Monthly Archives: September 2012

Zentraveler takes superfast ferry to Bohol, Philippines.

Fastcraft ferry to Bohol

Arriving at Pier 1 in Cebu I was pleasantly surprised to board our super clean ferry to Bohol. As ferries go in the Philippines, I am used to the old type of ferry where you walk over the transport ropes, past the loading trucks, and then climb up to the next level and pick out you’re not to comfortable seat for the travel. This ferry not only looked like the state of the art design…. it was so smooth traveling over the water that you could barely detect you were seaborne.

Blood Compact Monument

Several hours later we arrived in the town of Tagbilaran City, where we made arrangements ahead of time to day tour part of the island, which included: The Blood Compact Site at Barangay Bool, Tagbilaran City is in memory of the historic agreement between native Filipinos and the Spaniards, several historical churches, and an all you can eat buffet river cruise at the Rio Verde Floating Restaurant. The food was excellent with many choices of fresh seafood, salads, fruits and local cuisine. To add to the ambiance they had a live one man guitarist singing out his favorite oldies but goodies songs as we headed up river. “I’m leaving on a jet plane” set the melody as we rounded a steep turn in the river and had an opportunity to meet some of the indigenous natives with their crafts and way of life living on the riverbank.

Floating Restaurant

Bohol has invested large sums of money developing the tourism industry and has many tour guides in new travel vans with fixed prices and tours for your stay in Bohol. In one-way this is much easier to negotiate then trying to piecemeal your trip with many different types of transport etc. The port in Tagbilaran City is upscale with its own police station, tourism bureau, and open market to purchase handicrafts and local eateries.

Port Police Station

Tourists have many choices which include: staying at Nuts Huts Resort on the Loboc River, going to the famous Chocolate Hills, having an all you can eat buffet on one of the riverboats, visiting Panglao Islands Alona Beach with its large x-pat community, world class diving, restaurants and hotel accommodations, visiting the Tarsiers outdoor nature park, taking the zipline from the Loboc Eco Adventure Park, seeing the butterfly exhibit, the snake farm and staying in the city, which has several shopping centers plus some excellent restaurants.

Local Singer Floating Restaurant

Our first night we stayed in a new resort on the opposites side of the Loboc River named: Stephanie Grace Paradise Inn and Restobar, which was very well-appointed with a swimming pool and terrace on the river. They also have one river raft cottage for overnight accommodations tethered to the resort …ideal for the backpackers or the adventurer tourist.

Stephanie Grace Resort

So there you have it. Why not see for yourself the many natural sites, churches, and white beaches on Bohol Island, or get lost in the Chocolate Hills and eat your way to Nirvana.

Chocolate Hills

QUOTE:”If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” ~ James A. Michener ~

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:. The Philippine Tarsier, considered the second-smallest primate in the world, is indigenous to the island. Tarsiers are small animals with enormous eyes; each eyeball is approximately 16 mm in diameter and is as large as its entire brain. Tarsiers also have very long hind limbs, due mostly to the extremely elongated tarsus bones of the feet, from which the animals get their name. The head and body range from 10 to 15 cm in length, but the hind limbs are about twice this long (including the feet), and they also have a slender tail from 20 to 25 cm long. Their fingers are also elongated, with the third finger being about the same length as the upper arm. Most of the digits have nails, but the second and third toes of the hind feet bear claws instead, which are used for grooming. Tarsiers have very soft, velvety fur, which is generally buff, beige, or ochre in color.

Philippine Tarsier

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Tarsiers. Tarsiers are way to cute to allow to go into extinction. Get busy grasshopper!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Travel light, travel often, and don’t complain… no one will listen anyway.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Filed under Alona Beach, Bohol, Loboc Eco Adventure Park, Nuts Huts Resort, Panglao Island, Philippine Tarsier, Rio Verde Floating Restaurant, Stephanie Grace Resort, The Blood Compact Site, travel, Uncategorized

Zentraveler on the meaning of Zen!

We can start by asking the question what is Zen? Is it the Zen handbook entitled: “Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance.?” Is it the Zen of fly-fishing? Is it a branch of Buddhism? Is it just you being you? A simplistic answer is: Zen is eliminating your ego… thus being empty, free, fresh, and creative. mu-shin (no self)

Zen mu-shin. Monks in training sit in Zazen (Zen meditation) for approximately 6 hours a day. Regulating body and breath, they enter into mu (a state of unconflicted receptivity) with eyes half-closed. Seven times a year they have week-long retreats known as Sesshin, where they sit in Zazen from 3 AM until 11 PM. Just sit!

One way to think of Zen is this: a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. Zen is a way of being. It also is a state of mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts. “Sun is warm, grass is green.”

