Travel to the Philippines – 6 reasons why you should not miss!

A Travel to the Philippines is not so welcome with the Indians. The tougher visa regulations could be the prime reason. I had a tough time securing a tourist visa from India. Read How to get Philippines Tourist Visa for Indians

Philippines is an amazing country with nature at it’s best. The food, culture, language, welcoming people and the adventure it has in store, is not to be missed. Here are five compelling reasons for you not to miss a travel to the philippines…

#1. Feel at Home: You could charm your way through the whole of the Philippines with English. The Filipinos have a wonderful tongue for English.It was in the Philippines that i fell in love with Elvis Presley and Bruno Mars. The language barrier is at minimum.

Travel to the Philippines - Cocktail

#2. Pristine Beaches: Home to 7,107 islands, the country is replete with beautiful white sandy pristine beaches. The water is greenish blue with an emerald tinge, yet, transparent to reveal the beautiful sea bed and the life under water. A travel to the Philippines will make you fall in love with the beaches!

Travel to the Philippines - A beach view

#3. Love Music? “Live” Music: It’s a bliss to listen to the Filipinos sing! They are adept with their guitar and the Karaoke is a distinguishing feature in Philippines!

Travel to the Philippines - Movie by the beach @ Makulay Lodging, El Nido
Movie by the beach @ Makulay Lodging, El Nido

#4. Sea-Food: You could eat all that swims under water ! Kidding! But most, yes! They are fresh and the Filipino cuisine is certainly different from its Asian peers.

Travel to the Philippines - Sea Food

#5. Backpacking Destination: Philippines is open to solo backpackers and group travelers – the wanderlust who love exploring countries, culture, food, language and everything it has to offer.You could backpack through the length and breadth of the country on a budget. Watch out for the Promo Fares from Airasia, Cebu Pacific, Philippines Airlines and other domestic airlines. Airasia rolls out the crazy “1 PESO” sale, which should not be missed. Hostels and Backpacker accommodations are in abundance, throughout the country.

Travel to the Philippines - El Nido Beach View
El Nido Beach View

#6. The whole package: Active volcano, Whale shark diving, coral reefs, hanging coffins, “Banaue” terrace rice fields, chocolate hills, the rumored practice of witchcraft, casinos, nightlife, underground river, firefly watching, surfing, diving, amazing honey moon destinations and what not?! Philippines has lived up to the expectations of solo travelers, group travelers, honeymooners, backpackers, business men, high rollers, beauty pageants, and every type of traveler and vacationer you could think of.

It’s more fun in the Philippines. Go Explore!

 

El Nido Beach,Palawan Islands – What’s the deal?

El Nido Beach town should be on your must-visit list in the Philippines. The stunning beach is located in Palawan Islands, Philippines.

Do you love – lazying on a hammock, watching the surfers on blue-green waves, to be occasionally disturbed by the beautiful waitress in sunglasses and the slow rhythmic humming of the waves splashing against the rocks ? well, you should head to El Nido Beach, the best beach in the world! If you are a fellow Indian looking for Visa information to head to the Philippines, checkout here!

El Nido, the best beach
El Nido, The best beach in the Philippines

El Nido Beach - Captain, El Gordon adventures

El Nido beach town has the best in store for every traveler. The beach hammocks with music and perfectly blended cocktails for the lazy; Sea kayaking, Surfing, Snorkeling, and Diving for the adrenaline junkies; every seafood you could imagine on a barbecue; romantic candle light dinner by the beach; movies on the comfy bean bags by the beach and live music on the beach. It’s…a…beach town!

El Nido Beach - Dine By the beach

The coastal town of El Nido is blessed with breathtaking marine and aquatic adventures you could be a part of. The views are magnificent and stunning. There are royal limestone formations, cliffs that are made up of marble, lagoons that are completely empty along with caves of prehistoric times and gorgeous waterfalls. The nearby waters here have amazing variety of marine life with many species of corals, manta rays, sea cows as well as endangered turtles which makes it a delight for scuba divers.

El Nido Beacch - Movie by the beach @ Makulay Lodging

Calamari – The lemon alternative is so good to taste. The cocktails mixed with calamari , inherits a peculiar taste, which only a few could hate.

El Nido Beach - Tomato Pasta with Fresh Cut Mangoes @ Turtle Beach

Mangoes –  Fresh, Juicy and Tasty. Mangoes are one of the best in the Philippines. Well, nothing could beat the beach factor!

