21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming!

21 things to do on a Blackpool beach – Winter is coming!

Hi everyone!

Gosh, the weather has been something else.

All over the world there have been storms, winds, and lashings of rain. Luckily, in Northern Europe, it hasn’t been too bad.

As you know, I’m travelling to the English countryside, and part of that has already begun!

Just to recap, I’ll be visiting Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire, with a few secret bits added along!

However, not all of our travels would be the countryside itself, some of it would be of English quirkiness, and one of those places is Blackpool!

When people think of England, they don’t really think of the seaside.

51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

Come to think of it, they don’t think of the seaside in Germany either!

However, for many British people including myself, happy memories abide of going to the seaside as a child. Being that I’m from Manchester, the nearest beach would have been Blackpool!

Blackpool is a seaside resort on the Lancashire coast of North West England.

Victoria looking as cool as a cucumber, in the Philippines!
©Ruchika Shankar

England isn’t known for sunshine!

So what do you do on a cold, windy, rainy day?

On a beach.

In Northern England.

In Lancashire.

Otherwise known as Blackpool!?

Well, I’m going to tell you.

Here we go!

Book your hotel here!

WHAT TO DO IN BLACKPOOL?

Have you ever been to Blackpool – Britain’s version of Las Vegas – OMG!

There are loads of things to do on the Blackpool beach starting with:

  1. Go to the sea: There’s nothing better than a day out to the seaside anywhere in the United Kingdom!
  2. Take a stroll on the beach: Believe it or not, Blackpool is one of the best beach resorts in the UK and is considered at par with beaches in the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific coastline! It’s not going to be spicy hot as it isn’t Thailand or the Philippines, but the English seaside is crisp and fresh, you can run along the beach, and it’s absolutely free of charge!
  3. Have ice-cream: You can’t go to the seaside without availing yourself of a lovely 99 flake ice-cream whippy!
  4. Experience Blackpool Illuminations: The Blackpool Illuminations are world-famous and has been one of the UK’s greatest visitor attractions since 1879! It’s such a unique event that it brings in more than 3 million visitors every year! It’s a family seafront show of miles of traditional garlands of lights, models, figures, images and extraordinary 3D projection on the front of the Blackpool Tower building, and other buildings around the town. It takes place every night from the end of August until early November, and is free of charge! Is it any wonder that the Blackpool Illumination is known as the greatest free light show on Earth!
  5. Dance in the street: We ended up dancing in the street with strobing lights, a live DJ, embarrassed parents, and kids jumping up and down to disco classics!
  6. Have an exciting day at Blackpool Pleasure Beach: Let your hair down, take off your glasses Ho! Ho! and experience the largest number of roller coasters in the United Kingdom, at Blackpool Pleasure Beach – the most visited amusement park in the UK!
  7. Ramble through the streets and take the air: Although Blackpool became fashionable in the mid-18th century, Blackpool has been around since the Middle Ages when it was just a coastal hamlet, and has quite a number of interesting buildings and monuments!
  8. Go for a walk along Blackpool’s Golden Mile: The “Golden Mile” is the name given to the stretch of promenade between the North and South piers in Blackpool and is 1.6 miles (2.6 kilometres) long in length. It emerged in the late 19th century, when small amusement ride operators, fortune-tellers, and oyster bars set up in the front gardens of boarding houses and dodgy hotels, to take advantage of punters and passing trade, as well as the very high concentration of slot machines!
  9. Amass yourself in local amusement: Blackpool today is a very long stretch of family attractions, theme pubs, fish-and-chip shops, amusement arcades, souvenir stalls, rock (candy) shops, and general seaside knockabout cheer!
  10. Use public transport: Blackpool isn’t just a town for modern jollies, but also has a lot of historical background by use of traditional old-time public transport! It may surprise you, but only three cities in the UK actually have an underground train system – London, Tyne and Wear, and Glasgow!  Most cities tend to use either the overland train, or the buses. A few use the trams! These seven (7) cities are London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Nottingham, Manchester, and Blackpool!
  11. Take the Heritage Tram: The Blackpool Tramway dates back to 1885, runs for 11 miles (18 km), is the only surviving first-generation tramways in the UK, one of the few systems to still use double-deck trams, and one of the oldest electric tramways in the world! Not only that, but tram conductors are still very much in play. Wow!
  12. Go up Blackpool Tower: Inspired by Eiffel Tower in Paris, Blackpool Tower is a popular tourist attraction and opened in 1894! It’s 518 feet (158 metre) tall and is the 120th tallest freestanding tower in the world!
  13. Frighten yourself at the Blackpool Tower Dungeon: The Blackpool Tower Dungeon is one of the must-see signature attractions of the Blackpool resort and a 60 minute journey through 1,000 years of Lancashire’s murky past. We’re huge fans of the Dungeon franchise and have been to many of them in London, Berlin, and Edinburgh, and they’re based in Hamburg and York too!
  14. Stroll along the promenade: Make sure to visit at least one of the piers as Blackpool has three (3) – The Central Pier, the South Pier and the North Pier. All of them are completely free of charge!
  15. Get excited on the Blackpool Big Wheel: You can find it on the Central Pier which opened in 1868! It’s also known as the People’s Pier, since it’s emphasis was on fun and dancing rather than genteel relaxation! There are fairground rides, amusement arcades, roller skating venues, bars, and theatres galore.
  16. Go on the Dodgems: You can find them on the South Pier which opened in 1893! It was known as Victoria Pier, contains a number of amusement and adrenalin rides and is only opened from March to November! It was originally considered more “upmarket” than the North and Central piers, as it had very little “entertainment.” Today however, it has an amusement arcade, live entertainment, and white-knuckle rides.
  17. Take a ride on the Venetian Carousel: The Carousel is almost a quarter of a mile out into the Irish Sea, and is unusual because it’s a two-tier-double-decker! You can find it on the North Pier which was built in the 1860’s and is also the oldest and longest of the three piers! Originally intended only as a genteel promenade, competition forced the pier to widen its attractions to include theatres and bars. Unlike Blackpool’s other piers, which attracted the working classes with open air dancing and amusements, North Pier catered for the upper middle class market, and had orchestra concerts and respectable comedians. Its attractions today include a Fortune Telling palm reader, an ice cream parlour, a theatre, a Victorian tea room, the Carousel, Merrie England bars, live entertainment, an amusement arcade, and a wide promenade deck that is still in its original Victorian 19th century glory!
  18. Visit the Winter Gardens Blackpool: The Winter Gardens Blackpool is a large entertainment complex opened in 1878! It has twelve (12) different venues, including a collection of theatres and ballrooms. The great thing about the building is the Art Deco architecture found everywhere, and the Opera House which is one of the largest theatres in the UK!
  19. Go on a donkey ride: Ha! Ha! You’d think that they no longer exist, but they still do! We saw a few donkeys on the beach taking kids for a ride. Even in October!
  20. Blackpool rock: You haven’t been to Blackpool if you haven’t got yourself some Blackpool rock!
  21. Indulge in fish n’ chips: Where would we be, if you couldn’t indulge in a portion of good ‘ole fish n’ chips? Eaten on the beach! Be careful though as it was so windy, that a quarter of my chips simply blew away!

