Travelling is one of my greatest passions in life! After three years of wandering around the Philippines and Asia, needless to say, I want more!
But with every traveller dream, one of it is traveling solo! I always wanted to travel solo, but I either chicken out (what if I get lost? What if I got sad or bored?) Or what if my mom won’t allow me to? Haha. But I finally got the chance to travel solo this November roaming around Bohol! So please hop in and if you can, finish this article of my solo journey in Bohol. These are the things I learned while travelling solo.
Here are the things I learned while traveling solo in Bohol
1. I LEARNED TO ACT… LIKE A LOCAL
The first thing I learned once I hopped out of the plane is to act like a local. Act like you know the place! Traveling solo for the first time for me was quite intimidating and overwhelming!
The first tricycle driver I met lured me from being dropped to Island City Mall, so I can take the jeep there going to my hostel, to bringing me to my hostel in Panglao, which cost me Php 300.00. Ouch!
And even after that, the next habit-habal (single motorcycle ride popular in Bohol) or tricycle drivers I met while commuting the place offered a personalized tour! I understand that it’s their way of living and it’s not just in Bohol it happens to other places for sure! But from those conversations with my drivers, I learned to act like a local, like I know the place and the run around because if you don’t, you’ll definitely get intimidated and overwhelmed which might cost you a little buck. So just be careful, trust your instincts, and ASK around, from the people who have been there and RESEARCH so when you get to the place, it feels like you already know it.
2. I LEARNED THAT THE CHOCOLATE HILLS ARE TRULY MAJESTIC IN PERSON
One of the things I’m really looking forward to going to is, of course, the Chocolate Hills!
From my hostel in Panglao, I hailed a jeep going to Tagbilaran and dropped off to Island City Mall. From the mall, there will be a bus terminal that will bring you to Carmen where the hills are located. After 2 hours I reached one of my dream destinations.
When I was a kid, I thought Chocolate Hills are just like nuno sa punso. Haha. But boy, were they breath-taking when I saw them. They are actually huge and large and thousands of them are spread over the area. Once you get to the view deck, you can take pictures to your heart’s content. So when one kid came out of nowhere and said: “that’s it?” I almost want to push him off the stairs. Kidding.
I don’t know what’s wrong with that kid, but those hills for me are majestic.
3. I LEARNED THAT LOBOC RIVER CRUISE IS BEST ENJOYED WITH A DATE… BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN A SOLO GIRL CAN’T DO IT
Next on my checklist is the Loboc River Cruise. From Chocolate Hills, I jumped on a bus going back to Tagbilaran to be dropped off to the cruise. The bus that I chanced upon is a local non-aircon bus and for Php 30.00 and to the tune of All By Myself in the background I was able to reach my next destination.
As soon as I reached the place, I immediately ran so as not to waste time, and with the perfect timing, I was the one to complete our boat. My seat is perfectly situated at the end of the buffet table, front and center. Nice. Haha.
The ride and the buffet cost Php 450.00, with the food nothing fancy, but the river itself was beautiful and clean. The ride was calming and peaceful. And while cruising, All By Myself would’ve been the perfect background song for this ride too. Though I was alone, and I admit I did saw some judging eyes (haha), I chose to enjoy the ride. The cruise is admittedly a little bit romantic, and a couple of arms wrapped around me would be nice (kidding again), but it doing alone is just a testament that, there are things that we can do solo, and it’s nice to break some stereotypes from time to time.
4. I LEARNED THAT WE NEED TO ADJUST TO NATURE, ESPECIALLY TO TARSIERS
After my Loboc River Cruise ended at 3pm, my next stop is the tarsiers at the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary, which is only open until 4 pm and is located in Corella, which is far from Loboc. So instead of waiting for my jeepney to be filled, I decided to opt for a habal-habal to get there faster because I might not be able to see them for another time.
And with 15 minutes to spare I reached the place! Entrance fee is Php 50.00. When I got there, there were only three tarsiers left. What they do is locate the tarsiers in the morning, and the little primates will be there for the entire time until they leave one by one as soon as the night approaches. Because I got there a little bit late, I only got to see 3. Getting there earlier would’ve been nicer, but I’d rather see three than zero. So if you guys want to see more, adjust your sleeping habits, not just your itinerary. Lesson learned.
5. I LEARNED THAT NOTHINNG BEATS THE WILD
Another part of my itinerary is the Dolphin watching and snorkeling at Balicasag with a side trip to the Virgin Island. For this one I opt for a tour because if I want to see those dolphins I need to hire a boat on my own. But… when I met my tour guide for the day, I was alone, again, on the boat. Haha. My expected group tour turned to a private boat ride. =)
Bohol truly is one for the books for its marine life. First time to see dolphins just swimming in the wild minding its own business! I was kinda sad at first not having many pictures of these cute guys but some say others are not so fortunate to see them at all. After that I went ahead and snorkelled at Balicasag Island and you don’t need to go that far to see lots of fishes! Sure it’s kind of pricey and not every one might score a private boat (not bragging haha) but to see these animals in their natural habitat and not in a tank is way better.
6. I LEARNED THAT THE BEST TIME IS NOW
A month before my trip my grandma passed away, which caused me to miss work, which caused my leaves for this trip to be denied. My boss warned me that if I missed another day of work he’ll give me a written warning.
So after some thinking, I decided to go through. I will always have angry bosses; I will always have threats, obstacles, and challenges in my life. If I keep saying no, I will only have threats, obstacles, and challenges, so why not say yes to great adventures and a little rebellion.
During my stay, I also almost decided to forego some plans like visiting Hinagdanan cave. But gladly, I changed my mind and visited this awesome cave beneath the earth and had some nice lunch at the Buzz café at Bohol Bee Farm. Though I want to skip these two because I’m running out of funds, I figured I’ll always have money problems, but I’ll always find ways to earn them, and I won’t always get a chance to visit caves and eat awesome organic food with flower salad with a crazy ocean view.
7. I LEARNED THAT IF YOU BELIEVE, YOU COMMIT
I think first times are always scary, so there are definitely doubts and fears running through my mind before this trip.
But this solo trip is a test of faith for me. And this won’t be the last time that my faith will be tested, so I decided I am going. I believe that I can do this and made a commitment that I will do this.
Sure my first solo travel was not all fun and upbeat, there were certainly times that it was quiet and a bit sad, but it was never boring. Traveling solo gave me time to enjoy myself, do things my own way and have my own schedule and itinerary. I don’t need to worry if anybody’s waiting for me or if others are having a great time. It might be hard to take pictures of myself with those amazing views, but sometimes aside from being selfless we also need to be self-reliant.
To be able to conquer this province not only increased my faith in God, but in me as well.
*Photo credits goes to the author.
My name is Patricia Marie Prado. My friends call me Pat. I want to travel the world and tell stories about my journeys… and I am doing it right now. Glory to God.