Exploring Tagbilaran City



Boarding Pass: Seat 28F. Window seat pa rin 🙂



After my first leisure travel experience in Cebu last March, I have grown the habit of visiting the local budget airline sites such as that of Airphil Express, Cebu Pacific and Zest Air. The story of how I got the trip to Bohol is here.
There was tropical depression somewhere around the western region of the country on August 20.  I could not even see the sun when I punched OUT of the office to NAIA Terminal 3. It was a gloomy Saturday morning.  I took the cab (Php 140) to T3 and it only took me about 20 minutes to reach the departure bay of the airport.  It’s no longer new to me because I used the facility back in March when I went to Cebu.  More than being excited for this trip, I was early because of my desire to get a window seat.  I was looking for the check-in counter for my flight bound for Tagbilaran but could not find it.  Apparently, there were a couple more counters at the back that I missed.  Hence, I got seat 28F which was almost at the tail end of the aircraft.  As a consolation, 28F is a window seat with a clear view of the right wing. Based from my past experience with Airphil Express, boarding time is never on time.  Surprisingly, the first boarding call for my flight was a minute ahead of schedule! A sign of a good start. We landed perfectly at Tagbilaran City Airport 17 minutes ahead of schedule.  It was amazing! Manila’s gloomy mood dramatically changed to a sunny Bohol!




Boarding at NAIA T3

I am a light traveler so I did not check-in my luggage.  I only carried my Serge backpack and a camera bag for my Nikkie. I was surprised with the size of the airport.  It barely resembles one except for the big sign and the control tower.  Other than that, it looks like any other buildings.

I met the driver from Taver’s Pension House at the waiting area outside the airport.  I’ve arranged an airport transfer when I called for reservation which, by the way is free as long as it’s arranged early for them to fix their driver’s schedule.

Taver’s Pension House was, I thought, far from the city proper.  I was kind of disappointed initially. I thought I was staying in the heart of the city (their location map said so in their website).  Looking at the surrounding establishments, I didn’t think I am in a city. Since I already made my reservation and there’s no time to cancel and look for a new one, I went ahead and checked in.  I got Room #6 which is really accessible to the small reception area. I liked the set up of my room.  It was quiet and peaceful.  Just what I needed at the time. 



Standard Single Room (P 750/night)- Taver’s Pension House



The room was clean and huge (at least for someone staying alone).  It could fit another bed! Well the bed itself can accommodate two average-sized adults. The room was air conditioned while the bathroom has hot and cold running water.  It also has a 14-inch TV with cable channels. For the size of the room and what it has, I’d say Php 750 a night is well worth it.



I’m not that religious but I like the fact that there is a Bible in my room.

  

There goes the 14″ TV and the way to my private loo. ☺
Since I was pressed for time to arrange a tour of the countryside, I asked if Taver’s can arrange a tour for me the following day.  I was quoted with Php 2,500 for the entire day.  It could have been cheaper if I have someone to share the expense.  But since this trip is about mmyself, someone who doesn’t have any real experience traveling solo, I took the deal. 
I arrived early and was able to settle in my room at around 12:30 in the afternoon.  It’s too early to be retiring for the day so I went out for a walk to see the city.  The first thing I noticed was how provincial the city looked like. It didn’t have the feel of being in an urban jungle (at least for someone who has lived his last 7 years in Makati). Heading towards the center of the community, I’ve seen a number of barber shops.  Not the salon kind of shoppes. They’re the traditional barber shops where men gather around to watch the local sports channel if not having their hair cut.  I couldn’t help but wonder why these shoppes are like mushrooms growing all over the place.
Anyway, I thread the not so busy streets of Tagbilaran looking for a place to eat. I didn’t have anything since that Friday’s dinner other than the two venti cups of latte from my boss. I found myself ordering  chicken inasal at Bojol Grill at the second floor of Tagbilaran City Square Mall. It kind of looks and feels like St. Francis Square in Ortigas minus the crowd and they have fewer stores.
Bojol Grill
I came unprepared! I didn’t know any place to have lunch.  I came to Bojol Grill (It’s not a typo!) and it was obvious that lunch hour has already passed.  There were just a few diners.  There were a number of choices but I was looking for something special.  Something native or local. My tummy was already twisting and turning so I called one of the restaurant’s attendants and ordered their chicken inasal.  The menu said it is a specialty so I decided to give it a try.
Being hungry and all did not let my customer service QA mindset take a vacation.  The lady who took my order wasn’t exactly happy to be serving me.  I mean, I’m not asking her to treat me like a royalty or something. She could have at least sported a smile to make the hungry feel delighted a bit while waiting. It surely doesn’t hurt to be polite too.

The epic Chicken Inasal from Bojol Grill.   (photo taken using my low-tech camera phone)

On top of the customer service epic fail, the waiting time was like forever! The people cleaning the air conditioning unit near my table was almost done when I finally get to meet my chicken inasal. At first glance, there’s nothing special.  It looked like a chicken leg in a skewer. Then came the taste test.  And the verdict-the chicken was juicy, tender and flavorful.  They were not kidding when they said it is their specialty.  Okay, so the inasal made me forget the customer service epic failure! It was definitely a winner! Oh! Did I forget to say that it was only 60 pesos with a glass of lemon ice tea? As my reps would have said “PWEDE”!
Bohol Quality Mall
BQ Mall is it’s more popular name.  It’s right across the street from City Square Mall. I’d say this is a real mall. There was some sort of an audition thing going on at the atrium at the time so I decided to stick around and be a regular “uzi”. It was some kind of talent search. “Ramping” was used in a relatively inappropriate way as “can you do the ramping.” Ramping is defined as walking with the arms raised as if excited… I guess the idea of coining the word came from “ramp modeling” where models usually showcase whatever they’re promoting by strutting on a custom made ramp/stage.  Hence, “ramping”
Who do you expect would pass the audition but some cute and lean college dudes and some teenage half-pinays who speaks english better than those who were interviewing them.

Gelateria Milano

At the higher part of the BQ Mall, there’s a small Italian Ice Cream Parlor. I was getting tired of watching the show down at the atrium so I went upstairs.  Gelateria Milano was in my original itinerary.  I just did not expect it to be at the top of BQ Mall.
It was small with only three tables inside the shoppe and around two more al fresco. I took the seat near the window because it has a great view of the bay.  Wifi was available too.  I ordered a macchiato.  I was thinking of the macchiato like the one from Starbucks.  I was wrong.  It was served on a cute coffee cup and saucer but the flavor was really big! The aroma of real coffee.  I was told that they only serve authentic italian coffee!
Pizza Hut
For lack of place to have dinner, I opted for the usual.  I ordered bolognese with meatballs and a solo pan pizza for takeout. 
The outlet in the BQ Mall is quite nice and warm. The waiting staff is friendly and accommodating. Actually, I like the guy (Earl Josepe) who waited on my table. He’s very warm and friendly with good customer service attitude. He really made me feel like a guest.
After the hearty dinner I walked home.  It really did not feel like a dangerous city so I was confident walking my way to Taver’s. The receptionist confirmed my schedule for the tour at 9AM so I took a hot shower and slept early.
I was tired after a very active day exploring Tagbilaran City on foot.