Yes, you read it right! I finally did it! I went on a solo trip for the first time andI did it for my 30th birthday!!
I’ve been thinking of doing this for the longest time as I love TRAVELING, and lately, I love being ON MY OWN. Put those together, and what do you get? Labo! Seriously, you can just do the math! Haha!
I booked this trip probably around April (when we got our bonus) and when PAL had one of their seat sales, which was very timely. I did not book any baggage allowance yet as I wanted to backpack around the island and I wanted to teach myself how to pack light this time. So total cost was around Php 1,100 round freaking trip!!!!!!
Weeks prior to the trip, I wasn’t sure if I was gonna push through as the weather didn’t look so good, plus I was a bit short on moolah as I am not doing well in my sales job, but since I was turning 30 naman na and I saved up pa rin naman, plus, I, really, really wanted to do something new, I!!! My adventurous self was poking me constantly that I got annoyed so sige na, push na this!
The week prior to the trip, I was still sooooo busy implementing activities. I even traveled to one of my remote territories the day before, so you can just imagine how tired I was from the long drive, but that didn’t stop me! In fact, I was sooooo excited, I packed my bag a few days prior. Usually, I’d pack my luggage the night before a trip, which brings me to ehem, the things I learned on my first ever solo trip!
- PACK YOUR BAG EARLY! – Ok so you guys probably already know this, but did I say that this post was about you? Charot! Nang-away? Anyhooooo, I normally pack my bags the night before, coz that’s the time that I don’t have to worry about my deodorant getting lost in my luggage when I haven’t put on any yet. Same with my slippers, undies etc. This time, I started packing my stuff at least 2 days prior, so I had time to sort through my beach OOTD’s, my swimwear, my scarves (always!). I had time to check my travel toiletries so I could buy whatever’s lacking. I was also able to organize my stuff in separate travel pouches especially my cords, chargers, batteries!
- RESULT:I was able to eliminate excess stuff as I had time to really think about what I am going to wear based on my itinerary. Unfortunately, I still had to buy prepaid baggage allowance. I guess I really am no expert at PACKING SHYET, I mean, PACKING LIGHT. I guess this was still a FAIL, nevertheless, I still tried (so it’s a WIN too!) and that’s what matters. For my next beach trip though, I would really want to pack less than 7kg! Challenge accepted!
- DO A LOT OF RESEARCH! NO ONE’S GONNA DO IT FOR YOU THIS TIME! Normally, my brother and sister would do all the research for our family trips, from the itinerary, to hotels and transport to restaurants to try and shopping districts to visit. Same with trips with my friends. I have a friend in Cebu who does all the financial stuff, so we would all just depend on her on how much we would all have to pay individually when the bills come. The only time I did really heavy research was for our first Japan trip coz I had all the time in the world (I was unemployed at the time haha). So It’s not like I am useless when traveling. See, I could do it if I want to, and this time, I HAD TO. Thanks to all the bloggers, vloggers, influencers, Biyahe ni Drew, and my bro for all the tips, the tricks and all the things they learned from their trips to Camiguin.
- RESULT: I was able to browse through different options and finally book my accommodations the best way possible (Thanks Agoda and Booking.com). I was able to put together my own itinerary (without having to consider the preferences of another–yay for solo trips). Although 70% of my research was literally just spoon fed by my brother who went to Camiguin a few months earlier, I still am proud of myself for being able to juggle these last minute reservations with TONS of WORK!!
- IF THERE’S AN OPTION TO PAY CHEAPER, GO FOR IT! – This is probably a result of doing number 2 too. No, it’s not the #2 you’re thinking about! I was referring to DOING YOUR RESEARCH.
- If you happen to find out how much things really cost ahead of time, say for example, renting a scooter to go around the island on, you wouldn’t pay Php 500 for a 24 hour use!!!! And yes, I am speaking from experience. Sadly, I forgot how much my brother paid for his when he rented one. I didn’t have time to scroll through our looooooooooong IG conversation, so I paid Php 500 instead of just Php 250-300!
- When commuting, try to find out how to go around like the locals do (thanks bro and our hotel receptionists for the tips!)! It would help you save big time! On my 3rd day, I commuted on Camiguin’s public transport, aka their relas/motorelas and paid around Php 11 the most!
