Owner, Access Travel and Tours
Angely Dub, founder and president of Access Travel and Tours—the go-to travel agency of celebrities—had just gotten back from an eight-day trip to Bhutan the day before our interview.
Despite her busy schedule—she had just given a short talk on tourism and travel before she met up with us—she graciously answered our questions on how she turned her passion into a job, what her travel goals are, and everything in between. We wanted to chat longer, but the 25-year-old globetrotter had a plane to catch yet again.
Tell us about the beginnings of Access Travel and Tours.
I took over Access Travel when I was 19 from a professor who wanted to sell it, but then things didn’t turn out really well. There were problems pala. To make the long story short, I went back to square one.
I used to have an online shop back in college and I used to send my stuff to bloggers, and I thought why not apply that strategy to the travel industry? I used the last of my savings to send Laureen Uy, Camille Co, Kryz Uy, and Nicole Andersson to Malaysia. I thought, this will either make me or break me. After they posted about their trip on their blogs, from 500 followers na friends ko, nagging 10,000 ang Instagram followers namin in four days because of their network. People got curious who we are. Another major turnaround for us was when Georgina [Wilson] tagged us on Instagram when she posted about the Koh Samui trip we arranged for her and Ava Daza.
Social media—Instagram in particular—really helped, huh? And this was just how many years ago?
Three years ago! Now, we have 210,000 followers—and they’re all real people, no trolls.
You must have an awesome relationship with your team—and good access to technology—to be able to manage your company when you’re out and about. Can you share with us your secret?
I really believe in maximizing technology and using different modes of communication. We have Viber groups per department. I send them voice messages so it feels real, more personal. Siguro, it’s also because I’m very good to people. I trust them to do their job even when I’m away traveling. I give them commissions for every transaction that they close, so that they feel motivated—they have something to look forward to. Ayaw ko naman na habang umaasenso ako and the company, maiiwan sila. Dapat sabay kami. I’m very blessed to work with these people. I try to be good to everyone I encounter in my life.
When did your love for traveling start?
When I was 10. I remember telling my mom when I was 10 na I don’t want to go to college, I just want to see the world. But I did eventually go to college. I took up a travel and tourism course.
You’ve traveled to quite a number of places at such a young age. How many countries have you been to so far?
I’ve been to 49 so far. My plan is to hit 50 before the end of the year. (She did reach her goal as of press time. –Ed.)
Where are you headed next?
Wala pa, kasi very random ako. How ironic, diba? I plan trips for other people but I don’t plan my trips. Kaya when I travel, hindi pwedeng three days lang. Kailangan mahaba. Kasi there are days during my trips when I just want to sit in a coffee shop all day.
“Traveling should be about experiencing and getting to know the place. Try to be a local.”
What’s your most memorable trip in 2016?
Bhutan and Iceland. In Iceland, I saved a Chinese tourist na muntik nang mahulog sa cliff, and I sprained my ankle in the process. But a kind soul rescued me. Binuhat niya ako for two hours. Turns out he was a doctor.
Bhutan—and Nepal, too—kasi I saw the simplicity of their lives, how their people are happy kahit meron lang silang isang cow to give them milk. That’s the only country na umiyak ako nung paalis na ako. I traveled alone, I met people, and I learned a lot.
In the Philippines, which place will you never get tired of going back to?
Siargao. People from there are so genuine and very simple.
What’s your travel goal for 2017?
I plan to hit 100 this year. Pero kung hindi kaya, kahit 75 na lang. May allowance! (laughs) Hindi ko naman pinu-push yung sarili ko for the sake of. As I said, I’m very random. If I wanna fly tomorrow, ibu-book ko ngayon. Ayaw ko kasi ng sobrang planado—masakit sa ulo ‘yung ganun. I don’t want to stress myself by following a strict schedule.
What’s your dream destination?
Svalbard! Two thousand plus lang ang population. Polar bears outnumber people there.
You must be an expert in packing already, what with your many travels. What are your travel essentials?
I need to bring my camera. I travel light. Very simple lang, you can see it in my photos—The North Face jacket, backpack, leggings. Yun ‘yung gusto kong i-promote sa Filipino travelers—to really travel and experience the place. You don’t go to these places para pumorma so you can post photos on social media. Traveling should be about experiencing and getting to know the place. Try to be a local.
Any tips for those who want to travel solo?
Be as simple as possible. Pack light—as in the lightest you can go para makapag-focus ka sa sarili mo and your travel at hindi mo na iniintindi ‘yung gamit mo. And be friendly.
Who’s your favorite travel buddy?
Very cliché ng sagot ko, but it’s my mom. Ang bilis kasing mag-adjust sa kanya. She’s just like me. Kapag hindi niya kaya, she will not force herself, she’ll just stay in the hotel and let me be.
What camera do you bring with you when you travel?
My Canon EOS 5D Mark III, but during my recent trip to Bhutan and Nepal I just had my iPhone 7. It’s really good pala!
Your Instagram feed is giving us a bad case of the travel bug! Who takes your photos, especially when you’re traveling solo?
Tour guide! Since I know my way around cameras, I frame the shot. Ako yung magcocompose, i-te-test shot ko sa kanya, and then ipapagaya ko. I know it sounds funny, but I need to do this also for my business.
So you hire tour guides when you travel?
I don’t travel without a tour guide. I really believe you can’t learn about the place you’re going to without a proper tour guide. If you get a guide, lahat malalaman mo—politics, what’s going on in the country, economy, history, culture, everything. Or at least do a one-day city tour. Tour guides are locals eh, so they’re a big help.
Aside from managing Access Travel and Tours, traveling the world, and taking awesome photos, what else are you into?
That’s my whole life. Well, aside from taking care of my family, of course. They all go together, actually—my family, Access, and my people. There are people, when they become busy, iniiwan or napapabayaan nila yung family nila. I can’t do that. I can’t.