Travel Tips

No Bill Shock: Say goodbye to atrocious data charges when you travel – thanks to MyPAL Roam 

Traveling nowadays doesn’t stop when one reaches the destination. The dawn of technology has given rise to the need to be always connected – whether sharing amazing photos of sunrise on top of Mt.Fuji, of well-worn but romantic path along Nami Island or reunion photos with long-lost cousins in California – some travel moments were just too good to be NOT shared. 
While I love the sense of “aloneness” that traveling affords me, there are days when I wish I could have shared the moment immediately to my mom and dad, or the husband who was back home: 

emoting in Nami Island



just one of the crowd in Shibuya (can you find me?)


lost in tokyo


writing on a post card in a random stoop in Jiufen County, Taiwan


More than keeping my social media feed happy, having the opportunity to connect to my loved ones back home means letting them know that I am safe and happily enjoying my gallivanting. 

However, being a budget traveler means being dependent on hotel wifi (or worse, public WIFI) to call home using either Messenger or Skype. Like any other traveler, I avoid connecting to my data whenever I go on vacation – the cost can literally maim you after a fun vacation and disputing charges (if any) is like trying to catch a ride with the Lochness Monster (read: pointless). 

Connectivity woes is now a thing of the past thanks to Philippine Airlines’ MyPAL Roam – a global mobile hotspot that provides easy, fast, secure and affordable mobile data anywhere in the world. Made possible through a partnership with SkyRoam, this latest innovation from the country’s flag carrier allows up to five devices to connect on the mobile hotspot for just a reasonable fee of P499 a day


PAL president and COO Jaime J. Bautista


Launched in an exciting affair, spearheaded by PAL head honcho Jaime J. Bautista, who feted this latest innovation from PAL. “We are aware of our passengers’ need to stay connected anywhere in the world. Your flag carrier continues to innovate to further enhance the travel experience. So whether you’re flying across the country or halfway around the globe, we made sure we’ve got you covered,” said Bautista in a statement distributed to the media. 

MyPAL Roam, the first of its kind in the country today, was made possible through the efforts of two gentlemen, PAL’s Ancillary Business Unit VP Kevin Hartigan-Go and SkyRoam’s Buddy Novenario. 

Skyroam’s Buddy Novenario and PAL’s Kevin Hartigan-Go


In an interview, with Hartigan-Go shares gnat the idea for the MyPAL Roam originates from PAL’s desire to improve the over-all passenger convenience. “We understand the passengers’ need to be connected. And we want this connectivity to complete the overall passenger experience. With almost everything  just a click away, getting connected is key…” Hartigan-Go shares. 

According to SkyRoam’s Novenario, the secret behind the nifty little gadget’s power lies in the virtual SIM device it employs. It uses unique technology which allows its users to get connected in any of PAL’s 80 destinations worldwide. Yes, even when you’re in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Latvia, Uzbekistan, The Vatican, Christmas Islands, Liechtenstein or San Marino, among others – MyPAL Roam has you covered. 


The first of its kind in the country


The device may be rented through the PAL boutique, located at the PAL ticket lobby, PNB Financial Center, Pasay. Other rental channels are the NAIA Terminal 2 Departure Area and roam.philippineairlines.com. The device maybe retuned through the PAL Boutique, the NAIA Terminal 2 Arrival Area, home pick-up and Onboard Return service.  

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Travel Tips, Traveling on a Budget

(Must Do) Fare Alerts is the Cheapo Traveler’s Best Friend

If you’re the type to religiously monitor the ebb and cost of plane tickets for your choice destinations, how do you do it?

For those who swear by budget airlines, I am sure you follow your favorite budget carrier on social media: be it Facebook, Twitter or their Instagram pages. In fact, it was through my Facebook feed which allowed me to travel to Tokyo, Japan on a PHP6,000 (USD134) plane fare. Yes, it also meant that I woke up at three in the morning just to check my FB wall, almost stepped on the Hubs on my way out of bed to get my passport and credit card and losing sleep until 6AM just because I was too hella excited.

