A weekend in Bohol

The last time I had a long vacation was in La Union. It was in December 2021. After that, I didn’t have enough time to go out of town again. This year started with a lot of deadlines for work, graduate school, personal life, and other hustles. No complaints. It was a ‘happy pagod.’

I intentionally did not book any long weekend trip because it wasn’t in my priority (source: my 2022 Planner). Hence, this Bohol trip was actually a graduation gift and birthday celebration at the same time. It was a reward for all the struggles, adjustments, and other trials I’ve overcome for the past months this year.

Day 1 – Chocolate hills and everything in between

We left Manila at 7:00am. It was one of the earliest flight. We arrived in Bohol after one hour. Then, upon arriving in Panglao International Airport, we were greeted with buses, and private cars offering their services. What we chose was the bus ride instead. We decided that for the first day, we’ll do mostly tourist-y things.

The travel time from Panglao International Airport to Tagbilaran City was about thirty minutes. We reached the bus station. In front of that was the Island City Mall. We ate our breakfast there. I didn’t have any booked tours yet so I looked on Facebook and sent a message to a Facebook page. We hired a driver/tourist guide for 2,900php.

We went first to Chocolate Hills. It was a bit rainy but it was a fun experience. We took the usual photos like what the usual tourists would do.

Chocolate Hills on a rainy morning
Your usual touristy post at Chocolate Hills

After Chocolate Hills, we headed to Bohol Tarsier Conservation Area. Another tourist spot in Bohol. We saw some tarsiers which reminded us of our shih tzu, Tyni.

Sorry for waking you up, Tarsier.

Then, we went to man-made forest.

Our tour guide said that the trees here were planted by some boy scouts who were assigned here.

After some time in this forest, we ate lunch at Loboc River. There were lots of foreigners here. This was one of my dream destinations. Now it finally happened. Thank You, Lord.

Loboc river after rain
Day 2 – Our Lady of Light Church in Loon, Bohol

We woke up a bit late. We took our time because we both agreed that this trip would be a slow travel. Slow yet relaxed. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’d remember how enthusiastic I was before when it comes to ticking places to certain destinations. But now, I promised myself not to rush and take my time whenever traveling. So that’s what I did!

We took the van ride going to Loon. That was about 90 pesos fare. It was more than an hour trip going to Our Lady of Light Church in Loon, Bohol. The travel was worth it. We were able to see this church near the sea.

Front view of Our Lady of Light Church in Loon, Bohol

The church was said to be built by corals. It was destroyed during the war, it was reconstructed by the National Museum later on. Luckily, we saw the sacristan mayor. We talked to him, and he toured us around the church. We even went up to the kampanaryo–which was so amusing. We were able to see century old bells. Bells that survived a war. Wow.

The altar of Our Lady of Light Church in Loon, Bohol

We were able to see (close up!) some bells owned by the church.

One of the bells in Our Lady of Light Church in Loon, Bohol

Aside from Miagao church in Iloilo, this was one of my favorite churches I’ve seen so far and I thank God to finally visit here.

Day 3 – Panglao, Bohol

After roaming around Loon and Tagbilaran City, we headed to our next destination which was Samadhi Resort Panglao. My friend recommended this place to us. Her recommendation is superb. This resort is so relaxing and great.

It was so relaxing that we didn’t spend time taking photos. We were mesmerized. Period.

It’s me trying to be instagrammable.

After leaving our places in Samadhi, we headed to Alona Beach. We stayed there for a while. Look at the view. Eat kwek-kwek and barbecue. We also had our dinner there. The view was so nice. However, we didn’t try the island hopping. Budget constraints!

We instead had a tour in Panglao. This cost 1,000php. Basically, we went to another church, a cave, and Bohol Bee Farm. Everything was so nice and worth-trying. Pictures were uploaded in Instagram instead. Hehe.

This is my favorite photo from this trip. Our third day in Bohol was the steadiest among my trips. We spent our time at the beach. We looked at the beautiful views. We had our dinner here. We get to listen to kids singing using their natural voice.

