I initially wanted to bring Isla and travel somewhere for a day or two. But Rowjie suggested I may not enjoy the trip as I would focus on caring for her rather than relaxing and tag Ilog instead. Hmm. Made a lot of sense. So, where should we go? I realized that Bohol and its Chocolate Hills is the perfect choice for this curious grade-schooler.

My love for traveling only started when I started earning on my own and met Rowjie. We’re always together wherever we go. I haven’t been on a solo trip except for this one time when I was supposed to go to Siargao in 2011 with a connecting flight in Cebu. I was unlucky enough that the weather got so bad in Cebu that I never got to arrive in Siargao and ultimately went back to Manila within the same day. Siargao na naging bato pa. I was traumatized and never attempted to travel solo again because of that. Fast forward to today, with two charming kids, I’m no longer scared. I figured this was also a good way to take a quick break.

Wala Pang Ten Minutes

The night before our flight, Ilog reminded me that we should eat in Jollibee for breakfast like we always do at the airport. After checking in our suitcase (as he fondly calls it), we went to Jollibee. Aba! Wala sa mood ang lolo ninyo. He didn’t want to eat daw and said we should board the airplane na lang. I thought he was sleepy since we woke him up too early, so I shrugged it off.

We found ourselves a table and settled down. I strictly instructed him not to go anywhere and to look after our things while I ordered our food. As I made my way back to our table, imagine how surprised I was to see him hurriedly running toward me while I was holding a tray with our food on it. He left all our belongings on the table including his iPad. “Nanay! I need to poop!”

At doon tumigil ang mundo ng Nanay ninyo.

I didn’t know what to do. There’s no washroom in the restaurant. I was holding a tray full of food, our things were left unattended on the table, and the kid needed to poop.

Thankfully, the washroom is near, and a restaurant crew offered to look after our things and food. We immediately ran to the ladies washroom. I only figured that it was that bad when he started crying. I asked him what is wrong and he said he is sick and his tummy is yayay.

Oh no. It’s barely ten minutes since Rowjie dropped us off in the airport. Pababalikin ko ba si Tatay? Hindi na ba kami matutuloy sa Bohol? Dalhin ko na ba si Ilog sa ospital?

We stayed there for about 8 to ten minutes. I was preparing myself to carry him in my arms and run to the airport’s clinic because I thought he’s gonna pass out. He was dosing off, crying, sweating, and pale as a ghost. Kung nakita ninyo lang talaga ang hitsura niya that time; sobrang maaawa kayo. I took a video of him in the bathroom during this moment, which is for our eyes only. Did it so we can have something we can laugh at when he’s older.

After all his struggles, he recovered well and returned to his normal self. We headed back to Jollibee where the crew, our things, and food were waiting for us.

Our flight was smooth, and there were no delays. We landed in Bohol ahead of the scheduled time. After we checked into the hotel where we were staying, we headed straight to our room to rest for a couple of hours. I wanted to maximize the day of our arrival by going to the Mirror of the World in Sikatuna later that day so we could spend more time relaxing on our last day in Bohol.

The calm before the storm. Or so this unsuspecting Nanay thought.
Okay na po siya, guysth. Kamuntikan lang siya himatayin before this picture.
The rest of our trip went smoothly without any other untoward incident. LOL
Kuya, let’s take a picture and show to Tatay and Isla later.
Munching on his requested in-flight snack, red Chips Ahoy.
Bohol
Why hello there, Bohol. Ilog is thrilled to see your chocolate hills. up close.

Bohol’s Mirror of the World

The world stopped when the Coronavirus took control of mostly everything. Many lives were lost, a lot suffered, travel became limited to essential trips, and many plans were halted. During the early days of the pandemic, Ilog discovered a new hobby, and that is doing a virtual tour of the world’s landmarks. Every day he’d discover new landmarks, and he’d take us there. We have been to the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, Machu Picchu in Peru, Sydney Opera House, Taj Mahal in India, and more! We’ve virtually traveled around the world!

Visiting Sikatuna’s Mirror of the World and Botanical Garden was another reason why I chose Bohol to be our destination. I’ve read quite a few good things about it and thought Ilog would enjoy visiting it.

The trip from Hennan to its location took about 30 to 45 minutes. I’ve read that the place looks better at night with the lights, but I wanted to see it in the daytime too. So I asked our travel guide to bring us to the place when we could experience both. We left the hotel at 4:00 pm and arrived in Sikatuna before 5:00 pm.

I paid Php 150 for the entrance fee for an adult pass, and Ilog was allowed inside without any additional charges. The place wasn’t crowded when we got there.

Sikatuna’s Mirror of the World is a work in progress. The place has different areas which will feature more landmarks; most of it is partially completed or hadn’t even started during the time of our visit. Ilog and I managed to roam around the completed part of the garden before dusk and had plenty of time to burn.

Eiffel Tower of France, Leaning Tower of Italy, Statue of Liberty in USA, and Merlion Park of Singapore are just some of the featured landmarks in this area.
This is what will welcome you once you step inside the garden.
“Nanay, let’s go to the Golden Gate Bridge,” says the Little Boss.
Cristo Redentor of Brazil and our version of the famous Hollywood sign.
Each landmark’s significance is described through these cardboards.
Ilog is so fond of ponds (LOL). We bought a 20-peso pack of feeds for the fish.
Great that the garden has a playground for its young visitors.

