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I was born and raised in the Philippines but is currently an expat in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I have also been to China and Japan for Work. I did not quit my job to travel the world, my job is what enables me to travel. I have a Stormtrooper alter ego on Instagram @troopertravelsph. Ask Me Anything!

noelcabacungan
Dec 6, 2017

My first trip outside the Philippines was in Japan, in 2004, the company I was working at sent me for a two-month business trip to Japan. On weekends, I traveled around Tokyo.

From 2006 to 2009, I was formally employed in Kunshan, China. It's about an hour's distant from Shanghai by car. On long holidays, I visited several places including the West Lake in Hangzhou, Fujian province. It's my favorite place in China up to date.

Since 2011 to present, I am working for a manufacturing company in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. My most unexpected travel experience was when I went down south to an almost tropical paradise in the city of Abha, Asir province.

When this AMA goes live, I'm currently gallivanting for who knows until when in my favorite city in the world - Tokyo.

Do visit my travel blog for all my travel narratives. You may also find my Stormtrooper alter ego on Instagram @troopertravelsph

Ask me anything!

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Conversation (39)

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How much do you usually spend travelling? What is your budget?

Dec 8, 8:17PM EST0

Have you been earning from your travel blog?

Dec 6, 12:50PM EST0

I actually don’t. But I got a regular writing gig to another publication through my blog. 

Dec 6, 6:49PM EST0

What is the most interesting about japaneese culture and lifestyle in your opinion? How does japanese culture differ from european culture?

Dec 6, 11:44AM EST0

I am not very familiar with European culture so I could not make a comparison. One stark quality among the Japanese that stand out is their behavior in public, they are so well behaved and do not hold any air of self-entitlement. They follow street signs, not crossing the street on red signals even if there is no one else around. In offices, I noticed that women, though of same rank, do morning routines such as dustins tables. I am not sure why that is so. Also, they really tend to not response negatively to avoid offending anyone and cause further disagreement. 

Dec 6, 7:57PM EST0

Where do you like to visit whenever you will be vacationing solo?

Dec 6, 9:35AM EST0

When traveling solo, I like visiting small towns where walking is possible. Like when I visited Abha in Saudi Arabia and Kawagoe in Japan. I think there are many sites in Japan where you could visit in a day just by walking. 

Dec 6, 9:47AM EST0

Do you add to your blog all your travel chronicles for every adventure?

Dec 6, 9:03AM EST0

Most, but not all. I still had to write about my recent trips to Zambales in the Philippines but I can’t find a way to write about the place. Though most of the details are written on my oldschool notebook so I won’t forget about the place either. 

Dec 6, 9:49AM EST0

Who is your usual travel companion? Why?

Dec 5, 11:51PM EST0

Being an expat, my only choice for travel companions are my colleagues. Though there are times I travel solo when they don’t to go to places I wanted to go to.

Dec 6, 7:08AM EST0

Who covers the costs for all of your travels?

Dec 5, 6:47AM EST0

If not work-related, I shoulder all my travel expenses. 

Dec 6, 7:06AM EST0

Per your preference, where is the worst place to live?

Dec 4, 7:02AM EST0

There are no bad places, only bad people.

Dec 6, 7:05AM EST0

What is exciting about maintaining a blog site?

Dec 4, 5:10AM EST0

Your blog is like your memoir online. Sometimes, I tend to forget the small details of my travels as time passes but my blog posts usually remind me of those. Also, having someone reading your experiences adds to the fun of writing. I think we all wanted some validation at point or another :)

Dec 6, 7:04AM EST0

In total, how many years have you spent in your home country?

Dec 4, 1:53AM EST0

I’ve only been outside my home country for ten years :)

Dec 6, 6:58AM EST0

If the time will come for you to settle for good, where would like to retire?

Dec 4, 12:21AM EST0

I have no idea yet, but if there’s a place where the temperature won’t go beyond 15-20 degree celcius yearround, at least 10mbps internet speed, low pollution, easy access to great food, I’ll consider retiring there. 

Dec 6, 6:57AM EST0

If you have to choose, which is the most beautiful country?

Dec 3, 7:01PM EST0

Of all the countries I’ve visited, China is one of the most beautiful. 

Dec 6, 6:54AM EST0

How often do you come home to the Philippines?

Dec 3, 12:13AM EST0

I usually go back home for vacation once or twice a year. Usually up to 45 days each. 

Dec 6, 6:52AM EST0

On average, how long do you spend per country?

Dec 1, 9:19PM EST0

My shortest stay in a foreign country was three days, that was in UAE for a short business trip.

Dec 6, 6:51AM EST0

How is your experience working in China when you are a foreigner?

Dec 1, 12:26PM EST0

Most Asians usually look similar so unless I started talking, people would barely recognize me as a foreigner. But once they do, they’re be endless stares. Work within the company is great, outside is an entirely different jungle. 

Dec 6, 6:48AM EST0

What has been the most unforgettable moment for you?

Dec 1, 8:54AM EST0

My first international flight to Tokyo. My childhood was made-up mostly of Japanese manga and anime and being actually in Japan was completely nostalgic. 

Dec 6, 6:45AM EST0

Not many are blest with the job and passion fused into one opportunity. What is your current job that allowed you to explore the world?

Dec 1, 12:56AM EST0

It’s not actually my job that’s taking me to different places, just having a job allows you to save for your travels.

On the other hand, being an expat takes you to one international destination and from there, some other popular tourist destinations are just a few hours distance.

By the way, I’m a quality assurance engineer for a manufacturing company at present. There are times I got to travel around Saudi Arabia when unexpected issues happen in the field. 

Dec 6, 6:42AM EST0

What is paradise for you? Beach or countryside?

Nov 30, 5:22PM EST0

Beach, definitely. 

Dec 6, 6:38AM EST0

Do you also try to sync with the traditions and practices of every place you visit?

Nov 30, 11:48AM EST0

I believe cultural immersion is inevitable especially if you’re staying in a country for more than a year. You don’t have to do what they do but you must understand what they’re doing so you could handle yourself accordingly. 

Dec 6, 6:37AM EST0

How many countries you've visited in all? How many more of them do you plan to visit in the future?

Nov 28, 8:13PM EST0

Without counting the layover, I’ve only been to the Philippines (my home country), Japan, China, and UAE. I don’t have many countries in my list to visit but I’d really love to see Czech Republic and Turkey.

Dec 6, 6:36AM EST0
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