You don’t need to quit your job to travel the world

I got a goosebumps just now, when I wrote my first word on this post. I can assure you that this post will be, by far, the most passionate piece of blog post I’ve written. (And it will be word-heavy, get your popcorn!)

This post is specially written to those who are truly passionate about travel and for the dreamers like me. :)

Here's a photo of me in Mt. Bromo to jump start the mood!

Here’s a photo of me in Mt. Bromo to jump start the mood!

I have a new star in my life and his name is Gunnar Garfors. Check his blog and you will fall in love too. This guy travelled to every country in the world while he’s having a full-time job and traveling is not the job itself.

Travel is his hobby, and he’s doing it right. He’s criticized of being too ambitions for doing so many rush trip such as traveling to 4 continents in a day but if you understand his style, he’s the kind of guy who keeps wanting to break the record, who likes to tick off challenges and trust me, he really loves the idea of traveling (moving from one place to another).

I was a bit disappointed reading his book though, the English translation is poor and he visited Batam for his Indonesia trip. Sigh. Apart from that, it’s an interesting book!

The most important thing about his existence is that it strengthened my belief to travel around the world without doing that dramatic move: Quit my job. (except I strike a lottery, then I will quit my job. LOL)

I don’t agree with quitting your job and then go travel until you’re totally bankrupt. What’s the point of it? You can only travel for maybe 1 year, then what’s after that? It’s true you have to live in the moments, like today is your last day on earth, but…. I wanna live in the moments throughout my whole life, not only 1 year and then suffer. I want to live long and travel forever! I don’t want my travel to have an expiry date! I want the adventure continues forever!

I love to travel, it’s my hobby, my lifestyle, my true love, whatever you people call it these days. But since as long as I remember, I’ve always been fascinated by the Globe. When I was a kid, I would spend hours reading Atlas Book and staring at the Globe while dreaming about my adventure. I’m a common girl (not very academic-smart, not very pretty, but super lucky) from a middle income family in a third world country. Going overseas or let alone holiday was almost impossible. When my Dad lost his job, it was even harder for me to survive life.

Bottom part, I was not fed with golden spoon in a silver platter. But….

I am a dreamer.

I wanted to travel the world. AND I WILL. BECAUSE I CAN.

So, I made a plan. My plan was simple: Find a decent paying job and save some money to travel the world, one city at a time.

The challenge was: I have to support my Mom and Dad, how am I suppose to feed 3 mouths and saving money to travel?

Travel needs money, we all know that. So, I made a very very risky move: I left my country and moved to a neighbor-first world country, because I needed the currency. Thankfully I made it. So, now that I can spare my money for both my parents and my travel, I need to find the time, because I have a full time job, remember?

Then, I realize, to travel you just need 2 things: MONEY and TIME. So now…. let’s analyze the shit out of it!

MONEY

Used by 90% of people as an excuse not to travel… Money! I don’t have money to travel, blah blah blah. I didn’t have the money to travel either, but I MADE MONEY. BECAUSE I CAN.

No matter how little money you make, you can always spare 5% or 10% for travel. Everyone could have different amount, but I’m a believer: AS LONG AS YOU’RE FOCUSED ON YOUR GOAL, YOU CAN. Nothing in this world you cannot do unless you say so.

1. Have a decent paying job, which you actually like.

You don’t have to be super passionate about your day-job. As long as you like the job, you’re happy, you’re having fun with your colleagues, the environment is good, and make a decent living, you’re on the right track. Remember, don’t suffer your self in a job you hate just because it pays you more money. I know you love to travel and have to focus about your goal, but hey… be kind to yourself too. :)

2. Buy cheap air tickets.

I totally agree with Garfors in this post he made about cheap flight tickets. Calculate how much money you make per hour, and then buy the tickets that is the cheapest calculated by YOUR VALUE. Remember, time equals money too! And my personal travel tips would be: WHEN YOU SEE A PROMOTION ticket price that is too good to be true, BUY! I know it’s an impulse buy, but it’ll bring you to a new place, go for it! Always ALWAYS subscribe for all kind of airplane newsletter.

