The official list of holidays for 2018 has been out for some time. Not including the Muslim feasts, 18 holidays were declared for this year (10 regular holidays and 8 special non-working holidays). That’s a lot of time off from work, although 3 of these holidays may be useless because they fall on weekends.*
On December 28, a new non-working holiday was also declared. December 8 of every year will be a special non-working holiday in celebration of the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. For 2018, however, this date falls on a Saturday.
* EDSA Revolution Anniversary (Feb 25) and Rizal Day (Dec 30) both fall on a Sunday, and Black Saturday (Mar 31) is also on a weekend.
Bookmark these dates!
If you work in BPO companies with US-based clients, you can possibly have at least four long weekends in addition to your vacation leaves. Of course, it depends on many things, especially that your clients call the shots.
Anyway, check these dates for possible long weekends if you follow US holidays: Jan 15 (Martin Luther Day), May 28 (Memorial Day), Jul 4 (Independence Day), Sep 3 (Labor Day), and Nov 22 (Thanksgiving Day).
If you live in Cebu, you may have another long weekend on Aug 6 (Mon), which is Cebu Provincial Charter Day. Your city may also have a special celebration on some dates that could give way to a long weekend. August 30, for instance, is a special non-working holiday in Bulacan. October 19 is a holiday in Bacolod.
To check the non-working holidays in your city, visit this page on Wikipedia.
Travel Tips for a Well-Traveled Year
In January 2016, I wrote 11 Ways to Having More Travels in the Philippines. The goal was to help readers get past their New Year’s resolution and just go hit the road to travel. This time, I asked some bloggers and travelers on what strategy (aka diskarte) have worked for them to make traveling possible.
1. Commit to your goal.
By this, I mean fulfilling what you’ll write in your journal on New Year’s Eve. It means telling your partner with pride–if you’re asked about your top priorities–that travel comes next to him or her. Hoover, a full-time accountant, sees travel as a necessity to avoid burnout from work. Ariel, a blogger, commits to a simple lifestyle to fund his travels.
Travel Blogger, Cebu
I made adjustments in my lifestyle to save money for travel. I turn down activities that can waste my time and money, like a fancy dinner, night life, and gimik, and only buy things when they’re really badly needed. I rarely go to the malls to avoid impulsive buying. I spend eight hours on my full-time job, and the rest of the day, either I sell perfume, do some online jobs, or host events to earn more outside of my work hours.
Traveling is part of my goals for work-life balance. I consider it as a reward for my hard work. I travel on budget so as not to defeat the purpose of working hard for my savings and funds for investment. I organize my schedule and keep a planner to help me track the holidays, my leaves, and my trips.
2. Plan your trips early.
We can’t discount the benefits of sitting down on your travel plan. Study the details of where and when to go, how much to save, where to eat, and the finest details you want to bother yourself with. Just don’t spoil the fun by overdoing it.
I meticulously plan my summer backpacking trips that lasts for two months. I plot my itinerary a year ahead including holidays and long weekends. I also subscribe to the social media accounts of different airlines to be updated on seat sales and make sure I have destinations in mind when the seat sales come, just to save time. For the budget-conscious travelers like me, these tips could work.
Financial Manager, Cebu
Plan your travels ahead. Prepare your calendar and plot the dates. Strategize on location to maximize your trip. Research what places are close to each other so you don’t travel back and forth and waste time and money. Ask a friend from your destination for suggestions, and get the help of a local. Negotiate better deals for accommodations like hostels, pension houses, backpackers’ inn, and the like.
3. Promos! Catch’em all!
The true sign of a smart traveler is how she can stretch a small budget and still get the greatest travel experience. There are many ways to do it, and taking advantage of discounted airfare is just one.
SEO Analyst, Cebu
I book promo plane tickets. When I book at regular fare, I make sure it’s worth the length of stay in my chosen destination. I also search for the most affordable packages with the best tour itinerary. Especially when I travel alone, it spares me from the hassle of looking for accommodation and thinking of what to do when I arrive at my destination.
