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.

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).

International Travel Tips

Where to book tours?

Last 2015, my bestfriend and I went to Hong Kong. Months before our trip, we wanted to experience almost all of the things Hong Kong has to offer with the exception that it has to be on a budget. I searched for cheap deals online and one of the amazing things that I found is Klook.

Why Klook?

a. The tickets for attractions are cheaper.

b. You’ll have an express pass in ticketing booths. There’s no need to wait in long lines.

c. They offer the best tours and attractions the city that you wanted to go to has to offer.

d. They offer off-the-beaten path tours, which gives you more options of tours and entitles you to explore the place in a different perspective.

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.