As mentioned in my “Dream to Travel” post, I’ll be having a separate blog post for my amazing Bohol trip with my family. However, this will not be the usual travel blog where I’ll share what we did. I decided to list down the top FIVE things I’ve learned from this trip and why traveling is super-duper awesome:
#1 There’s more to what is written.
Bohol is one of the top-of-mind destinations in the Philippines because of its famous Chocolate Hills and the Tarsier. Little do we know that more than these two tourists spots, Bohol has a lot to offer. The province has a complete package of activities that can keep you busy – apart from the usual sight-seeing and food tripping, one can do beach bumming (yes, Bohol has white beaches too – you must see the Virgin Island!); snorkeling and diving (very diverse species of corals and fish); trekking, caving, wall climbing, river boating, zip lining, and rappelling (all of these in the awesome Danao Adventure Park). It has a mixed of both land and water activities that can be enjoyed by everyone, whatever your group age is.
And do you know that the Chocolate Hills are limestones? They said that Bohol was used to be sub-merged with water and because of erosion and coral reef uplift from a plate tectonic shift, these hills were formed. These amazing hills can be seen in the towns of Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan, but a viewdeck was built in Carmen for tourists. Bet they don’t teach you that in school! :P
#2 Learn the culture.
Each tour day, I made sure that I ask our drivers/guides what we should expect from Bohol. I’m happy that all of them were very accommodating (we had different driver/guide per day) and very eager in sharing information about the place. For example, Bohol’s local language is Bisaya, and I’ve learned some words I think we can use during our stay like Maajung Buntag (Good morning), Maajung Gabi-i (Good Evening), Tagpila Kini (How much is this?), Wala na bay hangyo (Is there a discount?), and Mangaon Ta (Let’s eat).
Usual modes of transportation for the locals include riding the tricycle, jeepneys/ mini cabs and non-air conditioned buses. They also have taxis, habal-habal and V-hire but these are mostly for tourists. Buses and jeepneys/ mini cabs are very rare and are scheduled. I’ve witnessed mini cabs with more than 30 passengers though it can only seat around 18 passengers. Most of the passengers are hanging outside or even sitting at the top of the vehicle’s roof (Only in the Philippines!).
Tricycles are very rampant in the city. Some interesting facts about their tricycles: (1) All tricycles have the same look and can only seat 3 people – 2 inside and 1 at the back seat of the driver, (2) All registered tricycles should have a body number. This allows the government to track and monitor them. (3) There is an area at the back of the tricycle to put your things and no one bothers to steal! (4) Tricycle drivers are not allowed to choose their passengers. When they did, the people can report this to the government by giving their body number so that they can track them. This will be written in their records. Tricycle drivers will have to pay for their violations when they register again, (5) In the past, tricycle drivers usually design their tricycles with posters of women in bikinis. Since the government wanted to stop this vulgarity, they ordered that tricycle drivers should design their tricycles with biblical passages for them to get their permits.
Habal-habal, or driving in the back seat of motorbikes, is mostly used by foreign tourists to get around the whole area and to small inland routes. V-hire (or van for hire) and taxis are usually rented for tours by local and foreign tourists alike.
All tour agencies are registered and accredited by the Department of Tourism. Any agency caught with no registration can suffer 6-months or more imprisonment and other charges. Most van/ car for rent used by agencies are colored white. They say that this color offers more flexibility as they can have this rented for weddings too. Further, it always looks clean and brand-new. Cars/ Vans are usually imported from Cebu, where the Toyota Main office is located, as Bohol have service and maintenance offices only.
#3 Never fear, go extreme!
Every time I travel, I am usually challenged on getting out of my comfort zone in terms of the activities I do. I am not usually a thrill-seeker nor an active sport enthusiast, but lately, I am slowly trying to open myself to new things, especially with extreme activities. Last February, I’ve mentioned that I tried Wakeboarding with my friends. A week after that, while in Bohol, I tried the following outdoor activities: Trekking, Root Climbing, Zip Lining, Rapelling and the extremest of all: “The Plunge”. I have no problem with the first four activities as I’ve done them during my field trips, but “The Plunge” is another thing. It is where you’ll be hanged and suddenly dropped with only a rope holding your (oh-dear) life 200 meters in height. It is by far one of the most horrifying yet fulfilling experiences there is. I was given a fear management certificate afterwards signed by the local government! *thumbs up*
#4 You’ll never know how good it is unless you try
During the entire trip, I’m in the “new food-eating mood” that upon given a chance, I usually order / eat those that are new to me (and sometimes devour on it! HAHA!). These include Bohol Bee Farm’s Organic Garden Salad (The salad with flower petals. Yes, you read right, F-L-O-W-E-R-S!), Bee-Fi Shake (their drink specialty composed of Pineapple, Mango and Camote, and Spicy-Ginger) and Malunggay Ice Cream with Cassava-made Ice Cream Cone; Butterfly Farm’s Jack fruit Ice Cream; and local Bohol delicacies – Uni (or Sea Urchin) and Sahang (shell containing a “squid”-like taste meat inside) in Virgin Island.
#5 Me-time is necessary.
Blessed to have 4-day off from work and outside of the Metro, I made sure to have at least 1 – 2 hours me-time to reflect. During our last night, I went outside our hotel alone, found an area where there is live music, and sat by the beach. I did the same the next morning while soaking myself in the sun and reading a book before we left for the airport. It feels good to just listen to the waves and look at the sky. I get to observe a lot of people – some are happy, some are sad, and like me, some are lost (hmmm! I won’t go make this blog sad. HAHA). Maybe next time, I should add having a new friend in my list. :D
Here are more photos I’ve captured from my Instax. Aren’t they lovely?
That’s it for now. Don’t worry, I’ll be happy to share our itinerary even the list of who to contact. Feel free to PM me, okay? :)
<3 always, Irene