What’s in Your Luggage?

Are you a budget traveler? A backpacker? Traveling with luxury? What are the things you always keep inside your backpack or luggage?

As a budget traveler, I always prefer to travel lite. So I make sure I bring the best and most important stuff I can use throughout my trip. Packing your stuff is quite a job, really. You pack all the things you need and make sure you don’t forget anything. That is why making a travel checklist is very essential. And before generating your checklist, you have to be acquainted with your planned destination. What am I saying? Packing your stuff when you are traveling in a humid country is different from packing when traveling to a cold country. Check the current weather of your destination so you know what to bring or not to bring during your trip. Also, this could help you avoid getting exceeded on your allowed baggage load returning home. Sure you’ll get to have lots of those souvenirs from your trip back home. In this post, I’m sharing my own list.

  1. Travel Documents – This include your passport, air ticket or e-ticket, boarding pass, invitation letter, etc. These are your A-tickets to all of your trips especially when you’re going out of your mother country. Double check your destination because some countries require VISA when entering their land. Don’t forget to bring your Personal ID’s. If I may suggest put all your travel documents in one envelope or pocket organizer so you can keep all these in one place and for your own convenience.
  2. Reservations, Itineraries & Contact Infos – Before you leave for your trip, it is vital to write down and bring along with you important contact information of services you may need. To maximize your travel, have your itinerary on-hand, always.
  3. Money – Of course you will need to eat during your trips. And don’t forget to visit the local markets to buy some goodies to take home.
  4. Technology – This includes your phone, cameras, chargers, power banks and other useful tools you may need during your trip.
  5. Lightweight Clothing – As I have mentioned, this depends on the weather/climate of the place you’re visiting. As much as possible, pack basic, lightweight clothes. and if you’re traveling to a place with a cold climate, you may want to bring one or two sweater or jacket. Pack an extra swimsuit just in case you may want to dive into a pool or beach.
  6. Toiletry Bag – What’s in it? The basics. Toothbrush, deodorant, sunscreen, moisturizer, facial wipes, lip balm, personal feminine hygiene products (for females of course), hairbrush/comb, lotion and if you’re particular to your hair products, bring your own shampoo and conditioner. But these are available at your hotel for sure.
  7. Day Bag – This can be used in a variety of ways and help you stay comfortable and prepared. This is where I put my sunnies, purse, cellphone, lip balm, face powder and hanky.
  8. Footwear – I only bring a pair of flip-flops and a pair of comfortable shoes – sneakers or a comfy flat.

Necessities for each traveler may vary, but these are the basics that are always in my luggage. What’s inside your bag?

Sometime in Saigon

I am posting this again. I wrote this in my old blog and since I am moving all my travel stories on this new blog I just created a week ago, I thought of re-posting my Ho Chi Minh City trip with friends last December 2015.

After almost three months of planning a trip with my friends, finally came December before the holiday comes and before we ran out of budget (lol) our Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) trip came at last.
We had a four-day visit to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, a city in Southern Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh is known to be the largest city in Vietnam. The city is undeniably attractive most especially to tourists because of its historical story and tourist spots that marked the battle of the Vietnam War.

On our first day in Ho Chi Minh, we visited the famous Cu Chi Tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War, and were the Viet Cong’s base of operations for the Tết Offensive in 1968. The tunnels were used by Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches and living quarters for numerous North Vietnamese fighters. The tunnel systems were of great importance to the Viet Cong in their resistance to American forces, and helped to counter the growing American military effort. Pretty much info we had from our tourist guide named Tin.

On our second day, we get to get a short visit to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and were able to see briefly the Royal Palace.

Our third day in Ho Chi Minh is our city tour. Oh, we visited the Cathedral of Notre Dame, built during the French revolution. I was mesmerized with its architectural features and can’t help but took a couple of photos. Then we went shopping around the city. Truly they got best and cheap buys in there, and for days we got to experience being a millionaire (lol).

Despite the annoying motorcycle mob in the city, it was a great staycation. We were given the opportunity to learn more about Vietnam and its people. Got to embraced their culture and not to mention their great history- I was fascinated by their story.

