Finding the Hidden Gems of Caramoan

The name “Caramoan” has surely made it’s mark in the lists of best international destinations especially for traveler who want to explore the outdoors – no thanks to the Survivor series. This area has hosted several seasons and versions of the hit-reality show and it seems that they will be staying for several years more.

 But what is it really in this area that makes Survivor want to stay and lures more and more travelers, tourists – both local and foreign to take the high road visit Caramoan?

Island Hopping in the many islands of Caramoan is more than just moving from one island to another. There are two island hopping tour offers in this area – A. Php 1500 and B. Php 2500 The three of us traveling on a tight budget, choose the cheaper option and it covers 4-7 nearer islands in a day. 
We contacted Kuya Ramil, a tour operator recommended to us by some friends. A jeepney with blasting sound picked us up from our hotel on the day of our scheduled island hopping tour. What we didn’t know was this pick-up service is not included in our island hopping fee! Kuya Ramil asked us for additional Php 300 for it which then sabotaged our food budget!

Anyway, we started quite early. It wasn’t 7 in the morning yet when we set sail and headed to our first island. Our boatman, pointed Gota Beach, Hunungan and Tugawe Cove as we passed by them from afar.

TINAGO ISLAND/COVE

I’m not really sure if this is an island or just a beach but this is where we stopped first. The water is calm and cool and it has an eerie emerald shade. It is surrounded with limestone karsts and it is accessible through a narrow entrance which one might not easily notice. My boys started playing around though the sand wasn’t really fine and there were insects jumping around. Baba told me about the “bantay” in the beach and told me to look up. We saw a Tiki face protruding from the sharp edges of the rock wall. Maybe that’s why it felt a little eerie. 🙂

LAHUS ISLAND

We approached Lahos island from the side and saw only a bunch of jagged limestone rock formation over the water. As our vessel moved over, a bright strip of sandy beach was slowly revealed what came to be our favorite island among those we’ve visited! “Lahus” means “through” and that is what this island really have – a strip of white sand double beach nestled between two sets of jagged limestone formation.

One side of this island has calm and shallow waters while the other have slightly rougher waves coming in. Baba even conceded and claimed that Caramoan is indeed worth all the hassle of long travel. The sand is fine, powdery white and the water is iridescently blue. We lingered on this island a little for our breakfast. I also took work related calls while I marvel at the beauty surrounding us.

MATUKAD ISLAND

A few distance away from Lahus is probably the most popular island among the Caramoan group of islets.  It can be seen from Lahus island because of it’s bright white strip of beach. Although we’ve already declared that Lahus island is our favorite, Matukad island has the finest sand among those we’ve visited and probably the most beautiful too. The beach is wide and the clear blue shallow waters is great for swimming.  There is also a lagoon that you can explore — read about it here!

Most of the islands in Caramoan have limestone rock formations so most of the beaches have sparse vegetation. It is best to start your island hopping adventure early so you won’t have to deal with extreme midday heat and enjoy your picture taking at the islands to the fullest!

MINALAHOS ISLAND

The last island we have visited is a quiet nook compared with the compared with the more popular islands. The beach has dark colored sand, but some fine white powdery sand, probably carried over from the other islands, gives the beach a lighter brush. It was still high tide when we arrived in the island and we settled beyond the rocks where it is more shady for our lunch.

While resting, the tide started to turn and it revealed a wider more shallow beach. Despite having a small stretch of beach, you will appreciate Minalahos differently. Rock formations in this island are quite imposing and they make up most of the island. It is nearer Hunungan cove and a great spot for afternoon swim because of the shade and the cool, calm waters.

Our boatman/guide asked us if we still want to check out other islands after lunch, but we declined. I think we already had our fill and it’s time for us to rest our swim-weary bodies. Not to mention that our little adventurer is now several shades darker!  

The Rough Ride to the Paradise called Caramoan

We have all heard about raves about the hidden paradise of Caramoan Islands in Camarines Sur. We also heard about the hassle associated with travelling to this place, but of really, some of the loveliest places are indeed hidden well away from bustling metros and are accessible only via the hardest routes to dissuade the curious onlookers.

