Sunday, December 19, 2010

more from KUALA LUMPUR

This is my second time to take a picture with the Petronas Twin Tower. My first one was in June 2008 and I was alone then. This time I was with couple of friends, my college classmates Dupong and Jackie, and my partner Erick.

Day 4, November 2, 2010 (Tuesday)

After having seen much of the city in a garden, Singapore, we packed up our things and headed to Kuala Lumpur City. It was All Soul’s Day in the Philippines but we thought of visiting our ancestors and relatives graves when we get home. This might have been contributory to a little back luck of the day. We hailed several taxis whose drivers refused us as we showed them the note on our destination. The note on the piece of trampled paper said Larkin. I was not able to remember where Larkin is. I thought it's a bus station within the city of Singapore. What I remember was that the first time I headed to KL from Singapore I rode a bus named CausewayLink and it transported me to a bus station in Johor Bahru where I transferred to another bus bound for KL city.

Until finally one taxi driver understood our predicament and brought us to a bus terminal beside Darkin place where Transnational buses queued. So we thought that the note's "Larkin", given to us by Erick's cousin, Lemuel, was actually Darkin. It was when we passed by Johor Bahru that I remembered Larkin as the bus station at that point in Malaysia where we can find various bus liners going to KL city. So the note was right, it only lacked more hints as to where it is and how to get there, and not by taxi.

We paid SGD32 for the direct bus trip and reached KL at 4pm. That was of course after passing Singapore immigration at Woodlands and the Malaysian immigration at JB or Johor Bahru. That's the hassle of crossing borders because you really have to get down the bus and queue at the immigration counter; plus, you have to fill up departure-entry documents.

Nevertheless, this KL trip was something special and free! I really wanted to stress the word free; courtesy of Dupong’s cousin, Ate Jerlyn. She fetched us at Bukit Jalil bus station. Good that she offered to pick us up and we said yes because that new bus terminal in KL is far from the KL city proper. Unlike my first visit, that the bus I boarded parked at Puduraya Bus Station, right in the heart of KL city, at the Pudu Street in fact. I learned that the Puduraya Station is under renovation.

Without delay, Ate Jerlyn drove us to KL tower. It excited me since I was not able to reach that tower during my first visit. Much to my surprise, she drove us through the SMART tunnel in Malaysia. I have been wishing I could see that "Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel" or SMART after I saw it featured in National Geographic Channel as one major innovative megastructure. And my wish was granted with added bonus of seeing the entire KL from the top of the Menara KL. Take note, Menara means tower.

Our next stop was at the King's Palace. Not inside though. And the giveaway did not end there, Ate Jerlyn treated us a free dinner at Crowne Plaza and offered us her home for the overnight stay. She and her Malaysian husband welcomed us in their so-called White House. Again, for free!

Day 5, November 3, 2010 (Wednesday)

This fifth day made me conscious, though it was second day at Ate Jerlyn's place, but to be freed of everything seemed more than we can ask for. Her husband bought us our breakfast since they all work early, except Ate Jerlyn, only today I believe. She became in fact our driver, tour guide, and even photographer.

She brought us to Putrajaya, the portion of KL where all national offices and museum were erected. I have read that Putrajaya is a planned city. Indeed it is! We have seen the state of the art, uniquely architectured bridges, buildings, mosques, palaces, conventions centers, et cetera in this territory.

But we can not survive the heat of the sun so we left Putrajaya at around noontime. We dropped by the Carefour Mall to grab a lunch at a hawker. Yet again, we enjoyed chicken and pork recipes cooked in some chinese ways.

Our afternoon and final stop was at Petronas Twin Towers and Suria KLCC Mall. We were not able to take the ride to the skybridge because the tower only gives free viewing in the morning. Well, except me, I already reached the skybridge the last time I visited KL. And as a closer, we traversed the Petaling Street for last minute shopping of souvenirs and drove back to Bukit Jalil bus station to go back to Singapore. To my surprise, we only paid RM39.00 each, as compared to our way in where we paid about the same amount at SGD.

