Category Archives: adventure

11 Countries in 2017

2017 was a wonderful year for us not just because we got married but also because we were able to travel to different places together. Since we love travelling, we planned for our honeymoon to be in installments but we never thought we would be able to go to as many countries as we have the past year.

In 2017, our first year as a married couple, we were able to visit 11 countries:

  • United Arab Emirates
  • Japan
  • Taiwan
  • The Netherlands
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Switzerland
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

We often get asked, especially by followers of our page and this blog, how we are able to travel frequently. They ask if we are still employed and for some advice.

To those who don’t know, we have regular office jobs so yes, we don’t have all the time in the world to travel. We just rely on our accumulated vacation leaves and non-working holidays. We usually plan ahead (i.e. we booked our Dubai tickets for February 2017 in October 2016; our Japan tickets for May 2017 in January 2017; our Australia tickets for October 2017 in February 2017; and our Netherlands tickets for June 2017 in October 2016).

We’d also like to think we’re practical travelers, always on the lookout for seat sales and promos. Actually, since we want to travel the whole world anyway, we choose our next destination based on seat sales (i.e. We got our Dubai tickets for just around P12,000 each; Japan for P6,000; Netherlands for P33,000; and Australia for P12,000)

While we love 5-star hotels (who doesn’t?), we as much as possible go for standard accommodation (i.e. 3 to 4-star hotels and Airbnb) without sacrificing cleanliness and comfort. Since we’d be most of the time out of the hotel anyway, we always stick to practical accommodation. It also helps that we run a travel agency by ourselves, so we have access to good deals. Believe it or not, sometimes, travel agencies can still offer better deals than websites.

Lastly, while we are able to travel to different places, our priority is still having savings for our future. We live by a total budget and we set aside just a percentage of our income for travel. We stick to that travel budget and work with it. Thankfully, we have our side businesses (i.e. Sophisticat Shoes and the travel agency) to supplement our salaries.

Thank you, Lord for an amazing 2017! Excited for the rest of 2018! ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Choosing a honeymoon destination isn’t easy. The world is filled with amazing places that a lifetime with your partner will never be enough to check out all the marvels God created.

As much as possible, we want our entire married life to be our honeymoon. It may be challenging but based on stories of happy couples, we’re confident that it’s feasible. So yes, we booked four different trips this year.

To start off, we picked Dubai.

We picked Dubai not just because we found cheap airline tickets for it but because we wanted our first honeymoon destination to be different from what we have been to. It was the first time we were going to a different country by ourselves, and of course, we wanted it to be special. We were looking for a mix of modern and traditional, laid-back and busy, somewhere with sun, sand, water, skyscrapers, and of course, adventure. Surely, Dubai gave us all that and more.

Dubai is one of the seven that make up the United Arab Emirates. It is home to Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, and Burj Al Arab, the only 7-star hotel.

Dubai is a very expensive city. Since some people are asking about our itinerary and budget, we intend to present it to you in our blog, along with affordable travel packages that you might want to check out (if you would remember, we run a travel agency, and we’re DTI-registered, yay!) and how to get a tourist visa. Surprisingly, a trip to Dubai could be affordable.

Highlights of this trip include:

  1. Dubai City Tour – Jumeirah Mosque, Jumeirah Beach, Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa
  2. Desert Safari – Camel riding, ATV desert ride, Dune bashing, Arabic cultural show
  3. DIY Trips – Dubai Garden Glow at the Zabeel Park, Dubai Mall, Dubai Miracle Garden, Dubai Creek, Gold Souk

3 DAYS AND 3 NIGHTS IN DUBAI AND ABU DHABI FOR P25,518 ALL-IN

February 15 to 18, 2017

We chose Dubai and Abu Dhabi as our honeymoon destination not just because we found cheap airline tickets for it but because we wanted something different from what we have been to. It was the first time we were going to a different country by ourselves, and of course, we wanted it to be special. We were looking for a mix of modern and traditional, laid-back and busy, somewhere with sun, sand, water, skyscrapers, and of course, adventure. Surely, the United Arab Emirates gave us all that and more.