The bottom line is this: following your favorite airlines on social media works and has its benefits. Here are some of the social media pages of our leading budget carriers:

Cebu Pacific

a reliable airline with affordable rates (picture not mine)

a reliable airline with affordable rates
(picture not mine)

A lot of Filipinos have a love and hate relationship with their airline company. While there were a lot of grumblings about how their customer service needed improvement and that some of their flights are always delayed, we can’t discount the fact that this airline company changed the way Filipinos view traveling and tourism. Whereas before many believed that traveling overseas is just for the moneyed, the launch of Cebu Pacific’s crazy plane fares and its aggressive promo campaigns gave Filipinos the opportunity to travel and discover other countries on the cheap. It allowed the middle class to realize that with conscientious saving and proper planning, you can see your dream destination without winning the lottery. I am one of those people. I used to believe that traveling is for the rich only, but Cebu Pacific changed that.

Of course, in a perfect world — Cebu Pacific SHOULD improve how it provides service to its customers. But meantime, the best dealing mechanism is to prepare and overprepare for unexpected travel delays, lots of patience and good manners. And most of all, do not expect too much — especially if your plane fare cost less than your phone.

Stalk Cebu Pacific’s plane fares here: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

AirAsia
My second time in South Korea last November was my first time to use AirAsia. The plane fare for the return trip was PHP8,000 — a steal considering that plane tickets to SK usually cost about PHP19K on regular rates. The trip was uneventful, the flight staff was very efficient and courteous that I have nothing but good memories of my flight with AirAsia.

(photo credit to owner)

(photo credit to owner)

Stalk AirAsia on: their website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. AirAsia also has an app which you can download on your mobile phone which allows you to book, ugrade and even check in your AirAsia flights.

JetStar Philippines

(photo credit to owner)

(photo credit to owner)

JetStar always holds a special place in my heart because this is the plane I took when I went on my first ever trip out of the country back in 2007. yes–the seats are cramped that sometimes it felt like riding in a bus; the flight stewardess rarely smiled and can be on the snooty side but all my experiences with JetStar are always pleasant and they always reminded of the quality of its pilots.

One of my most memorable JetStar rides was in 2013 on a flight to Singapore with my whole family. It was the middle of July and Manila is in the middle of the storm. We met the worst possible turbulence during take-off where the plane was shaking so badly. I looked to where my mom and pop was sitting and I could see my mom clutching her rosary while my dad sat grim-faced (it was his first out of the country trip). For a bit, I was convinced that we will all die. But no, the gentlemen at the helm steered the plane efficiently and gracefully amidst Manila’s raging storm. By the time we reached cruising altitude, the plane was so steady and was gliding so peacefully that it felt like you were sitting at home in your living room, instead of being 30,000 feet in the air.

To this day, JetStar remains our top choice whenever we go travel to Singapore.

Stalk them here: website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Philippine Airlines (PAL)
PAL is not a budget airline — but is considered one of the best when it comes to personalized service. You might find this funny, but one of my goals is to go on an out-of-the-country trip using PAL, just because I haven’t tried it yet. I wanted to experience and see the difference on traveling using a budget airline and a non-budget airline.

(credit to owner)

(credit to owner)

Because I haven’t tried PAL yet for an international flight, I cannot give you a more in-depth description of the experience. Though I have flown with them before for business trips domestically, I don’t know if there’s a difference in service and experience for international flights.

Follow PAL here: website,Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

But if you are the type who prefer having someone else look for cheap plane fares for you — then why don’t you subscribe for a fare scanning site?

Right now, I am a heavily depending on SkyScanner to find me cheap fares for Osaka for February 2015. You can also use SkyScanner to look for cheap hotels, airport transfers and car hires.

My current search

My current search

Other Fare Alert sites include:

* Trip Advisor Cheap Flights
* FareCompare
* Kayak

The bottomline in finding cheap plane fares is to be patient and continuously search. If you are not comfortable with the amount you found and is convinced that there are better fares out there — keep searching.

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