With more rain and gloomy skies to be expected in the coming days and months, a trip up north with colder breeze and pine trees sound like the perfect escape. It’s actually been a while since Beep and I went on a trip, with the last one being a beach trip last May. Since it’s Beep’s birthday this coming August, we thought why not book a hotel in Baguio for some much-needed R&R and do some ukay-ukay (thrift store) shopping, which Beep is an expert in, believe it or not.
Last week, Beep and I booked a flight using the Traveloka App
and got big savings because of all the neat tricks and features of the app that we’ve discovered. Aside from the flight booking feature, it also lets you book hotels
. Since we we were so impressed, we used the app too to book a room in the Grand Sierra Pines Hotel
in Baguio for the long weekend next month. And as expected, we got the best deal for the hotel too just as we did with the flights.
If you’re planning a trip or a staycation anytime soon, you should definitely book your hotel with Traveloka App
. Here’s why:
If you’re one of those people who always find yourself on the lookout for seat sales and staying up until midnight to battle for the limited discounted plane seats, you know all too well that scoring cheap plane tickets take a lot of patience, fast typing skills, and of course, stable Internet connection.
We know your struggle. As budget travelers, we enjoy our trips more when we know that we didn’t have to shell out a ton of cash to fly to/from our destination. That’s why even if it means having sleepless nights, we battle it out online during seat sales to get those good deals.
We’ve blogged before about our tips and tricks to getting better airfare deals. While those tried and tested tips still help us bag awesome cheap flights, we wanted more ways to get bigger savings – and we’ve found an answer in Traveloka App.
You’d think that for a couple who loves to travel, we’d have a planned trip for the Holy Week. We didn’t. We intended to stay at home for the long weekend. But come Thursday night, I found myself packing my bag for a trip with no destination in mind because of Beep.
I was strongly against going on a trip without reservations, especially on a Holy Week! But Beep successfully talked me into it, promising that each of us in our group of 4 will only spend a small amount for a 3-day trip to who knows where.
When our group reached a stopover at NLEX, we were choosing between Baler or Bataan (and maybe Zambales). We decided to head to Bagac, Bataan after doing a quick Google search for beaches where we can camp without riding a boat. Compared to Baler or Zambales, Bataan isn’t as popular of a beach destination so we bet all our chips that there wouldn’t be as much tourists in Bataan as the other two.
We won’t be able to go on budget travels in the first place if it wasn’t for Beep (the Hobo) who introduced me to this travel lifestyle. Before I started traveling with Beep back in 2012, an overnight trip with just a small bag was unthinkable for me. Beep, who has been climbing mountains in the Philippines for about 10 years then, is an expert in the outdoors and can survive with just a small backpack (or even a bindle!) – that’s why he’s called a Hobo, he looks like one too.
If there’s one thing that I learned from him after years of traveling together to mountains and islands, it’s how to pack light for a hassle-free travel on a shoestring budget. We bought some of ours here in the Philippines while the others are from Amazon that we bought and shipped via halpU.com
Here are some of our must-haves that we’ve invested in so far that we think every budget traveler should save up for:
“Are you from Bicol?”, was what I remember someone asking me back in high school when I told him that my favorite food is laing, a Bicolano dish cooked with dried taro (gabi) leaves, coconut milk (gata), and chili peppers for a kick. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I hate eating vegetables, but this vegetable dish won over other more popular and meat-based Filipino and international dishes.
I am not from Bicol. I was born in Iloilo and grew up in Manila and only tasted laing when someone in our house cooked it – not even authentic Bicol laing. The truth is, I haven’t even been to Bicol yet, not until last week when I spent 6 days in the region with Beep and our friends.
More than the destinations, I was excited to finally eat laing in the place where it came from. “My Mom’s laing is better than this
“, my friend Steff, who grew up in Bicol, assured me as we ate the dish in one of the most famous carienderias
in Legazpi on our first few hours in the region – and what we were eating was already one of the best laing I’ve had.