Dubai is one of the seven that make up the United Arab Emirates. It is home to Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, and Burj Al Arab, the only 7-star hotel. It is an expensive city but surprisingly, a trip to Dubai could be affordable.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi is the capital of the U.A.E. and is home of its President. It also houses the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is the largest mosque in the country.

Here’s an ideal itinerary with expenses for a 3-day and 3-night trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi (5 days including the 9-hour per way flight):

Day 1

Flight from Manila, PH to Dubai International Airport (DXB), United Arab Emirates

  • Departure from Manila: 3:20 pm
  • Arrival in Dubai: 9:40 pm

(Flying time is around 9 hours)

Check-in at the hotel.

Day 2

9:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m.

  • Dubai City Tour (Gold Souq and Spice Souq, Photo Stop at Dubai Creek, Drive through Jumeira Road, Jumeirah Mosque, Photo Stop at Burj Al Arab, Tour of Palm Jumeria and Atlantis Photo Stop, Sheikh Zayeh Road)

3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

  • Desert Safari (4×4 Dune Bashing, Camel Rides, Sand Boards, Henna Painting, Local Costume Photography, Live Tanura Show, Live Belly Dance, Live Fire Show, Arabic Tea coffee, Dates, Barbecue, Dinner Buffet and Unlimited Water and Soft drinks)

Day 3

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • Abu Dhabi City Tour (Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi Corniche, Emirates Palace, Drive Through Presidential Palace, Heritage Village, Abu Dhabi Marina Mall, Islamic Art Museum, Dates Market, Drive To Saadiyat. Yas Island and Ferrari World Photo Stop

Day 4

Check-out from the hotel

Free Day until departure from DXB

Day 5

11:00 a.m.

  • Arrival in Manila, PH (Flying time: 9 hours)

Expenses:

Flights – P9,800 (Cebu Pacific’s seat sale)

Philippine Travel Tax – P1,620

Hotel/Accommodation – P8,500 (twin sharing at the Al Farej Hotel, a 3-star hotel) including Round-trip airport transfers and breakfast

Dubai City Tour – P1,600

Desert Safari with Dinner Buffet – P1,999

Abu Dhabi City Tour – P1,999

 

Total: P25,518.

 

We can arrange this travel package for you at the same price. We offer land arrangements (hotel/accommodations and transfers) at Dubai for only P8500 per person and optional tours at the above-mentioned rates Please send us an email at couplemeetsworld@gmail.com for further inquiries and other options.

The itinerary above pretty much covers most of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. However, since we wanted to make the most out our limited time in Dubai, we added some DIY tours of our own, which of course, cost us more. Here is our actual itinerary:

Day 1

Flight from Manila, PH to Dubai International Airport (DXB), United Arab Emirates

  • Departure from Manila: 3:20 pm
  • Arrival in Dubai: 9:40 pm

(Flying time is around 9 hours)

Check-in at the hotel. (We stayed at the Somewhere Hotel Tecom, which is a lovely, clean hotel)

Day 2

9:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m.

  • Dubai City Tour (Gold Souq and Spice Souq, Photo Stop at Dubai Creek, Drive through Jumeira Road, Jumeirah Mosque, Photo Stop at Burj Al Arab, Tour of Palm Jumeria and Atlantis Photo Stop, Sheikh Zayeh Road)

3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

  • Desert Safari (4×4 Dune Bashing, Camel Rides, Sand Boards, Henna Painting, Local Costume Photography, Live Tanura Show, Live Belly Dance, Live Fire Show, Arabic Tea coffee, Dates, Barbecue, Dinner Buffet and Unlimited Water and Soft drinks)

9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

  • Dubai Garden Glow at the Zabeel Park (60 AED per person + taxi fare)

Day 3

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • Abu Dhabi City Tour (Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi Corniche, Emirates Palace, Drive Through Presidential Palace, Heritage Village, Abu Dhabi Marina Mall, Islamic Art Museum, Dates Market, Drive To Saadiyat. Yas Island and Ferrari World Photo Stop

7:00 p.m. to 12:00 M.N.

  • Dubai Mall for the dancing fountain show

Day 4

  • Dubai Miracle Garden (50 AED per person + taxi fare)
  • Souk Madinat Jumeirah (no entrance fee since it is a mall; taxi fare)
  • Gold Souk (no entrance fee since it’s a market; taxi fare)

Departure from DXB

Day 5

11:00 a.m.