After several months of laying-low, my boys had become even more restless at the onset of summer. Little did they know, I’ve been secretly planning a trip to these islands for several weeks already. I disclosed my plans to them 2 days before our scheduled trip. Baba was adamant and was very much concerned with our budget. Still we pushed through despite Baba’s worries and unyeilding self.

The six-hour rough ride to Caramoan from our home base in Daraga, Albay did not do much to appease Baba’s attitude. We took the van plying the Daraga – Naga (vv) and alighted at Anayan, Pili. There we waited for the Naga – Sabang jeepney that will take us directly to Sabang port. I noticed Baba’s hesitations start to vanish. We are enjoying the wonderful vista offered by Mt Isarog as our jeepney traversed the road to Partido area onwards to San Jose.

Arriving at the port, we hurriedly got inside a canteen (forgot the name) located just beside the passenger’s waiting area. We ordered some brekkie and took our time with it seeing the long queue of passengers waiting to board the boat. After breakfast, we went down to check the boat schedule and alas – the next boat is already full and we have to wait for the following one which they don’t know what time will arrive. We should have our names listed on the manifesto soon as we arrived, but our tummies directed us to the delicious smell coming from the canteen first!

Luckily two boats arrived instead of one and we were accommodated soon enough. Many “bangkero” will tell you to reserve seats by taking your bags to boat and you have to pay them P20 or P50, but we declined them. Also, since there is no “port,” bangkeros have made a “make-shift” port and asks P10 for each passenger. The boat ride took about two hours, traversing along the coast of Presentacion, Camarines Sur.  We arrived at Guijalo port at around 1pm and took a tricyle to sentro. I asked the driver to take us to Villa Juliana for our accommodations.

After resting a bit, we went out to look for a place to eat and found ourselves at a small native restaurant along the highway for our late lunch. We went back to our inn and slept a bit. It was already four in the afternoon when we decided to check out Paniman Beach.

Paniman Beach is the pick up point for island hopping activities in Caramoan. It is well away from the town proper Tawog so we took a motorcycle to get there. The beach is lined with resorts and restaurants as well as souvenir shops. The water is very calm and the beach itself has fine brown sand. It was very soothing to sit and watch my boys play at this beach. We walked to explore the resorts at the far end and back. I think a lot of foreigners have already settled here and have opened their own resorts too.

I wondered how marvelous the sunrise would be in this beach. I faces some enchanting limestone karsts. Baba though still irritable from the lengthy trip, gave me unsolicited advise and said that if I only discussed this trip with him, we could have prepared a better itinerary. And maybe we could have booked our first night in Paniman and watched the sunrise from there too!

Getting to Caramoan from Legazpi City Plus Tips on Avoiding GettingRiff-offed

Rainy days have started but pocketful of sunshine still invites beach bummers and city-escapers to go and explore hidden coves and beaches that worth your while. One of the country’s most beautiful destination as hailed in many articles online and offline is Caramoan. Prolly due to the shoot of Survivor series, this hard to reach destination has proven to be worth all the hassle in the getting there!

