Collectible Items IRL (In Real Life) Travel

Updated February 2016

In the latest edition of video game Tomb Raider, Lara Croft can choose to deviate from the main quest and search for relics and GPS caches hidden off the beaten path. In Arkham Asylum, Batman can opt to track down the Riddler’s trophies while trying to foil the Joker’s plot.

Many video games, especially the role-playing/adventure types, usually have sidequests where the goal is to collect certain items. Usually these items are not really essential to finishing the overall game. Most of the time it’s just for bragging rights. Among the memorable collectible items in games I have played are those rare cards from the Triple Triad card mini-game in Final Fantasy VIII, the insanely hard to complete 100 stray beads from the game Okami, and memories and bottles in Alice: The Madness Returns.

Credit: The Last of Us meme

The latest game I played, The Last of Us, had me searching for Firefly pendants, training manuals and comic books while trying to fight off the infected and survive in a brutal post-apocalyptic world.

Inspired by the video game concept, I started my own collections and sidequest missions during real life travel. Since I don’t have the space to start a physical collection, I’ve been taking photos of the items instead, which I update in my “Menu screen” (Facebook page). Here’s an update on the missions I’ve been doing so far:


  • Mission: Take photos of Philippine banknotes at the landmarks featured on the bill
  • Status: 4/6 collected

show me the money sidequest philippine money landmarks

I’ve been collecting photos of Philippine currency in the landmarks featured on the back of the bill since 2012. I got photos of the P20 bill during a motorcycle ride from Sagada to the Banaue Rice Terraces, the P50 bill at Taal Lake during a duathlon in Balete, Batangas, the P100 bill showing Mayon Volcano from The Oriental Hotel in Albay and the P200 bill while motorcycling around Bohol*. The next goal is to return to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River in Palawan and (hopefully) go diving in Tubbataha Reef! I think it’s highly unlikely I’ll be able to complete this with Tubbataha, since diving there is very expensive. But I can dream, right?


  • Mission: Check into 99 different hotels and take photos of room keys
  • Current status: COMPLETE (started 2011)

I stay in a lot of hotels and resorts for work and personal travel over the years, but I only thought of taking photos of the room keys in 2011. There’s something about keys that I find really interesting. I think you can tell the character of each room by the keys.


  • Mission: Try out 99 different brands of beer from all over the world
  • Current status: COMPLETE (currently on bonus round)

I make it a point to try the local brew of other countries when traveling abroad. I also found some foreign beers on sale at the grocery, so I raided all those I hadn’t tried before. Some friends and relatives have also very nicely taken home a couple of cans of beers from their trips abroad to add to the beer collection, which I completed last October 2012. I now have several shelves full of beer bottles, fridge magnets made from bottlecaps, and a mini-beer garden (bottles used as vases for plants) in a small balcony.


  • Mission: Take photos & sample (if possible) as many unique types of ‘exotic’ dishes from the country and around the world

I haven’t made a lot of headway on this because my default second player isn’t that adventurous when it comes to food and always prefers to order the “safe” rather than the exotic dishes. Usually exotic dishes in restaurants are on the expensive side and the servings are too big for just one person. Am on the lookout for a travel companion who wouldn’t mind eating bizarre food like barbecued river eel, snails, beetle larva, and fried frogs. Any takers?


  • Mission: Collect indigenous handwoven textiles and fabrics from different provinces in the Philippines

Lately, I’ve been collecting native weaves and textiles from the different provinces that I visit. There are many rich weaving traditions in the different parts of the country (particularly in Mindanao) and I find native weaves more interesting souvenir items compared to the usual ref magnets or mugs. Latest additions include colorful Yakan weaving from Basilan and a handwoven mat from a traditional Badjao village in Tawi-Tawi.

To view the updated collections, like Travel Up on Facebook and check out the albums there. Do you have your own travel collection? What other interesting collections can you suggest? 🙂


This is my entry to the July 2013 Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival “Of Things and Memories we Acquire on the Road” hosted by Jun Baris of Galang Pusa. For previous Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival topics, click the logo on the left.

