Uber for Traveling, Uber for Cebu!

I don’t know about you, but there’s something ‘off’ or ‘weird’ when getting a cab in another country. There’s a ton of things to worry about. Is this safe? Did I bring enough money? Should I tip? Did I give him the right directions? My anxiety levels are high when I feel vulnerable, as I am normally the one behind the wheel at home. Now I have to give my trust to a complete stranger.

I tried to avoid getting a cab abroad because it’s horrendously expensive (especially in London!). However there are times when you really need to cab it: when you’re carrying a giant backpack plus a 30 kg. luggage; and when you’re on the way to a party looking like a million dollars.

I thank the stars that the idea of Uber was conceived where you can hail a cab with a touch of a button. Moreover, there is no awkward exchange of cash (my least favorite thing, especially when you’re handling with alien currencies)–everything is tabbed to your credit card.

My First Uber Ride.

My first Uber ride was in Paris. I was living with a friend in Universitaire and transferring to another friend’s at Cite de Phalsbourg. I know getting there via Metro would be impossible–I did have my 30 kg. luggage this time, and the Paris Metro is infamous for their lack of escalators and elevators. Plus the last time I took the metro, someone stole my box of pizza.

Yes, someone took off with my pizza. That really happened. Everything happens in Paris!

I figured out it was the perfect time to try Uber for the first time. Interestingly, I later learned that the idea of Uber was conceived when the founders couldn’t get a cab in a cold winter night in Paris.

I used my friend’s referral code and got 10 EUR off my first Uber ride. The 10km ride cost me less than 20 EUR. If I had taken the traditional cab, I would’ve paid around 30-40 EUR.

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My Uber Obsession in Manila

If the Uber founders found it difficult to get a taxi in Paris, they haven’t been to Manila.

The cab drivers from hell live in Manila. The moment you arrive the airport, taxi drivers try to rip you off as much as they can. They will pretend to be oblivious on where the hell Greenbelt is even if they’ve lived in Manila all their lives. When you show them the map, they pretend to be stupid and will go around avenues just so they can charge you more.

Fuckers.

If you’re traveling to Manila soon, my advice is to just stick to Uber. Honest taxi drivers are mythical unicorns in Manila.

My stress levels are high every time I get on a traditional taxi in Manila, so I Uber almost everywhere when walking is not an option. Uber cars have a GPS so they can never say ‘I don’t know where that is’. And the tracking makes it harder for them to go around in circles so they can charge higher. All I needed was to get in the Uber car and not worry about anything.

Why Uber is Awesome

Uber is perfect in the Philippine setting for those number of reasons, and more. Philippine taxi drivers will rip unsuspecting tourists off any opportunity they can. With Uber, you have a rating system where riders can rate drivers (and vice versa) so customer satisfaction is optimally better.

Another aspect of customer satisfaction is the quality of the ride. Uber drivers own the car they drive, hence they take care of it and better maintained than the traditional taxi counterparts. A/C will be working, seats will be more comfortable and the car will be cleaner.

UberX, which is available in the Philippines, is the low cost option, which is generally 30% cheaper than getting a regular cab ride. The GPS app they use ensure that they will know where they are going and won’t drive you in circles just to mess with you.

Who says car owners can’t use Uber too? Studies confirm that it is a lot cheaper to Uber than to own a car in Manila, with the hidden costs of maintenance and upkeep. Plus, won’t it be awesome if we could just sit in the backseat, not worry about driving and play Pokémon Go? If you want to go out without the worry of parking or who will be driving after a few beers, just Uber it!

Uber’s advocacy is to have less cars on the road. Traffic is getting worse in the Philippines, and if you could lessen the quantity of cars, we make it easier for all commuters on the road. I myself personally hate driving even if I have my own car, so the convenience Uber brings make ‘owning a car’ a less priority to millennials than before.

More butts into the backseats for fewer cars in the road. The UberHop feature allows you to split costs and carpool with fellow Uber riders going on the same direction as you. I don’t know about you, but sounds like a grand idea.

Uber Celebrates Cebu

Uber is now available in 480 cities around the world, including Manila and Cebu in the Philippines.

