Travel Woes and How to Avoid Them

Ever since hubs and I have been together, we’ve been doing a lot of traveling. Albeit not the kind of travel you expect, like going out of the country and sorts, though we’re getting there. I guess with us coming from different places allow us to travel to visit friends and family in different parts of the country.

But last year was different. Because Josh’s job took him to the northern part of Mindanao in the last quarter, we made the decision to spend it together with just us two. We were very happy that we did that because in the previous Christmases, we spent it with his and my family. So it was our first to celebrate the Yuletide season in an unfamiliar place.

And boy we had one of the best times of our lives.

Of course, our little adventure didn’t come without any setbacks. Like for example, my scheduled trip to CDO City was delayed for nine frigging hours, which led us to the decision of spending Christmas Eve in Cagayan de Oro City.

And on my way back home to Cebu in January, the ship that I was supposed to get on didn’t arrive. So another scheduled trip canceled. Without a single notice form the ferry company. Imagine the exasperation I felt. We were already in Nasipit where the ship was supposed to dock when I read an announcement my trip was canceled. What’s worse? They couldn’t provide definite schedule for the next trip. We had to travel to the next city, Butuan, to get a refund and to find another option to get home.

I remember the weather that day was really bad. We were drenched by the time we found a hotel. Imagine the exasperation and exhaustion we felt. Plus, we were low in cash at that time. It’s a good thing we still had some left enough to buy me a flight ticket home.

Well, as I think about what happened to us, it was one heck of an experience we don’t want to happen ever again. And I’m sure you don’t want to, too. So, I thought I’d share to you some travel tips that I hope can save from experiencing the same woes we had, especially during peak travel seasons, like the coming Holy week and Christmas.

Tip 1: Don’t go with the flow. 

If you can help it, don’t travel during peak days to avoid the crowd. I remember Josh telling me to sail to CDO on a Saturday to avoid the crowd. But I insisted on leaving on the 23rd because I had some stuff to take care of in the office. Well, I wished I listened to him. I could’ve saved myself from such a huge inconvenience.

If you’re going to travel during the peak season try to travel days before the holiday. Of course, if you have work, consider talking to your boss about work arrangements. Or, make use of your vacation leaves.

Tip 2: Opt for the most reliable.

On my trip to Gingoog City, I decided to go for Cokaliong Shipping Lines because they have a ship that sails from Cebu to Nasipit, which is just a 45-minute drive to Gingoog. A more convenient option than sailing to CDO City, or so I thought.

I called their office to reserve a ticket a month before my scheduled departure but was informed to try again in the first week of December. Well, I waited. When I tried again in December, they said to call back again at least two weeks before my travel date. I did. Well, nothing happened. A week before my scheduled departure, they told me they couldn’t issue any ticket because there was something wrong with their system. That was when I got really P.O’ed.

To make the story short, I had to book a ticket from another shipping lines at the last minute. Had I known it was going to happen, I should’ve bought me a flight to Butuan earlier,  saving me from all the inconvenience.

Tip 3: Be open to other transportation options. 

Thinking we could save money on opting for a boat ride to Gingoog City, I think we ended up spending more, what with the delay and unexpected expense.

To make things short, be open to other transport options. If we have a car, I’d probably just go on a road trip. Of course, renting is out of the question as I don’t have a driver’s license.

That said, it doesn’t hurt to check online for options. Like for example, RelayRides. I found this site on one of my musings on the net and it’s really interesting how they create a community allowing car owners to earn money from their cars by renting them out. What’s more? They also offer airport rentals. Man, if only we have that kind of service here. That would probably solve our transport issues. Anyway, the point is. Consider your options before making a choice.

Tip 4: Always have a backup plan. 

As the say, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Although, Josh and I have been planning my trip for a month, we didn’t plan enough. I also failed to anticipate the worse when traveling on a peak holiday. So yeah. Apart from having a Plan B, make sure you have Plan C and D as well.

Well, despite what happened, we still had a lot of fun spending quality time together in an unfamiliar territory. Would we travel during peak holiday season? Sure, we would. But we know better. And hopefully, this year, we’ll be able to do better in our holiday planning.

