Tag Archives: Philippines

Coronavirus: The Floating Vectors of COVID-19

There’s just something concerning with the handling of virus-infected cruise ships. Not to mention, repatriated citizens, expats and overseas workers as well.

Yes, we have heard of several stories and it’s just a wonder why it keeps happening. Like, why do people still go on cruises? Aren’t they aware of its danger in this coronavirus time – or is it just stubbornness that they still push through? Oh, they are already at sea – or there’s just no refund? What about governments, if they could close borders, ports and airports – why can’t they do something about these tours?

Moreover, when passengers are hit by COVID-19, how come governments still do not know what to do? Or do not realize that their current system of managing these virus-infected cruise ships may open up to more transmissions?

How to handle cruise ship passengers and repatriated citizens

While having some kind of sanitary cordon sounds good, like, letting the cruise ship dock then immediately transporting the passengers to the airport before flying them home, the biggest concern (given that the bus driver and everybody involved in the transfer are protected) here would be – their destination.

Okay, these passengers go into health procedures and all upon arrival; but medical professionals get infected, too, despite their protection and it’s due to overexposure. Thus, the healthcare workers that should receive and care for them are those that has the least exposure – as in dedicated personnel, else, you know what could happen.

Any data on the infection spread of cruise ship passengers a week after disembarkation? See, you can’t overwhelm your locale and healthcare system with new cases that could have been brought and treated somewhere else considering these people were not in the country when their infection were confirmed.

As we see it, having quarantine tents within the terminal, port or airport area to receive them would be the second best thing.

And where would that ideal treatment area be?

With more dedication and less burden on healthcare workers, you may see less of this sight on ‘quarantine island’ than on the mainland.

On an island.

If your country has islands other than its mainland, use one minimally inhabited island to at least place all citizens coming from other countries (or cruise ships) for quarantine and treatment. As for medical facilities, there’s what you call ‘preparation’ and just doing it. This way, those in the mainland that are healthy would not get infected due to ‘saturation’. Mind you, infections spread more on the mainland than on smaller islands. This is obviously because there are more people on the mainland and one has to cross the sea just to infect someone else, after all, COVID-19 is about human-to-human transmission.

Even Australia used Christmas Island (though they could have utilized an island closer to its mainland) for that purpose; but special case or not, that’s the way to go. Hey, we have even talked about ‘quarantine island’ already.

This is social distancing par excellence!

Coronavirus: The Issue on Face Masks once and for all

To wear or not to wear? That is the question. Yes, we are talking ‘face masks’ here. Are we to ask the CDC? WHO?

Actually, you don’t need to ask anyone if you have been following facts about COVID-19 – and us. This is all just common sense.

What’s the argument again, to ‘not wear’ a face mask? Because you’re not infected? Because you’re not the one attending to the infected? Because there’s not much face masks available?

Now, what’s the contention on wearing a face mask this time? To protect oneself from ‘silent carriers’ or asymptomatics? Actually, the assertion on now wearing a face mask is kind of funny. Why only now? Like, they only realized it now?? Because of ‘silent carriers’? We say one should be wearing a face mask regardless if one is asymptomatic or showing no symptoms at all. Why?

COVID-19 respiratory droplets stay in the air for at least three hours or so after it has been discharged by an infected person (symptomatics take at least three days to show symptoms, thence, he can not be classified as a ‘silent carrier’) who may likely not even be in that area anymore. Thus, if you happen to be in that area within that timeframe, you are likely to get the virus…

Unless you have, at least, protected yourself with a face mask. Even a homemade mask will do. Just choose a denser cloth for better filtering.

Breathing or talking could spread coronavirus? Of course! The virus stays at least three hours in the air!

See, people are instructed to clean this and that. Disinfect here and there. Because the virus stays on surfaces like copper for 4 hours, cardboard for 24 hours and plastic and stainless steel for 2-3 days. But how could the CDC and WHO miss out on droplets that’s airborne for 3 hours or so? Hmm.

The problem here may be more than just realizing the risks posed by silent carriers, the problem lies in ‘pride’. Like, officials and health authorities do not want to be advised by others. They want to be the ones to dictate the protocols – which is understandable. Then again, they should also realize that there’s this ‘exception to the rule’ where an infinitesimal of humanity may understand stuff even more than they do. You want this virus (or anything for that matter) beaten faster – drop your ego – listen, acknowledge and hire who has this understanding.

