Best Travel Apps

Gone are the days when you have to guess the meaning of the word you just heard from the bus driver, and the times when you had no idea which airlines fly to the destination of your choice. Here we list the best apps that you can use whenever you plan to travel, when you’re about to travel, and when you’re actually already traveling.

Planning a Trip

 

Skyscanner mobile app

  • Skyscanner. Search for flights to your preferred location, on your preferred dates, based on your preferred time or airline. You can also use it for a random check-out of any place during the day when you are most free to travel. Hhmm… Where to go on October 30? Just key in the place where you will be flying from and the dates you prefer to fly, and voila! Skyscanner will gladly sort flights to any country based on any of your preference. Want to fly via Tiger Airways? Just sort the options by airline!

XE Currency gives you an idea how much money you will need for that dream vacay.

  • XE Currency. As you plan your trip, you would need to set our budget. XE Currency easily lets you convert money values so you can set your budget right, or cross out a country that is too expensive for you.

About to Travel

Get to know Rome at your fingertips.

  • Lonely Planet. Instead of bringing your thick Lonely Planet guidebook, just buy one from the App Store or from Google Play. Get the guide you need for your country of choice. Going to the US? Which state? Which city? Lonely Planet has an app for that city!

Get the most affordable accommodations even if you’re on the go.

  • Airbnb. With an extensive list of affordable accommodations around the globe, Airbnb lets you choose the best inn or hostel for your next trip around Southeast Asia, or anywhere else in the world for that matter. You can check out reviews posted by other travelers, and even contact the accommodation without leaving the app.

During Travel

Don’t speak chinese? No problem!

  • Google Translate. Although it is not exactly fool proof, Google Translate does a great job at helping you understand the language in a foreign country. Just key in the phrase that you can’t understand, and immediately see what it means. You can also use it to translate from your native language to that spoken in your destination. Very useful for when you need to ask “Where is the nearest restroom?”

Memories of your trip stored and shared.

  • Trip Journal. Whether you’re a blogger or just a plain traveler, you need to somehow store your memories. You can use them for future reference, or for creating that scrapbook! Trip Journal is an award-winning app that lets you tag on a map the places that you went to, or geo-tag your videos and photos. There’s also an option that lets you export photos to Facebook, letting friends and family know where you already are and what you’re doing as you travel.

More than the Volcano: the Taal Experience

Volcano crater

The Taal Volcano experience is actually more than just seeing the crater of this world famous land formation. It is an adventure that you and your family would enjoy taking, albeit with soiled clothes and a hardcore sweat, in case you come on a sunny day. Actually, coming on a rainy day isn’t recommended. It’s meant to be enjoyed with the sun shining brightly. Here’s what you’ll go through as you take the trip to Taal.

Drive to Talisay, Batangas

If you’re coming from Tagaytay, you’ll take a route that descends down mountainous roads. The drive will last for around thirty minutes. There are no public transportation that passes through that route, so you should rent a tricycle or van if you can’t bring your car.

Boat ride to the foot of the volcano

Once you get to the lakeshore part of Talisay, you can leave your car parked in a resort and even order lunch for when you get back from your trip. You would then ride a boat that will bring you across from the lakeshore to the foot of the volcano. This should take around 40 minutes. Sometimes, the waves are weirdly strong. You don’t have to worry if this happens though, since the boat drivers are quite skilled. Just enjoy the view, the wind and the waves. A boat ride can cost you P1,500, to and form the Talisay shoreline.

Horse ride to the view deck

Once you get to the shore, you will be welcomed by vendors selling everything from snacks to gas masks. Gas masks? Yes, you will need it, since the trek up to the view deck is one dusty ride. It would help if you have a pair of sunglasses, to shield yourself from dust and from the harsh rays of the sun. After buying a bottle of water and wearing your gas mask, it’s time to ride a horse. The horse handler will ride with you; don’t worry. Just hold tight and encourage the horse, since it can be quite tiring for them. This can last from 20 to 30 minutes, so you owe your horse all the cheers it can get from you.

View deck    

You might be wondering why when you were on the boat you didn’t dock on the always-photographed volcano. Well, that’s because that “volcano” isn’t really one. It’s called a caldera, and the real actual crater of the Taal Volcano is the one you will see after the horse ride. Unfortunately, you will not be allowed to descend to the crater; it’s now forbidden. What you can do instead is to drive a golf ball down to the water. Yes, there’s a golf club up on the view deck, and some balls meant to be thrown away. I’m just not quite sure if doing that is eco-friendly.

If you want to go to Tagaytay, it’s only a two-hour drive from Manila. If you’re coming from the provinces, there are flights you can take either to Manila or to Clark Airport. If you’ll coming from Clark, however, you’d have to add two or three more hours to your travel time.

The Martial Arts of the World

It seems that our ancestors had a lot of time in their hands. They were able to create different martial arts that served different purposes: self-defense, physical development, and even spiritual focus. Check out the most famous martial arts of the world, and what makes them so special.

Brazil: Capoeira

Do the back flips now.

A form of war dance that African slaves created to learn to defend themselves, and to survive the harsh world in the hope that they would soon be set free from slavery. It is a form of martial arts that incorporates music and rhythm, making it look like a relaxed and beautiful dance. However, capoeristas back in the days would work as hitmen, as mercenaries, terrorists that spread fear all over Brazil. Today, you wouldn’t imagine a capoeirista winning a battle over a skilled policeman, as the practice of it is now purely to promote the Brazilian culture and to enjoy the art as an expression of oneself.

