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Hong Kong DIY Budget Tour ( at Php 14,780.00 only)

"I'm too poor to travel or I can't afford to travel". These are the common gripes of people who want to travel or heard of other people travelling to another town, city or country. It is common to hear remarks like "travelling is for rich people only". Maybe, you're like me who wants to see the world but at the same time afraid or hesitant to spend because there are bills to pay, needs of the kids to see through, other financial matters to take care of, so travelling has to take a back seat. And maybe, just maybe, this mindset has been there all these years and the idea of travelling is just a dream. There's nothing wrong of putting first the needs of our families but there is nothing wrong too if we want to make come true our secret dreams. Now if we are in our midlife, and still we delay these dreams when do we finally let our dream come to fruition. If we delay long enough, maybe the reason to not push through with it is that of health reasons like having arthritis and you can't take long walks anymore. While it is true, travel whether local or overseas entails dipping into our nest egg or bank savings, it can be done without hurting too much our pockets. Let me count the ways:
  1. PLANNING - which place do you want to visit.
  2. SUBSCRIBE TO AIRLINE WEBSITES - such as Cebu Pacific, AirAsia, PAL, etc.
  3. VISIT HOTEL BOOKING SITES - such as Agoda, Trivago, Traveloka, etc.
  4. GET A LOAN FROM YOUR SSS-OR PAGIBIG
I want to simplify how you can travel in a budget so you can see for yourself how you can do it and take baby steps to make your dream come true. There are 66 countries and territories which are visa-free for Philippine passport holders. The most popular overseas city to visit here in Asia is Hong Kong, an island city of China packed with seven million people. 

Come on let's visit Hong Kong!

Victoria Harbour at daytime

Get your pen, notebook or tablet and let's get the ball rolling! Popular places to see in Hong Kong are Disneyland (you're never too old to enjoy Disneyland!), Big Buddha, Victoria Peak, Victoria Harbour, Ocean Park, Ladies' Market, Temple Street Night Market, and Clock Tower in Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. There are still a lot more to visit but, we can't visit them all in 3 or 4 days. We'll get so tired we won't be able to enjoy anymore. Now, it's settled that you'll stay there for 3 days & 3 nights. We will subscribe to either Cebu Pacific or AirAsia because these two airlines are budget airlines that offer promo fares whole year round. If you are lucky enough you can score a round trip ticket to HongKong at Php 2,000.00 during "Piso sale". I was able to book at AirAsia for Php 4,700.00 only and at Cebu Pacific for Php 3,600.00 only (such a steal). So prepare for your trip to Hongkong 4-5 months before the actual trip to avail of these very low prices. By subscribing to these airlines, you'll get first dibs when they announce their promo fares. To enjoy these low fares, you can forego check-in baggage and just bring with you a hand carry baggage with a weight of 7 kilograms only which is free and this would let you save a thousand pesos already ( small up to 15 kgs check-in baggage, Php 1,300 at Cebu Pacific).
Let's go find your accommodation. There are hotels, hostels or Airbnb accommodations in Hongkong. You can visit Agoda, Trivago, Traveloka, etc., to book your accommodations. If you're not picky and your purpose is to have a place to rest and sleep after your whole day excursions you can stay at Chungking Mansions, this building houses several hostels and they really come in very cheap. At Days & Night Hotel, for example, 3 days & 3 nights would cost you only Php 3,300.00 if you have a companion, you could split the expense and you only have to shell out Php 1, 650.00 each (getting excited already?).