Cebu City will be the first city in the Philippines to have a cash payment option for Uber riders! This is good news, as in the Philippines credit card penetration is only 2%. This makes it more accessible to more Cebuanos!

In line with that, all first-time Uber riders in Cebu get 50% off their first five rides from today until July 17. Simply enter the promo code: CELEBRATECEBU upon sign up to avail of the discounted rides.

cebu bloggers society smartlife
CBS with Uber PH heads, Laurence Cua, Uber PH GM and EJ dela Vega, Uber Cebu City lead

How to Use Uber

Simply download the app and register for an account to start using Uber.

Uber How-to JPG

How to use the Cash Payment Option in Uber?

Choose the uberX option in the app. Before requesting a ride, change your payment option to cash on the confirmation page. The payment bar is located at the lower half of your screen. Enter your destination and request a ride.

You’ll see your driver’s details straight away–name, photo and the details of the car. These drivers have professional driving licenses and have undergone an extensive screening process.

At the end of your trip, the app will reflect the fare that you need to pay. Hand your payment to your driver and you’ll receive an electronic receipt via email.

Download Uber now and use my promo code to get your first free ride!

My promo code: rachela5448ue

Or just click this link! https://www.uber.com/invite/postcardpretty

Mum & Baby: My Toddler’s First Trip to the Movies

Caleb knew how to get my attention.

He wasn’t that subtle, either. After half a dozen times of sitting on my laptop and GMAT books, I gave up any hope and concluded no studying is going to happen for the rest of the week.

We need to do something. Mum and son are quickly getting cabin fever at home. I’m the kind of human who gets bored of routine and I have all the reasons to believe that my offspring is the same. The rest of the family were in USA, his nanny went home to the province–what else was there to do? I decided to take him to the cinema.

Finding Dory is already showing, and Caleb already loved Finding Nemo–that movie has been on replay since he was 12 months old. In fact, Caleb can identify more marine animals than land animals. Sharks are his favorite. Finding Dory will make the perfect first mother-and-son movie date.

finding dory

Plus, I already had some Ayala Center Cebu credits that we could use, by being featured at the A Guide (Ayala’s Shopping Style Guide). So I’d like to thank Ayala Cebu for making our first movie date possible!

As we queued up for tickets, I started getting a mini-panic attack. Caleb was already running around back and forth and pretending not to hear me. Was this really a smart idea, to take a 2-year-old to the movies? Will he cry, shout and annoy the other moviegoers?

This should be interesting. Knowing my little man, I was sure he wouldn’t cry or shout–but he’ll probably run around in the movies. I decided to take the 2:00pm schedule and the front row seats for my two-year-old’s viewing purposes.

After buying the tickets, we got the snacks. A lot of patronizing parents will judge me for getting him unhealthy Potato Corner french fries, but it’s his favorite snack and I wanted to indulge him once in a while. If you want a healthier alternative, I also got us Tater’s tofu chips. I tried to feed him these but he barely touched them. I also got Tater’s sugar-free lemonade for our drinks.

Of course, the success of movie-going depend largely on the parent, the child and the movie. Not all kids are the same, and some may find the loud sound and darkness overwhelming. I’m thankful Caleb is unfazed by most things (I am more scared of the dark than he is!) and he tries to help me by carrying the food and drinks. He likes having a role, it makes him feel responsible and has a purpose in life (to take care of this absent-minded adult who calls herself ‘mom’).

Upon coming inside, the cinema staff asked if we would want to have a high seat for Caleb. I didn’t know cinemas offer this because it was my first time taking a kid out to the movies, but it was great. So even if we were sat at the front I still decided to take one. I also took a snack tray because we brought a lot of food!

two year old baby first trip to the movies

The movie is around two-hours long, so I didn’t want to strain Caleb too much. We went outside during the ads and trailers part–I didn’t see the point of him watching the trailers. For toddlers, they don’t see the difference between film and ad content, so I had him run around outside the cinema to entertain himself before the movie starts.

There is a animated short skit before the start of Finding Dory about a baby bird in the beach. The visuals are so impressive now, I couldn’t believe even a single grain of sand is well-defined and high-def!

