Biyahero kodigo: Travel tips from Drew Arellano and the ‘Biyahe ni Drew’ crew

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This article is the first in a series of tips from Drew Arellano and the ‘Biyahe ni Drew’ crew.

When it comes to travel tips, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more knowledgeable source in the Philippines than the team of “Biyahe ni Drew,” GMA News TV’s budget travel show hosted by Drew Arellano. The tight-knit crew has been working together on different travel shows — including “Balikbayan” and “Weekend Getaway” — for almost a decade.

With that kind of experience comes, well, experience. They’ve been through delayed flights, itineraries that had to be changed at the last minute, food poisoning, traveling in the middle of a storm, and more.

Collect practical travel advice and get to know the “Biyahe ni Drew” crew through the first installment of our Biyahero Kodigo series:

Drew Arellano
Professional biyahero; Travel show host for eight years

How do you pack?
When I pack, I pack very light. Most of the time, we shoot active scenes — very sporty, outdoor stuff — so you want technical clothing. Go for dri-fit material and lessen the cotton-based clothing because it doesn’t dry properly and you’ll have an accumulation of germs and bacteria.

[Packing] is easy for me because I keep my stuff in groups. I have a bag with my cables, a battery pack, chargers that work with outlets and car lighters. I keep those in one bag. I always bring a pair of headphones, rain jacket, slippers and one pair of rubber shoes.

What travel gear is worth investing in?
For me, it’s a no-brainer that if you purchase stuff for the outdoors, water-resistant na dapat or waterproof. You don’t need to buy waterproof everything because it’ll get heavy, so just go to a sports or outdoor shop and buy a waterproof cover that fits your backpack.

Bea Rodriguez
Travel show researcher for two years

When planning a trip, what’s the first thing you should book?
Dapat unahin mo ‘yung flights kasi ‘yun ang pinakamabilis maubos. Every minute, pwedeng mawala ‘yung seats. Dapat aware ka sa mga seat sale kaya kung pwede, mag-like ka ng mga Facebook page na mag-a-alert sa ’yo ng seat sale. Midnight ‘yung kadalasang announcement ng seat sales.

What if you need to change your itinerary at the last minute?
Dapat open ka rin to suggestions. Magtanong ka sa tourism office o sa mga locals. Sa akin, mas magandang magtanong sa mismong locals kaysa sa mga official website o mga blog kasi doon mo makikita ‘yung mga lugar na hindi sikat pero maganda.

Marvin Soyangco
Travel show researcher for three years

How do you get the most out of a tour package?
Dapat i-double check mo ‘yung mga binibigay nilang locations. Recently, nag-Hong Kong kami ng mga kaibigan ko at nag-avail kami ng tour package. Syempre inasahan naming maganda, pero pagdating namin doon, ni-negosyo kami.

May mga locations na pwede mo namang puntahan for free, tapos sinasama ng organizer sa tour package para mas malaki kita nila. At the same time, may locations na hindi naman tourist attraction kundi mga market o shopping area na ka-negosyo rin nila.

Is it better to take a tour package or to plan your own itinerary?
Kapag binigyan ka ng tour agency ng itinerary, i-double check mo ang bawat location at ang totoong cost bago magdesisyon kung kukunin ang package nila o gagawa ka ng sarili mo. Ako, mas gusto kong gumagawa ng sariling itinerary kasi mas challenging — maglalakad ka papunta sa pupuntahan mo, susubukan mo ‘yung local transport. Sa tour package kasi, nasa bus ka; kaya wala kang chance na “baliin” or i-adjust ‘yung itinerary kung gusto mo pang habaan o iklian ‘yung oras.

Rey Ochavez
Travel show cameraman for 12 years; licensed scuba diver

What are your favorite dive spots in the Philippines?
Ang pinaka-top para sa akin ay Tubbataha Reef. ‘Yun talaga ‘yung pinakamaganda sa Pilipinas. Sobrang layo nga lang kaya dapat mag-allot ka ng mga limang araw doon para sulit. Maganda rin sa Coron, Palawan pero kung tatanungin mo kung ano ang bago sa akin… ang ganda ng Southern Leyte.

Hindi pa kasi siya napupuntahan masyado. Sa mga lugar na maraming nagda-dive kagaya ng Bohol, maraming humahawak [ng corals] kaya nasisira. Eh sa Southern Leyte, wow! Buong-buo. Para sa akin, kung may pera ka, pumunta kang Tubbataha o Palawan. Pero kung gusto mo ng gandang hindi pa nakikita ng maraming tao, sa Southern Leyte ka. —CM, GMA News

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