Heading to the Philippines for Two Weeks

June 25, 2009 Posted by Tyler Cruz

In exactly one week, I’ll be on a long plane ride headed to the Philippines after a stopover in Hong Kong.

As some readers know, I’m actually half Filipino, and so I’m going to see a lot of my relatives that I’ve never met before including my aunt, grandma (who just turned 90), and about 4,023 cousins. I went to Korea by myself for a bit over a month when I was 19, but I’ve never been to the Philippines before.

My return flight is set for 13 days later, but I might extend the trip by a week depending on how backlogged I get in work, how easy it is to find fast Internet access, and how homesick I get. I think the penalty for changing the return flight is only around $300 or so… I’ve never cancelled or changed a flight before so if somebody knows roughly how much it’d cost to extend my stay, I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts.

Where I’m Going


I do not know the plan perfectly, but I’ll be in Baliuag for a couple days to start, as that is where my Lola (grandma) and relatives live. After that, my immediate family is travelling to the northern tip of the Philippines to Vigan.

Here are a couple random photos of the the Philippines I grabbed from a quick Google Image search:


As you can see, the Philippines is a real tropical country.


My Transportation & Bodyguard

As in most poor Asian countries, the Philippines has some crazy types of transportation. When I’m travelling with my family we will be in a SUV, but the majority of the time I will most likely either be in a weird type of small car or “tricycle” which is a common type of taxi there.

I’ll be in the sidecar, lol.


I’ll be hiring a 24/7 driver while I’m there, and possibly a full-time bodyguard as well. I’m thinking of giving him my cameras so that he can be my cameraman as well. I wonder if some locals might think I’m some type of celebrity with a cameraman following me everywhere, lol.

Here’s a video of the downtown area in Baliuag, Bulcan which is close to where I’ll be staying for the first 2-3 days:

Limited Internet Access

I’ve been told that there are a lot of Internet cafés in the Philippines, but I doubt it’s as widespread as in Korea. Hopefully though, I’ll be able to attend one regularly so that I can keep up with my work and take care of any important business that can’t wait until I return.

Depending on the Internet connection speed there (I think most places still don’t have high speed yet), I may not be able to upload any videos. In fact, I doubt I will, especially since I just got a brand new expensive HD video camera and my videos will probably 500 megs each, so I may just post some photos or else I’ll wait until I return to post my videos.

Web Entrepreneur Meetup

Depending on my schedule and how things pan out, I might be meeting up with 1-2 acquaintances I know in the Philippines. If you live near Baliuag, are making money online, and are interested in meeting up, let me know and maybe we can arrange something.

It’s Balut Time

For those pinoys out there, I’ll be trying Balut for the first time and will be filming the experience as well, so be sure to watch out for that, lol.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below, subscribing to my RSS feed, or following me on Twitter.
Posted: June 25th, 2009 under Personal  

59 Responses to “Heading to the Philippines for Two Weeks”

  1. Ben Clarke says:

    Dude, your hiring a body guard lol, you puss! I spent 6 weeks backpacking the Philippines with no problems

    • Ha! That is some funny stuff. I was wondering about the bodyguard myself.

      Question, if your bodyguard is doing the filming… doesn’t that leave you open for attack? If attacked… will you share the footage?

      Have a safe trip!

  2. Heya, never been to the Philippines though I have a lot of friends online from there..

    Some places in Phils can be compared to exotic islands such as Bermuda, Barbados, Hawai and such.. wish you have a great time there..

    And “WTF” .. over 4000 cousins? Can’t be true.. 🙂


  3. gurtey says:

    Well, best of luck for your trip dude, hope the internet restristictions dont prevent you from blogging.

  4. Looks like that is going to be an awesome trip! Looking forward to see your pics 🙂

  5. Deano says:

    Hi Tyler,
    I’m currently backpacking SE Asia (In Chiang Mai at the moment, just been in Borneo). Don’t worry about internet access, most hotels and cafes have wifi and there are internet cafes a plenty. Speed should be more than adaquate for most things you do; though for a 500 meg video even a university connection will take time!

    That said, though you’ll get good video quaity, it is going to take people for ever to watch them online!

    Hiring a bodyguard, probably cheaper just to be mugged 😉 Maybe in some areas in the south of the Philippines, but as you will be out with friends and family seems a tad ovcer the top. Mind you I wouldn’t mind a full time driver myself out here, it’s so hot the heat is really gonna hit you!

