Simala Shrine and Basdaku Beach Moalboal DIY Day Trip.

Cebu DIY Tour-0072

We woke up early and had some coffee before leaving the city at six in the morning. We headed to E-mall where we could catch a V-hire to Sibonga. V-hire is the term Cebuano use to refer a passenger van. The terminal is at the back of a Gas station in front of E-mall. No signs what so ever but there were barkers around which will direct you to the location of the van. The first trip left full as early as 6:30AM. We were able to catch the next van which immediately get filled after 30 minutes. Our van left the City at around 7:00AM and we arrived in Simala Shrine at 7:30AM. 30 minutes early for the opening.

I was surprised about the travel time as some travel guide would show a one hour and 30 minute travel time from Southbus terminal and another 20-30 minutes habal-habal ride to the shrine. I guess the advantage of v-hire is that it’s a direct ride to Simala Shrine and it does not have a lot of pit stops to pick up or drop off passengers which takes a lot of time. Apart from that, it also eliminates the need to hire a habal-habal. One way fare is 100.00Php, I am not sure if they're operation is legal but it seems that they are very common to local commuters and I was thankful for my cousin's suggestion that made us aware of this option.

CEBU 2015 - DIY Tour

Cebu DIY Tour-0029

On my previous post I've mentioned about travelling with my mom, aunt and grandmother to Cebu for a late mother's day celebration. The trip went alright except that my grandmother decided not to join us during the last minute. I bet it could be so much fun with her though. Despite that, I am still very thankful it went well.

How Last Minute Travelling works for a corporate employee like me.

Talipanan Beach, Puerto Galera

I sometimes get asked how do I plan my trip and would always encounter a surprising reaction when told that I am now opting for last minute trips. I totally understand where the enchantment came from, we all know that planned trips are really cheaper because of huge discounted price airline companies offer for early bookings but it doesn’t just work for me.

In our company, employees are entitled of a 12 days paid vacation leave and some unpaid ones depending on the availability, these leaves must be pre-approved. These pre-approved leaves can be applied two months prior to a minimum notice time of one week while the approval process may take up to one week. This means that you might need to wait for a month close to your desired travel date to be able to secure your vacation leave. That’s for the most of the company specially those at the BPO Industry, a lot of us have really tight schedule and have almost no idea when we can have free time until the very last minute.

Most of the cheaper fares have the travel period of six months from the date of sale, which makes the risk higher for corporate employees like me. I’ve even experienced missing at least four flights due to declined leaves or conflict of schedules and priorities. Last cancelled flight I had was our flight to Coron, Palawan which was cancelled due to strict business needs. That flight was a promo flight which cost us 1,700.00PHP each. Apart from the flight ticket we’ve also spent some bucks for our hotel reservation which was booked two months prior.

After that cancelled flight, I never booked any promo tickets yet for myself. What we do have is a list of places we can go; these include those places we can reach by land travels and those that needs air transports. I visualize a date and will have plan A (plane-ride away) and B (Bus-ride away).

When we get the budget we can spent, we file our leaves and check plane tickets right after its approval then we start planning from there. Most of the time as I’ve noticed that promo seats are still available months prior to the travel dates unless its peak season (April-May and during holidays). The price is quite far if you are going to base it on the base fare but the total amount are pretty much close (500.00-700.00 difference). For example a flight to Cebu for 699.00 seat sale six months ago may still have some available seats at 1,299.00 which has 600.00 difference per way and 1,200.00 for a two way ticket. Computing it with admin fees, other charges and tax would pretty much gives you the same difference because these chargers were based on the original base fare and not the discounted ones.

So do I still love seat sales?? Of course yes, I’d love it for my flights on holiday seasons and summer where fares could go extremely expensive, for some weekender trips and planned international trips. Otherwise, I'd always go for the book-and-run way.

Here are some perks I enjoyed that make last minute travelling works for a corporate employee like me.

Mengie's White Sand Beach Resort: Talipanan Beach in Puerto Galera Accommodation

One of my close friend who is a flight attendant in one of the worlds' prestigious airlines asked me how do I afford to travel despite all, when she said despite all she meant my university studies which I personally support, my two other sisters which we sent to school and the house we pay for our mom together with all the other monthly expenses while working here in Manila. It was surprising to hear it from someone who've been travelling around the world for more than three years now but I knew she needs an answer. So I asked her, what do you think will make all your travels expensive? She answered food, bars and accommodation.

So that goes my answer, food, bars and accommodation. I cut some saving from food, not that I let my self starve but I always ensure to look for a reasonably priced food houses. Next to that is bar which is good because I never hit them most of the time and would always choose to avoid or at least spent a minimum amount on alcoholic drinks and beverages as sometimes they are overly priced on places that are known to tourists. Lastly is the accommodation, a drastic change to my preference from the time we first traveled compared to the choice we have these days. From hotel rooms to a home-stay or fan room accommodation, it cuts down the price from half to three fourths. Looking back the normal three days two nights stay of 7,000.00 to 1,500.00 that is way too far.

Perhaps its the greatest lesson that I've learned so far, when you have enough budget you don't have to spend it all on that particular trip, you always have a choice to spare some for your next trip which will enable you to afford for another vacation just right after another.

For hunting a place to stay, I currently consider two important things, first is cleanliness and comfort room. Very basic, one of the best example was Mengie's White Sand Beach Resort in Talipanan Beach, Puerto Galera. They're are the only place we've called that sticks to their old rate which starts from 700.00Php per room, per night, almost twice lower than the standard rate of 1,300.00 around that beach. It was such a great saving to us having to choose it over the others as we are staying there for four nights which cost us 2,800.00 and was able to save the same spare amount.

#WhereToNext : Cebu City for Mother's Day.

One of the occasions that we always love to celebrate is Mother's day, this is because we are living far from our Mom who's been with us all the way even after we had our own living. Last year, we totally forgot to prepare a thing for mothers’ day because of our hectic schedules. Usually, me, my sisters and cousins would book a flower and chocolate delivery for my mom, auntie and grandmother or send some small gifts but last year we only managed to greet them. Hence, this year we are catching up with the three women of our lives and thought that we should take them for a vacation and give them a few days break from their overwhelming day to day tasks.

Last December we opened a discussion on where they wanted to take a vacation for summer. They showed some interest in visiting Cebu City to meet some relatives and visit Simala Temple. I thought it was a great choice; Cebu has a diverse tourist destinations to choose from, they have historical places, beaches, waterfalls and even caves. Apart from that I’ve been also meaning to take another visit to this beautiful province. So, Cebu it is, we made sure to book them ahead to save the best dates we have. Now, we have the flight details, next thing I need to fix is the accommodation.