Travel Tips

 

1. On booking a flight

Most of the people around me often ask how do I manage to purchase a low-cost flight. My secret is simple:

A. Sign up in an airline’s website. One of the perks of this is that you’ll be given advance notification via e-mail with regard to their seat sale and, in some airline, they even give a 24-hour priority booking prior to the actual seat sale release date.

B. If you’re not always checking your e-mail for “seat sale alert”, at least always check the website’s promo page. Most of the time, seat sale is released at 12 midnight or 12 noon, which runs for 3 or more days.

C. Book only one-way ticket per seat sale. For example, last April 16, 2017 Cebu Pacific released a seat sale going to Taiwan, which costs Php899 per way. I opted to travel on the month of November. My departure date from Manila to Taiwan is November 6. Luckily, the fare for this date is Php899. Unfortunately, the return flight fare costs Php2500+ on my return date of choice. Php2500+ fare from Taiwan to Manila is relatively cheap compared to its regular price but I wanted cheaper flights. So, I decided not to book any return flight and wait for another seat sale. Come May 1, Cebu Pacific released another seat sale. I searched for Nov 13 flight from Taiwan to Manila and guess what, the fare is only TWD888! When you convert it to peso it would cost you approximately Php1500. My roundtrip ticket to Taiwan costs only Php2399 and it’s a double yay!

2. On booking accommodation

There’s one question for this: Are you looking for a place to stay in luxury or a place just to put your luggage in, sleep in and eat at? If your choice is luxury, then go ahead and book at a hotel. If your choice is the other one, Airbnb is the answer or any other hostels.

I’ve booked at Airbnb twice. The first one is for a stay in Boracay and the other one is for a stay in Bangkok.

Pros

a. The space is all yours at a low-cost fee. Just imagine a presidential suite-sized hotel room or a 1-bedroom condo unit all for yourself.

b. You may cook and do laundry. Yes! You read it right! I did cook when in Boracay and Bangkok and even do laundry, too.

c. You’ll get that feeling of home away from home because you’re really staying at a house of a native from that place. In addition, you’ll get some travel tips from the house owner.

Cons

a. Some of the cheap places to stay at in Airbnb is far from where do you intended to go to. This depends on how much you research the place before booking. Therefore I suggest to check the place if it is near the beach or near the city center before booking.

b. If you book it, don’t you ever change your mind because you’ll not be able to get a full refund. There’s a certain fee that will be charged upon cancellation of booking.

c. If you booked for tours in a foreign country and it do include hotel pickup and drop off, you might add some fee for this depending on your location.

 

Advertisements

How To Be Single: Blog 2

Last 2015, my best friend and I usually hangout during the weekends to do things that we don’t usually do. One fine day, I encouraged her to do archery. It’s raining hard that day but I still managed to convince her to go out.

There are few archery range here in the Philippines that offers cheap archery try outs. One of the places that we found is Kodanda Archery in Makati due to great reviews and affordability.

The archery experience only lasted for an hour. At first I thought ‘isn’t it that fast?’ ‘Will I be able to learn archery in an hour?’

The answer is YES. An hour is enough to learn about the basics of archery and to make your arms tired of holding recurve bow.

Once you’re done gearing up (you’ll wear an arm guard and a finger tab), an instructor will tell you about the do’s and don’ts and some basic tips on how to fire your arrows.

One of the things that I’ve noticed about this sport is that first you should have a good vision. In my case, I have a poor eyesight that even if I wore glasses, the target seems a little blurry for me especially in the long range shots. It also made me realize that in whatever that you wanted to accomplish, you should have a clear vision or goals so you’ll know where you really wanted to go or what you wanted to achieve. Clear vision or goal gives you a snap shot of the golden pot at the end of your rainbow.

Second, archery requires a lot of focus. Your vision and focus should be in synch. If one of it fails, there’s a tendency that your arrow will hit elsewhere beyond the target. Just like in life, if you hit the quarter life crisis, you tend to do a lot of things that sometimes you really didn’t accomplish anything because all of your energy are spread to doing several things instead of focusing on doing one significant task at a time.

