HOW IT ALL BEGAN!

Enjoy some scenes of Bogo

HI, I'M FE PERRY, THE OWNER OF VIRGIN BEACH RESORT

 

 I met my pen pal from California, Ron Perry, in January of 1990, and we have been happily married ever since.  We are blessed with two wonderful children, Dodong RonRon and Inday Mandy. We purchased Virgin Beach Resort in 1992 and began construction in 1994 and had our first guest in 1995.  My husband will tell you about his first visit to Bogo and how we met and married.  I hope you enjoy his story.

 

MY BOGO EXPERIENCE, by Ron Perry

 

I remember the first time I visited Bogo in January of 1990.  I met my pen pal, Miss Fe Jumao-as Alarde of Libertad, Bogo, in Manila at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.  I arrived on Northwest Orient Airlines flight at 9:00 p.m. and was very anxious to meet the person with whom I had corresponded for more than 6 months.  We had exchanged more than 300 letters and we had fallen in love through our letters to each other.

 

I sent Fe a red T-shirt with my "Farm Tours" logo on the front and was wearing one myself so that it would be easy to see each other at the at the airport.  I have to admit that I didn't sleep much on that 17 hour flight from L.A. via Tokyo and was always re-reading her latest letters and looking at her beautiful photo.  I had been through a painful divorce a year earlier and her letters to me were like a "drink of cool water on a hot summer day".  Sharing my feelings with her was the beginning of a much needed healing process for me.  Her loving and encouraging words helped me to get back on my feet and go on with my life.  Every letter from her was read and re-read a hundred times.  Reading her letters gave me a serene, peaceful feeling that my soul longed for.

 

Well, back to the airport...arriving passengers at that time could meet their party at the arrival lobby outside just after customs.  However, I needed to wait to clear customs after I claimed my luggage.  There is a whole other story here... Fe asked me to bring some apples and grapes as gifts for her and her family.  Being a farmer, I had access to lots of apples, but I wanted to take local grapes, and it was January!  I finally located a box from a friend and got them out of cold storage.  I packed one suitcase full of apples, individually wrapped in paper towels to help prevent bruising (it was a hard sided American Tourister suitcase) and I packed the other suitcase with the box of grapes and clothes around it to help cushion it.  My carry-on cntained my shaving kit and a few clothes.

 

As luck would have it, my suitcases were the last off.  But in the meantime, I couldn't wait to go outside and see Fe.  Customs gave me permission to go out and look and come back inside.  Wow, was the first look an eye-opener!  I had never seen so many brown-skinned people in my life...and every single lady it seemed had on a red t-shirt!

 

I finally did get my luggage and put them on a cart and pushed them out the big double doors.  I started on one side...the Filipinos had to be behind a rope barrier...and down the other looking for Fe.  As I crossed to the other side, I spotted her and what took place the next few moments was like the commercial on tv, where a man and woman seemed to run to each others arms in slow motion.  We finally met and shared a warm embrace.

 

At that moment, I felt God had given me a second chance, a new beginning at life.  We didn't kiss, we only held hands and Fe introduced me to her brother and two sisters-in-law.  Getting a taxi was a blur to me...we couldn't get one at the arrival area, too many taxis asking $100 or more.  We went upstairs to the departure area and found a junk car that would take us to my hotel near the U.S. Embassy...for $30!

 

My first impression of Manila has not changed.  I'm a country boy, not a city person and didn't like what I saw and experienced my first few days there.  We went to Cebu one day earlier than planned and took her sister-in-law with us.

 

Landing in Cebu, I knew right away I would like the island and the people.  People here were more friendly than in Manila and I wasn't fearful of being overcharged by the taxi (again a junk car) taking us to Bogo, 100 km or 60 miles north of Cebu, for about $30.  Even with the stronger dollar now in Cebu, the price is still the same...about $30.

 

Driving along the sea on our trip north was very enjoyable.  By now we had shared our first kiss and discussed a wedding in Bogo.  The most important thing now was to meet her parents.

 

The trip took us through the beautiful countryside, by beaches and colonial churches, turn of the century wooden houses and through the rainy season lush tropical vegetation of the mountains.

 

I'll have to admit that even though the road had been recently asphalted (some parts were cemented), it was a pretty bad road compared to U.S. standards.  The road since, bythe way, has gotten worse, then better.  By the End of 1998, all the road from Cebu City to Bogo was newly cemented and bridges were widened and strengthened.