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At The Royal Palace
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Trying to fit in the tunnel at Cu Chi Tunnels
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Cathedral of Notre Dame

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Street foods at Ho Chi Minh City
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Thai food

Top 6 Destinations to Visit this Holy Week

Last Wednesday is the start of the Lenten Season. This season is observed by Christian traditions particularly by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran and Methodist to name a few. It begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Sunday. In the Philippines, since the majority of us is Roman Catholics and mostly is Protestants, the Holy Week is very important to each and every Filipino and is well observed. Beginning Maundy Thursday until Black Saturday, business operations mostly are shut down. This means most offices are not in operation to give meaning to its purpose, the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, and repentance of sins, alms giving, atonement and self-denial. In the Philippines, it also means long weekend. There are certain traditional and non-traditional activities and practices most Filipinos do during this season. Some, most especially the Catholic devotees, practice Holy Week rituals. Some practice abstinence during Holy Week, where they restrain themselves from indulging in something, typically alcohol and smoking, while others travel to faraway places to reflect. And for those who choose the latter, here are top six destinations where you can reflect, soul-search and simply relax.

1. Ilocos Norte
They say if you want all sorts of fun and make sure you cover everything the Philippines could offer, start right at the top. Ilocandia is the perfect start to an awesome Holy Week getaway. If you’re looking for an adventure this Lenten Season, Ilocos Norte is a must visit destination. What to do in the northern part of the country? A lot! To name a few, a diverse beach experience in Pagudpud, site-seeing at Bangui Wind Farm, entice with the amazing rock formation at Kapurpurawan in Burgos, climb the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse and a city tour in Ilocos Norte’s biggest city, Laoag. From up north, go down south and indulge to another escapade that the southern part of Ilocos Norte can offer. Go sand-boarding and try an ATV ride at LaPaz Sand Dunes, stopover at Juan Luna Shrine in Badoc, visit the Paoay Church in Paoay, a national treasure of Ilocandia and a designated UNESCO world heritage site, and the list goes on.

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Kapurpurawan Rock Formation – Burgos, Ilocos Norte
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Saint Augustine Church – Paoay, Ilocos Norte

2. Boracay Island
There is no way Boracay would not be included in the list. Boracay could be the most popular destination not just for summer getaways but also to spend Holy Week with family or friends. Enjoy the beauty of the beach and fine white sands. Though Boracay is known for its loud celebration and crowd in every station, you can still enjoy and relax in observance of the Holy Week with lots of great hotels and resorts to check out and enjoy quiet sunrise and sunset at the beach.

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By Mikkel Duvå Lund – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1812861
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By Joannerfabregas – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39784859

3. Camiguin Island
There are too many places to visit in Camiguin Island, and this is one perfect destination for your Holy Week getaway. You may visit the Sunken Cemetery marked with huge cross which is placed below sea level. Aside from this, the island is full of natural attractions that keep visitors coming. The Camiguin Island is rich in hot springs and waterfalls. The White Island, a sandbar is the most popular site the small island of Camiguin has. Its serene view and clear waters makes it one of my favorite places for getaways. It is composed solely of white sands and calm water. And from White Island you can view the Hibuk-Hibul Volcano and Mt. Vulcan in the background. Aside from all the beautiful natural attractions, you can also visit the walkway in Mt. Old Vulcan dotted with 14 life-sized Stations of the Cross. The Panaad Festival is celebrated by tourists and pilgrims during the Holy Week.

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White Island
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Fine white sand at White Island

4. Marinduque
A more enjoyable way to spend your Holy Week is to witness the Moriones Festival, Marinduque’s pride. Here, locals are seen in their costumes of Roman soldiers to depict the story of the Passion of Christ. This practice for the people in Marindugque is an act of penance and as a way of thanksgiving.

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5. Palawan
If relaxing is your main purpose during Holy Week, there is no other way to spend it than in beaches. The island of Palawan is one perfect place. Have you heard of Coron, El Nido and Puerto Princesa? These are just the famous islands in Palawan that showcase the richness of paradise-like beaches and not to mention abundant in beautiful coral reefs.

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By User: (WT-shared) Jdkoenig at wts wikivoyage – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23325365
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By IRRI Images – originally posted to Flickr as POTW_MichelleELLA01, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8114349

 

 

6. Christ of the Divine Mercy in Misamis Oriental
The Shrine of the Divine Mercy is located in El Salvador, Misamis Oriental overlooking Macajalar Bay on the southern island of Mindanao. This shrine serves as a pilgrimage site for Divine Mercy devotees.

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Shrine of Christ of the Divine Mercy

By Tin2little – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21432421

So, have you decided where to go this coming Holy Week? Do you have a destination in mind that is not included on my list? Feel free to share yours!