Mexico: Lucha Libre

Pro wrestling at its best

If you have watched the movie Nacho Libre, you would know how lucha libre works, both in terms of game rules andwhat goes on in the politics of the game. Basically, it is a wrestling match much like the ones that we see on American TV, only freer and with masks! And although it is illegal to remove the mask of your opponent, matches called lucha de apuesta, or betting matches, the end goal is to remove the mask of your opponent or to remove a patch of his hair. Lucha libre continues to be a popular sport in Mexico, making it the country with the most number of professional wrestlers.

China: Kung Fu

A form of martial arts that traces its history to legendary dynasties that existed more than 4,000 years ago, kung fu utilizes the body for combat and also for self-improvement, particularly of the qi or the energy within an individual. With its rich history, it has evolved from being a fighting method to an aesthetically appealing form of art that champions precision and excellent execution. Although some moves that are used in routine competitions look beautiful, critics say that such movements are in fact unnecessary and useless in actual combat.

Japan: Karate

There have been too many films and even video games that depicted karate as an amazing way to kill a person, to win a battle, and to show one’s skills. However, true karate practitioners say that the karate shown in movies are ambitious modification of the true martial art, which is actually all about self-discipline and mastery. Kids love the sport very much, perhaps because of its popularity in movies, cartoons and games. The good thing is that you don’t really have to go to Clark Airport and board a plane to Japan. There are a lot of karate schools even in Manila.

World’s Best Buskers: Where to Find Them

Busking is basically performing on the street and earning money while doing it. So what makes a great place to see buskers? It should be generous with loose change to drop into the busker’s guitar case or hat, and it should be rich with talent. Here are places in the world where you can find the most awesome street performers, and then wonder why in the world are they not famous internationally. Just a note though; there are no Asian countries listed, which means you can’t count on a Cebu Pacific seat sale for you to be able to watch excellent buskers. You’d have to spend on it!

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

This place is already a competitive area. They say that you can only busk in Amsterdam if you’re really talented, otherwise you should take your act somewhere else. Needless to say people in the area are so used to excellent performances every day of the week!

New York, USA

Image from subwaymusicblog.com

For a place that is very populous, New York makes it ideal for artists to strut their stuff. There are a lot of like-minded individuals on their way to their hipster work either organizing a concert for peace or designing shirts tat promote eco-friendliness. In other words, there is an atmosphere of fun, artistry and advocacy, things that you would not normally see in other places. New York is really that special.

New Orleans, USA 

The birthplace of jazz, New Orleans naturally has a talented bunch of street performers who can always count on crowds who do appreciate some good music. Aside from soloists with their guitars or harmonica, you can also chance upon a capella groups and small bands playing wind instruments.

Paris, France 

Image from steffe (flickr)

Here you won’t see a lot of musicians, but you can marvel at the finest mimes in the world. Stand transfixed at their antics and costumes, and make sure to leave some change. There are also a lot of street performers who dress up like statues and only move when you drop a change in their hats! Pretty fun, actually.

Berlin, Germany

Image by Cormac Mulhall

There are a lot of boheme performers in Germany, making it one of the most eccentric and interesting places to see different kinds of performances. Aside from musicians, you can also watch magicians and little circus acts all across the city. In fact, Berlin even holds a festival that showcases street talents from different parts of the world. You can say that Berlin is the world’s busking capital.

Five Best Places for Solo Travelling

If you want to go on a soul search alone, you need to choose your destination well. Don’t go some place where people gather to celebrate with friends, such as the Oktoberfest in Germany during the last weeks of September leading up to the first days of October.

Pick a place where you can find yourself, where there’s less noise, friendly people, and little to no crime rate. Seriously, travelling alone can be scary if you don’t choose the destination well.

So we listed our favorite destinations for the solo wanderlust you. Here goes, and good luck!

New Zealand

Picturesque New Zealand

Aside from a generous supply of milk (har har), New Zealand also has the best views worthy of your shutter click and your undivided attention. Plus the locals are uber friendly – a big deal for anyone who will travel alone. The transportation system is very tourist-friendly, and the accommodations are superb. Plus you might have relatives who currently reside there! There are a lot of Filipinos in the country; one of my friends just flew to NZ last week!

Costa Rica

Frolicking the beach in Costa Rica

Unlike New Zealand, Costa Rica is more dynamic and noisy. Don’t get me wrong though, Costa Rica is very tourist-friendly. You won’t run out of things to do. Head to the beach for a morning stroll, go zip-lining, hike a trail, or scuba dive! Do them all! The best thing about Costa Rica is that it isn’t a honeymoon destination, which means you won’t awkwardly run into couple after couple while you try your best to concentrate on your solo travel to get over the love of your life who left you for somebody else. So the drama, but a broken heart is one of the most legit reasons to go on a solo travel.

Ireland

The way to the pub 😉

Ireland is the kind of place that will demand your attention. Traveling solo to this beautiful country will be better than being with you family and friends. Why? There’s a lot of local culture to learn about! Everywhere you go locals will willingly talk with you and tell you more about the best pub in town or the perfect inn to spend the night in.

Australia

Australians are so used to travelers, so being there won’t make you look like a sore thumb sticking out for attention. It is safe in the country, and because it is modern, you won’t have a hard time using pubic transportation. There’s a lot you can do – dive in the Great Barrier Reef, take a tour in the Outback, visit locals’ favorite restaurants. It is best to stay in a hostel, where rooms are shared, so you can meet other travelers and exchange notes.

The UK

Seeing the queens and kings of the past

The region has everything you want and more. Perfect for artists and passion seekers, the UK has an abundant supply of inspiration, from museums to structures to historical sites that will help you appreciate art more. You want some shopping? There are a lot of stores to check out! You want some partying? You won’t run out of bars to choose from. You can experience the big city life in London and then easily transfer to the small area of Aberdeen, for some peace and downtown vibe. I’m just not sure if you can book a promo fare to the UK. But still, being able to experience its beauty and culture should be worth all the money that you burn.