Again, it took us more than 5 hours to reach Singapore. We arrived at 10pm arrival at Woodlands. After passing immigration, we waited for more than an hour for our bus; but it left us. I was sure we told the driver that we'll ride back but he and his bus was nowhere to find at the loading bay. Fortunately, we have a Singaporean resident with us and he led us to find and ride another bus. This new bus parked at a terminal which was just few blocks away from our hotel. We entered the hotel at past midnight. This misfortune hungered me and so I ate dinner alone at the nearest Mcdo around Bugis Street. I did not invite them nor bring some to-go for them.

When I got back to our room, Lemuel and another female friend, an acquaintance of Erick, were there with bottles of beer. We drunk to the limit that whole night long. After all, this was our last night in Singapore.

Friday, December 17, 2010

SINGAPORE once more

Singapore is one city I would love to visit over and over again. The only downside is that it is an expensive city, where 1SGD is equivalent to an average of 33 pesos. Nevertheless, the pricey trip did not impede our intention to step on Singapore's soil. This time I was not alone; I brought with me my partner Erick and my college classmates, Dupong and Jacquiline. Our flight booking was made in February 2010, which means that we really saved for this tour. It was in Aug 2010 that we finalize our itinerary with primary tickmark on Marina Bay Sands visit and Universal Studios theme park; in Sept 2010, we made our hotel booking at South East Asia Hotel; and in Oct 2010 we arranged our meetings with friends and relatives who reside in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Day 1, October 30, 2010 (Saturday)

We took the early morning bus ride from Manila to Dau, Pampanga, then transferred to 2 rides on a Philippine jeepney, that is from Dau to SM Clark and from SM Clark to Clark Airport. We even argued with jeepney drivers who used to contract trips to airport at high price. But since we have been to Clark airport once, we convinced them that we know the way. It only cost us P14.00 from P200.00 that they charged to naive tourists.

We expect to touch the ground on time however due to air traffic in Changi Airport in Singapore, we were 1 hour delayed. As soon as I passed the Singapore Immigration, I called South East Asia Hotel to extend our check-in deadline which was supposedly at 5:30pm. One thing that surprised me upon arrival was the new terminal building; the Cebu Pacific flight from Clark arrived at the so-called Budget Terminal. My first visit was via Philippine Airlines was direct to the Changi International Airport. Thankfully, Singapore government provides free bus ride from the said terminal to the nearest MTR (train) station located at the Changi International Airport Terminal 1 and 2. We followed the directions given to us by the SEA Hotel to ride the MRT to Bugis Station.

At the Bugis MTR Station, Erick photographed the vicinity map where to find the SEA hotel. Guided by it we walked two blocks from station towards Aberdeen shop. We checked in hurriedly because we already ran out of time and we were scheduled to meet with my hometown neighbor who worked as a nurse in Singapore. Anneth Tokong, I knew her as Ann Ann Canoy, was scheduled to sponsor our dinner for the night and accompany us in touring around Orchard street (a high street in Singapore in terms of fashion and nightlife). She indeed treated us to a not-so-sumptuous dinner at the Food Republic. It was sort of a classy foodcourt; we took the thai cuisine.

Day 2, October 31, 2010 (Sunday)

I did an early morning tour around the SEA Hotel's vicinity. Actually I was awakened by the clanging of the bell; that was when I realized that a Buddhist temple is behind our room's window. My curiosity of their sunday morning rituals dragged me out. More astonishing was that a Hindu temple stood adjacent to that Buddhist temple. And so I walked more thinking that some more temples lie ahead. True enough, I noticed a Methodist Church one corner away and a Catholic Church opposite to it.

The three of us, Erick, Jackie and I, attended the Sunday Mass at St. Joseph Church, the one I sought when I looked for more temples. After which we headed to Bugis MTR to ride a train to reach the Boat Quay, the Fullerton Hotel, and the Merlion Park. We witnessed a dragon boat racing, crossed the Cavenagh bridge, and captured the statue of children racing to dive the river (it's located at the left side of the Fullerton Hotel's facade). I only saw them in the magazines, because I was not able to venture this part of the city the first time I was here.