Sometimes I didn’t plan where I would go. My travel destination could be very random, depending on the cheapest air ticket. My ultimate goal is to travel the whole world anyway, where to visit first doesn’t really matter anymore (after Europe). For next year, I’ve bought tickets for 2 different trips and both were impulsive because the price was ridiculously cheap. I didn’t think too much, I just bought it.

3. Free/Cheap accommodation.

Since Airbnb was invented, I no longer stayed at hotels when I travel. I only stay at hotels for relaxing trip (such as anniversary trip and honeymoon). Airbnb is THE BEST THING that could happen to me (after Bandi lah of course). I know there are a lot of scary stories about airbnb. The thing is… you can never find a flawless system in the world, because no matter how many people having good intentions, there are always some bad people who wants to ruin it. There are always some bad apples.

Be Smart about everything. Don’t just blindly trust people and follow your instinct! If you don’t feel comfortable, or suspicious about someone, GO AWAY. 99% of the time your feeling is right! So yeah, airbnb saves a lot of money for my travel. But if I have friend in a place I’m about to visit, I will notify them. You’ll never know if they are willing to host you, or maybe willing to show you around their city. It’s always fun to travel with locals!

I’ve shared so many wonderful experiences with airbnb in most of my travel posts genuinely because I want everyone to experience trip in the best way possible. :)

Anyway, if you haven’t had airbnb account, please sign up with my reference link here, you’ll get SG$28 free for your first booking! :D (This is not an advertised post, I swear!)

4. No Shopping Policy.

I don’t really shop when I travel. I can’t relate when people said “empty your luggage and come back full.” I feel like shopping is a waste of time. I can always shop in Singapore if I need something. I will not spare my time to shop. (It only happened once in my life, when I went to Japan with my girlfriends. Osaka has some crazy cheap stuffs!) But anyway, if it’s already struggling for you to buy air tickets, why would you waste your money buying stuffs you don’t need (and you can’t afford)?

It’s all about priority. I’ve written a post in Bahasa before about prioritizing your money. I got this comment a lot, “Wow, you must be making a lot of money, you travel a lot.” People perceives traveling as a luxury. Well, yeah it’s value-added (it’s the only thing you buy that gives you actual value to your life) but I don’t think it’s luxury lah… It just happened that I prioritized travel above shopping, above wasting money clubbing or hanging out in a expensive cafes. We just happen to use our money for different purposes.

There is nothing impossible in this life unless you say so. It’s the same with money. Set your goal, calculate and math the fu*k out of it!

TIME

I once worked in a company that gives 7 days leave a year (shit, right?) and I could still travel. I went to my 26 days of Europe trip with only 3 days unpaid leave. I saved my leave, I prioritize my travel. Once again, prioritizing is the key word here.

Starting next year, I will have around 20 days leave. I’ve planned 2 big trips and 1 small trip so far. It will be 3 new countries for me. So exciting! I’ve calculated the budget too so I can still pay my bills, my rent, my house mortgage etc. I’m still a common adult who has responsibilities you know… I just chose traveling as my number 1 hobby (and priority.

1. You need a good plan.

I must say my planning skill is super impressive. #shameless. But seriously, I could travel to Mt. Bromo, went to KL (for Bon Jovi concert) and roadtripping in NSW, Australia in the same month and only took 5 days of leave. Amazing, huh? Told you my planning skill is crazy! :p Visit my post about my Eurotrip and you’ll understand what I meant by crazy planning skill! I have itchy feet. This year, my passport documented at least one trip per month! No matter if it’s just a short weekend trip, I just have to gooooo! :D

2. Planning on next year’s calendar.

Whenever I see there is public holiday, I see it as a travel opportunity. Whenever there is a promo priced ticket, I see it as travel opportunity. My skill at chasing of cheap air tickets has also increased throughout the time. I now pronounced my best catch ever is when I bought return ticket from Singapore to Taipei for only S$55. No kidding. I felt like winning gold medal when I got that price. LOL. Back to the topic, I will block the long weekends and spread my leave to acquire as many trips as I can get (of course must calculate the budget too lah).

