Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I spent the holy week in Bohol! A lot of people have been to there so I’m not even going to attempt to sound as if it’s a unique experience but the awesome sites deserve to be credited.

Now that I’m “officially” a trained tour guide, I appreciate much more having a very well trained one (Thanks Gary of Alona Kew). It was 2 years ago in Shanghai that I’ve first experience a guided city tour. It was the worst travel experience ever due to his unprofessionalism. He totally ruined Shanghai for us! We felt that we would be better off exploring the city by ourselves.

One of the places you should go see is the Man-made Forest. That area used to flood a lot, and so the governor said that each person in the island of Bohol should plant 1 tree, either a Mangrove tree (near the river) or a Mahogany tree (around the mountain). Up until now, they still practice this, for the kids who graduate from the 6th grade; before enrolling into high school, they would have to plant a tree and get a certification from the DENR.

It is also in Bohol you will find the commemorative statue of the Blood Pack between Conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna. Although the area where the statues are situated is not the exact place where the actual blood pack happened, it is actually less than a kilometre away in the town of Loay.

You cannot say that you have been to Bohol if you didn’t go see the Chocolate Hills. There are 1,268 hills. How then did these natural phenomena happen? Some geologists excavated at least 5 hills and found out that the hills were actually made from coral and shell fragments, which means that this area of Bohol was actually used to be underwater!

After the Chocolate Hills, we went to visit the Tarsiers. They eat insects like crickets (you can buy crickets to feed the tarsiers in the sanctuary). The average life span of a tarsier is 20 years. Unlike their cousins the monkeys, they are loners and do not like to socialize much. Tarsiers also do not have peripheral vision, meaning they only see what is in front, that is why Mother Nature gave them the ability to turn their heads 180 degrees left and right. Tarsiers, if you remove them from their habitat in Bohol, they will die, not because of natural causes, but because of suicide. Tarsiers have suicidal tendencies when they are away from their homes (meaning, Bohol). They have heads as soft as a new born baby and they will bang their heads until they bleed to death, and sometimes they will drown themselves in a puddle of water.

After looking at the Tarsiers we went to the Loboc River and went to eat at the floating restaurant. The river was soooo clean! They have strict rules about polluting the river and the streets. The streets in Bohol are very clean, Japan clean, Singapore clean! When the police catch a person throwing a piece of trash from the car, the driver will be held liable and will have to pay the fine. While eating in the floating restaurant, there was a duo of guitar player and singer that serenaded us. While we were cruising along Loboc River we came to another floating raft with a choir, it was a livelihood project of the community. They started singing by welcoming the tourist to Loboc, kids, teens and elders each had 1 performance, they sang and danced, and then the tourists would give donation for the “concert.”

A small separate island south of Tagbilaran is the Panglao Island. That is where we stayed. It is connected to Bohol by 2 bridges; it is very convenient to go from Panglao to Bohol. We stayed in the Alona Beach. The horizon of the beach can compete with that of Boracay, the sand was also white and the water pristine clean. Since Bohol is a coral reef area, some spots of the beach were rough because of the crushed corals, but the rest are just beautiful. It has shorter shore line compared to Boracay. As for nightlife, there is not much. It is not as festive as Boracay, but they also set up tables on the beach so you can have romantic dinner under the moonlit sky. The only thing that Alona beach doesn’t have is the Boracay sunset, although the full moon over the ocean was just as amazing.

They will soon be building the Bohol-Panglao International Airport; there are different views on this. Some hates the idea of bustling noisy airport, some do not see the need for it since Cebu is only 2-hour ferry ride away, some loves it for further tourism; for whatever reason it may be, I think Bohol is a treasure. It should be known as a model province all over the Philippines to inspire Filipinos to strive for excellence for this is how a tourist spot should work.

Friday, April 3, 2009

2009 is MY year!

I have long waited for MY year to come. It has been mediocre up until Mabuhay Guides. I have been looking for something that would change me big time. I always want change. As I quote my sister, “embrace randomness.”

Now that I have finally graduated I cannot help but feel giddy about the following days to come and the revolution that will sweep my life. I feel really blessed and lucky to have been chosen to be one of the 21 Mabuhay Guides pioneer. In 2008, I didn’t have a plan in my life and just sort of went with the flow. In January, I had already planned for my birthday in June! But this year, it’s already almost April, and I still don’t have a plan for it, because I don’t even know what I’m gonna do next week, more so on my birthday which is 2 months away! And I love it!

I enjoy not knowing what will happen (not that I knew before), it’s more like I know things are lined up for me, and yet I don’t know what they are, contrary to just not knowing what to do, right? Doors and windows of opportunity keep opening up and it feels amazing. I am so excited for the things that I want to do and the things that I CAN do. My older sisters always tell me I’m lucky that I’m still young, and I agree. I know that I act more mature than people of the same age, sometimes I feel like I’m 35 (in a good way), so when I realize I’m just turning 26 this coming June, I feel like I’m 9 years wiser.

I am slowly exploring the world. I was listening to the radio last night and the discussion was about inspiration, “what inspires you?” I contemplated on my answer to that question and I think the answer is “the future.” Whatever that lies in the future excites and inspires me. There are so many places I can go to and so many things I want to do; I haven’t even been around the Philippines yet! I’ve never even been outside Asia, and yet there are still China, India and the Middle East; Americas, Europe, and Africa! I want to do volunteer work help out our fellow Filipinos; try to be a teacher at least once in my life; and maybe find a little more about passions and true love.

I know that having an exceptional start of the year with a good out look like this doesn’t come often; but this won’t stop me from looking for adventures to take on every now and then.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009