One Saturday night, Beep and I found ourselves on a ferry ride to Dumaguete from Cebu. Trust me, reflections on the water at 10:00pm are not ingredients for a good sleep. But I was far from drowsy. I was as awake as my cup of instant coffee can get me. Beep had to choose that particularly time to take a short nap, so it’s just me and the monster-ish little waves, wondering for the nth time why I am not in a plane heading somewhere else instead. But the hobo scored free George and Peter Lines tickets, and who can ever say no to him when he’s being his usual supercalifragilisticexpialidocious self?
A little after 2 am we docked at Dumaguete wharf. I was famished and sleepy (caffeine effects now starting to wear off) so we headed to the nearest inn and flaked out, but not before I extracted a promise from Beep to feed me with the best meals come morning.
And that he did. With barely enough money for a week’s respite, the Hobo succeeded in finding me affordable meals that cost less than P200. I swear, he is getting good at this. In the remotest chance that your boyfriend is as frugal as mine, I’d like to share these cheapsake places that do not sacrifice their quality for affordability:
UPDATE [Feb 25, 2015]: The Korean Embassy announced new visa requirements for tourists effective Mar 1, 2015. See updated infographic below for the details. Those who will be traveling after March 1, 2015 will need to provide additional information from the required Certificate of Employment, Bank Certificate and copy of Income Tax Return, and submit their Bank Statements.
I’ve applied for a South Korean Visa thrice and have gotten approved in all instances, so I must be doing something right. We got back from our 7-day Spring in Seoul trip a couple of weeks ago and what better way to reminisce about one of our favorite countries to visit than help fellow Filipinos to plan their own trip – but first things first, let us help you in applying for your visa. Here is Travels with a Hobo’s Guide to Applying for a South Korean Tourist Visa for Filipinos Employees.
I love being on the road, I love long drives, and I love getting to know a destination by the roads that lead you there.
While Beep and I like jetting off to new places, we’re both still big fans of taking the longer route – going on road trips. Sure, we have to spend days and nights on the road but as they say, the journey is what matters, not the destination.
There’s just something magical about road trips. For getaways to beaches or mountain retreats, some rent jeepneys or minivans, but there’s nothing quite like a drive in your own family car for the comfort it offers on long journeys through Philippine roads.
It sounds exciting to just spontaneously slide into your car, cram yourselves in the back seat, rev the engine, and zoom away to who-knows-where without any preparation. But that could spell disaster. Long drives can be very tiring and challenging not just for the drivers but the passengers too. Fortunately, it’s easy to book a stay in cheap hotels in the Philippines so you can relax when you’ve arrived at your destination.
Before you can take the load off though, you have to reach the end of a long drive that can either be a terrible or wonderful experience. Here are 6 essentials to keep in mind to avoid mishaps and instead have the perfect road trip:
What’s your idea of a perfect escape? If you ask me and Beep, it’s getting away from the noise of the city, just the two of us, alone and one with nature. It doesn’t even have to be in a high-end resort or beach – the more isolated we are, better. Like when we pitched a tent in one of the islands in El Nido, Palawan where we cooked our dinner by fire under the moonlight; the soft waves, the rustling of the trees, and the sounds of the animals living in the island lulled us to sleep. Spending time outdoors, and one with nature, has a lot of health benefits too! While there are islands that are a couple of hours away from the bustling city of Manila, it’s seldom that you’ll have the place to yourself since you’ll have to share the island with other campers or travelers. That’s why Beep and I are always on the lookout for private getaways that we can easily drive to. We’ve tried renting houses but none of them can compare to that night in our own island, until we found out that there’s a floating cottage somewhere in Laguna thanks to an invitation from the owner of Eco Saddle [now Aquascape]. Planning a trip to Manila and its nearby provinces like Laguna? Find cheap flights to Manila here. So last weekend, we drove to Eco Saddle in Caliraya Lake/Aquascape and spent the night in their motorized floating cottage. It was like having an island all to ourselves again, but this time we had a fully-furnished house that can cruise around the lake. Who needs a yacht when you have a real Hobo house?
As the pair behind Travels with a Hobo, you’d think that Beep and I are always traveling during weekends. The truth is, we’re both home buddies and often spend the weekend sleeping in and watching Netflix. We love traveling but we love our beds more! So when we do go out on weekends, it has to be something worth losing a good day of sleep and binge watching for.
“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.