This Filipino Circumnavigated the World for P240k and No Visas
Regin Reyno circumnavigated the world in 2019. Because of his feat, he was accepted into the Circumnavigator’s Club whose members included General Douglas MacArthur, Neil Armstrong, William Howard Taft, and Harry Houdini. He named his journey around the world Tuyok, a Visayan word which means ikot in Filipino.
In the course of his historic journey, Reyno visited the Seven Wonders of the World, 12 territories, and encountered a brush with death he never expected.
In this interview, Reyno shares how he managed to achieve the feat.
Regin Reyno at Chichen Itzu
ESQUIRE PHILIPPINES: Tell us about yourself. How old are you, where do you live, what schools did you attend, and what do you do for a living?
REGIN REYNO: I’m Regin Reyno, 36 years old. I live in Beijing, China. I graduated at Mountain View College, a beautiful college in the mountains of Bukidnon, Philippines.
I worked as an English Language Trainer for The Walt Disney Company based in Beijing. After that, i became a Montessori English teacher at a Montessori school, also in Beijing.
I quit my job so I can circumnavigate the world.
ESQ: What inspired you to take a trip around the world?
RR: In October 2011, I came across the movies, Last Stop for Paul, A Map for Saturday, The Art of Travel, and Up in the Air.
These movies are about around-the-world trips or long-term travel. These movies gave me the idea and the desire to have an around-the-world trip.
Then, in June 2012, while I was backpacking in Siem Reap, Cambodia, I befriended a Japanese backpacker who was doing an around-the-world trip. She told me stories and showed me photos. Her stories inspired me. I told myself that, definitely, I’m doing it, as well, someday.
After that, sometime in 2016, I bumped into a video on YouTube regarding CNN’s Richard Quest who was doing a challenge to circumnavigate the globe in eight days. His adventure and challenge rekindled my dream.
Finally, in September 2019, Simon Wilson’s 7 Wonders of the World in 7 Days sealed the deal. I was like, “That’s it, I’m booking my flights.”
Regin Reyno at Machu Picchu
ESQ: How did you make circumnavigation possible? What plans did you take, what things did you prepare for, was there any training you underwent, and how much did the entire trip cost?
RR: Although this dream started in 2011, I really didn’t have an actual, concrete plan till September 2019. There were attempts on doing it in the past, but they were always postponed.
One morning of September 2019, as I was waiting for my breakfast at a diner near my school, I decided to book one of the flights for an around-the-world trip, after days and nights of debating with myself if I’ll do it this year or not. I booked through my phone using the app, trip.com and I paid using my WeChat wallet. So, it was very convenient.
And since I already booked this non-refundable major long-distance flights to Rio de Janeiro and Tel Aviv, I didn’t have a choice but to really do this trip for an experience of a lifetime.
In the days that followed, I just booked the succeeding flights and hotels through trip.com and paid using my WeChat wallet.
I didn’t have the services of a travel agency nor did I buy any of those round-the-world deals on the Internet. I did all the itineraries and bookings by myself.
Most of the countries I chose are visa-free for Philippine passport holders. The only country in my itinerary that needed a visa was Mexico, which we can enter using a Japanese visa. So I applied for a Japanese visa in Manila.
And because I will be, literally, circling the globe, I know it’s going to be physically demanding. To prepare, I regularly went to the gym for strength training, walked every morning, made sure I got enough sleep, stuck to my healthy diet and intermittent fasting regimen, and regularly took my supplements.
The entire trip cost P240,000, inclusive of airfares, accommodations, food, travel insurance, tours, et cetera.
Regin Reyno's Route Around the World
ESQ: How did you officially get recognized as one of the people who circumnavigated the world?
RR: After finishing my journey, I became a member of one of the most exclusive clubs in the world: The Circumnavigators Club. My application was approved by its board of governors.
I presented to them my route because, to become a member, one must travel around the world, crossing every meridian of longitude in the same direction.
This club was introduced to me by Neil Mandt, the director and the actor of one of the movies that inspired me to do this journey, Last Stop For Paul.
Founded in 1902, the Circumnavigators Club is the only organization devoted to bringing together people who have circumnavigated the globe.
Notable club members include General Douglas McArthur, President William Howard Taft, Harry Houdini, and Neil Armstrong.
ESQ: What were the most interesting parts of your journey?
RR: One of the major reasons for this around-the-world trip is to complete all the 7 Wonders of the World.
