5 Things Traveling Has Taught Me

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I am never the planner. I don’t plan my day, moreover my life. I love spontaneity and surprises. But when we talk about traveling, I become the exact opposite.

My first out of the country trip was with my family. We would avail tour packages and have an itinerary determined by the travel agency. It was fun but it felt limiting. Few years after, I started to travel with a friend and decided to book everything on our own. It was more fun to have control over your trip: where to go, what to eat, where to shop. Also, we don’t have to visit jewelry stores if we don’t want to. :p

Recently, when I traveled with my family and friends to Japan, I took care of the itinerary and the budgeting. It was really challenging — having to plan for a big group is one thing, and it is another thing to research the must-see places, book our accommodation and activities. I became the planner I never thought I can be. I was keen into details, made sure I settled the correct amount, booked the correct dates and paid with the correct card. Traveling is fun, but I can say planning a trip is something I look forward to now. Maybe the next thing I should plan is — my life. Lol!

Check out my Japan Pre-Planning post.

 

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You see it: in the malls, in the highway, in the TV ads — Nike has always encouraged us to do it. But nothing can better push us to “just do it” than traveling.

Traveling has pushed me out of my comfort zone. Every time I am in a new place and I seem to be in a crossroad — whether to do an activity or not, or whether to try an exotic food or not — I always think of this tagline: JUST DO IT! Because when will I be able to go back to that place again — probably not anytime soon. And I wouldn’t want to go back home thinking of “I should have done that” or “I should have eaten that.” Same as what happened to us in Shenzhen. My mother managed all our money and expenses then. When we were offered to visit the Windows of the World, my mother declined because she thought it was a bit costly and it wasn’t worth it. We left Shenzhen with ‘what if’s’ and it wasn’t a good feeling. I gotta learn it the hard way and made sure that on my next trips, I should just do it.

I can say, traveling to a new place made me braver and bolder.

 

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You can be late to work or to a meeting with friends, but never, ever be late when traveling. Every second and minute of your time while traveling is important. You don’t want to miss anything spectacular, like the sunrise in Angkor Wat, when that’s the exact reason you flew to Cambodia.

That is exactly the story of my life. On our last day in Cambodia, we decided to do the Angkor Wat tour. Since we’re already in Cambodia, we don’t want to miss seeing it in its most picturesque form: sunrise. But guess what, we overslept! Instead, we started our tour at 8am and was greeted by sea of people. Nevertheless, we enjoyed visiting the temples. On the brighter side, without these misfortunes, we will not actually learn. So, I take it as a lesson. Next time I traveled, I make sure to set my alarm 5 times and SLEEP EARLY!

There was another instance, we were 5 minutes late for our Kalibo to Manila flight, we had to take a boat for 16 hours instead of a 45 minute plane ride. Talk about hassle 😦

 

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Thanks to geography, we know our continents and their location. We know that we have vast bodies of water and different land forms, but these are all textbook information. We learn this in grade school. The true knowledge is obtain when you get out there and experience it yourself.

When I fly via plane, it always amazes me to look down and see pea-sized houses, the illuminating lights and vast oceans. It makes me realize how small I am and how big the world really is. And for a moment my problems seem so small compared to all the problems accumulated in the whole world. As I continue traveling, it perplexes me to think how I came to exist not knowing all these people and not seeing these places. That’s why when I come home after a trip, I really feel enriched and contented because I feel like I learned a lot and see a lot of things that I never knew exist.

Ever since, I always look forward to traveling more, to see more faces and places and bring it with me back home.

 

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Oh, yes I can solve an Algebra equation and I can recite the Periodic Table of Elements —  thanks to my high school. But I have learned that there are far more things to learn when you step out of the classroom. Theories are taught in school but the real knowledge comes from our experiences. And I can say traveling is one of the best teachers I have encountered in this lifetime.

After college, I was thrown out into the real world: I got a job that pays me enough but I don’t really enjoy, I started to get bills, eventually I felt burnt out and questioned if this is everything there is after college. And then I got into traveling, I spent my weekends out of town and plot my vacation leaves to visit other countries. Suddenly, life seems to be happier. I get to meet different people from different walks of life. I talk to people with languages different from mine. I get to see other people’s livelihood: making delicacies, wood carving and clothing. Most importantly, I experienced things and not just read about them. I felt fully present. Have I not traveled, have I not stepped out from my comfort zone, have I not explored, I wouldn’t learned this much about people and places and especially I wouldn’t know more about myself — what I am capable of, what my limits are, what my hidden strengths are.

Traveling made me richer in experience. Traveling made me more knowledgeable than those who do not travel. Traveling totally changed my life. I cannot imagine not traveling at all.

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Part 2 of 7 of our Japan Diary: Gotemba Premium Outlet, Mt. Fuji and Tokyo Tower

YEY! SECOND DAY IN JAPAN! We started the day feeling fresh after a good night sleep. I bet everyone slept well considering how tired we were from all the walking we did on our first day. At least second day in Japan was more comfortable because we didn’t have to worry about our luggages anymore because they were tucked safe at home.  Continue reading “Part 2 of 7 of our Japan Diary: Gotemba Premium Outlet, Mt. Fuji and Tokyo Tower”

TravelBook.ph: My Go-To Travel Buddy

One crucial factor of creating my travel itinerary is choosing the accommodation. Last December, my family decided to spend the holidays in Baguio. This is something big for me because we never go out during Christmas. My dad always prefers to spend the holidays at home. So when I learned about our first Christmas vacation out of town, being the lakwatsera that I am, I took care of planning the itinerary and booking the accommodation.