  • Arrival in Manila, PH (Flying time: 9 hours)

Please note that for Filipino passport holders, a VISA is required to enter Dubai. We will write about getting one for our next entry. Note that we also offer visa assistance.

Watch our video below, which was featured by Dubai FB page:

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Oslob: Whaleshark Watching and Sumilon Island

May 27, 2016

We started our Cebu trip by going to the Cebu South Bus Terminal at around 4A.M. to take an Oslob-bound bus. Fare costs P160 per person.

We asked the conductor to drop us off at Brgy. Tan-awan. There, we were greeted by May-Ann, our contact in Oslob, who took care of tickets for our Whale shark Watching Activity, and our day trip to the Sumilon Island sandbar.

The whale shark is the largest living fish, and swimming with them was a different kind of experience for us. From what we saw, the whale sharks are well taken care of. The municipal officers are strict with rules, and they have marine biologists overseeing everything. However, we can only wish that every visitor interacting with the whale sharks would be as responsible.

After a 30-minute encounter with the whale sharks, we had lunch and prepared for our trip to the Sumilon Island sandbar, which was just a 15-minute boat ride away from Brgy. Tan-awan. We waited until late afternoon for the sandbar to emerge but we had to leave when it was already getting dark. We were able to enjoy the crystal clear waters of the Sumilon Island anyway.

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Mt. Hapunang Banoi

May 14, 2016

Whenever we want to go on a hiking trip but don’t want to travel as far, the province of Rizal is our go-to place. The town of Montalban , which is just an hour away from Cubao, Quezon City, offers different trails going up different mountains, which form part of the Sierra Madre range.

Last Saturday, we hiked Mt. Hapunang Banoi. Just like Mt. Pamitinan and Mt. Binacayan, the jump-off point is at Brgy. Wawa. Entrance fee is at P25/head, while the services of tour guides are at P500/group. The trail is very challenging and would require climbing sharp rocks. It took us probably three hours to reach the summit (which was definitely worth it) and an hour to get down.

Sierra Madre

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Bukal Falls

March 26, 2016

Hidden in the town of Majayjay, Laguna is an enchanted pond surrounding the Bukal Falls. We say it’s enchanted because its crystal clear, frigid blue waters reminds us of photos of the more popular Enchanted River in Surigao.

To get to the jump-off point, one has to go to the barangay hall of Brgy. Bukal. Entrance fees are just at P25/person, while the services of a tour guide cost P300/group of 5. We got to the jump-off point at around 3pm, and trekked for an hour to reach Bukal Falls. The trail was quite challenging but was manageable even for older people. In fact, Mommy Evette (Janna’s 58-year old mother) had a great time with us. By 6pm, just before sunset, we were already back at where we started.

If you’re also looking for a place to eat, there’s this new restaurant/resort in Lucban, Quezon called Sam Kara, which is just five minutes away from Majayjay, Laguna. We had a Filipino lunch just before going to Brgy. Bukal.

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Bukal Falls

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Mt. Mamara, Tinapak River, and Tinapak Cave

March 19, 2016

This trip was planned only around six hours before. After going home from movie night, we decided to meet each other early the next day for another hiking trip.

We were supposed to climb Mt. Daraitan but since we woke up late that morning, we got to Brgy. Daraitan at noon, and the tourism office said we couldn’t anymore. Hence, they offered us an alternative, Mt. Mamara.

The Tinipak River and Mts. Daraitan and Mamara are subject of an ongoing boundary dispute between the municipalities of General Nakar, Quezon, and Tanay, Rizal. For now, the municipalities are sharing profit by require separate environmental fees of a minimal amount.

The trail to Mt. Mamara would require crossing the Tinipak River, which is a scene in itself as it has limestone formations reminiscent of those in Minalungao National Park, Nueva Ecija. When we reached the summit after two hours from Tinipak River, it didn’t feel like Mt. Mamara was just an alternative because of the amazing view it offers, including that of Mt. Daraitan.

After our descent, we passed by the Tinipak Cave, and swam inside. The water was very cold and clear.