Useful Info:

El Nido Beach Town:

#1. How to reach:

El Nido is located at the far end of Palawan Island. You would need to fly down to the main airport in Palawan Island, Puerto Princessa.

Fly to Puerto Princessa (PPS).

From PPS, take a Shared van to El Nido beach town, which cost around 600 Pesos. Takes around 6 Hours. There are lots of companies operating along this route. You could find agents right outside the arrival terminal.

From PPS, you can also board Aircon / Normal buses such as Roro, Cherry which would cost you around 370-400 pesos, depending on the type. Takes around 8-9 hours. You would have to take a trike to the nearest bus terminal which is around 4 KMs from the airport.

Jeepney – If you are an adventurer who fights shark for a living and you have all the time in the world, jeepney is the mode of the transport for you. There is no fixed schedule or expected time of travelling to reach the destination.Its the cheapest mode of transport, though.

Alternative: You could fly to Lio Airport from Manila, located at just 7 KM from the mid-town El Nido. However, its costlier. Air-swift carrier caters to Manila – El Nido route.

#2. Bike rental

600 pesos a day (You have to surrender your passport as deposit)

#3. Beach

Nacpan beach, Turtle beach

#4. El Nido artcafe

A supermarket on the ground floor, restaurant on the first floor and a beautiful restaurant on the beach with a wonderful view

El Nido Beach - El Nido Art Cafe Menu

#5. Island Hopping

There are a lot of companies offering the island hopping tours. The general fare is 1200 pesos for almost all the tours. you can strike a bargain, if you are in a group.

The tour duration is from 9 AM – 4 PM. Some companies start even earlier. you would have to pay an environmental fee of 200 pesos, valid for 10 days. Take at least 2 tours to experience the best of El Nido beach town. The lagoons, beaches and the crystal clear water are amazing for snorkelling and kayaking.

Tour A 

Small Lagoon      Big Lagoon      Shimizu Island     Secret Lagoon    7 Commando Beach

Tour B 

Entalula Island    Pinagbuyutan Island     Snake Island    Cudugnon Cave   Cathedral Cave

Tour C

Helicopter Island     Hidden Beach     Secret Beach      Matinloc Shrine     Cadlao Lagoon

Tour D

Bukal Island       Ipil Beach      Nat-Nat Beach       Cadlao Lagoon          Paradise Beach

El Nido in Pictures!

How to earn Air Miles in India? A Concise Guide.

Air Miles and How to Earn Air Miles – I have drafted a concise guide to earn air miles in india. Air Miles are the key to flying for free. It’s easy and hassle free to earn air miles with the right knowledge.

Air miles: Frequent Flyer programs offered by the airlines, aims to reward a customer for being a loyal frequent flyer. The reward is by means of “air miles“. Air miles, like the credit card reward points, are awarded post the travel. Each airline has its own policy to calculate and reward air miles.
Airline Loyalty programs aims to build brand loyalty, a win-win business strategy.However, the mushrooming of low cost airlines and the craze for the cheapest airfare have downplayed the flyer programs in India. There are only a handful of active airlines which offer such programs.

  • Air India                                       –  Flying Returns
  • Jet Airways                                   –  Jetprivilege
  • AirAsia India (budget airline)   – BIG Loyalty Programme
  • Singapore Airlines                       – Kris Flyer
  • Vistara                                            – Vistara Club

How to earn air miles:

How to earn Airmiles-infographic

Well, you should understand that air miles are not giveaways, meaning they are not free. A percentage of the money you spend could earn you air miles. It is essential that you Signup for frequent flyer programs with individual airlines to benefit from your spending.

Buy, Gift or Transfer your air miles!

Air-tickets: Log in to your frequent flyer program account to book tickets or quote your FF number while booking air tickets. The number of miles you earn per journey depends on the airline and the sector (Economy/Business class) you choose to fly! Sign-in and book through mobile app of the airline (Airlines may offer bonus air miles for app bookings).

This is the direct method to earn air-miles. Booking tickets with partner airlines and select code share flights could earn you miles as well. (CODE SHARE is an agreement between two airlines – where in an airline markets or sells the seats for another airline as its own).

However, if you are not a frequent flyer there are alternate ways to make the best out of your spending!!!