More than just the obvious of touching one’s face or holding often held surfaces, what contributed to the COVID-19 spread is that 3-hour portal made by symptomatics (remember, symptoms take at least three days to show up) who were not wearing face masks yet.

Now for worries that social distancing might become lax because of face masks, that’s more of a culture thing. Because people only thinks of themselves instead of being ‘socially responsible’ as shown by those spring break partiers in Florida.

A paradigm shift is needed here. To be more responsible. To be more caring.

People need to understand that we are human. Whatever race you are, we do experience life’s ups and downs. No need to hide it or be ashamed of it. Be authentic. Do not be too engrossed with the Instagram lifestyle – just as LinkedIn members should not shy away from connections suggesting assistance in this trying times.

We are all in this together. Do not take advantage of people but help.

One final note and reminder here for ‘the healthy’ would be two-pronged: face masks could shield you from accidentally touching your face, at the same time, it also protects you from infectious droplets that’s been like ‘airborne’ for three hours. Especially when irresponsible people are still out there.

Coronavirus: Effective Social Distancing Measures

Whether it’s social distancing or physical distancing, it’s the same banana as everyone who has heard of social distancing understands that it actually means physical distancing.

So, what’s the brouhaha over this COVID-19 term? Let’s get to business!

So long as you keep yourself two meters away from the next human; so long as you cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze; so long as you stay home especially when you do not feel well – then you got the basics of distancing covered.

The future would be bleak if the world is left to irresponsible people.

If there’s no human to pass on the disease to, then you have succeeded in slowing down the spread of COVID-19.

Current Measures

Among the steps governments have taken to amplify distancing include:

  • Quarantine Pass. An ID pass that a designated household member has to possess whenever he gets out of his home to buy essentials.
  • Military or Police Posts. To make sure people only goes out for essentials and that distancing is done by those on the streets or the places they go to.
  • Lining Up. From supermarkets to pharmacies, people are to line up to get in the store (in batches) when purchasing. The problem here would be ‘wet markets’ where people just flock. Here is definitely a distancing failure. Moreover, not all wet markets are spacious aside from having the same entrance and exit points. Can ‘lining up’ work in wet markets? Possible if every batch are given, say, 20 minutes to buy their goods with vendors reminding their customers of social distancing and exits are different from entrances. Well, they just better have temperature checks at the entrance for assurance.
  • Cellophane Cover. Pharmacies and bakeries have placed cellophane barriers at the counter (or point of contact) to separate customers from the attending staff.
  • Senior Citizen Time. Grocery stores have the first three hours open only to senior citizens.
  • Passable Roads. This would reduce the areas where motorists and people ply, thereby, cutting places to monitor. Then again, reducing travel paths could also make social distancing ineffective as those who walk may have lesser room for distancing.
  • Cellphone Tracking. Though basically advanced countries would do this, tracking of this kind is simply to make sure that COVID-19 patients do not ‘mingle’ with anyone other than his caregiver. Thus, cellphone tracking should only be used on confirmed patients as well as the people they have been with. Privacy should be respected and maintained by the government and telecom companies.

However, these steps are still wanting in terms of ease in government implementation and public acceptance – as most people are simply uncooperative. Thence, to better social distancing efforts and more, the following should be applied as well.

Scheduling would ease crowded wet markets.

Market Day. Every locality should have a specific market day to control the number of people going to wet markets. Areas not scheduled for wet markets should be scheduled for groceries and pharmacies. This should be done in rotation with adjacent locales.

Use Influencers. Social media has its benefits. Collaborate with those who has tons of followers or subscribers and ask them to tell their followers to observe social distancing.

The use of influencers is like hiring a celebrity for product endorsements. However, no matter how popular the influencer, messages may fall on deaf ears as humans are social beings and most of them just lacks discipline. Besides, not all their followers are from one country or area. Even so, it’s still worth trying.

Hire Leaders. Okay, villages already have their chieftains – why not them? Village chiefs and alike are only good for villages and ‘market days’. Meanwhile, leaders are needed for a wider spectrum, like, regional or national in scope. And for exceptional ones, their logic – unless discriminated (or evil-eyed where credit is not given but even stolen) – would be acknowledged globally.

So, how about existing government leaders? Politicians just got to their posts due to a weak electoral system. Some may be qualified but that’s just on a traditional front which ordinary minds created. As in, the possession of diplomas or even their so-called ‘track record’ which is only due to customary barriers – but having nothing when it comes to grey matter and character. Most of the time, just a popularity contest.

