“Tour guiding makes me happy because it gives a unique opportunity to introduce my country (its best qualities and quirks) to people from different parts of the world. For me, it’s just great to talk about something that you love.”
1. What motivated you to become a tour guide?
I used to be an office drone who dreaded going to work. I didn’t know what to do after graduation, but I like history, the humanities and travel. I was discouraged to follow these pursuits, however, for practical reasons and concern from my family.
In 2009, the Philippine Department of Tourism opened a program for people who would like to become part of an elite corps of tour guides. I was drawn to the Mabuhay Guides program because of the wealth of knowledge that was to be shared by leading figures in Philippine art, history, literature, architecture, heritage and music. We were also trained by London Blue Badge instructors. The nice compensation that comes with the job didn’t hurt either.
Tour guiding makes me happy because it gives a unique opportunity to introduce my country (its best qualities and quirks) to people from different parts of the world. For me, it’s just great to talk about something that you love.
2. What is your favorite destination in the Philippines?
Some people may have the impression that I’ve been all over the country. It would be great if that were true but so far, I’ve been fortunate to visit the following places as a tour guide:
Metro Manila, Pampanga, Banaue, Sagada, Mount Pinatubo, Tagaytay, Batangas, Bulacan, Laguna, Tarlac, Vigan, Laoag, Boracay, Puerto Galera, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, Aurora, Cebu, Bohol, Dumaguete, Siquijor, Puerto Princesa City, El Nido and Coron.
Each place has its distinct charm but my personal pick would be Bohol where my wife and I spent our honeymoon. It doesn’t mean, however, that I love the others any less.
3. How do you get clients?
It’s usually through referrals and feedback from customers. To keep my feet on the ground, I’d always remember my mentor Susan Calo-Medina’s words of wisdom:
It’s a good way to have a better attitude toward work and it has helped me a lot in getting more assignments and tours.
4. What’s the best thing about your tours?
The itineraries I’ve prepared were borne out of my experiences in these destinations and feedback from my past visitors. One of the main highlights is real engagement with locals and the places where they live in. Travelers look for the spirit of the place, the face of the country.
In our trips, we’ll walk its narrow streets, ride common modes of transport, try to get lucky winning in a card game, dine in hole-in-the-wall restaurants, belt out an 80s song in a local pub or just have simple conversations over a few bottles of San Miguel Beer or Tanduay Rum.
My role is to act as a bridge, to explain what’s seen and to give a deeper explanation about a destination, a custom, an artifact or little, ordinary things that have become objects of curiosity from the guests’ perspective. You’ll have something to take home and talk about with your family and friends.
5. How do I book your tours?
You can shoot an email to bryan.ocampo [AT] gmail [DOT] com or call mobile number +63917.899.3948 and I’ll try to respond within 24 hours. The tours can be custom-made based on your preference, but I can also give suggestions to make your trip an enjoyable one.