“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!
Book a plane ticket to Palawan now! Find the best airfare deals to the best island in the world here.
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.
We’re cheapskates even when it comes to food – Beep especially. Most boyfriends take their girlfriends to fast food joints when they’re on a budget date, Beep, meanwhile takes me to the UV Express terminal in Park Square, Makati to eat at the stalls (we’re frequent customers of Paotsin!) before heading home.
We set a PHP7,000 budget for our recent Cebu-Bohol trip, so we had to choose the more affordable dining options. While we usually eat in carinderias like the locals in our budget trips, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try the highly-recommended eats in the Queen City of the South.
When you’re traveling backpacker style (with a very limited budget), a luxurious hotel is definitely out of the question. Why stay in rooms with 21-inch flat screen TVs when you’re just going out the entire day anyway? You’re traveling to enjoy a place you’ve never been to before (or some place you like going back to again and again), not to watch TV just like your usual lazy weekends in your own home.
Last week, we asked people if they think we can successfully pull off a 5-day El Nido trip for just Php 7,000 all-in per person (we’re 5 in the group). A lot of people couldn’t even begin to imagine how we’re going to do it but they wanted to see if we could really come back to Manila without empty wallets or maxed out credit cards. And so yesterday morning, when our plane landed precisely at 10:30 AM at NAIA Terminal 4, we concluded our 7k El Nido Challenge. The final computation?
Php 6,730.66 ($149.57)
Congrats team! *virtual high-five*
I was only in high school when I first got into the K-Pop craze that was just starting to take over the world (this was about 10 years ago). Back then, there were just small groups of fangirls like me in the country who discussed about our fandoms in online forums, meet up to celebrate the birthdays of our idols (complete with cakes that had their faces on it #TrueStory) and go to Korean K-TVs to sing and dance along to K-Pop songs. My family thought that I was weird for listening to and memorizing songs that I didn’t even understand, but they got used to it eventually and even knew the name of my K-Pop crushes.
GIVEAWAY ALERT: Are you going to Korea this 2015? You’re in luck! We’re giving away a FREE STAY at a new hotel located in the heart of Seoul! Scroll to the bottom of this post to find out how you can join.
Having a small budget for South Korea travel doesn’t mean that you should stay in dingy, cramped hotels. You can find a home away from home and enjoy your stay in Korea IF you know how and what to look for in a budget hotel.
Love makes you do crazy things. It can make you jump out of a plane, propose on bended knee in Batanes, and shout to the world that you want to grow old and spend forever with each other. That’s exactly what our first featured Hobo Love, Will Travel couple (and two of our favorite people in the world) did – Deej and Joni.
Don’t have a Korean visa yet? Check out our guide to applying for a Korean visa + tips on increasing your chances of getting approved.
As budget travelers, we have to sacrifice a number of our personal wants to successfully cover a trip’s expenses with the tight budget that we have to work with – no to first class flights, no to a hired chauffeur in a limousine, no to fine dining, and no to a spacious luxurious hotel suite with jacuzzi.
Beep and I have gotten used to staying at cramped budget hotels, because they’re cheap and they put a roof on our heads. In fact, for our first trip together, we pitched a tent instead of booking an actual room with a bathroom. Yeah it’s fun, but honestly, sometimes we need a break from such a pitiful state of temporary housing.