3. Energy.

There are some days (like in September) when I traveled every week, I didn’t have enough sleep because I needed to work. You need to recharge your energy, so find an activity that recharge your energy. Some recharge by sleeping, some by exercising, some by spending time with family, some… with more travels! LOL. My point is… know your limit. Don’t overdo yourself. If your body tells you it’s tired, it is. Spend some time for yourself too!

I don’t know what else to say about saving your time, so I guess the list ended on number three.

About prioritizing life

It is very difficult for me to finally swallow this ugly truth, but I just have to accept it and now saying it… To travel around the world will be a bit difficult when you have kids.

I will get hate comments for this, but this is the truth. You can keep denying it, but it won’t bend the truth.

Why? Because kids need time and money. It doesn’t mean you can’t travel at all, no I didn’t mean that. It’s just more difficult and your frequency of travel will be less, of course.

AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THESE TWO. You just have to shift your priority, that’s what life is about anyway, prioritizing things.

We make decisions all the time, and we should never regret anything. You just have to be honest about what you want and do things that make you happy.

If you decided to have kids and be happy about it, you should stop making sad comments on people’s traveling photos like “ohh… so nice… I wish I was there but I had to take care of my kids”. Is it suppose to make the other person feel bad or to make you feel better? That you chose a path as a mother, and it’s an honorable thing to be a mom? (Oh wait, now I’m rambling about a totally different topic here)

Bottom line is… EVERYONE HAS DIFFERENT PRIORITY IN LIFE. BE HAPPY ABOUT WHAT YOU CHOSE. :)

NEVER COMPARE YOUR LIFE WITH SOMEONE ELSE’S.

Also as I mentioned before, not everyone loves to travel, which is very understandable. Some will save money to buy branded bags, some for fast cars, some for staying in a five stars resort. Please understand that everyone has different way to spend their money and NEVER JUDGE. Never think that your way is better than someone else’s way. Again, don’t compare.

But I believe if you read this post, you should be one of those people who loves to travel. :)

And if you’re an adventurer like me, keep going! Don’t stop, don’t compromise your happiness. Keep your curiosity, explore the world. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s a waste of time or waste of money. Traveling is a great investment, trust me. You feed your soul when you travel, you experience, your view is widened.

Don’t stop.

ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE! :D

Cheers,

May, keep moving.

About the ultimate European plan

Everytime I plan for a trip, I never tell anyone simply because I’m afraid of jinx. But this particular trip is an exception because I need inputs from people and the fact that this is a very long trip (even longer than our ultimate summer holiday on 2010).

This is my very first post about my European adventure plan and trust me, you will see many more of this coming. Hehe.

The background

I’m gonna travel around Europe for total 24 days (exclude flights from Singapore). –>Even I get goosebumps just for typing that!

Bandi and I have been talking about this since we first met, that he wanted to visit Turin and I wanted to visit Parma, merely because we’re big fan of the football clubs (Juventus and AC Parma). However we didn’t think that we’re gonna do it together, you know, traveling to Europe (or Italy for that matter) because who knew our relationship lasts this long.

We were just a college student, it was impossible for us to save money to Europe trip (this doesn’t count for Bandi’s free trip to Europe for 10 days with his mom with the exclusive travel agent. Haha. My boyfriend was a spoiled brat) and then we graduated and I had my first job with a very horrible pay which probably won’t get me to Europe even if I had been saving for 10 years. Bandi, on the other hand went to Texas to study and during his first summer break, he worked two part time jobs every single day. I asked him why did he do that, he said, “I’m gonna bring you to Paris, just like I promised.”

Two years later, he came to Singapore bringing the hard cash he saved from the times he cleaned tables and became drive thru operators. He put that money inside his drawer all along. I asked him to just convert them to Singapore dollars and bank them, but he refused. Two weeks ago, we used that cash to buy our Europe ticket. He did it. He kept his promise.

Now that the hard cash is only left about $500, we must save our ass off these 7 months to the D day we finally fly to our dream. We already set our monthly saving target and if everything worked well, we’re gonna have our dreams come true. We even have our “Europe Funds” bank account opened long time ago.

The preparation

At first, we thought we would only need 2 weeks for our Euro trip because we would need to ask permission from our offices for such long leave, and of course because Europe is expensive. We also only focused on Italy and would only go to Paris for France. And then we went to the library to do some research, borrow some European history to read and went to the book sale that got us 20 over lonely planet books for only $100!

