In three months from now I will celebrate my birthday on Feb 21st. After I got bitten by the travel bug I no longer celebrate my birthday inside the house, it has to be somewhere else. It does not need to be that expensive, all I just want is a new place to reflect and somehow I learned to love meeting the locals in every place I go, eating the food and knowing their culture.
It just so happen that last year, I spent it at EDSA Shangri-la Manila, it is a 5 – star hotel I know. If not for the contest I won, celebrating my natal day in a suite that costs PHP17k or USD361 plus a two – hour body massage and wrap that costs PHP 7k+ or USD150 is nearly impossible. In other words, I celebrated my birthday that costs a total of PHP24k or USD510 totally for free.
I just love joining travel related contests and I don’t win all the time, but two months ago, I won a roundtrip flight to Hong Kong courtesy of an Instagram contest by Cathay Pacific. It is good for two Economy tickets so I am tagging along my Mom in her first ever out of the country trip at the age of 57. In my birthday this 2016, I have no other wish than make my Mom’s dream come true.
Now I was really thinking of how to cut the cost of both of us since I plan to see Hong Kong and Macau too. I figure out if I can have more travel buddies with me, that will really help a lot for sharing the expenses from riding cabs to food. I don’t need to look further because I got two brothers and a sister who have stable jobs therefore, they can afford to go with me. Last Sunday, it took me only a split second to convince them. Monday, we missed a promo of Cebu Pacific for 50% off. We could have booked a flight roundtrip Manila to Hong Kong for PHP 3200 only USD68!
I initially planned to DIY the whole trip for the reason we have to make this trip as cheapest as possible but since we are already 5 plus the 2 best friends of my sister, it would be a very good idea to get a tour package so that we have a peace of mind and that we don’t need to worry of anything. This trip is a family bonding moment and celebration of life & love, not the usual solo backpacking trip I am used to.
Daily Deal Sites
I did a quick online search for package tours to Hong Kong and Shenzhen for 3d2n, the normal rate per person is around PHP13K which absolutely we cannot afford. Out of nowhere I was browsing my Yahoo mail app and learned of a 50% off or PHP7k only instead of the normal price of Hong Kong tour, Macau boat transfer and Disneyland through a deal sites that I used to subscribe years back! That solved my problem, only now we don’t plan to buy it but at least I have an idea of where to get a dirt – cheap tour package. With Christmas and New Year coming, I am sure that there’s gonna be lots of promos going on so that is what I am looking forward.
I am thinking of getting a tour package for 3 days only then on the 4th day, we want to just relax and enjoy being in another country – stroll to the nearest park or savor the moment in our room. We plan to get an apartment through Airbnb because we want to cook too.
My two brothers have passports already. My sister does not have one yet so she is on her way. .Here in Philippines, you can have your passport in two ways: Express delivery in 15 days which costs PHP1200 or the regular rate for 1 month waiting time if you are not in a hurry is PHP 950. My mom’s passport has expired already. She got it 15 years ago when she was attempting to work abroad as an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) but that time, she can’t bear living our youngest sister who is just turning 2 years old so she gave up the opportunity. I think our life could have a changed way better if she left, maybe we have a bigger house, more appliances inside like our neighbors who have gone abroad to work.
I have not claimed my free flight for my Mom and I yet as I am too busy, will do it before I leave Manila on Dec. 15th to spend the rest of the holiday season with my family. I plan to spend at least a night in Legazpi City, where the Mount Mayon is located. This is also where I spent three years of my college life and 2 years of my work before I moved in Manila. I plan to book a hotel that is currently on sale through Cebu Pacific’s Getgo Lifestyle Rewards Program through Kaligo.com where I can get automatically 2,000 rewards points for booking my first hotel stay. Speaking of earning points, I regret not using my flight to Cambodia worth USD200.
The pic above by the way is my attire while I type the rough draft of this article a few days ago. I went to visit the Gourmand Market in BGC, Taguig.