How Traveling Got Me to Start Building a Php250,000 Retirement Fund

I haven’t had a personal trip this 2017 and I was looking through the DIY Travel Philippines Facebook Group for some tips on where I can go this year. I already noted some ideas in my mind but what struck me the most that day was the question that Traveloka asked us travel bloggers:

How did travel change your life?

That struck me because I’ve been traveling since 2009. Before that, I was just a homebody who stayed at home and went from school to our house and vice versa.

Most of the time, I hear my friends and read from people online that traveling has changed them by gaining more self confidence, or learning how to get out of their comfort zone. I’ve had a different experience and learning which took my life in a big turn last 2015.

I usually have 2-3 memorable trips per year, and I keep it that way and not travel too much because of some reasons.

Among my trips prior to 2015, there were recurring patterns:

1) I didn’t pay for my trip or I was always broke before payday if I did pay for it.

Out of the 13 trips I've had before I had the "big change" I will share later, the breakdown of my trips were 4 work trips, 5 trips paid by parents, and 4 trips I paid for.

What happened most of the time was that I was always broke after the trips I paid for, up to the point that I will wait for the trip to match my payday so I can splurge immediately and run out of money in just one week after payday.

Hot Air Balloon Festival last February 2012

Dinagyang through the Pasinaya 2012 at CCP

2) My parents would contact me more often when I was traveling.

My parents were never the type to check on me all the time even though I live independently in Metro Manila. They would occasionally send text messages like “Uuwi ka ba ngayong Friday?”

I remember vividly two instances when they worried a lot about me while I was traveling. First was when I had my Naga trip last 2013. Out of my foolishness, I texted my mom while riding the bus this message:

Inay, asa bus po ako papuntang Naga. Dalhan ko na lang kayo ng pili tart na pasalubong.

I could sense that she worried about me but she briefly replied:

Okay anak, mag-iingat ka.

The other one was when I went back to South Cotabato last February 2016. After booking our seat sale tickets last 2015, I immediately told my mom that I’m going there. She seemed to have taken note of it. Fast forward to the day before my flight, I brought up that topic again.

Inay, bukas na po yung flight ko pa-Mindanao. Sa South Cotabato po. 
Huh, bakit ka pa-Mindanao?! Di ba delikado dun?! Sinong kasama mo?! Wag ka na tumuloy.

I saw the horror in her and my dad’s face, but he kept quiet while my mom scolded me. I assured them that I’ll be fine. My mom and dad constantly texted and chatted with me during my 4-day stay there.

Zipline at the 7 Falls last August 2014

Went back to South Cotabato last Feb 2016

3) I always thought after the trip, “Where will I go next?”

I think many travelers could relate to this thought. Where will the next destination be? When am I going back to the road again?

But this thought was always blocked by item #1 because I needed the funds to go on the destinations I wanted to explore.

Exploring Pinto Art Museum last January 2015

Having a break from work at Zambales last November 2016

It was when I traveled with my family in HongKong back in May 2015 that I had this big realization.

My parents and I are not getting any younger. I can see that they worked hard when we were younger to provide a decent living for us and they are now enjoying the fruits of their labor. 

I want to be able to travel in the future without always worrying that I will run out of money because I do not have travel funds and I want to give more joy to my family by treating them to more travel opportunities. 

Spending a week-long vacation with my boyfriend at Subic last October 2016

That’s when I realized that I should have a 360 turn on handling my finances so I can do all of these. With a more forward thinking personality and armed with determination to turn my traveling journey around, I scrimped and cut my spending to 40%. I usually ate at pricey restaurants just for the sake of comforting myself from the stress at work, but I thought that this was not the solution. I would rather allocate my money to traveling and my future.

Aside from my savings, I decided to take a big leap and open a variable unit life insurance (VUL) plan with a premium of Php250,000. I wanted a financial product that would help me in the future, build my discipline in money because I totally lacked it at the point, and also be of help to my loved ones. This would be one avenue to fund any travel trips I want to have by the time I hit 55 years old or 60 years old without burdening my future kids too much.

I thought having a big dent from my income to set aside for this plan would be so heavy in my pocket, but the opposite happened. I built the discipline of setting aside money and always thinking about my priorities instead of being swayed by peer pressure to keep up and spend unnecessarily.

As I’m writing this, I already have my first destination for 2017 in my mind. How about you? Where will your feet take you next? 


  1. I saw your blog in Pinoy Bloggers Outreach and I am currently striving to be a successful travel, beauty and lifestyle blogger, at the same time thinking of ways I could save more so I could retire early. I'm 22, and really inspired by this post.

    Check my blog too~

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