About Me

Surfing in Mati

Hello! I’m JourneyingJames, an adventurer, backpacker and runner and newbie surfer.  I’ve been traveling the Philippines and Southeast Asia since 2003 mostly on a budget. This is my way of encouraging fellow Filipinos to discover the beauty of our own country even with minimal resources.

I also contribute travel articles for Mabuhay (Philippines Airlines in-flight magazine), SMILE (Cebu Pacific in-flight magazine) and CAB Urban Travel Magazine.

I am blessed to have multiple TV appearances: GMA7 Summer Special, GMA News To GoABS-CBN News Channel Interview, TV 5, TV Patrol Southern Tagalog, TV Patrol Davao, Living Asia Channel and Net 25 Homepage. I was featured on Manila Bulletin’s Lifestyle page and did a couple Radio Guestings.

Through this site, I want to share with you my travel discoveries, cultural experiences, strange encounters, and food trips on a low budget as I journey around the Philippines and beyond.

I just finished the most epic travel challenge in the Philippines 100 Days of Backpacking the Philippines the Cheapest Way Possiblewhich I started last February 1, 2012. Soon I will be publishing a book about it and a short documentary film, watch out for that!

El Nido, Palawan

So, get your backpack and join me in this exciting adventure!

Btw, I accept travel writing assignments and commissioned travel works.

Here are some of the crazy stuffs I did experience while traveling:

If you need some help with your travel planning, I might be able to help you out- for free of course or you can buy me a cup of coffee 🙂 . Feel free to contact me. (Note: I will just help you out; not give you an itinerary. So write me with your well-researched and planned itinerary.)


For real-time updates, check my Facebook www.facebook.com/journeyingjamesFB and Twitter @journeyingjames

You can also check out my sports blog: ON A SHOESTRING.

167 thoughts on “About Me

  1. <blockquote cite="#commentbody-531">

    Katiekate :

    james! love the new layout. are you doing the camsur run? if i see you there, i just might introduce myself. haha.

    congrats on the new site. keep wandering.

    im still undecided, i really hope i can join that. thanks!

  2. Keep up the good work James! We blogers need to work harder to promote the country since that unfortunate bus hostage-taking. I'd like to encourage you to write a backpacking Philippines ebook instead of a printed one. You already have a lot of good content.

    Keep on blogging!

    • thanks for dropping by and the idea. yes, im already in collaboration with two bloggers/off-the-beaten path travelers in doing a e-magazine. hope it will be available for download this october

  3. wow, i love the new layout!
    i also plan to travel the Philippines in hundred days, to see how far can I go and how much will i spend.

    kudos man! more travel and adventures to come 🙂

  4. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely useful info specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this particular information for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

  5. Hi!

    We were wondering if we could request for a post of support for our team in your blog. Your blog is one of the top blogs about travel and we hope that we can reach your readers and get them to vote for us. We’d love to win this travel opportunity and as a traveler I am sure you’d understand that. This is a once in a lifetime chance for us.

    We are a group of 11 students taking up Masters in Management from the University of the Philippines Mindanao. We work full time in our respective careers and study during the weekends. We are in various fields, including education, government, NGO, banking, food industries.

    We are currently vying to win the Intrepid Ultimate Inca Encounter Competition, a worldwide contest, whose prize is to send the entire group to Peru on a hiking expedition to Machu Picchu. We are the only Filipino team in the top 5 and we hope to win it. Currently we’re third. Our team name is GOOD CHEETAHS! Our closest competitors come from UK, Portugal, Ireland and Australia

    This all started with fun but we’re really serious and determined to win because with a week to go, we’re in it with a fighting chance. Bringing the Good Cheetahs on the TOP means bringing the FILIPINOs and DABAWENYOs on the TOP!

    We would like to request your support for our all-Pinoy team in the form of a short post on how to vote for us. Social networking has always been the best way to send a message here in the Philippines. And I’m sure that the bayanihan spirit is still very much alive.

    Some who have shown support include:

    Lia Andrea Ramos (2006) BB Pilipinas – posted in FB page
    GMA Davao and GMA Testigo and GMA UNa Ka BAi – posted in FB Page
    Manila Buelletin – http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/314183/cheetahs-need-your-help-go-peru
    SunStar Davao – article being published on the paper tomorrow
    Mindanao Mirror – interview for an article tomorrow

    If that is not possible, you can just vote for us. Every vote counts in this tight race. VOTING ENDS ON APRIL 24 hence the urgency!

