MANILA, Philippines – Floyd Patricio, Esme Escoto and Gab Saplagio of Team Tuklas were named the big winners of the Cebu Pacific Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge Year 3. The UP Diliman Physics majors clinched the top scores in a series of thrilling tasks and adventurous dares, besting four other university teams from across the Philippines.
This year, for the first time ever, Cebu Pacific brought the Juan for Fun teams to an international adventure, as the challenged kicked off in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The nine-day, six-city adventure continued in Bacolod, Cebu, Camiguin, Cagayan de Oro and culminated in Manila.
During the course of the challenge, the teams were tasked to accomplish the most number of fun and exciting activities in each destination, maximizing their travel allowance of 800 Malaysian Ringgit and P35,000. To fully experience the fun of budget travel, they were given the freedom to plan their activities. Special fun challenges prepared by the Department of Tourism and Tourism Malaysia also gave teams the chance to earn extra points and additional prizes.
Making this year’s challenge even more remarkable were the Adventure Coaches, noted personalities known for their love for travelling, who were assigned to mentor each team before they headed to their destination. During the course of the challenge, sportsman and TV host Paolo Abrera, champion surfer Luke Landrigan, Internet funnyman Bogart the Explorer, renowned travel writer Jude Bacalso, and volleyball star Gretchen Ho offered tips and cheered for their respective teams through social media.
For their win, Team Tuklas received 12 Cebu Pacific roundtrip tickets to any international or domestic destination. Each team member also brought home a Vaude Sapporo carry-on trolley, Vaude Hogan Ultra-Light Tent, and Canon Powershot SX510HS camera.
Floyd of Team Tuklas shared that they discovered a stronger passion for adventure during the Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge. “To be honest, before we joined the challenge, we hadn’t traveled that much. It was actually our first time in Malaysia, Camiguin and the other challenge destinations,” he shared. “Our Juan for Fun experience showed us that there are a lot of beautiful places that are just waiting to be explored, and that’s exactly what we plan to do in the future.”
Team Tuklas adventure coach Paolo Abrera confessed that he was also worried for his team in the beginning. “At first, I wondered if they were up to the challenge, but I realized quickly that I didn’t have to be worried,” Paolo shared. “As it turned out, their ‘lack of experience’ was actually an advantage because they had this great eagerness. They were very open, very enthusiastic to try and discover new things. And since they started out on almost a clean slate, they were not afraid to think out of the box. I’m very proud of them,” he added.
Floyd also shared that careful research and planning helped his team clinch the title. “As Physics majors, we were taught to apply logic and critical thinking in everything we do, and that was very helpful to us during the course of the challenge,” he said. “Before we took on a dare in any destination, we considered the budget, the amount of time needed to accomplish the task, and even the distance of the location from our starting point. We were very meticulous.”
The Team Tuklas member also counted their time in Malaysia among the most difficult challenges they had to face. “It was our first time in Kuala Lumpur and as soon as we got there, we were tasked to make our way to the Petronas Towers. It was pretty daunting at first but luckily, the locals and airport staff were very helpful,” Floyd said. “And while we weren’t the first team to reach the towers, it was still an awesome feeling to complete the challenge while connecting with the people of Malaysia.”
Floyd shared that Camiguin was one of the absolute highlights of their trip. “It’s just so beautiful that it totally blew us away,” he said. “It’s a very small island, but it has a lot to offer—from a white sandbar, to hot and cold springs. I can’t wait to go back!”
Because of this once-in-a-lifetime experience, Team Tuklas said they could not wait to visit more scenic sights and make new discoveries. “I want to go to Puerto Princesa and Coron in Palawan,” he shared. “And we’re not the only ones who got inspired to travel more. As early as now, our schoolmates are preparing audition videos because they want to join the challenge next year.”
The Cebu Pacific Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge 2014 is co-presented by Jack ‘n Jill Magic Crackers, with the support of Vaude, Merrell, Canon and the Department of Tourism, and the endorsement of the Commission on Higher Education.
To revisit the teams’ adventures, go to www.juanforfun.com or check out Cebu Pacific Air’s official Facebook and Twitter (@cebupacificair) pages.