Teamwork, budgeting skills led Dumaguete trio to Cebu Pacific backpacking challenge win

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Silliman University students Sesinando “Sesi” Quilao, Jr., Patrik Norouzi and So Myeong Lee of Team Crimson were hailed as champions in the just concluded Cebu Pacific Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge Year 2.

Juan for Fun Big Winners. Team Crimson’s Sesi Quilao, Patrik Norouzi and So Myeong Lee receive their prizes from DOT Regional Director Art Boncato and Cebu Pacific Vice President for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog.
Juan for Fun Big Winners. Team Crimson’s Sesi Quilao, Patrik Norouzi and So Myeong Lee receive their prizes from DOT Regional Director Art Boncato and Cebu Pacific Vice President for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog

The week-long challenge brought five teams of three students each on the ultimate backpacking trip across the country. The Philippines’ leading low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific flew them to Manila, Kalibo, Dipolog, Palawan, Davao, and Cebu to experience daring and colorful adventures.

For their win, Team Crimson received 12 Cebu Pacific roundtrip tickets to any international or domestic destination plus a 3D/2N Philippine tour package for three, courtesy of the Department of Tourism. Each team member also won Canon point and shoot cameras, Samsung Galaxy tablets, Wenger watches, and Sun Cellular pocket Wi-Fi and broadband wireless kits.

The Juan for Fun challenge was to accomplish the most number of enjoyable activities in each destination, while spending the least amount of money.   Armed with a team travel allowance of PHP35,000, they were given the freedom to plan their trip to fully experience the pleasure of budget travel. Special amusing challenges prepared by the Department of Tourism in each destination also gave teams the chance to win additional prizes.

For Team Crimson, joining the Cebu Pacific Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge allowed them to enjoy unforgettable adventures as well as meet new friends
For Team Crimson, joining the Cebu Pacific Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge allowed them to enjoy unforgettable adventures as well as meet new friends

Sesi, Patrik and Myeong bagged the grand prize with over 100 fun activities and approximately PHP20,000 in savings.

The value of teamwork

Despite their diverse backgrounds—Sesi is Filipino, Patrik is Iranian while Myeong is South Korean—the three were united by their common love for travel and adventure. Apart from studying in Silliman University, they also perform together in the same church band.

“When I learned about the Cebu Pacific Juan for Fun challenge, the first people who came to my mind were Patrik and Myeong,” said 23-year-old Sesi, who is taking up Education. “I thought it would be interesting to see how our differences would affect our performance.”

“As some people would say, if you want to get to know someone, travel with them,” shared Patrik, a 21-year-old Biology student. “We’ve been friends for a couple of years now, but the Juan for Fun challenge was our first time to spend that much time with each other and travel together.

While they found it difficult at first, the team quickly learned how to work out their differences. They divided their tasks, taking note of each other’s strengths. Patrik was assigned to take care of haggling for good bargains and documenting their activities. Myeong, a 21-year-old Education student, took on the job of handling and managing their money, while Sesi was in charge of researching and planning their trip.

“There were disagreements, but we immediately realized that we all wanted to win and to have fun. We should be united as a team,” said Sesi.

It’s more fun in the Philippines

For Patrik, Sesi and Myeong, the Juan for Fun Challenge was a good opportunity to experience the country’s scenic sights and adrenaline-pumping adventures. They made sure to maximize their trips well, waking up as early as 5am to have more time for more activities. “We also tried to watch the sunrise and sunset in each province to make our trip there more memorable,” said Sesi.

The three had fun in all six locations, but look back on their adventures in Kalibo, Davao and Palawan with fondness. During the Kalibo leg of the challenge, they did a side trip to Boracay and tried jet-skiing for the first time. “We haggled and just paid PHP1,500 for 30 minutes. We didn’t want to spend that much so we just took turns, but we really loved it!” he added.

“Going to the Puerto Princesa Underground River was also very memorable for all of us, especially since it’s one of the seven natural wonders of the world. That was something I really looked forward to and enjoyed the most,” recounted Patrik.

They also enjoyed a lot of adventures in Davao, despite the limited time they had there. They were able to visit Samal Island, Maxima Aqua Fun Resort and the Crocodile Farm, among other sites. They also traveled by habal-habal, a modified motorcycle with an extended seat, and had crocodile sisig there.

“We really had a great time! Because of the Cebu Pacific Juan for Fun Challenge, we learned that budget travel really is possible, that you can see a lot of places and go on many adventures without spending much,” Sesi said. Patrik agreed, adding “The Philippines is very beautiful. It’s really true when they say that it’s more fun here.”

The Cebu Pacific Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge 2013 was co-presented by Sun Broadband Wireless and the Department of Tourism, with the support of Canon Digital EOS, Botak, Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan, and Wenger.

To revisit the teams’ adventures, go to www.juanforfun.com or check out Cebu Pacific Air’s official Facebook and Twitter (@cebupacificair) pages.

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