Europe guide books

MPH Book SALE

Together with those books and the power of Eurorail website, we add more cities and more countries and suddenly it was 24 days. JENG JENG! Now there’s no way back.

The Dream Itinerary

I would love to hear advice and comments for my itinerary from fellow readers. But again, please remember that this itinerary had been discussed and changed hundred of times and that your comments might change my mind again and cause some trouble for Bandi. Hahaha. But hey, I would love this trip to be the best ever so I’ll do whatever it takes.

Homebased City Explore Sleep at Transport
Day 1 London London Friend’s Tube
Day 2 London Bath Friend’s Travel
Day 3 London London Eurostar Train
Paris Paris Rent Apt
Day 4 Paris Paris Rent Apt Metro
Day 5 Paris Versailles Rent Apt Metro
Day 6 Paris Paris Train
Amsterdam Amsterdam Host
Day 7 Amsterdam Amsterdam Host Bike
Day 8 Amsterdam Amsterdam Train
Brussels Brugges B&B
Day 9 Brussels Brussels
Luxembourg Luxembourg
Lucerne Lucerne B&B
Day 10 Lucerne Mt Titlis On train
Day 11 Vienna Vienna Host Tram
Day 12 Vienna Vienna Train
Munich Munich Host
Day 13 Munich Fussen On train
Day 14 Venice Venice B&B
Day 15 Venice Venice Vaporetto
Bologna Bologna Train
Parma Parma B&B
Day 16 Parma Parma Bike
Turin Turin B&B Train
Day 17 Turin Turin Train
Manarola Cinque Terre B&B
Day 18 Manarola Cinque Terre B&B Foot
Day 19 Manarola Cinque Terre Train
Pisa Pisa
Rome Rome Host
Day 20 Rome Rome Host Tram
Day 21 Rome Rome Plane
Athens (Transit)
Santorini Oia Hotel
Day 22 Santorini Oia Hotel
Day 23 Santorini Fira Hotel
Day 24 Santorini Oia
Athens (Transit) Then go home

The transport column with green color is covered by Eurorail pass. We put the most explored cities on the beginning and ending of the trip; which are London, Paris and Santorini, so that we can save up money by just buying the 15 days Eurorail pass and will start to use on Day 6 with train from Paris to Amsterdam and end it once we reach Rome. From Rome, we don’t need Eurorail pass anymore. The only train trip that we’re gonna buy separately is the one from London to Paris.

My blogger friends, both Colson and Candela, and my friend Angel recommended me to go to Prague. I really want to! Bandi was insisting like crazy to stop by Prague for one day, but then it’s almost impossible because:

  1. The only possible way to put Prague on our itinerary is between Vienna and Munich but it turns out that the fastest way to travel between Munich and Prague is 6 hours BY BUS. I hate bus trip.
  2. Despite the beautiful city and romantic walk, I don’t really have “thing” to see in Prague. I know I need to put the leisure city on my Europe trip beside the “hectic must see museums and places”-kind of city like Paris and Rome, and I already have Santorini and Cinque Terre for that.
  3. The only way to skip the Munich-Prague bus line is to change the route and eliminate Switzerland. =( I want to visit Switzerland so badly.
  4. Czech Rep has non-Euro currency. I know it’s not an excuse because UK and Swiss are also non-Euro, but this fact discourages me a little.

Guys, I really want to go to Prague, I really do. Do you have any idea how to do that with my already-busy itinerary? Comments and inputs are very welcomed.

 About the “Sleeping”

It’s very fortunate that Bandi and I met a fellow traveler in Hanoi who would like to host us in London. He’s a very nice guy and we can’t wait to meet him again! For other cities, I avoid hostels because not only it will be more expensive to pay for two persons, I also can’t stand snoring sound. For touristy cities like Amsterdam and Rome, we could find hosts from airbnb, this website is so great for travelers and would freshen up your eyes with pretty pictures. We also found our Paris apartment here. For less touristy places, we’ll try to find a cheap nice B&B through people’s recommendation from tripadvisor or lonely planet forum.

