Long Travel On The Road? – Here’s What You Need To Do

Long Travel On The Road? – Here’s What You Need To Do

I was on my way to the North and boy, long road trips can be a pain in the ass (literally and figuratively). But I think it will boil down to – how can I make my travel enjoyable?

It wasn’t my first time to travel and ride a bus for hours, so I’ve managed to come up with few personal tips on how you can make your travel more enjoyable.

What to do during long bus trips?

  1. Make sure you have your comfy pillow, or pack your bag in such a way that it can be an alternative to pillows.
  2. Download movies! You can’t be sure if mobile data will work all throughout your journey. Just to be safe, download movies and kill time while on the road.
  3. Plan for your next big move. Long road trips allow me to have a better perspective in life. It’s because I can focus on it and there are lesser distractions. While on a long bus ride, I leave my problems and think about the solutions instead. Yes, it works!
  4. Bring a book. For some reason, I can’t rely on e-books because my head will truly hurt. I usually pack a book and read for as long as I want.
  5. Pack some snacks. I don’t usually eat a lot because – you know – clean comfort rooms aren’t always available
  6. Make friends. If you are travelling alone, have the courage to talk to your seatmate. It wouldn’t hurt to make some friends.

And here’s something new. Always have an app that will help you on your travels. I have download PeN where I can check out the best places to dine or to relax. In addition, it gives additional security features perfect for solo travelers like me.

Posted by Berniz Isla in Blog, Travel
Travelling Alone? Need Travel Tips?

Travelling Alone? Need Travel Tips?

It is exciting to travel alone, and a bit nerve-racking. I should know because I was in that same position years ago. At that time, I didn’t search for tips on how to survive my first solo travel. I wanted to be adventurous to the fullest and relied on my guts.

Obviously, I survived. But it will be a whole lot easier if I prepared.

What should you do if you are going to travel alone? Here are few of my personal tips.

1. Prepare days, or even weeks before

Make a list of the things you need to bring. Don’t forget your underwear, toiletries and extra cash. Try not to cram and prepare your luggage, days before your scheduled trip. This will reduce the chances of forgetting something important.

2. Leave copies of your itinerary and travel documents

You wouldn’t want to worry your parents or loved ones, right? Print copies of your planned whereabouts and travel documents. Send copies to your email too.

3. Get vaccinated

If you will visit a country where there are known outbreaks (and you still wanted to go?), make sure that you get proper vaccination. I suggest that you download PeN where we have a feature that allows you to see current health conditions in specific areas.

4. Bring your camera – but use it only when necessary 

We all want to immortlize our travels, but it wouldn’t be  a great idea if you will take loads of photos instead of actually enjoying the new place. Take few shots but do not let that eat your entire experience.

5. Always be safe 

Wherever you go, make sure that you carry few self-defense acts or a device that will get attention when the situation calls for it. You may use PeN’s SOS for such instances.

Lastly, enjoy and try not to drink too much.



Posted by Berniz Isla in Blog, Travel
The Worsening Threat of Dengue in Asia

The Worsening Threat of Dengue in Asia

Dengue virus dwells in the tropics and sub-tropic parts of the planet. Thus, Asia has suffered most in terms of the rallying cases of the vector-borne disease.

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Having been known for fatal results when not given immediate attention, the virus sets an alarming tone each time an outbreak is reported. Here are the cases that swept Asia in 2017:


Fresh from the scandal that brought Philippine health officials and Sanofi in shambles, the Philippines recorded 657 dengue-related deaths from November 2016 to November 2017. With a total case of 117,654 nationally, Dengue virus still imposes grave challenges to the Filipino nation.


In a week’s time, New Delhi covered 176 cases in the first week of December 2017. Although a decline in 2017 Dengue cases were revealed, the number of fatalities still alarm  health officials; the urge to find immediate solutions still an utmost priority. 9,072 cases were recorded this year making up a portion of 153 635 cases and 226 deaths in the entirety of India. 


174, 889 cases have been reported in Sri Lanka for 2017. The upsurge in number was brought by all 4 dengue strains found in the country. These strains have brought about 320 deaths according to the Epidemiology  Unit of the Ministry of Health.


A town in Pakistan,Peshawar, unfortunately had 69 deaths due to delayed blood transfusion and fluid overload after the dreaded dengue outbreak out of 24,807 laboratory-confirmed cases. 2,849 cases were recorded in the town of Karachi followed by 229 fatalities. 


For Malaysia, 81,790 new cases comprise the dengue statistics in 2017. 170 fatalities were recorded for the entire year.




Posted by Clarisse Javier in Articles, Blog, Health, Others, Travel
I Recommend Hostels for Your Next Adventure

I Recommend Hostels for Your Next Adventure

I wouldn’t consider myself extremely rich, but travelling is something I can’t remove from my system.

Yes, I am a single mom but that doesn’t mean I deprive myself from having a ‘Me’ time. And since I always want to stretch my budget, I always look for hostels and cheap places to stay. At first, I was hesitant to book a hostel, simply because of security reasons. Plus, I wasn’t really sure if I can move comfortably around people I just met – let alone have a good night rest.

