Tricycle Pedicab at sunset near the Chocolate Hills in Bohol

Fourth of July in the Philippines: Cookout in Bohol



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Just because we might be out of the U.S. doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate the usual holidays. A Fourth of July celebration just wouldn’t be the same without baked beans, hot dogs, hamburgers and all the usual backyard cookout staples. Luckily, Pete Geiger, a volunteer from my Peace Corps group who is assigned in the village of Bilar in the province of Bohol put together an authentic American Fourth of July cookout for the volunteers in the area. How could I say no?

  • Fourth of July in Bilar 2004

    Fourth of July in Bilar 2004
    As with most trips between provinces in the Philippines, the trip to Pete's Fourth of July cookout involved a boat ride...

  • Fourth of July in Bilar 2004

    Fourth of July in Bilar 2004
    Instead of take the pedi cab into the village, we caught a ride with one of Pete's neighbors.

  • Fourth of July in Bilar 2004

    Fourth of July in Bilar 2004
    Since I was full from eating all the hamburgers, baked beans and watermelon I could eat, I turned down this plate full of bright orange chicken heads on sticks.

  • Fourth of July in Bilar 2004

    Fourth of July in Bilar 2004
    Pete gave us a tour of this rice paddy near his house (click here for a close up view of the paddy).

  • Fourth of July in Bilar 2004

    Fourth of July in Bilar 2004
    When we left Bilar early the next morning there was a downpour again, but this time I didn't have my raincoat buried in the bottom of my backpack.

  • Fourth of July in Bilar 2004

    Fourth of July in Bilar 2004
    ...then a bus ride

  • Fourth of July in Bilar 2004

    Fourth of July in Bilar 2004
    While waiting for the bus to pull out from the terminal, a gaggling swarm of food vendors push low cost snacks for the long bus ride.

  • Fourth of July in Bilar 2004

    Fourth of July in Bilar 2004
    The bus ride through the less populated parts of Bohol provided lots of great views. In this photo, local farmers tend to their rice paddies under the midday tropical sun.

  • Fourth of July in Bilar 2004

    Fourth of July in Bilar 2004
    We made the trip during the rainy season for the Philippines, and while it may not rain constantly during rainy season, scattered thunderstorms are common and can dump torrential soakings upon the unwary. This storm is pummeling Bohol's famous Chocolate Hills (click here to read more about the Chocolate Hills).

  • Fourth of July in Bilar 2004

    Fourth of July in Bilar 2004
    Just as we pulled into Pete's village of Bilar, I was the one who got an unexpected soaking. I think the dry observers in this little cantina got their money's worth out of seeing the foreigner get doused.

  • Fourth of July in Bilar 2004

    Fourth of July in Bilar 2004
    Word of Pete's authentic backyard barbeque spread far and wide and attracted both Peace Corps Volunteers as well as Pete's neighbors who were curious to try "authentic" American food.

  • Fourth of July in Bilar 2004

    Fourth of July in Bilar 2004
    After the cookout and the afternoon downpour, the skies cleared up for a nice sunset. This was our cue to do a little sightseeing around Bilar; this road leads into the main square of town.

  • Fourth of July in Bilar 2004

    Fourth of July in Bilar 2004
    This pedi cab is the equivalent of a low cost taxi here in the Philippines. Welders attach a sort of coach frame to a regular motorcycle and voila!: mass transit. This pedi cab was returning to town to pick up some new customers.