Watch out for the Luggage Sharks
In this article I’m going to give some of the best advices I did not get, to make your travel experience easier and enjoy your stay in Philippines as much as you can!
When traveling anywhere in Asia, Travel Light!
First of all, getting around in the Philippines is quite easy and fairly cheap, as long as you keep you baggage to a minimum. When you arrive in the Philippines you will land in Manila international airport, which is connected to many key point airports around the world. And from here you’ll be able to take many connection flights to other cities and islands. Most famous are Cebu, as a gateway to diving in Malapascua, diving in Malboal and diving in Mactan; Palawan, granting you access to diving Tubbataha Reef, diving in El Nido and wreck diving in Coron; and Mindoro Islands and its famous diving in Apo Reef and diving in Puerto Galera, among others.
Once in your island, if then you wish to travel around, I would suggest you rent a motorbike or a scooter for the day and pay max 300 Pesos! The owners of the bikes will try to hustle you, so make sure you check you motorbike or scooter carefully for scratches before you put your signature on their liability release paper. If you don’t feel comfortable riding a motorbike, you can always rent a tricycle for about 600-800 pesos for the day. With this kind of transportation will be able to visit beautiful waterfalls, underwater caves, nice beaches, and remote viewpoints. Note that rental shops usually dont ask for your driving license.
But nobody told me to travel light before I came here, and honestly I couldn’t have let anything behind anyways, but my girlfriend did have tons of things with her, so we just sent home 20 kg/44 lbs! So Guys! please tell you ladies to think if they really need all these things before you leave on your 1,5 year-around-the-world-trip. Okay okay, I had a pair of shoes in there, I know, but still!
So there we where, standing in Manila Airport, with 6 big 25kg suitcases, an 8kg pelican flight case, plus a 7 kg hand luggage suitcase, getting picked up to get driven to the airport hotel 200 meters away. That was just perfect, but the next day we were travelling to Mindoro, which meant we’d have to get an early morning minibus transfer that would carry all of our luggage to the Southern ferry pier in Batangas, to take the Banka (outrigger ferry), to go to Sabang, the dive capital in The Philippines.
So listen carefully what you definitely should NOT do!
The minivan driver said beforehand we should watch out at the pier, but he could not really explain exactly what we should watch out FOR! So I will:
When you come to Batangas Pier, tell all the Philippines who have gathered around your minivan to back off, and to go away because you can carry all of your bags yourself. If you can’t, make sure you only get help from ONE person. They will try to make you stressed! By shouting: the ferry is leaving in 5 minutes, you’re the last ones, the ferry is only waiting for you, hurry hurry hurry. It was still quite early in the morning when we arrived and we ended up getting help from like 10 people, who demanded 100 pesos each, because we thought we were going to miss the ferry, and then had to wait for 2 hours on the next one!! DAMMMNN! We didn’t pay them that much, I think we eventually settled with 600 pesos, but the 5 min. with total chaos, trying to keep track of all the bags on all the “helping” people’s backs was not worth it! Watch out for the Luggage Sharks!!
The people YOU CAN TRUST not rip you off, is the Blue T-Shirted staff members of the ferry company. You will recognize them, as they have plastic ID’s hanging somewhere visible on the front of the torso, and also have a nice attitude.
SO take your moment of ZEN: Don’t look like you’re lost!
Thanks for reading
Kasper Due Bække