Thursday, September 09, 2010: my longest solo vacation had just begun! Destination: Tagbilaran City. Purpose: Adventure!
Tagbilaran City is the capital of the island province of Bohol, and it also serves as the gateway to the island. For my four days, three nights stay in Bohol I chose to stay in the city primarily for convenience, but the city offers much more than that.
I’ve always wanted to tour Bohol, and with the TNF Thrill of the Trail in place there’s no reason for me to miss the opportunity to do two things I love: travelling and trail running. Unfortunately I had to embark on this trip solo which is a huge disadvantage in terms of costs. Since I was willing to continue on this adventure despite the costs and I wanted a hassle-free trip, I decided to join an organized three days, two nights tour—beginning Friday.
My tour starts Friday, yet I’m in Tagbilaran and it’s just Thursday. I purposely set aside practically an entire day to myself, away from the tour, for personal time. The main theme was exploration but at the same time relaxation. Of course I also ensured that I picked up some local delicacies for friends as well. Surely it added to the costs, but it’s always worth it to splurge a little for yourself every once in a while.
The MetroCenter Hotel was my home in Tagbilaran. Aside from the discounted rate I got due to the tie up of my tour with the hotel, I picked this place because it’s one of the best places to stay in the city. It may not be a five star hotel like those in Manila, but the facilities were quite nice to say the least, and the excellent service more than makes up for it! Add to that the fact that its location is quite convenient: walking distance from malls, business centers, and even the island’s kilometer zero, the front of Bohol Capitol.
I arrived in the city just before lunch time, and from the airport I was picked up by the hotel’s shuttle service. Since it was too early for me to check-in, I left my luggage at the concierge and went out for lunch.
After asking around for a good place to eat I was referred by locals to the fifth floor of the nearby BQ Mall—a modern mall pretty much comparable with those in Manila. There I picked Payag Restaurant which serves chicken inato (local version of roasted chicken) and other Filipino dishes. I was drawn to the binakhaw in their menu (which I assumed was local) but I wasn’t too adventurous that time with food (it was their version of kilawin, raw fish fillet marinated in vinegar) so I settled with chicken inato, pork barbecue, and buco (coconut) juice.
Before heading back to the hotel to check-in, I decided to make a quick stop to the supermarket to get my sports drink and some bottled water. After roaming around I found the delicacies section, and I was overwhelmed with the surprises that I found! At that moment I was seriously considering buying one of each, and have it couriered back to Manila!
After almost being an impulsive buyer I simply picked the most requested ones, and headed back to my hotel to check-in to rest for a while. I wasn’t so lucky to get a siesta because I have Wi-Fi in my room (and I had my trusty netbook with me), but late that afternoon I was able to squeeze in some laps with the hotel’s rooftop mini pool, until shortly before sunset. As for dinner, I was back in the mall, same level, but that time around I picked the adjacent Wok Express where servings were big, food was good, and price was cheap!
Welcome to the province! I sure could get used to the sub ₱50 shakes.
* * *
The Great Visayan Adventure: