6 Safety Tips for First-Time Travelers to Southeast Asia

If you are travelling to a different part of the word, you are bound to be excited, but make sure you think about your health and safety too. It may seem dull to think about when you would rather be planning where you will be sightseeing and what bars and restaurants you’d love to visit, but you should get the important stuff checked off first. Traveling anywhere can come with risks, so make sure you are well researched about the place are you are visiting, and keep in mind these tips:

Sanitization

A new country comes with excitement, but it also comes with lots of new people and new microorganisms. Keeping up your hygiene is essential, as you will not have built up immunity to these new bugs, and the last thing you need to ruin your holiday is a bad case of sickness and diarrhoea. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before eating and drinking, and take hand sanitizer with you wherever you go, as not everywhere provides anti-bacterial soap.

Get Vaccinated

One of your first steps before travelling is to make sure your vaccinations are all in check. For some countries, you might be fully immunized already, but different parts of the world can come with other deadly viruses and diseases. It can take around eight weeks for your vaccinations to make your body fully immunized, so get this sorted nice and early. It might cost you money, but it is much better to pay money now than pay with your life later. If you are unsure about what vaccinations you will need, always check with a medical professional and seek their advice.

Eating and Drinking

Whilst washing your hands is important, sometimes it’s the food and drinks themselves that contain nasty bugs. Tap water is often unsuitable to drink, so you will need to rely on bottled water, which should be available from most places – just make sure the bottles are sealed and not simply re-filled bottles. It is more difficult to ascertain whether food is clean and safe to eat, so use your wits to determine which places seem hygienic and tourist-friendly. Read reviews and ask locals or fellow tourists.

Safe Areas

This involves a little research, and you have to remember that nowhere is truly safe if you are unfamiliar with it. Determining how safe an area is can come from lots of things, but you should check if certain parts of the country are unstable for political or religious reasons, or if there are ongoing conflicts. Try to avoid places with higher crime rates, as tourists make easy targets for petty thieves and criminals. You also need to consider the weather, as some parts of the world can be prone to extreme weather conditions, particularly at certain times of the year. All of these things can be somewhat unpredictable, but it helps to be aware of the risk factors that come with travelling.

Rules and Regulations

You will also need to do a little research on the customs and laws of the country, to make sure that you are following their ways correctly. Every country and area have their own customs and values, and different cultures do things differently. There isn’t a wrong and right here regarding people’s beliefs, but you should be respectful no matter where you go.

Travelling Alone

You are not necessarily safe if you travel as a group, but you are definitely less safe when travelling alone. If you plan to travel alone, you need to be fully prepared and generally more cautious. Only stay in places with higher security levels, do not leave belongings unattended, and try to make friends with other solo travelers so that you can look out for each other.

Wherever your travels take you, as long as you travel with care and respect, you should have an amazing and exciting experience. Stay safe – and have lots of fun!

POSTCARD FROM LASWITAN

SURIGAO DEL SUR’S LASWITAN
An Ultimate Pacific Ocean Fun

Laswitan comes the word LASWIT which means splash. Here at Laswitan, the strong splash of the waves coming from the Pacific Ocean against the 20-foot black limestone creates a spectacular scene often describe by tourists as waterfalls by the ocean. Just awesome!

TAWI-TAWI’S AGAL-AGAL FESTIVAL | The Philippines’ Only Seaweed Festival

The Province of Tawi-Tawi is considered as the biggest producer of Seaweed Powder in the country. Because of its significance to the livelihood of the people and the economy of the Province, one grand celebration is made every year as tribute to its great value. This is the Agal-agal Festival which is said to be the only Seaweed Festival in the country. It is derived from the word Agal-Agal which is the local term for seaweed in the Sulu Archipelago.

The staging of AGAL-AGAL FESTIVAL coincides with the Kamahardikaan Sin Tawi-Tawi or the Founding Anniversary of the Province which happens every 25th of September. This year, the celebration was held in the town of Languyan, one of the 11 towns of Tawi-Tawi.Agal-Agal Festival shows how the community value the importance of the seaweed industry which has been part of their living. Being a Province composed of island towns surrounded by vast seas, Tawi-Tawi is endowed with rich marine and aquatic resources. The celebration also reflects these rich bounties of the sea that Tawi-Tawi takes so much pride of.