A few minutes before 6:00 pm, people started arriving. I mean a lot. The lights were being turned on one by one, but I thought it was best that we leave the area sooner than later because of the huge influx of crowds. I didn’t expect the place to be that jam-packed.

And oh. What our travel guide said is true. The road in and out of the garden is extremely dark as there are no street lights along the road. We arrived in Panglao past 7:00 pm.

For dinner, I just asked to be dropped off at McDonald’s and 7-11, so we can grab a few snacks, bottled water, and dinner. I was so tired. I didn’t want to walk around and look for an only-in-Bohol restaurant.

The Hardest Decisions

Ilog and I woke up early, again, the next day to kick off our whole-day countryside tour and see the beauty of Bohol. It was hot and sunny when we left the hotel, but the whole trip went like me when I’m on my monthly period: moody and unpredictable.

Baclayon Church – I’m sure Ilog doesn’t quite grasp yet what a church is. Now that he’s studying in a Catholic school, I’m confident he will be overwhelmed with conversations about religion and church.

Bohol Lemur and ButterflyJeskelerd. Right after we stepped inside, Ilog, being the cry baby he is, cried immediately. He’s afraid of almost everything including a butterfly. We need to work on it, Kuya.

Man-made Forest – Thankfully, it was raining hard when we passed by this tourist spot going to and from Chocolate Hills. I wasn’t keen on seeing this as I’ve read about its environmental issues. It is still sure great for photos, but after knowing that it is a biodiversity-dead zone, I’ll never look at it the same way again.

Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary – I know he has been waiting for this part of our trip where he gets to see tarsiers in real life. It was raining hard throughout our stay in this area. Poor Ilog.

ShipHaus – My brother is a seafarer. So, despite being a complete rip-off (this place is so expensive!), I just let Ilog play captain and “drove” a ship. “Nanay, is this like how Papa Boogeh drives a ship?”

Chocolate Hills – I posted about it on my Facebook wall. 😂

Mataas ‘yung aakyatin para makarating sa view deck ng Chocolate Hills. Pagdating namin sa taas, ang lolo ninyo biglang nagsabi, ”Nay, I need to pee!” Walang banyo sa taas. 😐

I had three options:
❌ Paihiin siya sa taas, sa may bandang damuhan. Kaya lang may signages na bawal umihi anywhere sa view deck.
❌ Bumaba at umakyat na lang ulit. Kasi baka hindi siya makapagpigil at maihi.
✅ Mag-picture ng mabilis, ‘wag na i-appreciate ‘yung ganda ng Chocolate Hills, at bumaba.

So ayun, dun kami sa pangatlong option. Pagkababa namin, another decision na ngayon ko lang ginawa dahil si Tatay ang lagi niya kasama sa banyo kapag nasa labas kami ng bahay: saan siya iihi, sa panglalaki or pambabae?

Eh dahil nasa learning process pa kami, minsan nakakalimutan niya na hindi dapat ibaba all the way down ‘yung shorts at brief niya. Ending, sinamahan ko siya sa cubicle sa CR ng mga babae.
After niya umihi, sabi ko, I also need to pee. I was wearing a pantiliner. Pagkababa ko ng aking pantea, tawang-tawa ako sa tanong ng magaling kong anak.

“Nanay, why do you have a random paper on your brief?” Random paper. 🫣

Rio Verde Floating Resto – I don’t think I will ever do another round of this Loboc River “cruise”. I still think can’t get over the fact that they don’t have an ala-carte for kids. haha

Blood Compact Site – Ilog was excited to see the Blood Compact site, not because of its significance, which he doesn’t understand yet, but because it means the end of our tiring trip.

Bohol
The way to the view deck of Chocolate Hills. If you were in my shoe, what would you do?
Bohol
Baclayon Church
Bohol
Bohol Lemur and Butterfly
Bohol
Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary
Bohol
ShipHaus
Bohol
Rio Verde Floating Resto
Bohol
Blood Compact Site
Bohol
Hi Kuya! We just ticked off Chocolate Hills from your list of must-visit Philippine destinations.

Takeaways

Three key things I realized because of this trip.

My perception of travel these days is way different from when I first started traveling. If back then, all that mattered to me was getting to a certain destination and taking photos as souvenirs; I now look beyond that. What happened in this place? How significant is it? Why do I need to visit this? Should I be here at all? Are there other more important places than this?

Siguro kasi tumatanda na ako and I now see things differently than when I was just in my twenties.

Traveling with a kid without the father (or mother) is unusual. While in Bohol, seeing that it was just the two of us, there were a couple of people who asked me why it was just me and Ilog. Where is the father? Am I divorced? Is the father foreigner and abroad at the moment? Didn’t it just occur to you that I am spending time with my son? Nothing more and nothing less. I just want to bond with my son.

We should encourage parents to either spend undivided time with their kids through dates or travel because these experiences will help them later in their life.

I love my son (and family) so much. This trip made me appreciate my family more. There is nothing in this world I wouldn’t do to make sure they are healthy, happy, and comfortable even if it means making hugas the pwet of a 6-year-old kid in a public toilet who is close to passing out because of a stomachache. Ew. Jk.

Cebu Pacific Air, the largest airline in the Philippines, has multiple flights to Bohol from Manila, Clark, and Cebu, which may be reached via key hubs such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, Dubai, Seoul, and Singapore, among others.

Visit cebupacificair.com now to book a flight! ✈️

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