I’d rather go to places when it’s off season to avoid the massive gush of tourists. In that way everything is cheaper than when it’s peak, including hotel rates, airfare, and food. I can also maximize every spot in the place I visit.
4. Travel as a group.
Solo travel is best when you have enough funds. If you have no qualms going with friends or even random travelers, go in groups to cut cost. There are plenty of invites for group travels that you can find online (especially Facebook events), you only need the right contacts and the best skills to search.
It’s hard for me to find time traveling by myself. But, since I have travel buddies, I get more chances to book flights and reserve slots in group tours. It’s great to join other groups when traveling because you gain more friends and more invites. The more travel buddies, of course, the lesser the damage (cost).
Social Entrepreneur, Manila
Traveling is one of the perks of my work. I do field work, so I get to see places on the side. I travel on budget. I go for experience more than the comfort, so I usually stay in hostels and take public transportation. I research tips and tricks from bloggers, like best places to eat without spending much. I take several people with me so we can share costs, example for boat rental and guide fees.
5. Find the right support team.
Remember the saying, “birds of the same feather flock together”? Keep a circle of friends who can tag you along to their adventures. Build connections so you get some help here and there when you go places.
Student, Ilocos Norte
I’m really blessed to have a family who’s passionate in travel. Travel is part of my childhood. I grew up checking cheap air fare and being on the road for tours. My siblings, who usually spend for our travels, are my buddies…my parents, too, but we ditch them sometimes when we want more adventures. Haha! Also, I’ve joined a group called “The Ilocano Adventurers” to meet other people who are passionate in exploring and promoting Ilocos Norte.
Government Employee, Cebu
I’m lucky to have friends with similar interests as mine. We go outdoors to climb mountains, dive in the ocean, and visit waterfalls almost every weekend. And we stick to a tight budget all the time. I remember caving and chasing waterfalls with only 100 pesos in my pocket. I was a loner before, but with my friends, my weekends have always been loaded with travel and nature trips.
Having connections from different places is very important. Early this year, I was privileged to travel to seven countries in Europe for almost a month. The saving up took us two years by allotting some amount in the bank for what I called #DreamEuropeanTrip. To go around, we used the camper van of a friend and then stayed in different campsites. It saved us a lot of money compared to staying in hostels or B&B’s which are more expensive. Skyping was done weekly to check on the status of different camp sites reservations, costs, and interesting places to visit.
6. Work on the road.
This is how some of the most adventurous bloggers keep themselves traveling for good. If you can do it in the Philippines, go for it. Or if you have a blog, get sponsors in exchange for marketing somebody else’s business.
Resort Owner, Palawan
A little creativity and even the smallest budget can keep you going for days, weeks or even months at a time. For our 16-month long honeymoon, Camille and I saved a ton of cash before setting off. However, when we under-budgeted our first few months, we ended up discovering the art of long-term sustainable travel through work exchanges. The typical set up is you work for a few hours a day in exchange for a bed and a meal. Sometimes if you’re lucky, you’ll get extra perks. Examples of work exchanges we did included hotel work and social media work and a stay at a bed and breakfast in a cloud forest in Costa Rica.
Learning Professional, Cebu
“Other than traveling on weekends and personal time offs, I’ve integrated travel in my job. My work allows me to serve our clients in different locations–wherever they are–which makes traveling an indispensable part of my work.”
Learn the skills of negotiating, especially with your boss. And be likeable. Seriously! Not only to the manager who will approve your vacation leaves, but also to other people who somehow have a say in your life.
Surgical Nurse, Manila
From my experience, finding time is more difficult than finding the budget for travel. Especially now that I can’t file vacation leaves yet. So, my diskarte to be able to travel often—aside from knowing how to be flexible with my schedule—is to be likeable to my colleagues. It’s tough when you need to book some trips and no one is willing to swap their day off with you. It’s give and take. You travel and ask others to fill in for you, and then you do the same favor for them next time.
T H E C O V E R
For more tips on maximizing travel, read 11 Ways to Having More Travels in the Philippines.