8 Things I Learned in CDO and Camiguin

Confession: I booked that ticket to Cagayan de Oro at a moment when I was struck with depression. I barely knew what to do with my life -- I stopped dancing, I was heartbroken, and all of a sudden, I had heaps of free time. I was lucky I had enough money to spare as well.

In hindsight, even though my first time in Mindanao sucked in general, I did realize a lot of things, which in the future I know would make me a better and more enthusiastic traveler:

1. would never purchase a flight from Zest Air again. In my desire to save money, I ended up pestering myself. First impressions last you know, and Zest Air’s wasn’t that cool. Not to mention that a few weeks after, CAAP suspended their operations for safety violations. So, no, I won’t care too much about budget flights from them next time!

2. I would never avail of a tour package for sight-seeing again. As a hater of itineraries, I don’t know why I even agreed to this in the first place, but I could think of reasons: (1) I was depressed and willing to do anything; (2) It was a school trip I joined, not a personal tour/vacation.

While pre-arranged tours are certainly more convenient because of transportation and meal arrangements, traveling without a tour guide is more fun, since you get to have your own adventures and side trips, and not feel like you’re a contestant in The Amazing Race. Of course, in some cases, guides are necessary like when you’re going spelunking, mountain-climbing, or whitewater rafting, but for plain sight-seeing, ditch them!

3. Pick your favorite travel buddies and stick with them. Who you’re traveling with can greatly influence how the entire trip would turn out. You have to select the people who have the same interests, energy, and BUDGET as you do. The third thing I mentioned may be a little harsh, but it’s true. Nothing spoils the fun faster than a travel buddy who has no more money to spare to do that activity you have been dreaming of.

I was with a few friends in CDO and Camiguin, sure, but we were also with a whole class whom I didn’t really know. Initially, the fact that I knew almost no one excited me, but when disaster strikes, trust me, you’d wish you were with your best friends. Or with family.

Now I know why others travel solo.

some new friends I met and genuinely liked

activity I genuinely like ANYWHERE

4. Never travel with a large group. I’d say the ideal number is four; anything more than that is sure to be a hellish trip (unless you’re traveling with really close friends who have the same thinking as you, in my case, my dancer friends). Why? Well, it’s irritating when there are, say, 15 of you and you are just waiting for a really slow girl who hasn’t finished taking a bath and you’re all prepped up to go. Seriously. Inconsiderate people like that need to be beheaded.

Also, more people means more time consumed deciding where to eat. My personal rule when dining out is this: anyone who disagrees with my food choices … should die.

the formula for HELL


deleted Zest Air pic for less redundancy

6. Take swimming lessons. I didn’t realize how important it was until I was in the middle of Cagayan de Oro River. Enough said.

7. Traveling light is always better. You’ll never know when you will be suddenly in an episode of The Amazing Race!

Wallet damage for my CDO-Camiguin trip? P4,865 for the supposedly 3D2N tour (I haven’t received any news for a refund for the cancelled Bukidnon trip) plus P2,300 for air fare. Additional P1,000 for the advanced level whitewater rafting, which wasn’t included in the tour package. Total: P8,165.

Was it worth it? NO. Had I been able to see even the Katibawasan Falls or Sunken Cemetery in Camiguin, I would’ve said yes. But since White Island and Whitewater Rafting (which I’m not sure I enjoyed to the fullest level) were the only highlights of my 40-hour Mindanao adventure, I’d say:

Fuck it. I should’ve partied in Manila for two days instead and save up the rest of the money for another CDO-Camiguin-Bukidnon trip in the future!

Camiguin, we'll see each other again, promise.

Oh, and before I forgot, the last but most important lesson:

8. Never book a trip when you’re heartbroken.


Other blogs in the “CDO-Camiguin Series”:
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