Why do we rent an apartment in Paris? Because the only way to experience life in Parisian way is to stay in the Parisian studio apartment! Yaiy!

Things I’m excited the most

  1. Ennio Tardini. It’s my childhood dream to finally step my foot on Ennio Tardini in Parma. It’s very personal and meaningful to make that dream comes true. =)
  2. Santorini. Visiting Greece is actually the blacksheep of the itinerary. If only I didn’t fall in love with Santorini, I would probably explore west Europe more. I was thinking to go to Barcelona and Provence (and of course Prague) if Greece wasn’t in my itinerary.

    Photo taken from google image

  3. Cinque Terre. Another place I fell in love with just by seeing the pictures.

    The photo is a property of http://images.nationalgeographic.com

  4. Watching Serie-A LIVE. I have never watched football game live before and this is so exciting! Once the 2013/2014 schedule out, we’re gonna buy the tickets online.
  5. Having an overnight train ride. This is weird but I’m really looking forward to this simply because I LOVE TRAINS! I have done an overnight train ride before from Bandung to Yogyakarta and it was awful! (Of course duh! Because I bought the cheapest ticket with no aircon and uncomfortable seat.) Even though it was awful, I still love it. The second overnight train was from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, and again it was awful because it was so damn freezing cold and I didn’t bring any jacket. So hopefully an overnight train in Europe is gonna be a blast!
  6. Paris. Ah, come on! Everyone knows I’m obsessed with Paris!Obsessed with Paris
  7. NeuschwansteinCastle. We didn’t know this awesome castle existed until Bandi saw it online and he said let’s go to this castle. We never pronounce it correctly even until now, so this is how we put it on our convo, “Eh, nanti dari Fussen ke Neusch-something itu naek apa ya?” or “Masuk ke Neusch-something bayar 12 Euro, masukin ke budget!” and so on. We just call it Neusch-something castle. I also never type it correctly unless I copy-paste it. We were about to just call the city where the castle is built, but the city is called Hohenschwangau, so we would also call it Hohen-something city. So yeah, we gave up with German names.

    Photo taken from google image

 The budget

I love planning to the details, so I count every single possible expense in my Europe Trip and it all comes to this:

Budget
Name Amount (SGD) Remarks
Air tickets (SIN-europe-SIN) $ 1,372.00  BOUGHT
Air tickets (Rome-Athens) $ 116.00  73Euro (if buy far ahead)
Air tickets (Santorini-Athens) $ 297.00  Return, 186Euro
Eurorail Pass 15 days $ 762.00  From raileurope.com.sg
Fare London – Brus $ 120.00  Book far before – best second class
Eat&Drinks $ 1,560.00  Calculated roughly S$65/day or 40EUR (TOTAL 24 days)
Hotels/Hostels $ 916.00  Calculated roughly from Sleeping Budget (PER PAX)
Hotel Tax and service $ 170.00  roughly
City Spending $ 1,247.12  Calculated from City Spending Budget
Visa $ 266.00  UK and Schengen (60Euros + 160sgd)
Travel insurance $ 130.00  NTUC income 25-27 days
Shop/Souvernir $ 200.00  NOT URGENT
MISC $ 300.00  JUST IN CASE budget
Total $ 7,456.12 Per person (Incld. Tix SIN-EUROPE)

This budget is quite high for a backpacking Europe Trip, especially I only stay in B&B and host’s house. That’s because I plan so much money for the city spending which is this:

City Things Price Remarks
London + Oyster Card £30.00
Tower of London £20.00 46 Pass / 56 pass+travel card
Westminster Abbey £16.00
Bath Tour £55.00
Treat £50.00
Brugg + Brux Boat Tour € 7.60
Trams € 4.50
Amsterdam Rijksmuseum € 14.00
Van Gogh Museum € 14.00 Bandi doesn’t need to come along lah
Anne Frank House € 9.50
Red District Tour € 12.50 Randy
Bike rent € 8.50 24hour
Damrak Sex Museum € 3.00
Luxembourg Bus/ Tram € 3.00 1.50/one way
Paris + Paris Museum Pass (2days) € 39.00
Metro € 15.20 A lot of options, please calculate
Paris – Versailles € 2.70 one way
Luzern + Lucerne Tour € 100.00 Mount titlis viator
Vienna Schoebrunn castle € 13.50 Grand Tour 40rooms/50mins
Transport 24 tickets € 6.70 24hour
Mozart Orchestra! € 39.00 Classical Concert
Munich + Bus ride and horse ride € 6.00
Neuschwenstein castle € 12.00
Venice Gondola € 50.00
Vaporetto pass € 16.00 12 hours
Murano +Burano admission € 10.00 not compulsory
Parma + Bike rent € 8.00
Turin + Juve tix € 100.00 If it’s not a big game
bus/subway € 6.00 one time ticket 4 ways
Cinque Terre Hiking Fee Free?
Bottle € 1.00
Rome Colosseum+Forum+Palatine Hill € 12.00 Combined tix valid for 2 days
Vatican + Sistine Chapel € 15.00
Train around city € 13.00 2 days
Train to ariport € 8.00 very far leee
Santorini Bus € 6.00 roughly
Taxi € 10.00

And the worst part is, the city spending budget might still expand! X( But again, if we couldn’t hit that budget, or we must spare the money for other things, we would just eliminate Mount Titlis, the gondola ride, mozart orchestra, Bandi’s skipping museums (because I won’t) and eat more in picnic way. But any way we’re gonna do on our European Journey will be the fun way, because it’s a dream come true.

So, that’s all about our European Adventure that’s gonna happen in about 7 more months. OH MY GOD IN SEVEN MONTHS I’LL BE IN FREAKING EUROPE. Ok, be cool May, be cool. It’s gonna be the longest and the cheapest 7 months in my life. Haha. Come to think of it, I’m planning this trip as if I plan my wedding, or maybe even more serious. Funny, huh?! Maybe it’s because when little girl imagining herself in a white dress, I was imagining myself carrying backpack riding a Vespa in Rome. =) I will plan to the details. This is gonna be awesome!!!

Anyway, advices for cheaper things are so welcomed!!!

Cheers, May above the clouds.

10 Reason why I love Boracay

I just came back from the Phillipines, Boracay Island to be exact. And I LOOOOVE IT!

I wouldn’t waste time by talking why did I visit Boracay at the first place, how much money I spent, and all the itinerary because that would be boring. I will just pin-point why Boracay is soooo AWESOME!

TEN Reasons Why I love Boracay (and you will too)

Bandi loves Boracay over his head!!!

1. FOOD FOOD FOOD

Yeah you guess. For Bandi and me, food takes a very important role of whether we would love that place and would come back again. (That’s why we love Thailand so much!) Filipino food is so good! Mostly pork meat and BBQ. I only eat one dish of vegetable during my 5 days stay in the Phillipines and it’s not good at all. So the whole 5 days I was being a total carnivore. They also BBQ-ing Banana with caramel and it was so damn good too!

Aside the local food, the international food in Boracay island were also good. They have every kind of cuisine start from Thai, Indian, Western, Greek, Turkish, until Indonesian food. They even have their own Starbucks on that tiny island!!

I couldn’t try all the Restaurant (duh! of course) even though I ate like 5 times a day (and yes, I probably gained about 2 kilos back from the Phillipines.) But most of the food I ate was good! I loved the Blueberry Cheesecake and Rhumball from Lemon Cafe (located at D’mall) and the Pizza from ARIA, which was an authentic Italian Pizza with so much mozzarella (I even drool now typing this).

;

I hunt for local food more since it’s much cheaper and guaranteed good. Try the Pork Charap which is a deed fried pork belly! Gee, can you imagine how many fats on that dish? BUT IT WAS GOOD! The other food is all BBQ, started from Pork BBQ, Chicken BBQ, Beef BBQ, Fish BBQ, Banana BBQ, hey they basically BBQ everything. If they can BBQ shoe, they would probably do it too.