What travel woes have you experienced, and how did you overcome them? I’d like to hear them so we can all learn from our experiences.

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Tiklas Falls and How to Get There (Gingoog City Trip Part 5… when will this end?)

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 Who would’ve thought this beautiful waterfall is just a 15-minute drive from Gingoog City.

Yup.

It’s that near. And we’re fortunate enough to borrow a motorcyle from Josh’s colleague and to see the sights of Tiklas Falls.

We were lucky enough to be the first to arrive so we had the place all to ourselves. We didn’t go for a swim, though. Just took some pictures and enjoyed the view. It’s not all the time that we can hike to a falls. I mean the last time we went to one was back then when hubs and I were still dating. I think it was some time in 2009. So that was a long, long time ago.

Anyway, it’s pretty easy to find this magnificent falls. If you’re anywhere but in Cagayan de Oro or Butuan City, you can catch a plane going to the said destinations. From there, take a bus or V-Hire (van for hire) to Gingoog City. Once in the city, you can take a jeepney or tricycle ride towards east from the city center and look for a huge signage that leads to Tiklas Falls. It’s about a 5-minute ride so no worries. Then turn left from the signage and just follow the brown dusty road to Tiklas Falls. You can tell if you’re already near because you can hear the sound of a river rushing down the road. And the air gets cool too.

The entrance to the falls is just Php 20.00 per person with free cottage use. I’m not sure how much the cost for the use of the pool, though, because, as I said, we didn’t take a dip. Oh, there are cottages available so it’s okay to bring your own food and stuff.

From CDO or Butuan City, the trip is will take you around four to five hours so be sure to get enough rest and pack up on snacks. But if you have a private vehicle to use, the travel time is probably shorter than that.

And that’s it. Hope you enjoy Tiklas Falls as much as we did.

Christmas at Rizal Park (Gingoog City Part 4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I love about the Yuletide season are the bright Christmas lights illuminating the dark. Somehow, they make dark less scary. Plus, seeing all the bright lights perks me up, gives me hope and just makes me feel happy.

 

That’s why I couldn’t help myself when hubs and I strolled around Rizal Park in Gingoog City just to take pictures of almost every decor we can find. By the way, the city run a contest so that explains the numbers on top of a nativity. I don’t know who won, but who cares? They’re all lovely to see.

 

Tatak Plaza (Gingoog City Part 3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you’re in a sleepy little city on a gloomy Sunday afternoon with a motorcycle at your disposable, you go mini city tour. And tour we did.

We slept in pretty late that Sunday because it was cold and it was our first weekend together for a long while so we made sure to cuddle and spoon for a little while.

But after several hours of cuddling, our tummies couldn’t handle the pressure anymore. We just had to go out and grab some lunch.

Afterwards, we went to Tatak Plaza where you can see giant statues. I heard it’s a popular destination for local teens to hang out at night, but we just had to head over there during the day because, well, who would want a photo bomber in your photos, right?

Tatak Plaza can be found just across Rizal Park, which I will be posting pictures mighty soon. For now, this will have to do. It’s a neat place because besides the statues, there also stores at the sides. We even did a little shopping. So pardon my bulky bag.

We had to cut our mini tour short because it started to drizzle that time and we just didn’t want to get wet. Little did we know that the rainy weather was due to a tropic storm headed to our direction. Thank goodness there were no casualties or major damages.

Up next, Rizal Park and many more. 🙂

Night and Day (GC Trip Part 2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All-time favorite kwek-kwek.

On my first night in the city, Josh took me to the first of two places where people go to unwind. Yes, they don’t have a mall or even a small department store. But thank goodness they have a park and pier they call boulevard.

At night, the place is packed with mostly teenagers dating or looking for someone. I don’t know what the place looks like on days other then the Christmas holiday, but at that the time, the place is lighted with colorful Christmas lights coming from the recycled nativity sets and decorations.

By day, it’s a deserted place with only a few food stalls open and some folks fishing at the dock. Well, you can’t blame them as the place is doesn’t offer enough shade from the sun. We were lucky to find a stall that sold food for lunch.

Well, that’s pretty much it for their boulevard. The most fun thing we did was people watching. Hehehe.