Sunday, June 30, 2013

How To Become an Amateur Tour Guide

Last May 20, when my friend in Saudi Arabia sent me a message and asked me to be their tour guide, I accepted. Because the place they chose to visit is my hometown – Bohol, Philippines. Read through about how I managed my first time tour guide job!

As I’ve said on my Facebook status, being a guide is certainly not an easy job for travelers’ expectations increase every day. In addition to, it was an awesome and memorable experience exploring and spending time in nature.

My friend said further, “Make those 3 days as enjoyable as we want them to be.” I was pressured, honestly, as a first time tour guide. I know that travelers are looking for a local expert with deep knowledge about culture, history and scenic spots of a certain place. 

Time. I asked the date and time of their arrival from Saudi Arabia to Bohol, Phillipines. And also their departure from Bohol to another town were planning to go next so the duration of the tour would be determined. And also to set my alarm. I woke up as early as 5am to fetch them at 7 to start the day’s tour. 

Cost. I didn’t asked their planned budget for the whole tour but I gave them a pricelist so they could prepare. 

Transportation. I also considered the cost of the vessel ticket. I suggested on what ship to avail to make them save time and money as well. 

  • Fastcraft Ocean Jet – maximum of 2 hours travel; Php400 round trip if booked 2 days ahead 1 week expiry for the turnaround time; sitting non-aircon accommodation
  • Lite Shipping – maximum of 4 hours; Php210 one way trip; lying non-aircon accommodation
They chose the Ocean Jet, fast and easy!

Another transportation to prepare. The vehicle to ride on while roaming around the town. I asked how many are they – 6 adults and one child. So I asked help from my father to search for a rental vehicle that could accommodate that number of heads plus me (tour guide, eh!) I rented the van of our neighbor that could be enough for 15 passengers so that the 6 will have more space for their things and they could relax or sleep while on the road. 

Lodging. My mother’s workmate is one of my godparents during the wedding. She owns a lodging house. Just simple but efficient, located at the heart of the town’s city and a walking distance to the malls, church, and any convenient outlets. 

Food. I left that matter to them. They can provide meals by themselves of their own choice or make arrangements for a restaurant, roadhouse, hotel or rely on fastfood chain. They went for a Jollibee take out breakfast. Whatever it is, make sure the food are healthy and clean. The moment will be spoiled if there are occurrences of medical problems. As a Filipino, hospitality is never taken for granted. To welcome and get to know the guests, my mother offered to have the dinner at our house on the first day of tour. Then on the last day of tour, my family joined the tour and brought food for all of us. Eventually, they had nothing to worry about the food. 

Itinerary. It's the most important part of every tour. Select the sites to be visited. Careful planning is required when developing an itinerary for your tour. It is crucially important to map out your tour itinerary accurately to ensure that you arrive on time for activity and meal stops and return to your original destination at a reasonable time. List any activities offered or entrance fees and determine if they will be included in your tour price or offered as extras. For example: cruises, bike rides, entry. 

Day 1: Country-side Tour
  • Blood compact site
  • Prony, the python
  • Loboc tarsier
  • Loboc old church
  • Loboc river cruise – buffet lunch
  • Zoocolate thrills
  • Bilar man-made forest
  • Chocolate Hills
  • Sagbayan Peak

Day 2: Island Tour
  • Dolphin watching – pick up @ Alona 5am
  • Balicasag Island
  • Virgin Island
  • Dauis Church
  • Bayoyoy, the dwarf man
  • Hinagdanan Cave
  • BQ Mall

Day 3: Adventure Tour

Danao Extreme Adventure Park
– the plunge
– suislide
– skyride

Very important – RESEARCH! And it’s also an advantage if you have connections within the place. LOL! 

I was impressed as to how the tourism people maintained and managed their attractions sites. Feeding the endangered species, maintaining a beautiful spot, offering some freebies and perks, making souvenirs and dealing with different kinds of people around the world. It must be a tiring job but I know they enjoyed a lot because they wouldn’t last long if they’re not.

And as for my opinion, I would spend time in the forest with the family or friends such as camping, hiking, trekking, and all sorts of that – somewhat like a Survivor camp, Amazing Race or real life challenges, etc. Whew! That would be exciting because as I remembered, when I was still very, very young, I used to organize these kinds of stuffs in the neighborhood. Climbing a tree or going under some big rocks or dirty things to hide the clues for the next quests. Hahaha!

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