Top 11 Ways to Make the Best Out of Your Balik-Bayan Vacation
What is Balik-Bayan? “Balik” is Tagalog meaning for “ return” in English language, and “bayan” means “country”. We call those returning to the Philippines as Balik-bayans.
After decades of being away from the Philippines, it feels to me like so much things are different now or they have changed, and why won’t they? All the kids have grown and moved on to their family lives, some have gone to the universities, some have moved to the metropolitan for their careers, some have gone abroad. Childhood friends are busy with their own lives, most are already grannies and grand pas. You see the picture, right?
Anyway, my family and relatives are still living there so I go back for visits quite regularly as other Filipinos do. It’s a great blessing to be able to visit family and relatives and friends but sometimes the travel could be less enjoyable if not planned properly. I want to share it so that other Balik-bayans who are planning their vacation will plan better than I did. My previous trips back home to the Philippines were filled with fun adventures and activities but involving mostly the kids because the adults do not have time to share with me. Some of my vacation trips were during the rainy/typhoon season which prevented me to fully enjoy, stranded and bored sometimes the whole duration of my vacation. These are the things that I did not like. But you, yes you will not have the same challenge because you will plan your vacation properly.
Below are 10 practical tips for your upcoming Balik-Bayan vacation;
- Travel during dry season between November to April: The down-pour of rains and typhoons can delay or prevent your travel plans.
- Travel during kids semestral break: Kids will be available to go travelling with you, or to do other fun activities if you want them to. When I go back for my vacations, the kids always bug me for fashion and talent shows, games, and adventures to the jungle, mountains and rivers. When I could not find any adults to travel with, the kids were my alternative which was actually great as they kept me behaving young like them ;-).
- Travel during Festivals and Other Events: Panag-Benga Festival, strawberry picking and other fun activities can happy-fill your vacation. Our place is not called the “Summer Capital of the Philippines” for no reason, so take advantage of it.
- Plan to go traveling with other Balik-Bayans: I think that would be a great idea to travel with other Balik-Bayans. They can show you their places and you show them yours. Want to travel with me on my next vacation? Please contact me here.
- Travel with your spouse or your kids: If you are like me, having problem with travelling buddies, your spouse or your kids would be the perfect solution.
- Visit you neighboring villages: Yes, most of them probably have already changed and if they are not, so much the better. I guarantee you will have a much better perspective and appreciation than you did when you were young. I do look at things more differently now and appreciate them as they are.
- Activate your adventurous spirit: Adventure to any rivers, mountains, valleys, caves, hot spring resort, beaches or villages. Evoke, embrace and relearn the life that you came from. You don’t have to be an expert to climb the highest mountain, just do what you can. It’s good for your body and soul.
- Adventure after peak hours: I used to think that we should all frantically go with all the other travellers or adventurers at the same time, until recently when I learned I could have the best of my adventure when I go after everyone else goes home. An example is our Overnight Swimming in Asin Hot Spring Resorts. Most of these resorts especially the newer ones are very busy during the day or on weekends and they close at night. I found out that there are few resorts particularly the less popular ones, that are open overnight if you ask them. For us, this was perfect! It not only allowed us to stay overnight, but also allowed us to do whatever we wanted to do without having to worry about other people, stayed up all night swimming, singing with the karaoke and just having fun. All these including a cottage for a minimal cost. You gotta like that.
- Take Public Transportation: Yes, take the bus instead of going with your private vehicle. This way, you get to mingle and meet the local people while you are traveling. Doing what the local people do is the best way to fully experience the life and culture of wherever you are visiting. This also save you money for the gas, vehicle mileage & maintenance, driver’s wage and cost for food and accommodation, as well as save you from any possible headaches.
- Activate your Fun and Creative Streak: I love it when the kids think that I’m the greatest auntie. Each time I go back for my vacation, they would bug me for fashion shows, talent shows, games, karaoke singing marathons, jungle adventures, river swimming, etc. In the fashion and talent shows, I would gather my clothes, shoes, bags, hats, belts, scarves and accessories and creatively use them for the kids attires. Or simply take them up to the jungle and climb any trees, mountains, crawl under wild animal paths, or crabbing and swimming in the rivers. Voila! The fun begins. These are by far the best and free things that you can give your kids or relative and friend’s kids, as well to as yourself.
- Invite friends and everyone who wants to experience the Northern Philippines. If you live here in Canada, invite your Canadian friends. If you live in the U. S., invite your U.S. Friends, and so on. It will be fun traveling with bunch of friends and family.
Let us Know if you’d like to join our next trip to the Northern Philippines.