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These days, it’s more convenient to make your travel plan on your own. If you have time to research, it’s infinitely easier and cheaper than going through a travel agent.

Online, you can either book direct to your hostel/hotel or go through a booking website. The question now is, is it better to book direct or through a booking agent?

The great thing about booking websites is that you are presented with a list of available accomodations in your destination city, so you can easily compare prices. Also, some have ratings and review features, so you can read about other traveler’s experiences with the hotel’s guestrooms and services. is one of the newest booking agents online. Aside from hotels, they also offer reservation and booking facilities for flights, cars, vacation rentals and vacation packages, making it a one-stop shop for all your holiday planning needs. Like most online booking agents, they guarantee lowest rates.

So do they have the lowest rate? I tried a reservation request for a 4 days, 3 nights stay at the Shangri-La Mactan for 3 persons sharing one room. The lowest rate can give me is $198 per night, while a check at Shangri-La’s own website gives me a rate of $253 for the same room class.

However, there is a big difference when you look at the total bill, which includes the taxes and other charges. Shangri-La charges 22.50% tax, VAT and service charge, as stated in their website, totalling to $171.20, which brings the grand total for the room and taxes to $930.20.

At $198 per night, our total with is $594. They charge $394.32 for Tax Recovery Charges and Service Fees, bringing the grand total to $988.32.‘s concept is good. With their simple design and easy navigation, it’s a user friendly website that will appeal to non-techies. However, the Internet is pretty saturated with similar websites, so they have to really step up to gain an edge over the others. Right now, the website seems unfinished, as description and pictures of some hotels aren’t available yet. They also have to be clear as to the inclusion in the hotel accommodations, as well as the charges imposed by the hotel and by the website.

Since is fairly new, I’m sure a lot is in the works on improving the website. Once the kinks are sorted out, they can probably easily compete with other online booking sites.

Why do you travel?

Fried Prawn Noodle

I travel because I am always interested in discovering new places, seeing new things. I get bored easily, so I feel the need to see and experience something new every once in a while to keep my sanity in tact.

The New York Times have this beautiful slideshow, a compilation of people’s travel experiences. BootsnAll has a similar project called WhyGo, wherein you can share your own reasons for traveling.

Top 10 cities for shopaholics

Now THIS is news!

If your heart starts palpitating at the mere sight of “sale” sign, or if you’ve been known to elbow another shopper out of the way — if she’s getting between you and the boots you covet — or if you plan all of your vacations with retail therapy built in, this list is for you. We’ve rounded up the ten best cities in the world for your next shopping excursion — and whether you’re in the market for high fashion, fancy baubles, or even an unusual pet, we’ve got a destination for you. So pay off some credit card debt and hit the road — but don’t blame us when the bills come in.

Among the cities in the list are Bangkok and Hong Kong in Asia, London and Paris in Europe, New York and Los Angeles in North America.

I wholeheartedly agree with Bangkok. There are a lot of great locally made stuff from art and home decors to clothes and bags, and there are also brands from overseas that are priced even lower than in Manila.

Though I haven’t been to Hong Kong yet (preposterous, isn’t it?), a lot of shopaholics in the Philippines make annual (or more) pilgrimage to this vibrant city to indulge in their favorite pastime.

While Manila has awesome prices, most of the stuff here are from Bangkok, Hong Kong and China. Even though the goods we will see in these cities will pretty much be the same with what’s available in Greenhills or Divisoria and the additional cost of transportation and accomodation, nothing beats shopping overseas.

What do you think? Do you agree with their list or do you know of a city they missed?

Surving your next flight

All the plane rides I’ve ridden so far have been pleasant. Maybe it’s just the optimist in me; I try to make the best out of the flight. Okay, it’s more like making the most out of my being anti-social and whipping out my book (and for future flights, Pinkies and camera) and ignoring the people around me.

Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but for future flights, I’m preparing for the worst.
Continue reading Surving your next flight

Cebu Pacific Seat Sale

Cebu Pacific Kuala Lumpur Seat Sale
Oh my freakin gosh, [tag]Cebu Pacific[/tag] is having another seat sale: one-way [tag]Kuala Lumpur[/tag] tickets for only Php999!

From their website:

Cebu Pacific’s Kuala Lumpur seat sale for only P999

Cebu Pacific (CEB), the country’s low-fare leader offers a seat sale to Kuala Lumpur, [tag]Malaysia[/tag] for only P999 one-way. Sale period is from November 14-20, 2006 and is good for travel from November 30, 2006 to January 31, 2007.

After the seat sale the lowest year-round ‘Go’ fare to Kuala Lumpur starts at P1499 one-way. CEB’s fare is almost 90% less than the lowest fare from [tag]Manila[/tag] to Kuala Lumpur. The promo and year-round ‘Go’ fares are exclusive of surcharges and government tax.

Continue reading Cebu Pacific Seat Sale