I have second thoughts sharing this one. I never make confessions. It scares me a lot. Now this is scary.
I am a late bloomer traveler. Believe it or not, it was only in 2009 that I first traveled as a ‘tourist/traveler’ sort-of-thing. I was then 30 years old (now you know my age!). Traveling to me was a waste of money. I would rather save it for material things – cloths, cell phones, laptop, books and a brand new car. That mind set changed when my partner decided to migrate. I felt we needed more time to bond so we traveled together. We first traveled to Sagada with stop over in Banaue and Bontoc. It was only an overnight one. But that trip proved to be worth the first adventure. I learned a lot and appreciated things I used to ignore. Then we did monthly trips from there on and visited Caramoan, Coron, Cebu, Bohol and Davao. Funny but our trip in Coron was the very first time I experienced riding an airplane! Can you imagine that! Well, it is because I have aerophobia. When my partner finally migrated, I continued traveling but this time I went outside the Philippines. For a straight year, I went out of the country every month, sometimes twice or more. My first ever solo overseas trip is in Kota Kinabalu in October 2010. From there on the journey continued and I visited Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong Macau, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Taiwan, India, China, South Korea and USA. Those trips were more of an escape-goat and not meant to ‘explore.’ I was then trying to forget what was happening (or what had happened) to the two of us. And it costs me a fortune. If I’ll do the math, I should have bought another brand new car already. Anyway.
In 2012, I thought of exploring the Philippines first before embarking on another overseas trip. The idea of #awesome #philipines80 was born. I had the grand plan of visiting all 80 Philippine provinces within one year. So I spent many hours in the internet browsing blogs one after the other until I found pinoy********ta and journey*******es. They were an instant hit to me. I became a fan in no time. I wanted to be like them – traveling cheaply. Then I envisioned myself to be ‘that’ traveler who goes to many places and explore. I told myself that I need a brand just like many travel bloggers who have a brand of their own. I previously used awesomephilippines80.wordpress.com, nikrielo.wordpress.com and myrunmytravelmylife.wordpress.com but all were short-lived, wala pang ilang buwan. It was very difficult for me to maintain a blog because I am not a blogger or a writer. I find it very difficult to express myself because I don’t have the inborn talent to be so. I know I am not a writer or good in writing. But I did not stop from there because I wanted to have an e-diary-some-sort-of-thing where I can jot down all that pertain to my runs, my travels and my life. I ended up with pinoyontheroad. “Pinoy” is obviously from pinoy*******ta. I played with words using the prefix ‘pinoy’ until pinoyontheroad sounded good to me. I also wanted to use the prefix ‘journeying’ but it sounded too copycat already so I dropped it off. I know it’s baduy and perhaps it wouldn’t even describe my style of traveling but none the less I purchased the domain. From there on, I branded myself as pinoyontheroad. I also used the taglines “pinoy solo traveler,” “what every pinoy traveler should know” and lately and i think it will be for a long time, I will be using “from the Philippines to the world.” It was only in 2012 that I finally decided to maintain a blog, 3 years after my first trip and 2 years after I have visited 16 countries.
I was inspired by “the two travel bloggers” to be a “pinoyontheroad.” And I was into it with all my heart and soul. I started the journey “awesomephilippines80” visiting Marinduque first being a heart-shape island and the geophysical center of the Philippines. Unfortunately, I was not able to visit all 81 (no longer 80) provinces until now because of work constraints. I have been to and seen 66 by far. By claiming I have “seen and been to” means I have slept in that province and can tell a little story about the place. But I have to admit that I did not sleep in Basilan because of security concerns though I have prior hotel reservation already. I know many travel bloggers who claim that they have been to and seen a particular province but did not sleep there, they just dropped-by and did a day tour. That is not me. Anyway, I respect them just the same.
I have received numerous emails and comments on how I manage traveling ‘that much’ considering the financial requirements of it. Since I started traveling late, I already have some savings to spend. I started working at the age of 20 immediately after college and became an entrepreneur at the age of 26. Also, I always travel on a promo fare and I always travel with low cost carriers. I plan and buy my tickets 1 year before I use them. I prefer budget airlines because I just need to fly – nothing more. I don’t need the ‘services’ offered by full service airlines. As to safety flying with low cost carriers, there is no issue because both low cost and full service carriers use the same aircraft – Airbus and Boeing. Yung nakapinta lang sa labas ng eroplano ang magkaiba. Besides, according to a study, a person can only meet an air accident of commercial flights (attributed to the aircraft itself like engine failure or mechanical problem) every 123,000 years when flying daily. I won’t live for 123,000 years and I don’t fly daily. So there is no risk at all. This only shows how safe flying is. Further, I also don’t have check-in luggage every time I travel. I always travel with 7 kilos hand carry regardless of how long my trip is (except when I am flying with full service airlines). My backpack contains 1 trouser (sometimes none), 2 shorts, 5 underwear, 7 shirts/polo shirts, personal care kit, and my electronic gadgets. I don’t mind washing my cloths when I travel. There is always a laundry service in any hostel. And believe it or not, I always hand carry all Starbucks mugs I buy. The most I have hand carried is 32 mugs. I have mastered the skill of packing hand carried items. Lol. On accommodation, I prefer hostels and dorms over hotels. Since I am a solo traveler, it feels better if I have someone to share ideas with over a bottle of beer. But once in a while, I also stay in 5 star hotels and resorts if they have promo rates. For food, I normally settle for 7-11 meals but I also try fancy restaurants and I never forget to have my daily dose of Starbucks coffee where there is available. Finally, I don’t buy pasalubong. So those are the ways I do to keep my finances healthy every time I travel.