Organizations seek ‘great’ achievers but scan with ‘traditional’ eyes, isn’t it ironic?

Thus, hire empathetic leaders and make them primary advisers at the very least. Real leaders who are critical thinkers, non-conformists and decisive. Leadership is about eloquence and vision, hence, these are those who ‘fights’ for the right principles, those who have years of sensible leadership blogging or podcasting instead of just yelling aimlessly in rallies. These are those who has solutions even for, like, stranded groups and migrant workers that poses distancing issues among others.

Real leaders are disrupters – and COVID-19 needs disrupting.

Coronavirus: Why are Countries Struggling against COVID-19

In our previous article, we talked about the methods currently used to contain the pandemic; and for this article, we get into why countries are still struggling against COVID-19.

What, no vaccine yet? Nahh. We know that vaccines take time to produce, so move on. Then, it’s because it’s an ‘unseen enemy’ that we are up against? Can’t be. That’s only applicable at the outset. It’s been months already, you should already know the ‘tricks’ that COVID-19 uses. Else, there’s no way governments could beat the coronavirus.

Then why the struggle?

Dissect our previous article. You will see that it’s simply because of speed and decisiveness. Thus, what impedes this is what made the struggle.

Overcoming COVID-19 Struggles

First. Pride. Remove that complacency that your country would not be affected because it’s advanced or that this would just disappear or that you just might be overreacting. Sure, you are the country’s elected leader but that does not mean you are the smartest – so, listen to your ‘smart’ advisers. Smart, not narcissistic advisers who only boasts of their alma mater (or position) when all a school has are facilities. Listen to ‘smart’ people whatever their social standing. These are the real leaders you need. Acknowledge them. Hire them. After all, it’s the smart who created civilization – it’s just that those who could really make a difference are prejudiced by impractical qualifications from ordinary minds or leaders who doesn’t understand ‘exception to the rule’.

Second. Prejudice. Don’t waste your energy finger-pointing. Cooperate. In times of emergency, support is what’s needed. If you are to blame or file charges of negligence or something on people or states, then just let two out of your 10 people do it. Not nine of them goes after the culprit, then only one would fight the virus. That would be a sure loss. Humans are smarter than any virus but learn to prioritize.

And never demean or take any race for granted like how the Ebola virus was treated. Like, richer countries didn’t immediately respond because they were not affected by the disease. Understand that the ‘tree’ you have is just the result of someone who planted it 20 years ago which may not necessarily be done by ‘yourself’. How much more if we talk about a thousand-year civilization?

Third. Involvement of the Rich and Powerful. Elites have the resources to help, then help with all your might. If you have 80 billion dollars and just donate 100 million, that’s nothing. See, you could even help the world if you really pour in your funds. So, don’t breadcrumb – and utilize your businesses and facilities to assist in any way possible. Remember, you became rich because of the people. You have nothing to invest if you didn’t have anything to begin with.

If you are a public official, don’t hide but be at the frontline. You are a public ‘servant’, you’re not a master. You are at your post because of the people. Don’t violate rules yourself but help the most vulnerable first.

Fourth. Protect Healthcare Workers. Imagine these medical workers even need to make their own PPEs? How could that be when just about every country even has a millionaire in the midst? Healthcare workers are very important in the control of COVID-19. Thence, provide them with all the supplies, equipment and support they need.

As we keep saying, your immune system speaks louder than testing and vaccines – work on it.

Fifth. Mix It Up. While there are three approaches to COVID-19, don’t stick to one. As we’ve said, lockdowns are only good especially if you lack the resources but it would not succeed if you don’t act with urgency. And if you don’t follow up with, say, strategic testing and tracking ‘patients’ through their cellphones.

If you still don’t have testing kits, no problem. Testing does not cure, it is only to know if one is infected. Without testing kits, treat everyone like a patient. Keep them home and just make sure to supply your people with ‘healthy food’. After all, food is why people work – first and foremost. Hence, if they have food, they don’t need to get out of their homes in COVID-19 times. Don’t just drown them with canned goods and ‘ready-to-eat’ processed meals, these are processed food that could harm their health after the coronavirus is long gone.

And if anyone in the household is ill, you know the drill. Self-isolate blah blah blah.