If there’s one tip we want to share to others about our trips, it would be to always expect the unexpected and just make the most out of the trip. If by some chance the place you plan to go to is closed, there will always be an alternative; you can just ask around or google.

Watch our video here:

Mt. Mamara

Tinipak River

Tinipak River

Tinipak River

Mt. Mamara

Mt. Mamara

Tinipak Cave

Tinipak Cave

Mt. Mamara Summit

 

4 Reasons Why Day Trips are Awesome

Most of our adventures consist of day trips near Metro Manila, where we are based.

When we started this blog, one of the challenges we dared ourselves with was to get back within 24 hours to show other people that day trips to seemingly far places like Baguio City are possible. Later on, we realized that more than just being possible, day trips are in fact practical. Here are some reasons why:

  1. You get to save money.

Decent budget rooms in transient inns/B&B’s start at P500 ($12) per head. Instead of spending at least a thousand pesos (approximately $25) on accommodation, we prefer getting back home late in the evening, and sleeping on our own beds. This may be tiring for some, but one can always sleep in the bus, or in the car, except of course if he or she is the driver (and that is why sometimes, we prefer commuting but we’ll save it for another article).

  1. You save time.

Other than the financial practicality of getting back home and sleeping in the bus, day trips are also sensible because the traffic is better in the evening. We don’t know if people realize this but usually, in overnight trips, the last day is just reserved for just breakfast and traveling back home. In short, you spend most of the day on the road, and when you get home, you’re still exhausted and just want to lay in bed. For people like us, who have regular day jobs, it would then be so hard to get to work on the next day. Day trips allow us to explore the world around us almost every week, and still become productive for work on the following working day.

  1. You get to pack light.

Since you are just going on a day trip, you don’t have to bring overnight stuff such as nightwear, and towels.

  1. Asking permission from your parents or guardians would be easier.

We don’t know if this applies to everyone but we think parents are more inclined to let their children go on day trips than overnighters. Since some of our readers are students, we believe this would apply. And yes, at 28, Janna still seeks permission from her parents.

Here’s a list of awesome day trips we’ve taken that you should try too. Click the link to redirect you to our blog post on every destination. (We’ll keep this page updated and add more day trip destinations but make sure to check our posts on other non-day trips too.)

  1. Dambana ng Kagitingan & Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, Bataan
  2. Balatoc Mines Tour & Bridal Veil Falls & Colorado Falls, Itogon & Tuba, Benguet
  3. Hiking Mt. Ulap, Itogon, Benguet
  4. Boac & Gaspar Island, Marinduque
  5. Majayjay Falls / Taytay Falls / Imelda Falls, Majayjay, Laguna
  6. Magdalena: River Rafting, Cliff Diving, and Water Tubing, Magdalena, Laguna
  7. Pagsanjan / Cavinti Falls, Laguna
  8. Seven Lakes of San Pablo City, Laguna
  9. MJD Urban Escape Farm, Lucena City, Quezon
  10. Mt. Mirador / Mt. Pinagbanderahan, Quezon National Forest Park, Atimonan, Quezon
  11. Bangkong Kahoy Valley, Dolores, Quezon
  12. Kamay ni Hesus & Kamayan sa Palaisdaan
  13. Hangga Falls / Maapon Falls, Sampaloc, Quezon
  14. Villa Sariaya, Sariaya, Quezon
  15. Hinulugang Taktak & Cloud 9, Antipolo City, Rizal
  16. Angono Art Galleries: Carlos “Botong” Francisco House, Nemiranda Arthouse and Balaw Balaw Restaurant, Angono, Rizal
  17. National Museum: Angono Petroglyphs, Angono, Rizal
  18. Inday Nelly’s Mystical Cave, Padilla, Rizal
  19. Wawa Dam & River, Rodriguez, Rizal
  20. Hiking Mt. Pamitinan, Rodriguez, Rizal
  21. Ten Cents to Heaven, Tanay, Rizal
  22. Masinloc Ecotour: Giant Clam / Taklobo Farm, Bacala Guesthouse, Mangrove Islet, and San Salvador Island, Masinloc, Zambales
  23. Barasoain Church, Malolos, Bulacan
  24. Buntot Palos, Pangil, Laguna
  25. Bantakay Falls, Atimonan, Quezon