This year, I gave it a shot. I booked a bed in a hostel with high hopes of getting a good sleep in the next coming days.

I was shocked. My experience exceeded my expectations.

Not only I was able to rest well, there are other reasons why I will book hostels in my upcoming trip. Here are some of those:

1. It is cost efficient

If you just want a nice place to sleep and a bathroom to do your thing, hostels should do you just fine.

2. You get to meet new friends

Most of the time, your room mates are already ‘seasoned’ travellers and are very friendly. In my case, I made friends from Malaysia, Korea, and even from the UK.

3. It is a liberating experience.

Being an Asian, I had that connotation that all ‘white’ people are financially stable. That all changed when I decided to eat at the hostel’s common area where other foreigners were having some casual conversation (An American and a British). I was pretty surprised about their stories of survival. In fact, they even had to do odd jobs just to buy a plane ticket. It made me realize that we are all equal, just in different packages.

Staying in a hostel does not only save me huge bucks, it added color to my supposedly ‘normal’ trip.

If you are not really sensitive when it comes to your personal space, I would highly recommend staying in a hostel.

And if you worry about your things – there’s always the locker. Just bring your own padlock. 😉


Posted by Berniz Isla in Blog, Travel
Road Trip with Kids? Here’s What You Need to Remember

Road Trip with Kids? Here’s What You Need to Remember

Long road trips can be fun – and yes, even with kids. Although, you need to be more creative if you want to enjoy long drives with them. Plus, you have to carry loads of patience.

If you are planning a long road trip with your kids, we are giving you some practical tips to ensure the best adventures for everyone.

HACKS: Long Road Trips with Kids

Always check your car 

It is important that you check your car’s condition. Of course, accidents may happen. But it is better if we do whatever we can to prevent it from happening. Check your brakes, your tires, and whatnots. Remember, you are bringing your kids along. Do not risk anything!

Bring first aid kit 

You always have to bring a first aid kit simply because, kids can be a bit rough. You wouldn’t want to strap them to their seats during stopovers, right? You need to let them go and let them run around. And yes, expect that they would fall down a couple of times. Just always be on the lookout and prepare your kit.

Prepare an entertainment bag 

During long drives, your kids will get bored. That’s already a given. What you can do is to pack an entertainment bag. Put papers, pencils, crayons, legos and all sorts of things that can kill their boredom. You can also try to download their favorite songs and play it while on the road. You can play your favorite ones when they are sleeping. 🙂

Choose the best time to drive 

You can schedule your time on the road while your kids are sleeping. That way, you can concentrate on the road more.

Bring snacks 

Well, this isn’t just for the kids! You know you want to eat too. 🙂

Plan your stops 

As much as you want to have a spontaneous travel, that’s unlikely to work when you are with kids. For your long drive, check the possible stops and all the things you can do in between. Yes, it’s going to be a challenge but it’s all worth it.


Posted by Berniz Isla in Blog, Travel
Why I Would Not Spend One Day in Iloilo – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

Why I Would Not Spend One Day in Iloilo – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED


Photo from Pixabay

My colleague Zara and I were tasked to fly to Iloilo to attend a Music Festival, Syzygy. At first, I was a bit hesitant because I only had few days to prepare, 4 to be exact. While I am usually spontaneous, the Holidays are coming and I have to work on a tight budget. But what the heck, I haven’t been to Iloilo so I gave it a shot.

On our way there, our ‘Manila – Iloilo’ flight was delayed. I thought, “This wasn’t the best way to start an adventure.”

We only had a little over 24 hours to experience the city and here are the reasons why you SHOULD NOT DO IT…

Because I would seriously want to spend AT LEAST a week in this beautiful city and NOT JUST A DAY!

Why you may ask? Here are my reasons.

It’s a clean city – minimal traffic

I live in Laguna (from a far municipality of Laguna), so I am not used to polluted air and traffic. You can say, I am a legit PROBINSYANA. Thus, I am not really a fan of the metro because of the variety of pollution and ‘gulp’ traffic.

A year ago, we went to Cebu and while I love almost everything from that travel, I swear, the traffic was the least of my favorite. Since we were going to Iloilo city, I expected the same.

I was wrong.

There were few traffic jams along the way, but these are bearable. If you are used to traveling EDSA, the roads of Iloilo are heaven! And yes, the streets are impressively clean. That’s probably because of the second reason why I fell in love with the city.

People are disciplined, warm and hospitable

You can tell if the people are disciplined by looking at the surroundings. And yes, it truly manifested in the environment. The locals are also nice. In fact, I met a ‘virtual’ friend whom I met a couple of years ago online when I was still writing for a different company (she was a colleague – Hello Colleen and Karlo!). It was our first time to meet and I felt we were friends for ages! We talked about the weirdest stuff and I felt, I should have stayed longer so I can spend more time with them.

Their voice is just so addicting

This is actually my frustration, you know – to be soft spoken. I bet that even if you are in your worst mood, people from Iloilo can actually calm you down with their manner of speaking.