2. Cheap Booze and Cigarettes

This reason is specially for Bandi who came out from the mini-mart and told me, “GEE MAY, YOU HAVE TO LET ME SMOKE HERE! It’s freaking 40 pesos only!!!” (which means like S$1.20 while in Singapore that one pack of Marlboro costs $13) So yeah, after got fed up of him pleading “Come on, it’s only $1 and I swear I’ll brush my teeth before kissing you, and it’s beach, it would be nice smoking while staring at the beach” and blah blah blah, I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
And for me, I was so happy when I bought one bottle of rhum for only 240 pesos!!! (S$7) So yeah, I used full of my duty free allowances. Will be having Rhum Coke party on New Year’s eve! YAY!

3. Jonah’s Fruit Shake

This is not like any other fruit shake you ever tasted and this is not an advertisement. Jonah’s fruit shake is FREAKING AWESOME. I read someone’s review about this and he was exaggerating about the fruit shake that he can’t stop visiting Jonah’s. But once I tried it, I COULDN’T STOP EITHER! I kept coming back for more. OMG the shakes were so creamy and just the right amount of sweetness and just PERFECT.

First time, I drank in and gee, the mug was just so big! Look at Bandi’s face, drinking all the shake. He was KO’d. LOL

The second time, I ordered to go and turned out to be smaller portion, but hey, it wasn’t enough! The best flavor for me was Choco Banana Peanut. I HAVE TO HAVE THAT RECIPE OR I WON’T EVER DIE PEACEFULLY.

4. The shallow long beach

The white beach, the longest beach in Boracay has a very soft sands like baby’s powder and when you walk to the ocean for even 10 meters away from the beach, it’s still shallow, the water would be only until your waistline.

It is perfect for just playing with ocean wave and just enjoy the wind breeze. Floating on your back in the shallow ocean and just be alive. You’ll realize that all the problems in the office don’t mean anything in this big universe, and all the money in the banks won’t give you a happy feeling like what you have in the moment. You’ll realize what’s important in life.

5. Ariel’s Point

Everyone who said Boracay was awesome must have gone to this place!!! Because this place was the reason why I wanted to go there in the first place. Please visit Ariel’s Point Website to know more what it’s all about.

I jumped off a five meters cliff. And I survived. Please look at this video.

Let me explain to you why it is so hard for me to “just” jump off the cliff. BECAUSE I AM AFRAID OF HEIGHT. And I am afraid of drowning. I have this phobia of dying in the ocean or water in general. That is why I never do scuba diving. I want to so bad, but I haven’t got the guts.

I remember when I bungee-jumped with Bandi in Bali, I was so scared like hell I actually cried when we were about to jump, but no matter how afraid I was, I wasn’t the one who made the call to jump or not to jump. Bandi was the one who made the call and pushed our body to finally jumped. Yeah it was so damn scary.

Back in Boracay, this cliff diving was soooo scary to me because when I stood on that plank, I didn’t think I would actually jump. That video was not the first video taken because I cancelled to jump so many times. People said, “don’t think, just jump!” And yes, I finally JUST JUMPED and the feeling OH MY GOOD. in the video it looked like only 2 or 3 secs in the air, but it felt like forever!!! Nothing is attached to me! It was just me and the air!

And then SPLASH!!! BLUP BLUP!

I was inside the water and I was relieved. It felt so awesome when I was finally inside the water. But do you know what was the first think on my mind? “Damn! my bum hurts!”

After seafood buffet lunch and unlimited BBQ banana, we were off back to Boracay. Anyway I met one lady who had been traveling since October last year!!! GEE! What an exciting life she has. =) It’s always fun to listen people’s life story.

So, Ariel’s Point, thank you for giving me a new experience, something I thought I will never do. And also, for giving me a new feeling in my life.

Bandi did ask me if he brought me to Santorini, would I jump off the cliff again? And I said, HELL YEAH OF COURSE! I would say YES to everything in Santorini!

On the Ariel’s Point Boat, going back to Boracay

When we went back to Boracay Island, everyone played “spin the bottle” and drank some rhum and there were two fun girls who did striptease on the boat pole. It was so fun!

;

6. The singing Filipinos

Boracay is very different from other touristy beaches when all the local seller would approach you and do hard-sell. I still have people offer me stuffs and para-sailing (which only cost 50 pesos!! or S$1.50) but once I said No Thanks, they will nicely leave you alone.