We kept on asking Singaporean people where to find the Merlion Park, and when we finally got there I was stunned at the new scenery where Marina Bay Sands rose at my front and the Singapore Flyer at my left side. It wowed me standing at the foot of the giant merlion spitting water to the river. I minded not the crowd but the 360 degree view of the park. So I decided to climbed the Sand's Skypark to see for myself the bird's eyeview of the Singapore city.

But that can wait anyway. We still have more meetings to attend to, first was meeting with Jackie's former officemate that took place at the Suntec Convention Center and Mall. She (I am so sorry I forgot her name) sponsored our lunch served like a luglog in Naga or pancit in Tuguegarao; a big plate of cooked noodles topped with seafoods (shrimps primarily). We roamed around the convention center and threw wishes at the Fountain of Wealth. We waited for Ann Ann and her housemate, Beth, who agreed to accompany us in the afternoon tour.

And so the tour was now directed to Marina Bay Sands. Jackie's friend led the way and instructed a train ride to Orchard Road where the bus-ride to Marina Bay Sands passes. What made it ridiculous however was that the bus we rode also passed the Suntec Convention Center where we have been. Well, all of us were first timers to the Sands Hotel even those working in Singapore, otherwise we simply waited there. We laughed our way as we left the Suntec City the second time around.

Erick's meeting with his cousin Lemuel took place at the Sands Hotel. He or she, whatever you wanna call him/her 'cause he's a transvestite, accompanied us at the queue until we reached the counter where we paid the 20SGD each as entrance fee to the Skypark. Erick and I were left alone for the roofdeck viewing; Jackie opted to stay with the ladies. We savored the grandiosity of Singapore from up the skytowering Sands Hotel. We took moments to feel the air and wind up there; we even peeked at the rooftop swimming pool (which unfortunately is inaccessible to non-check in tourists). The look of the Singapore city below is so beauteous!

We reunited at the Helix Bridge; we were already seven at 7pm. The company composed of Erick, Lemuel, Ann Ann, Beth, Jackie and her friend and me. But the crowd lasted for few minutes only, Jackie and friend has to leave to meet more friends. So the five of us proceeded to dine at the foodcourt of international cuisine beside the Esplanade Mall; once again the dinner was free for Erick and I as it was sponsored by Lemuel, Ann, and Beth. And then Dupong called up announcing his arrival at the Changi Airport. The three of us were supposed to be fetching him but considering the circumstance, I was left alone to pick him up. He bore the inconvenience of waiting for me for a while.
Jackie was already at the Hotel room upon Dupong's check in. We chatted the whole night long when Erick and Lemuel arrived.

Day 3, November 1, 2010 (Monday)

It was All Saints Day and Universal Studio day for us four. Because it was a holiday for us Catholics, we dropped by the St. Andrew’s Cathedral for a church visit. We knew for sure that we can not attend the holy mass at 6pm, so we offered a rosary.

We took pictures of the cathedral before heading to the harbour front where Universal Studio rose. I initially thought of riding the train but the others wanted to try the bus. We checked the directory several times to note the bus number and the fare on our way to Vivo City. Bad luck bit us then as one of us failed to pay the fare and we were fined 20SGD for missing to pay 1.01SGD bus fare. Ugh!

When we analyzed it, I was actually the non-paying passenger. Before climbing up the bus, I turned over to Erick the fare for two without saying a word. I thought he got the message of receiving 2.10SGD. Then later, Jackie cried for help thinking she lost her EZ card. I tried to rescue Jackie's situation grabbing some coins in my hands. As we all climbed the bus, Jackie retrieved the card. So I pocketed back the coins. Erick on the other hand thought that I will pay my own fare since I held coins dropped only 1.10SGD into the box. When the inspector came in, he revealed that one among us did not pay and that we have no other option than pay the 20SGD fine.

The misfortune triggered the heated arguments between Erick and me. But the show must go on despite it. We changed money and took our lunch at the Vivo City Mall. We rode the Sentosa Monorail to Universal Studio after the meal of Hainanese chicken.

