NOW IS THE TIME TO TRAVEL

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By JO­HANNES L. CHUA

The time to travel is now.

Filipinos are trav­el­ing in droves out­side the usual des­ti­na­tions such as Hong Kong or Sin­ga­pore. To­day, Filipinos can be ‘heard’ – or be seen in so­cial me­dia – swim­ming in Mal­dives, hik­ing in the Alps, or strolling in Ed­in­burgh.

Trav­el­ling has in­deed be­come eas­ier with the ad­vent of tech­nol­ogy. From book­ing a flight, re­serv­ing a ho­tel room, to re­search­ing places where to dine and re­lax, all these can be done with just a smart­phone and a re­li­able In­ter­net con­nec­tion. You can do all these things in­side a crowded cof­feeshop, in the mid­dle of a farm, or even at the com­fort of your own bed.

Though trav­el­ing has be­come easy, it still needs the ‘hu­man fac­tor’ – the drive to dis­cover new places, the pas­sion to learn new cul­tures, the cu­rios­ity to taste a new cui­sine. All these will make travel more mem­o­rable and worth it.

Much ado about bud­get

Though travel has be­come eas­ier, there is still the ‘mone­tary’ fac­tor to make it hap­pen. There are ex­penses en­tailed to move you from one place to the other and of course, tick­ets to pur­chase and meals to take. How­ever, a lim­ited bud­get is not an ex­cuse to just spend the hol­i­days / long week­end at home.

In fact, for a lim­ited bud­get, these are a lot of op­tions if you just look ‘deeper’ in our own coun­try. For­get Mal­dives, we have our Bo­ra­cay ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a re­nais­sance; for­get the Alps as you can hike in the cool trails of Mt. Pu­lag; for­get Ed­in­burgh as we have our own Crisol­ogo Street in Vi­gan. Mil­len­ni­als who are on a bud­get can al­ways find ways to create an ex­pe­ri­en­tial mo­ment – and fill their IG feed – with­out break­ing the bank.

Here are some travel sug­ges­tions for var­i­ous bud­gets. Take note that these are just es­ti­mates per per­son based on our re­search and in­cludes trans­porta­tion. For the ex­act fig­ures, visit the re­spec­tive web­site or call the town’s tourism of­fice. If you have PhP1,000 to PhP2,000: Op­tion 1: Visit the Bara­soain Church in Malo­los, Bu­la­can. A lot of peo­ple have not been to this his­toric church even if it is just 42 kilo­me­ters away from Manila. Af­ter tour­ing the church, there are a lot of pasalubong shops in the town, make sure to bring the ‘inipit’ back home. Op­tion 2: Head south to Pan­sol, La­guna. Though this town is known for pri­vate pools, there are a lot of wa­ter parks and wave pools in the area. Go­ing there, pass by the Rizal House and learn why it is painted green. Don’t for­get to drop by the church where the young Rizal was bap­tized.

If you have PhP2,500 to PhP4,000:

Op­tion 1: Ta­gay­tay is not only a week­end des­ti­na­tion as there are a lot of ac­tiv­i­ties that can be done there any time of the day. Start break­fast with strong Ta­gay­tay cof­fee, go around the park and breathe in fresh pine-scented air. For lunch, sa­vor bu­lalo while en­joy­ing a panoramic view of Taal Lake and Vol­cano. For a more breath­tak­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, ride on one of the coun­try’s tallest Fer­ris Wheel at the Sky Ranch.

Op­tion 2: For a les­son in his­tory, a lot of peo­ple are not aware that there is an Aquino Cen­ter and Mu­seum in Luisita Com­mer­cial Com­plex. Nu­mer­ous ar­ti­facts are lo­cated in­side the mod­est mu­seum and will make one ap­pre­ci­ate the con­tri­bu­tions of the Aquino cou­ple to our iden­tity as a na­tion. If you have PhP5,000 to PhP7,000:

Op­tion 1: Go far­ther down south and dis­cover the La­guna-Que­zon prov­ince via Vi­aje del Sol (or Way of the Sun). Pri­vate or­ga­ni­za­tions and travel agen­cies of­fer this tour but you can also de­vise your own itin­er­ary. Visit the churches of Nag­car­lan and Liliw; drop by the pot­tery stu­dio of Ugu Bi­gyan in Tiaong; ap­pre­ci­ate art and an­tiques at Sulyap in San Pablo. There are more stops to dis­cover in these two prov­inces and we are sure that it is worth ev­ery minute.

Op­tion 2: Baguio can be done on a bud­get. In fact, a lot of at­trac­tions in this hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion are free. En­joy the sights at Burn­ham Park, walk around the pub­lic mar­ket, stroll along Ses­sion Road. What makes a Baguio ex­pe­ri­ence unique is when you time your visit dur­ing artists’ meet or writ­ers’ events. There is a strong artis­tic com­mu­nity in this side of the Cordilleras. Af­ter all that art, in­dulge in some ukay-ukay shop­ping es­pe­cially at night near Burn­ham Park. If you have PhP8,000 to PhP10,000:

Op­tion 1: Yes, Bo­ra­cay is just so en­tic­ing es­pe­cially af­ter its re­birth. But again, it is not Bo­ra­cay who has the mo­nop­oly of white sands and pris­tine wa­ters. Fly to Cebu, take the Ceres bus to the north­ern­most town which is the lo­ca­tion of Hag­naya Port. Here, take a ferry bound to the is­land-par­adise of Ban­tayan. You have to see it for your­self why this tiny is­land de­serves a men­tion. It is hoped that progress that is creep­ing in the is­land would not be detri­men­tal to its pris­tine en­vi­ron­ment.

Op­tion 2: Now is the time for Min­danao! Davao is now, right­fully so, over­ex­posed be­cause of our Pres­i­dent but other des­ti­na­tions in this re­gion de­serve a men­tion. Head to Siar­gao where the surf is up and the beach cul­ture is thriv­ing. But for those who want to stay away from the sun, we sug­gest Ca­gayan de Oro and Bukid­non. CDO bal­ances moder­nity and na­ture very well while Bukid­non has ex­pan­sive farms and pineap­ple plan­ta­tions that will truly make a trip unique and mem­o­rable.

Though trav­el­ing has be­come easy, it still needs the ‘hu­man fac­tor’ – the drive to dis­cover new places, the pas­sion to learn new cul­tures, the cu­rios­ity to taste a new cui­sine. All these will make travel more mem­o­rable and worth it.

JUST AS EN­CHANT­ING – A tourist swims out of the ‘Se­cret La­goon’ in El Nido, Palawan, which is just one of the many tourist des­ti­na­tions in the coun­try other than the world-fa­mous Bo­ra­cay Is­land that se­nior law­mak­ers want to be pro­moted. (EPA)

Bukid­non

Taal lake, Ta­gay­tay

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