a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Getting Started with Backpacking

I’m done packing for Busuanga! It’s pretty unusual that I got it done the night before I leave. I usually finish a few minutes before I get out of the house . It’s because I don’t enjoy packing and I usually wait at the last minute to stuff everything in my bag.

Some more good news…my left leg feels so much better. The stitches starting to feel itchy so I guess that means it’s starting to heal. I really hope I can climb Mt. Darala on Monday although I'm still pretty uncertain about it. The doctor has advised me to refrain from walking extensively for 10 days. My 10th day is this coming Tuesday. I can’t wait!

Anyway, I would like to share with you how I can afford to travel.

Honestly, I have a lot of financial responsibilities, can’t say I’m well-off really. I’m just good at allocating resources and reshuffling my funds.

It all started with a dream. About two years ago, I stumbled on a traveler’s blog – Ivan Henares. Back then, I read his adventures with a mixture of amusement and envy. I told myself I wanted to travel as extensively as he does.

A few months later, things started falling into place. I encountered Cebu Pacific. It’s a local budget airline that frequently has seat sales. The lowest fare I was able to purchase to this date was 56.02 pesos for a roundtrip airfare to Tacloban in Leyte. We booked it last December 2008 in one of Cebu Pac’s seat sale. That was the net amount. No kidding!

When it regards to spending money during travels, I scrimp a lot on transportation. I do a lot of walking, skip meals, share transportation with strangers, hitch a ride, sleep in airports - whatever I can do to cut the cost. Sometimes, I would bring cereals and my favorite biscuit sticks called Atori (available in Hi-Top Supermarket along Quezon Avenue). The Atori works like magic. At less than 24 pesos, it can fill you up like a full meal would. That’s how I survived in Kuala Lumpur. I do enjoy eating out but I usually eat at cheap food joints.

It also helps to always keep a positive outlook and faith in God. There had been several instances where there was a typhoon on the day of my flight but the trip still pushed through. Last May, when we went to Romblon, we got stranded in the Batangas pier for about 14 hours but the weather improved and we were able to make it to the summit of Mt. Guiting-Guiting. Then there was also this instance when we were in Ivatan, Batanes – the last jeepney had already left towards Basco and we were left with no choice but to spend a night there. The problem was, there was no lodging in Ivana at that time. It was nearing 7pm and we were still wandering around town. We got approached by a nice elderly lady while walking in the street and she offered us a room for the night.

It will not always be easy but the most important thing is that if you want to travel, you have to commit to it and be brave in facing adversities. Sometimes, I’d get broke and just stay home for several weekends. Sometimes I would be so tired from work or some personal issues would surface. Though I do break down, my mind and soul has a firm hold on the fact that I will be able to go to amazing places. That with the Lord, I have the strength to face anything.
Happy traveling!

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