All the services from restaurant or even just street vendors are good. This review is probably bias since I live in Singapore, where the services suck big times. I don’t get used to being served well.

During my trip in the Phillipines, all my taxi driver or my shuttle bus drivers always turn on the radio and the songs are always good! They have excellent taste in music! All the drivers were also singing along with the radio. It’s like riding with free entertainment. Bandi said, “They even have good voice.”

Filipinos are friendly and festive! Most people will hum while serving your food, or counting your money in the cashier. One girl who brought us to Ariel’s point even sang Lady Gaga’s song out loud.

I love the fact that they are enjoying their lives. It’s very refreshing for me because if you do that in Singapore, people would think you’re crazy.

On the last day in Manila, I sang along with the Taxi drivers, singing “Call me maybe”. I wish I could do that in Singapore. :(

But Phillipines has the friendliest immigration officer ever! (with the rudest I ever encountered is Vietnam immigration. Arrgh!) The officer who stamped my passport said to me “Selamat Jalan!” means Bon Voyage in Bahasa Indonesia. While Bandi’s officer joked with him and asked how Boracay was, and Bandi answered very loudly, “AWESOME!”

7. Chicharon

This is a Filipino snack that’s made from Pig Fats and skin! Yeah, you heard it right, it’s FATS. And it is deep fried fats! Can you imagine how fattening it is? But it is so damn delicious! Chicharom is being eaten with apple vinegar as the dipping sauce.

I bought the vegetarian Chicharon from Oishii brand, and it’s as delicious as the real ones, and it’s more animal friendly and less sinful. Here’s a pic:

If you ever go to Phillipines, please try this! I bought a lot of packs of Chicharom and brought back to Singapore now the stock is almost running out, so please let me know if anyone’s going to Phillipines!

8. Spa

Not everyone loves spa. I am the one who loves it, and I must say, massage from Bella Isa Spa is the best I’ve ever got in my life! I only paid for 1000pesos (around S$30) and it is considered very expensive in Boracay! Massage by the beach is probably about half price and I bet just as good as other massage.

9. Puppies and Doggies are everywhere

This reason is very personal, I know. Bali also has a lot of dogs, but in Boracay the dogs are allowed to actually play at the beach and jump into the water. It was so much fun to see them having fun.

I met this cute little puppy just outside the Jonah’s Fruit Shake (for which times I forgot) and this cutie couldn’t stop licking my face, he was soooo cute!!! I couldn’t let him go either. =3

I also met a golden retriever who belonged to the hostel where I’ve stayed. He was asleep when I shook his body and kept sleeping still. Or he was just acting cool perhaps?

10. The breathtaking sunset

I stopped typing for a while. Because I don’t know how to explain the feeling. It was just so gorgeous, pretty and soothing.

I thought about mastercard advertisement when typing this now.

“Jumping off the cliff in Boracay, 1500 pesos. Buying the greatest fruitshake ever, 110pesos. Watching sunset with your loved ones: priceless.”

Now the mastercard advertisement finally makes sense. =)

***

There are other things that would probably make you love Boracay more such as the famous kite-boarding, diving sites and all cheap water sports that I didn’t do simply because I’m not a daredevil and all my guts have been drained at Ariel’s point. I hope people will have more fun in Boracay!

I understand the one’s mood during holiday and the outcome of the holiday based on the hotel that they stay, the food that they eat, the company who’s with them, and one’s physical fitness and personal mood. I got people telling me they don’t like Bali or Phuket while for me, I love them. And if your preferences are almost the same with mine, then I bet you’ll love Boracay too.

So, How to get there?

  1. Take flight to Manila (so many budget flight going there).
  2. From Manila take another flight to Caticlan (buy from Airphill Express, Zest Air or Cebu Pacific are the cheapest)
  3. From Caticlen Airport take a tricycles to Caticlan Jetty. Actually very near, like only 5 minutes. about 25 pesos.
  4. From Jetty take boat to Boracay! Yay! You arrive! The boat departs every minute, so more like bus for them. The going in to Boracay cost 125 pesos while going out from boracay cost 75 pesos.

It is easy to go there! No excuse! Happy adventuring!

Cheers,

May.

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