    • Deano says:

      Oh yeah,
      Changing the date on the ticket depends on the rules of the airline. I changed one with Singapore airlines, it cost me about $2. Lots of travel agents should offer this kind of service for a small fee, just pop in one while you are out there.

      Also check out airasia.com for dirt cheap flights in the area!

  6. JasperP says:

    Cool, I didn’t know you were half-filipino. I’m full-filipino but born and raised in the United States.

    I just went to the Philippines last year. You should check out Boracay. Awesome beaches.

    Also, get lots of massages. Cheapest is $5/hr.

    • Paul B says:

      Tyler, enjoy the well deserved break, I’m sure you’ll have a great time.

      I have a serious question though – why do Americans have to pretend to be from somewhere else? You know what I mean, the American who has an Irish grand parent so declares himself 25% Irish? Jasper, you were born in America and raised in America, sorry mate but that makes you American. Where your parents, grand parents, cousins, or even best friends girlfriend was born is irelevant.

      I myself was born in a place called the Isle of Man. It’s a small island between Ireland and England. Both of my parents are English. I spend a lot of time in England growing up – but the fact is I have a Manx passport, a Manx birth certificate and as much as I’d like not to be (Google Isle of Man for reasons why) I am Manx.

      • JasperP says:

        Sorry buddy, I’m not trying to “pretend”.

        Where my parents are born IS part of the relevant information that defines my ethnicity. Is ethnicity supposed to be strictly a description of location? I don’t think so. I consider it more of a mix of location, origins and history.

        Both of my parents are 100% Filipino who were both born in the Philippines. If you do the math, it makes me 100% Filipino. However, since my parents moved to the United States 1 year before I was born, I guess I would consider myself Filipino-American.

        • Paul B says:

          So by your definition if you marry an American girl then that will make your children 100% American no matter where they are born (after all you were both born in America)?

          Where your parents are born affects many many things about YOU but it doesn’t define what nationality you are, just like everybody else born in America you are American – all be it with Filipino parents. I don’t see anything wrong with being American, been a few times my self and like the place and the people.

          I’m not trying to start a fight over it, I just find it curious as to why it’s such an American (and to some extent Canadian) thing to do? For example my wife has an Irish mother and an English father yet was born on the Isle of Man. She would never dream of calling herself an Irish-English Manx person. Or 50% Irish. She’s Manx, simple as that. The last time I called her a paddy it was a week before she’d speak to me again.

        • Travis says:

          Good question… personally, I’m thinking it’s just because of the sheer size of the U.S, the population, the diversity, all of that. I mean, it’s not like we’re not proud of our nationality or something, if that’s what you’re implying. People maybe just want a way to be unique, to be a little different and stand out… and when you’re just 1 in a massive country of over 300 million where we’re blessed to have a blend of every type of ethnicity in the world, we naturally connect to our roots and what makes us special… because every citizen of the United States has ties to somewhere else in this crazy, huge world.

          I did a little search and the Isle of Man has got 80,000 or so people in it. That bonds you guys I’d imagine. It’s a tight little community and you can take pride in that. The U.S. is a blend of every ethnicity in the world and full of all different cultures and when you’re around this much diversity, it makes you bond with your roots, where your people come from… and you like to talk about it.

          Just another aspect of being American I guess. I think it’s a pretty cool thing when people take pride in where their family is from and identify with that. We’re all blessed to learn more about their roots. I think that’s just a part of being American.

        • Paul B says:

          That’s a pretty cool explanation. Cheers.

          Yep we only have 80,000 people living here but you’d be amazed just how many Manx-Americans there are out there, they even have their own society! 😉

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      There are so many Filipino’s out there that pop up it’s pretty amazing…

  7. Greg Ellison says:

    Good luck in the Phillippines. The pictures look Awesome. Can’t wait to see your pictures that you post. Greg Ellison

  8. I’ve travelled through asia. In total I spent 4 weeks in the Phillipines in 2003/2004.

    You will not have a problem with internet access. You should find internet cafes everywhere.

    I would personally not hire a bodyguard. It would really draw atention to you – you might as well just walk around with a t-shirt on saying ‘I have a lot of money, please rob me’.

    It’s a beautiful country and I’m sure your relatives and friends will say that it is a safe country. Which it is if you aren’t stupid but as a tourist, it was one of the dodgiest places I visited. I was thankfully never robbed but I was approached by guys on the streets on several occasions and constantly got heckled by random people shouting ‘Americano, Americano’ – some of it was in good humour whilst others did it whilst staring at me, obviously trying to intimedate me (I didn’t have the heart to tell most of them that I’m Scottish!).