    Here’s our voting page:


    You can the see GOOD CHEETAHS Ranking here…


    I hope we can count on the Pinoy travel blogging community to help us.



    Angie Zafra and the Good Cheetahs!

    Disclaimer: Vote swapping / exchange is not allowed as per Intrepid Rules (That means we cannot vote for someone in return for someone voting for us)

  6. Saw you on GMA last night. Keep traveling, there are so many places to see in the PI. My wife and and I come to the PI once every few years. Last year, March and April visited the Capones and One Hundred Islands. Then road trip to Tagaytay City, Nasugbu (Cayon Cove), then RORO from Batangas to Calapan (Mindoro), up the coast via Tamarawa Falls then to Pueto Galera (White Sand Beach Resort) .

  7. im planning to travel solo…what could be the nicest/cheapest place to start with???tnx! love your blog!

  8. Hi,

    I am wondering about your book plans i.e. 100 days in phil – cheapest way. What is the status? also can you give me your price per travel article? how do you charge? what about volume discount.


  9. hi sir james, we are palnning to visit polillo and burdeos in quezon.. can you help us kung anu magandang puntahan and yung maliit lang expenses? thanks!

  10. I want to go to Palawan. What is the ideal length of stay do you think to see the most impt tourist attractions. .Am adventurous person. I will be travelling with my son 19 yrs old. Where can we stay a cheap but clean and safe place , accessible to transport and restaurant.. How do we go to the cave and underground river. What are the must see places.

  11. Good day James,

    We know it’s your passion to go places that’s why you’re on our guest list!

    You’re invited to Fiamma Fresh Friday this September 16 for Wimdu: welcoming the holiday season for the young and adventurous travelers!

    Party with the jet-setter crowd and win your way to Boracay or Coron!

    Post on Wimdu Philippines Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wimduphilippines

    and Tweet @wimdu_asia


    then tag your friends!

    You’re instantly on the guest list with the chance to win the free trip!

    ***This is supported by Air Phil Express
    ***Guest list is unlimited

    Please let us know if you can make it. Thank you!



    Wimdu is a global marketplace for all types of accommodation, linking travellers and hosts from around the world. Wimdu is available in 11 languages and operates throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. The platform offers more than 12,000 accommodation options in more than 150 cities across the world. Along with the opportunity to list and search for private rooms, the platform also provides destination information including travel tips and virtual tours. The investors include Rocket Internet and Kinnevik, who supported Wimdu with USD90million in the last round of financing.
    With the goal to help each and every traveller find the perfect accommodation however quirky their tastes–from a shared flat in New York, a luxury penthouse in Paris, a boathouse in Germany or something unusual like a rescue capsule, a crane, a treehouse or a castle–the company wants to define a new kind of travel experience. At the same time, Wimdu allows property owners to earn extra cash from a spare room while offering visitors a local perspective on their hometown.



    Now in the Philippines, Wimdu will host a Party this Friday, September 16, at Fiamma in Jupiter St. Makati City to welcome the Holiday Season especially for the young and adventurous travelers.
    Together with Air Phil Express, the company will give away a trip to Boracay and Coron through an e-raffle, so if you’re ready to party your way to a holiday,
    simply post on Wimdu Philippines Facebook Wall and tweet @wimdu_asia ‘I WIMDU, DO YOU?’ then tag your friends!
    You’re all good to go on the guest list for Fiamma Fresh Fridays with the chance to win your well-deserved vacation!

  12. Hi James, where did you get your travel funds? I guess somebody is sponsoring you or maybe out from your write ups from the magazines? I been traveling also in our local community all over the Philippines but i have difficulty with finances since i am married with two kids. I explored western visayas and parts of luzon, mindanao and Palawan already but would really like to explore more in the Philippines muna as of this time. Time limits me too, i just did most of my adventure during weekends and long holidays or using leaves..

    • hi sir, i save. i wish i have a sponsor or something right. hahaha
      yeah, my writeups help but that’s not enough. yep, i really cant imagine how to travel with a family to support. still, hats off to you kasi you still find time to travel. whats your fave destination po so far?