Good thing, I stumbled upon TravelBook.ph when I was looking a good yet affordable hotel in Baguio City. After looking at a lot of options, we finally decided to book Albergo Hotel. We made the payment at SM Payment Center, after which we received the hotel voucher. It was a smooth transaction.

My life has changed since then. Whether it is for a staycation in the city or an out of town, I always use TravelBook.ph for booking my accommodation.

Get to know my go-to travel buddy!

Continue reading “TravelBook.ph: My Go-To Travel Buddy”

Travel Diary: Vietnam

I received a lot of questions via email and comments regarding my VietCam trip last year. The Rappler article really helped to spread my article! I think it is now time to write about our trip in detail.

Date: July 24 – July 31 | Group of 3: Me, Krissy and Bea | Budget: P25,000/pax

Continue reading “Travel Diary: Vietnam”

Preparing Your Taiwan Tourist Visa – For Filipinos

And it’s legit, I am flying to Taiwaaaan!

We booked our flight to Taipei last December to fly in July. Since there is a visa for entering Taiwan, there was a risk when we booked our tickets. But I just did my research and prepared the requirements, then prayed that I hopefully pass the application.

I actually am late in processing my visa. My target was early June (You can start processing your visa 3 months prior to your trip). But it’s hard to complete my requirements especially I just transferred to my new work. So, with only 3 weeks before our flight, I went to Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in RCBC Plaza and submitted my requirements. I am so happy because when they checked my documents, they did not ask me anything, so I take it as I submitted all the needed documents. And then after 3 days, I went back to RCBC and ta-da, I got back my passport with this!

Continue reading “Preparing Your Taiwan Tourist Visa – For Filipinos”

A Response to the Comments on my Rappler Article – Budget Itinerary: 6 days in Vietnam, Cambodia for 25,000.

You can read the Rappler article here.

I would like to go through some common points mentioned in the comments of my article:

Point # 1: 25,000 is expensive for a 6-day trip to 2 cities.

The article I shared was the itinerary we (my friends and I) created which suits our preferences. We are NOT backpackers but we don’t want to travel luxuriously as well. We want to travel within our budget, which is 25,000.

Our itinerary can serve as a sample itinerary or a guide to those who want to do DIY itinerary. I am not saying that you do all the activities we did or visit all the places we went to. I broke down all my expenses, so it’s easier for the readers to determine what they can adjust to fit their budget.

So, if you are asking, “Is it possible to travel to Vietnam and Cambodia with less than 25,000?” – the answer is YES.

How?

Continue reading “A Response to the Comments on my Rappler Article – Budget Itinerary: 6 days in Vietnam, Cambodia for 25,000.”

How to be Pretentiously Artsy in Pinto Art Museum

I didn’t know that we have a Museum Month here in the Philippines. But in time for that celebration, I would like to share some photos from my favorite museum: Pinto Art Museum.

I have always enjoyed going to museums. I’ve been to Negros Museum, Metropolitan Museum, National Museum and War Remnants Museum in Vietnam to name some. But Pinto Art Museum is my favorite so far. I first saw it from Tracy Ayson’s blog early this year then it has been all over my feeds since then. So last April, I went to see it for myself. And I was not disappointed.

Here, let me share some of my photos…

Continue reading “How to be Pretentiously Artsy in Pinto Art Museum”

Things to do in Bacolod City

 

Yes, I am bitter over the fact that Masskara Festival just happened there in Bacolod and I was here (in Manila), stuck behind my laptop, finishing my deliverables and strolling through my feeds seeing people enjoying the festival. As much as I would like to be there and celebrate my favorite festival, I cannot do anything but reminisce some good ‘ol memories from the City of Smiles.

I didn’t really know what is in Bacolod until I was lucky enough to be asked by my sister to come with her last October 2013. It was on time for the Masskara festival and after our 1 week stay in the province of Negros, I was more than glad to return anytime soon. So if you find yourself booking a ticket down the South, try to put Bacolod in your to-go list, too.

Here are some of the things you could do to maximize your stay in Bacolod:

Continue reading “Things to do in Bacolod City”

Photo Blog: Flotsam and Jetsam

There are times when you just want to get away from the city and take a break from the hustle and bustle of Manila, but you don’t have time to book tickets or plan your itinerary. Good thing, we have nearby provinces that you can go to by bus and just be spontaneous: no itineraries, no plans. That is what we did exactly on that weekend in La Union.

Me and my friend, Krissy, like artsy stuff. So when we saw Flotsam and Jetsam in our Instagram feeds, we both knew we have to go there. So let me take you to that one weekend getaway to La Union’s Flotsam and Jetsam.

Continue reading “Photo Blog: Flotsam and Jetsam”