From Manila, there are lots of info you can get on how you can travel by bus, by plane or by private vehicle to reach Caramoan. But for the three of us based in Albay, particularly Legazpi City, the road to Caramoan is indeed long and wide. 
From Daraga: We started the day early, at 5:30 in the morning we took a van going to Naga and traveled for about 1.5 hours to Pili (Anayan), Camarines Sur.
From Pili: Buses going to Lagonoy from Naga as well as jeepneys going to Sabang Port, ply the diversion (Anayan) road in Pili, Camarines Sur. We took the jeepney which will take us straight to Sabang port over buses which will only drop us at San Jose and will require us to take jeepneys going to the port itself.
From Sabang Port: There are scheduled outrigger boats travelling from Sabang Port to Guijalo Port in Caramoan. Boat schedules are as follows:
  • 5:30 Am
  • 7:30 Am
  • 9:30 Am
  • 11:30 Am
  • 1:30 Am
These times vary depending on the return trip of boats and their availability. 
From Guijalo Port: Arriving in Guijalo Port – be warned, many boat men awaits the passenger outrigger boat arriving from Sabang and insist that they transfer you to the port via their boats. You will notice that they connive with the captain of those passengers boat so the latter would announce that he cannot take his passenger boat nearer to the side because of so many alibis and that we should just take the offers of the boatmen around us. 
From Guijalo Port: There are tricycles that can take you to Brgy Tawog or the centro where you can find an inn or you can go straight to Paniman Beach and stay in one of the beachfront accommodations there for the night. 
Fare matrix:
Daraga to Naga Van : P130 per pax (even if you alight in Pili)
Pili to Sabang Jeep: P80 per pax
Sabang to Guijalo Port Boat: P120 per pax/P60 for child
Guijalo Port to Tawog Tricycle: P25 per pax if full
Boat transfers: P20
Back ride service: P10
Tips: 
1. Be sure to have yourselves listed in the manifesto soon as you arrive at the makeshift port. We arrived early but decided to eat first so when we realized we needed to have our names listed, the arriving boat’s manifesto is already full so we have to wait for the much later one. 
2. Don’t listen to some of the guys telling you that you need to have a seat reserved and offer to take your belongings to the boat for a fee. You are listed in the manifesto and that guarantees a space or seat for you right?
Additional Tip:
I planned this Caramoan Trip as a surprise summer treat for my boys and got a lousy schedule because I did not seek Baba’s logical advise on some points.
When you visit Caramoan for a 3 days/2-nights stay, head straight to Paniman Beach from Guijalo port and stay there. Why? 
  • You can while away your aftie right there on the calm brown beach.
  • The sun rises on this beach, and
  • You can have your island hopping boat service pick you up from here. 
So that’s less expense on your travel from Centro if you want to beach bum in the afternoon after your arrival and the next day travel for your island hopping trip plus you get a rewarding sunrise (which we missed) from your resort too! 
After your island hopping, you can then go to the centro for cheaper accommodations options, easier exploration of other interesting spots around the area and easier trip to Guijalo port when you are leave Caramoan. 

Museo Pambata in Manila: Where Learning Begins and Fun Never Ends


It was Teloyskie’s first time in a museum and it is also my and Baba’s first time in this museum too. On the way here, we passed by the National Museum and asked the boss (Teloyskie, coz it’s his day)  if he like to check this one out or the Children’s Museum, to which he choose the latter of course.

Museo Pambata is located along Roxas Boulevard just beside the US Embassy.  We took the Proj 2-3 – Kalaw jeepney at E. Rodriguez Ave and in Kalaw St. We walked a few blocks and asked for directions and easily found our way.

We paid for our entrance fee and started our exploration of the different theme rooms in the museum. At that time, two exhibit were closed for renovations but we still have several to go so we set right off at the “Old Manila” wherein miniture tranvia, Spanish galleon ship and cathedral can be explored by our tot.

Next we explored the Global Village and Teloy tried playing the traditional Filipino instruments such as the kulintang. The Karapatan Hall sits right next to the Global Village and it displayed the different rights every child should have.

The second floor of the museum have the Career Options Exhibit, How my Body Works, I love my Planet Earth and the reading room. The former two exhibits are closed so we simply took our time exploring the latter exhibits. Afterwards we headed down to explore the last two exhibits – Kalikasan and Pamilihang Bayan.

What’s really unique about exploring the Museo Pambata are the interactive and hands-on exhibits so that they can discover the different concepts as they learn and play. It was not only the tot that enjoyed the Museo, even me and Baba took our time re-learning things that we have overlooked as kids.

Misadventures at Danao Adventure Park, Danao Bohol

Part of our Barkada Trip Series last year was a visit to Danao Adventure Park in Bohol. Having visited Bohol in 2009, I decided to tweak our itinerary and start our country side tour from Tubigon port this time.

Danao Adventure Park has been featured several times in different television shows. They offer EAT Danao or Eco/Extreme/Educational Adventure Tour which is actually an eco-tourism concept initiated for the benefit of the Municipality of Danao in Bohol. It is a facility run by the local government. You will surely feel good about paying for their activities because part of it goes to government projects such as rural scholarships.