Book your hotel here!

TAKE ME THERE?

The Tall Young Gentleman taking a very early flight on EasyJet!

Our holiday was half a family visit, and half a mid Autumn / Winter break!

As you all pretty much know by now, I’m a great believer in train travel. However, England is quite far from Germany, so of course, we flew from Berlin to Manchester!

We had planned just fourteen (14) days in the UK because of school commitments, but as I always advocate, be smart, use all the weekends, and make it work!

I’m no longer a fan of budget airlines, but I very much enjoy flying with EasyJet, so I booked our tickets with them. We flew Berlin Schönefeld – Manchester – Berlin Schönefeld, with flights being a speedy 1 hour and 15 minutes!

Being that we booked ahead, return flights for 2 adults and a 15-year-old “child” cost a rather wonderful €89.03!

Effectively, €30.00 each!

In fact, if I remember clearly, one of the flights for The Tall Young Gentleman was just €5.00, and ours was €12.00!

We booked it immediately!

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Blackpool Rock & cheese!

Mind you, the cost of luggage was €20.00 per person on each leg of the journey. It was still worth it though, but we tried to save money by booking only two suitcases instead of three, and on the way back found it very difficult to stuff all the chocolates, biscuits, and other gifts, into our already over-packed luggage. We were close to being charged a penalty of £50.00, but we made it work!

We certainly won’t be stingy with luggage anymore.

Phew!

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The lovely Just So Festival is an annual weekend camping festival that’s actually in Cheshire, but billed as Manchester!

As such, we started from Cheshire where my family live.

We were staying with my brother – The Writer – and took a train into Manchester. We then took another train from Manchester Piccadilly to Blackpool North.

I booked the tickets online and in advance. If you use the website National Rail Enquiries, it would give you the variety of available train options. Britain isn’t known for having cheap transportation, so the trick is to book well in advance!

Our journey took just a little under 2 hours with two (2) sets of trains!

