It’s more fun with a jeepney

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Jeepney in Banawa area, Cebu

Jeepney in Banawa area, Cebu

A taxi? Boring. A metro? Cold, full of inanimated people… Even worse. Now as they say: “it’s more fun in the Philippines”, this country is actually packed with something who is not a bus, neither a taxi, and absolutely not a metro: jeepneys.

Jeepneys are a kind of 2 benches bus with open back, usually 60 years-old looking, with a capacity of approximately 20 persons, who are everywhere at anytime. They are ridiculously cheap (8 peso/0.2$ for a ride) and extremely funky. It’s quite easy to get around with those since their path is written in huge characters on their windows.

And still, if you’re in the middle of the city and don’t know how to get to your destination, ask the locals! Filipino people got the true reputation to be very friendly and got a perfect English.

How to take one of those? Easy peasy. Wave your hand when you see one, jump in, grab a seat and give the money to the driver. Want to stop? Just shout “lugar lang” or beat the metal bar on top of your head with a coin 2 times.
It’s safe, and since there’s not a lot of foreigners who travel with those you might be the center of interests and could learn a lot of details, speaking with your journey neighbors, about the true Filipino culture.

And if you were wondering, Philippines is really a cheap destination for travelers. Give a try to this unique Asian country under South American influences!

Ayo ayo!

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Volunteering on Bantayan island

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Picture by Joseph A Ferris III

Picture by Joseph A Ferris III

Hi there, people!

I just came back from twelve days in the Philippines, to volunteer on the beautiful island of Bantayan by rebuilding a high school there.
This has been one of the most interesting, fun, sociable and touching experiences that I’ve done in my life!

I’ve been enrolled with Young Pioneer Tours, a China-based tour company who mainly arranges trips to North Korea. Some of the YPT tour guides launched this project, as individuals and not in the name of the company, to find people able to help rebuilding schools there. We’re not speaking about an NGO or a big organization here.

In a few weeks only, the Young Pioneer Disaster Relief team is totally functional, running on the ground, with approximately 50 volunteers coming to help during a 2 months period, and 11’000 USD out of a 30K goal raised to cover the costs of tools, materials, and other stuff used to achieve our goal to rebuild as many schools as possible.
To express how fast and organized this team currently is, the YPDR team received the full responsability of an island close to Bantayan, destroyed at 95% after the super typhoon Yolanda, on the fifth day of our presence on the island.

Local people though, as islanders, know how to keep the smile whatever happened. They are helping each other, and even in a home without a roof, they continue to enjoy life as if nothing happened. The only time I saw the trauma caused by the typhoon was when it suddenly started to rain one day – everybody was running in the streets to find the nearest home who can protect them, thinking that another typhoon might come at any time from now.

Our goal is not only to put new roofs on the destroyed ones, but to create sustainable buildings who can resists to other typhoons. Solutions are on the way, with “boxes” kind of house and green energy.

The main point of embarkation, Santa Fe, is obviously not as impressive as what you could see on the medias. Yes, a lot of buildings are totally destroyed and there is a lot of debris on the road and yes, the whole town except a few bars and houses doesn’t have any electricity; the locals have to go directly at the remains of the electric central building who offers sockets to plug their phones.

The main point is that even with all this events, the island stay mostly safe for travelers and beaches are still amazing. Now is the time where the Bantayan people need us to go there and help the economy – even a few days for a few beers would help to put some smile on their budget sheets, as well as offering you a life-changing experience.

As mentioned above, the Young Pioneer Disaster Relief still need funds in order to continue to rebuild the schools and help these kids who currently spend their whole days doing practically nothing over there.

Please help us!

All the infos on our IndieGoGo page.

Saving money and time at the airport

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Two tips to travel the cheapy way while booking a flight and at the airport.

Do you really need a check-in luggage?
If you hesitated more than a second for this question, then read the following.

Most, not to say all airlines offer a free carry-on bag for every flight. Some got limitations, like weight and size. There is two ways to act better, only using this free space and avoiding paying 30-50$ in a checked-in one.

The first one, obviously, is to travel lighter! Do you really need to take that teddy bear your grandma offered you when you were a baby? Think twice about your packing list. If you’re not sure that you will use an item – drop it and keep it at home. You’ll feel more free and your sweating back will be grateful to you.

Secondly, a lot of people buy everything they need before leaving, I’m talking mostly about toiletries such as sun cream, sunglasses, toothpaste, etc. If your destination is not Iceland, chances are that you can easily find some of those for the same price or cheaper than in your hometown, especially if you’re traveling to Asia, Africa or South America. If you can manage to live without your toothbrush for a day of travel or two, then your wallet will say thank you!

Thirdly, the “funky” way to avoid paying taxes and my personal favourite: travel with a jacket, and put the maximum in your pockets. Even if you have to put your toothbrush, camera, phone charger in it, it’s a way to save money. Wear two pants and 3 shirts at the same time, and go like this only until the check-in counters – then, stuff your bag again.

Traveling with only a carry-on luggage not only avoid some fees, but also time! This nice feeling when you land at the airport and you can directly go out without waiting 30mn for your luggage!

Keep hydrated
Your hear it a lot. The air of the cabin in the plane is pressurized and extremely dry, so you should drink. But when you’re flying low-cost, you might have to pay for your in-flight drink, and it’s not the cheapest ones!

It’s always useful to pass the security check-in at the airport with an empty plastic bottle. If it’s not full, it’s allowed. Yup, even for a 2 liters one.
And the most amazing thing with worldwide airports renovation is that there’s now a free drinking water machine, or tap water if it’s drinkable, quite everywhere. Take a look for it and fill your bottle after the security – it might not be the freshest and tastiest water, but it works – and you’re allowed to bring it with you on the plane!