The food is superb and the pasalubongs are affordable

And how can we forget about the food? I didn’t bother asking what we were eating. Everything was awesome. Of course, the pasalubongs are affordable and I almost exceeded my baggage allowance!

It’s the perfect place to relocate

How good was it?

Zara, who has high standards for practically everything, is considering to relocate her family to Iloilo.

Need I say more?


P.S. Our Iloilo – Manila flight was delayed too. But hey, at least we got to spend few more hours in the city.


Posted by Berniz Isla in Blog, Travel
Flight Delayed? – What You Need to Do

Flight Delayed? – What You Need to Do

This is too personal for me to write, because as of the moment, I am sitting on the floor, in an airport, waiting for a delayed flight. 

If this happened to me 5 years ago, I would get furious. Yes, I was a control freak and when things don’t go my way – I will get mad! But maybe when you mature, or when you learn to let go of things out of your control, life will be easier, and happier I might add.

3 hours delayed for a domestic flight

Let me give you some practical tips when your flight gets delayed


Yes, it can be a bit frustrating but come to think of it, can you do something about it? Instead of feeling bad, divert your attention to things you can do while killing time in the airport.

Send a message to your families and friends

It is important that you notify your families and friends if your flight gets delayed. If you are traveling for work, always notify your colleagues. This is so they can also manage their schedules if they are expecting you. At least they can also do more things with their spare time.

Get a cup of coffee, or ice cream

Calm down. Again, the first few minutes of knowing that your flight is delayed can be annoying, but let’s reiterate, ‘YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT’. I got a salad and juice though, because coffee makes me nervous. Point is, get a comfort food.

Write down your tasks

You can also use your time wisely by planning your days ahead. Get your tablet, or your notebook and write down your plans. It would help if you prioritize the most important and urgent ones. By doing so, you are already programming yourself to be productive once you reach your destination.

Go to the nearest charging station

Oh yes! That’s what I am doing right now. I am currently charging my power bank, cellphone, and laptop. I mean, you can’t really tell if there will be further delays. At least if you charge your gadgets, you can do more things for later.

Turn on your laptop

Obviously, I turned on mine. I am now writing an article for you, PeN Pals with high hopes of helping you on your next flight.

Buy a magazine or book

It would also be good to detach yourself from the ‘wired’ world. Grab a magazine and read.

Make new friends

Ahhhh! This one is my favorite. I love talking to strangers and making friends. You would be surprised how much you guys have in common. Case in point, a volunteer from World Vision approached us and with a little bit of chitchat, we found out that we all live in the same province. Pretty cool, right?

Speaking of making friends, you can download the app and join the communities to meet people with the same interests. DOWNLOAD NOW!

Posted by Berniz Isla in Blog, Travel


Every time that I would take an airplane, I always look forward to landing simply because – it means I have reached my destination. Most of the time, I would be ‘retouching’ myself knowing that I am just few minutes away from going out.

But I wonder how the passengers of this Emirates Airbus A380 felt? Watch the video and see what I mean.


Posted by Berniz Isla in Blog, Technology, Travel
Global Expats Feature: Mai and Edward’s Family Life in U.K 

Global Expats Feature: Mai and Edward’s Family Life in U.K 

The experience of moving to a foreign country is such a daunting task. Leaving the place you grew up in and starting life anew is something that is expected by every global expat.

Leaving friends and families, being optimistic after bequeathing investments in the hands of relatives, ending an era of a cozy life in exchange of greener pastures sometimes add up to the worries of most of them.

Mai and Edward Brina’s daily life in United Kingdom as foreign workers constitute a much tremendous addition to their routine as if juggling professional life in the U.K is not exhausting at all. This young couple synchronize their schedules to take turns in taking care of their two adorable tots! Can you imagine keeping a job and having two kids in tow without help? Their daily itinerary may be a bit chaotic but they are truly blessed despite being extremely busy 24/7!

For this couple, good parenting does not mean being deglamorized. They make sure they tend time for themselves and of course, some couple time.

During quiescent days, they go out and explore the city. Sometimes, they visit neighboring European countries when they get the chance.

A literal walk in the park with the adorable kids.

Dad with Little Miss George and Baby Boss Gab. London Eye as their background.

Mom and Little Miss George. Behind them is the Big Ben.

The QUEEN! George and Gab’s mom looks classically chic!

Mom and daughter bonding with the pigeons!

The family at the Louvre Pyramid Glass.Look how cute baby Gab is!

What a priceless moment at the Eiffel Tower.

There is no right or wrong in parenting, it doesn’t come with manuals. Prioritizing what’s most important and having respect for each other can do wonders on parenting and family life survival.

Just like other new parents out there who are thrilled and overwhelmed by their new responsibilities, Edward and Mai Briña do it differently in style. They keep it fun with a positive attitude, always ready to take on new battles. And one thing’s for sure no matter how hard it is, they’ll do anything to provide what’s best for their growing family.


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Posted by Clarisse Javier in Articles, Blog, Global Expats, Others, Parenting, Travel