The belief of no faith began its existence with Buddhism, the “father” of Zen. Buddhism began with a prince named Siddhartha. Siddhartha was born close to five hundred B.C.. After having lived twenty-nine years and experiencing life in the world, the soon-to-be-enlightened one left his child and martial partner in order to dedicate the rest of his life towards becoming enlightened. At the age of thirty-five, Siddhartha attained Enlightenment under the fabled Bo tree and became Buddha, or “The Enlightened One”.

Although Buddha’s body died later, his spirit lived on and went into the next person that needs a soul (i.e. people that are being conceived. Many Zen thinkers say that Zen was initiated once Buddha achieved Enlightenment. Other Zen masters think of Bodidharma as the “founder” of the most popular Japanese form of Buddhism. Bodidharma’s name means “law of wisdom”. The first Zen Buddhist was the leader of a Buddhist sect that later became Zen around 470 A.D.. Although there is doubt as to who officially began Zen, the definition of Zen remains the same.

If you aren’t committed to becoming a monk and wearing yellow robes and keeping away from general society, you can still get a lot of benefits by just sitting or learning a Zen way of life, which you can practice anytime, anywhere, under any conditions, anywhere in the world….and the total monetary cost is free.

QUOTE: Zen is Complete and absolute peace. I am so zen. This guy dumped muddy water on me and I just smiled and waved. Zen is a state of coolness… only attained through a totally laid-back type of attitude. Chilling out and wearing sunglasses all day makes me zen. Can you pass the Zen, please?

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: In the beginner’s mind there is no thought, “I have attained something.” All self-centered thoughts limit our vast mind. When we have no thought of achievement, no thought of self, we are true beginners. Then we can really learn something. The beginner’s mind is the mind of compassion. When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless. Dogen-zenji, the founder of our school, always emphasized how important it is to resume our boundless original mind. Then we are always true to ourselves, in sympathy with all beings, and can actually practice.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Beginners Mind! Sounds easy …not necessary so grasshopper!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Eliminate your ego, empty your mind and practice giving compassion to all of the worlds people, animals, fishes and plants. That’s what I am talking about…high octane Zen! CAUTION YOUR EGO WON’T GIVE UP EASILY …IT WILL ALWAYS TRY TO WORK BACK INTO YOUR LIFE AND BE A PART OF YOU.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Filed under absolute peace, beginner's mind, Practical Zen, Uncategorized, what is zen, Zazen, Zen Buddihism

Zentraveler on the benefits of Yoga!

The word yoga comes from a Sanskrit word Yuj, it means to center one’s thought, to concentrate on one’s self, to meditate. It also means to “unite”, “join” and “connect”; a bringing back into balance. Yoga harmonizes the body, mind and spirit.

After their first yoga class, people often testify that they have improved their sleeping habits and posture. Yoga has helped people lose weight, overcome fears, conquer habits like smoking, and develop better concentration. Others feel they have improved self-awareness, a deeper sense of well-being, developed compassion, and enhanced relationships, greater self-acceptance and a sensation of being at peace.

What is Yoga? ~ Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Alistair Shearer

Yoga is a way to restore our lost wholeness, our integrity as complete human beings, by unifying the personality around a center that is silent, unbounded, spacious, and joyful. The techniques of yoga are methods of purifying the nervous system so that it can reflect a greater degree of consciousness and our lives can become an increasingly positive force in the world.

If these techniques are correctly practiced, the whole nervous system is revitalized – the body enjoys better health and more energy, the rested mind is freed from the burden of past experience, and perception is restored to its primal freshness. Thought and activity become coherent and integrated, life becomes richer and more fulfilling.

Yoga is not a religion. Its techniques, however, will gradually lead you to the direct experience of those truths on which religion rests. Yoga is a catalyst that allows us to grow in whichever direction is natural and life supporting.

At the very center of our being is a great spaciousness that is untouched by sin and illusion. A point of pure truth which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our mind or the brutalities of our will. It’s like a pure diamond – blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It’s in everybody. And if we could only see it and integrate it – we would radiate a peace that would make all the darkness and all the cruelty vanish forever.

QUOTE: “Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity. This evolution includes all aspects of one’s being, from bodily health to self-realization. Yoga means union – the union of body with consciousness and consciousness with the soul. Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day to day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.” —B.K.S. Iyengar

THINGS YOU NAY NOT KNOW:.Chanting Om at the beginning and end of a yoga session brings the person a sense of connection to the entire universe and is meant to be soothing and uplifting. In eastern Philosophy it is believed that Om is the universal source of energy.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Your cardiovascular, your muscles, and peace of mind.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:If you want good health and longevity… practice your yoga grasshopper.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

Leave a comment

Filed under meditation, om, peace of mind, Practical Zen, Uncategorized, yoga, yuj