At the end of the day, while everyone is locked up and people are tested, speed up the vaccine and promote a lifestyle change to a healthier one. Mind you, it’s your immune system that really protects you. A vaccine only tells your body how to react to the virus. Without a functional car, your gasoline is useless.

Coronavirus: The Best Approach to Contain COVID-19

Two months into the coronavirus outbreak – governments are getting jittery, businesses are starting to crack, people are in panic and medical practitioners are overwhelmed as scientists scramble to create a vaccine, a cure.

As clinical trials have begun, this gave the planet some ray of hope that stopping this “unseen enemy” is not far behind. Then again, clinical trials do take time – especially if every nation that’s developing a vaccine wants to be the hero.

Competition instead of cooperation – and blaming instead of resolving.

Yet while the world awaits, different approaches have been tried to flatten the curve – with two obvious methods being done the world over and a third one thought to have been considered early on.

Herd Immunity

This approach is rooted with the thought that COVID-19 would become kind of a seasonal infection. Meaning, once you got (previously) infected, you would become immune to it.

Meaning, we would just all go about our lives as the virus makes 60-70 percent of the population sick to a point where its spread becomes limited. This is the approach that the UK first thought of to the dismay of many for it delays urgent action instead of saving lives. So, it was a no-go.

Don’t let age dictate your fate, build a stronger immune system and you would fare better against viral infections.

We say, more than this, the herd immunity is something like a “survival of the fittest” and it’s only applicable if the populace has no elderly or people with compromised immune systems where deaths would almost be nonexistent.

But here’s something to think about before you become nonchalant, even if you survive a COVID-19 infection, your lung function may no longer be 100 percent. So, be wary.

Lockdown

This method controls people’s movement within a restricted area. And it’s essentially good for governments that are unprepared and for those that lacks the medical capability and resources.

However, there are three important factors that lockdowns or community quarantines need in order to succeed.

One. Speed. Borders should be shut as soon as there are reports of neighboring countries or areas’ first infections. Mind you, infections are easier in countries or places that has a large, “unbroken” land area compared to locales divided by water. Thus, travel should be banned in and out of the lockdown region as in flight bans and closing of ports and borders. More so, all measures that contribute to spreading should be taken with tracing suspected carriers, social distancing, hygiene and lifestyle changes as the priorities. After all, prevention is better than cure.

While China took control, indecisiveness and complacency would make many lockdowns too little, too late.

Two. Communication. Any organized effort would struggle without open and fast communication. This is from information campaigns to tracing suspected carriers to reporting cases to carrying out orders. With all these running about, the public should remain calm and not panic. Politicians should make sure basic services are still out there – at the same time, enforce price controls and ensure goods are delivered by uninfected people. Meanwhile, businesses should not allow hoarding by anyone even by politicians, celebrities or personal friends.

Three. Discipline. This is probably the most difficult to have if you never had it in the first place. Desperate times require desperate measures, hence, the local administration should maintain control with no favors, prejudice or complacency while the public should truly cooperate. Any unruly or rogue behavior could trigger the start of a mega-infection. Thence, sustained effort is key and violators should be penalized.

It is important to note that Italy may have failed in these factors and so, they are having a hard time controlling COVID-19.

Aggressive Testing

While the world is looking up to South Korea as the model in this fight against COVID-19, aggressive testing would not really work for every nation. Why?

One. Supplies. You need to have enough testing kits, so, aggressive testing is not ideal especially for poor countries. And if your country has self-serving politicians or business leaders, they would have themselves and their families tested first even when they do not really have symptoms. Who knows, they may even have reserve testing kits put away for future use – just in case. Besides, if we have to buy (or pay for) one, can ordinary people afford it?

Two. Quarantine Facilities. If you test a lot, where would you put those infected? Placing them in an island for treatment is ideal until they get well, else, they should be housed in a single, faraway facility. This is especially helpful to contain the spread, moreover, so health workers could properly attend to them while replenishment of supplies would not be staggered. This would be like, all roads lead to “quarantine island.”

Didn’t China even build a dedicated hospital in 10 days for COVID-19 patients?

South Korea’s phone booth testing: Protecting health workers without losing testing efficiency.

Still, more than testing kits, what made South Korea’s aggressive testing seemingly successful is their use of “satellite technology” to track COVID-19 and the “phone booth” testing to minimize infecting health workers themselves as well as for easier disinfection.

