Friday, October 16, 2015

6 Things I Think About When I Travel On A Budget

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. I remember the day I saw this statement from one of the notebooks I got from my brother and it made me realize that there is more to life than what my comfort zone can offer. A bright and wonderful world waiting for me to experience, discover, and fall in love with.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have not traveled the world but I have been to 2 countries aside from my own and I’d like to how I planned those trips because who said traveling is only for the rich? Hahaha...

6 things I think about when I travel on a budget

   1.  Choosing the Country

The first country I ever visited was the beautiful country of Thailand, to be specific the marvelous city of Bangkok. Known for its culture and people, I chose this city not only for the culture and the people but also because of the film Love of Siam. A story of Love and Friendship. I wanted to understand how this country worked, how hospitable the people are and experience what it has to offer.

I also considered the exchange rate of my Philippine Peso to Thai Baht. Remember, when on a budget, always consider the rate to determine how much in total you will be bringing.

   2.      Dates of Travel

 Traveling on a budget has taught me how important flexibility is when it came to travel dates. It works  well for people whose jobs give them flexible hours but if flexible dates are not an option at least strive hard to get the cheapest of the day’s fare. Some Airlines offer promotions that cuts the amount of the ticket up to 80-90% on certain dates and holidays so schedule wisely…

   3.      Book Flights Wisely

         When I traveled to Bangkok, my airplane ticket was around Php 8,000 with Philippine Airlines as the carrier. Don’t get me wrong the flight was great, the flight attendants were friendly and meals were included in the price but spending huge amount of your budget on the ticket is something I would not suggest even if you can afford it, after all this is traveling on a budget. When I traveled to Hong Kong with my sister we got our tickets for a very affordable price. Here’s a screenshot of the receipt for reference.

Our Hong Kong tickets...
   So book wisely. My carrier of choice has been Cebu Pacific from the start. They offer a variety of options with way too many promotions and recently I found out that they have started a rewards program similar to that of Philippine Airlines where you earn points when traveling. When booking your flights remember the following things.

      Go on Incognito Mode (Chrome) or InPrivate (Firefox). Airline’s websites downloads cookies in the background that remembers your last visit, making it fairly difficult to find good rates. If you prefer, you can clear your cache and cookies to make sure that when you get to the website you’ll have a great chance of getting those promo fares.

     If you can’t find the flight you want or can afford, there is always tomorrow. That is why I personally prefer that the travel dates be flexible.

      Most of the time, the promo comes on declared holidays to reel in the majority. You can wait up to midnight before the holiday and be the first one to grab the promo or you can check every day. You will need a lot of what they call PATIENCE...

      Understand your payment options. Cebu Pacific offers a variety of options to pay for your flight. You can pay online using a credit card, pay over the counter, you can also pay through banks and the bancnet network. For more details please visit

     Lastly, join rewards program and make sure you get those points when traveling. It’s not going to mean much right now but when you get enough points you can enjoy free flights and many more.

  4.       Be SMART with Hotels Too

     Similar to what you would do when you book a flight, booking your hotel is equally important and timely but nothing is ever easy when you are on a budget. That's why you should take enough time to make sure you are ready with everything before you travel. After you have booked your flight it is now time to book your hotel. What I have been using so far is the Website. They have offered me a variety of cheap but great places to stay in. I have not tried any other website or app but feel free to give it a try and let me know in the comments section. Always remember to be careful when providing personal and banking information online through websites you do not trust.

   5.      Deals, Discounts and Many more

      Nowadays there are tons of ways you can get a discount on either services or admissions fees, you just have to look for them. Take for example my trip to Hong Kong. Before we traveled, we decided that will we will visit Madame Tussaud’s Wax museum so when we checked out their website, they gave us something we could not resist. Check it at

    When you book online, you'll save a significant amount of money for you to keep or spend for something else and what's neat about the tickets is that they offer a 20% discount if you visit another Madame Tussaud’s like the one in Bangkok.