Pool in air miles of your whole Family!

Co-Branded credit cards and debit cards: Jet airways widely promotes its co-branded credit cards and debit cards. You could directly earn miles from your spending on credit and debit cards and the points multiplier is a bit high on co-branded cards. Money withdrawal from ATM do not count as purchase!

Payback Redemption: Payback is a rewarding Shopping loyalty program. Payback points are awarded for purchases against 50 in-store and online partners. Your purchase in Amazon, Flipkart and various other portals could earn you airmiles behind the scenes. Convert your payback points to your preferred airline frequent flyer program! 

It’s possible to buy airmiles, when you fall short of!

Credit Card Redemption: The movie ticket you paid for, the sumptuous buffet you had on the TGIF, the mobile bill you paid for, the vacation you booked for – with your credit card earns you airmiles on the back stage! Each of your purchase converts to credit card points, which could be redeemed to earn airmiles. I have redeemed my credit card points against Jet Previlege and Flying Returns (Airindia). I didn’t have the need to convert to Kris Flyer, yet.

Purchase or transact with airline merchant partners (Airasia and Jetprivilege have a huge list of partners to earn miles from).

TripAdvisor reviews: Writing reviews on the travel forum could potentially earn you airmiles!

Your accrued points has an expiry date. Waste not!

Ryan Bringham (George Clooney),in the movie “Up in the air” earns the elite status for hitting the 10 million miles mark! Well, it was inspiring. However, hitting such a number may not earn you a Ryan Bringham treatment, but would certainly get you decent respect and a good service from the airline. I had rather say, its flimsy and too difficult to accrue for a normal traveller (as in you and me), if you were to pay for the tickets out of your pocket!

Accrued points or airmiles are transferable. Gift your airmiles for your loved ones!

The concept of air miles and flying for free is amazing. However, it comes with a heavy price. The more you spend, the more the miles you accrue and your free ticket!

Airmiles are a reward for your spending. Learn to fly for free!

How to fly for free in India – A quick reference

We Indians crave for free talk time, free movie ticket, freebies, free rewards and so on… Have you ever pondered over the possibility to fly for free?

Fly For Free

Your dream destination on free tickets, fancy that? Imagine a trip you don’t pay for your air ticket! “Award tickets” are a reality! I assure you that,it isn’t a ponzi scheme. I have “flown for free” couple of times. Well, you could too…

Airmiles Signup - How to fly for Free in India

Signup for Frequent Flyer program: Signup for the frequent flyer program with the individual airline. Airasia, Jetairways, Airindia and Vistara are the only four Indian airlines offering Frequent Flyer Program in India. You could as well signup for Etihad or Singapore airlines to accrue air miles. Ethihad, the Jet Airways partner, utilizes JP Miles Program (Frequent Flyer Program offered by Jet Airways) and Singapore airlines offers Kris Flyer Program. The frequent flyer number is unique for your profile and keeps track of your air travel information and the points accrued for each journey. It is important to quote your FF number while booking an air ticket with the airline to earn air-miles. Frequent Flyer registration is simple and hassle free! Few of the quoted airlines do offer bonus air miles during sign-up.

PS: Vistara, a new airline  (TATA venure), is currently operating only in three routes.

Air-Miles – the key to fly for free

Earn Air Miles: Air Miles are the points accrued against each air travel. You accrue points as and when you fly with the respective airline offering frequent flyer program. The number of air miles awarded for each journey depends on the chosen airline, the travel sector (such as Economy / Business), the distance etc..,

Well, flying isn’t the only way to earn air-miles. Read How to earn air miles, a concise guide to earning air miles in the Indian aviation sector.

Travel for Free:

Yes! Travel for Free using your air miles! Earn sufficient air miles to fly for free. You could check the air miles required for free redemption in the airline website by logging in to the respective Frequent Flyer program with your planned dates and sector. Air miles redemption policy is unique to each airline. Also, it would be prudent to redeem free tickets against your miles by booking in advance, for ,the airlines have select seats against air miles redemption.

However, fees such as airport tax are levied on the passenger and would need to be paid for.

Nothing comes for free

Isn’t it fancy to fly for free? Well, honestly you don’t get it for free all together! The air miles are akin to cashback. The more you fly, the more you earn air miles and you fly for free on the accrued air miles.