      • Hi James, you can call me Eduard, so far Sagada is still the best so far. I been exploring water falls these days in the visayas area, done with mindanao but not all pa, Im in the process of finishing my travel blog too ehehe like yours just to document my local travels. i got inspired by your site since we are sharing the same interest. Im a mountain climber since college but now..most of the time i travel alone too in my spare time on weekends. you can visit my fb account eduard p. pugosa if you want to see these falls around panay island and if you want some info. i traveled around panay most of the time bec of my work. you can contact me too at my sun mobile no. 0922-8334903. i can be your travel buddy in panay but subject for my time avialability hehe..usually im free on weekend lang. thanks by the way this is my site but still under contruction. islandboyescapades.blogspot.com

  13. Man! Where do you get all your funds? I wish I could quit my job and just travel. But I have to work to have money to travel. Tsk tsk tsk. Thank you for sharing all your adventures.

  14. Hi, your travel blog has inspired me….im also a traveling but on a smaller scale..my blog is also on travel but mixed with other stuf…..

    p/s El-Nido, in the palawan islands are among my top10 list of places to go!

    • hello jessa! thanks for appreciating the blog. glad that you are inspired.
      where in negros? i really want to stay longer in negros to learn your dialect.
      hope you can share the blog to your friends who loves to travel but are stopped bec of budget concerns. 🙂

      • hi james, im from binalbagan, negros occidental..youve been here last time I saw ur blog….im working in hinigaran the I saw ur pic in the church and milas restaurant…hope u be back here..visit sulusunset next time its cute… keep going james

  15. I love what you do, boss. Keep it up. Maybe when you get the chance to go to Lipa (but you’ve probably been here already), I can show you around places that are not on any tourist itinerary but just as nice and, I’m sure, doubly exciting, and of course, on the cheap side. Coffee is on me, bro. I’ll take you to Eva’s Carinderia and you’ll sample the best suman this side of heaven, swimming in latik and sprinkled with roasted coconut bits. Down it with kapeng barako and you get bliss for P30.

  16. http://www.curiousbiker.com

    I love what you do, boss. Keep it up. Maybe when you get the chance to go to Lipa (but you’ve probably been here already), I can show you around places that are not on any tourist itinerary but just as nice and, I’m sure, doubly exciting, and of course, on the cheap side. Coffee is on me, bro. I’ll take you to Eva’s Carinderia and you’ll sample the best suman this side of heaven, swimming in latik and sprinkled with roasted coconut bits. Down it with kapeng barako and you get bliss for P30.

    • thanks macay! ohh, please drop the boss… james nalang, haha.
      Lipa? i always go there, do you have an extra bike, maybe we can explore the city. i usually stay at my aunt’s place inside the airbase.
      my fave is the lomi. will contact you when im going to lipa.

  17. nice! i’ve read some of your write-ups on SMILE and I super LOVE it! Yeah! Travel more and spend LESS! Keep on inspiring us–travel enthusiasts! 🙂

  18. Hi James,
    Thanks for Sharing your adventures, I myself has been planning to backpack alone, for Self rediscovery and a quick escape from sedentary life. I’m planning to travel to Sagada alone, I read your post on that part and I’m so buying it! how many days can you suggest for that trip? i’m still looking ways to get there like bus schedules and how to get there from baguio, any tips ?

    I would really appreciate it!

  19. sallam! wow!!! your almost there bro.,.,keep it up.,.,. you are one of the top bloggers.,.,,.
    your a star ,.,.hehehe! i dont have enough time to read all your adventures but as i have read.,.,., malapit kana sa finishing line.,., im waitiing sa dream book mo.,.,., god speed!

  20. @journeyinjames — wow! ngayon pa lang.. Kudos to your ISANG DAAN 🙂 i wish i can travel those places as you did. will launch my site this coming April.. not really a travel blog but half of will be about places, food, and culture in our country 🙂

    • Btw, i’m from Quezon and when I watched your jessica soho episode last summer, i was surprised that such “hidden paradise” was in quezon.. I really didn’t know that Quezon has white sand beaches.. 🙂

  21. hi james.. seeing you having enjoy and fun more and more yet spend less in the Philippines!
    just first time visited your blog-site, and i’m beginning to like your travel blog and love to read =))

    i just read your article about batang pinoy athletes in naga results, thanks for the great info.
    keep it up and hope to see u soon and maybe with your journey na hehe =)) keep safe!