    Just have some common sense. Don’t wear expensive jelewry, don’t flash your cash around and generally speaking, don’t bring atttention to yourself.

    Being half fillipino and travelling with friends and family, you should be ok and have a blast.

    I had a different situation. I was the whitest guy in the country and stupidly booked a hotel in the craziest part of manilla over new year. When I told other people where I stayed they asked me ‘Are you nuts, I’m surprised you didn’t get stabbed’. It really was a crazy place and I was constantly harrassed

    Most of what I have said is just common sense and standard protocol when travelling in poorer countries.

  9. Just noticed I wrote ‘jelewry’ – that’s what happens when you try and spell first thing in the morning!

  10. Sounds like an awesome trip. Just one thing though, stay away from Internet cafes. They are among the most unsafe places to do your normal web activities.

    Everything from key loggers and spyware placed purposely on the computers, to hidden cameras around the keyboard… those are just some of the reasons Internet cafes are not secure. Especially if you’re updating your blog or checking your e-mail… wouldn’t want either of those to get into the wrong hands. Try to find WiFi wherever possible and use your own laptop.

  11. Derekp says:

    I think i’ve seen this somewhere before…but it’s not bad at all

  12. Ben Pei says:

    Oh no… Not at this time? Beware of the swine stuff Tyler! But have fun..

  13. I always wanted to go there.Well have fun and good luck on the transportation.

  14. joe says:

    Why do you need a bodyguard?

  15. Ben Pei says:

    Come to Singapore someday!

  16. booster says:

    LOL why the fuck would you hire a bodyguard? Your not a celebrity, nobody knows you, and your not rich.

    Honestly, please answer why you are hiring a bodyguard LOL

    • Jeff Poole says:

      I think he said it as a joke surely. Nobody would *actually* be that up their own ass to hire a bodyguard.

  17. MLDina says:

    You’re going to have a blast. Take lots of video, even if you can’t upload it until you get back. I’m not sure about international flights, but change fees on domestic flights are usually around $50-100, not too bad. You can sometimes get them comped too. Good luck!

  18. Luke says:

    Have fun Tyler. Shouldn’t be hard, that sounds like a pretty fun trip! Meanwhile, I will be owning your MyBrute on a daily basis. 😀

  19. paul says:

    Wow limited internet. That is an online entrepreneur’s worst nightmare!

    • Paul B says:

      Tell me about it, I’ve just been stuck on a boat that seemed to max out at the speed of a 56k modem and then charge you $0.50 a minute for the pleasure of using it. June has been a bad month 😉

  20. Have fun and enjoy the trip!

  21. Wow the Philippians huh? Nice. It’s always nice to visit family, especially if you have yet to see them. Haha they really do have weird forms of transportation a “tricycle” sounds interesting. I don’t think I would feel very safe riding in one of those… lol but it would be a fun new experience. I guess it must be really unsafe in the area if you are hiring a bodyguard… I guess its better safe than sorry.


  22. Mubin says:

    Internet Cafe in these countries almost always have keystroke grabbers running in the background.

    If you are going to sign in from one of these computers I would not mess about trying to check affiliate stats/paypal as it will probably lead to trouble.

    If you are staying at someones house and they have a phone line you should be able to get a 56k connection pretty easy.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Well I’m bringing my Macbook Pro and would be working only from there, what I mean when I say Internet Cafe is basically for the Wi-Fi or net-hookup.

      Should I be worried about them being able to track my data sent through the Internet connection?

      • Paul B says:

        I brought my MacBook on my last trip but had trouble using it. The reason was that in order to connect to the (paid) internet you had to authenticate via a web form. Unfortunately the form had been coded using some nasty IE only javascript. The end result was I couldn’t login so couldn’t use my MacBook. Trouble is that there are a number of dodgy internet auth systems that utilise stuff that makes assumptions on you having IE.

        Lesson was to make sure that you already have every browser under the sun installed on your (Mac) laptop before setting off, just in case.

  23. why not Bali? But Philippines is great too, imho

  24. Sounds like a fun trip. Have a great time.

  25. Wow the Philippines looks pretty awesome. Excited to see all your footage once you return!

  26. […] you may not have ever seen before. Tyler Cruz is taking advantage of his dot com lifestyle for a two-week (minimum) trip to the Philippines. He’s half-Filipino and he’s going not only to visit the beautiful country, but also to […]

  27. You sure one bodyguard is enough? Might as well spring for the whole entourage and roll in style. You could probably lease a whole gang and even make money on the trip!