You have to become/be a frequent flyer or a smart buyer to fly for free! Be a smart buyer and channelize your spending on credit cards and debit cards aimed at converting them to air miles.Well, don’t stretch a leg and an arm to earn air miles, that is, don’t be a lavish spender just to earn air miles!

Quit your job and travel? How to travel without quitting your job

Quit your job and travel:

To Quit your job and travel is a high risk venture, which needs a lot of introspection. Travel is a passion for many, just as most of us. But, few – get to live their passion; fewer – muster up their courage to shift their means of living to passion, and the rest – go to work for a living.

I quit my job to travel” “How i quit my job to travel the world“- the most inspiring and daring statement anyone could have stumbled on in the travel arena. A deeper analysis would prompt at the fact that it’s not easy to quit your day job on account of your pending bills, the commitments back home and the fear of uncertainties. There are many who quit their job and travel but only a few daring travellers do break the spell to achieve their dreams, while the rest go back to their jobs upon failure. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and it isn’t easy to survive.

The Problem?

We go to work for a living (slogging), bogged down by our financial commitments and the need to tend to our loved ones. The monthly bills, recurring EMIs’ on personal loans, home loan, auto loan etc., makes our life a living hell. Often have i prayed in silence for a hefty government bailout. Imagine that! A spell to break-free from our loans and reach ground zero. Well, a lifetime isn’t enough to realize that dream. Given the odds, is it prudent to quit your job and travel?

There are few, who love what they do and live for what they love. Do we?

Finding a solution to commitment free living depends on you. However, it’s possible to travel and realize the dream despite all the pressure and commitments, if you really have the will to.

Quit your job and Travel? Nahh…How to travel without quitting my job?

I did find few ways to travel without quitting my job. I have been to Thailand, Srilanka, Nepal and Philippines in the last two years. I aspire to travel more, well, without quitting my job for now and i dream to become a full-time traveller – a nomad.

Travel Showstoppers  – Leave & Affordability

how-to-travel-without-quitting-job

Absence , rather – unplanned absence, is the upsetting factor which creates the jittering effect in bosses. Uncertainties disrupts the routine people are so used to. A planned leave, informed well in advance could avoid these effects. I have managed to (so far) inform my planned leaves in advance (at least 3 months ahead) and plan my work schedule in line with my vacation. The trick should work in most of the work places, given the bargaining skill you have. Get your leaves approved!

Affordability: Affordability has to be factored in above all the other problems. Find out how to travel for free, stay for free or at least travel and stay cheaper! I have managed to afford the travel on promo fares and discounted accommodations.

Travel Goal: Its important to choose an affordable destination, which requires an in-depth research on destinations. Plan your trips at least 6 months in advance, because you can save money on promo-tickets and accommodation.

Travel Financial Planning: This is the most important part of the journey. A disciplined saving towards the goal is the only key to achieve – avoid unnecessary expenses, go for a recurring deposit, skip the monthly party or whatever it takes to save that extra money to travel. Its also important to identify the travel expenses to the best possible detail. Create a backup fund, in case you were to go overboard the expected expenses.

Promo-Tickets: Airline Promo Fares tend to be the cheapest. However, in most cases the booking has to be done 6 months to 1 year in advance and the seats are limited. Watch out for the promo-sales. I have seen Airasia offering 1 peso sale!! Well, one might need to pay the airport tax. However, it’s the cheapest. Why do you need to pay more, when you can fly promo? If you are a frequent flyer member, check if your airmiles could fly you for free.

Discounted accommodations: Accommodations, just as the air-tickets, tend to be cheaper when booked well in advance. I use Agoda.com for south-east asia bookings. I have seen the price of the booking to be as high as 60% more (on the day of check-in) than the price i paid by prebooking.

 Get Inspired & Wait for the day! Well, inspiration is what draws you to an unknown place. Indulge in a virtual treat by browsing through the places you want to travel. Waiting for the D-day has always been a pleasure! Its important not to overdo the reading and to draw a balance on expectations over reality.

Travel – The only motivation driving me to work every day.

Should you quit your job and travel? It’s a question you really need to work on weighing your options. You could alternatively consider shifting your career to travel related jobs, which offer traveling opportunities. You could analyze your career options to become a digital nomad. However, remember that no job is easier and it certainly isn’t a bed of roses. Success stories are pleasant and inspiring to read through. However, they don’t paint the picture with all the pain and fear for you to look at.