Street Sale

October 20, 2012 of Kunming, Yunnan

I bought a scarf for 13 rmb or 80 pesos in a sidewalk vendor in Kunming.

I saw exactly the same scarf in a boutique shop called “EGG” in my country, Philippines. Its price is around 200 pesos.

This is a simple reason why a good economy counts. Hahaha. The same reason why it is reasonable to shop a little when in another country especially when you think it will be pricey in your country.

Early Morning is Always Perfect

October 28, 2012 – Dongchuan, Yunnan

We woke up very early so we can witness the rising of the sun in Damakan. We left our cars in the steep highway then stood in a small balcony that serves as the viewpoint. For around two hours from six in the morning, we stood there with our cameras in our hands.

All of us had either rented van or private car. Ours was around 135rmb for half a day. In Dongchuan, if your goal is to take pictures of the ricefield, sunset and sunrise (which, I think, was everyone’s reason why they visited the Red Land anyway) you have to have your own car so you could follow the sun’s glowing golden light on the ricefield as it moves from east to west.

Sleeping in Airport

October 20, 2012 – Shenzhen Airport, China

Because we don’t have any place to sleep in, we will spend the next 6 hours in Shenzhen Airport with our sleepy heads.


This is not the ordinary TOP THINGS…this is that TYPICAL TOP THINGS. Haha!

I should have _________ when I get lost.

a.Map – I can explore any street and landmarks with just a map. If I do not know the language, I can always show the map to a local then ask where I am located.

b.Camera – Getting lost can be thrilling (whatever you want to say against it) so having one is a great experience. The crazy idea is to take pictures of me getting lost and finding my way back.

c.US Dollar – This is an international currency acceptable to any country (unless you’re in a remote place). This can help me to get a ride, pay entrance fees and eat.

I never dare to _________ .

1.Talk nonsense joke when the immigration agent is expressing a strict look. I don’t know why they have serious faces but it pays to just keep quiet.

2.Wear something that the country’s culture does not allow. Some people are used to wearing what they used to wear but deepening oneself into one’s culture suggests to wear what is appropriate.

3.Say something in my own language with an obvious tone of its meaning in front of a local person. This, I think, is really rude even if they don’t understand. I try to talk in a monotony voice so I don’t portray what I am talking about.

I should always have _________ .




Because most of the daring trips I had were prepared by Mame’s friend and I am a self-confessed loser in remembering things, I need to write things right after they were explored. I keep a travel journal (which I am now thinking if I should rewrite them all here) of the things I did, expenses, landmarks, food we ate and other things I learned. This keeps my retention longer and makes the world I have discovered continue to live in my mind.

I always try to eat/drink _________ .

1.Local famous dish and drinks – Why travel thousand miles away if I will only eat the same food.

2.Streetfood – Eating streetfood introduces us to a lot more about the culture. Streetfood is the food you eat when you’re in a hurry or really need to silent that hungry tummy. It is also where you can enjoy listening to the conversation of the seller and buyer about silly and funny things.

3.Junkfood – I enjoy browsing junkfoods in grocery stores. Hehe

I have to ________ before traveling.

Research. Research. Research.

That alone already gives 3 points. Seriously speaking, research! And everything will follow. It is the most essential thing one should do. After doing my research, I always feel like I am half-way ready for the trip.

I always end up wearing _________ whenever I do not know what to wear.

a.Dress – I don’t really wear dress but it is always a wise decision to bring one. It is both stylish and saves space in my luggage. Some places require conservative clothing and it would be wise to stay safe in meeting different cultures with a dress in knee-length.

b.Comfortable footwear – traveling is a lot of walking

c.Scarf – I can use this whether the weather is cold or humid. I usually tie my hair up with scarf when it’s too humid to bear.

My camera always go with _________.

1.Charger and extra battery

2.Extra memory card

3.Hard Drive – I take 700 pictures a day so I need to free up space from the memory card every single day.

I usually say to my buddy, “_________________________.”

1.“I want to see this. Can I go here?” – Whenever there is a place I want to visit that my buddies are not interested to see.

