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Friday, April 1, 2016

Meet the Participants of This Year's Cebu Pacific #JuanForFun Backpacking Challenge



Fifteen college students belonging to five teams are on their path to becoming afflicted with a good addiction. Becoming travel junkies is just around the bend for these lucky 15, as they experience adventure in this year’s Cebu Pacific #JuanForFun Backpacker Challenge. Just like in the previous editions of #JuanForFun, Cebu Pacific is pushing the envelope once again by adding additional spice, to make this year’s challenge a more exciting one. Returning are celebrity coaches; musician Champ Lui Pio, Internet star Bogart the Explorer, and travel writer Jude Bacalso. They will be joined by first-time coaches; actress, singer and blogger Saab Magalona, and TV host and VJ Robi Domingo.


The 2016 Juan for Fun Backpacking Challenge introduces a new rule that will allow each team to choose the destinations they want to explore – all that plus a surprise Cebu Pacific international destination.

A Tradition of Luring Young People to the World of Travel

In the past few years, I have closely followed each #JuanForFun Backpacker’s Challenge edition and has witnessed the enthusiasm and delight of every participants as they set off to the first day of their challenge. I was also fortunate enough to attend each awarding ceremonies, where I would notice the unusual spark in the faces of each backpacker after they conclude their amazing trip. You will know, that somewhere along the road – they have managed to grow and mature while being bitten by the travel bug.

Meet the Teams


Representing Bacolod is #JFFJUANTeamPH composed of Glenn Layola, Audrey Ramos, and John Ray Blance of La Salle Bacolod. Partnered with Coach Robi, this team shared that they are raring to explore more of Visayas and Mindanao. “We would like to explore wonderful beaches and do extreme sports, like one of Asia’s longest ziplines in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato,” said Glenn.  


Hailing from Tuguegarao, Brendan Tangan, Linus Pagulayan, and Cherson Bariuan of St. Paul University Philippines make up #JFFTeamPablo. With Adventure Coach Saab as their guide, these student leaders believe that their enthusiasm to serve other people, strong friendship, and strong personalities will lead them to victory. “Our motto is, ‘There is no certainty. There is only adventure,’” added Linus.  


Engineering students from De La Salle University, Marie Tuason, Karlo Carranza, and Samantha Rice are #JFFTeamPura. They are excited to have Bogart the Explorer as their adventure coach, especially Marie who is a true-blue Davaoeña herself. The trio said that should they win the ‘Travel-All-You-Can’ passes, they will visit a new destination every two weeks. “We’ve already made a bucket list which includes Siargao, Palawan, Tawi-Tawi and Boracay because of their magnificent beaches, Bohol, because we want to see the Chocolate Hills, and Naga City because of its rich Philippine historical sites,” shared Samantha.


Patricia Quintero, April Baldovino, and Gian Nicdao of University of the Philippines-Manila are #JFFTeamTAG. Throughout their seven days of adventure, they vow to always have fun, be in the moment, and do their best to be the ultimate champs, with the help of their adventure coach, Champ. Their ideal itinerary should they win the ultimate prize? “Breakfast in Cebu (let’s face it: lechon is the way to go!), have lunch in Palawan (for some seafood and vitamin sea), head to Bohol to burn all the food we ate, and cap the day in Boracay,” added Patricia. 


#JFFTeamWork is composed of Serge Calumpong of Ateneo de Davao, April Nacion of University of Southeastern Philippines, and Jaysson Presores of the University of Mindanao. They are excited to be partnered with adventure coach and fellow Bisaya, Jude. Close since they were in high school, the trio said joining Juan for Fun would be an exciting adventure and an ultimate test of friendship. “We know that there will be no dull moments when we are together,” shared April. “We would do our best to encourage one another and, of course, mag-lingaw-lingaw pag-ayo (enjoy everything)!”

Five Teams – Seven Days and One Adventure of a Lifetime

“the Cebu Pacific Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge 2016 promises all these and more. Now on its fifth—and biggest! —year, the annual backpacking escapade is bringing five teams of thrill-seeking students to exhilarating destinations—all for free. 

