a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Sunday, July 10, 2016

11 Essentials in my Beach Bag

Even  if summer's long gone, it doesn't mean we forget about the beach - especially when we live in an archipelago like the Philippines surrounded by all these gorgeous beaches! 

Related Read : 30 Best Beaches in the Philippines - According to Travel Bloggers

Just last week - end of June and the start of hot choco season, I traveled to Bohol with fellow bloggers for a relaxing 3 day stay at Amorita Resort.  Built on a limestone cliff, it is one of the first resorts near the stretch of the famed Alona beach of Panglao island and a favored escape for families and honeymooners (the place, with its interiors and layout just screams, "FALL IN LOOOVE NOW!").  That was one of the most relaxing trips I've ever done and it has inspired me to come up with this post. 

*I still ended up going home with a back pain because, well, I can get really restless, tell you about it in another post which I link here once I'm done with it. :P
Cliff view of Alona beach in Panglao, Bohol 
Here's a list of what I normally bring on trips to the beach. If you're not into beaches, you can also use this as  guide on what to give to your  beach loving friends and family. :)

1. SUNGLASSES 
More than just an accessory, it serves as protection for your eyes against the sun's UV rays - too much exposure to which can damage your eyes and cause cataract, so make sure you choose a pair that offers UV protection. (Source : Mayo Clinic).  

Awesome news! Sunnies, a Filipino brand that offers affordable and stylish sunglasses are now available in Philippines Air Asia flight (check out flights for your next beach getaway here). No need to stress out if you forget to pack a pair! There's a catalogue in the pocket of the seat in front of you. Available designs on board were carefully selected to make sure there's a style for everyone. 
My favorite pair of Sunnies.
(I realized I should have worn my sunglasses but I'm not fond of selfies, I love food porn though :P)
If you want to purchase ahead of time, you can check out their list of stores or purchase online through their website, Sunnies Studios.  (I love their kiosk at the Fashion Hall of SM Mega Mall. That's where I bought my first pair of Sunnies. You see, I've always struggled with picking which style would suit the shape of my face which is  a mix of angular and round and the girl at the booth was very accommodating and helped me find a pair which I really love!

P.S. If you're wearing prescription glasses, you can go for transition lenses that darken when exposed to certain types of light so it's like you're wearing sunglasses. Inquire at an optical shop. 

2. REEF-FRIENDLY SUNSCREEN
We can all be ambassadors of nature preservation by being  mindful of the products we use.  Sunscreens  that contain ingredients such as paraben, cinnamate, benzophenone can contribute to coral bleaching when it washes off. (Source : National Geographic | Swimmers' Sunscreen Killing Off Coral). Coral bleaching, which is primarily caused by global warming (changes in the water temperature), drives away algae that gives corals its color that may lead to its death. (More info here.) 

*Sunscreen, as opposed to sunblock feels lighter and not visible when applied. 

Looking for a reef-friendly sunscreen? Consider these two brands I've tried. (I'm quite happy with both which is why I'm sharing it to you :)).  First one is Safe Sea. It helps prevent jellyfish stings without being harmful to marine life. I bought one at Watsons, around 500 Pesos for a 125 ML bottle, SPF 50. The bottle's almost empty so I'm now using Human Nature's SafeProtect, another reef-friendly sunscreen which was given to me when I attended a Coastival (post here). It offers both UVA protection & UVB protection and has SPF 30, which blocks 97% of the UVB rays (SPF 50 blocks about 98%).  It's good to my skin too - my skin glows when I'm using it and  it doesn't dry up . (Details where to buy here).   

*More info on Safe Sea here

Tip : Choose products that offers protection from both UVA & UVB radiation. UVA rays causes premature aging while UVB protection causes sunburn and can potentially damage the deeper layer of the skin which can cause cancer. If you're concerned about your skin tone and premature aging, choose the one that offers a maximum PA rating, PA++++ (4 pluses). Human Nature's SafeProtect has PA++++. 

Related reads : 

How to choose the right sunscreen?
Does a higher SPF sunscreen always protect your skin better?

3. DRY BAG or A WATERPROOF POUCH
Keep your stuff dry when you go island hopping or engage in water sports like kayaking by putting them inside dry bags or waterproof pouches. These are reusable and if you're using a reliable brand, it lasts for years! Though it can be more expensive than using plastic bags, it's worth the investment. It's more expensive to replace a gadget you know :).  (Price range is 1,000 Pesos above, depending on capacity and the brand) so ask around, utilize social media to get insights from users before buying one. I have a dry bag from Osprey but I have not tried submerging it under the water so I'm unable to vouch for it yet. 

Tip : Reliable dry bag brands (based on friends suggestions) that can be purchased in the Philippines include Sea to Summit (FB page here) & Blood Red

A dry bag saves you from worrying about your stuff  when you go on a water adventure
 (Photo taken at Dumaluan beach in Panglao island, Bohol)
If you don't have a budget for a dry bag yet, you can also put your stuff inside resealable plastic bags (which you can reuse after). Ziploc - I use the one for freezer storage because it looks thicker and is very easy to seal. Some resealable bags are cheap but it's so hard to close it. 

