The day trip to Bohol was amazing. I’m so thankful I had the chance to visit the place even for just a few hours. The original itinerary was to arrive at Cebu (Mactan International Airport) on Day 1 and take a ferry to Bohol that same day, then spend two days there and go back to the airport in Cebu for departure (meaning, Cebu was only gonna be our landing/leaving place). I honestly wasn’t game for it since I preferred to spend our whole trip at Cebu because I was more interested to explore the city down south.
Plans had changed and a Bohol day trip was made. But I was wrong—Bohol is AMAZING! I don’t regret my suggestion though—even my Cebuana penpal recommended it since she said that Bohol is good for a day’s visit.
We rode the Ocean Jet Ferry which left at six in the morning, and arrived at Tagbilaran Port at 8 am. So cool how the trip took exactly two hours. When you get inside the lobby, there are a lot of information desks that offer different kinds of day tours around Bohol, depending on your preference. You get to rent a vehicle and have a tour driver.
One of the people I always remember when I think about this trip is Kuya Dodong, our tour driver! Funny conversation starter.
Our first stop was the Tarsier Conservation Area at Loboc, which was around 30 minutes from the port. The entrance ticket was actually a postcard with a detachable stub. I love postcards so that made me instantly happy!
They were soooo cute I can’t even! It’s weird how I expected them to be as small as baby monkeys or something like that, but they were as big as hamsters.
Tarsiers are like babies. According to our tour guide, they are really delicate creatures that need tender loving care. Nobody is allowed to hold or even touch them. They can’t get wet in the rain either or they might die! Pretty much explains why the one above has a wood and a leaf on top of it. There are around 120 tarsiers in this sanctuary, if I’m not mistaken.
Before the exit, there were stalls selling souvenirs. I spent quite a lot of time here, browsing through the tarsier bonnets, keychains, magnets, nail cutters, and whatever tarsier-fied trinkets you can think of.
The seller: This is why they’re endangered!
It was pretty hilarious, I swear. They were literally tin cans with nothing inside. I could have got one if it had a use like a piggy bank or what. It’s a witty idea actually—such an attention grabber!
I had a pretty interesting experience at the souvenir shop too. I was mistaken as a foreigner—twice. I mean, anybody can be mistaken for a race not his/her own, but in your own country? The Boholano sellers thought I was Vietnamese and Japanese! I can’t be Japanese because I’m kayumanggi… I don’t look Vietnamese either (at least I think I don’t). I found it weird, because if the locals themselves think I’m not a Filipino, what more foreigners? It’s so sad, I want to look like a person from my own country. Haha.
I was also able to talk to tourists too, and it was something I was so happy about! Mental bucket list—one down! It was in this place I bought peanut snacks as pasalubong back home. There was a tourist couple beside us as we were buying. The guy was browsing through the delicacies, and it seemed as if he just grabbed whatever he saw, so I pointed at the peanut fingers and told him that it was good (since the seller offered us a free taste). He responded and nodded, and got a pack for himself.
Me: Where are you from?
Me: Oh, wow!
Guy: And you?
Me: I’m from here, the Philippines… Manila.
Then my mom joins in the conversation.
Mom: I have a student from Zurich, and she always invites me to go there to have cheese fondue!
Guy: Ah, hahaha, this is better.*points at the delicacies*
LOL. So funny. Hahahaha. I don’t know why but I was laughing the whole time. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, yeah?
At around 11 am, we had lunch, still at the same place. Would you believe that they only serve red rice?! I also believe that it is the norm in Bohol. Naks. Para sa mga nagpapayat diyan… tara na sa Bohol!
And again, I was mistaken as a Japanese. “I-kokonichiwa na sana kita eh!” the seller said.
Now, it makes me think if they’re actually telling the truth or making me bola. They’re strangers, so that’s supposed to be unbiased opinions. I really don’t know, haha.
Seller: Anong inumin? Coke, N.S. Tea?