  28. Have fun dude! You will walk sooo much and lose sooo much weight when you are there 🙂 Just make sure you don’t eat too much unhealthy stuff.


  29. Online TV says:

    From that pics Philippines seems to be a beautiful country. The only downside is the uncomfortable transportation.

  30. NICE! I just got back from the Philippines and I’m already planning my next trip there. You’ll love it! Since you make money online you might just decide to stay there. Their internet connection is slower than in the US, but not too bad. They do have internet cafes everywhere. I also planned on trying balut and filming it, but I couldn’t do it once I actually saw it. This girl I was with ate that shit like 3 times a day! You won’t need a bodyguard, just be smart. Don’t carry a lot of cash on you ($80 is more than enough for a wild night) and don’t wear any jewelry. Just be humble and don’t flash money because someone will take it. Have fun, I can’t wait to see the pictures. You can see some of my pictures and video from the Philippines at my website travelingmiller.com.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Nice posts from your visit to the Philippines on your blog (I just finished reading all the posts). You seem to have had a great time there.

      You must have gotten a lot of stares with your 6’7″ height in the Philippines, lol.

  31. Oh, I almost forgot. DON’T DRINK THE WATER! I got sick twice there. Once from drinking a glass of ice water. I thought it would be fine since the hotel gave it to me, but it was not. I’ve never felt so much pain. The second time was from eating raw oysters that had been sitting on ice all day. Remember, they don’t always have refrigeration there, so you probably want to stay away from seafood that has melted ice (a.k.a. water) all over it. People say don’t drink the water in Mexico b/c you might get sick. Well, don’t drink the water in the Philippines because you WILL get sick. Just drink the beer and bottled water. Redhorse is awesome, it has like 8.5% alcohol content.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Yeah, I was definitely going to stick to bottled water and beverages, avoid ice, unpeeled fruit, etc.

      I was given a lot of health tips when I spoke to the nurse when I got my inoculations for the trip. I must admit that it will be a bit difficult to avoid ice though, especially in such a hot climate… and I love my cold beverages…

  32. Have fun on your trip, I can’t wait to see the pictures.

  33. Wow some scary comments about internet cafe’s & security. Its still an amazing place and you’ll have a great time.

    Just don’t forget to pack your pingo calling card to call back home. We do work of your macbook to web dial back home.

    enjoy the trip

    – Brian
    Affiliate Manager for Pingo.com

  34. Melissa Johnson says:

    Pinoy in the house!!! Me too. Have a good time and bring me some lumpia back.

  35. John says:

    changing international tickets is generally $200-300 + the difference in fare price. so it really just depends….

  36. Wouldn’t be complete if you don’t visit Boracay (my local home is 2 hours away!). Love the beaches! Not to mention the awesome party.

    Have a great time! I’m sure you will!

  37. My Videoke says:

    Enjoy your vacation there!

  38. Jackie says:

    Philippines is such a safe place. But of course depending on which part of the country youll be in. Just like the rest of the world there are places youll have to avoid and be very cautious of. But in general, people are very accommodating. They’ll try to make you feel at home and special like a king esp your relatives. Internet access is everywhere, wifi are on malls, hotels. Id advise you to get a wireless prepaid esp if your going places where internet cafes are not available, youll need it to keep us readers updated…Im from Manila so I should know..Goodluck! I hope to hangout with you sometime. Get some ideas on how to earn more on my blogging.

  39. Make Lots says:

    lol did you really end up hiring a body guard? or were you kidding? It looks like a beautiful part of the Philippines you went to. The people of the Philippines are generally very kind, they treated me as if I was some kind of celebrity there. You don’t need a body guard unless your going to go to the really bad areas or Mindanao. When I stayed there for a year I got smart wireless broadband and it was very fast, but if your only staying a month or so it wouldn’t be for you.

  40. I reached this post by tracing back on why are you in Philippines. and I just found out that you are a half Filipino. Well good to know that. As I can see in the pics that you have shared in your present post it seems that you’ve enjoy your vacation. So is there any meet ups with local make money online marketer in Philippines.


  41. Andy says:

    Im a Latino from Peru working as a bodyguard in phillipines….used to be in U.S. Army and worked KBR security in Iraq in 08 I was in Iraq 2005 n 2003 if anyone needs my services contact Aovm2001@yahoo.com…Great in Hand Weaponry and Armaments also hand to hand knife fighting


Leave a Reply