A hairspray street production welcomed us. We experienced the Accelerator ride as extras to the shooting. We assumed it was a movie or tv shoot because one young actor and another young actress occupied each a gondola and cameras all around were busy capturing the scenes. We were disappointed to know that the Galactica roller coaster is still unoperational. We then proceeded to the Shrek castle and experienced 4D theater. We tried the dragon ride roller coaster and the Revenge of the Mummy roller coaster. It was such a fun to have Dupong riding the roller coasters with us.
We ate our early dinner and proceeded to Sentosa beach station. We were supposed to watch the production The Songs of the Seas but due to bursting tension between Erick and me, we retreated back to the hotel to rest. Lemuel came to the hotel with the box of beers and so we end up drunk before dawn.

We went to Kuala Lumpur the following day. We were back to Singapore the dawn of November 4. We shopped at Bugis Street Shopping Center for souvenirs before heading back to the Airport for an afternoon flight to Clark, Philippines.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dead Air

Been very busy for the past two months. This is the reason why I haven't attended my blogs. I have many things in mind to write, but I failed in finding the right time to sit and jot them down. But the two months, August and September, has past and so I hope I can resume writing anything under the sun.

I think of writing my angst about the stand of the church on reporductive health (RH) bill. It has been known that an agreement has supposedly reached between the Church and the Government. But just recently, a threat was posed against P-Noy to be excommunicated if he continued to support the said bill. The Church further calls for the civil disobedience if and when the bill is passed and promulgated.
My initial postings on facebook in relation to this were the following:

I am so disappointed by the threat posed by our Catholic Church leaders as to its stand against RH Bill. But I believe it is not exactly the stand of the whole Church, which is the people... the so-called Church of and for the Poor for I myself believe RH Bill passage is one true remedy to poverty most of our Church Members suffer.
Let's disregard the idea of "civil disobedience" against the government...we can instead apply "civil disobedience" to the bad call from our Church leaders.

For me, they're very UNREASONABLE!!!
Definitely, an article about another asian travel will be blogged in November, the Singapore-KL tour. This is something to look forward to.
I would like also to continue my unfinished stories. I hope I can come up with my first novel.
More stories are coming, like the "Barangan", my self-proclaimed Biography, and more.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dared and Enthralled by the Caramoan Islands

After the 3-day grueling workshop, which I happened to be the facilitator for the most part, a respite in a place like Caramoan is well deserving. I have never heard of this place to be interesting until my chief, Ms. Alma and my supervisor, Ms. Doreen, assigned me to arrange this sidetrip after our workshop in Naga City.

For a week, I called up the Camarines Watersports Complex or CWC to reserve us a room at the Gota Village Resort, its partner in Caramoan. Unfortunately we were declined due to the shooting of Survivor Serbia still on-going that time that occupied the said resort along with another Hunongan Cove Resort. So I found an alternative resort in Brgy Paniman, the so-called Breeze and Waves Resort.

My research revealed that Caramoan is a municipality of the province of Camarines Sur. It is not entirely an island separated from the mainland province; only that it has several islets within its municipal boundaries, just like hundred islands in Alaminos, Pangasinan. I initially thought that the only way to reach Caramoan is by boat. But no, it has an alternate road but not motorist-friendly. It is still better to ride the boat than snaking the super rough road.

October 28 came. Humid as it always is but clouds served as our umbrella. I feared it rains but it did not. The Naga-Sabang trip took a little more than an hour in an airconditioned van. Fare was 90 pesos per head and we paid for the last one slot at the back to give some air to Ms. Alma and Ms. Doreen. I wonder that my company both realize, only then when we reached the Sabang, that sabang means meeting of river and sea waters. In my hometown, I used to hear people call such a point as Sabang; considering that we have several rivers running down to the seashores, so you can be perplexed with several number of places called Sabang.

We hopped on the parked boat, a big boat with outriggers the size of which look like a fashion show runway. Not for long, the boat was packed with people, residents and tourists. The last to board was a group of 20 students who occupied the front section. As the countering waves become bigger and wilder, these students cried in chorus, especially when the hood slapped the water and ushered some splashes inside the boat. It was agonizing really for me, considering that I myself have a bit of fear of the waves. Don't laugh at me. Yes, I was born in a town near the sea and of course I knew how to swim, but to be inside a boat packed with people, shaken by wild waves, it's entirely a different feeling and it scares me. But I have to remain calm. I just treated the screaming and howling of females a chant of a cheering squad. I did it lighten up my own share of fear.