- Also, when you’re alone in say some sort of public pool with tables for rent, you don’t have to rent a whole table for your stuff and pay Php 75. Sadly, I also did, when I could just have left my bag and slippers beside the pool itself.
- For food, try walking around your hotel, look for restaurants where the locals eat, or again, do your research and check reviews of previews visitors to get the “bang for your buck!”. You don’t really have to go cheap for food, but it would be soooooo nice to have a sumptuous for an incredibly affordable seafood lunch or dinner!
- For your accommodation: Since this was my birthday trip, I booked a night at a pricier place, Ysla Beach Camp and Eco Resort for the glamping experience and I must say that it was worth every penny! Then I transferred to a budget hotel, GV hotel which was equally worth my hard earned money coz it was in the middle of everything and I was really comfortable as well! My room was just Php 500 a night! I just added P25/night to transfer to an air-conditioned room. I will be making a separate post for my trip itinerary so I will be writing a more extensive review of the land arrangements!
- Another tip for budget travelers going to Camiguin, I paid friggin Php 200 for my boat ride to White Island instead of Php 450-500, though the guilt trip afterwards still kills me to this day! LOL! Instead of finding and convincing a group of 3 or perhaps a couple to take you along with them on their boat (boat can only accommodate 4 tourists and 2-3 boatmen) before you go to the cashier, try going directly to the cashier at the port and wait for a group to approach her and pay her, before you tell them that you are on your own and you’re looking for a group to join. This way, they would have paid their 550 each and you’re just gonna have to pay a joiner fee of Php 200. You can talk to the group if they wish to split the payment equally and pay them after. That’s what I did, but the couple didn’t want my money! So I saved 300-350 bucks! Again, I don’t recommend this, but you can most definitely try!
- RESULT: Need I say more?
- MAKE SURE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW YOUR ITINERARY! – I was in constant communication with my brother and my family, just in case I get in any accident or into any serious situation. And you can also get in touch with friends through video call if you can! It will be less lonely! LOL!
- RENT A SCOOTER OR MOTORCYCLE! – I need not emphasize this!! This is the best way for you to go around the island, on your own time and terms. Of course, there are risks of you being flagged down by NPA’s (JK! there are NONE!), or crashing with no one to rescue you (there’s no cell service in some parts of the island) or getting robbed (not that I heard any) but it’s part of the adventure! TBH, it was my first time riding one and I was manhandled by it. JK! The first time I was ever on a scooter (which was manual transmission pa) was back in high school/college (about 10-15 years ago) and my tito was just letting us have a feel of it around an almost carless cemetery. So I have no experience of riding one on public roads ever, but like what they always say, long as you know how to ride a bike, you’re good to go! Funny coz when the owner was handing it to me, I asked him 3x how to lock the bike when getting off (to avoid it getting robbed), how to start the ignition etc that he started to worry too. He even offered to drive me around instead, but I was firm to say “hindi kuya, gusto ko ako lang!” Tapang-tapangan eh! Solo travel nga diba? Nagtataray na naman? Char! Kidding aside, I told him firmly but in a nice way that I wanted to go around on my own. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to write about it here as part of my personal milestones! Yun lang pala!
- LESSONS LEARNED: Always bring your driver’s license with you when you travel. I left mine at home, in Cebu, so I drove to the airport and back without one too! So, on my 3rd day in Camiguin, I commuted on motorelas, which was equally fun as it got me to talk to the locals and foreign tourists alike!
- BE SURE TO KNOW YOUR WAY AROUND THE ISLAND! – Download the map so you could still navigate offline! Know where the tourist spots are! Ask around! I relied on Google Maps the whole time and it’s a good thing that you can literally go around the island via their circumferential road!
- SUPPORT LOCAL! – This one I’m proud to say I do in all my travels! Who doesn’t? Try the local cuisine all you want coz you are gonna miss them for sure! I always make it a point to buy cute artisan products coz I love ANYTHING HANDMADE and HANDCRAFTED and ANKLETS! The one I wore on this trip was from El Nido! Talk to the artists or restaurant owners and ask them about their passion, for inspiration in your own life! LESSON LEARNED: Talking to owners and artists is what I got to learn how to do in future solo travels! I need to be less awkward and less shy! LOL!