4. BEACH BLANKET 
Do you love hanging out by the shore but don't like having sand all over you? Bring a beach blanket! Go for a brand that is sand repellent so you don't contribute to the thinning shoreline. 

If you're looking for a sand repellent  beach blanket, check out Lagu

I have one which I won from a friend's blog giveaway, teehee! I don't just use it for the beach, it has also protected me from cold and light rain (Testimonial : forgot my jacket on a recent rainy trip to Baguio  and I used my beach blanket to shield myself from the rain. No boyfie but Lagu kept me warm.)

Lagu Beach blanket retails at 999 Pesos. It's an awesome gift for yourself and love ones if you ask me! You can buy it in stores or online. Visit Lagu for more details.

Kudos to brands that promote environmental conservation! :) 
P.S. It's also available in Philippines AirAsia flights as part of their inflight merchandise!

5. CLARIFYING SHAMPOO
As part of my training for an open water swimming event,  I swim thrice a week in a chlorinated pool and about once a month on open water.  While this routine helps me prepare, I noticed my hair is always dry and it has been falling off at an alarming rate. Every time I touch my hair, I end up with several strands between my fingers. Recently, I switched to using a clarifying shampoo from Human Nature that help remove impurities in the hair. It has helped addressed my concern with falling hair (I think using a Strengthening conditioner after greatly helped too). It  also feels lighter and cleaner each time, especially after a two hour swim! 

You can buy it from Robinsons Department store, Robinsons Supermarket and Robinsons Selection. You can also buy it online. Check it out here. (Price : 200 ML - 149.75 Pesos
400 ML - 319.75 Pesos)

6. STRENGTHENING CONDITIONER 
I can never ever skip using a conditioner these days now that my hair is extra dry. I'm almost always under the sun and falling hair is a concern, especially since I'm approaching mid 30s.  Reco : Try the strengthening conditioner from Human Nature. I prefer the Cool Peppermint variant - I love the smell of mint and that cooling effect on my scalp. 

7. LOTION 
I don't like having dry skin because it makes me itch so I make sure I apply one after spending time in the water. Fortunately, I have loads of lotion  given by family and from some blog collaboration, hehe! I'd love to try the all-natural lotion once I finished all these bottles I have. :) (Don't like lotion? Another option is virgin coconut oil from the drugstore.)


Travel Tip : If you're taking a plane and not checking in your luggage, ensure you put all the liquids in 100 ML containers. 

8. ECO FRIENDLY FLIP FLOPS
I'm loving my latest pair from Banana Peel's Earth Hour collection. These pretty, nature-inspired design feature glow-in-the-dark straps - I can easily find my slippers in the dark! :). It's made from eco-friendly and non-harmful materials. The print is made from non-toxic paint too. Most importantly, the straps and soles are soft and I can walk far in these. 
Eco-friendly slippers from Banana Peel. 
Banana Peel also offer a line with skid-proof outsoles so you don't easily slip off, perfect if your adventure involves walking on natural trails like waterfalls and rivers. (To buy online or find a branch closest to you, visit  their website here). 

9. FIRST AID KIT
The hiker in me can't seem to go anywhere without bringing a first aid kit. It's a good habit to keep though because you'll never know who might need it. My kit has bandages, medicine for diarrhea, fever, pain reliever and Betadine. (Reminder : Be careful when giving meds as some people are allergic to paracetamol.) Bandages can be used to cover a cut in case you brush up some rocks while swimming. 

10. DURABLE WATER BOTTLE 

Keeping yourself hydrated has a lot of benefits - you think clearly, your skin looks fresh and more! (Tip: Drink before you feel thirsty to avoid getting dehydrated). I usually bring a water bottle with me so I can  drink while traveling and fill it up again at the hotel. If you're also into hiking, best to get one that won't shatter easily. My mind has the tendency to wander and think about random things (Can you relate? Like, you need to brush your teeth and suddenly, you remember a photo of a rainbow cake you saw online and you suddenly decide you have to get one later so you need to rearrange your day just so you can squeeze a quick trip to a cafe!). As a result, I often drop things - including my phone (Samsung S5 is so durable!) which is why a  reliable water bottle is exactly what I need in my life. 

Tip :  Nalgene is a really good brand!  I have not broken any  bottle and I take them everywhere! :P You can buy one from R.O.X., Conquer Outdoor Shop (Robinson's Forum in Mandaluyong). Price depends on the size and model. 

11. GARBAGE BAG 
Again, this is another "habit" from hiking. I can't seem to pack my bag without bringing my own trash bag so I can dispose waste properly.  Being an outdoor lover means doing your share in preserving the beauty of nature. For beach trips, I just bring a  small bag where I can put  food wrappers and other rubbish. It was also very useful when I went on trip once and this adorable little girl puked inside the van. :P 

How about you? What's in your beach bag? Please feel free to share! :) 



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