Behold! After thirty minutes of swaying, floating with the boat, an islet appeared on the right horizon, so green, so prestine and looked uninhabited, with two small nipa cottages erected on a white sandy beach at its front yard. The green background looks like a mini-forest backyard. I drooled at the beautiful scenery and wished I can have a chance to step on its ground. So much more, when we pass to its side where Mayon Volcano’s perfect cone has stepped in as its background.

The two-hour boat ride surely bored me, other than scared me with its wild shakes from time to time. So I entertained myself admiring the beauty of naked Mayon volcano on my right and the busyness of the fishermen tending their nets on my left, the green hills as their backdrop. I also busy my thoughts pondering on the existence of villages, I mean communities, in this remotest places. I lacked sleep and I wish I can gain some nap while boat riding, but sleep never visited me. It must have been scared and shooed by the wild ride too.

My mind wandered in the oblivion, making up stories and sceneries about anything under the sun. And it came back to reality upon the site of the Guijalo port gradually becoming visible. It delighted me to know that we were almost at our destination and have finally ended the scary and wavy ride. We rode a motorcab at P250 hired rate directly to the resort, the Breeze and Waves Resort, we booked. We passed by a cafeteria to bite lunch and buy chichirya in the nearby grocery store. The ladies found our lunch unsatisfactorily costly.

Loaded with everything we need, groceries and water, we went to back to another bumpy ride. The road to Brgy. Paniman from the junction to the Poblacion is rough and undeveloped. Despite the fact that most island hopping events start from this place, the people we talked told us that it may be because this point in Caramoan is a competition of the province(government in this case)-run Gota Village Resort, which is situated in another barangay.
We checked in and settled for a minute inside the airconditioned room. The room accomodation in the resort is good enough for nature-lover and adventure-tripper like us. Meaning, you don't have to stay inside your room for a long time. And with the captivating view of Caramoan islands and the refined sandy beach of Paniman, you will surely stay outside.
So we went beach walking from 2 to 5 in the afternoon. Under the cloudy skies, we wore off our slippers and let the sands massaged our soles. We walked the whole stretch of the Paniman beach until we reached another "sabang" and back. We were accompanied by a friendly dog we encountered at the La Playa Picnic Camp cafeteria when we took our afternoon snacks. We kept on strolling until late afternoon; we took pictures as we climbed at the abandoned props of the Survivor show at its Workshop Station.

That first night in Caramoan, we booked our dinner at La Playa; Ms. Alma and Ms. Doreen ordered an adobong pusit, a pinangat and the The Bar vodka. We did not empty the vodka bottle in La Playa, despite the long-playing videoke singing with matching dancing. My partner in singing was Ms. Doreen and in dancing was Ms. Alma. We finished our vodka though at the dining area of Breeze and Waves Hotel while chatting with the owner-manager (I am sorry I forgot her name) and the two Danish brothers who like us are first-timers in Caramoan. I admired their sweetness and of course their fluency in speaking English. For sure they're rich kids. When Ms. Alma asked them where they got to know Caramoan, they replied "Lonely Planet".

The second day started with a simple and usual breakfast and then we hopped on the boat we booked for the Island Hopping. Loaded with the lunch provision prepared by the resort and snorkeling gadgets, we visited the nearby islets (only 8 islets were covered by the P1,500 rate). Good for us that we were early to land at the Matukad Island because after we took several pictures, the Survivor production closed the islet for the day's shooting. Then we proceeded to the next equally beautiful and white sandy islet, the Naglahos Island. What made it uniquely wonderful is that the two adjacent big rocks (which comprised most part of the islet) are joined by the short stretch of white prestine sands. I believe it is what is meant by Naglahos.

We went snorkeling at Tinago Island first, then at the islet fronting the Hunongan Cove Resort, but we enjoyed it most when we went back to Naglahos Island where the snorkeling area was full of colorful fishes. The island hopping lasted at 2 in the afternoon. We dried up ourselves after the long hours of sun exposure. We were indeed blest with good weather during our two-day trip from the heavy rainy days before it.

I enjoyed the whole trip, the island hopping, the snorkeling, the Caramoan Islands! The good weather lasted until the day of our trip back to Naga City. This experience made me look forward to visiting the place soon, maybe with the same company or with other friends.