Using the TransPenine Express train!

Cost: Warrington Central or Bank Quay to Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Victoria, Manchester Oxford Road or Manchester Deansgate – on an Anytime Day Single ticket – Adults – £6.20 each. Children (5-15) – £3.10 – Altogether  a lovely £15.50 on the TransPennine Express train.

Cost: Manchester Piccadilly to Blackpool North – Adults – £5.00 each. Children (5-15) – £2.50 – Altogether a fantastic £12.50 on the Northern Railway train!

You could of course take the bus-coach using the National Express or Megabus, but in this case, the trains were surprisingly, by far the cheapest way to travel through the North!

The trains are not as plush or as spacious as those in Germany, but if you book reserved seats, it should give you an element of comfort!

Book your hotel here!

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

Look! We’re all alone in Blackpool ‘cos there’s nobody here!

I didn’t think so!

Blackpool is a very popular British institution, but it’s not your usual destination for international tourists, so it’s still a little bit of a secret, but I’m writing it here.

Right in this here blog, so it’s not going to be a secret for very long.

Hurry up!

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WHAT IS BLACKPOOL LIKE?

British icons Morecombe and Wise, in Blackpool!

I was a little nervous as Blackpool has a reputation of being slightly shabby, tacky, and a little rough on the edges, but luckily, we had nothing to worry about.

Most tourists don’t really understand why Blackpool is so popular, but it’s part of our history and distinct English quirkiness.

We were only there for a night, but we could have quite happily spent another day.

We’ll do that next time!

Book your hotel here!

I DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH VERY WELL.

Everywhere you go are people with huge smiles ready to help you in Blackpool!

Ha! Ha! Ha!

The locals speak with a Lancashire accent.

The type of working class English that you would find in Manchester, the Merseyside, Cumbria, Cheshire and certain parts of Northern England!

But don’t worry.

Everywhere you go are people with huge smiles, ready to help you.

Book your hotel here!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

You’re not ging to live in this abandoned hut, so don’t worry!

Ha! Ha! It’s England. We’re cultured and civilised!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

You might be cheap, but I’m not!

Not. A. Problem!

If you’re ever going to find cheap accommodation in the UK, it’s in Blackpool!

In fact, I saw places going for as low as £16.00 per night!

However, we were definitely not going to be choosing that!

We also didn’t want to go to a bland franchise hotel which would be rather boring, so we chose the middle ground.

A Bed & Breakfast type hotel!

Book your hotel here!

WHERE WE STAYED:

21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming!

After much research, I chose the family-friendly Rockcliffe Hotel.

I made our reservation via booking.com.

Use my link and book your hotel!
Use my link and book your hotel!

In many cases, I prefer to use booking.com because you can make hotel / hostel reservations, and cancel for free, if you’re not sure. Not only do I recommend them, but I use them myself! Note: I’m an affiliate member of booking.com. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

Sweets & Fudge at the North Pier – Blackpool
© 2017 The Blackpool Pier Company Ltd

After our holiday in Madrid last year, we decided to always get an extra room, or an apartment, so that our teenager doesn’t have to share personal space with his parents!

The Rockcliffe Hotel isn’t your fancy boutique hotel, but neither is it a spartan bunk-bed affair. It is what it says on the tin “a three-star hotel property 2 minutes walk from the beach!”

A Full English Breakfast at the Rockcliffe Hotel, in Blackpool

We booked two private en-suites rooms, with English breakfast included.

There was free WiFi but it didn’t always work on the top floor and was a little spotty, so you had to move around a bit to get into position.

However, The Tall Young Gentleman loved his room and our bedroom, was right opposite the sea, which I liked very much.

Cost: For the Third Floor Double Room with Sea View. With breakfast – £60 per room or £30 a pop!

Cost: For the Single Room (with a double bed). With breakfast – £45 per room!

You really can’t get better than that!

Book the Rockcliffe Hotel here!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

How to use the tram in Blackpool!

Blackpool is quite small and compact so that everywhere is walkable.

You could also use the trams, take a bus, hire a carriage, go horse-riding, or take a ride on a donkey!

The English Electric Built Balloon Car Heritage Tram in Blackpool

I recommend the trams as the trams are just so cute, and you actually get to meet and chat with the tram conductor, which in many cities, no longer exist!

We bought a 24 hour saver family ticket that could be used on both the trams or the buses, but not the heritage trams, for just £11.00. Note: It’s valid for 1 adult & up to 4 children, or 2 adults & up to 3 children. A bargain!

ANYTHING ELSE?

It rains in the UK!