Me: Hmm… ano bang meron? Ano yung N.S. Tea?
*walks to the refrigerator*
Me: N.S. Tea… wala ‘to sa Maynila! Sige, ito nalang!
N.S. Tea. N.S. Tea. N.S. Tea. Say it a million times.
N.S. stands for Nature Spring, but okay… HAHA /wrist. Clever minds indeed.
The second stopover was Chocolate Hills in Carmen!
Before reaching the place where the hills could be seen, you have to climb a 214-step staircase. It was tiring actually (I thought I was gonna barf, like what happened in Quezon, but good thing I didn’t), but you know, sacrifice (and ehem, exercise… wow, that rhymed) for a good view! I really felt bad for the senior citizens who stopped halfway. I think the place needs cable cars.
They were so cute. I think that is the best word to describe them. Each hill was perfect in its concave goodness.
And I say it again. That same thing you only saw on your Social Studies textbook back in grade school, and is now seen by the naked eye… ah, that feeling. I’m super shallow when it comes to traveling, and I don’t think I can ever get used to the feeling that it’s actually right in front of me.
It was also in the place where I had my second tourist convo encounter. But now, it was more awkward, weird and kapalmuks to the max! So as the people were waiting to stand on the best angle to have their picture taken, a girl (probably around her early twenties) approached me to have a snapshot of her.
Girl: Ah, thank you! *head bowing*
Me: You’re welcome! What country are you from?
Girl: Ah… China!
Me: Wow, really? Where are you from in China?
Me: Oh, Shanghai!
Girl: 谢谢！(Thank you!)
Me: *hesitates, but whatever* 没关系！(No problem!)
*girl repeats what I said, as if she said it again to correct me*
Me: Do you want another picture?
*girl doesn’t respond, confused, so I make hand gestures with the camera*
*again, we can’t understand each other, so I forget it and leave*
Me: 好的，再见！(Okay, goodbye!)
DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?!
It has happened so many times that I would have an encounter with a native Chinese speaker but never attempt to talk in Chinese. For real. I don’t get myself either. But this time, I actually engaged myself in a conversation even before my brain told me to do so. It was the sudden response of my body and I don’t know why. However, I did not mention to the girl that I was learning because I didn’t want to engage in a fail convo if ever.
So yeah, nothing was lost, haha! She didn’t know I was learning, so even if I said it wrong, it wouldn’t matter, because it was just like a foreigner talking to me who knew basic words like salamat, paalam, etc. applying it in a conversation. Why am I so pathetic?
Then off we went to Shiphaus in Batuan, which was a house turned… ship! Entrance fee is ridiculously cheap (₱30). It was a unique attraction that was such a standout in the area. It was sort of like a marine museum with sailor stuff, plus a mini hotel with accommodating rooms and an events place. I don’t think this was included in the itinerary of the day tour (since the place is relatively new) but I highly recommend this place.
The countries the seaman (who owns the place) and his family have visited. I need those flags in my room. Hehe.
Each group gets its own tour guide. This is Rocel, and she was the nicest tour guide ever! She was willing to take each and every picture.
Rocel: Anong salita sa Bisaya alam mo?
Maita: Uhh… jutay?
Last stop before going back to the port was Baclayon Church. Old churches are so beautiful. Already been to three this year, and I hope I could visit more soon!
It was actually in Art class I found out that this was made of a million egg whites.
The day tour only lasted for half a day, so by quarter to four, we were already back at Tagbilaran Port. If only we had more time, we could have laid on the sandy beaches, have done some kamayan at the floating restaurants of Loboc River, or could have spared a minute or two to get out of the car and let the cool breeze blow through our hair at the man-made forest.
For a weekday, there were so many people. Such a good feeling to see locals and foreigners tanned, bringing home bags of pasalubong home, and getting in the ferry knowing they all had a good adventure. It’s impossible for anyone to leave the island without the feeling of fulfillment and joy, because how can you not, with a place as breathtaking as Bohol?