Cebu Pacific’s Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge 2017 #JuanForFun2017
Tablas Adventure: It was a typical morning at work when I received a message asking me if I’m willing to do a “secret destination challenge” for a certain campaign. Being the adventurous travel and photo enthusiast that I am, I immediately said YES Without even asking for details except for the fact that it was gonna be an ALL-EXPENSE paid trip.
A few more days before the flight, they deposited the pocket money and we had a mini briefing over the phone. This was the time when I found out that I will be one of the 10 bloggers who will be sent to different destinations for CEBU PACIFIC’S JUAN FOR FUN BACKPACKER CHALLENGE 2017, blogger edition.
The rules were simple:
I will be sent to a secret place- My itinerary will be sent 4 hours before, along with a video revealing my assigned destination.
I will be going alone
Php 10,000 pocket money will be given and I can use it FREELY for accommodation, food, tours and recreational activities for 3 days and 2 nights
My adventure passport will be picked up at the counter upon check-in. This little booklet will include challenges I have to conquer for additional points!
My initial thoughts after the briefing were: This is it. My mom has always been my travel buddy when I was young and I’ve been traveling with my boyfriend for three years already… and now, it will be my first time to travel ALONE. Can my sheltered self do this? Backpacking? I am not used to backpacking. I hope I survive. Can I buy my boyfriend a last-minute ticket? I have no dronnneeeeeee! (Yes, I do the photography and my boyfriend takes the drone footages.)
But at the back of these thoughts, I was happy. Who would have thought that a little girl who made a blog for the sake of sharing her photography snaps and travels will be invited to be part of Cebu Pacific’s Juan for Fun challenge. It kind of meant that I am doing or I did something that’s worth sharing. This led me to be determined to overcome all challenges while enjoying myself!
MY BACKPACKING CHECKLIST:
- A reliable backpack with support straps for your back in order to avoid injury.
- Swimwear or Rash guard
- Cash, IDs and ATM
- Comfortable clothes and Cap
- Waterproof Laundry bag/Plastic
- Dry bag (at least 20 liters)
- A notebook and pen to keep track of your expenses and itineraries
- Insect repellant and Sunblock
- Toiletries (You can buy small containers for your shampoo/conditioner for less than Php 100 per set)
- Emergency flashlight
- Footwear, preferably sandals that is good for water and terrain. Bring aqua shoes if possible.
- Energy snacks
- Foldable umbrella
- Waterproof camera
After finding out that Tablas, Romblon was my destination last April 5, I literally jumped for joy. Haha! I’ve always wanted to go to Tablas out of curiosity since it’s a fairly new route and there aren’t many itineraries about the place. The lack of available itineraries made me challenged to discover the place even more.
Ceb Go uses the newest ATR 72-600 suitable for Tablas Airport’s runway
Upon arriving at around 1PM, I immediately looked for a trike driver who’d be willing to be hired for a whole day. For me, this is the most optimum way of going around the island since I will be able to control my time and destinations (just like freelancing hehe). I found Kuya Kits who offered me Php 2,500 good for two and a half days, lower than the initial 3,000. (It’s quite steep for a solo traveler, but the rate is already good for 3-4 pax so bring your friends with you!) I don’t mind paying because I know I’ll be able to maximize my time.) Waiting for a jeepney in a destination that most tourists are yet to discover will be time-consuming and attractions are almost an hour away from each other or more, so I did not bother haggling further.
USEFUL FACTS ABOUT TABLAS:
- Largest of the Islands in Romblon
- Romblon is the marble capital of the Philippines
- It will take 1:10 hours from Manila to Tablas via Cebu Pacific (They are the only airline carrying this destination now)
- There is only one flight to Tablas, 4 times a week.
- You can reach Tablas via Roro, but it will take you around 10-12 hours and rough seas.
- The people are well-versed in Filipino, and there are a lot of dialects in the island
- You can go around via Jeepney, Habal-habal, tricycle and pedicab
Now I will let my photos do most of the talking…
Looc Fish Sanctuary (30 minutes away from the airport)
From Looc, there is a short boat ride to the floating cottage/house. Entrance fee is 100 php.
There’s an open aquarium where you can feed the fishes!
I found friends along the way!
TIP: Bring your own bread and go in the morning, when fishes aren’t full.
It is located in Ferrol, also known as sunset cove. Most businesses here are owned by foreigners. The place is perfect for swimming and sun bathing. There are accommodations in the area as well.
Aglicay Beach Resort – Entrance Fee Php 100
Although Binucot has pretty sunsets, I preferred to spend my sunset viewing at Aglicay, a Filipino owned resort. It is the longest beach stretch in the island.