For your food, you can try eating at their restaurants to taste authentic local cuisines, a meal at these restos costs a minimum of Hkd 38-40. A McDonald's meal would cost a minimum of Hkd 38 with drinks. You can buy your attraction tickets either in Klook or in Chungking Mansions too. At CM, a ticket to Disney is at Hkd 385, the same ticket bought at Disney resort would cost Hkd 419. You can bring food & drinks inside Disney, just limit it to sandwiches, cookies, candies & water. Foods inside Disneyland are very expensive. The cable ride to Ngong Ping on Lantau island is set at Hkd 290 for the standard cable round trip & Hkd 370 for the crystal cable round trip. At CM you only have to pay Hkd 265 for the standard cable round trip or to save more you can take one way ride to Ngong Ping at the price of Hkd 170 and take the bus on the return trip or you can make this the last stop of your tour then head to HKIA for the return flight. During the cable ride, you will see the panoramic views of the Tian Tan Buddha statue in the South China Sea! Enjoy the Symphony of lights, this showcases the music at the harbour front areas near HongKong cultural center in Tsim Sha Tsui every night. The multimedia show displays the vibrancy and glamorous night vista of the city. And this is for free, the show starts at 8 in the evening so get their earlier to get a good view of the harbour. In the morning, you can stroll around Victoria Harbour and be amazed at how it looks during the day. It looks so peaceful, you can bring snacks with you and just sit there and enjoy the view. Just a few minutes walk then you'll see many sightseeing attractions such as Clock Tower, HK Space Museum and big shopping malls. From there, ride the star ferry to Central Pier and take a ride to Victoria Peak. If you plan to ride the HK Peak Tram, prepare to shell out Hkd 52 but a cheaper way is to ride the bus, wait for Bus 15 for this will take you all the way to Peak, if you ride bus 15C, it will drop you at the foot of the Peak only. This would cost you a measly Hkd 9.80 only. For your pasalubongs or souvenirs go to either Ladies Market or Temple Street Night Market, test your haggling skills and bring home HK shirts at Hkd 100 for 5-6 pcs, ref magnets at Hkd 20 for 5-6 pcs. If you plan to go to Ocean Park, prepare to pay Hkd 480 but for 3 nights 3 days stay, choose whether to go to Disney or Ocean Park, because you can't cram so many tours for this time frame, you'll get too exhausted. And that's it folks, your 3 days, 3 nights tour to HongKong, if you want to modify the itinerary, feel free to do so, whatever you think will work best for you. Other expenses are the travel tax at NAIA Terminal which is Php 1,620.00 and the Octopus card which is a must to buy. The Octopus card is a contactless stored value card which you can use to pay your bus fare, mtr fare, star ferry even in retail stores like 7-11 and McDonalds. You can get this in Hongkong Airport Terminal, the card is on loan at Hkd 150, with the Hkd 100 as the value of the card & the Hkd 50 as a deposit. Upon return of the octopus card the deposit will be refunded (again extra savings).

Awra lang..
                                                                Sleeping Beauty's Castle

Let's prepare a summary of our expenses:
Pre-departure:
Airfare (Cebu Pacific)         Php    3,600.00
Travel Tax (NAIA)                        1,620.00
Accomodation (sharing)                1,650.00

Arrival:
Octopus Card                        Hkd      150.00
Food (Hkd 45/meal x 3 days)            405.00

Attractions:

HK Disney                     Hkd    385.00 
Std cable one-way Hkd    170.00

Souvenirs:
Tshirts (6pcs)                          Hkd     100.00
Ref magnet (6 pcs)                                20.00

Expenses in Php                      Php    6,870.00
Expenses in Hkd is 1,180
(Converted to Php)                            7,906.00
Grand Total in Php                Php 14,776.00
Grand Total in USD               USD      281.04
exhange rate 1 Hkd = Php 6.70 (as of this writing)
exchange rate 1 USD = Php 52.60 (as of this writing)



Symphony of lights 
Ngong Ping, Lantau Island
Behind us is the Clock Tower at TST, Kowloon
See, you don't have to break the bank to take a short vacation to the "Pearl of the Orient", with less than P15,000.00 you can do it. That amount is equivalent to a new mobile phone or any electronic gadget. Going to another country broadens our horizon, we experience the culture in that country and we bring back home with us happy memories.

A while ago, I said get a loan from SSS or Pagibig. If you don't want to touch your nest egg, try securing a loan from these institutions. A SSS salary loan commands an interest of 10% per annum while Pagibig lends at 10.75% per annum.

Let's enjoy our midlife, I know a lot of us are breaking our backs to provide for our families, it's time to treat ourselves grandly. One advise though, don't get guilty afterwards. We deserve to love ourselves also.

Let's get going!

Middle life is beautiful.

Till next time, God bless!

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