Oh yeah.

It’s Britain.

It rains, so be prepared and take a raincoat or get an umbrella from your hotel or B&B!

MY VERDICT:

21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming!
©Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

Blackpool is a seaside destination and great fun for the family.

It might have a dubious reputation, but if you look deep enough, you’ll find that it’s still as attractive and as historical as ever.

I wouldn’t leave Germany just for the chance of an English seaside, but if you’re in the North of England, and looking for a new British city to visit, go visit Blackpool!

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Totally!

Let’s do it!

21 THINGS TO DO ON A BLACKPOOL BEACH ‘COS WINTER IS COMING!

At the beach under the North Pier in Blackpool!

This article isn’t sponsored, and absolutely all opinions, and the great walks and sea experience we had are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

In the Autumn, I’ll be visiting the UK and travelling around the areas of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Derbyshire, Blackpool, Lancashire, Yorkshire, & a secret location!

Yippee!

November is going to be smashing!

Book your Blackpool hotel here, or here!

21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming!
21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming!

Have you ever been to an English beach? Would you go to the seaside in winter? Let me know in the comments below!

 See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

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Summer in Germany – Simply the Best!

HafenCity – Hamburg – Summer in Germany – Simply the Best!

So writing last week’s post was pretty hard as there was a sense of vulnerability that you never usually see.

I’m not one for sharing everything, and I’m not going to start now.

I love the life of the roving journalist and blogger about town.

I might delight in globe-trotting the world and telling you about the disasters that struck me, finding out that my B&B had disappeared, or flying to Korea when I really should have been flying to Qatar, but the privacy of close friends and loved ones, is always kept under wraps.

I might delight in globe-trotting the world and telling you all about it, but the privacy of close friends and loved ones, is always kept under wraps.

Sorry!

I’m still not up to the brilliance that I’m known for, but have no fear, next week, I’ll be back with a bang.

For those of you who contacted me privately, you know who you are. Thanks so much!

In fact, next week’s post will blow you away!

Get ready for a shocking surprise!

Promise!

Book your hotel here!

BMW Munich – Summer in Germany – Simply the Best!

So back to Germany.

Last week, I wrote about the Best Of Berlin!

The title of last week’s post of Best of Berlin – 4 years and counting – might have been slightly misleading as you might have thought that I’d been living in Berlin for four (4) years!

Wrong!

I pledge to travel and to share others how to do so too!
#ExploreMore2017

This blog – The British Berliner – has been in existence for just four (4) years, and not even that, as my first blog post was in late October 2013, and what a post!

I’m still getting comments and hate mail about it, and why is that so?

Well, check it out for yourself and tell me what you think. In fact, why not make your own comment. And the title of said piece – Germany is Boring! 

Oops!

If only people would actually read things…

Ah well!

Book your hotel here!

Living in lovely Prague as an expat, before moving to Berlin!

The fact is, I’ve been living in Germany for over 15 years. Yes, 15 years!

Gulp!

Who would have thought that not only would I be living in this wonderful city – Berlin, but I would be married to a German bloke to boot!

If anyone had told me this years ago, I would have laughed in their face!

“The Music Producer” looking gorgeous in Osnabrück, Germany.

And even though I’m British, and I’ve been living here as an expat for years, it never gets old. In fact, I still feel as if I’ve only just got here!

So is it any wonder that I’ve decided to compile the following posts about Germany?

Yay!

Book your hotel here!

Marvellous news. I’m doing a radio programme with the BBC. And other stuff!

But let me be clear, even though my fellow countrymen decided to opt out of the European Union, I’m still proud to be both British and I’m European and just so you know, I’m not going anywhere so put that out of your mind right now!

If you’re thinking of spending the summer in Germany, don’t hesitate!

Where better, than to spend the summer travelling through one of the world’s best continents – that’s right Europe!

If you want to read about ALL the countries that I’ve visited in the last four (4) years, then just click here!

Oh, the summer!

So without further ado, read on!

SUMMER IN GERMANY – SIMPLY THE BEST!

Rothenburg ob der Tauber – Bavaria – Summer in Germany – Simply the Best!
Take me to the Baltic Sea in Geeeeermany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
Beer for everyone in Germany ‘cos the drinks are on meeeee!
Savoury German food such as roast duck, home-made dumplings, red cabbage, and gravy dripping!
Oh my!
The Bundesrat – the German Federal Council – Summer in Germany – Simply the Best!

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

Book your hotel here!

SUMMER IN GERMANY – SIMPLY THE BEST!

Summer in Germany – Simply the Best!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my absolute own!

