Oftentimes, the best parts of traveling are the stories we gained from the road
In the past three years of the pandemic, more people have turned their feet in the direction of local destinations. Closed travel gates and other restrictions have forced us to look inward. Instead of looking far into the distance, we explored life within our boundaries: we took walks around the neighborhood, had picnics in the nearest park and laid on our backs as we watched the clouds pass by.
As things slowly ease up, we relieve our itchy feet by visiting local spots. Though we love a good food trip to Japan with our barkada or a shopping vacation with the girls in Thailand, we have realized how much our local scene has to offer. There is comfort and fun all around us, just within our reach—in the mountains of Rizal, the beaches of Baler, the waterfalls at Sorsogon and in the smiles of our kababayans (countrymen).
Though tourism is known for the picturesque views and popular tourist destinations, there’s a lot that lies beneath the surface. Oftentimes, the best parts of traveling are the stories we gain along the way (pardon the cheese, but it's true). Traveling allows us to immerse ourselves into the daily lives of other people, even just for a moment in time.
During my travels, I’ve met a local bathing his horse in a mountain stream—with backs turned to the sun, the man lathered his horse that was patiently standing still, its body deep in the water. It seemed almost intimate. Grimy and sweaty after a short hike, we came across residents carrying bags of groceries: a canned fruit cocktail, one liter bottles of soft drinks and bags of rice. It was a few days before the New Year, and they came down (a half day’s journey, mind you) to stock up before their celebration. On another occasion, a paraw ride during sunset, we conversed with boatmen who navigated the seas their whole life, talking about the changes their island had undergone during the pandemic.
Photos from my travels (Left: Boracay; Right: Baler)
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Tourism is multi-faceted, and the Department of Tourism (DOT) communicates this in its latest endeavor entitled Escape: Stories from the Road. The project is a “podumentary,” a combination of podcast and documentary, where they infuse the elements of storytelling into the podcast format, rather than your typical Q&A.
The Philippines is more than a postcard image, and host Aaron Palabyab, a travel filmmaker and photographer, brings this to light by discussing food, music, adventure, celebrations and identity as he takes the listeners around the country—from Nueva Vizcaya to Davao.
The podcast also features notable individuals such National Artists Kidlat Tahimik and ethnomusicologists Dr. Felicidad Prudente, as well as other guest co-hosts such as national athlete Maureen Schrijvers, designer, musician and filmmaker, Kate Torralba, and sports broadcaster and podcaster Cesca Litton.
If you’re stuck at home dreaming about your next roadtrip or looking for your next destination, we suggest that you learn more about the depth and breadth our country has to offer—you won’t regret it.
Tune in to Escape: Stories on the Road on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Castro, Overcast and Anchor.
Words Gwyneth King
Photos Department of Tourism & Gwyneth King
Art Pis Trinidad