Caleb was smiling like silly from the first scene to the last. He kept on saying ‘Dory!’ ‘Nemo!’ He was pointing at the sea animals he knew–whales, turtles, octopuses and fish. He was laughing at all the appropriate scenes, and imitating the famous Dory whale talk. One thing about Caleb–he has a great sense of humor, that kid.

So yes, when Sia was already heard singing ‘Unforgettable’ and the credits rolled out, I sighed in relief. Wow, my two-year-old actually sat throughout the whole film! I didn’t even notice the 120 minutes pass by. Sure, in the middle of the film Caleb took out his high seat (it was actually very hard and uncomfortable) and he spilled the lemonade towards the end, but other than that, it was a gratifying experience for both of us!

I would recommend Finding Dory to even little kids like mine. The movie is colorful, funny and full of lovable characters–Dory, Nemo, Marlin, Hank, Destiny, Bailey… and even the hugging otters, they were all so adorable.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 11.23.51 PMFor doing a very good job in behaving at the movies, I treated Caleb to some post-movie treat, The Suite Room matcha ice cake.

So yes. It is possible to take a two-year-old to the movies. Did he enjoy it? Yes. Will he remember it? Probably not most of it. It was a great experience nonetheless!

As a recap, here are some tips and pointers on what to expect on your little one’s first trip to the movies:

  • If possible, choose an afternoon schedule on a weekday. Choose a not-so-busy movie schedule.
  • You can miss watching the trailers. Your child can’t tell apart movie and ad or trailer content, so why bother?
  • What’s a movie without snacks? You can get the usual popcorn and soda, but there are also healthier alternatives such as the tofu chips and sugar-free lemonade that we got from Tater’s.
  • Your child will be slightly disadvantaged by height, so choose the front row seats whenever possible, or avail of the high chair.
  • Know your child’s interests and preferences as well. Caleb loved aquatic animals and the film kept him interested all throughout. He would also probably love animated movies about cars and animals.
  • Be mindful and respectful of other moviegoers. If your child starts crying or screaming, or kicking on the front seat, don’t pretend like it’s normal. Apologize, and if you can’t control the situation go out of the cinemas to calm your child.

 

Rachel the Chameleon

There is always that close friend whom you don’t need to see often to maintain that closeness. That friend knows everything happening in your life, despite the circumstances of missed time. In my case, my friend lives far away and thus we only get to meet once every two years. For the convenience of readers, let’s call him L.

We met in Starbucks. He orders his usual americano, and my usual green tea soy latte. I was ready to find a table outside for the convenience of my friend, but he shook his head. He said he had already quit smoking. That’s new, as I saw him take out a pretentious vape from his pocket.

He knew me when I got engaged, and then as a cafe owner, and then a university professor, and then a mom, and then a travel blogger, and now–a bum-by-choice.

Every time L saw me, he said, I was always different and he was always the same. He whines about working for the same corporation since graduation, but not the fact that he now has a high position and earns a monthly six-digit figure.

A few weeks from now, I will be unemployed. 8 full semesters, 2 summer semesters and 3,000 students. I have learned so much from my students. I will miss the loud laughter from the faculty office, and the green jokes of my colleagues. It really didn’t feel like work at all. Nor did it feel like four years.

Officially, I will be on ‘study leave’. But I’m not even sure if I wanted to finish masters, to finally start on my book or to climb Mt. Everest. So, I pooled whatever I had and booked myself to a Euro trip adventure of a lifetime. In my head, it sounded like a rather logical decision to do (at that time…) 

Kinda like my habit of tipping buskers the last of my pocket change and cheerfully hoping they don’t spend it on some meth.

L teases me about my transient drifter phase, because he said I was supposed to be the smarter one.

“You are like a chameleon.” L said.

“That’s an ironic way to describe me. Lizards are the only thing I am deathly afraid of.”

Happy Birthday to Me and My New Neurotic Disorder

There are different ways to solve a problem.

All throughout high school and college, I was always the first one to finish exams. I think fast and write fast, mostly for the fear of forgetting if I don’t jot everything down quick. Also, so I could be dismissed early.

Math exams were different however. Our maths teacher was intent on finishing the 45-minute time slot and dismissing us altogether. That did not sit well with me, pun intended. I couldn’t stand sitting in one place doing nothing. FML, I’m wasting my life sitting here.