One of the most challenging activity that you can try out in Danao Adventure Park is the “Plunge.” The fee is around Php700.00 that time and while many thinks it is expensive, the crew in Danao will assure you that this price is well worth the experience – maybe even more. I would have wanted to try it out, but I chickened out. I was worried that my 6-year old son would be traumatized and think he’s got a suicidal mom!

We resorted to the next challenging activity on the list and excitedly fixed ourselves up. Teloyskie and I will be doing the Sui-slide Zipline (Php350) – and both of us are first timers in this. I’ve seen other zip line and thought they are too tame. This one in Danao crosses the same canyon that you jump off from the “Plunge” and has a height of about 200m drop to the bottom.

So the guys hoisted me up lying down and seated my son at my back. After securing everything, we were pushed forward to – nothingness! I was too stunned, and I couldn’t see Teloyskie expression if he was afraid or what. A scream bubbled out my throat and I let it all out, my son followed suit. I felt goosebumps as I looked down and realized how deep the canyon was.

Two guys caught us at the end of the line and told us we have to walk a bit to reach the second line going back. I asked Teloyskie if he was scared, and he said yes. I was worried and told him that there’s another zip line ride. His faced brightened and said he liked to go again!

This time, I gamely bellowed my excitement and smiled widely for the photographer waiting to take pictures of us at the other end.

Some of my mates also tried out the Sky Ride or the cable car that crosses the canyon (Php250.00 per person). It looks too tame again for me and lacks the adrenaline rush I seek so I passed it up.

The Park also offers other activities such as Caving, Rapelling, Tubing and others but it’s already midday and we still need to go to Loboc for our lunch cruise.  

Mt. Kinabalu: The Climb

Right after our visit to Kinabalu Heritage Park in November 2012, Baba and I vowed to climb the majestic Mt. Kinabalu “by hook or by crook.” The doors of opportunity opened up when a CebuPac seat sale happened in January 2013 and I was able to book a round trip Manila-Kota Kinabalu flight for March 8 until 13. Then we prepared ourselves to become broke when searching for the cheapest Kinabalu package yielded rates from RM750 to RM1050.

Luckily, I found an email address of Sutera Sanctuary’s booking staff and started pestering her from mid-January until February for 2-2day/1night slot on March 10 -11 or 11-12. She finally gave up and awarded my efforts with a congratulatory email and details of our climb package for May 10-11.  Paid it within a week and on the eve our climb, we met up with couchsurfer Ilya and newly-wedded wife Irina for our plans the next day.

At 5:00AM, we walked three blocks to meet Ilya and Irina and search for our ride to Kinabalu Park. Based on our visit there last time, Baba and I suggested we take a taxi instead which costs RM80/RM20 per person, the same amount if we’ll take the vans going there less the hassle of it waiting to get filled. Arriving early in Kundasang, I decided to get something to eat first before showing up at the registration center. We experienced some misunderstanding with our reservation and were really shocked when Ms Lovely Lady Sniffles informed us that what we had reserved is for May 11-12. But she then allowed us to push through and said that they have a slot for us, but we will now stay in Waras Hut instead of Laban Rata because it is already full.
Excitedly, we paid for miscellaneous, got our packed brekkie/lunch and hopped on the taxi with the other couple to reach Timpohon Gate. We were informed that our guide will just catch up with us so we just joined Ilya and Irina’s.


Baba and I considered this climb as a post anniversary celebration. A milestone in our relationship and yes, we’ll make it through “by hook or by crook.” We almost cancelled it for several reasons – the Sabah siege, family issues and financial constraints, but luckily, several windows of opportunities also kept drawing us closer to realizing it.

Having run a several times as preparation and having experienced climbing some mountains in the PH, I was confident about the climb. On the other hand, Baba was worried because this is his first ever climb. Yet we are ambitious and adventurous, we won’t back down on this peksman! But I underestimated the trail…

The first two kilometers were filled with excitement, energetic strides and a lot of pose-pose for pictures. We are loving the temperature, it was sunny but the altitude and the forest around us made it cool. Even meeting an injured guy carried by four porters on stretcher along the trail did not dampen our mood (okay, it worried us a bit).