2.“Please take a photo of me here” – With thousands of pictures I took, I can count with my fingers how many times I had the opportunity to have my own photo taken.

3.“Can you talk to the person? I can’t speak in English anymore.” – Hahhahahha. There’s just those moments when you can’t speak and explain anymore in English.

I am fond of taking photo of _________ .

1.My feet – I like the idea of seeing my feet standing on finally found path.

2.Food – Because they’re just so thrilling to look at.

3.Crowd – Local people busy with their own things makes me invisible.

I always aware myself of the _________ of the country.

1.Manners/Ethics –It pays to live like a local but experience like a foreigner without sarcastic look from locals.


Culture precedes Manners. Culture is a very general word but one should know about the culture first. Wearing appropriate clothes for religion reasons is one example (this is so understated but I still want to highlight it because I find it really rude for women to wear revealing clothes when they already know such are not welcomed). And from there, right manners should also be observed as this helps you to blend in the crowd of the locals. It saves you from trouble and heated irap. Ex: in one country, it’s ok to burp. That shows you are grateful for the food. But in another country, that might be really rude.

3.My Country’s Immigration address and contact number – for emergency or travel documents issues, at least.

What is your typical top 3 things on traveling?

Photos were taken in Taiwan (December 2010), Australia (August 2011) and Brunei (December 2011).

Control Thy Impulse

Whether you are a woman or a man, we love to buy things abroad. Who doesn’t if we have few bills to spare, right?

I wanna shop!!

Oh. Ok. I only have $2 left in my wallet.


While we Filipinos have to always buy pasalubong for our family and friends and, of course, buy things for ourselves, we also need to remember that spending our Peso in a more developed country takes the risk of ripping our savings off.

How can we buy pasalubong but not go nuts afterwards because of impulse buying?

May I share what I always do:

  • List all the things I intend to buy before the travel.  This will make me focus while shopping.

One good way to loosen up my budget a little is to have a collection. You can collect t-shirts, keychains, mugs, coasters or whatever. Thing is, you get to have something from every place you visited and then the more they get, the more you feel fulfilled of having the opportunity to travel. I collect bookmark. It also has become the default pasalubong for me from friends and family. 

  • Put specific amount beside each item. When I have the target amount, I would readily know if I already went beyond my budget.
  • Filter out the list with things I know will be bulky in my luggage.

Spare my wallet from unplanned expenses.

  • Always bring the list with me while travelling.

I don’t leave it in the hostel and pretend that I have them in memory because once I get out, I will most likely forget what I listed and, at times, that I even wrote a list. 

  • If I found the item on my list, I try to think twice first and then go out from the store. Yes. You read it right. Out from the store.

In any country, souvenir shops are usually 3x or more pricey than those in the local market. I once bought a 300baht bracelet in a souvenir shop and found the same exact bracelet in the local market but for 120baht. How’s that for being an impulsive buyer?

General rule  is wait for some time for yourself to identify if the item is a need or a want. Another is to check at other shops if they have cheaper price or better alternative for the same item.

  • Give time to think if having the item will make me a happier and better traveller. And on the contrary, I also try justifying why I should not buy it.

Because if it is still on my nerves after walking far enough from the store, maybe (just maybe, ok?) I have to buy it.

  • If I am going to buy it, I bargain for a good deal!

I always try to bargain for the target amount I have written on my list. But if the store is willing, I prefer to bargain cheaper than the target amount. 

But, here is the catch: Do not sacrifice the quality. I personally believe that having a good quality is way cheaper than anything else. And most of the time, when travelling, quality means we also support the local people who produced them.

  • Slash out that item in my list. Check it. Erase it. Whatever. Just to make sure I don’t buy double of the same item.
  • Before I go to sleep, I list everything I shed out the entire day.

An expense template or the budget list I made before the travel is always helpful. I check if I already bought everything I intend to buy or if there is a need to make some changes. Likewise, I will know if I can spare the savings I got on a different activity. 

  • Lastly, after I travel, I gauge my  expenditures if I need to improve further on this travel budget skill.

I hope this will help you in any possible way!=)