As a result I would provide at least three different solutions all leading to the same answer. One item would still only be worth one point, though. It would drive the teacher crazy that I would use all the white space available in the paper, but I can only blame her too. If she had dismissed me earlier this would never had happened.

————

I wonder what my neurosis is, I mused. The family line seems to have some sort of neurosis, one way or another, so I feel left out not having one. My mother is a neat and organized freak, while my sister is obsessed with sanitizing her hands with alcohol every five minutes (she likes alcohol in general) and my father is neurotic about his lecture slides. My younger brother is the most normal person I know, but I’m sure I’m neurotic about something. Society finds a need to name everything into a disorder, after all. There’s bound to be one for me.

Then it hit me.

While the people I know have one right way of doing things, I have none. I refuse to have one. It’s that fear of routine, fear of doing the same thing, the same way all over again.

I’m no ‘creature of habit’ who gravitates towards the same shops or restaurants. I like wandering myself into secret finds at obscure spots. I’m the one who says: ‘yeah the sushi place was nice, but maybe we can try the ramen place beside it this time?’

It’s the kind of neurosis where even if you know the best route to a destination, you choose a different route ‘just because’.

It’s even if you excelled at maths in high school and was recommended into Chemical Engineering or Accountancy, you decided to take up Fine Arts instead.

It’s having five different ways to getting home. Ten different ways to wear a scarf. Four different ways to fold your clothes. Six different ways to calculate a basic derivative of a function.

It’s having curly hair, straight hair, wavy hair, short hair, long hair, mid-length hair, brown hair, black hair, blonde hair, hair with streaks and messed-up hair. If the school allowed it, I would’ve had blue hair by now. It’s not caring about your hair because they grow out anyway.

It’s that even if you know you hate fish and chips, you’ll still have it because you might like it this time around. (you still won’t, but maybe next time?)

It’s relishing the fact that you’re celebrating your 25th alone in Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport because it probably won’t happen again.

It’s preferring to remain unstable but take control of your time and freedom rather than having a routine 9-to-5 job.

For this kind of neurosis, it’s never say never.

It’s knowing there are many different means to an end. We know the number of Pi, but there are four different ways of calculating it.

It’s hating to be ‘left out’ or ‘missing out’. If you didn’t try it another way, or seeing it from another angle, you might be missing half your life. Who would’ve known there are a dozen different ways to cook an egg, if they didn’t try, right?

I blame maths for a lot of things, such as my bad handwriting. And my new neurotic disorder.

This self-diagnosis is not to be taken seriously. If, however, there is still no name for this neurosis I would like to name said disorder in behalf of myself because it’s my birthday today. 🙂

Postcard Travels on Sunstar Weekend

The greatest sense of fulfillment for every aspiring writer is to be read. It’s a bad habit of mine to look at my stats every now and then. Every digit up my viewership stats makes me want to do a little victory dance. It’s a nice feeling that someone is actually reading (or viewing) my blog.

So imagine my excitement when Sunstar Weekend magazine editor Noel Villaflor contacted me and asked if I would want a bi-monthly column for the publication. I tried to maintain cool while messaging with Noel he could even sense it and said ‘Excited kaayo ai’. It felt like my writing aspirations have been somewhat validated; that people actually read and care for my musings.

Starting this weekend on May 17, you’ll see my column Postcard Travels at Sunstar Weekend twice a month where I’ll be talking about travel, history and culture from my experiences around the world.

10 Things That Changed Since I’ve Become a New Mom

Three weeks ago, I received a message from the awesome Fiona of Sunstar Weekend, asking if they could feature me and Caleb for their Mother’s Day Issue. It never really dawned on me until that point: Oh right. I am a mom! I can’t believe I forgot.

Mom. That still sounds weird to me, to call myself a ‘mom’. When you become a ‘mom’ you become totally responsible for another human being. Sounds so noble, almost saintly.

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My friends often joke that I’m the last person they imagined to be a ‘mom’. I’m not the kind to swoon at babies and puppies and butterflies. I’m selfish, over-involved, flippant, and did I say selfish?

For the first three months of his, errm, ‘inception’, I thought it was a serious case of jet lag. Bouncing on and off six different countries over that short time period, and apart from fatigue, nothing was out of place. I continued to live the daily lifestyle of a selfish 20-something-year-old youth, blissfully clueless.