I’ll be spending the summer in Germany!

I’ll be here. Will you?

Summer in Germany – Simply the Best!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Summer in Germany – Simply the Best!

What are your plans for the summer? Have you ever been to Germany? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this article, share it!

My third huge FAM / Press Trip to the Philippines – How to work with #TBEX, and how to do it right!

Victoria Ade-Genschow - The British Berliner (me) in the Philippines. But could this be a James Bond moment! ©Scott Herder - BoboandChiChi.com
Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner (me) in the Philippines. But could this be a James Bond moment!
©Scott Herder – BoboandChiChi.com

I’m back in Europe you guys!

It’s a little sad ‘cos Asia is one of my favourite continents, but still, it’s good to be back home.

I’ve just returned from that most exotic of continents – Asia – and to a region unfamiliar to travellers and visitors – the Philippines!

BUT WHAT WAS I DOING IN THE PHILIPPINES OF ALL PLACES?

Remember when I told you that I had astonishing news! Well, that astonishing news was the introduction of my journey to the Philippines for the very first time.

As you know, I had originally planned to go to the European conference in Sweden, but a window opened up. That window was the fact that I’m taking up a new job!

Yep!

I'll soon be working for Logo Sprachenschule!
I’ll soon be working for Logo Sprachenschule!

Now you all know that I work for a British / American company as a corporate trainer, but from November 2016, I’ll be working for a German company as the Vice-School Principal. And get this.

I’ll be responsible for their English-speaking business and their Social Media Management too!

It’s a small business and will be focused on international languages. The company is called LOGO Sprachenschule, and is based in my gentrified hipster neighbourhood of Prenzlauerberg. In the best place in the world – Berlin!

As usual, I’m an advocate for smart travelling, so I’m not quitting either my travels or my job anytime soon, thanks very much!

My family & I in Thailand - All smiles and bunny ears at the end of a great day at Baanchang Elephant Park.
My family & I in Thailand – All smiles and bunny ears at the end of a great day at Baanchang Elephant Park.

I didn’t go to the conference in Sweden, so I decided to go to the TBEX Asia-Pacific 2016 conference in the Philippines instead!

WHAT IS TBEX ALL ABOUT?

Me at TBEX - Travel Blog Exchange Asia Pacific 2016 - The future of travel Media!
Me at TBEX – Travel Blog Exchange Asia-Pacific 2016 – The future of travel Media

Well, TBEX is the holy grail of the travel blogging world and stands for Travel Blog Exchange.

It’s the world’s largest conference and networking event for travel bloggers, writers, online travel journalists, new media content creators, travel brands and social-media-savvy travel industry professionals. There are three (3) conferences held annually in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, attracting 600-1000 delegates from all over the world!

At the Travel Massive Party with Filipino bloggers, in Manila! ©Kenneth Ephraim Surat
At the Travel Massive Party with Filipino bloggers, in Manila!
©Kenneth Ephraim Surat

It’s also a medium for the creative minds of the travel industry to come together, to network, to learn, to negotiate with the travel industry, and for those who are so inclined, to take the business of blogging to the next level.

How exciting!

Last year, I went to the TBEX conference for the very first time.

And it was a disaster!

The headless main in Barcelona, Spain.
Look. No head! In Spain!!

But this year. It was marvellous!

Every year, TBEX partners with fantastic destinations so that bloggers and media people get the opportunity to meet potential business partners or sponsors, meet influential bloggers, get new strategies and tips, network with each other, discover new destinations, share a new experience and well, be entertained and paaaaaaaarty like it’s 1999!

And party we did!

At the TBEX Asia Pacfic Oktoberfest Farewell Party, with local Filipinos!
At the TBEX Asia-Pacific Oktoberfest Farewell Party, with local Filipinos!

Most importantly, TBEX affords participants the opportunity to experience the destination hosted by the country itself!

You see, going to TBEX doesn’t only mean the conference weekend but actually a few days of serious jollification and pre-tours before the conference, and a week of a bit of a jolly, after the conference! In fact, even though the conference officially took place from October 13th – October 16th, many people arrived early, and some people are still in the Philippines NOW – Living the life of Riley!

Last year, I wished it had been me.

And this year it was!

TBEX 2016 Asia Pacific
TBEX 2016 Asia-Pacific “The Visayan Charms” – Cebu/Bohol – Familiarization (FAM) Tour in the Philippines

Yes, your favourite blogger – The British Berliner – was invited to participate in the TBEX 2016 Asia-Pacific – The Visayan Charms – Cebu/Bohol – Familiarization (FAM) Tour in the Philippines.

I was ecstatic!

