Have you tried traveling solo before? I've always wanted to try out solo travel but I always chicken out. I have a lot of what ifs and a lot of fears. Until finally, I mustered all the courage I have and dived into the unknown! I only live once so might as well do it.
Somehow fear has its way of sneaking up on me because a week before my trip, I want to back out! I want to cancel my hotel reservations and just stay home. But when I saw the amount I have already paid for my plane tickets (though it's on sale, haha) and all weeks and weeks of researching for my itinerary and months of saving for this trip, it's too late to back out now. I have to be brave! I have to believe that I can do this. So in the early hours of November 12, I dragged myself and went to the airport to catch my 4am flight!
Destination: Bacolod, Guimaras and Iloilo. I chose these three places because they are relatively near each other. Perfect for the first time solo backpacker. I only have to ride a boat to get from Point A to Point B and travel time is only an hour. I also wanted to be able to taste the authentic dishes that those three provinces are known for. Bacolod is known for its Chicken Inasal, grilled and cooked to perfection. Guimaras is well-known for producing the sweetest mangoes in the world. I have read that it was even being served in the White House and in Buckingham Palace. Iloilo, on the other hand, is famous for its batchoy. Batchoy is a native dish which consists of noodles, pork and chicken innards boiled and served in steaming hot broth.
I booked the 4:20 - 5:30 a.m. flight going to Bacolod City. I took the first flight because I wanted to photograph the sunrise while aboard the aircraft. I wanted to capture shots of the horizon changing its colors from black to orange to blue.
Mistake number 1: research on the time of sunrise otherwise you might not catch the sunrise after all. On that day, sunrise happened 30 minutes after my plane touched down. I guess no sunrise pictures for me.
My seatmate at the airplane was an old man from Bacolod. When he saw that I was alone, he politely tried to talk to me. He asked a lot of questions. Why am I traveling alone, do I know anyone there in Bacolod, where will I be staying, and how long will I be in there? The old man volunteered to accompany me to the city proper. At first I was afraid because what if he takes me somewhere else or does something bad to me. We rode a commuter van that took us to the city proper. He gave me directions on going to the famous landmarks and bits of information regarding Bacolod. Since, he will be alighting ahead of me, he told the driver to drop me off to my hotel. The old man even paid for my fare!
Mistake number 2: Don't be too paranoid. Learn to trust, not all people are out to harm you.
I arrived at Bacolod Pension Plaza at around 6am. Lucky for me, they were able to give me a room even if it's way too early for their standard check in time. I saw a couple of American backpackers. I was happy to see people with whom shares the same passion as I have in traveling. The receptionist told me that my room would have two beds since all rooms with a single bed have already been fully booked. Oh great (confused expression verging between thank you but the only one who's going to use that extra bed is my backpack!).
My room has a street view, two beds, two towels, two glasses, everything comes in two. I dropped my backpack, rested for a while, looked at my itinerary, sighed, gave myself a pat in the back and said - Go girl!