 

It hadn't rained for a few days and the trip was dusty and hot.  It was nice going by the sea and capturing the gentle breeze and it was a few degrees cooler in the mountains.  The car didn't have air conditioning, but I enjoyed the ride anyway.

 

As we rounded a curve, Fe mentioned that we were already in Bogo.  I marveled at the sugar cane, first time I had seen it up close.  Fields and rolling fields of sugar cane extending all the way down to a huge plain.  Coconut trees neatly lined the fields and I saw workers cutting the cane by hand and loading it by bundles into old American trucks that had been "customized" by the locals.  I waved at children along the side of the road and they returned my waves with smiles, cheering and enthusiastic jumping up and down.  Children still do that in Bogo today.

 

Fe pointed out the Virgin Mary Shrine on top of the hill as we passed by and she crossed herself.  She pointed out the municipality also as we passed and mentioned that the mayor was a friend of the family (Mayor Dy).  I was impressed with the things I saw as we went to the town center.  Certainly "third world" in some ways, as I expected, but more charming and more modern than I had imagined.  She pointed out the college she had graduated from, Cebu Roosevelt Memorial College, a modern five story structure that wouldn't be out of place in any small town in America.

 

There were several reasons why I felt so at ease with Fe and why I knew we were meant for each other.  I had come from a large family (my mother had 7 children) and Fe was from an even larger family (10 children).  I was a farmer and her father had a large farm.  We shared many interests and had much in common...except of course, we were from very different cultures.  Also, Tulare, my hometown where I grew up, and Bogo were about the same size, 45,000 population at that time.

 

Fe continued to give me a tour of Bogo.  She showed me the church, a very beautiful building, and the public market  (where Gaisano is today).  I have to admit that the smell coming from the old public market made me sick...literally.  It was the first time I smelled dried fish!  I've somewhat gotten used to that smell, however, but still see the same expression on the American men's faces that I had when they smell dried fish for the first time.

 

Fe mentioned that her Mother had a small stand at the market, but she wasn't there that day.  We stopped at a stall near the main market and bought some rice, fish and fruit for our meal that night.  People were smiling everywhere we went and they would greet Fe and ask her in Visayan about me.  I felt like I was in a parade and waved and smiled at everyone I saw.  It was great!  I still get that same feeling everytime I return to Bogo...makes me feel just right at home.

 

Our final stop was in her barrio on the top of a hill just south of Bogo.  She had the taxi stop by the Libertad Elementary School and told me we would walk for a while.  I'll never forget the walk through a cornfield, through the bushes, past small nipa huts, down by the stream and finally to a 1930's wooden house.  Parents, brothers, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces...I couldn't even count them all!  I had inherited a huge Filipino family!

 

Dinner time and the food was delicious.  It was my first experience of someone preparing food over a wooden fire.  Even in my camping experience, we used gas or kerosene stoves.  I was overwhelmed with the Filipino hospitality and was literally treated like a king.  Fe and I ate first and everyone watched.  It was okay though, because I walways smiled and waved and the children giggled and ran away.

 

I was falling in love with Bogo, the people, my new family, and even more in love with Fe.

 

After dinner, Fe's brother got out his guitar.  It was dark already and they had already lit the kerosene lanterns (Libertad was not electrified then).  I joined in on the singing and they alternated playing the guitar and turning on the radio (battery powered) and we'd dance to the music.  The fun seemed to never end and I was surprised when people started to leave and we talked about where we'd sleep and I looked at my watch and it was only 10:00 p.m.

 

The next morning was a real adventure for me.  Fe explained that we would have to take a bath outside at the well.  Oh yea?  I had a mental picture of getting naked etc., but no, that was not the way it happened.  We went outside with our shorts and T-shirts on and she showed me how to draw the water from the well.  Pouring the cool water from a bucket over my head sure was invigorating and I still enjoy taking a "filipino shower".  Shaving was outside also, and I found a place to put a mirror, I was really getting used to the whole idea when I noticed lots of children watching (nephews and nieces, I assumed).  Seemed they had never seen anyone so white...I never had a tan and of course it was winter in California!

 

After breakfast, I asked Fe's parents for permission to marry their daughter and they did give their permission and also their blessing.  Fe had already taught me "mano po" and for the first time, "blessed" my new parents.  Everyone was shocked when they heard Fe's father speak English.  They had never heard him speak English in their lives.  It seemed as though he was in the Philippine Resistance and his farm provided supplies for the Philippine Scouts and the American Army.  it had been almost 45 years since he spoke any English!