Third, archery requires persistence. You’ll not be able to hit the bullseye on your first shot so you have to do it over and over. Whether you’re single or not, life will give you a series of difficult targets. Sometimes you hit it but most of the times you do not. No matter what happens always get up and don’t let your fall define you. Instead, take it as one of those humbling times and get up and show the world that you got what it takes no matter what.

How To Be Single: Blog 1

I started my year with paragliding. There’s a paragliding site in Carmona, Cavite and the experience is awesome!!! (Don’t do this if you’re extremely afraid of heights.)
Last 2015, I booked for paragliding on my birthday (December 16 of 2016). Unfortunately, due to weather and wind constraints, the very anticipated extreme activity didn’t happen and was moved to January the following year.

Straight out of the office, I didn’t sleep because I have a hard time waking up so early. Uwe, the paragliding pilot, will meet me at the pick up point at 7 am. I arrived before 7am and wait for a bit.

Along the way, Uwe told me about how the wind will play a huge part in the activity. He also told me that more than half of his clients are females and most are alone like me. He asked if it is part of my bucket list and it is indeed.

As a single, I really believed that you should have time for yourself and do crazy things that will make you happy and this is one of those things.

Since I am the first rider to arrive, I got to experience a free test ride. It’s around 10am and the wind is building up but Uwe said that it will only lift us up and the wind energy is not enough for us to play with it.
What I saw in the movie is that you’ll run off a cliff and then you’ll flew. But I was wrong. It doesn’t work like that.

First, we rode the truck again to go at the top of the mountain. Then, the paragliding equipments will be set up. A harness and helmet will be worn.

Once all the things are set and the paragliding instructor told you to seat, the wind will blew and in no time, you’re off the ground. Uwe is pulling some strings to navigate us. Strings are like the steering wheel of the paraglide. It let you go left and right and higher and lower.



Up in the air, you’ll see Carmona in a different perspective. The wind will welcome you up in the air as well as the sun so better put some sun protector before doing this.

What I like about paragliding is that you’ll experience what is it like to be a bird flying freely. It’s like a short escape and no one will reach you up in the air. It’s a great stress reliever and it could also be a good sport for you. The experience is so awesome!

After almost 30 minutes, we landed at the top of the mountain safely and smoothly. Prior to landing I was praying that we’ll not crash or anything and we didn’t. Uwe is really a pro at this so you don’t need to worry.

After all the other riders are finished with their ride, Uwe let me ride again. This time the wind is stronger. The height of how high have we flown the first time is twice for my second ride and we got to play with the wind. I got thrilled and so happy when I got to experience the sudden shift in direction.

We’re soaring, tumbling freewheeling. And the view is so much better at the top. We also did surpass the banana plantation and some housing in Carmona. We flew farther and higher for the second ride. And the most awesome part is that we landed on the ground safely and smoothly. Again the ride lasted for 30 awesome minutes! 

I got so lucky I got to experience paragliding twice and the amount I paid is so worth it!

Paragliding sets my mood for the entire year. It made me strong to do whatever I wanted to do. It gives me courage that even if I do it alone, I’ll be able to do it. It made me dream bigger goals. And it made me see that the view is so much better at the top.

If you’re single and lonely, try things you’ve never done before. You’ll see life in a better perspective that way and you’ll slowly find happiness.

Two Days in Baguio

Is two days enough to explore Baguio? The answer is no. Why? If you’re coming from Manila it will take you 6 hours to go to Baguio even if you take TPLEX. After a long drive, all you wanted to do is take a rest but it’s not possible due to time constraint.

On our first day in Baguio, we first take a photo op at the Lion’s Head. It’s my first time in Baguio so I don’t know what it looks like before but my dad said that it’s much better looking before without the paint. A lot of tourists drop by in the area to take photos and buy souvenirs at stalls.

We also did visit the Burnham Park where we go on a bike. Bike rentals is Php100 for 1 hour. There are varieties of bikes to choose from so you don’t need to worry if you know how to ride a bike or not. The only con here is that the bike route is just a portion of the park and on weekends there’s a lot of bikers so you don’t need to bike that fast because you might bump into somebody else’s bike.

At around 5 pm, the rain started to pour so we just stayed at the place we rent in.

On the next day, we went to Camp John Hay. We walked for a bit and then tried the shooting range. I had so much fun in the shooting range and in drinking strawberry taho. Camp John Hay is basically good for dating and for family picnic.