Me!

Out of hundreds of other bloggers!

Whoop! Whoop!

WHAT IS A PRESS OR FAM TRIP?

The 50 Shades of Tan Girls - Visayan Charms - Megan Indoe, Victoria Ade-Genschow, Charlotte Anne de Peralta & Ruchika Shankar! ©Trixie Lago - the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines
The 50 Shades of Tan Girls – Visayan Charms – Megan Indoe, Victoria Ade-Genschow, Charlotte Anne de Peralta & Ruchika Shankar!
©Trixie Lago – the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines

A PRESS TRIP is normally described as a visit to a destination, country, city, hotel, venue etc, organised for media groups. It usually introduces and presents the best bits of a particular itinerary and is usually for a small group of journalists or bloggers, or an organised private trip. Although a press trip could be for a few hours, it usually refers to a trip of a few days.

A familiarization trip, or FAM TRIP as it is better known, is similar to a press trip however, it usually includes a visit to a number of sights, venues, activities, accommodations, or restaurant spots, in one area or region. It is typically organised for travel industry professionals, to give them a better understanding of the regions and products they are trying to sell to their clients. Lots of different activities are included so that as much as possible can be experienced. Sometimes journalists might attend a FAM TRIP too.

The cost is covered except for personal spending and tips. That usually means no shopping. Awwww!
The cost is covered except for personal spending and tips. That usually means no shopping.
Awwww!

In both instances your costs will usually be covered, though this will vary depending on the organiser.

In this case, I made my own way to the Philippines and paid for the conference fee and my own hotel costs while at the TBEX conference (4 days) in Manila, which was where our FAM trip week was to start.

Once the FAM trip started, we didn’t have to pay for a single thing!

Of course, if you suddenly fancied a spot of your finest whisky monsieur. That was a hefty bill, and all on you!

HOW DID I GET INVITED?

I absolutely love walking! ©Pascale Scerbo Sarro
I absolutely love walking!
©Pascale Scerbo Sarro

Well, my big break came just five (5) months after I started writing as a blogger. And to be quite frank, I have been extremely lucky to be at the right place, at the right time. In 2014, I happened to be at the Sony Centre in Berlin where I got chatting to a PR person who promised to put me on the guest list of the Berlin Music Video Awards. She did, and even though, I never saw her again, my pro-active activity coupled with an outgoing personality, and a genuine interest to get involved, opened the door to being invited into the VIP section, a glimpse into the media world, and a whole host of people who had a friendly eye, and were willing to help me in my quest for knowledge and information.

Press documentation for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - Autumn/Winter 2016.
Press documentation for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week – Autumn/Winter 2016.

A press card and a TV documentary about me came about because of the simple matter that when I undergo to write a piece, I make a thorough job of it.

People really like my personality, so I’ve often been an invited guest of city-destinations in which trips have been organised and customised to my own personal requirements. This is the best type of press trip to have, so I consider myself extremely lucky and very honoured.

However, I’ve only ever been on a group FAM trip once before, and that FAM trip was to France!

You can imagine my  anxiety ‘cos I was the only British person there, and the only blogger!

It's embarrassing. I had no idea who I would be meeting, I just knew that I would be going to France!
It’s embarrassing. I had no idea who I would be meeting, I just knew that I would be going to France!

This was only slightly different ‘cos not only was I the only British person in my group, I was the lone European too!

WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO BE DOING ON THE VISAYAN CHARMS FAM TRIP?

The Visayan Charms of the local Filipino people!
The Visayan Charms of the local Filipino people!

The point of this FAM trip was to introduce the region as not only an interesting place to visit, but a historical cultural one too. A destination that would hit all the right spots for someone like me. And ultimately, someone like you!

This FAM trip was a five (5) day exploration starting from Sunday night and finishing mid-Friday evening.

I didn’t have any information as to who was going to be there and what type of bloggers would be attending.

You tend to get a little anxious that you’re going to be too shy, people aren’t going to like you, you’re not going to like them, you end up being that blogger, or that you’re going to be completely out of your depth and thus, comfort zone.

Yes, I know.

Silly isn’t it, but there you have it!

I knew only one person - Nathan Aguilera! ©Ajay Sood - Travelure (a.k.a. Ajay Sood)
I knew only one person – Nathan Aguilera! ©Ajay Sood – Travelure (a.k.a. Ajay Sood)

As I said earlier, I didn’t know who would be there except for one person – a crazy young American foodie blogger called Nathan Aguilera – Foodie Flashpacker.

We met on the TBEX Facebook Group page, and ended up in the same conference hotel – The Golden Phoenix.

