Friday, September 9, 2011


You have no idea how much respect we have for backpackers and how much we look up to them.  Because we can't, for the life of us, imagine how we'd make it alive if we were to go backpacking.   

We know traveling backpacking-style is a better way of getting oneself immersed in a country's culture, and can give you unique experiences that you won't get in traditional travel.

It's just that... it's really not for everyone.  We are part of that everyone.  Don't get us wrong, we are not extravagant travelers either.  Remember we don't even fly business class?  But, our idea of a vacation is one that is at least convenient.  Relaxing.  Enjoyable.  Pure fun.  Unlike some people, we don't have the luxury of traveling for 4 or 5 or 6 months straight.  We can't just leave our lives in the Philippines in a snap.  When we go out of the country, it's usually just for a few days, a week, or 1 month max.  That's why we always want our short vacation to at least be comfortable and leisurely before we go back to chaotic Manila. 

According to Wikipedia, backpacking combines the activities of hiking and camping in backcountry wilderness.  Backpacking is a term that has historically been used to denote a form of low-cost, independent international travel.  The factors that traditionally differentiate backpacking from other forms of tourism include but are not limited to the following: use of public transport as a means of travel, preference of youth hostels to traditional hotels, length of the trip vs. conventional vacations, use of a backpack, an interest in meeting the locals as well as seeing the sights Erik Cohen notes that even though one of the primary aims of backpacking is to seek the authentic, the majority of backpackers spend most of their time interacting with other backpackers.

Based on that definition, here are 12 reasons why we can never be backpackers.

1.  We don't even own a backpack. 
Okay we own one, but it's not really the kind of backpack one is going to use for backpacking. 

2.  Even if we own a 'real' backpack, all our stuff won't fit in it.
Unless they make a really really huge kind.  But even if manufacturers come up with an extra gigantic backpack, we still probably won't be able to carry it on our backs without tipping over.

When we had an overnight trip to Hong Kong, this is what we brought with us.  Imagine what we'd bring if it's a 4-day trip, or... a month.  Like what we always say... Why travel light, when you can travel NOT light? Hahaha Okay that's nonsense but you get the idea.
Hong Kong Overnight Luggage

3.  Even if there's a huge backpack that can fit all our stuff that we can carry without making us tip over, we're gonna need one more.
And no it's already impossible for us to bring two.  When we travel, we always leave home with almost overweight baggage and for some unexplainable reason, just like magic, we accumulate even more little things that eventually make our luggage weight double.  Remember our fear of paying for excess baggage charges?  Well, we solve them by sending home some stuff ahead of us.  If we were to go backpacking, it's either we carry boxes like these around, or we send one home like, every two weeks.   
"Extra" stuff from London, with Love
Macy working on the monogram hahaha
The guy from the shipping company said this is the most colorful box he ever picked up from customers.

4. The term Camping will be put to shame.
We have a ridiculous idea of how camping should be.  Macy thinks camping means bringing a Disney Princess pop-up tent (no assembly required), a matching Disney Princess sleeping bag, and a pink foldable camping chair.  Even if we'd love to go camping with you, we're not sure if you'd love to go camping with us.
Macy's camping must-haves

5.  The term Hiking will be put to shame.
Karol once joined her friends in hiking the Taal Volcano.  She wore a pink tiara and a pink leather boa... and no, we're not joking.  
Karol on the boat in the middle of Taal Lake
After the hike, Karol swore she'd never go to any place that starts with the letters MT again.   Ever. 

6.  We don't own a pair of serious shoes.
Y'know... the sporty, durable, all-weather, take-anywhere kind.  When Karol went hiking, she even borrowed a pair of Chucks from her 10-year old niece.  If she didn't, she'd be hiking in black patent ballet flats.
Karol's niece's chucks

7.  We stop functioning when we start to sweat. 
We don't mind walking for hours as long as we don't sweat.  Once we start sweating, we slowly transform into monsters.  That's why we stay away from strenuous activities, or whatever it is that requires too much energy.  Haha. 
Macy after going inside the tunnels of Cu Chi
Us with friends about to die under the Roman sun

