A Thousand-Peso Thrift Trip

“Come, visit us!”

Sometime in the past, a fully loaded word came into
currency: “backpacking.” It signified one of the most terrifying forces for
luxury travel agents and high-starred hotels, but it heralded the birth of a
new breed of travelers—the backpackers. I am one myself. And what do
backpackers do? We satisfy our itchy feet, regardless of the amount of money in
our pockets. We live on the idea that no amount of money, or lack thereof, can
spoil any travel plans—not at all.  
If I were given 1000 pesos to travel anywhere in the
Philippines, I’d choose Cebu as my base, not only because I live there but also
it is close to a lot of cool places I can go to without breaking my piggy bank.
It is the reliable practicality of Cebu’s proximity to many must-go sites that
draw local and international travelers alike. Not for nothing did the national
press refer to Cebu as the Queen City of the South.

If I were given a 1000-peso travel fund, I’d go see Siquijor
again. Dubbed as the Island of Fire, the Land of Witches and Beaches, the Island
of Healing, this quaint island enchants its visitors with the mystery of old
churches and convents, well-preserved Spanish-style houses from centuries ago, unspoilt
white-sand beaches and captivating sunsets, and most of all a laidback
lifestyle which is quite a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of life
in Cebu.
One of the oldest churches in Siquijor, Siquijor.

Getting There and Back: Take a bus or v-hire from Cebu to Mainit, Oslob
(70 PHP) then take a four-hour boat ride with Palacio Shipping Lines from Mainit
to Larena, Siquijor (200 PHP). The boat leaves Mainit at 5:30, and returns
daily at 2:00 PM. 
Return fare: 540 PHP

Where to Stay:  If you
bring your own tent, you can pitch it anywhere near the beach for free, as long
as you ask permission. Siquijodnons are generally friendly and accommodating
people. They can even let you sleep in their couch for a night or two for free.
Be friendly, but still cautious. If you’re not comfortable asking for free
accommodation, JJ Backpackers Village in Solangon, San Juan rents out tents for
150 PHP/night.  But well, I have
relatives in Larena so I’m going to crash their place. 
Rent: 0 PHP

A humble invitation.
What to Eat: Since you are on a tight budget, I suggest
bringing the usual instant cup noodles, biscuits, and fruits (like apples)
along with you for breakfast and snacks. There are a number of carinderias in
the towns that serve a variety of cheap but sumptuous dishes, especially
seafood. They are just as good as the ones served in big restaurants and
resorts. As I will be staying with my aunt, I’m just going to contribute a few
pesos for food to last me until I return to Cebu.  
Meals: 100 PHP
What to Do: You’ll arrive in Larena at around 11 AM. You can
take lunch, freshen up, rent a motorcycle and tour around the island. Visit old
churches along the way, take a dip at San Juan’s freshwater pool, bask in the
white sands beaches, dive off the cliff to the turquoise waters below at Salagduong, meet new friends, and watch the magnificent sunset.

Motorcycle rent: 300 PHP for 24 hours.

A secret beach in Sandugan, Larena.


And  I have an extra
60 PHP
to buy a small card and some sweets for my gracious hosts!

This is my entry to the PTB Blog Carnival with the theme: Where Would You Travel Given a 1000 PHP Budget?, hosted by Pinay Thrillseeker.
For more PTB Blog Carnival themes, visit Estan Cabigas’ Langyaw.

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