I was so relieved to see him, and hung out with him quite a bit. I hope I didn’t stalk him too much but I don’t think so, as I ended up giving him my hotel room for free!

WERE WE GIVEN ANY DETAILS AT ALL?

Press Trip!
Press Trip!

Yep!

The Host was the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines. They were highly organised and thoroughly fantastic.

I’ve been on a FAM trip with the Germans. I should know!

On this FAM trip we were expected to be doing the following:

THE VISAYAN CHARMS

The Visayan Charms of the local Filipino people!
The Visayan Charms of the local Filipino people!

NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 10

DEPARTURE: October 17th

RETURN: October 21st

A DESCRIPTION:

The Tarsier - the sallest monkey in the world!
The Tarsier – the smallest monkey in the world!

Cruise the river of Loboc, view the mountain trails of kisses of the Philippines known as the Chocolate Hills and do a selfie with a tarsier. Explore Bohol’s eastern side with the island’s long stretches of white sand beaches and pristine waters. Discover Lamanoc Island known for its mysticism.

Have a taste of “lechon – the best (roast) pig ever” according to Anthony Bourdain. Walk along the streets of Colon, the oldest street in the Philippines. Explore the city’s rich past with a visit to its historical landmarks such as the Magellan’s Cross, Basilica de Santo Nino, one of the country’s oldest relics. As a major trading port and site for some of the nation’s fastest-growing industries, it reinforces its multiculturalism with progression. This heady mix of urban vibes and casual provincial airs makes it a favorite destination of those seeking a showcase of the harmonious co-existence of history, culture and modernity.

ATTIRE: Light casual clothes with comfortable sandals for walking and beachwear
THEME: Nature and Culture
DESTINATION: Central Visayas Region – Cebu and Bohol

Just me and my horse in Manila!
Just me and my horse in Manila!

TOUR PROGRAMME:

DAY 1

Leave the humdrum of city life in Manila behind!
Leave the humdrum of city life in Manila behind!
  • Depart Manila
  • Arrive Tagbilaran Airport
  • Proceed to Bohol Countryside Tour
  • Loboc River Cruise with lunch
  • Drive to Carmen to see the Chocolate Hills
  • En-route, stop at the Butterfly Sanctuary
  • Arrival in Chocolate Hills view deck
  • Depart view deck then drive to resort
  • Check-in at Amorita Resort
  • Dinner

DAY 2

  • Breakfast at the resort
  • Proceed to Balicasag Island using an outrigger boat
  • Arrival at the island for some snorkelling and leisure time on the beach
  • Picnic-style lunch in Balicasag Resort
  • Depart island and return to the resort
  • Back to hotel / freshen up / Free Time
  • Arrive in South Palms Resort for cocktails
  • Dinner at South Palms
  • Back to Amorita Resort

DAY 3

Have breakfast at the Resort. And sushi!
Have breakfast at the Resort. And sushi!
  • Breakfast at the Resort
  • Check out
  • Transfer to the seaport
  • Ferry: Depart Tagbilaran to Cebu
  • Arrival in Cebu
  • Lunch at Circa 1900 featuring Cebu’s famous lechon
  • Proceed to Mactan Island Tour
  • Proceed to Shangri-La Mactan / Check-In
  • Free time
  • Dinner at Cowrie Cove

DAY 4

  • Breakfast at the Hotel
  • Proceed to Island Adventure
  • Lunch at Cow-Oy
  • Back to hotel / freshen up / Free Time
  • Scheduled Spa & Massage for the group
  • Dinner

DAY 5

Flying is safe in the Philippines so proceed to the airport! Scott Herder & Megan Indoe - ©Victoria Ade-Genschow - The British Berliner
Flying is safe in the Philippines so proceed to the airport!
Scott Herder & Megan Indoe – ©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner
  • Breakfast
  • Free time / Check resort programmed activities
  • Check out
  • Proceed to Mactan City
  • Lunch
  • Proceed to Airport
  • Depart Cebu
  • Arrive Manila

HOW WAS IT?

Team Visayan Charms - It's more fun in the Philippines! ©Trixie Lago - the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines
Team Visayan Charms – It’s more fun in the Philippines!
©Trixie Lago – the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines

It was a pretty packed programme, but awesome!

As I write this, it’s October 30th, and so much has happened since then.

Due to the very hot weather, the over-indulgence of wonderful food, a few sneaky gulps of whisky, and the intensity of foreign travel in a developing country, I ended up with the trots!

For the non-British people among you, I mean Delhi-belly.

Still don’t get it?

Diarrhea!