The festival features the rich culture and traditions of the Sama, Badjau, Jama Mapun and Tausug who peacefully and harmoniously live in the Province – colourful cultures and admirable traditions that are still lived and practiced to this day.

In this year’s edition of Agal-Agal Festival, 9 out of the 11 municipalities of the province participated in the street dancing competition and showdown. Each contingent showcased their well-rehearsed and choreographed dances and performances in their most elegant traditional costumes, colourful props, and upbeat traditional music that reflect the rich culture of their town. Pangalay which is a traditional dance of the Sulu Archipelago is greatly incorporated in their graceful performances.

I have been to a number of festivals in the Philippines. In Mindanao, I have covered some of the most significant festivals that the Island boasts. And just when I thought I have seen enough, Agal-Agal Festival offered me a different festival experience – a different vibe incomparable to the other festivals I have witnessed in the country.

To be here in this southernmost part of the Philippines witnessing such spectacular festival is truly an honor. Given a chance, I shall come back and again relish another Agal-Agal Festival experience!

Shout out of thanks to the Department of Tourism – ARMM headed by Regional Secretary Ayesha M. Dilangalen for inviting The Travel Teller to witness this amusing festival of the country’s southernmost Province.

Wacth THE TRAVEL TELLER’s Video Blog of the Agal-Agal Festival HERE.

AGAL-AGAL FESTIVAL | Seaweed Festival of Tawi-Tawi Province (VIDEO BLOG)

The southernmost frontier of the Philippines, the Province of Tawi-Tawi just recently celebrated its 44th Founding Anniversary. The celebration is called Kamardikaan Sin Tawi-Tawi. One of the major highlights of the celebrated is the Agal-Agal Festival which is said to be the only seaweed festival in Mindanao and perhaps the entire country.

Tawi-Tawi is the country’s major producer of Agal-Agal, local term for seaweed, and this festival honors the significance of the seaweed industry in the Province. The festival also features the rich and colorful culture of the Sama, Badjao, Jama Mapun and Tausug, the people of Tawi-Tawi.

INDAK-INDAK SA KADALANAN | Kadayawan Festival 2017

“Kadayawan
Kasaulogan
Kasaganaan ng pamayanan
Kahiusahan natong tanang
Napulo ug usang kaliwatan”

Amid Martial Law extension in the whole Island of Mindanao, Davaoenos, Mindanaoans from nearby provinces, local and foreign tourists gathered in the major thoroughfares of the city to witness the much awaited, most watched highlight of Kadayawan Festival, the Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan. This spectacular event has been considered as the biggest gathering of different festivals in Mindanao to compete and be hailed the grand champion. This has made Kadayawan the King of Festivals in Mindanao.

This year, eighteen contingents coming from different schools and communities in Davao City and nearby provinces assembled in the city’s downtown district for this most prized competition.

Kadayawan Sa Dabaw celebrates not only the city’s bounties of nature and the gifts of bountiful harvest but also highlights the rich heritage and diverse culture that define Davaoeños’ affluent history and colorful past. All these are all portrayed and beautifully reflected In their well rehearsed dances and choreography.

100 KADAYAWAN FESTIVAL VIBE

The vibrant colors of captivating Red and Yellow dominated the streets while the heart pounding drum beats reverberated all over the city’s downtown district. These were the colors and rhythms brought by 18 contingents as they performed rituals and dances of their respective places while dressed in multihued costumes and flanked by colorful props. The resounding ethnic chants and the deafening beat of the smashing drums ecstatically set the whole district in a jovial groovy mood.

Being a Dabawenyo, seeing these performances made me feel proud of the heritage of my city. This made me realized despite differences of culture coming from different ways of lives; we all got to embrace the multicultural diversity of the city. And despite great challenges like the threat of our serenity of living, we can still find the courage in us to find time and celebrate the bounties of our harvest, the gifts of nature and our rich culture. After all, we are Davaoenos, we are Mindanaons – WE STAND TALL. UNITED. RESILIENT.