Layover Diaries: Narita Airport and Daybeds

Flying to Narita Airport via Delta Airlines back in July 2016. I had a longer layover in Narita after our flight from Seattle was delayed. I was able to enjoy my time walking around the Narita airport gates and its various Duty Free shops while waiting for my flight.

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Booking.Com & Agoda with your Philippine Travel

Last month I blogged about booking an affordable stay via AirBnB.

Today I am making a quick post on booking affordable hotel and rentals via Agoda and Booking.com

I noticed not all beautiful rentals are listed on AirBnB. Being AirBnB is still new to the Philippine rental vacation markets, other properties have advertised their listings with these online travel & booking agencies.

I will start with Booking.Com.   Here in the US Booking.Com’s slogan is ” Booking. YEAH!” Marking that exhilaration of finding that right vacation spot for you with all the perks that you have dreamed of. Continue reading

Your Guide to Philippine Travel Spending and Budget Deals

Greetings after a LONG hiatus. After my trip from Japan and the Philippines back in September, I had to do a lot of catching up and took some time off from  MsCircumstance to get myself back on track. I did promise some updates and a budget guide upon return from my trip with more accurate spending data. Before I flew out, I set a few contingency plans to ease my spending in the Philippines and Japan. I only stayed 2 days in Tokyo and 20 days in the Philippines (during the height of Typhoon season) and allotted only $900  cash  $400 of which is reserved to buy my father a new TV. Money Envelopes I set up a secret savings plan 8-7 months before my trip. I had some envelopes where every week I would put spare change plus an additional $3-5.00 each week, allocating to expenses I felt would affect my budget. See, while most people save up for Hotel, Food, Shopping Money – they forget the other smaller cost that take a significant bite off your budget.  Such as cellphone & internet prepaid card credits, commute/taxi money and maybe some tips or gift money to relatives and businesses.  I wanted to go to several Wellness Centers to fix my stiff back so I allocated a money envelope solely for that purpose. I was aware of the horrible traffic situation in Manila, so I had money to purchase a Skyway pass -similar to the US version of the FasTrak system. Overall, all that spare change & lots of self control, allowed me to have an additional $120 spending cash for the little stuff. There are several things that you do need you gear yourself for when traveling to Manila and unfortunately some are big cons. But with smart planning it should keep your stay hassle free. Continue reading

Sending out a Balikbayan Box to the Philippines

Since its Bakasyon season, time to do a reblog.

May 31st update:

I received a coment from a reader who used one of the vendors I mentioned. I decided to add my insight on my reblog.

When I send BB boxes to the Philippines especially before my travel back home, I sometimes count 40 days max just in case there are “delays”
Some of the causes of the delays are either the date they pick up the box  at you place or when you dropped it off at the BB vendor – is past the company’s cut off date. One company ships out their BB boxes on a Saturday and leaves San Diego Friday. Their cut off can be 2-3 days before shipment.

Reference for box sizes. Small Tipid Box 20x17x10   Regular Box 23 x 20 x17   Jumbo Boxes up to 23x23x23

Balikbayan couriers outside California may take longer to send BB Boxes to the Philippines and more expensive. Example if you live in New York or Florida, the boxes needs to travel to a shipping dock and most likely those docks are in Los Angeles CA.
Another major issue is customs, when a particular shipment is chosen for audit, it delays delivery of the boxes to their recipients. Holidays like Christmas should be given consideration since there’s a surge of BB box deliveries to the Philippines. If there is something small I would like to send on a certain date then I would use a balikbayan courier with air package cargo like LBC. I pay more but they get it with in 2 weeks.

The Adventures Of Ms. Circumstance

A balikbayan box container from Alas Cargo A balikbayan box container from Alas Cargo

The Balikbayan Box is forever associated with Filipino Overseas Workers (OFWs) and Immigrants that work hard for their family and friends abroad.
Balikbayan Boxes are care packages/pasalubongs sent by Filipino’s living or working overseas which are packed with various request and gifts for loved ones. Most commonly sent items are stuff toys, canned goods, chocolates, new and hand me down clothes, rubber shoes, DVD and games and other electronic knick knacks. When a vacationing Filipino visits the Philippines, she uses the same box as a luggage alternative packed with native souvenirs and presents they have bought for themselves.
Even with the advent of online shopping in which family members can now send gifts through local stores in the metro, other relatives that live far in the rural provinces often rely on getting these care packages-sometimes with some cash through Philippine forwarding cargo companies. Vacationers back to the Philippines use…

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Sending out a Balikbayan Box to the Philippines

A balikbayan box container from Alas Cargo

A balikbayan box container from Alas Cargo

*** 2015 Update. Due to stricter custom inspection regulation on all Balikbayan Boxes to the Philippines, delivery time may be between 32-45 days to Manila or in some cases 55 days. And 45-60 Days to the provinces.  Custom Inspections are random and can hold batches of shipment in either US or Philippine shipping dock up to 2 weeks. Normal travel time of sea cargo shipments are between 28-30 days depending on weather conditions ****

The Balikbayan Box is forever associated with Filipino Overseas Workers (OFWs) and Immigrants that work hard for their family and friends abroad.
Balikbayan Boxes are care packages/pasalubongs sent by Filipino’s living or working overseas which are packed with various request and gifts for loved ones. Most commonly sent items are stuff toys, canned goods, chocolates, new and hand me down clothes, rubber shoes, DVD and games and other electronic knick knacks. When a vacationing Filipino visits the Philippines, she uses the same box as a luggage alternative packed with native souvenirs and presents they have bought for themselves.
Even with the advent of online shopping in which family members can now send gifts through local stores in the metro, other relatives that live far in the rural provinces often rely on getting these care packages-sometimes with some cash through Philippine forwarding cargo companies. Vacationers back to the Philippines use Door to Door Balikbayan services to ship out heavy luggage prior to their flights back home to avoid extra baggage fees at the airlines, something I do myself every time I fly back since I carry so much “pasalubong” for my relatives. Continue reading