What Are Your Travel Necessities?

I am posting this to ask the online travel community about the most common problems you encounter when you travel? Specifically with your travel necessities.

Packing light has been the nightmare of most people who travel. Identifying what you need to bring with you when you travel is very important. I would like to know the usual travel necessities that you bring along with you and what problems have you encountered with it?

Let me share with you mine. I normally use a small sling bag when traveling. And I travel with my iPad most of the times. I use it to upload my photos, search for a place to dine and the must-see spots, and for social media purposes. My problem with it is that it can’t fit to a small sling bag. Another one is that, with my sling bag, it usually get cluttered when I put all my travel necessities like, digital camera, action camera, smart phone, power bank, USB cables, a book  and keys. And it usually causes a ding on my gadgets. I think I should get a sling bag that has several compartments. So, what are your common problems when it comes to your travel necessities? I would love to hear it.

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I Left My Heart In Bantayan

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Sandbar!!!

It’s been almost seven months after my trip to Cebu and I will try to recollect all that happened on my birthday trip. It was a 5-day vacation and a quick break from work. The main reason why I wanted to visit Cebu was for the cliff jumping in Malapascua Island. This has been on my bucketlist ever since I started backpacking. I even wrote a blog entry about it.

So I flew to Cebu last year, August 15 to be exact. There was a tropical depression during that time but Cebu has cloudy to sunny weather during my whole stay.




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 The beach is all mine.

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 A perfect place to just sit back and relax. Right?

Here’s What Happened

“What happens in Bantayan should not stay in Bantayan.” It is meant to be shared. An awesome experience in a paradise like this place should not be kept to oneself. My original plan was to visit Malapascua, Oslob and Camotes. But due to inclement weather condition and from studying the geographical location of the above supposed destinations, I decided to take the plan B. I made a few Google search and wallah! I found myself in the beautiful island of Bantayan. Nope. I did not just appear in that island out of nowhere. I took a four hour bus ride from Cebu proper to Bogo City. I was asleep the whole travel time (as always). I took the RoRo going to Bantayan. It was noon and the sun was up when the vessel landed in the island. I have no idea where to go. I remember that I did the same thing during my first time in Boracay. I do not know where to go. I do not know what to tell the habal-habal(motorcycle) driver when he asked me where I am staying. I asked him instead if he can recommend a cheap place to stay in. He brought me to a resort near the beach. It was a decent resort for its cheap price and its prime location. Located at the heart of Sta. Fe, Bantayan. Well, it was a low season anyway and only a few visitors are in there.

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A peaceful haven where you can just be lazy all day and do nothing.

What Made Me Love Bantayan?

I settled in and took a short nap then headed to the town proper. Right after my lunch, a man approached me and asked if I would want to rent a motorcycle. I have never ever drove a motorcycle in my entire life. Yes, I have rode it but have not tried driving it. I know how to ride a bike. I can say that I am good at balancing but I do not know how to operate it. At the back of my head, I would love to try driving a motorcycle. I tried haggling and convincing the owner until we reached into an agreement. I was a bit nervous at first. I asked for a few things on how his motorcycle works. He said that the motorbike is automatic and where the brakes are and how to operate it. For Php300, I rented the motorbike for 24 hours. I brought my camera with me and I roamed the whole Bantayan Island the whole day.

What made this trip very meaningful, aside from the fact that it was my first time to drive a motorbike and that I don’t have a driver’s license, I get to appreciate the whole place in a different way. It tested my ability to be spontaneous. It took me into a sudden immersion with the locals unexpectedly. Taught me so many things that I never thought would occur during this whole trip.

 

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A dilapidated boat at the Fisherman’s Wharf.

Barrio Fiesta. Dinner And Drinking Session With An Assassin.

I was lucky enough that on my first night in the island, one of the barangays in Sta. Fe was celebrating their annual fiesta. I was invited by the resort’s care taker to attend their fiesta. We went to his friend’s house. He introduced me to him and his family. A little chit-chat and a few shots. I learned that he used to work as a bodyguard in my hometown. It was our common ground. We then became instant friends and he started telling stories of his experience as an assassin. To be honest, I had a little heart attack hearing his stories. I pretended to be in awe. But after a few more stories and how his life was changed when he settled in Bantayan, I feel secured. I was relieve and felt secured. Sparkle (the nickname of our host) and his family were very accommodating. The food prepared by his wife was scrumptious. The booze was flowing. And we went back to the resort I was staying full and very satisfied. I did not spend anything on that night out. Another experience that I will never forget. One of the things I love about backpacking solo. Random people with amazing stories and a life-changing experience with them.

bantayanswimA boy’s early morning dip with his father.