I hope my sunburn will heal fast...

Friday, July 9, 2010

"Thank you mga daday sa paglinis ng bahay...pasensya na at wala tayong katulong...sana weekly na to, hahahaha! ang ganda kasi at maayos tinggan...Basta maraming salamat sa inyo ni venus."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


People say that I have some birthmark in my feet soles. Well, I check them every day but I find none. That is actually a figurative way of saying that you are “fidgety”, that you can not sit still, you can not settle in one place.

I guess I am in terms of travel.

I love to travel a lot, I can not stay put or I get bored if I sit still in one place. Maybe this is why I am granted a job that requires me or that gives me opportunity to travel. My job that relates to traveling started when I worked with foreign-funded projects. First was in Department of Finance under its World Bank-funded Community Based Resource Management Project. Second was in Department of Agrarian Reform under its Asian Development Bank (ADB)-funded Agrarian Reform Communities Project. Third was in Department of Agriculture under its ADB-funded Infrastructure for Rural Enhancement Sector Project. And currently I am with Development Alternatives, Inc. under its US Agency for International Development-funded Philippine Water Revolving Fund – Support Program.

These projects have granted me the chance to reach and step on soils of the whole Philippine Archipelago (almost) from Cagayan Valley in the north down to Tawi-tawi in the south. I said almost because some rich provinces like Ilocos Norte were not included in the project areas. The Central Luzon also was usually not covered by the projects I worked with. And I have not stepped into Sulu soil, and I tell you I will never dare.

For more than 9 years now, I have earned lots of mileage and learned lots of travel lessons at the same time. The lessons learned from traveling as I am going to thoroughly discuss later focus solely on “survival”. My travel experiences do not only account for domestic trips but also some international (Asia Pacific, so far) tours I have afforded so far. Surviving in a place that is alien for you is the huge challenge. May it be domestic or international soils. May it be lands of people that speak the same language or not. Survival is foremostly a concern.

The following checklist of lessons that I learned from traveling around could also serve as travel tips to readers. I hope this can somehow help in one’s survival while in a new environment, new place, most especially in foreign lands.

Number 1. Have enough money, change or coins primarily.

This does not really apply for domestic travels. Basically because we know our currency (Philippine Peso or Piso), counting and changing monies is never a burden. But when you deal with foreign currencies, especially when it’s your first time to handle them, you will really encounter some level of difficulty. In regard to preparation of enough coins (barya in Tagalog or Filipino), Philippine transport requires barya only in morning trips or if you ride tricycles or pedicabs; buses are not really particular with that. However, buses in Hong Kong and Singapore require exact amount of fares; they won’t mind how much you pay for as long as it is not below the minimum. Excess payments are considered tips. So what must you do to find change? You go directly to customer service. You look for one within the airport, bus terminals, and train stations.

Number 2. Ask first if the person you approach speaks English.

You don’t need to find one when you travel domestically. Well, most Filipinos can speak English; even Carabao (uneducated) English is understandable. But all Filipinos can speak and understand Tagalog or Filipino so it won’t be a problem when you ask for direction or instructions or if you have questions. Unlike in foreign lands, especially in Hong Kong and Macau, notwithstanding the whole Mainland China, you really have to make sure first that the person you are about to ask for anything really speaks English. When I say speak, it means that he or she must not just understand English but can actually utter English term (never mind the grammar or composition and intonation). In Singapore, almost all people, Chinese and Malays, can understand and speak English. Only that understanding Chinese-kind of English-ing is difficult. I remember buying a bottled water in one of the Chinese hawkers, I was then asked by a Chinese guy who entertained me “pic os mol?” I really find it hard to decipher the message, in fact I ask him “what?” several times, until finally he signaled the message through his two hands. It was only then that I understand what he was talking or asking about, “big or small”. You just have to be courteous, patient and kind. English of Malays is relatively comprehensible. So don’t forget to ask first, “speak English?” When one answered yes or simply nods, then he or she is your guy.