After Camp John Hay, we went to Mine’s View Park where huge crowd awaits us. It’s also fun trying out Ifugao costumes that we rented for Php20 each plus we get to have unlimited pictures wearing it.

Right after, we walked few blocks from Mine’s View Park to Good Shepherd where we bought souvenir delicacies and Ube Jam (Php270) for me is the best!

For our last stop, we headed to strawberry farm. Along the way you will be amazed by the Colors of Stobosa where you may take pictures. On our way to strawberry farm, the rain teased us again. It rained for more than an hour so we haven’t had the chance to pick strawberries, which I’m very excited about.

Two days in Baguio is not enough make it 3 to 4 days to make the most out of it. Baguio is also for people who wanted to relax, soul search and not do any extreme activities. The food here is less expensive and delicious. For 2 days and 1 night, each of us spent Php1900 that includes van rental, accommodation and 5 meals.

Camping during Summer in the Philippines

Don’t even try camping at a beach during summer. It’s super hot in here and you’ll feel uncomfortable most of the time. My friends and I had this crazy idea of camping that had been turned into reality this summer.

We went to Ivory Beach at Calatagan, Batangas. The place has trees around it where you may set up your tent but it’s not sufficient to ease the warm feeling.

We don’t have the energy for the whole day to enjoy the beach as the heat made us lazy and made us to just wanted to sleep. So if you’re planning on going on camping move it to January or February or anytime during Ber months.

Where to spend summer in the Philippines? 

There are a huge number of islands in the Philippines that you may choose from. This summer my family and I went to Davao mainly to attend my cousin’s wedding. The supposedly wedding date of my cousin was moved from May 4 to May 5 leaving us with only May 4 to enjoy Davao. That’s one freakin’ day in Davao.

One Day in the Garden Island City of Samal

My shift ends at 12MN. I just went home to fetch my bag and then go straight to the airport. If you’re from Makati, I suggest that you take the Skyway going to NAIA Terminal 3 ’cause it only took me less than 15 minutes to get to the airport.

My flight is at 3.45 AM and at 6 AM I landed at Davao City safely. I then rode a taxi going to Sasa Wharf. Before leaving the airport, the security guard asked my last name. I asked the taxi driver why are they asking for my last name. The taxi driver told me that if you left something in the taxi and you can’t remember the plate number just go to the guard stationed at the airport and they will be able to track the taxi and retrieve your things. I felt secured instantly.
Another thing that I love about taxi in Davao is that the taxi driver will give you the exact change of your fare. For example, the meter says I have to pay for Php85. I give a hundred bucks and the taxi driver give me Php15. In Manila, if you give a hundred you’ll not receive any change as it is considered a tip even if you’re not happy with the service. In addition, the taxi driver in Davao will take the fastest route as possible to get to your destination. 

Upon arriving at Sasa Wharf, you need to pay for only Php10 to get to the barge going to Samal Island. We enjoyed the 5 to 10-min trip going to Samal while sunrise watching.


First Stop: Monfort Bat Cave

Entrance fee: Php100
The Monfort bat colony holds a Guinness World Records for largest colony of Geoffrey’s Rousette Fruit Bat with an estimated 1.8 million population.


Second Stop: Blue Bird Viewing Deck

Entrance Fee: Php20
This is the perfect place for catching up and talking anything under the sun.




Third Stop: Kaputian Beach
Entrance Fee: Php20

This is a public beach in Samal Island where most family spend their time bonding at the beach.




Fourth Stop: Sabang Cliff

Entrance Fee: Free
This is where my Dad, brother and cousin took all the courage and jump in the cliff. Moreover, this is also where our boat is waiting for us for our island hopping.


Island Hopping in Samal Island

Boat Fee: Php2500
This is the greatest experience ever! There are three sites for snorkeling and best site is the Taclobo giant clam site (entrance fee: Php100; GoPro rental fee: Php300). There is another tour guide at Taclobo where they will explain first what kinds of giant clam is in their conservation. While snorkeling at Taclobo another guide is there to accompany you while snorkeling so as to not stress the clams. I also suggest to test your action cam prior to the activity as we were not able to capture the moments when we were snorkeling.