We met several people on their descent, we thought these people were really fast, they were perky and seemed to have enjoyed the climb so much. We chatted we some of them while we were having lunch (packed apple and a sandwich plus a bottle of water) and they reassured us that it’s going to be worth all our efforts. But several kilometers and THOUSANDS of stairs more, I was started to feel the pain in my calves and a phobia of Po’s old enemy – the STAIRS.

I must be getting old, Baba was still very energetic and I blame it on the energy gel he just consumed, though he claims a stick of cigarette on every stop is all he needs. And as always, he, like a knight in shining armor, gallantly offered to carry my pack. And me, of course, feeling like a flop damsel in distress, argued a bit and eventual gave in. Baba carried my pack for several kilometers more. He kept on nagging me that I should stop hiking, mountain climbing and other crazy adventures on my own and that he should always be there accompany me when I plan to do something or go somewhere. (Nagpaka hyperactive na man ang pag ka overprotective nya!)

As we go higher, we started to feel the chill and the terrain became even more challenging. Several more people are descending, but these people now are not as cheerful as the earlier batch. We met people walking with a limp, with pained expression and others who looked really foreboding. Baba and I are taking more rests now because I can hardly pull my legs up those eff’in stairs anymore. Ilya and Irina are now well ahead of us. Though they claim to be both first timers, they look very adept at walking and climbing this mountain! Me and Baba kept on monitoring the distance to reach Laban Rata, and when our guide said that we’re less than a kilometer away, it gave us surge of energy and strength!

Just one more turn and we saw Waras Hut, but it was locked and our guide said we have to register at Laban Rata and have our supper there. I notice that Baba was already exhausted. He said he was feeling dizzy and ready to fall flat anytime. We hurried up a few meters more to Laban Rata dreading the hike back to Waras after supper. Luckily again, we were given beds there and there’s no need for us to walk back to Waras. Yay happy supper!

After supper, Baba gave way to slumber. I walked around the lodge and watched the sunset. Would have stayed out longer to admire this cold landscape but it was already freezing me numb!

Time check – 6:30PM, should rest and go to bed too, it’s going to be another extra long day tomorrow. I hugged Baba tight while he sleeps and I can’t help but smile. Despite the pains and the challenges, we’re made it this far… and weary as we are, we’re moving forward, we are ready for more.

***some pictures without watermark are from Ilya and Irina. 🙂

A Dip in Calaguas Turquoise Waters: A First of Many

It’s been a month since Teloyskie moved in with me and we started living a sedentary life. He got summer school and photography workshop for the whole month of April, while mom worked at the adjustment required from a mom. Our world then revolved around one another, his summer classes, mum’s office, adventure time and hotdogs.

Outings were limited to malls, cafes and fast foods until that one fateful invitation – are you going to Calaguas with us? You and Teloyskie?

That fateful day came like a breathe of fresh air. I left the office at noon that Friday. Hurried home and packed my stuff, I was anxious at the getting good seats in the van from Daraga going to Naga and from Naga to Daet, Camarines Norte.

This is my first time to go traipsing with Teloyskie in a place we both don’t know and I thought it would be that easy. Sitting in the jump seat of a cramped van with my kid on my lap and his pack on his lap, my only though was…

“how in the world can they do this and make it all look so flawlessly easy?”

After more or less 5 hours of land travel, we arrived at our destination for the night – Daet, Camarines Norte. We stayed in Pink Diamond Hotel and explored downtown that night. The hotel is more like an apartelle, it has crappy internet connection and cable but it sufficed. Come morning we’ll be off to Calaguas!

We met with our companions at 6AM in Jolibee Daet-Bayan and soon found ourselves in a jeepney bound for Vinzon’s port.

teloyskie’s lifejacket
yawn… are we there yet?
Teloyskie was soo cool about everything and never did he complain about the 2 hour boat travel to Calaguas nor the oversized life jacket that swallowed him whole. He just ate, slept, looked around, slept and woke up when we arrive at our destination.

A Blue so Blue

Ate and I cannot find the exact words to describe the blue, the aquamarine, no the turquoise waters of Calaguas. It was so darn beautiful for words and Teloyskie turned to the temperate clear blue waters at once!

