ON THE ROAD | SEA2Africa2018 ~ Two Months from South East Asia to Africa | Lakad Pilipinas

SEA 2 Africa 2018

Summer’s here again! For most, it’s that time of the year when we don our swimwear and head over to the beach. For us though, this means another two months of traveling non-stop wherever our feet—or more precisely, the seat sales—lead us. This time, we’re doing things a bit differently. Instead of airline promos dictating where we’re going, we’ll actually decide our destination.

 

To more memories together! #LakadPilipinas #Blissfulguro #BlissfulLakad

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For quite a while now, C of Blissfulguro, my forever travel partner, has been eyeing Morocco. She so desperately wanted to go there for some reason unfathomable to me. Morocco’s fine with me, this northern African country do looks interesting and Filipinos don’t even need visas to go there.

 

The only problem is, it’s halfway round the world from the Philippines. And with such comes hefty plane ticket prices. One of our friends told us that Singapore is one of the cheapest places where we can fly to Morocco from. I checked the tickets, and well, it’s still expensive. I put it off my mind, since we just returned then from our Same Same Summer Trip and next summer was still a long way back then.

 

 

A few months before, it just suddenly occurred to me to check on the prices if it was still the same. I turned to Google and it led me to Trip.com. Sitting on the john, I was flabbergasted when I saw the prices—PHP29,000.00++ for a roundtrip ticket from Singapore to Casablanca! It was really, really cheap, considering how far Morocco is.

I quickly accessed the site on my desktop and booked it pronto. The flight would stop by Jeddah in Saudi Arabia for fifteen hours before proceeding to Morocco. I quickly googled if we needed a transit visa for such. I saw that Filipinos can actually transit without need for a transit visa in Saudi Arabia for eighteen hours. Nice! I quickly booked our tickets.

Even if traveling is life, PHP60,000.00 was still a lot of money to burn, but I thought that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and we might as well go for it while we’re young and have no kids to tend to yet.

 

 

Last year, we brought our moms with us for the first leg of our two-month summer trip. That was in Malaysia. We revisited Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, and Penang. This time, we thought of flying them with us to Bali, Indonesia.

That same day, I scored a good deal for our flight from Manila to Bali (and back again for our moms) for a measly PHP4,100.00 per person! It was quite a deal, especially since there was no seat sale at the time. I was also able to find a cheap flight from Bali to Singapore via Traveloka for an even cheaper price of 1,780.00 per person! Our route was now taking shape. The only flight I was not able to book that day was for our flight back home, all the Singapore to Manila flights I saw were expensive.

Our moms would be spending ten days in Bali with us, and after that, C and I would be spending one more week on the island. I thought we’d try going to some of the places that would not be physically feasible for our moms to visit.

 

 

Then came M of Lakwatserong Tsinelas. He’s been one of our closest travel buddies and has been constantly springing in and out of our summer trips from the ASEAN Summer Loop 2015, our Beach Hop Asia 2016, and up to last year’s Same Same Summer Trip 2017. The only summer trip he didn’t join was our unnamed 2014 summer where we explored Nepal, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

This time, he wanted to crash in on the Bali and Morocco leg of our trip. He’s more than welcome, of course! What we suggested though, was instead of Bali—where we’ve all been before—why don’t we fly to East Timor, the only country in South East Asia that’s not a member of ASEAN. We’ve all dreamed of seeing it, but it can only be accessed via flights from Bali—it fitted like a jigsaw to our summer trip! The flights were booked in no time. Everything was good!

I was checking out blogs if we can actually go out of the Jeddah International Airport in Saudi Arabia since there’s a nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site near it—like an hour away near—when I chanced on an info stating that Filipinos can only stay for twelve hours in transit at Saudi Arabia.

I didn’t believe it at first, but further readings proved it to be true. Normally, it wouldn’t have been a problem, but Saudi Arabia is not your ordinary country—for years now, they haven’t been issuing any kinds of tourist visas. We’re definitely fudged.

We saw a glimmer of hope when I saw an article about Saudi Arabia making ways to open up their country for tourism. It said that come April 1st, they’d be enacting a new regulation for tourist visas in the country. Our flight to Bali was slated for April 10, so we still have a bit of leeway, although quite slim.

We waited fervently for the said date. And as luck would have it, travel sites reported that regulations have already been ironed out, but, it would still need to be signed by some officials or another.

That’s a big but for us.

 

 

I checked out alternate flights from Jeddah to Casablanca but couldn’t find any cheap ones that would make us go past the twelve-hour limit for transit. Without any hope, we simply gave up. We thought we’d just go back to Australia, see the Great Barrier Reef, and visit its other states.

But M was hearing none of it. He said that it was our dream to go to Morocco and we should go, whatever the cost.

Still with dampened spirits, I rechecked the flights from Jeddah to Casablanca and indeed found a suitable flight! EgyptAir flies there for a reasonable fare, but the best part was that it would transit to Cairo! It was my dream as a child to see the pyramids. Indeed, there’s a reason for everything.

I was hoping we could stay even for just a few days, but our flight to Bali was almost upon us, there was absolutely no way we could obtain a tourist visa for Egypt. There is, however, a chance for us to still see the pyramids since EgyptAir offers transit tours for its passengers. For USD70.00 we can have a tour of the pyramids for five hours. That’s not so bad!

After booking our tickets, I also found a Malaysia Airlines flight from Singapore to Manila for PHP4,300.00 per person. It transits to Kuala Lumpur, which was extremely fine with us since we wanted to have a quick meal at our favorite Marry Brown, and it comes with a hefty baggage allowance and meals. Its not really that cheap, but considering the add-ons, it’s a bargain.

And so finally, the summer loop has closed! Our final route looked like this:

Manila ► Bali ► East Timor ► Singapore ► Jeddah ► Cairo ► Casablanca ► Rabat ► Chefchaouen ► Fez ► Merzouga ► Tinerhir ► Marrakech ► Essaouira ► Marrakech ► Casablanca ► Singapore ► Kuala Lumpur ► Manila

We’d be spending thirty three days in Morocco, more than half our two-month trip, rounding out the country from Casablanca to Marrakech. And we’d be joined by M and another traveler friend, J of Pinoy Boy Journals, on our Marrakech and Essaouira legs.

 

Sublime Zambales #LakadPilipinas #Zambales #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines

A post shared by Christian L. Sangoyo (@lakadpilipinas) on

 

This is it! We’d be flying today (actually a day ago, apologies for the late post, lol) and hoping to see you all back after two months! We’re probably gonna have a karaoke party again at C’s beach place in Zambales after this!

 

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Wednesday, April 11, 2018

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