Now, if all you have are “testing kits” – no satellite technology, phone booths or drive-thrus – then use aggressive testing on people within the 5-mile radius of the epicenter, no later than 2 days from the outbreak to succeed.

In the end, the best approach to contain COVID-19 relies heavily on speed – that is decisiveness.

Coronavirus: Solving Initial Issues on Community Quarantine

As expected and in any undertaking, there would always be issues especially for something that the world has never seen before.

And in the case of Metro Manila’s community quarantine, among the problems that came out were traffic congestion, defective thermal scanners, no face masks, and social distancing issues among others.

How to Address these Issues
  • Traffic. The problem with this issue is that it has been a concern even before COVID-19 surfaced on this planet. So, if it was not solved back then, it would either be harder to solve now that there’s a threat like the coronavirus – or with “sustained effort” on the part of the police and travelers, this 5-hour endurance (WARNING: Traffic would definitely contribute to spreading the virus) by commuters and motorists would be cut into half or even a tenth of the time. For that to happen, consider the following: (a) Provincial buses should only ply up to Metro Manila borders. (b) Companies apply a 6-hour daily work schedule. To maximize productivity, companies should focus on results not work hours. (c) The whole Metro Manila should apply an every 30-minute bus and jeepney schedule at designated bus stops. (d) Companies in the whole metropolis should work on and agree on a sequenced 6-hour work schedule. Like, companies located in this area are to have an 8-3PM schedule while companies located on that area will have an 8:30-3:30PM sked and companies near checkpoints should open office from 9-4PM and so on. This way, the roads would not congest with employees going off work at the same time. (e) If an employee lives within 5 kilometers from his office, do not ride but just walk. If he lives farther, get off the bus at least 300 meters before his office. This way, these employees not only give drivers a chance to pick up other passengers but they keep fit.
  • Social Distancing. It would be hard to apply this on buses and jeepneys especially since drivers would naturally want more passengers while the latter are rushing to work. However, this only needs cooperation and discipline to make social distancing successful. (a) Employees should not leave their homes at the 11th hour. (b) All buses and jeepneys should have a “conductor.” These conductors would make sure that proper spacing is done in public transportations by stopping the passengers from riding when the bus or jeepney is already fully and properly spaced out. Violators should be penalized.
  • Defective Thermal Scanners. First, these products should be tested before being officially used. Second, if they were functioning before they got damaged, then it’s just about handling – be gentle. Third, checkpoints should have a charging area for thermal scanners that are low batt. You could even convert a “car battery” into a charger that every checkpoint should have.
  • No Face Mask. While n95 are the ideal mask, it’s only for medical workers as even disposable surgical masks (which is commonly used by the world) are out of supply. Then again, haven’t you heard that old bras could even be used as a face mask? Okay, using such could be embarrassing for the police – then use an improvised face mask made of cloth or something. The difference between a medical mask and an improvised face mask lies in its filtering properties. Being made of cloth, respiratory particles that were caught by it could still be there; thus, increase your protection by adding a perforation of 3 plies of tissue between your nose-mouth area and mask. Just change your tissue every hour or so since you are heavily exposed to people.
Having and following designated bus stops with a “15-second un/loading time” could improve traffic.

The battle against COVID-19 is very winnable. All it takes is sustained effort – and discipline.

Coronavirus: What could make a Lockdown or Community Quarantine fail

With the continued rise of coronavirus infections globally and a COVID-19 vaccine still nowhere in sight, governments just have to do what they can to contain its spread…

Either through lockdowns or “aggressive” testing. But for this article, we are to focus on lockdowns or Metro Manila’s community quarantine.

As we know, lockdowns control people’s movement within a restricted area while quarantine is simply the separation or restriction of people who might have been exposed to a contagious disease to determine if they are infected – just like what you see when you travel nowadays.

In both cases, it’s either imposed in the whole country or just a certain locality.

For coronavirus or in anything, success is a matter of sustained effort.

So with that, what could actually make a lockdown or community quarantine fail?

