It’s been a while since I last posted on this blog. I still have so much to write about (Florence, Berlin, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Zurich, Lucerne, the Swiss Alps) but still haven’t gotten around to it. 😦

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Paris: the Glitz and the Grime

Ah, Paris… Just the sound of it conjures images of sophistication, haute couture, and romance. But is Paris really just all about these things? Well, not exactly.


Our foray into our Europe began with Paris. For some reason, it had the cheapest flights from Manila, even cheaper than Berlin or Athens which were a lot closer to Manila than Paris. After traveling from Manila for 17 hours, we were tired but eager to explore the city.

Arrival at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. My face says it all.

Arrival at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. My face says it all.

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Tips on Traveling Europe on a Budget

It goes without saying that you need to save up before any trip (unless you’re rich and have an endless amount of disposable income, in which case, I hate you). Every peso counts. You don’t need that overpriced cup of Starbucks. You don’t need to party every weekend. You don’t need that new cellphone.

It’s all about priority. If travel is not your priority then you will ALWAYS have an excuse to defer it and spend your money elsewhere. I made my travel dreams happen because I desperately wanted them to come true. I was willing to sacrifice everything to be able to afford traveling.

Once you’ve saved up enough money for your trip, it’s time to get things rolling.

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Europe on a Shoestring: 24 Days, 6 countries, 8 cities for less than P120,000

You don’t have to be rich to travel to Europe. You just need discipline and tons of research to make the trip possible.

There was an article posted on ABS-CBN that claimed P55,000 was enough for a 5-day trip to Paris. But in my opinion, this budget can still be scaled down provided you don’t mind sleeping in hostels and getting food from the supermarket. This could mean sharing a bathroom with 10 other travelers and eating cold food with a plastic fork, but I really didn’t mind. I still had the best adventure of my life during my 24-day stay in Europe.

We found a really cheap roundtrip flight for Manila-Paris-Manila last July 2013 and booked it right away for fear of the fares getting higher by the day. We still haven’t applied for the Schengen visa then, but we figured it was worth the risk. This also gave us ample time to save up for the trip, which wouldn’t happen until March 2014.

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I first visited Japan as part of the Japan Airlines Study Tour back in the summer of 2001. It was a first of many firsts: first trip abroad, first trip without my family, first plane ride, first Visa, first taste of wanderlust. I was already a student of the Japanese language back then, having attended two semesters of basic Japanese, and I was beyond elated to finally be able to put those lessons into practical use.

Needless to say, I didn’t have any problems obtaining a Japanese Visa for this trip. Japan Airlines provided all the necessary documents I needed to present to the Embassy of Japan. In less than a month after I applied for the scholarship, I was on my way to Tokyo, Japan.

Japan Airline Scholarship Program Attendees 2001

Japan Airline Scholarship Program Attendees 2001

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