We basically just look at the horizons and wonder if God will allow us to travel more.

Our trip ended on a Sunday. We were happy. We were recharged.

I hope you, who’s reading this, will also find the rest and happiness you deserve.

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Finally, an MA degree.

Sa dami ng nangyari, nahihirapan akong magsulat ng isang katanggap-tanggap na blog post tungkol sa mga araw na nagdaaan.

Sobrang hirap ng pinagdaanan ko talaga para matapos ‘tong MA ko. 2016 ang student number ko, pero 2017 talaga ng second semester ako nagsimula. Natapos ko, sa wakas, ang mahabang paglalakbay patungo sa MA matapos ang limang taon.

Isusulat ko pa rin nang kompletong detalye lahat para may babalikan ako pagdating ng araw. So, tara?

Paano nagsimula

Secondary Education ang course ko, Major in English. Ang MA ko naman ay Master of Arts Malikhaing Pagsulat. Sa tingin ng madla, magkabaligtad ang English at Filipino, pero para sa kurso ko, halos kaunti lang naman rin ang pagkakaiba. Iba lang ng babasahin, pero parehong may teoryang binabasa, kritisismo, pagtuturo, at may isusulat pagkatapos. Siksik ang kurso namin dahil may Filipino at English readings.

Bakit Filipino MA mo? tanong ng marami. Ang lagi kong sagot, Bakit hindi? Kung walang kukuha ng MA sa Filipino, sino na lang matitira sa bansa?

Ang cheesy pakinggan, pero nag-aral uli ako dahil gusto ko talaga mapahusay ang pagsusulat ko para sa Diyos. Kasagsagan kasi ng 13th Prayer ko na libro na nailathala ng St. Paul’s.

Sa totoo lang, wala sa isip ko ‘yung kumuha ng MA dahil sa ranking, sa points, o sa technical na aspeto. Gusto ko lang mag-aral. Gusto ko lang mapahusay ang pagsusulat. Personal ko lang itong dahilan. Wala namang problema kung anong trip ng iba. Hehe.

Sa pagsusulat ng thesis

Noong nakaraang taon lang, natapos kong depensahan ang proposal ko. Isang taon ko ring binuno ang pagsusulat ng thesis. Ang dami kong gawain at ganap na hinindian dahil sabi ko sa sarili ko, hala ka Kim, kailangan mo na ‘tong upuan.

Tungkol sa Panitikang Pangkabataan ang thesis ko, dahil nga ang background ko naman sa pagsusulat ay Wattpad na hindi ko naman kinahihiya at proud ko pang sinasabi sa school. Bakit ko ikakahiya. Ang saya kaya noon.

Ang output ng thesis ko ay isang nobela tungkol sa isang kabataan na may halong tauhan sa mitolohiya ng Pilipinas. Ito na ata ang pinakamatagal na kwentong naisulat ko. Habang sinusulat ko ang blog na ito ay pinag-iisipan ko pa rin kung ipapasa ko ba ito sa publisher o hindi, o babasahin ko muna uli para masundan ng book two. Trilogy kasi ang ganap nito.

Hindi talaga madali lahat

Mahirap magsulat ng thesis. May trabaho ako full-time, may ilan ring side line (dahil breadwinner ako at ako lang may maayos na trabaho sa amin).

Kasagsagan ng pandemya noong nagsusulat ako ng thesis. 2021-2022. Ang daming nangyari noong taong iyon. May mga araw rin na kailangan kong mag-report onsite sa trabaho. Ang hirap ng biyahe.

Pero syempre, hindi naman ito nakikita sa social media. Ang makikita lang talaga ay ang tagumpay, hindi ang hirap sa likod nito.

Kapag nahihirapan ako, lagi kong binabalikan ang mindset na, gusto ko naman kasi ang ginagawa ko, kaya tuloy lang.