 

Later that morning, we went to the Municipality to take out the marriage license.  The judge did not hold office that day so we made plans for the wedding the next day.  The rest of the day we visited relatives and made plans for the wedding and reception.  Our second dinner in Libertad was just as great as the first.  We had delicious sea food, rice and fruits...I really loved it!

 

The next day was the wedding and we took a tricycle (motorcycle with side car) to the town proper and went to Fe's Aunt's house where we would have a reception after the wedding.  they had a car with air conditioning and we all piled in (I think they made 2 or 3 trips)!  We had several aunts and uncles as sponsors and also Mayor Dy.  We waited in court while the judge tried a criminal case.  All the while everything was in Visayan, and I had the feeling that the wedding would be in dialect also and that Fe would have to tell me when to say "I do".

 

The Judge was a woman and did ask in Visayan about our wedding but began the ceremony in English, to my relief.  She didn't smile however, when she asked if I took Fe as my wife and I answered "I certainly do!"...but that's okay, because Fe did.  The ceremony was brief and handshakes and we were off to her Aunt's house for the reception. 

 

This was my first experience to enjoy the most delicious dish in the Philippines...lechon baboy (whole roast pig).  We had lots of other foods and of course, a huge cake.  The $200 I had budgeted for the reception sure went a long way.  Lots of people came by and congratulated us and enjoyed the food and even took some home.  It was already late afternoon and Fe said we needed to get back before dark (still a provincial tradition), so we caught a tricycle and made it back to the farm.

 

Just in time to have another reception!  I quickly learned that any and every occasion was a chance to celebrate, and celebrate we did!  This was my first experience with the traditional Cebuano drink, rum and coke.  It was great!

 

We took pictures and sang and danced almost all night.


Too soon, it was time to leave since I had to be back in Tulare for an agriculture tour.  It seemed to take forever, but finally the 6 months petitioning process was complete and Fe came to the U.S. and the rest, as they say, is history.  And now we're even more in love than ever before.

 

I've been back to Bogo (now a city) more than 60 times and always get that "going home" feeling you get when you go back to your home town.  I'm not a Bogohanan by birth, but I'm a Bogohanan by choice!

You are welcome to leave comments, questions and discussions here:

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Comments

  • Ron Perry (Saturday, January 09 10 12:34 pm EST)

    Let us know if you liked our story and add your comments here...thanks...ron

  • Naty Aliganga (Tuesday, April 06 10 02:30 am EDT)

    What a nice love story... was like reading a book.. Mills and Bones the like ... and they lived happily ever after

  • nilda (Sunday, May 02 10 11:05 am EDT)

    Hi, I came across your web blog when searching for a PADI dive site and licensed diver in Cebu and read your story. And I say I could relate to your story about your first travel to Bogo because I
    used to take a vacation in my father's hometown Tabogon (1974- 1982). The road was so rough and dusty back then and no electricity. Everytime I travel by bus or jeepney, my hair would always be
    covered with dust. Tabogon used to have a very nice white beach but now, it has been neglected and filled with grease from pump boats.

  • Caroline Diaz-Campbell (Friday, June 25 10 06:38 am EDT)

    Hello from Las Vegas,
    I read your wonderful love story.My father in-law from Canada married a lady from Lapu Lapu City last December.My husband Steven and I ( His first in the Philippines )are coming in July for his 2
    weeks vacation.I am originally from Davao and we are staying there for our first week then we would love tp get away to a nice resort. I been to Moal Boal for the first time in 84'and again in 97' Is
    Bogo town near it? We rented a taxi all the way to Moal Boal and the taxi driver picked us up 5 days later.How far are you from the city of Cebu?
    Thanks again for posting your love story and I hope we hear f rom you soon.
    Sincerely
    Caroline and Steven

  • cute (Sunday, July 25 10 03:15 am EDT)

    i loved your story!

  • ritchel son (Friday, August 13 10 12:55 am EDT)

    aunti fe musta nman diay mo aunti si inday ritchel ni anak ni ondo pilo ninyo ang mama ni papa ay si lola lourdes alarde son nagtinda ko dati kang lola ester na tindahan og mga saging aunti fe

  • les Herring (Friday, September 03 10 03:02 pm EDT)

    Great story. I first visited Cebu City in 1960 as a young Marine, then to subic Bay, 1961 and 1964 on my way to Vietnam.
    Came back to visit in 2003, Manila and Boracay and 2009 in Manila and Angeles City. Love the Philippine people.

  • Anric Boholst (Tuesday, November 09 10 04:39 am EST)

    I had the privilege of listening to this story personally from Ron, and I think it was a very romantic and loving story...

    I am blessed to have known Mr. Ron... and with my limited english vocabulary. I would have no problem conversing with this eloquent man... Mr. Ron

    Kudos Mr. Ron, thanks for the friendship...

    See you soon

  • Judy Kelley Wait (Saturday, November 13 10 10:30 am EST)

    Hello Ron and Fe, I just finished reading your story and loved it! I am still a romantic, and always appreciate a love story with a happy ending. How beautiful your family is and how blessed you've
    been to find each other and create this amazing family and life in two countries.

  • Alfred Rubrico (Saturday, April 16 11 05:53 am EDT)

    Hi!I'm from Davao City. I and my son, Jayson will going to have our summer vacation at Bogo, Cebu on May 4, 2011, my mother's birth place. I love your story Ron. Although, we haven't meet in person,
    I know that you are a good person, you are truly a bogohanon in heart.I'm looking forward to visit your place.

  • dhaydhay (Monday, May 16 11 05:19 pm EDT)

    hello brod ron en sister fe! just saw ur adveryisement thru facebook, en tried to view it, en i ended up reading ur story. the way u met each other made everybody inspired. money en place( 3rd world
    country) ,distance, culture doesn't count as long as you both are meant to be. your story showed how down to earth u were. wish u both more happiness in life. i'm looking forward to visit at your
    place/resort next year. GOD BLESS .. greetings coming from the netherlands..

  • katherina daniot (Wednesday, May 18 11 01:27 pm EDT)

    im amazed and in love with your story... the first visit in bogo, meet the parents & wedding part made me burst into laughter. God bless your family...

  • james and karen (Tuesday, May 24 11 11:08 am EDT)

    hi guys...you made cebu sound so good we just booked a month at virgin beach resort....

  • J Terrenal (Sunday, May 29 11 03:13 pm EDT)

    Ron and Fe,

    Indeed, a lovely story which illustrated the impact of love, care and adaptability to a culture that are both different from each other. Your success is a validation of your strong and loving
    relationship. Hopefully to visit Bogo and stay at your resort pretty soon ... Thank you for sharing your story. Something to nurture and experience by fellow Americans and other people from other
    cultures. It is not bad to fall in love with someone you have not met before...

  • Robert Whalen (Thursday, July 21 11 09:22 am EDT)

    Hello Ron and Fe from Canada !! What a tremendous story.Mine was near identical.I had a rough life with Alcohol and problems and decided one day to stop drinking find a nice young wife and maybe even
    start going to Church.I wanted a Filipina.Friends from Canada suggested a Niece in Malbago,Carmen Cebu.A remote fishing village of 200 fishing families.Never on a Plane in my life but away I went
    after communicating for a year.When I arrived in Cebu,I looked for my future wife. Everyone was 5 foot tall and looked alike and all waving to me.Oh My Goodness.After finding my girl,she had a
    bouquet of flowers for me.We started off to Malbago to meet the family.I felt like "The Pied Piper".The whole village followed us to my girls house at the end of "Malbago Road".Co-conut
    trees,tropical paradise.No electricity,no sirens.Complete quiet only Roosters crowing at 5Am.We were married at Mayor Villamors house in Carmen.This was the turning point in my life.We have a Son now
    and I'am a stay at home Dad.My wife Brenda is a Master Seaman in the Canadian Navy and we have a home in Malbago also.I have "Rusty Ferguson". on my web-page and that is how I found your resort.We
    would like more Info on your place as I have many friends who want a holiday in Cebu..I will visit you next trip.I imagine we could share a lot of Stories.Your Canadian Friends Bob,Brenda and
    R.J.Whalen.......

  • Jesus Decio Pedrano (Tuesday, July 26 11 01:19 pm EDT)

    ah,,, mao diay ni. ka nice sa story. congrats.... anak diay ko imu tiyo sim ateh. Dia pa sila ngaris quezon city cge pag hikay para approved plan. sunod daw titulo na.. dis wek manto ingon sa atty.
    nila..

    basig kinahanglan mog data encoder puede ko. ;)

  • Ron Neal (Monday, August 22 11 05:37 pm EDT)

    I have not been to Bogo for about 8 years and love the "clean city". However my wife is from Leyte so that is where I will make my bed. I plan on taking her to Bogo for a vacation, thanks for the4
    website.
    Ron in Sacramento

  • da (Saturday, January 28 12 09:04 pm EST)

    nice love story glad you like it here in the philippines

  • al dacillo (Wednesday, February 22 12 06:52 am EST)

    i read your love story as i lie in a hospital bed looking for a place to relax outside cebu after i am discharged off the hospital.

    your story inspired me... i hope to meet you as i go there in your place this coming saturday...

