“Don’t look straight into their eyes”
“If someone insists on giving you a gift, politely decline it”
These are just some of the warnings that people told me when they found out that I was going to Siquijor for a week-long Central Visayas trip with the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines. While there were other destinations in the Philippines to choose from for TPB’s first-ever domestic Product Familiarization Tour which I was invited to take part in, I immediately chose the Siquijor-Dumaguete-Bohol tour just because I’ve always dreamed of going to Siquijor.
Shrouded in magic and dark tales, the mere mention of the word Siquijor sends chills down the spine of many Filipinos. Believed to be inhabited by mystical and dark creatures like aswang, ghosts, witches, and sorcerers; this reputation might have gotten people to repulse the third smallest island in the Philippines , but it’s for the same reason that tourists (myself included) are attracted to the island once called Isla de Fuego (Island of Fire). It was dubbed so because of the eerie glow of the island according to the Spanish conquistadors who discovered it in 1565. The truth? It was just swarms of fireflies that flitted around the island’s Molave trees seen from a distance.
As part of our #PhilippinesFirst advocacy, we’re launching a weekly blog series called #PhilippinesFirst Friday where we round up articles published in the recent week that prove just how beautiful the Philippines is. This is our own little way of helping our fellow Filipinos realize how lucky we are to live in this country, feel proud of our roots, and bring inspiration to travel the Philippines first before the rest of the world.
Probably the best Philippines travel news for this week is that Palawan is once again hailed as the best island in the world in the Readers’ Choice Awards 2015 of award-winning US travel magazine, Conde Nast Traveler (CNT). This is the second straight year that Palawan has gotten this recognition. You go, Palawan!
To my dear fellow Filipinos,
“If you were given an all-expense-paid trip to any place in the world, where would you go?”
That was the exact question that started my talk on budget travel last October 15 when I was invited as a resource speaker for Take the Risk, an Alternative Classroom Learning Experience (ACLE) held at the University of the Philippines Diliman organized by the UP Travel Society, which aims to teach students about budget travel, backpacking, and hiking with travel bloggers as teachers for a day. While I gave tips on how to make budget travel possible, the heart and soul of my talk was my #PhilippinesFirst advocacy- to inspire Filipinos to explore more of the Philippines.
Two days before my birthday back in the year 2011, I had one of my fainting episodes at home. I don’t suffer from any serious illness but once in a while I faint whenever I have dysmenorrhea (I’m telling you, it was brutal). While my Mom would usually brush it off like my previous episodes, she brought me to a clinic to have me checked up by a doctor, just in case I need medications. The doctor had a better idea though, he had me confined in a hospital to run some tests on me because he thought that I might be epileptic. I ended up spending my birthday in the hospital with negative results for the tests, proving that I’m not epileptic and that I needed a better doctor.