My usual pack essentials
Holy week is just around the corner, and we can expect the regular pilgrimage of people going to the provinces. And for the urban professionals, it’s the time to relax and forget about work for a few days. But before that, everyone has to go through the dilemma of packing stuff. Proper packing can make or break a trip, too much can be a burden, and less can be a hassle. So here’s my two cents on what should be on top of your checklist.
1. Toilet/ Tissue Paper – I think this is one of the world’s greatest inventions and can be used on just about anything! From wiping clean those utensils and plates, cleaning your camera lenses, and of course when “nature calls” (just make sure you dispose of it properly). You can also write notes on those nifty 3 ply papers or use it for your Halloween costume. The possibilities are endless! Try removing the carbon box in the middle of toilet roll to reduce its size.
2. Flashlight with extra Batteries – Lest you want to stumble in the dark during a long night bus trip and disturb nearby passengers groping for that piece of snack to ease your hunger pangs, it would be more convenient if you have a handy flashlight in hand so you can easily find what you are looking for. A headlamp will also give you an advantage of freeing your hands. Just make sure you fix your lights angle to avoid blinding your companions while talking.
3. Mini Folding Umbrella/ Cap/ Wide Brimmed Hat – Whether for that unbearable heat during summer or that sudden downpour of cats and dogs, make sure you have anyone of these for protection from the elements. A folding umbrella has the advantage of portability, but if you think you look like a sissy using you grandma’s floral umbrella during the summer heat, a fashionable cap or Wide Brimmed Hat would do.
4. Water Bottle/ Container – It’s important to keep your self hydrated at all times. You can buy those cheap wide-mouth bottles at SM (If you can’t afford a Nalgene). A bladder is also a convenient alternative since you can fold it and takes less space to carry. If you are really on a budget, just re-use those bottles of C2s or distilled water you can easily buy at the nearest convenient stores and refill them with H2O.
5. Emergency Poncho/ Windbreaker/ portable-raincoats – Being in a tropical country, a sudden tropical depression, even in the midst of summer can rain on your parade. If you find yourself hiking along the Cordillera Mountains in the north and met a wailing wind of banshee on the hill along with a torrent of rain, keeping yourself dry will prevent you from getting that dreadful hypothermia.
6. Extra Plastic/Trash Bags – Another useful invention. Those large Trash bags are very handy and can be used on keeping your things dry whether crossing that river, on a splashy boat ride, or a torrential rain. A large trash bag can be improvised into a poncho, a sleeping bag, or for disposing that dead body of your so annoying travel companion after suffocating him with the same trash bag. For those fashionably keen travelers, bringing designer-branded plastic bags will keep your pride held high when bringing home those precious danggit or choco flakes pasalubong.
7. Towelette/ Malong – Instead of bringing those large towel which is thick and heavy, a nice small towelette, enough to keep you dry and cover your essentials after a shower would do. It dries up faster than a large towel as well. A large Mindanao-batic Malong is also a suitable fashionable alternative. It can be used as a blanket, a towel and even to cover you up when changing wardrobe in public places.
8. Bandanas – Large bandanas are better than small hankies. Not only can it be used to wipe off that sweat, it is large enough to be a towelette for face rinsing and be used as bandage during emergencies.
9. Whistle – Quite useful during treks or hikes. It can signal your companions from afar, or if you got lost, just burst in three continues whistle for SOS. Much better that screaming your heart out. Just don’t go blowing your whistle in the city, you might be mistaken as a traffic enforcer.
10. Kikay/ Kikoy Kit – Unless you want to end up looking like a taong grasa along the road, bringing basic hygiene kits helps to keep yourself clean and tidy. You don’t want to scare off people when asking directions. When I say basic, a set of soap, tooth brush, toothpaste, and shampoo, with cottons, cotton buds, deodorants, alcohols/alcogels and sun block would do. You can also add a dash of perfume there if you want. Daily vitamins or supplements can also be put here. Try to buy small containers where you can put your shampoos instead of buying those large shampoo containers or sachets that can be messy after use.
11. First Aid Kits – This is the item you hope you don’t need to use but have to bring along. You can buy a set from any drugstores or just build your own. The kit has the usual alcohol/ disinfectants, cottons, bandages, band aids and medicines. Medicines would include diarrhea tablets, if you ate something bad during your trip, Ibuprofen-Paracetamol, for fevers, headaches and muscle pains, some liniments like efficacent oils for muscle pain and colds and some puritabs as well if you have questionable water source.
12. Set of Clothes – Unless you want to do a catwalk by the beach or the terraces in Cordlillera, just bring suitable clothes on your journey. Know how many days you’ll be on the trip and just bring enough. Pack one set (preferably the one you’ll be going home with) separately and wrap it to keep it dry. For under wears, I prefer to buy those disposable ones you can buy at watsons and Mercury drug. They’re clean and convenient to carry and easy to dispose. Well if you’re on the kinky side, that edible underwear will also do.
13. Maps and compass – For the more adventurous types this is quite useful. You can get lost but with a map it’s always easy to find your way back. You’ll never know what you might discover if you go on the Off-the-beaten path. Just explore if you have more time in your hands.
14. Mini-notebook and Pen – Don’t loose those important information! Just jot down important notes for documentation purposes, lodging contact numbers which may be useful in the future or that beautiful lady’s cell number you asked directions earlier.
15. Cameras, Memory Cards and extra batteries – Again for documentation purposes, if your not really a Photographer, a good old point and shoot will be handy and compact for traveling. As they say, “It’s not really on the camera but in the eye and composition.” And don’t forget the regular “I was here” photos!
Well that’s it. If I missed anything or if I forgot something or want to suggest anything, just post it on. 🙂
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.