of missing the sunrise on the beautiful beach of Bohol Beach Club because I was simply dog-tired from lack of sleep and the impromptu paddleboarding crossing.  Of discovering to my chagrin that my 5-year old drybag is overdue for a replacement after being submerged (with my Nikon camera inside) at the Abatan floodway during a morning butterfly tour excursion.  And of course, the highlight of our Bohol trip was witnessing a thousand fireflies some 8 kilometers from Maribojoc.  (The whale watching experience in Oslob was also nice save for the crowd and bedlam that ensued once the butandings were feeding).

Me and Alcyone, Buzzy's red sleek paddleboard • Photo by Ferdz Decena
Our team's stay in Bohol Beach Club bears special mention even if most of the time the downtime seemed more of a blur as we were always on the run.  The resort, a vestige of the '80s, has just got an impressive physical overhaul but IMHO, it was the delectable food and the attentive, hospitable staff that made the stay memorable.   If it were possible, I would have elected to stay a day longer but such is life on assignment (friends and acquaintances always argue with me that they'd gladly exchange places when I explain that this is a job to be done).

Going back to Mactan en route to Manila, an overnighter at Cebu White Sands is such a short time to really enjoy the nature vibe.  On the other hand, our team's luck on finding good food and cozy accommodations continued to hold here.  Getting billeted on the courtyard with a koi pool and waterfall feature felt akin to sleeping to the white noise of a real, honest-to-goodness waterfall.

Profuse thanks are in order for Bohol Beach Club, Cebu White Sands, the wonderful people we've met in Bohol, and of course, Buzzy who turned out to be one cool teacher.  One day soon, I'll ride that paddleboard again.

Buzzy Budlong runs the craziest paddleboarding/kayaking adventures -- from full moon camping to BYODs (bring your own dog) tours: email him at, call 0927.5683799, leave a PM at, or visit

For the Bohol Abatan river tours: email: or visit
Resort contact details: 
Bohol Beach Club - Tel. (+6338) 502.9222 • email:

Cebu White Sands - Tel. (+6332) 268.900 • email: (Cebu) or (Manila) •

Get your copy of this quarter's InFlight Traveller at National Book Store, Powerbooks, Fully Booked and other leading magazines stands.  To read the online issue, visit


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