Travel like a local, they say. But if you’re going to do that in Manila, brace yourself. You’re in for quite a ride.
Taking public transportation within Metro Manila is unpredictable, to say the least. For first-timers, commuting around Manila requires a great deal of planning. You have ample of options — MRT, LRT, cab, bus, jeepney, tricycle — but none of them guarantee a hassle-free journey. Manila has so much to offer to tourists, but the problem is getting from one destination to another. The simple truth is, like many third world cities, Manila is congested, polluted, and highly disorganized. Except for outbound buses, none of these options work around a fixed, reliable schedule. Traffic has been the biggest problem. And the rain can make matters much worse.
Take a deep breath, hold your valuables tight, and prepare your soul to be squeezed out of your body! This is commuting, Manila-style.
It didn’t happen overnight. That’s for sure.
It’s not like I woke up one morning and just called it quits. Well, actually, it was kind of like that. I woke up one dreary morning, and as I was forcing myself to get up, I caught something painted on the ceiling — my future. Of course it wasn’t real. Of course I imagined it. But as I lay in my bed looking at the big white canvass above me, I began to realize that this was not the life I wanted to paint on it. I just could no longer beat my alarm clock and wait for it to ring just because I dreaded to wrap myself in another business attire and do the whole 8-5 routine.
That morning I decided to quit my job. But not so fast. If I was going to do it, I would have to do it right.
I never planned to be a travel blogger. If my college self would see me now, he’d be like, “Dafuq are you doing with your life? There’s an effin’ career ladder in front of you, effin’ climb it!”
My whole love affair with plane tickets and seat sales started in 2007. My grandfather passed away, and I had to fly to Puerto Princesa to attend his funeral. In the middle of mourning, I could not help but be blown away by the sheer natural beauty of the place. On my flight back to Manila, I promised myself that I would return, and this time enjoy it. A couple of years later, I was able to do just that.
What’s with men and asking for directions? How many times has this question been raised by friends traveling with me, I lost count. I can’t speak for all mankind but, in my case, just utter bashfulness and a dash of ego.
I used to think that I was just not wired to ask for directions. When I was starting to go places years ago, I was too shy to approach strangers for anything and relied only on myself to find my way around towns and cities — even if that meant wandering around unfamiliar blocks and dodgy alleys for hours. I thought I was always prepared anyway. But that’s the thing about traveling, you can never be prepared enough.
And that can’t be any truer in lands ruled by a different language.
It almost always happens. Whenever I finish giving a talk or lecture about travel blogging (and blogging in general), I am almost always asked which other travel blogs I read and recommend.
Travel blogs come in various forms, shapes, and colors and each has its own purpose. Some promote destinations by providing useful information (travel guides), some showcase incredible images (photo blogs), others chronicle their memorable trips (travelogues). Like most online users, I too am a fan of other travel blogs that help me plan my next trip or inspire me to travel more and write more, or both.
Here are ten of my absolute favorites in no particular order. (This list does not include blogs of friends who are very close to me.)
Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap is a wordsmith as well as a lensman. His photographs alone are enough to make me come back to his blog often (sometimes more often than he updates). But that’s not the only thing that makes Eazy Traveler the blogging gem that it is. Edgar has a way with words. He describes each place he visits with such clarity and precision that the place becomes a character, a driver, the type you are dying to know more about; and the writer becomes the vehicle. His articles are short but is never deprived of action — a brief encounter but always remarkable. In his posts, the place is alive and this life is what he brilliantly captures in his concise paragraphs and incredible photographs.
Like most good things in this world, the articles on Langyaw.com are short and sweet. These bite-sized posts offer a glimpse to Estan Cabigas’s moments on the road. Estan prefers the road less traveled. His tone is always conversational and unpretentious, like a friend narrating in flurry a recent adventure or discovery. But this friend shares, not brags. And don’t get me started with his pictures.
Traveling can be harsh on the skin. When you’re on the road, you expose yourself to more sun and more elements that are potentially harmful to the skin. It’s especially true during summer, when the heat and humidity rise to the roof. The skin reacts to weather changes. The cold months usually leave the skin drier than usual. The summer months, on the other hand, often pushes the skin to produce more oil. Not to mention that the hot atmosphere makes us all sweaty. The sweat and oil can clog the pores. If you have acne-prone skin like me, you might find yourself dealing with another pimple breakout in the middle of summer.
If you’re hitting the beach or the road this summer, here are some tips to help you fight, if not avoid, the ever-annoying pimple breakouts!
Traveling outside the Philippines for the first time? You might be very excited but I bet you’re a little anxious, too! There might be a lot of questions brewing in your head right now so here’s a little something to shed light on some of the things you need to know before your trip. (These tips are for Filipino travelers only.)
Every country has its own Immigration rules. Some require visas from Filipino visitors, others don’t. Some have stricter rules, others don’t. It is important that you know these rules and requirements before your flight.
Taking care of your skin should not stop just because you’re traveling. If anything, you should be extra protective of your skin because you expose yourself to more sun, more dirt, and more elements that may be harmful. The last thing you want is to not enjoy your trip just because you’re sporting a not-so-fashionable look — red, swollen, and sunburnt. Whether you’re planning to hit the beach, gearing up for a backpacking journey, getting ready for a road trip, or prepping for a sightseeing walk around the city, here are some tips that you already know, but we just can’t stress enough.
If the winter blues have got you feeling a little bit down, you might be dreaming of the trips you could take in the upcoming year. There’s only one thing standing in your way: your finances. With a bit of effort, you can make your travel plans a reality by following these simple money-making tips.
Hong Kong and Macau are great places to have a first out-of-the-country trip. This realization dawned on me as soon as I started touring these “modern and futuristic” cites. The culture is not too different to alienate Pinoy first-time tourists and not too similar to bore them. The region is also connected by an impressively expansive systems of transportation — from its world-class airport terminals to its vast train network (Hong Kong) to its reliable bus system. They have all their major tourist attractions easily accessible. They also make the cities very friendly to kids and elderly, an important criterion for ideal family vacations.
All these pogi points combined make it one of the best foreign cities for first-time overseas traveler. I have been to Hong Kong and Macau three times, and I enjoyed every single moment I spent there. If these two cities are in your travel plans, here are some tips that you might want to consider to help make your trip run smoothly.
The Mediterranean is among the seas most commonly criss-crossed by cruise ships carrying hundreds of seriously relaxed holiday-makers and there is fierce competition among providers of these tours. The result from the consumer perspective is that there are good prices being offered on great value getaways throughout the year but the trouble now can be picking from the best Mediterranean cruise operators.
Always likely to be rated among the best is Royal Caribbean, whose ships dip into several of Europe’s most popular cruise holiday hotspots at various times of the year. P&O Cruises meanwhile has been delivering excellent value and a heady combination of great food and wonderful nightlife for decades and more, with trips round the Med always high on the agenda. And not forgetting Norwegian Cruise Lines, which has ships traversing the length and breadth of the Med and heading into some of the sea’s best kept secrets towards the south-eastern reaches.