 6.      Research, Research and Research some more

    Remember to do as much research as you can of the country you will be visiting. It is important that you understand, even only the important ones, how the country operates, their traditions, language, culture and even personality so you can be prepared both physically, mentally, emotionally and most importantly financially.

One of the best pieces of advice I have heard so far was from Sonia Gil. She said to use your common sense while traveling. If you see a dark path leading to somewhere you are not familiar with then you should probably steer clear from that path. It’s the same as you would do in your own country which totally makes sense. Sonia is an amazing travel b/vlogger so if you have time, check her YouTube channel out by clicking on this link Sonia's Travel

    So there you go.. The top 6 things I consider when traveling on a budget. I hope this helps you in any way.. If it does let me know... If it does not, always remember that these are my preferences so feel free to try things that make you comfortable.  Happy Traveling!!...

Monday, September 28, 2015

HK Day 3: The Happiest Place on Earth

The Magical Journey Begins...

Disneyland, the happiest place on earth, is usually what you hear when you start talking about Hong Kong. It's considered one of the main reasons why you'd ever wanna go to Hong Kong. It was on the top of our list when we decided to visit this beautiful country.

When we were growing up, my sister and I would watch the Disney channel religiously and would even visit their website and participated with all their activities. We would get pretty jealous when other Filipinos win or gets chosen by one of the shows from that channel. I can still remember the hosts back then like Ken, Azura and Karen. We dreamed of meeting them someday and hanging out with them but then we grew up and the little kid inside of us got covered by puberty, responsibility and school. 

Many years have passed since we came back to watching the Disney channel. It did not help too that the quality of the shows got way childish (or is it just me??) and the shows I used to love got axed from the program. Even though we rarely stay on that channel nowadays we still cling on to that part of our lives where our imaginations flourished. My sister still fancies Toy Story and I am still okay with the movies they create but enough about the sadness of the past. This is about the happiest place on earth so let's change the tone shall we? Teehee.,,

Last year (2014) my sister and I got THE BEST news ever. We were given the chance to travel abroad (granting we pay for the majority of the trip). So we picked the country that is not only cheap and close but has that one thing that we both really wanted since forever, DISNEYLAND!!!.

If you would like to know what we did in Hong Kong click on the links below. The links below will give you a rough idea of what we did. 



We had so much fun. We got to meet most of the characters from Disney, Toy Story, Tink, Pooh, Lion King and a whole lot more. We had this hilarious moment that we both will never forget. So we were strolling around the site and got to the part where the theme was western. We were so tired from all the walking but saw a barn and decided to check it out (what harm could it possibly do? oh a goat ate a fruit from my hands.. hahaha). We stood in line waiting for our turn but as we got closer to the end we started noticing something we have NEVER EXPECTED.. no sir... we were not going to pet a few dogs or cows... we stood in line for the Big Grizzly Mountain... and when we realized it, it was already too late and we ended up riding the coaster ride the stops and goes on reverse. I was lucky I didn't soiled my pants. It was crazy unexpected but very memorable.

That vacation was AWESOME. I hope we get to travel more soon... If you would like to know more about the planning part i.e. Itinerary, budget and tips, let me know in the comment section and leave your email so I can send them to you. I will also post about it soon..

Make DISNEYLAND a part of your to do list when you visit Hon Kong for the first time and travel for the experience and fun not just for the pictures or the stamps on the passports. :)

tatah for now....

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Osmeña Peak: 5 Things I Learned While Climbing

A few friends and I recently went on a Hiking/Trekking trip to reach the ever famous Osmeña Peak of Cebu. We traveled early in the morning in the hopes that we might catch the sun rise from the east. The experience of reaching the top was out of this world. I would have never though I could reach the highest point given my "not so lean" silhouette. You can check my friends' Blog for the details of that adventure at and

While its was an amazing experience, I would like to share a few tips for those who would like to climb Osmeña Peak for the first time. Some of them were given to me before we went up and some I realized after reaching the top. I hope it helps you because heaven knows I could've used them. 

5 Things I learned while climbing Osmeña Peak.

  1. It helps if you EXERCISE
            The mindset that you can climb a mountain easily without any challenges is ridiculous. It requires strength, will, working respiratory system and patience. While I was up there waiting for everyone to say that it is time to go down I was already dreading the idea of climbing down ( if there was a suggestion box my first suggestion would be to add a Zip Line system going down.. teehee). The reason I felt that way was because i was already feeling pain on my knees and the lower part of my body was already exhausted from climbing up.

            Here's what I realized, you don't have to be too "Physically Fit" to climb this mountain (although being healthy is a plus). All you need to do is to prepare yourself physically to avoid too much pain after the climb. You can try walking and doing cardio at least 4 days before the climb and always ALWAYS stretch at the base of the mountain. It'll loosen your muscles and joints and will make it easier for you to climb.
  2. Climb on your own PACE
           I'm so thankful that I traveled with friends who understood my physical abilities. They gave me the opportunity to climb on my own PACE (they actually told me to slow down - thanks you guys!!). Climbing is not a contest so don't fret if people passes by you because you are not the reason they are their. Slow and steady, I always say.

    the distance between me and my friends.. 
  3. Wear comfortable SHOES
           Yup that's right! Shoes matter! The ones I used had no support so I practically had to worry about slipping and embarrassing myself  in front of a lot of people I don't know. I'm glad I didn't but if I did, I bet it would've been fun. You don't have to buy those ridiculously expensive shoes, just use ones that are comfortable enough and gives you support and friction.
  4. Bring a bottle of WATER
           This one is a little bit obvious but you never know. Take as many water break as you need but remember not to drink all it in just a few steps from the base.
  5. Learn to ENJOY the MAJESTIC SCENE
           Start doing things for the experience and not just for the pictures. There is beauty everywhere, so capture it with your eyes first and snap a few picture right after. Put a smile on your face and you might even meet new friends along the way.
    that's me enjoying the majestic scene from the peak

From left: Jhanis, Me, Pearl and Rea and two people I don't know :)
And if you do visit Osmeña Peak any time soon remember to respect the surroundings and do not leave anything that was not there. We only have one EARTH so let's keep it clean!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Madame Tussauds - The Wax Museum ( A day with Celebrities )

A few seconds with my bestie Audrey Hepburn

This was part of our Day 1 Adventure in Hong Kong.

Below are the picture we took when we were there. Quick Tip: Buy your tickets online at least a week in advance. You can save as much as 40% if you do it online than buying the tickets on location. I wont be listing how much it was because it may change but the link for their website is at the bottom. Feel free to check it out.

Even in Wax form Nicole Kidman looks Aha-Mazing

Their aint no Prada here Meryl

Lee Min-ho with my sister teehee
a touch of royalty with the King and Queen of England
didn't know that you could sit there. oh well..
oh Michael..
my version of Fierce.. I think I won this time Lady Gaga
Omg! My sister and Spiderman
Poster for Wolverine's new movie
a fight with the Monkey king
you can tell do Karate
it is on...
"I'm not afraid of you" - Edward Cullen
Former President Bush
you don't stand a chance against us Jackie! you too Bruce.. lol

The experience was amazing. The wax figures looked real plus when we got there the place was not crowded. We met a new friend while we were there too. A lady from the mainland who was doing selfies most of the time cause she was traveling alone. She saw me and my sister having fun taking pictures and stuff so she came over and asked if it was okay if we took a picture of her on the Hulk figure.

Check their link below and plan your trips now.

Links to the Rabbit Hole:
Madame Tussauds

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Create and Collaborate: Blog Launch Project

The original plan was to host another themed dinner with a few friends in the next couple of months like what I did last year. I hosted an American themed dinner and invited a few local bloggers in Cebu to come and dine with me with a few friends. You can check the details of it and the menu from Rea's blog at Blissful Snapshots.

This year's dinner is a little bit different. Rea has recently updated her domain from ReaAlducente,com to so instead of a normal themed dinner I am excited to say that we are doing a Collaboration to launch her revamped blog and celebrate it with a bang. 

Hundreds of ideas floated my mind and I am too excited to execute them all. The best part is we get to do it on a budget. No lavish concepts, no expensive venues and no out-of-this world expenses. The menu I planned will still push through and I will blog about the event after. Here's a taste quencher of what the Menu holds.

Fancy, is it not? Teehee.. If this post was on Instagram I would've hash tagged words such as DIY and Dinner. If this event pushes through It'll be the first big event I have hosted or co-hosted ever. Wish us luck and stay tuned for the result. 

Let me know if you have suggestions or any tips so I can incorporate them as early as this month and let me know if your hosting any dinners or brunch anytime soon so I can look out for it.. :) x.o.x.o

Monday, June 30, 2014

DIY: Pendant Lamp


DIY: Pendant Lamp

Our office had a "Themed Wedding" activity last week and everybody participated. They decorated the entire 12th floor and the people getting married dressed themselves in garments with flamboyant colors. One of the spine was decorated with a tribal-like design using tissue paper rolls and  red paper as tiki torch light. I, however, saw a different use for those tissue paper rolls.

I got some tissue paper roll from the office (they had lots to spare). I glued them together and cut four rectangles opposite each other and three circles at the bottom. Then I lined the inside with parchment paper. I ran to a bump on the road when I got to the wiring part and I had to call my dad for help and thankfully I was able complete it in just one day.

Pendant Lamp
Find a project that you like and have a DIY weekend.

Follow me on:

Insagram: alicbalmes
Twitter: @alicthegreat
More DIYs coming soon and stay tuned for my bedroom renovation. :)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

HK Day 2: OCEAN PARK AND Mong Kok Street Market

Day 2: My Feet still Hurts

After all the walking from day 1 we woke up with very sore feet and bodies. Here is what I figured out, when traveling to places where walking will be done 80% of the time remember to bring with you the magical concoction called EFFICASCENT OIL or any product of the like. It will do wonders to a throbbing foot making it easier to walk for the entire day. 

Today's Itinerary was OCEAN PARK and MONG KOK Street Market. A couple of years back our parent took us to the Manila Ocean Park and we had a blast but the OCEAN PARK in HK was way different. A lot cooler if you ask me. Everything was organized so that you can actually enjoy the park, plus we rode the very long cable car that took us to the other side of the island where the rides were crazy scary.

Here are the pictures of the entire day.. 

Our destination for today! OCEAN PARK

Someone handed me a news paper.. It was in Chinese at first but then she asked if i could read it.. lol

Selfies while riding the bus to Ocean Park.

Finally arrived after 45 minutes on the bus

Jewel and I trying out a game at the park.

Our first time riding the Cable Car from one side of the park to the other side where the rides are crazy scary

A cute panda who never did anything but eat while we were there
This was awesome to watch. I was excited because the kept jumping and jumping.. teehee

To end the Day...

We went for a walk on the streets of Mong Kok trying out the wide variety of delicious street food and doing a little bit of shopping for our friends and family back home.

Quick Tip: You might not want to wear short at night, outside, walking.. I made the mistake of wearing shorts that night and not only did everyone stare (not because of my sexy legs) but i was also shivering till we got back to the hotel.. The temperature there really drops at night. Next time I go there i'll be on my boots..

Stay tuned for the following post:

Hong Kong Day 3: KidsRus - Hong Kong Disneyland
Madame Tussauds: The Wax Museum (The not so scary version)
Jade's Cookbook - Simple but Laysho (Orgasmic Hahaha)
Hong Kong Itinerary - Sister Made Stuff