But after a dreadful time on roller coaster rides at Ocean Park, I thought to myself: ‘This is weird. I don’t do ‘queasy’ on daredevil rides. Where’s my mojo?!’ Apparently, Caleb was already two months in. He took my mojo.

When my son came on Christmas Day, I can’t exactly say I changed that moment on. Tbh, I think learned more from him than him from me. My son has disproved many things I used to believe in. Or, to put it better, he proved many things I didn’t believe in before.  I’m surprised a lot of things have changed so much–and at the same time, not really.

If you want to read about my views on juggling between motherhood, Sprockets Cafe, teaching university, and a new blog, get Sunstar Weekend’s Mother’s Day Issue today.

So since today’s Mother’s Day, I dedicate this post to all the moms who’ve worked so hard for their little ones. Here’s 10 things that actually change when you become a mom, coming from a new ‘mom’ to a bouncing retroactive toddler.
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Mothers come in all shapes and sizes, but equally celebrated and loved. Because life doesn’t come eith a manual. It comes with a mother. Happy Mother’s Day!

1. Everything you knew about motherhood gets thrown out of the window.Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 8.52.30 AM

I’m going to be honest, I was prejudiced. When someone said ‘mom’, I saw flashes of women with messy hair doing household chores, screaming baby in the background, sunken eyes with deep eye bags, screaming ‘help me….’. (shudders)

TV is mostly to blame for such an unflattering image. Media portrays motherhood as a funeral of a woman’s professional career and a life term sentence to household chores inside white picket fences.

I used to think motherhood is a death sentence (I hope Caleb won’t be able to read this when he’s older). But I’ll tell you a secret: being a mom is actually quite fun. For real. I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner. HAHA #really #notreally #butreally

2. Motherhood: Multitasking Lvl. 2000

So because of motherhood I’ve discovered there are so many tasks you can perform with just one hand. You think of ways to get the job done that is most cost-efficient and time-saving. Mothers need to be good strategists as well!

Women have always been good multitaskers, but mothers take it to the next level. Supermoms are excellent management consultants who always think of ways to save time and money, spend time with their kids, and still achieve it all with perfect hair and manicured nails.

3. Your fashion sense changes.

No, you don’t suddenly develop a taste for lola’s dusters. But you start prioritizing practical over fashionable. You want to wear clothes that are comfortable, and not get potentially disrobed every time your kin pulls and/or yanks at you. And you tend to tone down on the accessories especially when you start thinking of them as choking hazards.

4. Your profile’s news feed changes, as well.

I’m one of those annoying Facebook Friends who would constantly post random stuff about their children. I hope I’m not hurting anyone with all the cuteness. At least I don’t use annoying hashtags like OOTD or FamBam or SepAnx.

5. You see things in his eyes.

You want to share everything and anything for Caleb. You see things in your own child’s eyes. You constantly think: ‘Oh, he would’ve loved it here!’, ‘He would have enjoyed this!’, ‘I wonder what he would think of this?’ You want to share your goals, ideals, hobbies and interests with him. And if you experienced something awesome and fun without him, you get pangs of guilt. It’s the OMG-I’m-having-too-much-fun-without-my-son kind of guilt that won’t go away so easily.

My dream is to have him homeschooled so he can travel around the world with me and learn about history and culture firsthand, but his father is too traditional for the Thornberrys way-of-life, preferring Caleb’s education in a traditional UK boarding school. I hope he gets into Hogwarts. Or Cambridge, at the least.

6. You’ll never take for granted me-time ever again.

Sure it’s great being with your kid… but you’ll also learn to value alone time like never before. I don’t get it a lot nowadays, free time is rare. I’m a workaholic who wants to kill herself when I think I’m not being productive with my time. Shove all your work away and treat yourself sometimes–read a good book over tea or get a Swedish massage. It takes a lot of self-will not to use time for productive work or school or family, but sometimes I have to convince myself that I deserve this.

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7. You get really toned arms.

It’s no surprise you get improved upper strength and toned arms from all that workout lugging around a 14-kilo youngster. Next time, I’ll challenge his dad to a round of push-ups.