The long stretch of creamy white sand reminded me of Boracay Island. It was so powdery soft that you wouldn’t feel stones poking your soles when you walk around. The only issue we had was it was HOT! It was considered peak season for Calaguas beach camping thus the limited trees on the beach was surrounded with tents wishing for shade. The water was dotted with lots of service boats obscuring what could have been gorgeous view of beach.

There was a multitude of beach combers and the island was full of activity. I suddenly felt a pang of nostalgia for the true blue beach camping experience I had in Anawangin and Nagsasa were you can count the campers in your hands and you prepare all your food from scratch (or from the can/pouch). But that would have been an experience with a capital E for one with tot that keeps vanishing from sight every 10 minutes or so.

Teloyskie spent most of his time playing in the water in the morning, after lunch I successfully convinced him to rest and take a nap for him to re-charge and have more energy for more playing the afternoon. At sundown, asked one local to get us some water for rinsing at P10 per balde. After dinner, we settled down and prepared to sleep. Teloy still is reluctant to do so and make incredulous comments just to irk mommy. I know he’s enjoying this activity and I can see that he’s taking backpacking like a duck to water.

Woke up from a comfortable sleep and settled outside our tent to admire Calaguas at sunrise. My little lion still sleep soundly in the tent, but soon he stirred and stretched. And while he was stretching, he said “Mommy, I’m gonna swim…” so we did.

After brekkie, we spent all our remaining time down the waters and baking “siopaos” and “siomais” in the sand. And even when we are about to leave, ate and I still can’t find the blue that is Calaguas.

Our Calaguas experience was made oh-so-convenient by a local tour operator. Andy and Rocky of Calaguaslocal.com made sure that each and every one of their guest enjoyed Calaguas.

My little backpacker even had the privilege of occupying the “top deck” of the boat to and fro the island.

Day Trip to Masbate City (Revisiting After 10 years)

Both parents are from Masbate, specifically Batuan in Ticao Island – one of the two larger islands of Masbate lying in Ticao pass. During my growing up years, our parents take us there to spend vacation time with the olds. My college research was conducted in Masbate City in 2002. It was my first time to stay in the city and roam around searching for graduates from my school (we had a tracer study of Political Science graduates in Masbate).


So, 10 years after I was again able to trace back my route – Batuan to Lagundi via motorbike, then Lagundi to Masbate port via an outrigger boat. This time though I wasn’t alone, I had Teloy with me to share a happy hot hot day trip with the Mom and the Tita. We left Batuan at 5 in the morning with a anxious Lolo Dad fussing and repeatedly cautioning the motorcycle driver to drive slowly and carefully. The wind was really cold and it was creepy passing on some of the areas that’s not populated.

We transferred to the outrigger boat just before the sun peeped in the horizon. Teloyskie enjoyed looking out of the water and excitedly pointing out fishes that flies out of the water.

The ride took around 45 minutes, and we reached the city just before 7AM. We walked around port area while Mom showed me and Teloy where she buys bread and stuff during her high school years.

She took us to the church and showed us the school next to it, Liceo de Masbate and said that was where she and Tita attended high school.

After that we had breakfast at Jolibee and headed to Mobo, Masbate to visit Tita’s home.

Bontod beach, a strip of beach with bright white sand was just 15-20 minutes away boat ride from Tita’s kitchen.  I really wanted to go there but due to time constraint I just longingly viewed it from their back yard kubo while the Mom collected plants from Tita’s garden.

We headed back to city and asked the tricycle driver to take us to the Social Center because Mom wants to check out what she can buy from there.

 It was a street near the park where vendors abound with their vegetable produce and dried fish products. After buying these and those, we headed downtown to do groceries. I find the improvements around the city quite impressive and there were a lot of banks around too. Teloy asked another round of Jolibee before we catch the 12noon trip back to Lagundi. 

It was a long, hot and tiring trip, but seeing the wonder and amazement in Teloyskie’s eyes on everything that’s happening around him made the trip all worth it. He was particularly interested in seeing fishes, jellyfish, sea horse and other sea creatures while we’re at sea so I promised him a visit to Manila Ocean Park this coming December. 

