Updated: Aug 7, 2020
In 2017, I won unlimited free flights. Yes, you’re reading it right. Unlimited free flights. How did I win a once in a lifetime opportunity like this? To cut the long story short, my friends and I entered a competition called “Juan for Fun” hosted by Cebu Pacific Airlines. There, five teams had to go around the Philippines for a week and take photos and do as much activities as they could. After seven days, we emerged as victors.
Initially, the prize was overwhelming for me. I wanted to make the most out of my year of free flights. At that time, I was a second year college student studying mass communication. I wanted to stop studying so that I could travel. I talked to my mom and asked her if I could stop for a year. She said no. (In the Philippines, it’s a big deal if you finish on time. “Gap Years” aren’t that common.) So, I had to make do with my current situation. On weekdays, I went to school, and on weekends, I was in a different country. After a year of traveling, I flew 110 times, to different Philippine destinations and Asian countries.
Out of all my experiences, I can vividly remember what my favorites and best experiences were. One of those is my trip to Bangkok during Songkran. Songkran is a traditional Thai New Year where splashes of water symbolize the washing of misfortunes that took place throughout the past year, in order to welcome the new year with a fresh start.
On April 2018, I decided I wanted to experience the huge water fight festival in Thailand. Although it may seem that having free flights also gave me VIP access, the reality proved different because most of my flights were not guaranteed since I was only a chance passenger. If the flight was full, I had to catch the next one. If some passengers couldn’t make it to their flight, it was my “chance” to board that flight. And so, most of my trips were spontaneous, or planned at the very last minute.
Flying to Bangkok during Songkran was a risk for me since a lot of people wanted to fly to Thailand. However, when I learned that I had a seat on the flight, I immediately planned my trip and booked my accommodation.
Traveling alone to Bangkok wasn’t as intimidating as traveling to other countries since I have already been there several times with my parents and friends. I was familiar with going around and the BTS (Bangkok Train System) made that very easy. From the train, I could see that almost everyone on the street had water guns and were soaked in water.
For my accommodation, I wanted the place to be strategic, so I did my research and booked a place where the water fights were popular. I booked Everyday Bangkok Hostel Located at Silom, Bangkok. It was roughly P400/night ($18) The place was convenient since it was near a lot of establishments and near the BTS. When I arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport, I traveled by BTS to the MRT Blue Line and got down at Sam Yan. From there, I walked to the hostel.