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 8.52.21 AM8. The hardest part? Getting him to sit down on a meal.

I’m lucky Caleb is easygoing and so agreeable. He is easy to take with everywhere–17-hour flight to UK? No problem. My biggest challenge is getting him to sit in a meal. Even for just five minutes.

I’ve had numerous fights with Caleb about strapping him in the baby seat but he always has other plans, e.g., walking around the restaurant, annoying dinners in every table, and running around the place. It’s hell to take him in a restaurant. I could never properly eat until he’s dozed off.

I don’t know if it’s the same for other mothers with one-year-olds, but I never imagine sitting him down on a meal can be so. damn. difficult.

9. You start being the most boring person in the party.

I try to stop myself. But I can’t help try to insert how Caleb’s just learned to sort his colors in parties. Or you start whipping out your phone to show them that funny burping video of your baby from three weeks ago. Your kin is suddenly your favorite topic. And oh, the poop stories. Mothers can never have too many poop stories.

10. You will mess up. And that’s okay.

5Sadly there is no foolproof manual on how to figure out momhood, nor numerous Google searches on ‘how to become a good mom’ can make you become one. A trial-and-error method ensued, what works and what doesn’t work for my little one. Because of the love and support poured by everyone, he is happy, bright, confident with a wicked sense of humor.

The biggest lesson from motherhood? You’ll probably never experience a bond and love as strong as with your kiddo. Your little one will bring out the better version of you.

Photography by JSD Photography. Thank you for the wonderful photos, Sprite. Hair, Makeup and Magic by Jerwin and Karlo and Feature written by the awesome Fiona Escandor for Sunstar Weekend. 

30 Travel Tips for the Wanderlust on a Budget

This article was published on Sunstar Weekend around March 2014 (I think). I don’t have the hard copy so I’m publishing the soft copy on my blog instead. Thank you fellow travelers for your wonderful insight on traveling on a minimal budget. Rest in Peace, dear big traveler Jethro Estimo who also shared his tips in this article.

A wanderlust has a passion—and almost animalistic lust—for travel. That need to ditch our desks and hit the beach is all too familiar to us–but while we all love travel, most of us don’t get to travel as much as we hope. And with summer just around the corner, we’re all starting to feel that travel itch again.

So what do you do if you don’t have enough capital to cure a bad case of wanderlust? You don’t need to forgo that dream vacay– The key is to travel more, spend less; finding ways to stretch your money’s worth.

Gone are the days when travel was only a luxury for the rich and famous. Budget airlines, promo airfare and Internet booking have provided a wider window for travel opportunities. A limited budget is no longer a hindrance to travel—in fact, it can be a challenge to see ‘how low you can go’. Part of the adventure is going out there and having some sort of money limit. Spending less lowers the barrier between you as tourist and the culture you traveled so far to experience.

Here are 30 tips from backpackers and seasoned travelers in Cebu for the fellow thrifty wanderlust:

On Booking Tickets, Planning an Itinerary and Packing:

carla adlawan

‘Keep your eyes peeled for cheap flights. Subscribe to airlines’ newsletters, visit their websites religiously. As soon as you see that seat sale, book it! Your dream vacay starts by booking that flight.’ – Carla Adlawan

hannah katrina lim

‘These days there are heaps of good travel advice everywhere. From websites to personal blogs—good and bad reviews alike assist you in every step of travel planning’ – Hannah Kate Lim

honeylette to chip

‘For tickets, check local budget airlines. You can do this by going on Wikipedia and searching for the airport of your destination. It’ll list the airlines that land in that place. Compare rates and book the best price’ – Honeylette To Chip

chacha mercado lee

‘Read airline policies beforehand, especially with budget airlines. Know their restrictions when it comes to baggage allowance, check-in instructions, printing boarding passes, etc. in order to avoid unnecessary penalty costs – Chacha Mercado-Lee

‘Sometimes if you go back to an airline website multiple times, the price gets higher. It’s a technical thing… they remember your computer so it offers higher rates each time you come back’ – Honeylette To Chip

dj tudtud

‘Never forget to bring an extension cord so you don’t have to think about buying lots of travel adaptors. All you need is to plug all your devices in the extension cord, attach a universal travel adaptor and you’re good!’ – DJ Tudtud