    ~(“,) philippe

  22. OMG! I’m a fan! I was inspired by this blog. After reading this, I’ve gathered my strength to pursue travels even if it’s going solo. 🙂

  23. Hello James, so glad to chance upon your blog. I also love to travel but I am in a “standstill” right now due to my “paperless” situation here in Spain. My desire to travel more was triggered by the travel blogs that I stumbled upon lately, then it was intensified as I stumbled into your blog the other night. My alaga was sick and she´s been with me the whole day and all I did was read your posts until my phone battery ran out.:) Thank you for sharing your travel experiences with us, it´s so inspiring. And just like you, I prefer to spend less as much as possible when I travel and after reading one of your posts, I´ll start to practice : pack light and travel far.:)

    God bless you on your “isang daan” challenge. Excited to follow your journey and learn from it. And ohhh, I already saw you on a GMA tv show before as I browsed on youtube and it was confirmed coz you posted the same vid in one of your posts.:)

    I´ll add you to my blogroll and hope you´ll add mine, too. Hope and pray that all your dreams will come true!

  24. hello james. it’s dinah.we just had the emiss.fellowship. we missed you but we are glad seeing u touring and inspiring people, esp. Filipinos…to visit places in our country.
    enjoy the great time, seeing God’s magnificent work while u travel here to there…
    God bless u.

  25. I hope we could meet up here in Iloilo 🙂 I believe you are scheduled on the 29th or 30th 🙂 until then! 😀 More power to your challenge. You have inspired a lot of people – including me! 🙂 See yah!

  26. keep on trodding on the road less travelled james, have you visited nueva vizcaya? it’s my province. go up to aparri, cagayan one time or visit sta ana, cagayan too.great scenic places can be seen there or travel to calayan island too… keep it going!

  27. hi. na.impress ako sayo nung mapanood kita sa TV 🙂 and you even went to Southern Cebu 🙂 Kakabilib po ang ginawa nyo 🙂

    Sana magawa ko din yan in the future 🙂

    keep it up. God Bless you always 🙂

  28. This is a nice find! I haven’t read much of your articles but I definitely will do so. This might finally encourage me to explore the Philippines – and hopefully the world – like I’ve always wanted.

  29. Hi James, I came across your website by pure luck, and I love it. You need to come to South African soon!! Enjoy!!

  30. I hope you get to read this. I admire your sense of adventure, and I wish you good luck on your book. But I sincerely hope you hire a good editor because as a native speaker of English, I’m having lots of trouble with your quite incoherent grasp of basic grammar rules. For instance, I’m disappointed at your constant confusion over subject-verb agreement. Too, your inconsistent tenses can be quite misleading. You also don’t seem to get the difference between present perfect tense and present progressive tense. Lots of dangling modifiers, too. That said, reading your blog entries can be quite difficult to understand because of all these problems with grammar. What’s the point of adventures when you can’t even write about them decently, right mate? Your book has a lot of potential, but please, seek the help of someone who knows his/her English very well. Cheers!

    • hello chris! thank you so much for taking the time to write this feedback about the blog. i really appreciate you for pointing this out, i wish a lot of readers are like you. that said, would be extend some help in pointing out where exactly you read the wrong grammar use, i would like to edit those.
      about the book, i already have a very good editor.
      i really suck in using English and this blog is my way of improving my written english, its hard for me bec im not a native speaker like you.

      btw, if you will visit the Philippines, please drop me a message at journeyingjames@gmail.com, i would love to buy you a bottle of beer! just my way of saying thanks for the well-wished feedback. 🙂 cheers!