8.  For everyone's good, we can't stay in hostels. 
Everyone will probably kick us out.  It takes us a long time to use the bathroom, so imagine how it will be like if the whole hostel floor share a bathroom.  Aside from that, our equally paranoid parents won't let us.  When we went to London to study, we initially booked a dorm/hostel type of accommodation and Macy's dad freaked out.  He thinks we'll get murdered.  He said if we'll be staying in a hostel, he won't allow us to go.  Blame the movies!!  We told her dad that we can't afford to stay in a hotel for a long period of time so he said "Okay, okay... I'll pay for whatever is the price difference between that hostel you booked and a hotel."  We had no choice... without arguing, we said "Okay po, hotel it is."  (deep inside we're screaming HOOORAYYY WE'LL STAY IN A HOTEL THE WHOLE TIMEEEE YEAH YEAH
our 'home' in London for months
It's not like we stay in 5-star hotels all the time (we wish though hahaha)... just as long as the bathroom and linens are clean, then we're good.  We don't mind if the TV set and all the other amenities are ancient.  And yeah it's a plus if they have free wi-fi... and room service... and...

9.  Public Transport is never a Plan A.  It is ALWAYS the Plan B.
If we have a choice, we'd take a private car over any means of public transport, any time.  If we can afford it, a private car with a driver is definitely the way to go.  
Macy, our driver Kasem, and 'our' car in Dubai
Macy, Jason our guide, our van, and our driver Twin inside

10.  We have train and bus ride issues.
While most people would take the train from London to Paris, we would choose to fly.  We have issues with train rides and long bus rides.  This is probably because we just want to get from point A to point B pronto.  We travel for short periods of time, remember?
arriving Charles de Gaulle Airport from London

11.  We NEED pre-arranged bookings.
We can't be backpacker-spontaneous.  We have to have a plan laid out, with everything pre-arranged.  Not hour by hour, but at least day by day.  We have to know the exact dates we're flying in, and when we're flying out.  We have to have all air tickets and hotel vouchers that we'd be needing for a trip, otherwise our plans won't come to life.  If we don't pre-arrange everything before leaving Manila, we won't get anywhere.  Our lazy asses would be stuck in whatever city we flew in.  We once planned to go to Switzerland, but because we didn't buy tickets ahead of time, we ended up sleeping and eating.  Great plan. 
Switzerland Fail

12.  We don't talk to strangers.
The lesson they taught us in preschool kinda got stuck inside our brains.  If interacting with locals and other backpackers is 10 points in a backpacking test, we'd probably get only 1 point.  Yes, we'd fail.  No, we're not un-friendly, it's just that we're paranoid.  We'd talk to people, smile at them, say hi, have small chitchats, but it will never go beyond that.  It will never reach the point that we'd go for night-outs in clubs or bars drinking with them, or even further, explore another city with them.  When we joined a cruise for example, we were assigned to a table together with two guy friends and two girl friends.  We spent every dinner laughing and chatting with them, but we never joined them for after-dinner drinks or any cruise activity outside our dinner table.  The other four, on the other hand, got really close to each other that by the time the cruise is about to end, they were already having issues with each other. HAHA.  I guess our inhibitions are also partly because we were raised in Manila where trust is something you don't give easily to strangers.  We all hear about stories of crimes everyday - rape, kidnapping, murder.  Since the Budol-budol gang became famous, we permanently inscribed the lesson Don't talk to strangers in our heads.  When in an unfamiliar place, after all, it's better safe than sorry.
our dinner group in Carnival Paradise cruise

What about you?  Raise your hand if you're traditional like us!


  1. I agree with you guys! Thumbs up! =)

  2. I agree with 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7. I can't be backpacker with 6/12 of the list. when it comes to travelling. I can't get out of my comfort zone.

  3. Vallarfax, you're one of us!!!! :)

    Kuya Keith, nagulat po kami na ikaw pala yang nagsasalita. Kami din nahihirapan kung madaming sakripisyo lalo na kung nasa ibang lugar. Sa pagkakataon na hindi sapat ang aming pangtustos sa pag-travel, sinasabi namin "sa bahay nalang tayo wag nalang muna tayo umalis". Hehe.

  4. Natawa naman ako sa picture mo Macy, the one where you're wiping your face. Ang kulet.

    I used to like backpacking when I was younger. Back then all I really care is going some places out of the city. But after a few tries I realized it's not for me. It's not that I don't have the energy but i am a clutz. Lagi ako nadadapa or nadudulas kapag naghike na. I still wanted to give it a try but I don't think I stil have the energy anymore. I sounded like I'm too old na but my idea of a vacation now has changed. It should be stress free, hassle free, relaxing and pure pleasure and fun.

    Some will think this is all kaartehan ek-ek and some will agree but to each his own. I agree I would rather stay at home than go on cheap vacation. I tried this before. I enjoyed the place, dami activies but can't try them all due to limited budget. Ending i was not able to fully enjoy my stay.

    Great post girls!

  5. Haahaha I swear ang init and nakakapagod talaga!

    Thanks Jelly Bean for taking time to read! And welcome to our group, the Clumsy Club! :)


  6. When you do backpacking and sum up all your expenses, you'll realizing the slim difference between those of backpacking and pre-arranged (traditional) trips.

    But if you are for adventure and thrill, backpacking will definitely fit you!

    LOL on tiara and boa thing! haha!

  7. True Jonah! :) The boa and tiara gave Karol the powers she needed to survive the hike! Haha!

  8. Pacomment! :)

    Hindi ko din keri ang mga couch surfing na yan dahil baka ikamatay ko. Flashpackers daw ang tawag sa mas gumagasta kesa sa Backpackers.

    Nagiging monster din ako pag pinapawisan katulad ng sa Cu Chi Tunnel sa Vietnam. :)

    And I totally agree with the things our country can teach us. I remember I was going to Istanbul one time and people were so scared for me saying I should be careful because it is crowded and I can get mobbed. The Pinoy in me got so alert that when I reached the place, I can't help but laugh. Istanbul is child's play as compared to Manila. Excuse me, but I am a Filipino. I have incomparable survival skills that only my country can teach. :)

  9. michymichymoo, true! If we were boys, a lot of what we've said here would probably be taken off the list. Maybe we'd be less paranoid about our safety and maybe luggage space won't be an issue at all! ;)

  10. Les! Scary yung concept ng couch surfing diba? Baka hindi na tayo makabalik ng Pinas. Haha. I'd like to believe na the world is an ideal place... pero hindi talaga eh. HAHA! Madami talaga manloloko kahit saan.

    Kami naman ni Macy sa Naples may lumapit sa amin, sabi take off our watches daw and keep them in our bags instead, because madami daw Italian gangsters and they target watches. Siguro yung ibang nationalities who got that advice will just do it right away. Kami discuss muna for 5 minutes... possible na he's being nice pero it's also possible na hindi. Sabi namin "shocks baka modus nila yan, tapos sa next street may mag-snatch ng bag natin, watches included!!!" Haha anyway we took off our watches parin pero kulang nalang itali ko sa leeg ko yung bag ko. That's how fast-forward Filipinos think haha! Kaya totoo yan, we are more likely to survive without being harmed because of our decades of training haha!

  11. love this post! iba talaga pag girls ang kasama pag namamasyal. with my best friend in HK, we allot time to straighten or curl our hair bef. going out. :D with my sis and cousin in SG, we always rode the taxi bec. they don't want public transpo like the MRT.

    quite a big difference when I'm travelling with my husband and you know how men are... :D

  12. Haha that's true skulgirltrx! Like you and your friend, we also allot time to fix our hair in the morning. On days that we need to wake up early, we always say "we can just wake up a bit later and not dry/iron our hair OR wake up early, iron our hair but... we'll have eye bags." We always choose eyebags (we can cover it with a concealer naman) over messy hair haha!!!

    Traveling with girlfriends is always the funnest! ;) ;)

  13. No. 2 is the only item I didn't agree with but that's because I can pack light and I rarely shop when I travel (my travel pet peeve). But super funny post! I love the "camping must-haves". I'd want the same except it has to be all Hello Kitty. :D People can say it's "kaartehan" but we all have our different threshold levels for certain activities and places and I'm afraid, backpacking isn't for me either. Peace of mind is a top priority talaga especially when you're in an unfamiliar territory and that's something you kind of have to sacrifice from time to time if you're a backpacker.

  14. Hi Debbie! We definitely agree on everything you've said! Yes people say it's kaartehan but kaartehan for us equals comfort. And if there's a Hello Kitty tent available we might give camping a try, but in our bakuran lang muna siguro. Haha! Thanks! :)