7 Things I Prepare for When Backpacking

Following backpacking blogs by Filipino travel bloggers simply puts me into vagabonding mode. They’re all awe-inspiring, motivational and passion-driving. You can’t help but admire their guts and how they managed to attain their world-weary statuses. I’ve also longed for exploring countries other than my own. I enjoy exploring around the Ph and managed to see places, sights and scenes that not many are blessed to witness.

twosome travelers

Reading from different travel blogs seems to caution would-be traveler on the many unexpected things on the road. And of course, preparedness on these things is the key. So, when you travel do –

1.  Prepare to get lost.
One of the best challenges of backpacking is exploring unknown and unfamiliar places. Load up on info about your destinations and keep your wits handy at all times.

2. Prepare to get down and dirty.

Generally, backpacking conjure up images of muddy, dirty and smelly-looking travelers with full-packed backpacks(but that’s optional actually). Exploring the world this way may mean that you have to leave luxuries and comforts of your home to experience the sights, culture and people of some foreign land despite your lack of budget.

3. Prepare to be shocked/frustrated.

In most cases, what you hope for doesn’t really happen. There are things, events and people that will truly test your tolerance. Always look at the brighter side of things in such occasions.

wandered around Maharlika Market instead when Typhoon Mina stopped my ascent to Sagada, Mt. Province in Aug 2011.

4. Prepare to be unconventional.

Being in a place where everything seems soo unfamiliar will require you to make adjustments. Even if it means that you have to give up what you’re comfortable with and what you’re used to do and just make do with what’s available.

sleep here? yes, here.

5. Prepare to welcome strange new sights, smells, tastes and culture.

Part of traveling is try out local food and delicacies from places you visit. Some also join community immersion to learn more about the culture and beliefs of the people. And of course, you can help but drink in some of the loveliest sights nature has created for us. 

Balut

Igorot Women of North Luzon

shy Mt. Mayon
smelly Marang in Davao City

6. Prepare to be intoxicated.

Traveling can be a heady and intoxicating experience. And I’m not talking about alcoholic drinks here. (though night outs are also fun when you’re in a new place).

7. Prepare to fall in love – need I say more?

Traveling has a lot of risks, and depending how you prepare for the things on the road, you’d find yourself surprised countless times. Either way, don’t panic and simply enjoy these experience – good or bad – and adjust your preparedness level for the next leg of your journey.

Tsinelas Festival 2009, Liliw Laguna

I know sooner or later, I’d be able to realize my wish to explore other countries in Asia. Most specifically “the banana pancake trail” as claimed by many western backpackers. While still unsure when or where I’ll start with my greatest Asian Backpacking dream, I simply savor the moments and experiences I had while travelling the Philippines. I do not consider myself as a seasoned traveler, but I’m proud to have visited the places I’ve been to so far and I would always look forward to the places I’d go to in the future.

What Stops YOU from Backpacking?

Backpacking has been forever on my list of the things I want to do even once in my life. I envy other travel bloggers for being able to realize this dream and came out unscathed or forever changed. There are a lot of reasons why I couldn’t easily put everything down,  pack my bags and leave.

my soon to be travel buddy

I guess my number 1 issue is Finances/Money. Unlike other travelers or backpackers, I already have a son whom I support single-handedly. I would consider everything he needs first which takes a huge chunk off my salary and this leaves me with a meager savings to put into my travel fund. Thus, I consider my travels a luxury even if they’re just budget travels.

There are a lot of other reasons why people hesitate to travel and discover the world. I honestly think that if I can and I can afford it without feeling guilty and selfish, I would forego any other worries that might stop me from backpacking. Some of the most common reasons that probably stops a person from having their own adventure are:

  1. Money (still is)

2. Health Safety
3. Being Lost and All Alone
4. Losing your routine and facing the unfamiliar

Traveling, backpacking and exploring the world could be one of the most exhilarating experience you can have in your lifetime.

how high is this place up North?

natural water spa for your backaches

I still want to do this despite the changes I have and will have in my life. A growing son and a newly-found romance drives me to work even harder and plan for an adventure we can all have.

Soon I can cross out backpacking on my list, not alone maybe, but with people I’d love to travel with.