  31. hi james, i am a nurse by profession and is currently working abroad. i must admit that traveling is my long lost dream. i have been able to visit other places and have seen other cultures as well but what envies me is your passion of our own native land and culture. I admire your dedication in the promotion of our locale, our potential tourist spots and the highlight of true Filipino hospitality. on my next vacation i am planning to do some local travel. I am a true mindanaoan, (born and raised in GenSan) thus i want to backpack in my surrounding provinces and what comes to my mind is surigao del sur. I have read your blogs and it entice me to explore more. I will be going with some foreign colleagues. i hope one day we can meet up and I’ll buy you beer, a bucket or two for you for a longer conversation. Keep on exploring man and I will buy your book, (is it published)? hehehe but count me to have one.. and hey, what is with the red sandals/shoes? Man, I love to have one.. (what brand and from where can i buy one?) thanks a lot for the drive…
    God bless….

  32. You were just featured in the late night news of Channel 5, that’s why I learned of this blog sit of yours.

    Keep on moving man.

  33. hi James, just wanna thank you for sharing infos on bacolod. I went to your site several times to tailor my itinerary. And if not for your site I must have missed alot of adventures in Bacolod. just to share when we visited Hyksos Tulahan in Old Pala Pala market, i was surprised to see your post together with the menu.


    So Kudos!! 🙂 keep blogging and inspiring!

  34. Great site, James! I would love to go to all the sites you’ve been to. I have travelled some (pero sa more popular sites nga lang) but I know it’s a good start. I hope to see every nook and cranny of our interesting country. I’m looking forward to your book! I’m definitely buying one. Sana may book signing hihi…

  35. Wow, proud of you James you did it for 100 days! Travelling the Philippines/visiting the 7,107 islands is one of my dreams. When I read this site, it gives me the drive that I can do it also, though for not 100 days.:) I will continue to read/visit your site when I need information to different places in our country. Never stop exploring James!!! Visited also your other site “On a Shoestring” I so love what you do.

  36. Nice blog! Just saw it earlier and it will take me a lot of time to read all through these adventures! But hey, who doesn’t want a good story, right?
    Anyway, am an adventurer myself and I’m really looking forward to another travel-filled year! Already booked to some places this year and hope I can share my experiences like what you are doing! Good writing and awesome photos btw. Keep it up!

  37. Hi. I’m sure you’ve already read about a lot of people traveling and writing books about their experiences. I wonder how yours is going. I don’t know if you’ve heard about this guy and his friend. They traveled around Malaysia on a bike for a month, well, not so much to sightsee but to purposely write a book on the cultural diversity of Malaysia vis-a-vis Singapore. I find it very interesting. Here’s a link about his writing process. I’m buying his book on Amazon. Let us know when to expect yours.


  38. hi james! i am proud you have reached mati and surf at the beach. i read your blog. awesome! i love to go in batanes soon.

  39. hi james! 🙂 im a new follower and im a repressed lakwatsera, na inspire sa blog mo ^^ so im starting a blog na din :)) I love PPC too! I plan to migrate na in a year or two ^^ kitakits! sama ako sa gala mo sometime this year!! cheers! 🙂

  40. Hi James!

    Really inspiring. I saw your feature in GMA News TV and I immediately saved your website on my notes. My friends and I will join your ‘Voluntourism’ one of these days! Wishing you more travels to come.

  41. Hi journeyingjames, I wanna try backpacking in the Philippines. This is my first time to do this. Any suggestion where to go first(budget friendly) and what are the basic things that I should have. Thanks

  42. Hi James,
    Sayang, di kami nakasama sa Oct. 14 to 18 trip mo sa Panay Aklan Iloilo Guimaras trip mo but where going there on November. Me and my 8year daughter to complete our car, region 1 to 8. We would appreciate if you post your trip before Nov. 15 so we can get some more ideas were we could go but will be staying at la esperanza hotel budget fan room. Initially to camp out sa airport on the day we arrive gabi na kasi.to catch the last bus sana going to san jose antique…but will settle for the 2am trip to alight at bgy.importante and look for the kayak Inn for the kawa hot bath…. I just dont know if their open that early at 6am… Then will probably walk around and do bird watching. Sana we can visit a farm and see fruit and vegetables….afterwards will go ride the bus again to kalibo town proper to eat late llunch go to the museo it akein then sampaguita gardens, then bakwahan to catch the fire flies i know the park closes at 5pm…. Maybe. Thencatch the bus to roxas or if we have time maybe just go to nabas cold spring and spend the night there take a dip else do bird watching or climb Mt. Madja-as on our own can we do this without a guide? How much for a guide can you refer, we have an early flight so maybe camp at KIA. I was searching for your email but found none. I wish you email me instead. Salamat.
    P.S. We wish to join you if you will be hiking Mt. Makiling… Loved the forest and wish to camp there.

