In late August 2018, with about half our budget saved, Cathay Pacific had specials on for around the time we wanted to travel. Unfortunately their algorithmic pricing means if you put in an itinerary and back out then the next time it’s more expensive. I tried clearing cookies, private browser settings and VPNing from other countries to no avail. The only way to do it was wait 24 hours or so before the fare would revert to the lower price. Cathay want to seem to charge double what everyone else charge to fly from Hong Kong to Philippines, so we skipped booking that step for now – booking 10 months out means there’s plenty of time for a special of some sort.
With the air tickets booked that meant the dates were set in stone. Next step – fine tuning itinerary and booking accommodation.