I was in awe when I trekked to the top of the little hill. I kinda wished our drone was with me. I could imagine the aerial view of the place— breathtaking.
I decided to check in at Aglicay since I wanted to do a little stargazing at dawn. I paid Php1,000 for an air-conditioned room. Standard rate starts at Php 1,600 for 4 persons.
TIP: Pre-order your food before 5:00PM; Dishes are from 200-300 and are good for 2-3pax.
Beach Bumming- A great thing about new destinations is there aren’t a lot of people yet.
Stargazing – I woke up at 4 am and went out of my room (which was situated on a hill). As I peeked through the window after turning off the lights, I saw brightest part of the milky way with my naked eye. CAN. YOU.IMAGINE. THAT. I didn’t need a constellation tracker! It means that the sky was dark and free from too much light pollution. I immediately took my camera out to take a snapshot:
STARGAZING gives justice to the quote “the best things in life are FREE” No, you won’t be able to see skies as clear as this one, only in Tablas and other remote destinations!
After my Milky way session came in the SUNRISE SESSION
I was picked up by Kuya Kits at Aglicay at around 7AM and we went to our next destination.
The entrance is free but you should pay 5 php for the maintenance. Too bad the falls was dry because of the season.
From the falls, it took us an hour to go to Calatrava for island hopping.
After lunch, we rested a bit and went straight to the mini port for our island hopping. The cost was Php 1,400 and the boat was already good for 10 pax
Paksi Cove (Turtle Cove) Entrance Fee is 50 pesos. There are 3 coves in this place. Number 3 was my favorite.
Lapus Lapus- Did not go down and pay 20 pesos because the cove looked similar to the first ones we went to.
Tinagong Dagat – This used to be a popular destination especially for foreigners but the recent typhoon destroyed the beauty of the place.
After island hopping, we ate lunch and Halo-halo in Odiongan. We only paid Php 110 for 3 viands, 2 rice and soup! My trike driver treated me the halo-halo, thank you Kuya Kits! From here, we departed and I took a Jeep to Alcantara around 5pm to check in at Beach Park. Travel time was almost 2 hours.
Dinner with Locals – I checked in at Beach Park around 6pm. Room rate was just 550 php for a fan room and immediately fell asleep. When I woke up at 8 and tried strolling around while looking for food, the stores were already closed. Good thing the locals there were very kind and they offered to cook food for me for a low cost of 90 pesos. I had corned beef, rice and soft drinks. Lesson learned, always reserve your food beforehand!
It was already drizzling during day 3 (but it became sunny around 10am) so I did not have much time to go for a quick tour already. My hotel was just a 5-minute walk to Tablas Airport so I checked out around 11am for my 1pm flight.
My first-ever backpacking experience was indeed fun thanks to the additional challenges given to me!
Try a local delicacy
Taghilaw is Romblon’s version of pork innards cooked in vinegar and garlic.
Ride different public transportation modes
Plane to Tablas – Jeep to Alcantara – Trike around the island – Boat for island hopping
Take a photo of the sunset
You can have beautiful silhouettes along Manila bay so I thought of a different sunset perspective, I captured it right after the golden hour and the hues were amazing, I wanted to show the beauty of Aglicay while capturing the sunset.
- Plan ahead to save time, but sometimes spontaneity is the way to go!
- Talk to the locals, they will be able to suggest better itineraries. I love talking to locals and hearing their stories. It’s somewhat an eye opener on how simple but fun life is.
- Bring cash for some places do not have a lot of ATMs
- Disconnect from the internet world when traveling, it helps you appreciate your companions more
- Try local delicacies
SUGGESTED ITINERARY AND EXPENSES FOR 4 PAX: (I highly suggest that you bring your friends to maximize the experience)
I learned a lot from this trip and of course, enjoyed. I thought I would be anxious about it since I will be traveling alone but my anxiety turned into excitement real quick upon finding out that I will be going to Tablas. I have discovered things about myself and I was able to do things I thought I could not do, the best part was I WAS ABLE TO DO THESE FUN ACTIVITIES FOR FREE Thanks to Cebu Pacific’s Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge! I can’t wait for what’s next!
Do you and your friends want to win a one year travel-all-you-can pass? Join Cebu Pacific’s JUAN FOR FUN 2017!
- College students or fresh graduates aged 18-23 years old can join, form a team of 3, could be from different colleges / universities
- Each member of the winning team will receive a 1 year travel-all-you-can pass
- Application period is from April 5 to May 15, 2017 (11:59 PH time)
- For more details, visit and follow Cebu Pacific’s Official pages:
- Or follow Cebu Pacific’s Twitter and Instagram accounts @cebupacificair to learn more and score promos
Are you up for the challenge? SIGN UP NOW!