  43. I came across your blog site and instantly got amazed with your passion for travelling I wish I have the same bravery to do the travelling on my own too! I am a self confessed “kuripot” and I just love your idea of spending less while travelling more.

    Hey you might want to tick and cross out “camel ride” off your bucket list come to the Mid. East would volunteer to be your tour guide 🙂

    Keep the blogs coming this is a great site.

  44. Hi James,

    First time I saw this today and got hooked on it. I phoned your friend/assistant Mitch to inquire and she’s very accommodating and benign. I want to join the Calaguas trip, may I? Will you be travelling with us then? Your site is teeming with good adventure at a very low cost.

    What would be your advise to me as a first time backpacker? I meant to say travelling with others and I meant further strangers to me.


  45. wow, super nice! if will plan a solo trip, will definitely ask you..
    actually we’re planning na magpunta sa El Nido by October, any tips/ suggestions..

  46. Hi James!

    I was browsing the net for tourist destinations in my very own province of Davao del Norte when I chanced upon your name in an account about Tagum. You were with Leo Timogan, you said there. Anyway, I’m from Tagum and it’s good to know you’ve actually been here.

    I was drooling while reading your blog. Haha. Not literally of course, it won’t look good on a 51-year old momma. Anyway, this blog of yours is really inspiring. Makes me want to write my own “100 days” of something. I wish I could still travel the way you do. You know naman, tiguwangets na ang tuhod. Hehe. I’m sure you already know what “tiguwang” means.

    I wish my family and I have met you in Dahican. We sometimes visit Jun Plaza and the Amihan boys there. I would’ve been overwhelmed about the conversations. I’m already “inggit” about your travels esp. that you’re back in beautiful Palawan.

    I have a blog but it’s not something yet. I recently picked up the habit of blogging after stopping for a while so I don’t have much in it yet. I would appreciate it if you could drop by http://www.lakwatserangparuparo.blogspot.com/ and tell me how I can improve it. (In 150 words only, if you wish. Haha. For free, I hope?)

    You got me, by the way, when you said writers/bloggers shouldn’t write for free. I’ll tie a string on my finger for that.

    More power, more travels to you and be safe, hijo!

    God bless!

  47. James, your blog is wonderful, page after page i read and it not only inspires me as a reader and traveller, but also as a fellow blogger myself. I’m heading into Puerto Princesca in two days, taking a ferry in fact which should be an interesting experience. Would love guidance on the routes i can take from spending a few days – week in Puerto Princesca and seeing the underground river and everything else, heading up towards El Nido probably via bus/cheaper routes if you could recommend. And also if you have any time to read over my blog and any thoughts or guidance would be unreal! What are area are you based in Puerto Princesca? Thanks again!

    My email address is: alawes127@live.co.uk

  48. Good evening buddy!

    I was searching “Wealth of Samar” in google after seeing the old classic movie “The Lone Ranger and the City of Gold” and I came across your article. Thanks for appreciating my Island-Samar. Surely Samar is so wealthy but her wealth had been sucked by the Spaniards and until not still is. I hate to say this but its the truth. Sorry, my Waray-waray spirit is coming out again. Anyway, hope you can help me promote Northern Samar for international tourism with the intention of helping our poor Filipino Nortehanon residents.


  49. Oh, I forgot to inform you and the readers that I have an apartment where u guys can stay. No fees just donation for my program with street children.

    • By the way, my lodging house is called T&TR (Tobby and Tikoy Residence) and this is your home when u want to visit Northern Samar. It is located in Catarman. Look for me in FB. Am using my real name!

  50. Welcome to the world of Budget trekking! We, here at our office, believe that no one should put aside their dream of trekking on the high himalayans of Nepal because of involving cost which is way over the head. We guarantee that our treks are the cheapest in the Nepalese market when it comes to price. As a part of making our treks cheap we never curtail any part of the trek, we do not alter in the service we provide but we maintain the costs to the rock bottom by trekking in group.

  51. Hello! Can I use your Islander pictures? I am planning to sell them in my upcoming online store. Thank you

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