Monday, March 28

Byaheroes.com: Making Your Traveling Life Easier

The Philippines' public transportation system still has a long way to go compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors. As a frequent traveler, I have noticed the difference and take note how huge the impact will be in the tourism sector, and in the Filipino lives in general, if our country's transportation system will be upgraded. For now, I can only hope and pray. 

So when I found out about Biyaheroes.com, I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was invited in its grand launching last 2nd of March. The activity was very fun and full of optimism as the owners discussed how they came about with this idea, what the new company has to offer and what is in store for the future.


Biyaheroes.com gives you the option of reserving your bus tickets online with just a minimal fee. A little amount on top of the bus fare wouldn't hurt in exchange of the assurance that you will get the seats you want in a hassle free environment.  The online reservation system provides instant confirmation. Currently, you can pay via mobile banking, over-the-counter deposit, and payment centers like LBC, Cebuana Llhullier, SM Bills Payment through Dragonpay. Credit card payment is still in the works though.  
Complimentary dinner served during the launch

You just have to exchange your voucher for the actual ticket via the Biyaheroes lane at the bus terminals. You can also plan your travels ahead and book six months in advance!

The brainchild of Mirra and friends, the company started about a year ago when they realized that they wanted a better traveling experience. 

Their mission:  The best way to fall in love with the Philippines is to experience it. Biyaheroes fights for the right to explore our beautiful country with ease and convenience. We are starting a travel revolution by first making public transport better and more efficient for everyone.

Gusto naming buhayin ang pagmamahal sa lupang sinilangan sa pamamagitan ng paglalakbay. --> This I really admire. :)

The ultimate squad goal is to provide everything needed for a great local adventure. We want to make tourism better and more sustainable for everyone with modern technologies and bayanihan. Biyaheroes taps into our local potential and creates a comprehensive travel platform that’s safe, trusted, and wonderful.
Left:  Co-founder Mirra being interviewed by the media
 at the grand launching
Right: Me and Mirra after the event

If I were to travel anytime soon to the destinations currently offered, I'd sure try booking via Biyaheroes.com instead of falling in line at the often crowded and stuffy bus terminals. Booking is instantly confirmed and convenient for wanderlusters like me. This is really helpful if you decide to travel on a whim.


 - photos courtesy of Mai Flores

Wednesday, March 16

An Embroidery Exchange at Patis Tito Garden Cafe

Set in the verdant surroundings of Patis Tito Garden Cafe in San Pablo City, Laguna, I was able to witness a fine cultural exchange between the weavers (Tinggians) of Abra and the burdaderas (weavers) of Lumban, Laguna

This charming bed and breakfast is owned by Patis Tesoro and family, the latter being referred to by society as the Grand Dame of Philippine Fashion. The event was a day to remember wherein we were truly gifted with a deeper sense of appreciation of our Filipino culture and heritage. There were many visitors present during the talk. And many more arrived as the day went by.


Buffet breakfast was served at around eight in the morning. It was followed with a talk by Patis regarding the Piña process of weaving. It was an engaging one as we were showed how the remarkable Piña fiber is harvested from the fruit's leaves and turned to a fine weaving material.  The Piña often reminds me of elegant weddings. And learning how the actual process was, I realized why such is often priced at a remarkable range.

Patis' talk was short but it was very substantial and inspiring. She said that we should focus in many areas of Filipino heritage preservation. And one of those worth looking at is the vibrant, but sadly, the slowly dying Filipino textile industry. According to her, in the early days, being a master weaver would be the pride and joy of the women of any household. 

Wednesday, March 2

How Do I Save Up for My Travels

I have been traveling for several years now. Be it solo, with a buddy or in a group. I am not a travel veteran nor an expert in all its aspects but I have pretty much learned many things that even novice travelers can call as considerable tips.

1.
 Plan and Book Ahead. For longer and out of the country trips, I book my air tickets at least six months to one year ahead. I take note of seat sales which has become frequent nowadays. Even if that means waking up at 12 AM during the middle of work week. I was able to book uber cheap round trip tickets in the past.

2. 
Prioritize. And this I mean in the places you will go to. A place may have many touristy sites you'd like to experience. But it really is up to you what you prefer visiting. If you are a foodie, why not focus on the still unheard of hawkers' stands in Hong Kong. Love museums? Take note, entrance to the National Museum is free on Sundays! You can still soak up all the wow-this-is-cool allure of a place you have never fully explored without breaking the bank.

3. 
Prefer Hostels/Backpackers' Inn. Sure, it is no doubt that you'd want to lay down on softly-covered beds and treat yourself to a hot shower after a full day of exploration. Pampering yourself can still be done in other ways though. Not only that choosing hostels or inns are cheaper, but culturally, you will be more than satisfied. Mingling with people from other countries is an experience in itself. While instead of going out and buying that 2-dollar latte from the local cafe, you can always strike out a conversation with them. Look for lodgings that has a common/eating area and expect a new friend request in Facebook in no time, complete with a selfie and all.

4. 
Refrain from (over) shopping. Of course, you can still stash a few hundreds for this therapeutic activity if you really want to. But if you were really in for the local life, and you can find these stuff back at home, skip shopping if you can. You can instead reward yourself with a locally-made beautiful trinket or just be content with the pictures you have taken and be humbly amazed at how your photography has evolved over the years. The pictures are one, if not, the best travel souvenirs there is.

5. 
Eat local. If you do not have any qualms, religious/dietary restrictions or do not have a sensitive stomach, you can save a lot more by trying out local dishes. Not only you are knowing what their culture 'tastes' like, you can finally veer away from the unhealthy fast food most of us have grown accustomed to back home.

6. 
Mix & Match. In travel, I avoid buying clothes. What I do is I research on the local customs and try to blend in. I did this in my visit in India and not only did I feel safer, I also felt respectful towards their culture. Bring clothes that you can mix & match without letting the world know that you have worn that skirt a few more times. For girls, simple accessories helps too. A scarf or shawl can double as a sun protection and act as a cover-up which you need in entering some religious sites. 

7. 
Take Note of Your Expenses. For long journeys, I write down every amount spent. Though a bit tedious, I find this very helpful when it comes to monitoring and budgeting my travel funds. 

There may be a few more practical tips I can add to this list. But these are the more frequent ones I do when planning my travels. For the not-so-rich like me, every Peso/Ringgit/Dollar/Baht/Kyat matters. I see to it that my budget is stretched to the fullest so I can visit as many places I can. 

Happy traveling everyone!