  1. Sustainable Effort. Many times, hopefully not in this case, governments just could not sustain the work. Let’s face it, it’s just tedious. Imagine you have to check temperatures of hundreds or thousands of motorists or people on designated checkpoints and areas for, say, 30 days. At first, the energy and even enthusiasm is naturally there but after a week or so, things could become relaxed.
  2. Corruption. And when those on the job gets kind of tired or complacent, these guys could become open to bribery or something. Like, if a symptomatic person or businessman is worried of missing out on a big deal, he could try to bribe those at the “control point” to let him slide and just get treated or quarantined right after his deal. This could happen, like, in all entry or exit points whether land, sea or air travel. No land, air and sea travel means “no land, air and sea travel” whether you are a passenger – or a shipping or airline company.
  3. Questionable Quarantine Areas. Choice of designated quarantine sites is crucial, else, you could still spread the virus. It should not be in residential or commercial areas or where foot traffic is high. It should be as isolated as possible. And if possible, those infected should be in a designated island for treatment. This is not discriminating the sick but controlling the chances of spreading COVID-19 until they get well, so life still goes on for the healthy.
  4. Lack of Health Workers. COVID-19 is a pandemic and we are still human regardless if one is a medical professional or not. This situation could overwhelm these health workers emotionally, mentally and physically. So, what are the chances that a health worker could underperform? Say, a hundred patients and only two nurses, a medical technologist and a doctor. See?
  5. Lack of Medical Supplies. Or other necessary supplies, medicine and equipments as well. After all, even the United States has issues with their testing kits. Thus, testing supplies among others should be adequate, distributed equally and replenished in a timely manner regardless if the hospital is renown or not, but depending on their need. Government and the health industry should act in unison – with one objective – to eliminate COVID-19. Pharmaceutical companies (and any entity who could gain in any way) should not take advantage of the situation.
  6. Improperly trained Disinfecting Personnel. In its simplest form, just think of this as painting a house. Paint equally with the right formula and do not overpaint one area unless you need to highlight it or so. In this case, be methodical and do not overdo or undercut your spraying or disinfecting methods. Leave no stone unturned with priority on the most vulnerable areas and places regardless of who frequents the building or locale.
  7. Lack of Discipline. Social distancing should truly be observed, wherever. Large gatherings should be cancelled. Same goes with panic-buying. More than crowd containment, hoarding rules should be strictly implemented between customers and the store regardless if the customer is rich or a celebrity. Such people would just create an imbalance in supplies as they leave little for others. More so, panic-buying only overwhelms the store where others could slip unnoticed and open up to unsuspected viral infection. Another case would be for youngsters just being carefree and unknowingly become a carrier of the virus. So is an employee trying to get to office or continue working even if he suddenly feels sick. See, those residing outside the restricted area are more dangerous than those inside the quarantine zone as they could become carriers of the virus to another locality. Thus, they should really be monitored.
Disinfecting priorities should be followed and not done based on social standing.

In all, while we can expect the coronavirus cases to increase in lockdown or quarantine areas (for being some kind of an epicenter), so long as the above factors are addressed – containment is going to be successful.

Top Travel Tips: When NOT to Travel

There are actually many more scenarios that we could give travel tips on but for this issue, let us go the other way around first – and that is, when not to travel.

RESPONSIBILITY

If you have to babysit or attend to your sick grandma, or if no one could tend to say the livestock – or if your house is not secure and things like that, you can’t just travel. Someone’s just got to do these stuff. We cannot just leave things hanging back home while we enjoy the beach. Responsibility comes first before anything else, so make sure everything is set before getting on to your next adventure.

Responsibility comes first before fun
WORK OR SCHOOL

If you think about it, life on earth is really just either about studying or working unless you are idle or something which then makes you irresponsible in many ways. So if you are not on leave, a vacation or if your weekend is full, you can’t just go on some trip unless you do study or work remotely where you could just bring your stuff and recharge for even a day of fun.

Avoid a burnout, make sure you really got a couple of days free time before traveling
CALAMITY

While earthquakes on your chosen destination (or on your locality) are obvious untravelable cases, let me remind you that rains are different from typhoons. The former could just get you wet (but you could still have fun) while the latter could get you stranded and ruin your budget and schedules or worse, could cause an accident or even death – so why travel if the situation is not good?

Don’t just make ‘selfies’ out of flooding, danger poses in the form of manholes and live wires
SAFETY

Now safety is also different from calamity. While we just gave you samples of calamities, safety is basically about potential danger. Or something bad that has not happened but could happen. Like, you do not just travel to politically unstable countries where there’s so much protests going on as well as armed conflict or things like that, you could just get hurt. And clearly, you don’t travel to places where there’s war or to a known base of terrorists, that’s common sense.

