A Juanderer never says no to adventures. A rush of adrenaline streamed over the twenty-five-year-old teacher from Dumaguette teaming up his mates from Siliman University for Cebu Pacific Juan for Fun Backpacking Challenge in 2013. Sesinando “Sesi” Quilao joined forming Team Crimson with Patrik Norouzi and So Myeong Lee. They toured around the country from Manila to Kalibo, Dipolog, Palawan, Davao, and Cebu.
Team Crimson sealed the victory awarded as champions after the challenge. They savored 12 Cebu Pacific roundtrip tickets to any international or domestic destination plus premium gadgets and travel gear. “With our ticket prizes, we got more opportunities to travel together and have become the best of friends,” said Sesi.
Sesi shared that though the event may have ended, the bond that tied them with the other university teams on the competition is kept. “The relationship we started with them during Juan for Fun didn’t end with the event,” he stated.
A big world awaits
Armed with their free Cebu Pacific tickets, Sesi, Myeong, and Patrik set out on a well-researched itinerary that maximized their time and resources while on the road. The lessons that they learned during the Cebu Pacific backpacking challenge definitely came in handy for the trio. “We traveled like it was Juan for Fun all over again. We came up with an itinerary that ensured that we could visit as many countries as possible,” Sesi said. “We got four tickets each, so we used three and shared the remaining one with a family member. With three tickets, we got to visit eight countries!”
Team Crimson first visited Macau and then headed for Hong Kong. A month later, they flew to Singapore and traveled by land to Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Myeong and Sesi also traveled in Japan for five days, then headed straight to South Korea to visit the former’s native land and reunite with Patrik. “Because of the challenge, our insatiable longing for adventure and the great outdoors became stronger. It made us better backpackers. The entire post-adventure lasted for about two months, including some rest periods in between trips,” Sesi recounted.
To cut down on costs, the three explorers tried Couchsurfing and stayed at hostels that were inexpensive and practical yet fun. “We made sure we had opportunities to make new friends,” Sesi shared.
Harnessing the skills that made them win Juan for Fun, Sesi, Myeong and Patrik remained smart travelers throughout their adventure. “We hit the streets for some meals, then treated ourselves to one fancy restaurant per destination,” said Sesi. They also packed light, choosing to bring only three sets of clothes per place that they visited, mixing and matching their clothes and doing the laundry at their hostels.
Pursuing a passion
For Sesi, backpacking has allowed him to explore and satisfy his thirst for adventure without breaking the bank, something that he advocates for other young students to try. “Before Juan for Fun, I had this silly thought that traveling was only for the rich,” he said. “Nowadays, budget is not that big of a hindrance anymore with Cebu Pacific offering promo fares, as well as a variety of value-for-money accommodations and dining options.”
For those who are itching to discover the world, Sesi has to say: “If it’s really your dream, do something about it. Dream and work hard at the same time, then travel harder.”
As for Sesi, he has set his sights on conquering more destinations. “I can’t wait to go to Australia this year,” the young explorer shared. “And I still have a lot of places I want to visit—India, Tibet, Turkey, Iceland and South Africa, just to name a few!”
College students interested in joining this year’s Cebu Pacific Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge have until May 2, 2015 to send in their video entries. Log on to www.juanforfun.com or check out www.facebook.com/CebuPacificJFF now!
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