I am not a budget traveler or a grandeur traveler. I travel within my means. I spend according to my capacity and all my travels since Day 1, I have spent a single centavo for it. I have never traveled using a free ticket, slept using a free accommodation, eat using a meal voucher. It is only wifi that I have used for free. I never had a sponsored trip. Hence, all the things I post in this blog are all travel experiences using my own money. Do I accept sponsored trips? Yes, provided that I like it and it’s within my travel style. But I don’t beg for it. I don’t email the company or tweet the owner just so to get something free. I am still awaiting for my first sponsored trip. Lol. However I have rules in accepting sponsorships. If I can’t personally afford “immediately and without second thought”, I won’t accept it. Like I don’t eat in fancy buffet restaurants when I travel, I can’t afford a business class seat and I can’t afford a luxury deluxe hotel, so I won’t take them. Kung hindi ko kaya sa sarili kong bulsa, kung magdadalawang isip ako bago bilhin or gawin kasi kulang pera ko or nagtitipid ako, hindi ko tatanggapin. This frame of mind has been influenced by travel bloggers who position themselves as ‘cheap and budget travelers who travel the cheapest way possible’ but accept sponsorships and then make reviews about expensive hotels and restaurants. It doesn’t appear good. Dun nawala yung pag hanga ko sa mga travel bloggers na naging idols ko dati. So I won’t do it because I set rules if I accept anything for free. But anyway, I respect them just the same. I just un-followed them and no longer read their blogs. Lol.
Having been a ‘pinoyontheroad’ for 2 years now, these are ‘my’ list. In the Philippines,
1. My favorite province which I think is the most beautiful yet less explored by travelers is Surigao Del Sur. The must see here are Tinuy-an Falls, Enchanted River, Britania Group of Islets, Cagwait Beach and Lanuza Beach among others.
2. My favorite group of islands with fine sandy beaches is Britania in San Agustin.
3. My favorite old church is St John the Baptist in Jimenez.
4. My favorite modern church is the chapel of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in Malaybalay.
5. My favorite city is Baguio (apart from Batangas where I live).
6. My favorite heritage town is Pila.
7. My favorite town is Sagada.
8. My favorite waterfalls is Sadsad Falls in Guimaras.
9. My favorite lake is Lake Apo in Valencia
10. My most unforgettable trip is in Iloilo in search for an underground waterfalls. I fell off the cliff.
11. My proudest trip is in the mountains of Fellel where I saw “hanging coffins” and the night I slept in Agusan Marsh.
12. My most expensive overnight trip is in Agusan Marsh where I rented a boat good for 20 people and fed the community for dinner and breakfast. It cost me over 15,000.00 for this trip.
13. My cheapest overnight trip is in Dumaguete. I barely spent 500.00 for accommodation and meals.
14. My most dangerous trip is in Bukidnon. My habal-habal driver had the intensions of robbing me and I don’t know what else.
15. The trip I backed-out even though I am already in the place is in Claveria, Misamis Oriental. The sounds of gunshots made me decide to get back to CDO.
16. The most over-rated province I have seen is Camiguin. I hope they won’t make me a persona non grata.
Outside the Philippines,
1. My favorite country where I wish to work and live is Australia. I love Hobart and Melbourne.
2. My favorite city is Seoul. I love the vibe.
3. The most expensive country I have visited is Australia.
4. The cheapest country I have visited is Nepal.
5. The most laid back country capital I have been to is Vientiane.
6. The country I have seen but wanted to explore more is China.
7. My most explored country is Malaysia.
8. The most over-rated country I have seen is Cambodia.
9. The most under-rated country I have seen is Myanmar.
10. The country where I got scammed is India.
On other things, I never missed a flight though I don’t go to the airport early. Luckily I have never lost anything while on the road. I have never been into trouble or any inconvenience except the scam in India. I have also a share of naughty things while traveling. I have met and had intimate time with complete strangers and dorm-mates, and been to sinful places. I have tried not paying my bus and train fares because I don’t know how. I have used a one-way ticket from a glitch booking. All my photos in this blog are either taken using a cellphone camera or a digicam and I never use DSLR or photoshop or whatever pc based application/s to enhance my photos. I use tripod or ask the assistance of people to take my photos. I experienced crying while traveling and ask myself why I did such trip or eat such food or slept in such a place. I have been lost and lost and lost many times. And I have been tatanga-tanga in many occasions. They just happen without me knowing it. Lol.
Today, two awesome years have passed as pinoyontheroad and 5 awesome years after that first trip in Sagada. I love traveling since then and I became almost unstoppable. I no longer care about savings and financial security not like before. I just travel and enjoy life and reach lands as far as my financial capacity can lead me. After all I am getting older so I just enjoy life while I can still walk, run, jump and do things others can’t steal away from me.
And since this is an anniversary post, I would to thank all those who have visited pinoyontheroad.com and followed me though this blog is not really that awesome, significant and helpful. I also ask for your understanding for the many grammatical lapses and similar stuff found in this blog. Thank you too to all those I met and those who joined me in my travels. You know how choosy I am of people to meet and travel with. Thank you also to all the travel bloggers who continuously share their travel experiences to the world. In deed, there is so much to see, experience and explore in this awesome planet of ours!
Cheers and more years of travel to come! And please check the short clip below. It’s a collection of my selfies from the past few years of traveling.