Hi, my name is Shawi. I am from the Philippines and a native of Vigan, Ilocos Sur. 

For all my life, I was raised in Quezon City but I consider Saudi Arabia and Guadalajara my second homes. Growing up, most of our summers were spent in the Middle East as dad provided his engineering services to a computer company we know as Apple (you're looking at a Mac girl here). Guadalajara was a temporary domicile while I took up a month-long TESL course there.

Vigan is the home of Gabriela Silang (our local Joan of Arc), forerunner of girl power who led the revolution against Spanish colonialism, while Ilocos supplied most of the pineapple plantation laborers being sent off to the Pacific Islands of Hawai'i. Known to most Filipinos but maybe not to the world, Ilocanos carry this amusing trait called "frugality".

girl power + itchy feet + stingy = Cheap Travel for Women

Or is it?

I started traveling solo in 2001 when I attended the Hillsong Conference in Sydney Australia and never looked back since. It was during those early years of travel to India, Australia, Thailand-Burma that I have not yet discovered this technology called blog. Most have been undocumented, save for a few scribbles i wrote in my old-style travel journal. Photos I took from my camera were still in rolls of film and digital was still a thing of the future. 
at the onset of travelling solo

old school journaling

pre-digital days in Australia

Being true to my Ilocano blood, I started traveling on a shoestring and on a whim. 

Food intake was sometimes reduced to two instead of the usual three full meals (or five if you're a Filipino and include the meriendas or snacks in between). 

Accommodation costs have become less of a burden when I became part of these amazing online communities (hospitalityclub, CouchSurfing, and Servas) of strangers who open their homes for a bed to spend the night in, for a shared warm meal, and for culture exchange. Add to that the numerous Filipino friends and relatives we have scattered all over the world (mind you, if it weren't for the Jews, Pinoys would be synonymous to the term diaspora). We have relatives even in the less traveled islands of Hawaii called Lahaina. And of course, the mega community of Jesus believers I call my brothers and sisters.
lunch break. day trek to one of the jungles in Kuching, Sarawak

But through the years of being a cheapskate, I think I have come around and evolved as a traveler. I discovered that you cannot just take in, you also have to give back, else the universe will find its way to you. And when you have the genuine motive to bless, it'll also find its way to provide for you.

In the words of sol:
"If you are authentically interested in understanding another culture and country, people will feel it and open their hearts, houses and lives to you."

So if you're here to scour for cheap tips, sorry to disappoint you. [Ok, well, not totally. I promise to tuck in a few cheapies here and there.]

But the essence of this blog is to share some of my mistakes which I wish you would not commit.

I also hope to give you a glimpse of the awesome kindness of strangers and of the unexplainable miracles of God (my Supernatural travel partner who keeps me safe and showers me with grace and favor).
invited by a stranger in Mongolia to sample
their homemade yogurt (made from horse milk)

While at that, I'll also slip in some of my "emo"ments (random thoughts while in my pensive mood).

Cheap Travel for Women is not about taking, but gifting the world with these life lessons learned while traveling.
It's also honoring those who practice 1 Peter 4:9 
"Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay."


  1. Hi,
    Would you be interested in trading guest blog post on our blog http://onetravelbloggers.com/? We are a blog whose audience enjoys reading anything about travel (e.g. “Best spots in Philly”, “Top 10 beaches in Spain”, “How to travel around Tokyo on a budget”, etc). And, of course, you’ll receive a FOLLOWED link to your blog or page of your choice.
    Please let me know if you’re interested. I think you’d be a great fit with our audience, and we’d also like to talk with you about other partnerships.
    Talk to you soon

  2. Hi Trish,

    That would be nice. Send me an email for the details.

  3. nice introduction ^_^.. seemed like i found another bird with the same feather

  4. Well, Grasya, as they say, "Birds of the same feather, feather together." *wink wink*

  5. This just inspired me! Go Makabagong Pinay! ♥

  6. Hi Engkantandang Malikot. Thanks for dropping by. Yey :) It warms my heart inspiring people!

  7. my mom referred me to your site!! you are crossing boundaries and demographics ;)