As if the once-in-a-lifetime escapade is not enough, this year’s Ultimate Backpackers, or big winners, will take home the challenge’s biggest prize yet—a Travel-All-You-Can pass. This entitles each member to as many free flights to domestic and international short-haul destinations as they want within one year. They will also win exciting premium travel gear from the challenge’s partner brands.

Throughout the challenge, the teams will have to take on as many exciting experiences and daring discoveries within their given travel allowance worth P35,000. They can visit the country’s renowned tourist spots including heritage sites, churches, and parks, sample scrumptious local delicacies, and get to know the locals.”

Travel tips from the pros 

First-time adventure coaches Robi and Saab shared that they can’t wait to be a part of the Juan for Fun teams’ adventures, armed and ready to share tips and pointers to help participants make the most out of the experience. 

“I got to know about this fun challenge because Gretchen (Ho) was previously a part of it,” Robi said. “I’m looking forward to a crazy learning experience.”

Robi shared his excitement for the Juan for Fun teams, saying that they should prepare for one amazing experience. “They will be traveling to different areas, immersing in various cultures and eating lots of great food,” he said. 

Robi added that he hopes his “hustle attitude” will help his own team bag the Ultimate Backpacker crown. “I may look like I’m playing it cool but I will do everything to get the gold.”

As a first-time adventure coach, Saab looks forward to seeing how the teams are going to prepare for their trips. “I remember my first plane ride as a grown-up was after college, so I am curious to see how much the kids know about travelling.” 

Saab thinks that for Juan for Fun teams to win in the backpacking challenge, they should learn how to read maps and develop navigation skills. “The members should also be physically fit. They also need to know each other's strengths and know when to lead or follow,” she said.

In coaching her Juan for Fun adventure team, the celebrity blogger hopes to cheer her team better than the other coaches. “I’m really noisy online and I’m competitive,” said Saab who confesses to being a “fan of adventure.”

Building friendships, collecting memories 

Back as adventure coaches are Bogart the Explorer, Champ Lui Pio, and Jude Bacalso, who recounted that guiding the Juan for Fun teams has given them the privilege of seeing young adventurers foster and strengthen friendships, discover not only fascinating places but also themselves, and reignite their passions for exploration.

“I had an all-girl team last year. Not only that, but they were one of the youngest teams I’ve ever coached. Seeing them finish the challenge with happy and full hearts, their friendship ever stronger, and a new fiery passion to explore reignited my own passions and has reminded me why I do what I do,” shared funny man Bogart the Explorer, or Marco Ho in real life.

Champ recalled how the Juan for Fun experience brought him closer to his team. “My first time as a coach was really memorable. My team didn’t win the first prize, but they had an incredible time,” he shared. “What made it unforgettable is that I became really close to my team. We actually stayed in contact even after the competition and hang out occasionally.”

“Every year, at the end of the whirlwind that is Juan for Fun, we gather at the awarding ceremony and get goosebumps. Last year, my team has never been on an airplane before landing in Manila for the start of the competition. And their second flight was an international one, straight to Bangkok, Thailand!” said Jude, who is back on her third coaching stint.

“They came home winners, placing third. Where else can you see the transformative powers of travel turn ingénues into citizens of the world? Yes, we cry at every closing ceremony. But these are tears of pride, never regret,” added Jude.

This year, the Cebu Pacific Juan for Fun Challenge is encouraging thrill-seeking trios from different universities across the country to take on the once-in-a-lifetime escapade to some of the airline’s most exciting destinations.  The winning team will be named the Ultimate Backpackers, and will win Travel-All-You-Can passes to any domestic or international (short-haul) destination, valid for one whole year, plus exciting premium travel gear.  

Don’t miss out on this exciting adventure and join the Cebu Pacific Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge now! Find out how by visiting www.juanforfun.com. For more details, follow Cebu Pacific’s official Facebook and Twitter (@CebuPacificAir) pages.
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