Since arriving in the Philippines in March of this year our staff have been instrumental in helping us learn about the Philippines, the culture, processes and more. Over the past 9 months they have become more our family than our staff. We have been pleasantly busy since July and the staff have worked very hard making connections with guests, providing great service and growing as we make adjustments and improve the resort. Vicky and I decided we needed to celebrate the holidays with our family but due to a high occupancy over the Christmas period celebrating on Christmas day was not going to happen, so we closed the resort for this past weekend and put our party hats on.
Vicky and I wanted the entire party to be a complete surprise for the staff and didn’t let them on to any of our plans. We started with a Karaoke Singing and Dance Party Friday afternoon and since there is a swimming pool what better to do than also make it a POOL PARTY!! Before we got down to business though we had to hand out the instructions for Saturdays fun, where to show up, what time, what to bring etc. Of course we threw a couple curve ball items into the list, such as to bring a “piece of string 6 inches long”. (I never did check to see who actually brought a 6″ piece of string!)
The plan unknown to the staff was a chartered boat trip to Bohol island complete with a sight seeing. The first stop Panglao and Alona Beach!
It was a perfect day for our boat to motor over and everyone was super excited as only three of our 19 staff had ever been to Bohol before!
When we landed on the beach we had the staffs next surprise… this wasn’t just a sightseeing trip, but also a competition! I love scavenger hunts and have planned many over the past few years. We do our hunts a bit different than your local fraternity. Instead of finding items and bringing them back with you, we have everyone record their activities in photos! But we’ll save these interesting photos for another future post.
After our beach landing it was time to board the van for our first stop of the day, visiting the world famous Bohol Philippines Tarsiers!
These amazing little animals are the Philippines national animal. While they look a lot like a monkey, they are not. Although they are part of the Primate family. Not growing larger than 75-160mm and weighing 80-160 grams. Their hind legs are extremely long and powerful and allow them to leap up to 40x their body height (3-5m)!
After visiting with the Tarsiers we were off to enjoy the world famous Bohol Chocolate Hills.
The Chocolate Hills are a series of 1268 mounds of ancient coral formations from when the Philippines Islands were on the sea floor. Made of primarily limestone they are all very similar in shape and size. We found it very peculiar that nothing was really growing on the hills themselves, but the area between was very forested and also used for rice paddies.
After many amazing selfies everyone was ready for lunch. On the way up to the Chocolate Hills we passed a River Cruise Floating Restaurant, perfect to see some scenery and grab some grub. Off we go!
On the way to the restaurant we get to drive through the “Man-Made Forest.” This is an area planted with rare trees. So more selfies! Or in this case Shine showing off her leaping abilities, way to get some air shine!
When we made it to the Floating Restaurant and River Cruise everyone was ready to dig in. The food was decent and the scenery was brilliant with some great local musicians doing a little gig while we were under way.
After lunch it was time for some much needed Beach Time! So we headed back to take in Alona Beach and all they have to offer. This also allowed our Scavenger Hunt Teams a chance to finish off any unfinished business. But wait, what is this? The entire team in both vans were passed out! Worn out from the previous nights festivities and the days tours. Light weights!
But they did rally and it was a heck of a boat ride back