  • sinangote joy (Sunday, April 22 12 06:51 am EDT)

    i simply love your story....indeed,love moves in so many ways....we're planning to visit ur place soon with friends....im excited...just wanna relax and enjoy summer break....

  • Amy Baterna -Limalima (Saturday, May 26 12 12:09 am EDT)

    I enjoyed reading your love story.
    I 'd been to your beach when I and my family had our vacation last 2010.We really love the swimming pool,the cottages and everything.It's just like a paradise.
    one of your wife's nephew,Randy, and his wife, Menchu, are closefriends of mine.
    By the way,I am originally from Medellin,Cebu,but we are now residing here in New Mexico.

  • Robert (Thursday, September 27 12 07:16 pm EDT)

    what a beautiful story.I hope i am as blessed as you are.i am looking for a godly wife too! praise god man!

  • Robert (Thursday, October 11 12 01:53 am EDT)

    I just met my angel Janet is her name. She is from San Remigio. I fell in love at first site.
    She is more beautiful in person. I have known her like 4 days and I cannot get enough of her. I can tell it is going to be a long hard road for my heart. I feel she is tougher than me. I am bigf baby
    hahhah she makes me mush haahh
    I hope to write a love story like yours. I feel God has given me second chance with a good women which is hard to find. Only time will tell, I am 110% in from day 1 but I can see it will take time. I
    am a volcano and she is a slow cooker hahah..here goes 110% of my love. I am enjoying her every second I get with her.

  • JAJA (Sunday, October 21 12 02:44 pm EDT)

    WHAT A LOVELY INDEED LOVE STORY FOR BOTH OF YOU SOUNDS SPLENDID YET INDEED SO ADORABLE AND A VERY INSPIRATION OF BEING SO COURAGEOUS INDIVIDUAL LIKE YOU, RON!

    THAT WAS FANTASTIC CHEERS TO BOTH OF YOU RON AND FE MY CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU BOTH LOVELY CHEERS!

  • Zenith Layon-Goodin (Thursday, March 14 13 11:14 pm EDT)

    Lovely love story Sir Ron...keep the love burning.God bless you and your family always!

  • Annie (Tuesday, October 08 13 11:03 am EDT)

    I love how Ron put the words together. It's a love story made in Cebu, Philippines.
    Wishing you both a long, happy married life.

  • Charles Vise (Saturday, March 22 14 04:48 pm EDT)

    Nice resort, will stay there again. The Perry's always have the least expensive airfare! I don't know how they do it.

  • loida (Saturday, April 26 14 03:19 am EDT)

    smiling while reading your love story the whole time.. even had some goosebumps several times, just can't help but felt proud!! lovely!!

  • GUY (Wednesday, August 06 14 02:24 am EDT)

    Great ! I enjoyed to listen your story.

  • rolito sayson (Wednesday, January 14 15 01:17 pm EST)

    hello brod,take care,god bless you and your family,regards,best
    of luck...bye

  • Yahoo (Monday, February 09 15 04:17 pm EST)

    What\'s up, I read your new stuff like every week.
    Your story-telling style is awesome, keep doing what you\'re doing!

  • Mike carpenter (Thursday, March 05 15 09:59 pm EST)

    drove through there on the way to batayan island was looking for a place outside cebu that safe

    i think they even have a robinsons now

  • Jimmy stout (Thursday, October 01 15 02:03 am EDT)

    Hello Ron God really blessed so very much.I loved your story on meeting your Filipina wife what a blessing.I can't wait to see you God given paridice on the earth.It was God blessing you because of
    your goodness and God's blessing to your wife Fe and buetiful young children.I am excited to meet them and your staff Thank Ron from my heart to yours.It a very nice truly blessing for you.You are a
    good Man thanks for being my friend Jimmy Stout

  • Pearl (Thursday, May 05 16 12:19 pm EDT)

    Wow, you must be so in love. I mean you still remember every detail of your love story even when it's already more than a decade ago.

  • Ben (Sunday, July 24 16 12:45 am EDT)

    Hello Ron, certainly an intriguing story. I'm happy it worked out for you and Fe.
    I also met a friend from the Book area Medellin, known her several years, but have never visited her there. She discourages my visits there to meet her folks. When we meet its always in Cebu. Do you
    or Fe know about Medellin and can share why would one be discouraged from coming there?

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