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Roaming The Whole Bantayan Island (Except for the town of Madredejos)

I went to a few spots in Bantayan. I was able to visit the Ogtong Cave, the mini-zoo of Ogtong Beach Resort, the bakawans/mangroves, the Bantayan town proper, Bantayan Nature Park and the Bantayan Fisherman’s Wharf. Everything became possible through riding a motorbike. Before I left Bantayan, my ride gave me a souvenir. Yes, I fell on the bike while trying to maneuver it. I got a few scratches but nothing really serious happened.

So, if you happen to visit this place in the near future, I recommend you try renting a motorbike to explore the island. But don’t forget to apply some sunblocks, put your sunnies on, wear a rash guard or warmer and a hat. Don’t forget to take some snapshots.

 

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Pico De Loro: The Tale Of A Hardcore Hiker, The Kids, And The Beak

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I received a short notice from my colleagues at work before the remarkable first-time-climb to Pico de Loro in Ternate, Cavite last Saturday. I wasn’t expecting for it as I am more of a beach person than of a hiker. At first it wasn’t really an invite. They were asking if they could borrow my tent again. That give me a hint that they are up for another adventure. As the word “tent” for me is synonymous to “adventure”. I work on weekends so I told them that I could lend them my tent which followed by a question, “Where are you going?”. They told me that they are going to Pico de Loro in Cavite. I have heard of the place and that give me excitement. I haven’t tried climbing yet and I want to give it a try! So I asked them if I could join them.

First Time In Many Things

Next thing I know I was packing my things again. Trying to fit in all the things that I think I could use for trekking. I am bringing my backpack to the office as I have work that night. The trip is on the day after. I have no plans of telling my boss that I will be absent the following day. I still have doubts if I would join the hiking because I normally don’t absent from my work. It’s gonna be my first time to be absent since I got hired last year. I previously filed a leave but they did not allow me because I wasn’t able to find a reliever who would fill in for me. So the rebellious side of me wanted to take revenge to my bosses as they couldn’t grant my request. I have been so kind to them when they requested for me to be in the office 3 or 4 hours earlier than my shift during the weekends and even came to work with only an hour of sleep and rendered more 13hours but could not return a little favor I’m asking them (I’ll stop ranting here).

We left the office at 8A.M. and met up with the others in Baclaran. We took a bus going to Ternate and got off at the terminal. I was still wearing jeans, long sleeves and my casual shoes I wore the night before at the office. I have no idea what to wear as this is my first ever climb. I wasn’t able to do my homework(research) about it because of the short notice.

Greetings!

We took a tricycle going to the DENR office before we started to trek. I had the chance to change my upper clothing before the climb but I was still wearing the same pants until we reached the camp site. Everyone in the group was ready with all the right gears and had packed just enough for the climb. I had “overpacked” if that’s the right term. I was struggling as we get to the first base camp and it was much harder as we get closer to the camp where we stayed overnight. Along the way, we met other hikers. Some are on their way home and others are on their way up to the mountain. Hikers have very unique attitude towards the other hikers. I find them very polite as they greet all the people they meet on their way and say things like “take care” or they would tell encouraging words such as “you can do it” or “you’re almost there”. We got a lot of these on our way to the top. We joked about it. To use this attitude when we get back to Manila, to greet everyone we bump along the busy streets of the metro. I just can’t imagine how crazy the idea was.

As we get closer to the camp site, the back and muscle pains were unbearable! We would take about 10-15 minutes of walk then rest. For a newbie on this climbing stuff, I had the terrible time coping up with the group but I wasn’t the worst. One of the girls had the hard time. She’s always the last person to get to the place where most of us would take a short breather.

Conquering The “Buwis-buhay” Beak!

We stayed on the camp overnight and climbed the summit the following day. Early morning of the following day, we got ourselves ready to climb the highest peak. It was hard as the way to the summit was very steep. The fog was covering the summit and the grass were wet that causes the ground to be slippery. The beak or the other summit is not visible that made our colleagues back out as we planned to climbed it. We waited for almost an hour until the sun came out. As the sun shine through the thick cloud that was covering the beak, we got courage to conquer it. At first it was just me and two other guys who had the courage to climb the beak. As soon as I reached the beak, the girls was so envious while witnessing how I conquer the summit of the beak. I was the first one to reach the “buwis-buhay” beak.

The Kid Who’d Climbed 7 Mountains

Going back down to the camp site we happen to meet three kids and their parents. Yes, Kids! One was about 6 years old (a girl & she’s the youngest), then a 7-year old boy and their older brother (I assume) who is 8 years old. I asked the 8-year old boy a few questions and I learned that he already climbed 7 mountains and that he started climbing at the age of three. I felt ashamed as this was my first ever climb. But the kid inspired me! So me and my friends are planning to get high with the mountains and not with anything illegal.