Travel Junkie of the Month: Stephen Tagud

2GO Travel is one of the largest, premier land and sea-travel provider in the Philippines. I remember when I got an invite from 2GO almost a year ago to join their trip to Iloilo and Bacolod, it was one of the most awesome group trips ever. Thank you once again to Stephen Tagud for making it possible. :)

Stephen is one of the youngest and most successful entrepreneurs I've met. At 32 years old, he is the Vice President and Passage Commercial Officer of 2GO.

According to his profile at 2GO: He completed his undergraduate studies from University of Nevada Las Vegas, USA where he graduated Cum Laude. He also earned his post-graduate studies from the Swiss Hotel Management School “Les Roches” of Bulche, Switzerland and from the Universidad Europa de Madrid with a degree of Master in Business Administration major in International Hospitality Management, Finance & Marketing.

Wow. I've always wanted to go back to school, like to study abroad. I even submitted an application for a school based in Sydney, Australia but then I'll be needing (drum roll please........) $3,500AUD for that. Eeeep @_@! Moving on, check out my Q&A with Stephen and be inspired to study hard, work hard and travel while you're young. ;)
  • In one word, define travel. -- In a few words; "The essence of living!" 
  • Could you describe the importance of travel? -- It allows you to grow and be open to all the richness and diversity in the world!

Stephen posing with The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark and Stonehenge, United Kingdom
  • How often do you fly, and on what airline? -- I fly to the USA every 3/4 months, and I always use Philippine Airlines because of the direct MNL-LAX flight. I fly to Europe (Nice, France/Monaco) always with Emirates (with their awesome Limo pick-up/drop off service) at least twice a year (fall and late spring), since the South of France/Monaco is my normal "escape" from life. For work, I also travel around Asia; HongKong, Singapore, etc.. (using various air carriers). But I travel a lot domestically (I prefer to book with PAL), especially in our major ports of Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Caticlan and Cagayan De Oro.. sometimes even only for a day or a few hours.
  • Do you have a preferred day or time when traveling? -- When flying domestically, I prefer to take a late morning flight. When flying to the US or Europe, I prefer a late evening flight so i can still work during the day.
Stephen at the dessert safari in Dubai, UAE and Bali, Indonesia
  • Who books your plane tickets and lodging? Are they personal or through a travel agency? -- For work-related travel, my secretary does the booking. She knows all my preferences, seat preference, special meal preference, etc. But when I travel for leisure, I always book online. 
  • What’s the weirdest question you got from an immigration officer? -- Are you sure you are Filipino? 
  • Window or Aisle? -- Aisle seat 
  • Are you a light or heavy packer? -- I can say "medium-packer," since I tend to pack a little extra, just in case there are pop-up cocktail parties or soirĂ©es I have to attend. And also to anticipate "wardrobe changes" from day to evening wear.

"House party in Monte Carlo with friends."
  • How do you pass the time on a flight? -- I usually catch up on reading, mostly the Harvard Business Review or any book that I am working on. I can hardly sleep on any airline even if the seat is a "lay-flat" bed. So books and sometimes I check out the movies showing. 
  • In what country or region do you enjoy spending your favorite travel season, and why? -- I always enjoy spring and fall in the South of France due to its perfect weather, gorgeous views, the food & wine festivals (i.e. Truffle Season) and most charity galas that I have to attend with friends. Summer in Switzerland is great since I do like to hike up the Swiss alps and it is never too hot up there. December and the holidays are always best spent with family in California, USA. Also, I love going to Boracay or Palawan during the beginning of the year where the weather in the Philippines is not too hot or crowded with tourists. For me, nothing beats the perfect white-sand beaches of the Philippines!

"My fave beach in the world, BORACAY!"

  • Tell us about your most recent journey? -- Last week, I spent a weekend back home in California (Los Angeles and San Diego) for 4 nights only. It was great to see and spend quality time with family and friends even if work only allowed literally a weekend short trip! 
  • Where have you traveled and where do you plan to go next? -- I have been to most regions of the world since I was an international student in Europe and the USA before. I had the opportunity to see most of what I have wanted to see in the world. Well, with the exception of Antartica, of course, which, maybe one day I will go on an expedition to explore that region! This coming Christmas and New Year season, me and my family will explore New Zealand. 
  • What is your ultimate travel destination? -- My most favorite so far is Iceland. There is something about the glaciers that are very calming to my senses! And just basking in the milky-blue waters of The Blue Lagoon is just rejuvinating! I always come back to that country when I need a good recharging. Also, the South of France (Monaco) has become my second home, so spending leisurely evenings with friends over great food, a few bottles of Champagne and having a fun night out in Monte Carlo is always at the top of my list! 
  • Travel Tip -- ALWAYS keep 2 wallets separate (one in your check-in and one in your hand-carry bag), with each one containing at least ONE Photo ID and a Credit Card, just in case you lose one. Also, keep a photocopy of your passport and keep it in your check-in bag, again just in case you lose your passport, It is easier to process lost passports if you have a copy of the original one. Oh, and one last thing, don't forget to bring your "common sense" when traveling! ;)