Whether it’s escaping the fiery crater of an angry volcano or spending a lazy afternoon by the beach, Edgar Alan Yap of EazyTraveler surely knows how to make traveling look easy and oh-so-fun.
Growing up in a family that loves to travel, Ed believes that traveling is in his blood.
“I grew up in a family that loved to travel the Philippines, so I guess it’s in my blood,” he said. “And since the dawn of budget air travel, traveling abroad is not as prohibitive as it used to be.”
He also grew up watching shows like Discovery Channel’s Travelers and Globe Trekker, even dreaming of becoming like Ian Wright! I share the same dream with Ed, even longing to have Ian’s accent.
Just in case you didn’t catch that, it’s eazy + essentials = eazyntials.
Ed packs both techie and old school stuff every time he goes out on a trip (which happens a lot if you’re him).
“I’m such a flashpacker these days that I can’t imagine traveling without my DSLR camera and smartphone,” he said. “But for note taking, I often go analog and take a notebook and pen with me, too.”
In order to make traveling easy, one has to know thy wallet’s capacity. To extend your spending powers while traveling, Ed shares a few tips.
“Firstly, packing light saves me on baggage fees and allows to me to walk short distances instead of hopping on a taxi or tuk-tuk. I also reduce spending on guesthouses by taking overnight buses which also saves me a lot of time,” he explained.
He is also a fan and an advocate of CouchSurfing.
“CouchSurfing is an incredible way to experience local culture while saving on accommodation.”
CouchSurfing “offers its users hospitality exchange and social networking services.” You can learn more about it by logging on to www.couchsurfing.org.
Ed is currently on his way to setting foot on all 80 provinces of the Philippines. With such an extensive list of travel experiences, he still managed to pick his favorite.
“Palawan easily tops my list,” he answered without batting an eyelash.
Ed chose Palawan “for its incredible seascapes, outdoor adventures and laid-back vibe.”
“Last summer, I spent a few days in San Vicente, which has virgin white-sand beaches that seem to go on forever. Port Barton was also such a pleasure to explore. Aside from bumming on the quiet beachfront, you can snorkel with turtles, go on jungle walks, or swim at a nearby waterfall,” he shared.
Despite having certain inconveniences as a Philippine passport holder, Ed still widely travels outside the country and usually goes to week-long trips to Asian countries (which I happily follow through his Instagram feed).
“As a Philippine passport holder, I don’t get as much visa-on-arrival privileges as travelers from more developed countries, so visiting many nations outside Southeast Asia requires me to apply for a visa beforehand, which can be an inconvenience to say the least,” he explained.
“But having a well-stamped passport and strictly adhering to immigration rules and requirements can bolster your ‘travel credentials’ and makes the process smoother not only for you but for all legitimate Filipino tourists,” Ed said.
Of his overseas destinations, Ed’s favorite is an Asian backstreet.
“I visited Myanmar (Burma) while it was still under tight control under the military junta. The people are just amazing as its cultural landscapes. The Burmese people are some of kindest I’ve met on the road. In Mandalay, our taxi driver pulled over to buy us fruits as a welcome gift!” he recalled.
Perks and Perils
Traveling in and outside the Philippines has tons of perks and tons of perils. Ed recalls two moments when he risked life and limb for the sake of traveling.
“While traversing a desert caldera on a motorbike in East Java, we struggled with the sand dunes and falling ash from an angry volcano until nightfall. Fortunately, we ran into a news crew documenting the volcanic eruption who offered us a lift on their 4X4.
“Rock climbing a sharp-edged karst cliff in El Nido without any safety harness was also quite dangerous. One wrong move could have cost us our lives (or at least a limb). But the panoramic views from the top overlooking the Bacuit Archipelago were to die for! Months later, a tourist was seriously injured while climbing the same cliff, and excursions were temporarily prohibited,” he shared.
Hair-raising probably doesn’t even cut it, especially that bit about escaping a raging volcano. But panic not, Ed also shared about one of his unforgettable experiences while he was staying in the States.
Ed at Canyon Lands, Utah
“Last year, I worked as a marketing communications consultant in New York City. I flew to Denver to visit a friend who I met through CouchSurfing in Manila. And we went on this epic three-day road trip through the Rockies to the canyon lands in southern Utah,” he recalled.
“Driving through endless, barren expanses of land was a travel experience that was liberating as much as it was humbling,” Ed mused.
What’s next for Ed?
As a Filipino travel blogger, Ed aims to help boost the country’s tourism.
“I hope that through my blog and social media, my readers – especially my Filipino audience – will be encouraged to see more of their own amazing country,” he said.
Aside from writing informative and entertaining travel posts on his blog, Ed makes sure to highlight his motherland when he’s out and about.
“When I travel, I always grab the opportunity to put in a good word objectively about the Philippines to fellow travellers,” he said. “I find it really disheartening to encounter overseas Filipinos who have nothing but negative things to say about their home country.”
At the end of the day, Ed hopes to make a living out of his life’s passion: traveling.
“I’d love to find the perfect job that would allow me to combine my marketing communications background and travel journalist expertise.”
Stay updated with Ed’s adventures and misadventures by checking out www.eazytraveler.com and following him on Facebook (www.facebook.com/eazytraveler), Instagram and Twitter (@eazytraveler).