It had to happen.

It had to happen. I ended up with the trots: aka diarrhea!
It had to happen. I ended up with the trots: aka diarrhea!

Thankfully, our FAM trip had already ended when I was struck down.

And luckily, I was in the nice Belmont Hotel when it happened too!

Otherwise, it could have been rather.

Akward!

ANY TIPS GOING ON A FAM TRIP FOR THE FIRST TIME?

Arriving at Nalusuan Island in Cebu with Jonathan Espiña, Ajay Sood, Victoria Ade-Genschow (me) & Ruchika Shankar! ©Jonathan Espiña - Jon to the World
Arriving at Nalusuan Island in Cebu with Jonathan Espiña, Ajay Sood, Victoria Ade-Genschow (me) & Ruchika Shankar!
©Jonathan Espiña – Jon to the World
  • Leave plenty of time for trips, tours and meet-ups both before, and after the conference
  • You don’t have to have a huge following to be accepted onto a FAM trip
  • Improve your photography
  • Have great content
  • Educate yourself and if you don’t know, ask your fellow invites
  • Networking is key to putting a face to a name in the blogging / press community
  • Take your business cards
  • Try to get some sleep
  • Get comfy but smarten yourself up, if the venue demands it
  • Be punctual
  • Stay professional
  • Don’t whinge
  • Follow the programme
  • Be a team-player
  • Keep smiling
  • Don’t be afraid to get into the sea.
  • Don’t be stupid either
  • Be yourself
  • Write about your FAM trip and send it to the host or organiser
  • Thank the host or organiser
  • Have a great time

VERDICT?

Nobody got bitten / attacked by strange creatures of the sea in the Philippines!
Nobody got bitten / attacked by strange creatures of the sea in the Philippines!

The staff of the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines (Maria Gracia, Grace, Mary Ann, Trixie and Zyrah), were warm, welcoming, funny, and professional. They made sure that we were well-looked after, nobody got lost or forgot anything (except for me. I lost my MAC lipstick)! Nobody got bitten / attacked by strange creatures of the sea, and nobody got left behind or ostracised.

In fact, we all got on extremely well!

There were huge moments of laughter, hugging, leaping, jumping, screaming, but most importantly, lots of smiling, laughing, and learning from each other.

On quite a few nights, there were some on-the-spot-learning workshops, the sharing of tips, links, talents, and skills, and the promise of future collaboration / partnership.

In fact, I might even have got myself a new employee for my brand – The British Berliner – and once it’s all confirmed, I’ll let you know who it is, and why!

ANYTHING ELSE?

Team Visayan Charms on the way to Balicasag Island using an outrigger boat. ©Trixie Lago - the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines
Team Visayan Charms on the way to Balicasag Island using an outrigger boat.
©Trixie Lago – the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines

Yep!

We were a small group of just nine (9) bloggers (including myself) from five (5) international countries:

Nathan Aguilera – America

Ruchika Shankar – India

Charlotte Anne de Peralta – Philippines

Ajay Sood – India

Jonathan Espiña – Philippines

Scott Herder – USA

Megan Indoe – USA

Karl-Philip Vallée – Canada

Victoria Ade-Genschow – England / Germany (me)

Our job for that week was to visit and see the region for ourselves and hopefully, discover the many interests and joys of Manila, Bohol and Cebu, so that other travellers and visitors are encouraged to come and visit themselves.

And we did!

Thanks guys!

MY THIRD HUGE FAM / PRESS TRIP TO THE PHILIPPINES – HOW TO WORK WITH #TBEX, AND HOW TO DO IT RIGHT!

Delicious slices of Lechon - that tasty famous suckling pig!
Delicious slices of Lechon – that tasty famous suckling pig!

This article is not sponsored and even though I was invited on this trip as a guest of the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines and as a member of TBEX, all opinions and the tasty famous suckling pig, and beautiful landscape that I saw, are my very own!

In November, I’ll be travelling to Austria and starting a new job!

Save the Date!

October is going to be out of this world!

Watch this space!

My third huge FAM / Press Trip to the Philippines - How to work with #TBEX, and how to do it right!
My third huge FAM / Press Trip to the Philippines – How to work with #TBEX, and how to do it right!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

My third huge FAM Press Trip to the Philippines - How to work with #TBEX, and how to do it right!
My third huge FAM Press Trip to the Philippines – How to work with #TBEX, and how to do it right!

Did you know that the smallest monkey in the world is in the Philippines? Did you ever think a FAM or Press trip would be that intense? Is a suckling pig the type of thing you would have for breakfast? Let me know!

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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