It was a sunny to partly cloudy August 21 holiday when my high school friends and I took off for Cebu to go on a backpacking adventure. Yes, we backpacked from north to south of Cebu all in 3 days. It’s been a tradition of ours to go somewhere here in the Philippines or abroad at least once every year. Each trip is different but just as fun and enjoyable as the others.
Coming from the recent Cebu trip and all our previous travels, I’ve realized that there are 5 rules for traveling with friends: 1) Assign roles; 2) Maximize your time; 3) Just roll with it; 4) Make time for alone time and 5) Relish Murphy’s Law. Allow me to explain each one and in the process, I’ll be imparting bits and pieces of our eventful trip!
1) ASSIGN ROLES
“Let’s go to Korea!” “Game!” “Let’s go to Cebu!” “Game!” “Let’s go diving!” “Game! Let’s go on a food trip too!” Hadn’t anyone taken charge, nothing would’ve happened. We would’ve gotten stuck in endless wishlist discussions on what-to-do’s and where-to-go’s. If you and your friends are like us who don’t really see each other on a daily basis, assigning roles is pretty important when planning a trip. I can think of several travel tasks right now, but I think there are four most important tasks that need people in charge. Below are the qualifications and responsibilities:
- Initiator: His or her job begins months before the trip. Must always be online and on the lookout for seat sales and promos. Prompts everyone about the seat sale via SMS, almost leaving them with no choice but to say yes. Books flights for everyone. Oh and because of this, he or she must have a credit card.
- Planner: OC-ness, empathy and listening skills needed. Gets inputs from everyone and casts the itinerary in stone. Balances out the itinerary based on each one’s preferences and limitations. Sends out the final itinerary to all. Tough, tough job!
- Treasurer: Must be the most OC person when it comes to money. Budget forecaster, custodian of cash, tracker of expenses.
- Photographer: Should be the type to take photos of EVERYTHING — from the clouds outside the plane window to the airport sign to the food and drinks and down to the littlest of seashells by the seashore.
It was Prach who learned about the seat sale and asked Daisy to text blast all of us. Prach booked the flights for everyone. Thank you, Prach! (Photo taken at Beach Placid, the resort we stayed in)
Thank you, Daisy, for being both Planner and Treasurer during this trip and all trips that came before this! Daisy’s itinerary is always very detailed, containing a little bit of trivia about each place all the way to the per hour schedule. (Photo taken at Virgin Island, one of the islands we hopped on.)
She lives by #capturethemoments, while he believes in #enjoythemoment. Pao thinks that taking photos of everything somewhat takes out the enjoyment, but he still supports Gian’s passion for taking photos. Thanks, Gian, for all the photos! Thank you, both! (Taken at Hukab Golden Cowrie in Ayala Center Cebu)
2) MAXIMIZE YOUR TIME.
We went on a 3-hour road trip from Cebu City to Oslob, another 3-hour trip back to the city, and then another 3-hour trip from the city to Bantayan Island. This may seem impractical to some, but we thought why not maximize our time and do everything we can while we’re there? We really wanted to swim with the whalesharks, so we purposely took the long drives just to make it happen. Sharing below some photos from our whaleshark or “butanding” experience!
3) JUST ROLL WITH IT.
There will always be things on the itinerary that you’d rather not do because of fear or mere lack of interest. Similarly, there are items on the itinerary that may not go as planned because of forces beyond your control. Just roll with it — have a back-up plan and be thankful for the opportunity to try something new!
I’m still not sure if it’s heights or roller coasters I’m afraid of, but I sure have an utterly irrational fear of at least one of them. This is why I was dreading the edge coaster at the Cebu Sky Adventure which was number one on our itinerary! I was actually praying for heavy rain so that we wouldn’t push through with it. Well, I just decided to go with it and you know what? It’s actually one of my favorite parts of the trip. I wish I hadn’t been so scared while I was on it so I’d have a better view and appreciation of the gush-worthy Cebu skyline. (Taken from the top of the Crown Regency, after our edge coaster ride.)
While I was extremely agitated during our sky adventure, Aisa (front) dreaded open water. Still, she rolled with the waves and embarked on the experience. Good job, brave girl! (Taken in the middle of the sea somewhere between our resort and Virgin Island)
If you haven’t downloaded the Charades or Heads Up app yet, please do so! On our last night in Cebu, we had our sights set on a nice, rather large cottage by the beach. We wanted to play Monopoly Deal (among others) and have some drinks there. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to use the cottage because it belonged to another resort, so we had to settle for a much smaller nipa hut with a smaller table and could no longer play Monopoly Deal due to lack of space. We didn’t get what we wanted, but we had a blast playing charades and singing some Youtube karakoe songs afterwards.
4) TAKE SOME ALONE TIME.
This only applies to people like me who really want to take time alone once in a while. On the Sunday morning of our trip, I took time to explore the little town of Sta. Fe in Bantayan while my friends were lounging by the beach. Happy to share some photos from my me time:
No matter how small a town is, there’s always something fascinating to learn about it. In the photo with me is Kuya Junjun who gave me a tour of his little town during my me-time.
5) RELISH MURPHY’S LAW.
Again, Murphy’s Law says “anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. Murphy was our best friend during this trip. Murphy is like that toxic friend who stresses and pesters you. So why relish Murphy’s Law? This is because years from now, you and your friends will be laughing more about the things that went wrong or the little disasters that happened during your trip. Here’s how we encountered Murphy:
During this bus ride from Oslob to Cebu City, Gian was perkily taking photos of everyone. Little did she know that her luggage, which she placed at the compartment under the bus, was already gone! The conductor mistakenly handed it to another passenger who went down at another stop! All of her clothes, her swimsuits, and her *gasp* selfiepod were there! There were long discussions inside the bus operator’s office and mentions of filing complaints vs. the conductor. Thankfully, the conductor found the bag just in the nick of time and we made it to our boat ride to Bantayan. Yes, the incident caused us stress and panic but it’s one of the highlights of the trip! Thank you, Murphy.
Daisy and Prach left their room key inside the room, and we were about to head out to explore the town when we found out that they resort staff didn’t have a spare key! They had to dismantle the door knob just to get inside. It took them almost 2 hours but we never saw it as a plan ruiner. While waiting, we just proceeded with our super fun photo shoot for The Tie Dye Project! Thank you, Murphy.
Just when we thought nothing could further go wrong on our last day, Aisa suddenly loses her underwater camera. The other girls had to dive and swim just to find it, until they saw a happy little boy holding a new toy-treasure he found. Aisa had to burst his bubble, of course, by taking the camera back. Poor kid.
Pao was the lucky one. Nothing really happened to him, but he suffered from diarrhea as soon as our plane landed back home. Thank you, Murphy.
Incidents like this, no matter how taxing and nerve-wracking they are, are what actually makes a trip memorable.
I had such a great time with these guys and I’m already looking forward to our next trip. Do YOU have your own rules when traveling with friends? Share them below!
Photo Credit: Aisa Dela Cruz, Gian Ramos
Shirts: The Tie Dye Project