25 thoughts on “Collectible Items IRL (In Real Life) Travel

  1. I love this post! The idea of collecting stuff from travels is awesome. I send myself postcards every one in a while. It’s a great welcome upon coming back. My boyfriend collects beer bottles from all over the world so I got him a Myanmar Beer bottle. But it got stuck in Indonesian customs. Oh well, it’s another reason to go back. Love your blog!

    • Thanks Lois! Postcards really make a great collection esp. if they have all the stamps and are sent by postal mail. I like the idea of collecting beer bottles, but we’re running out of space (we have a “beer garden” in the balcony now of the best bottles). I guess the photo collections will have to do. Wow, Myanmar Beer!

  2. Waaaaah this is really cool!!!! 😀

    Actually I’ve been thinking of what to collect during trips but I found it medyo hassle to buy magnets and keychains and other stuff kasi… well what are we gonna do with it all of it after diba?

    Waaa natutuwa ako sa post mo! I miss playing RPG games and ngayon ko lang din na realize na why not do what Squall and Cloud have been doing and collecting random items? Hahaha. But instead of taking the actual things, pictures na lang para hindi hassle.

    But I think my thing is taking fashion shots sa mga trips. Lol.

    • You play Final Fantasy too! 🙂 Nice. I remember replaying FF8 so I could complete all those Pet Pals and Timber Maniacs magazines to get better limit breaks and moves. Would like to collect photos of weapons too. Pang Lookbook nga yung photos mo. I think your fashion shots in front of landmarks are really cool! :p

  3. This is an awesome idea, why haven’t I thought of this before? Not into collecting keychains / ref magnets from places i go to like my other friends do but this is an awesomesauce idea!

  4. This is an awesome collections 🙂 The beers are impressive, 50/99 and the keys are just inspirational. I never thought that this can be collected in a photo way better than how others collect keys by not returning them 🙂

    Impressive post this is 🙂

  5. wow! I like the beer collection! I think it’s another way of learning other country’s culture. Saang grocery pala ikaw bumibili? Sa Rustan’s lang ako nakakakita ng imported beer 🙂

    • Thanks Milet, that’s what I tell myself too. I drink beer to learn about the other country’s culture 😉 Hehe. Aside from Rustan’s, Pioneer Center in Pasig and Shopwise Libis have a pretty good selection of foreign beers that I haven’t seen in other grocery stores. Gastropubs like Distillery in Eastwood and Pivo Restobar in Ortigas Home Depot also serve a lot of foreign beers (more expensive though).

  6. Wonderful post! Gusto ko yang idea ng native weaves! Also, the room keys, I agree – yung iba tali/lanyard lang, others have unique hand-carved attachments to them 😀 It does tell a thing or two about the place you’re staying at

    • Hi Kim. Thanks! The room keys are my favorite, though I always get disappointed when I stay in a place that has a card key, kasi para wala masyadong character even if the room is very nice. 🙂

  7. the room keys are just perfect! i particularly like the symbolism that these offer –of unlocking the treasures of lifelong learning through our travels. the native weaves are fantastic too! you might want to pick up one of the famous weaved banigs in the town of basey in samar when you get the chance to visit 🙂

  8. Pingback: Of things and memories that we acquire on the road | Galang Pusa

  9. Dunno kung kelan nag start pero nagsimula nung nagpapabili wife ko sakin ng native bags pag nasa travel ako and stuff toys for my baby- then I noticed collection na pala at talagang kumpleto – lahat ng places both abroad and here in the Philippines my representation 🙂 Ngayon kahit hindi na sila mag demand ng souvenir or pasalubong ako na mismo ang bumibili at nag a add sa cabinet 🙂 Opps mahilig din ako sa t-shirts hehehe in fact nasa 5o pcs ata yung naka display sa cabinet ko pero indi ko pa nasusuot at sama ng loob ko pag nabawasan hahaha

  10. Pingback: Achievements Unlocked in 2016 | Travel Up

  11. Pingback: If I could fly for free, where would it be? | Travel Up

  12. Pingback: Sidequest: Show Me the Money | Travel Up

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *