“The pleasure we derive from journeys is perhaps dependent more on the mindset with which we travel than on the destination we travel to.”
Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel


There are times that the odds are not in our favor, sometimes too bad our travel miserably ends up as a series of unfortunate events.

For whatever reason you travel, the ultimate thing in mind is to have a “happy trip”. You stuff your backpack with the things you can’t live without—from lip balm to sunblock to the mandatory monopod—troop to the beach or hike up the mountains and look forward to something you can tell the whole world about.

But, just when you’re at the height of your excitement—POOF! Here come the party poopers: many sort of things from running out of cash to forgetting travel documents, delayed flights and getting stranded, getting ripped off by a scammer, having a breakup or cramps while hanging from a zipline. The list is long for these moments that you’ll say “shet” and “bahala na si Batman”. From my friend’s terminology, this is what he calls GGB: gulo-gulong buhay.

Here are some GGB experiences of those who frequently travel around the country. The number one spoiler? As usual, the weather.


JENNY OZAMIS, Surfing Enthusiast
After the typhoon, the swell forecast was promising: gentle wind offshore and perfect swell conditions, with huge waves up to 6.5 to 7 feet. My boyfriend and I headed to La Union for a three-day surf adventure. We arrived 5 AM, the waves were glassy but short, so we let it pass and took some rest. At 2 PM, the wind started to pick up, squalls came every hour, until the weather turned terrible. We ended up stuck in La Union for two nights and three days, no surfing. Worse, I got sick. We had to extend our stay under a stretched budget, sick, stressed, and frustrated. But when the weather recovered on Sunday, we had the best stoke! With huge glassy waves and a few surfers in the lineup, it was heaven.

Abbie Ruiz

ABBIE RUIZ, Freelance Photographer
It was a fine day when we arrived at Agusan Del Norte, so we rented a habal-habal going to Tagnuti Falls. On the way to the falls, there was a sudden heavy downpour. We were all soaking wet when we reached the location. All our clothes were also dripping. Still, it was fun! The water was not coffee-colored, so we still managed to swim, and then took photos. After that, however, we had to travel back to the city by bus, then walk in to my friend’s school to have some documents processed. We caught so much attention because we were all wet. It was a bit embarrassing. Next time, we’ll bring dry bags.

Lee Anne Tobias

LEE ANNE TOBIAS, Travel Insider
We were on the way home from our 5-day El Nido paradise vacation when it started raining cats and dogs. In the middle of our 5-hour land travel ride, our van was halted due to waist deep flood in the 10-meter long road. We didn’t know if we would miss our flight back, but thanks to quick thinking by our van service we switched vans with the party going to El Nido. This was done via riding a crane attached to a carabao. Low and behold that mishap turned into my first ever carabao ride. Little did we know at that time, it was already the start of YolandaPh’s wrath.

And accidents that sometimes lead to the ER….

Jude De LaraJUDE DE LARA, Frequent Traveler
On a business trip, I made a visit to a gym and ended up touring the hospitals of Cebu because of an injured ear. That’s a horrible surprise for someone just drying his hair, and then the hair dryer explodes! From Chong Hua to Velez Hospital, Cebu Doctors’ to Vicente Sotto, and then back to Chong Hua. I was rushing around to get a medical certification so I could file legal action against the establishment. After 24 hours, I got my medical certificate and filed a formal complaint. Never again.

Alain de Botton, a Swiss philosopher and writer, shares the same insight in The Art of Travel. The reality of travel seldom matches our daydreams, he writes. And the truth is, it can make us frustrated travelers, especially when these surprises come as a series of unfortunate events.

At a tolerable degree, however, misadventures are part of the adventure. Definitely, no one likes the idea of getting into an accident or other events that can mean your life or money. But some inconvenience can eventually work to our advantage, disguised as great lessons in life. They spice up our journeys and fill our life with terrific memories that will make us say, I’ve been there, done that.

As much as the quirkiness of travel gets the best of us, it also brings out the best in us. In fact, what seems to be encounters with the world can actually be encounters with ourselves, an acquaintance to our powers and our limitations. Who says that can be achieved in your comfort zone?

Because no one can be prepared enough, perhaps the best tip is too travel with the right mindset. Anything can happen, so expect all the surprises. Don’t forget that you’re a hobbit who seeks adventure, not a fashionable tourist looking for comfort and pampering.

The classic words of advice still work to better your odds of not having a miserable travel:

  • Pack enough. Bring the essentials (e.g. a map, some medicines, a flashlight, extra batteries, phone with enough credits to make a call, plastic bags, insect repellant).
  • Plan the trip, but don’t overdo it. Get a Plan B, but leave some room for new discoveries.
  • Follow safety measures. Wear the right gear. Plan for bad weather.
  • Ask the locals. Getting lost is fun, but not when you’re lost the whole day. Are you better off with a tour guide?
  • Stay alert and be cautious. Talk to strangers, but don’t forget your mother’s advice.

So, next time you pack your bags, think that everything that can go wrong will go wrong. But that’s part of the action. It can’t spoil the fun when you’re ready, so bring it on and blaze new trails!

Here are some more misfortune stories from others who have traveled around the Philippines.

9382_10151586703038223_503677761_nVERA DELOS SANTOS, HR Professional
2013, it was my Davao-Kadayawan trip. Our flight back to Manila was delayed for almost three hours due to bad weather. When I got to my assigned seat, to my surprise, there was no seatbelt! I was so worried, I thought the plane would take off on a bad weather without me secured on a seatbelt. During the flight, the turbulence was bad, and we were up in the air for a while due to poor visibility at the airport. Thank God, the crew found me another seat–with a seatbelt.

Kris Rivera

KRIS RIVERA, Travel Blogger
Before our trip to Boracay, the schedule for an exam I had to take was moved to the same date of our vacation. Hoping there would be changes in the sked, I went with the group–only to find out that the exam would push through. Not taking it means losing a job, so I had no choice but to fly back home. I spent the night in Boracay, while my friends stayed for two more days. It took me long hours to travel, but my “vacation” lasted very shortly. I missed the fun. Talk about the suspense and the guilt of just getting a glimpse of your vacation.


PHEN RABANO, Mountaineer
Our twin hike to Mt Binacayan and Mt Pamitinan in Rizal was a misfortune that turned out to be a fun adventure. I didn’t plan to wash up after that hike, so I didn’t bring enough clothes. Unfortunately, the weather turned bad we had to walk in a muddy dangerous trail.I traveled back to Manila with mud all over. Lesson learned: to bring extra clothes (especially undies) even for a short day hike.

From my own list, these are the unforgettable ones:

  • I volunteered to be a tour guide for my Taiwanese friends. I missed the flight to Cebu because I overslept, and then we all missed the flight to Ilocos because we lost track of time shopping at the Mall of Asia.
  • In Vigan, my brother and I had no choice but to rent a room suggested by a friend, otherwise we sleep in the streets during the Holy Week. For two nights stay in a small, paint-smelling room, we were charged P3000. It was a long story, but I filed a case to the tourism office in Vigan and recovered half of my money.
  • While trekking in Taal, I lost my wallet. I was able to go back home to Manila after some people in the community donated money for my fare.
  • I brought a tent all the way from Manila to Daraitan River in Tanay, Rizal. When I was about to setup, I realized I don’t have the poles with me. Crap!
  • From CDO to Camiguin, I got stuck in a bus that ran on the road like a funeral march. Midway to Balingoan Port, I had to get off, grab a guy with a motorcycle, and ask him to speed off at 80 kph to catch the last ferry ride to Camiguin.What’s your story? Share it below in the comments box and let’s see who’s got the funniest misadventure.


ArisMape is a travel insider at ABS-CBN's Choose Philippines. He loves orange, halo-halo, and PowerPoint, and hates beef, slow internet, and long taxi lines. His pastime is watching people watch other people. He swears on the power of smartphone. His half-life? Thirty.