Being able to visit Chichen Itza in Mexico and behold Machu Picchu in Peru is very meaningful and fulfilling for me.
Experiencing Morocco, a country that is so different from ours, taking the train from Casablanca to Marrakech, visiting the gateway to the Sahara desert, and witnessing the chaotic and overwhelming sights and sounds at Jemaa el-Fnaa square.
Walking where Jesus walked was definitely a life-changing experience.
I also visited Nablus, Palestine, which is one of the least visited places in the Middle East. I learned many things while exploring the city with a local.
ESQ: Did you face any dangers during your journey?
RR: During this journey, I was constantly praying. I witnessed how the hand of God had led me. So, thankfully, I didn’t face any real dangers.
I landed in Lima, Peru at 11:30 p.m. I caught a cab and was on my way to my hostel. This was already almost 2 a.m. and I was in a taxi all by myself in an unfamiliar city in South America.
I remembered stories about the dangers of South America. I felt a bit scared. The driver asked me for my hostel address again, then told me that the place I’m going to is in a dangerous part of the city.
Regin Reyno in Nablus, Palestine
And that he knows a better hotel that is safer. I felt uneasy; a bit nervous. Of course, I didn’t agree and insisted on taking me to my hostel. When we got to my hostel, it was at a dark, small alley, similar to the ones we see in movies about dangerous alleys in South America.
When we arrived, there was no one in sight. Because the hostel was like an apartment-turned-hostel, there were no signs, as well. I know it’s the correct address because he typed the exact address on his GPS navigator. We called the number posted on the site (booking.com) but it can’t be reached.
I didn’t want to be dropped in the middle of a small, dark alley at 2 a.m., so I told the driver to just bring me to the hotel that he knows.
We reached the hotel, then I checked-in. The next day, as I was going out for breakfast, one of the hotel staff, told me that last night there were two American tourists shot at a street near our hotel.
I felt a shiver down my spine. I don’t know if it was really true, but that gave me an initial scare and I was just glad to be alive that day and be able to continue my journey.
Regin Reyno in Israel with Cadets in the Israel Defense Forces
ESQ: What is something you will never forget about circumnavigating the world?
RR: I will never forget the tiredness and exhaustion felt during long flights and transfers. And, the euphoria and feeling of accomplishment every time I arrive at my destination’s hotel room!
ESQ: Tell us about the route you took. Where did you start and finish, how many countries did you land on, and how many months did the journey take?
I started and ended my journey in the same place: Manila.
From Manila, I went to Hong Kong then to Beijing, China. From Beijing, I worked my way eastward, going to the Americas. After a short layover at Tijuana, Mexico I landed in Mexico City, Mexico. From Mexico City, I flew to Cancun, Mexico.
From there, I took a bus to Piste, Mexico for a visit to the famous Chichen Itza. From Piste, I hired a taxi going to Cancun airport then flew to Lima, Peru. It was my first time in South America. From Lima, I flew to the beautiful city, Cusco, Peru, the gateway to Machu Picchu.
After visiting Machu Picchu, I headed to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with a layover at Santiago, Chile. We flew above the Andes mountain ranges. It was breathtaking.
Regin Reyno at Ait Ben Haddou, Morocco
From Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I crossed the Atlantic ocean headed to Northern Africa via Lisbon, Portugal. From Lisbon, I flew to Casablanca, Morocco.
That was my first time in Africa. From Casablanca, I took a train going to Marrakech, Morocco. After spending some time in Marrakech, I took Aegean Airlines, Greece’s flag carrier, and flew over the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea on my way to Tel Aviv, Israel.
I had a side trip to Nablus, Palestine. From Tel Aviv, Israel, I flew to Southeast Asia with a layover in Moscow, Russia.
I landed in Bangkok, Thailand. From Bangkok, I flew to Singapore. After that, I flew to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia in Borneo. Then, finally, the last flight was from Kota Kinabalu to Manila.
The whole journey took one month, one week, and two days. A total of 12 territories.
ESQ: What advice would you give to Filipinos who wish to travel around the world like you did?
RR: Do it as soon as possible. Once you already have the resources, just book that first flight: a non-refundable flight. Time is a very valuable asset and we never know how much we have left. Don’t take the risk of not doing it now on the bet you’ll have the time to do it later. Tomorrow is never promised. Don’t worry about the money. Money will always return. But time does not. So, I highly suggest, do it as soon as possible. Do it while you’re still physically capable of doing it. Do it now!