I woke up for the nth time to the heat, the sweat and stickiness of the atmosphere. I looked around and stretched my head out. It looked like we were still pretty far out. I frowned. My ass was in pain. How much longer did we have to experience this boat? I complained in my head. I checked the time. It was only 9.30am. We still had about 30 minutes to go if it was correct that this boat ride was only 1 hour long. It wasn’t. Coming from a 9 hour bus ride and a one hour van ride, and a long day at the office before that, I could definitely say that I was tired. Yep, very tired. I even raced from my Makati office to the Cubao bus stop in 40 minutes just to make the 9pm scheduled ETD only to wait still for about 30 minutes before actually leaving. But I’m an optimist. I love beaches and there’s just something about this trip that seemed very familiar, but kind of…vague. It might be because the last personal trip that I took was in February. And the last time that I had done something this different was, well, kind of a while now. It’s true when they say that the best are those the hardest to get
Okay, so we had planned this to be a budget trip. But due to several circumstances that affected the trip, we ended up spending more than we really needed to. Circumstances that we ran through: Darwin and I weren’t able to meet on time. I thought he would be arriving at the Budget Terminal and opted to search there instead of Terminal 2 where he was actually arriving. I had to go back from the Malaysian immigration to Novena Station to pick him up. We arrived at Larkin Station at around 10pm already. We were victimized by some people who warned us about going into Malacca Sentral and pushed us to pay double for Seremban. Tired, upset and obviously cheated, we ended up paying for a taxi to take us into Malacca at the break of dawn. We had to pay for two nights because we had reserved for the night before and only arrived the morning after.
Initially thinking that I’d spend more than I could on this trip (based on my experience in Kuala Lumpur), I was very determined to save money. While I must’ve underestimated the places I could go to here and I don’t think I used up all of my time as wisely as I could’ve I don’t really mind. I had a lot of fun and enjoyed the first laid-back travel I’ve ever had abroad. It was a refreshing experience compared to my last backpacking trip. I took this trip on August 10 – 15, 2012. We left Clark at 4pm on August 10 and I left Kota Kinabalu at 1.40pm on August 15. That’s about 5 days and 5 nights, all in all. Here’s a complete list of my expenses in Kota Kinabalu, until I arrived in Clark Airport. Notice that even before I left the country I’d already spent around P2500? Yes, that’s how expensive our airports are.
For beach bummers, if you’re looking for some of the best beaches in the country, there’s always Malapascua Island and Bantayan Island. While it definitely isn’t fair for you to bundle these two islands in one trip (there’s just not enough time!), for those whose hunger of beaches had to be quenched in one go, you can always partner these two in a single trip – like us! Itinerary 6-9 Pax Per Pax Total Transportation Van to Malapascua * 190 Boat to Malapascua 80 Malapascua – Bantayan Boat ** 500 Tricycle P20 Pedicab P20 Bantayan Ferry P144.5*** Aircon Bus from Bantayan – Cebu City P150 P1104.5 Accommodation Malapascua P183 Bantayan – Sugar Beach Resort * P168 P351 Tours Island Hopping * P300 Snorkels P100 P400 TOTAL P1855.50 Transportation *You can choose to take the bus OR a van to Malapascua. While vans may be more comfortable, buses are cheaper and most of the time, they won’t go into the port for Bantayan, like vans will. You can always ask the driver though for clarifications. Buses cost P160 – P180. Travel time is 3 – 4 hours. ** Since we were scheduled to do Malapascua and Bantayan within 3 days, we had limited time so we had to maximize our time as much as we can. However, we
Sometimes, when people find out that you are going to various places, they say that you are rich. However, when you do some research and find the best ways to enjoy the place, you may just be able to find a way to get yourself to that specific place without having to burn your pockets. For example, seeing the pictures of Pulau Tioman may make you think that you need a lot of money to come to this place. But for those who just want a weekend off, without costing you your whole salary, here’s how much you can spend on your Pulau Tioman trip: This budget is for 4 people because there were 4 of us. Jump off point is from Singapore because ideally this is for those who are coming from Singapore. For those who will be going to Kuala Lumpur, their budget would be similar to mine. *This is what I SPENT based on my situation. Currency is in Malaysian Ringgits, based on a very low exchange of RM 2.35 at Mersing **By the way, we splurged on food, so that amount is already quite high ***I also splurged on food – even when I was alone on the second day. Itinerary Cost for 4 Pax Cost per Pax* Transportation JB Larkin – Mersing RM46 RM11.50 Mersing
Really, I’ve heard too many people tell me that I’m rich, that traveling can only be done by the rich, that they haven’t saved up enough to travel, that they cannot travel because they’re not rich enough. Thing is, I’m just like any ordinary person who has such a hard time budgeting, saving money for travel and I’m no richer than any of you. However, yes, you can travel without having to sell your soul nor be one of those people who love the luxury in life – even if that’s definitely not a bad thing at all. Baler has been overlooked because La Union is way more accessible on the other side. Plus, you can even go to Pangasinan on the way. Baler, on the other hand, is much less reachable because everyone thinks that there are NPAs at the Sierra Madre Mountain Ranges, possible, but the road doesn’t go in too deep and the fact that less people know what a beautiful place Baler is. Yes, Baler is definitely one of the hidden gems of the Philippines. It has gorgeous falls, absolutely breathtaking beaches and a seaside of surfing, there’s no reason for you to cross out Baler to become one of the best summer destinations. Hidden, hard to reach, but beautiful and surprising, Baler will make you