Remember when Americans were warned not to travel to Europe last May 2017? Stay updated
EMERGENCIES

Calamity, safety and emergencies are similar yet different. While we already briefed you about the first two, emergencies are closely connected to responsibility. And while safety is for something that has not occurred but could happen, emergencies are something that just pops up when you’re all set to leave – which could either delay your departure or postpone it altogether.

You’ll never know what a day may bring – so be alert, fit and ready to help
FUNDS

If you don’t have enough money to fund your travel then why would you get on that bus? Unless you’re actually not planning to return but take on an opportunistic journey then we understand why you got out of that door. Still, traveling should only be considered when you have paid all your bills and responsibilities with enough on your emergency funds and ready for the next month at the very least. You would not want to get back home facing some personal financial crisis.

Really wanna travel? Save or make money on the go

Do not borrow money just to travel for fun. Work for it to deserve it.

HEALTH

Well, why would you travel when you’re not feeling well (or if you have a serious medical condition) anyway? Whatever you are feeling might get worse, who knows! Okay, while there are those who gets sick during their trip, that’s during not before the trip – which means they are already on the road that we expect them to have brought their first aid kits for this reason. Of course, unless you’re traveling to get cured (or as part of a therapy) then that’s okay.

Do not exert yourself if don’t really feel well
EMOTIONAL INSTABILITY

Have you gone on a trip to cure a heartache? Many does that too, and it’s fine, you’re just trying to heal. But don’t travel when all you would do is drink and drown yourself with alcohol in a faraway place. Definitely, you would get taken advantaged of. Like, you could easily fall prey to scammers, or you could lose your stuff or get your money and credit cards stolen – or worse, you could even get molested.

Do not travel if you would just keep getting wasted
CONFLICT

How about traveling with an ‘undecided’ mind? You know, there are cases like this, too. Like, you want to take advantage of the free time and the savings you have but you’re waiting for something that you don’t know when or if it would actually come. It’s like getting caught in conflicting schedules or interests. Something like that.

Evaluate and set time limits before pushing through or postponing your trip

This is tough actually. And all because of the uncertainty involved. Sometimes, you end up traveling only to be recalled – or miss out on what you’re waiting for. To prevent this from happening, determine the facts regarding what you’re waiting for. Like, what’s the deal? Call if possible. If you can’t get in touch and after all the weighing – still everything is vague – then decide based on its importance on whether to postpone your trip or not.

In all, we normally travel for business or pleasure yet are there other reasons that could prevent you from traveling? Let us know.

Top Travel Tips: Traveling Solo

One of the coolest things to do in life is traveling — especially if you are traveling with someone; obviously, you get to share those moments while making happy memories. But whaaat if you are traveling solo, how do you make it an adventure?

Well, here goes.

Don’t plan the trip. Like, once you have decided where to go, don’t spend weeks or even days thinking about the sights you would visit. Overthinking makes things sound like predestined, therefore, you already reduce the excitement in itself.

Group travel or traveling with someone  is especially recommended if you would be trekking

While joining tours would bring you to the place’s top tourist destinations, you don’t control time that if you would like to stay longer or just leave earlier, you can not just do that — and in some cases, you could even be spending more. So do the X and Os.

Focus on what to bring. Bring cards not just cash, some places (like remote beaches) do not have forex, so having a card or two would come in handy. Bring a utility kit that includes a whistle, flash light and a Swiss knife. These would be helpful for whatever emergency there is. Bring a small part of your kitchen — very small pot, matches, lunch box, spoon and a small plastic glass. These are especially useful if you want to go camping, or if you are still in the mountains and unable to return to your hostel for whatever reason.

Utility essentials

Being adventure-ready would also require a solar power bank, sunscreen (not just because of the beach but because you should be doing a lot of walking), first aid kit and flip flops not just rubber shoes. Insect or mosquito repellent? Many times all you need is to ‘smoke’ your area.

Utilize your surroundings. Example, if you have not booked in advance, leave your belongings at the airport or even at a mall’s baggage counter while quickly looking for hostels; obviously, this would make your search for accommodation more efficient.

You could pay extra for airport storage, so check the immediate pros and cons

In countries like the Philippines, connection is generally slow, thus, if you do not have any special booster, use the terminal’s WiFi (most people here have their minds set on their travels, that means less users) rather than local pocket WiFis which relies on location.