‘The obvious is to book your flights in advance. Their promo rates are available around three months ahead if you book it online’ – Atty. Janjan Perez

jon cabiles

Staying in hostels is a great way to save money and meet other travelers. Check websites like airbnb—the places are cheap and these places often have the added benefits of doing your laundry and kitchens where you can cook your meals for free’ – Jon Cabiles

hannah bacalla

‘Travel off-season to find better deals, budget rooms and cheaper airfare. Explore like a local—ditch the usual tourist spots and explore the city’s hidden gems’ – Hannah Bacalla

audi villa

‘Never have your currencies changed at the airport’ – Audi Villa

On Touring and Getting Around:

bait nicart

‘Your itinerary serves as a guide. You don’t need to follow it to the dot but it’s usually more expensive to be spontaneous (albeit certainly more fun) – Bait Nicart

johnn mendoza

Foursquare is a really useful app with various tips especially for a newcomer in a certain place. ’ – Johnn Mendoza
patricia zosa

‘Wear your most comfortable shoes! Saves you transpo allowance. Let’s you take your workout on the road too.’ – Patricia Zosa

‘Think like a video game character. Establish savepoints & waypoints. Learn and research subway and commute routes, so you can get lost worry-free and easily retrace and load from last save’
Victor Villanueva, film director

jethro estimo‘Go in groups of two or more so you can save a ton, especially in accommodations and commute fares’ – Jethro Estimo

karlo pacheco

‘As much as possible, take an overnight train/bus/boat to your next destination—it saves you money on accommodations.’ – Karlo Pacheco

danielle aballe

‘Museums usually have high entrance fees; but do a little research beforehand—there are usually entrance-free days. To save you some buck schedule your visit on those free days’ – Danielle Aballe-de los Reyes

sam despiSave yourself some time by knowing the local name of the places. Keep them on your phone or write them on a piece of paper. This is especially helpful in places with their own alphabet. When I was in Thailand 90% of the cab drivers didn’t speak English well and we couldn’t pronounce names of the destinations properly. That wasted a lot of time. It surely helped when we looked up the names online and in the Thai alphabet’ – Sam Despi

On Food & Shopping:

celeste rodriguez

‘Hit the groceries, find a park in the city and have a delicious picnic with a gorgeous view. Saves you a whole lot of dough’ – Celeste Rodriguez

janjan perez

‘Avoid the tourist-y restaurants and cafes because the prices are sure to be jacked up. Look for eateries frequented by the locals—that’s where the good food and good value is found. – Atty. Janjan Perez

victor villanueva‘Check out food areas near universities. They have tasty food on a student budget. Plus get to know the students for possible true love’ – Victor Villanueva

paolo manalac

‘When challenged with the language barrier, I just use the mighty pointing finger and point at whatever that guy’s got. You will have a sample of local flavor and an extra bang for your buck’ – Paolo Mañalac

radel paredes

‘Pack some instant noodles. They make great emergency food. Some airports, like in China, provide free hot water. You can also ask from stores’ – Radel Paredes

hanz libato

‘Make sure to start early and eat breakfast before you leave the hotel. Never go out hungry or else you’ll end up spending more in restaurants’ – Hanz Libato 

homer mediciDon’t hoard on pasalubong or souvenirs. You will just have a hard time packing them, and might even end up paying for additional baggage fees.Homer Medici

And Others:von jovi jover

‘Learning a few local street words help a lot, especially in Asian countries. Usually protects you from getting ripped off by locals or charging a crazy amount of money ‘ – Von Jovi Jover

Always be nice, try to make conversation. One time, I got upgraded to business class just because I made the check-in counter girl laugh, like she really lol’d. I wonder how that worked because I thought it was a really corny joke. This and many other things I wondered while sipping my wine in business class.’ – Victor Villanueva

‘Research on prepaid plans for internet and phone if you want to be constantly connected. Your phone will serve as your navigation device too and you’ll never get lost’ – DJ Tudtud

honeylette to chipTripAdvisor is helpful but not all restaurants and hotels that are rated highly are as good as they seem. Some people are paid to give good ratings and reviews to places’ – Honeylette To Chip