Number 3. Always bring the map

Don’t ever forget tugging along with you maps. Maps of a place or country are available at the airports tourist information counters. Just make sure that it is in English or language understandable to you. Consider it as your bible when you are in that place. Losing the map will eventually leave you lost in the middle of nowhere and that’s the time to go back to number 2 tip. Another advantage of having the map is for the person, the last person you even find and ask for destination, to simply point your aspired destination in the map.

Or better yet…

Number 4. Plan your itinerary ahead of time.

Research ahead all the required information of your destination and then print it out. The printed itinerary will serve as your map. It should at least include answers to when and how to get there. I remember befriending a group of Cebuano youngsters during my one day tour in Macau, one of them kept checking loose leaves of printed articles. They confirmed to me that it was their pre-planned itinerary. I heard the girl reading “walk you way up” or “walk your way down” or “ride a bus to” sorts.

Before landing, ensure as much as possible that the itinerary is revisited. This strategy will facilitate smoothness in your travel events, from the purchase of theme parks tickets, to the familiarization of routes, to the mode of transportation to take.

Number 5. Travel alone, as much as possible.

Traveling alone is light, as in no baggage at all. This will lighten up your baggage, even if you bring with you long and huge travel bags, physically and emotionally. Touring in solo will save a lot of things. One is time; you manage your own time without compromise or maybe if you compromise your travel time, nobody else will be affected. Two is emotion. It will save you from feeling grumpy, especially when you appear to be the lead. It will also save you from feeling guilty of bringing along these people with you and lost in the middle of an alien place with them.

You may bring along someone that share the same zeal of adventure. Someone that is adept to any circumstances that come along the way. You tour to this new land might be planned but along the way you will encounter unplanned happenings or events. Events that can hold up, interrupt, or destruct your initial plans. Choose a company that can help you in anyway when needed; one that is proactive and primarily one that won’t blame you for any inconvenience or misfortune you stumble upon along the way.

Number 6. Enjoy the adventure.

You reach a particular new environment, alien place, foreign land because you want adventure, you look for new experience, and you hunger for up-to-the-minute escapades. Consider all the ups and downs of the tour as adventure. Being lost along some of the ways is more fun than the smooth-sailing journey. Plus, it is more lesson-learning or knowledge-building than unscathed tours.

Being in a new environment, in an alien place, in a foreign land is already an accomplishment. Hearing incomprehensible languages is a tough challenge. Being lost in the middle of unknown place is fun. All these and more have made your travel or tour or journey, whatever you call it, very much adventurous.

Register every single thing to your bank of lessons. You may prepare a journal or narrative report or a travel checklist to account every thing in every step of your way. So that by next time you travel, whether to the same place or a new one, you can check on it or them (if you take journals in your every trip). This will help a lot. Of course, you will encounter more new adventures, learn more new lessons, get lost more, but the point is that you have battle shields no matter how tin-made and thin, so to speak, at least you have cover or back up tips.

Number 7. Travel while young.

This is not really a requirement but at least you enjoy traveling or wandering around while at young age. Personally, I believe that touring, traveling, wandering is more enjoyed by youngsters than old adult people – I mean retirees. Let us accept the fact that it is an acceptable fact that for Filipinos, we tend to submit ourselves to hardwork when we are young and think of saving for our retirements. And only upon retirement did we think of enjoying life, having saved a lot for it. It is only then that we plan of traveling around, made a tour away from home or homeland.

For me, we don’t have to wait for retirement or retirement age to arrive. Saving for retirement is actually for mortuary purposes and not for other purposes, traveling included. Traveling while young is better, it lets you enjoy all the fun, rides all you can. Theme parks around the globe in fact are young people-friendly. Who would enjoy walking along Boracay beach in bikinis under the heat of the sun if you are old? Who would enjoy the roller coaster rides in Ocean Park or in Disneyland or in Harry Potter Wizarding World if you are old? Is it not awkward to queue for pictorials with Cinderella or Snow White or Fiona or Goofy or Pluto or Mickey when you look wrinkled and old?

My father always reminds me, “Save while you are young for your old age”. But I say, “Save and travel once in a while while at young age.” Once in a while I mean at least once a year. Travel I mean overseas. Enjoy life to the fullest starting while young so that when old age come the adventures in life could be a treasured memory.