Featured Traveler: Philipp Dukatz of Escapology.eu

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Philipp started his blog Escapology.eu in late 2012 while preparing for his year-long trip all across Southeast Asia. He basically launched it as a means to keep friends and family up to date and share his experiences and pictures with them. Things took off pretty quickly and he was able to build an international audience. That is a great motivation and receiving positive feedback from readers keeps him going. Apart from that, he believes that blogging is a great channel for his creativity. Writing and photography are two of his main passions.

Cliff Jumping in Siquijor
Cliff Jumping in Siquijor

Tell me something about yourself:)

Where to start? I obviously love traveling and I quit my safe and well paid corporate job to travel Southeast Asia for a whole year. It was a tough decision but looking back it now, it was the best thing to do at that time. The only regret I have is that I didn’t do it earlier. In the course of my journey, I traveled 3 months across Pinas which was the absolute highlight of my trip. I fell in love with your country and I will for sure have to come back. Oh, and my Filipino nickname is Pipoy.

Diving in Bunaken, Sulawesi - Indonesia
Diving in Bunaken, Sulawesi – Indonesia

When did you start traveling, inspirations?

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That’s hard to say. I think I was infected with the travel bug at a young age. I remember traveling with my parents during summer holidays. We often went to the French coast and I loved it. Every time we arrived back home, passing the city limits, I felt really depressed and already missed being on the road. I then spent a year as an exchange student in the US. Living with the a host family, all by myself in a totally new environment showed me that I can cope with situations like that and that is actually exciting. I think from then on it just took off.

Exploring Thailand's far North by motorbike
Exploring Thailand’s far North by motorbike

Lessons you learned on the road?

Too many. I learned to be humble and thankful for the things I have. You know, when you travel Southeast Asia you see a lot of poverty and very modest lifestyles. But people seem to be still content with it and actually happy. Here in Europe people have everything and even more and they are still unhappy…at least a lot of them. That’s something I always try to remember when I feel down or unhappy with the world.

Friendly village kids somewhere around Batad - The Philippines
Friendly village kids somewhere around Batad – The Philippines

Destinations on your Bucket List?

Again, way too many. But for now I would like stick to Asia. I would like to see Mongolia, Bhutan, certain parts of India, Tibet and parts of China. And of course, I want to come back to Pinas since there is so much more to see and do for me.

Middle of Nowhere in Northern Vietnam
Middle of Nowhere in Northern Vietnam

Beach or Mountain?

A good mix is the essence of traveling. I can’t just chill at the beach because I will get bored. I need to change it up a lot. I definitely enjoy all sorts of water related activities like diving, surfing, swimming and cliff diving. But I also love good hikes, treks and the rush of standing on the peak of a high mountain or volcano.

On top of Mt. Bulusan
On top of Mt. Bulusan

How often do you travel by air / land?

I usually prefer overland travel. First of all it is cheaper than flying. But then it is also more authentic. You will meet and get in touch with locals and also see more of the landscape you are traveling through. It usually makes for the better experience, even if it is usually a bit more uncomfortable. When I traveled the Philippines for 3 months, I only took one flight. And that was from Cebu over to Palawan. Everything else was done overland. Buses, Jeepneys, Minivans, Tricys, Bankas, Ferries … you name it.

One of the many waterfalls around the Bolaven Plateau in Laos
One of the many waterfalls around the Bolaven Plateau in Laos

What’s your favorite airport?

Singapore has a great airport. You can definitely kill some time there. They have three gardens (in one of them they have hundreds of butterflies), they have arcade games, free massage chairs and if you a super long overlay, you can sign up for a free city tour. I wish every airport could be like that. Even our German airports suck against Changi International.

Philipp in paradise. El Nido, Palawan
Philipp in paradise. El Nido, Palawan

What is your favorite Hotel?

I actually don’t have a favorite hotel. A hotel or guesthouse or hostel is usually a place to sleep for me. Nothing more and nothing less. I am usually out and about for the whole day anyways. But I did like Smile Society Hostel in Bangkok.

Philipp in Sagada, Mountain Province - The Philippines
Philipp in Sagada, Mountain Province – The Philippines

What is your preferred Airline?

I like flying with Singapore Airline and Thai Airways. Service is usually very good and the food as well. But to be honest, if it’s cheaper and the layover is not too long, then I will fly with any other company.

Serenity on the beach at Sabang, Palawan
Serenity on the beach at Sabang, Palawan

How do you beat jet lag / Motion sickness?

Fortunately I never had a problem with motion sickness and I thank god for it. Jetlag is another story. It can be pretty bad at times. I traveled to Canada this spring and it took me days and when I was back home even weeks to fully shake it off. The jetlag traveling to and from Asia is less harsh in my opinion.

Smoking a tradtional cheeroth cigar in Myanmar
Smoking a tradtional cheeroth cigar in Myanmar

What are your favorite travel gadgets?

Hmm, I like my Under Armour shirts because they dry instantly and never smell. Those are two great assets for a shirt especially when traveling hot and humid areas. And of course, my favorite headlamp. A headlamp is priceless when traveling. Apart from that, I couldn’t travel without my camera and my notebook for blogging and editing pictures.

Surfing a secret break on Catanduanes
Surfing a secret break on Catanduanes

Any Tips on how to travel light?

Yeah, just don’t pack too much. Especially clothes. People always, and that unfortunately includes myself, pack too many clothes. You can really safe weight by reducing it to the minimum. You can always wash or go the laundry.

Tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands,Malaysia
Tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Best Backpack Brand?

I don’t know actually. I have been traveling with my Deuter Cerro Torre system for years now and it is still going. So I guess that is a good brand. I will stick to it as long as it lasts. And then probably by a new one of the exact same kind.

Teaching in small village school somewhere in Myanmar
Teaching in small village school somewhere in Myanmar

Top 3 Philippine Destinations?

I have been traveling the country for three months which makes this question incredibly difficult to answer. But I loved Gubat, which is small town on the shores of Southern Luzon. It’s not a popular tourist spot (yet) but I met great people there and actually made true friends. Apart from that I really liked the island of Camiguin and Palawan.

Wandering a deserted beach around El Nido, Palawan
Wandering a deserted beach around El Nido, Palawan

Things you love about the Philippines?

I love that it offers everything and that is a great resource for true adventures. What every you are after, you can find it in the Philippines. And especially if you are into unique, off the beaten track travel, then Philippines is a top choice. But the main point that made me lose my heart in the Philippines is the Filipino people. They were so welcoming, friendly and their unique type of hospitality is unmatched. People invited me into their homes, offered me food and drinks and allowed me to have an insight in their customs and culture. That was just great and made traveling so much more worthwhile.

Things you hate about the Philippines?

I hate nothing about the Philippines. The only thing I hate, is that I can’t be back there right now.

Wonderful Sunset at Biri Island, Northern Samar
Wonderful Sunset at Biri Island, Northern Samar

What made you decide to visit the Philippines?

I met two Dutch sisters when I was traveling Indonesia some time ago. They had just returned from a backpacking trip across the Philippines and loved it so much. I could never get their lively stories out of my head so I decided to come over and see for myself. All the expectations I had were more than fulfilled I have to say.

Top 3 International Destinations?

The Philippines is way up there. Then Myanmar / Burma and Indonesia.

Favorite Travel Quote :

If you are brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello. Paulo Coelho

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