Bring a small tent. If there are no homestays or vacant backpacker lodges especially near the beach or resort you are eyeing, then having a tent would save your day, err, night. Don’t forget to bring a small, thin blanket or a big towel. Of course, you could always stay in more expensive hostels but aren’t you after adventure?

Camping out is good for the pocket, too

So try to get out of your comfort zone and blend in with nature.

Visit during the ideal climate. This is to maximize your visit, not to mention to keep you safe from accidents; for one, roads and mountains are slippery when wet.

Rain has its pluses, but also its minuses

Also, if the place you would be visiting is just within 5 kilometers, try taking a hike. You not only add more spice to your adventure or save on fare, but even stay in shape while traveling.

Be alert wherever you go. Avoid dark places at night, hey, the night is already dark in itself, don’t add to it by going to unlighted areas unless you’re in a secure place — ey, you’re alone, remember?? And especially if you are girl, avoid ‘hidden’ bars or places with no one around particularly at night — no matter where you are in the world, things happen you should know.

Renting a motorbike is very useful when ‘places’ are just miles away

While the safest choice in localities would be in places where families go to, it would not always be as enjoyable for adults, hence, do not hesitate to explore especially if you could hire a motorbike. Hope you have your international driver’s license with you.

Register with local authorities. Apart from immigration, if the places you would visit has things like local registration especially for foreigners then do register. This would prove invaluable, just in case, since again you are traveling alone.

Just let the locality know you are around as crimes involving tourists are rising in some places

Always be respectful. From laws to culture and traditions, be mindful. Don’t look (or have a look) either superior nor tentative as you could either cause resentment or invite scammers.

Always smile and learn to speak the dialect to connect better with locals

Be friendly yet if you can’t speak for whatever reason, at least smile or nod. This would keep you ‘safer’ and happier in your solo travels that you would treasure for life.

Happy and safe travels!

Top Travel Tips: Connecting Roads and Islands

There are travel tips and there are travel tips. While some makes sense to us, other tips naturally come from one’s personal experiences — whether he’s from media, or travels for business or pleasure — as not every situation is always the same, so…

Here are our top tips especially for land and sea travelers.

One. Get tickets ahead of schedule. This would not only lead to savings for early bookings but would give you more control of your traveling itinerary at least until you reach your final destination.

Always be prepared for eventualities

Two. If for some reason that some trips do not go as planned, do not stay in the place if you arrive late afternoon or so (unless you’re dead tired, part of your plan or it’s free) since it’s like you can’t maximize sightseeing time and all because you arrived with almost nothing to do but sleep. Sure, you could roam around at night, but wouldn’t it be nicer if you could see the places in broad daylight right after arrival?

Three. Thus, whenever you travel, try to always leave at night or early morning especially if you have not pre-booked.

Be easy-going and locals will be more comfortable with you

Four. And stay in every stop for at least 2-3 days to get to see, understand and appreciate the locality.

Five. Otherwise, if you happen to run short on budget or find the place not really that interesting then you could always cut your stay short. And that’s the advantage of arriving on every stop at mid-day, you got the chance to stroll after lunch and for whatever reason, you could always leave by late afternoon or nighttime.

Lost? You can always look at the map or ask for directions

Six. If you have not researched about the place you are going to, the first sights you would be seeing depends on where you are coming from or what mode of transportation you took. Else, initial activities would hinge on the proximity of the place you are billeted.

Seven. Know where important offices or establishments of the place you are at, or at least how to contact them. Immigration. Tourist Assistance. Police. Forex. Banks. Market. Hospitals. Hotels. Restos. Laundry shops. E-Loading stations and internet providers if ever.

Do not try to bring your whole closet but just necessities

Eight. Be reminded to travel light (yet make sure to have an extra shirt, underwear, cash, power bank and first aid kit just in case) and always secure your personal belongings.

Respect

Nine. Always respect local laws, culture and traditions. Do not vandalize nor harm property, and properly dispose your dirt.

Ten. Be friendly and try to learn the local dialect. Never get into arguments, deception or fights instead be helpful.

Efforts of trying to blend-in would always be appreciated

Eleven. Do not haggle too much. Even if you are a budget traveler, if you do travel for pleasure then it’s still a luxury compared to locals who are struggling to earn a living and put food on their tables.

Twelve. As the saying goes, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do”; thus, try to adapt to the place. Get involved if possible.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

They say traveling gives one a different perspective in life…

Happy and safe travels!