In the two other snorkeling sites, you’ll see corals and fishes and the waves are a bit rough in other sites.


Fifth Stop: Hagimit Falls

Entrance Fee: Php15

The rain from last night is the major cause why the water at Hamigit falls turned into brown. Our guide notified us but we insisted of going. The water at the falls is super cold and the rocks are slippery. Despite the brownish-colored water, the scenery is amazing and we still managed to enjoy our visit.



Where to eat at Samal Island?



Mik-mik Fried Chicken sold Php25 fried chicken with rice. It’s super cheap that it’s alright to eat up to four chickens by yourself.



Samal Tour Guide



Behind this wonderful trip is our amazing tour guide Kuya Igo. Tour guide fee is Php800 for two people and the mode of transportation is thru habal habal. Kuya Igo is an amazing guide plus life guard plus amazing photographer. You may contact him at +63 948 927 6108.

Amazing Thailand

Bangkok is my third Asian tour. It’s a very very short vacation that we didn’t notice it only lasted for 3 days. This trip is not thoroughly planned from fares to which tourist destination should be visited. And because of that, we learned a lot of lessons in this trip.



Arriving in Bangkok



March is the start of summer in most tropical countries. Summer in the Philippines is hot but summer in Thailand is hotter.


Lesson #1: 
Pack lightweight clothing when visiting Thailand during summer.

What we wear during arrival in Bangkok is the only clothing we brought because we intend to buy clothing in night markets in Bangkok.
After arriving in Bangkok, we looked for money changer. Most of the money changer inside the airport has low exchange rate. One of my friends told me before the trip to go outside the airport and look for SuperRich money changer because their exchange rate is a lot higher. True enough, their exchange rate is higher than the ones we saw inside the airport.


Lesson #2: Before trip, even if it is domestic or international, ask your friends who have been there for some advices and tips because it will help you a lot.

The next thing we did is look for transportation that will get us to our place in Bangkok. We choose the MRT in Bangkok since it is a lot cheaper and more convenient for us. In the MRT station, we looked for 3-day pass MRT tickets like the ones we got in Hong Kong. They have those kinds of MRT tickets but it can only be use in a Purple Line or Blue Line only, it cannot be used in multiple lines so we opted to purchase single-entry ticket. Their train system is very similar to those in Hong Kong and Singapore that it is so easy to move around the city.

In approximately 30 minutes, we arrived at a train station near our accommodation via Airbnb. We followed the instructions given by the owner of the house and the fun part is that we got lost. It took us an hour roaming around the city before we could actually find our place (Supalai Park).

Lesson #3: Learn some basic native language of the place you’re going because not all can speak English nor understand English.

At the ground level of the condominium that we stayed in, there’s a spa. While waiting for our room to be available, we availed one of the spa services: Thai Massage. It’s a must when you visit Thailand!


Activities in Bangkok

Note: All activities that we had was booked thru Klook.

Snow Town

Since Philippines is a tropical country, visiting a snow town is definitely on the list! Bangkok has a Snow Town. If you’re a kid at heart, go in here. My bestfriend and I enjoyed the costumes that we tried on and we enjoyed the chilly temperature inside as well as some computer games.



A Day in Kanchanaburi

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery made me sad and made me realize a lot of things. I was impressed by the heroism shown by the captive soldiers of Japan. And the positive post card by one of the captive soldiers really caught my heart. It was as if a post card was longing to be read by a loved one, and I felt that the post card was intended for me. I almost cried when I read it. I can feel the optimism behind the letter even if they were in torture 24/7. I can feel the hope that he is holding on that someday he will be out of that unfortunate situation.

After an hour or so at the cemetery we go to a place where one of the James Bond films has once been taken. I forgot the name of the village but if you wanted to have some peace of mind, have picnic by the river with your family, or go out and feed fishes, this is the place to be.

We then moved to the bridge built 24/7 manually by the captive soldiers. It is here that I realized that every beautiful and masterfully done creation (be it a building, bridge, dress, etc) is a product of hard work. Most of the times what we see is the end result, and what we didn’t see is the hard and long process they endured to achieve it.