- BUY A TRIPOD WITH BLUETOOTH REMOTE CONTROLLER! – This was probably the first on my list of things to buy before I went on this trip! My friend, Dee recommended the Xiaomi selfie stick and tripod in one! It doesn’t extend that long, but it is sturdy and reliable as hell! Dayum these Mi products really are worth your money! You can easily slip it inside your beach bag as it isn’t bulky at all! You can also attached the bluetooth controller into the stick so you don’t have to worry about it getting lost! Got it for P799!
- MAKE FRIENDS! – I traveled solo to have peace of mind and to not worry about wasting other people’s time, but it wouldn’t hurt to talk to a few strangers along the way. I may be an introvert, but that definitely doesn’t mean that I’m antisocial. There’s a thick line between those two coz I love talking to people. Ang defensive? I like getting to know people and hearing their stories, but in an intimate way. I don’t like big groups unless I’m comfortable with everyone. I get energy from having time for myself, but also from talking to people who inspire me, have a laugh with me and all that shizz.
- In this particular trip, I got to know 2 other guests at Ysla Beach Camp. We only got to talk at breakfast before we all checked out and like everyone I met on this trip, they were surprised that I was on my own! I found out that one of them was from Cebu too, and they gladly shared tips on where to spend the sunset at.
- The night before, it was one of the senior staff, ate Bing whom I talked to while waiting for my food. She shared stories about the whole Biyahe Ni Drew Crew including the main man himself **coughs so gwapo! **coughs and compared him to Atom Araullo who also visited their resort in the past.
- At the Church ruins, I met this little boy named Christian, who took all of my amazing IG-worthy photos. He directed me and shot my photos in less than 5 minutes! Fastest photoshoot ever and I was surprised by how beautiful everything turned out. Walang tapon!
- Lastly, on my motorela ride back to the airport (which took less than 10 mins), I met this hilarious couple who pep-talked me about career women marrying late in life. Buti na lang kasabut na ko ug Bisaya (ngek mali pa rin pala!) and was laughing the whole time, I almost missed my stop! LESSON LEARNED: Travel solo and talk to strangers, one thing you won’t be able to do much when you’re traveling with someone! And one more thing, be courteous and grateful and give the locals your best smile always!
- BE GENEROUS WITH YOUR TIPS! – I know that it sometimes feel unnecessary to do so, but find it in your heart to give back because people working in tourism even those kids who offered to take such good photos of you deserve it! I know most of you are probably so generous when traveling, so good for you!
- BRING A BOOK OR TWO! – This may be the right time for you to finally start the book you’ve been wanting to read for the longest time, so make the most of it! It will be perfect especially if your room has no TV and no WIFI!
- BE ONE WITH NATURE and ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS! – Go camping! Wake up early and catch the sunrise by the beach! I never miss sunrises on vacation! It’s my most favorite thing to do! Usually while walking along the shore, I’d be accompanied by dogs and I would meet a couple of fishermen prepping their boat and nets! Go out and enjoy the view and the fresh air! Go for a swim! Take lots of photos and videos to reminisce memories with! Then get rid of your phones for a while or maybe just go offline for a bit and turn off your playlists and listen to the sound of nature instead! Reflect and contemplate. Paint!Pray! Walk around the city early in the morning before everyone wakes up! Walk around at night too especially if the area looks safe! Enjoy these little, big things! LESSON LEARNED: BEING ONE WITH NATURE IS ONE OF THE BEST FEELINGS IN THE WORLD!
- BE GRATEFUL! – Life is beautiful so be grateful for opportunities to travel, to try something new, to meet new people, learn about their culture, for the chance to unwind and rest from all the chaos, for the time and space to reflect on your life. Good things are always present in our lives and we just fail to recognize them! For this trip, I thank the Lord over and over again. I was anticipating some travel mishaps, but I almost had none! I’m grateful that I did not crash my scooter, nor did I encounter a police checkpoint. I’m grateful for all the people who assisted me.
I’m grateful for the people who shared their stories with me! I’m grateful for the beauty that is Camiguin! It is now my favorite trip by far because I did it NOT ON MY OWN, but with GOD and with EVERYONE who helped me out!