‘Di ba kapag may gusto tayong gawin, lahat gagawin natin magawa lang ito kahit mahirap? 🙂

Limang beses kong inulit ang thesis ko. Ang dami. Kung makikita niyo lang yung printed copy ng thesis na sinuri ng thesis adviser ko, maiiyak na lang talaga lahat pero tears of joy.

Birthday ko noon, pero tanda ko na nagrerebisa ako ng manuskrito. Pero syempre, hindi ito makikita ng lahat.

Mahirap at matagal magtapos sa UP

Sa totoo lang, napakahirap is an underestimation. Pero di ba, lahat naman mahirap. Pipiliin na lang talaga natin kung alin ang paghihirapan natin.

May semestre na halos isa o dalawa lang ang subject ko. Kaya napakatagal kong matapos lahat ng academic requirements.

Sa kabila ng lahat, masasabi kong sulit. Nakakilala ako ng mga kaibigan, natuto ako mula sa iba’t ibang napakagaling na propesor. Hanggang ngayon, baon ko ang GITING AT GALING na pinapaalala ng unibersidad.

Walang pagmamadali sa loob ng unibersidad na ito. Ang mahalaga talaga sa lahat ay ang pagkatuto. Ideal pakinggan, sa totoo lang. Pero ito naman talaga ang point ng akademya, ang makapag-aral upang makapagsilbi sa bayan. Serve the people, ikanga.

Ano na pagkatapos?

Siguro magpapahinga muna ako sa pag-aaral. Magbabasa na muna uli ako. Magsusulat pa rin sa Facebook page ko. Babalik sa dati, pero mas magiging malay at mulat na sa nangyayari. Gagamitin ko ang natutuhan ko upang maging kapaki-pakinabang na mamamayan ng bansa. Wow.

Patuloy ko pa ring pahahalagahan ang mga ordinaryong araw.

Paghilom Book Signing in Patsy’s

Paghilom is my first solo self-published book. It was launched last year in June. Now, it’s published by Lifebooks, and (hopefully) it’s reached the right audience because it’s only 100php (cheaper than the original price. To be honest, finishing a manuscript is very challenging. But, I know my reasons. Whenever I feel tired, I always go back to my WHY.

Last July 16, 2022, I had my first ever book signing for Paghilom. It was on May 31, 2022 when the owner of Patsy’s Coffee and Pastries shop first sent me a message. I wasn’t able to read that because my page does not have notifications. She sent a message again last June 15, 2022. There, I was able to read her invitation.

I was hesitant to confirm at first. Sino ba naman ako para mag-book signing. Baka walang pumunta. But, eventually, with Ate Patsy’s convincing powers and assurance, I was convinced to say yes to her invitation. Here’s Ate Patsy! She’s so kind-hearted, warm, and very supportive. Thank you for believing in me ate.

Patsy’s in Pandi, Bulacan. It’s a coffee shop filled with books. Upon entering, you’ll immediately smell the aroma of the coffee inside their shop. You’ll be welcomed with their friendly baristas, too. If you’d like to read the books displayed, you have the liberty to do so. They do not judge. You won’t feel bad if you stayed inside their shop, reading.

We arrived early in Patsy’s. While waiting for the buyers of the books, we organized my books on the table where I’ll have my book signing. The book signing started at 10:00AM. I was welcomed by their regular customers. They happily greeted me and bought my books. Teenagers, college students, and even adults were there, asking me to sign there books.

I feel blessed. I know I do not deserve this kind of treatment. Again, I’ll always ask myself, deserve ko ba ‘to because I don’t feel worthy enough to sign books. After the book signing, I gave a mini-workshop about creative writing from 12:30-1:30PM. Six participants were present. Our output is a six-word story. Three winners received a tote bag, and a book from the owner of the coffee shop, Ate Patsy.

I’d never forget this moment. I feel so blessed and honored to have a book signing. I am so grateful to Ate Patsy for supporting local authors like me. She’s mentioned that it’s her passion and advocate to promote the love of books to others. I hope she continues doing that because lots of people will surely benefit from it.

Claiming for more books, booksignings, and readers in the future. May I bless more people through writing.