(A SUPER LATE POST)
It has always been a part of my wish list to travel and see the marvels of the world. But in my current financial state, I can only afford domestic travels. I still have a long way to go and a lot of saving to do just so I can go out of the country.
The Master Plan
Last February 2012, Jelai and I planned to go on a trip together to explore and wander on our own (minus the fambam) to somewhere we haven’t been to yet. Lucky us because we were able to purchase plane tickets at a very minimal price. Of course, I knew that our getaway would be more fun if we’d be joined by more people. At first, my older sister insisted to go with us but decided to just skip the chance because of her son’s birthday. In the end, it was my cousin Angelli (Angge as most of her friends would call her) who decided to come with us after I have talked her into it.
And if your curious enough where we were headed to—– it’s none other than the Queen City of the South– Cebu!
Our excitement for this trip was just too overwhelming that’s why we planned everything ahead. Most of the reservations and preparations were handled by Jelai and I. Angge works in Manila so we only communicate with her for consultation and approval of our choices. We wanted this getaway as memorable and enjoyable as possible so we wished to iron things out before we head off to our destination. In that way, there would be less stress to think of and more time to enjoy and savor the city. In addition to our Cebu getaway, we also decided to go for a short side trip to Bohol since it’s just a ferry ride away from Cebu. We really wanted to make the most of our travel so even though we have budget constraints, we just went ahead with our plan, turned a blind eye to our hurting pockets, and searched for the best offers we can find.
We actually looked through a lot of hotel deals and special offers from travel agencies in the internet. Jelai and I were fortunate enough to come across the kind of deals that fit our budget. We booked for a 3-night stay in a family hotel near SM and reserved separate day tours for Bohol and Cebu. Aside from the hotel, all the reservations we’ve made were to be paid before or after the scheduled tour.
The Flight Plan
Cebu turned out to be our meeting place as we flew all the way from three different parts of the country. Jelai took a plane from Legazpi, I from Davao, and Angge from Manila. We were all excited and eager to explore the tourist attractions in Cebu and Bohol. But truth is, there was a little change in the flight plan. Originally, I was to fly from Legazpi to Cebu together with Jelai but because I was in Davao for a training, it was cheaper and more practical if I’d just forfeit the flight we’ve booked months ago. I realized that it was better to just purchase a new ticket which will take me directly to Cebu from Davao. Angge, on the other hand, was to come later the night of our arrival and we were to pick her up from the airport.
Day 1 (Sept. 22, 2012). At around 12 noon, the plane I boarded from Davao finally made its touchdown at Mactan International Airport. It was one hell of a ride (I feel that this is still an understatement). The turbulence sure did freak me out. Good news is: I made it in one piece. The bad news is: I still had to wait for Jelai ‘s arrival at 4 in the afternoon. Truth be told, I suck at waiting. Thus, to keep myself busy, I just played solitaire in my laptop over and over ’till I got tired of it.
Few hours passed and still, there was no sign of Jelai’s plane. Six flights arrived in between my waiting and passengers just come and go while I was still hoping that time would fly so quickly. I was already bored to death. I was no longer entertained by anything. Therefore, it was beyond relief for me when Jelai finally arrived (can still remember the feeling up to this day! whew!). :))
As soon as we got out of the airport, we hailed a cab to take us to our hotel. We checked-in, rested our feet for a little while, and went to SM. We strolled to kill time since Angge‘s flight will still be later that evening. We bought some medicine for the next day’s sched as well as chips and drinks. We ate our dinner and managed to take a public transportation to go back to our hotel (we walked going there so we asked the guard which jeepney to ride). At 10:30pm, Jelai and I went back to the airport to fetch Angge. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait that long for Angge like I did for Jelai. 🙂
It was a long day for all of us, especially for me. All the waiting and walking exhausted me. We had to prepare for the next day’s trip so we finally retired to bed.
Day 2 (Sept. 23, 2012). Excited for Bohol!!!! At 6am, we were on our feet already. Angge and I decided not to eat since we didn’t want to throw-up. An ounce of prevention is still better than a pound of cure, right? Oh well, yeah, you can say we’re just afraid of throwing up. Jelai, on the other hand, grabbed a hot lemon tea from the vendo machine found in our hotel’s lobby (I really loved that vendo!). Our travel coordinator called me while we were on the way to Pier 4 to follow up on us so I thought that we were running late. But as soon we arrived, we found out that we were just in time. Thus, we went directly to the Skip Trip desk, paid for our tour packages and proceeded to the boarding area.
Bohol was indeed a good place to visit. It’s just so relaxing to be there.
Outside the port of Tagbilaran, our group was welcomed by a tour guide. Our shuttle bus was filled with foreign tourists and we were the only Filipino group travelling with them. Nonetheless, we were treated equally. In fact, I felt as if we were even given special treatment (just my feeling). hehe!
Our guide brought us to Bohol’s best tourist attractions. Our first stop was the Blood Compact Shrine. What I like about it wasn’t the shrine itself but its breathtaking background. The vast sea and the sky made the shrine stood out even more.
The Tarsier for me though was a disappointment. I wasn’t fascinated by the little creatures nor was I curious of them at all. I guess that they’re just an attraction because their endangered but nothing more, nothing less. I wasn’t in love. Sorry. I say each to his own. The same feeling also applies with the chocolate hills. Maybe I expected too much because the attraction is a tad ordinary and boring in reality than when you see them in post cards. Yeah, blame it to the wonders of D/SLRs and Adobe Photoshop. Indeed, they work magic.
But of all the places we’ve seen, my favorite destination was the Loboc river. The river cruise was truly soothing and uplifting to the spirit. It’s the kind of experience you wouldn’t want to end. Just priceless! You get the feeling that life is good– that indeed you can have Dolce Vita. That here, you can feel genuine happiness even when you’re just sitting comfortably in a chair listening to the music playing in the background . And if there’s one place I’d love to go back to in Bohol, that would definitely be Loboc! I enjoyed every bit of the cruise. I believe it’s also the same for both Jelai and Angge.
Other tourist destinations we’ve been to include the Baclayon Church and the famous Chocolate Hills.
We were tired as the tour ended but we had so much fun. We ended up dozing off while we were on our way back to Cebu. When we reached our hotel, we found our beds so tempting that we wanted to just give in but decided to shrug off the idea. We weren’t there in Cebu to sleep anyways, we were there to explore. And so, even though we were tired, we still decided to eat out. We went to Cebu’s IT park and there we dined at Casa Verde to try their famous Baby Back Ribs. (And oh boy, i was surprised to know how cheap and how big the serving was! sooo affordable!) After we stuffed our stomachs, we strolled for a while in the nearby bazaar but the ground was wet and muddy so we just decided to go back to our hotel and just comeback again the next day.
Day 3 (Sept. 24, 2012). At 9am we were picked up by the travel and tours company that we have commissioned for the day. Considering the cheap price, we have made the most out of their service. However, unlike the Bohol trip, we didn’t have a tour guide to let us in on the scenery’s history or inside story. We only had the driver with us but we were okay with that. Kuya was friendly and accommodating so we never really had a problem. We’ve toured around and we’ve been to several destinations including the Lapu-Lapu Shrine, Fort San Pedro, Taoist Temple, Magellan’s Cross, Taboan Market, Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary, Museo Sugbu, and Basilica Del Sto. Niño.
Cebu and its neighboring cities sure have a lot to offer. Not only in terms of travel destinations but also in terms of their history. My favorite of these attractions was the Museo de Sugbu. For the first time, I enjoyed going through displays of ornaments and relics. I was happy to find a museum ran by the government to be as organized, classy and modern as it was. In fact, I was impressed by how it was maintained. I was also pretty much entertained with all the arrangements and brief lectures that the curator gave us. As we went out of the museum, I felt that my knowledge of history was enriched. I was so glad that we were able to come to this place.
Our final and last stop was the market. By this time, we no longer had second thoughts on buying our pasalubongs. We just went all the way. We were no longer holding back. For my family, I bought fish tocino, magnets (we collect ref magnets of places we’ve been to), t-shirt, dried mangoes. candies, and danggit. It was fun shopping, well not really, just more of buying and bargaining.
Our tour ended when we went back to hotel. But the three of us knew, we’d be going out again that night. We were a bit relieved though that the whole day of traveling wasn’t as exhausting as we thought it would be. I guess our exhaustion from the Bohol trip was due to the bumpy and wavy ferry ride. Good thing, we no longer had to travel by sea because Jelai felt sick after the ride.
That night, we decided to dine at Da Vincci’s Pizza found at IT Park. Afterwards, we took a stroll at the nearby bazaar. Honestly, we were just there for window shopping because we’ve already spent our money in the market. But still, we didn’t know that we’d end up buying (thank you to that lipstick! or not!). Haha!
Day 4 (Sept. 25, 2012). Home bound. No more touring around the city. We were prepared and ready to go home and yet guess what? we were running late! T-R-A-F-F-I-C!!! Just our luck! (can you hear the sound of irony?) We were stuck in a heavy traffic, at the time of the day when most people would prefer to stay at home. Oh well, we arrived at the airport just in the nick of time. Fortunately, Angge was still able to catch her flight back to Manila. Check-in counters were about to close already when we arrived. Whew!
Thankful that our first getaway was a complete success. We had fun. We got tired. But above all, we got to experience and learn from it.
I won’t deny that this travel was just our momentary escape from reality. But we enjoyed, breathed and lived in that moment . Yes, we may have spent a little more than the money we have allotted for this trip but it’s okay. Money can be earned. We just have to work our asses off again so we can earn them back. But the experience? Each of them is unique. You can’t replace one with another. You can’t and you just don’t. So while you are young, while we are young, let’s go out there, explore and live a little. ‘Experience is still the best teacher’ after all, right? No matter how much we learn from other people’s stories, unless it’s us who go out there and experience them, we can never really grasp the whole idea of what they are talking about or what they are really like. Not all the time we can learn vicariously. So why not? Let’s go out there more and live a little.