Elephant is the national animal of Thailand. We asked our guide why is it elephant and he said that during a war in Thailand, the King rode in an elephant because elephants are considered mighty creatures. Too sad that elephants nowadays are being used for tourist attraction purposes. We also got so guilty and felt so sorry when we rode an elephant because we didn’t know beforehand that they were in chain and they are being hit when you rode them.

The next thing we did is bamboo rafting. It feels like you’re cruising in an Amazon river. It’s so peaceful that all you can hear are sounds from crickets.


Night Market in Bangkok

There are a lot of night markets in Bangkok and the selection of clothing are wide. The only problem is that you will not be able to fit the clothes. There’s also a lot of cool items that you may see in the night market.



Khao Yai Winery

Who would have thought that grapes would grow in a tropical country? PB Valley is one of the top producers of locally made wine and the taste is at par with those produced overseas. The tour at PB Valley includes introducing the different types of grapes being used for their wine, grape picking, wine making and wine tasting.


Little Italy

Little Italy in Thailand is Instagram worthy. This place is for those people who loves taking pictures while savoring the serenity of the place.


Fun Facts in Thailand

You’ll see weighing scales in most 7-11 stores in Thailand.


 

 

My Very First Domestic Travel

I travelled overseas more before I could actually travel locally. My first ever domestic flight was in January 2017 at Boracay. It was indeed an amazing 4-day trip! All throughout the year, there are an enormous number of tourist visiting the island for its powdery white sand beach. True enough, the sand is very fine. There’s a flock of people along the long stretch of white sand. Some are waiting for their boat for snorkeling, some are sun bathing, some are just walking along the shore and some are just people watching.

What to do in Boracay?
As a first timer in Boracay, I did a lot of activities.

Day 1

We got so excited we didn’t wait for our tour guide for our scheduled tour the next day. Since we stayed at Mt. Luho, we walked and find some cool activities.

Mount Luho viewing deck

Entrance fee: Php100

Picture fee: Php200 but we managed to haggle it with the photographer and we only pay for Php150.




Zorbing + Go Kart

Package fee: Php1300

Day 2

Island hopping

Php500

This includes buffet lunch and you’ll get to snorkel at two snorkeling sites. Just remember to bring your own snorkeling gear if you’re sensitive to using snorkeling gear provided by the bangkero.


Unli picture at Boracay sand art

Php20



Foot massage

Php300


Henna tattoo

Php100



Paddle board

Php300 for 1 hour. My bestfriend and I asked the instructor if each of us could avail 30 mins each. The instructor was kind enough and let us use the paddle board for 30 mins each for Php300.



Paraw sailing

Php350

If you love sunset, do this ’cause it feels like you’re chasing for the sunset while lying on the net of a paraw.



Day 3

Caution: If you have sea sickness, take bonamine before riding a motor boat because waves at Boracay are always angry.


Ocean Walker + Parasailing

Php1500

This includes a lot of picture taken underwater while you’re fish feeding.



ATV + Go Kart

Php1500

We did ATV in an off-road track. There’s also a bonus where we stopped by a beach and relaxed.




Boracay Pubcrawl

Php650

Aside from white sand beach, Boracay is known as the party beach. My bestfriend and I always do attend Pubcrawl in Makati and BGC and we would like to also experience Boracay PubCrawl. It’s an amazing experience! We met new friends locally and from other countries as well. Boracay Pubcrawl is a must!

Note: If you’re planning to go to Boracay and would like to tour and do activities around, please contact our tour guide. Prices in activities depends on whether it is peak season or not.

Arnel Pineda (not the Journey singer but the tour guide)

Contact #:

09776220491

09499278357


How much does my flight cost?

Manila to Caticlan: Php531.52
Kalibo to Manila: Php346.52

Tip: We booked this trip 6 months prior and we always searched for promo flights.


How much does our accommodation costs?

Php2262 each for 4 days and 3 nights stay. We booked it through airbnb and we got the whole attic space for ourselves. In addition, the view from our veranda is so amazing that it feels like we booked in a five star hotel!





Where to eat in Boracay?

Dampa-style restaurants are famous in Boracay. You’ll pick what would you like to eat and they will cook it for you. There are also buffet restaurants in the area. Boracay is so commercialized that along the shore there’s a lot of restaurants to choose from (from fine dining to fast food).