Sometime in 2010, I was on a plane with a travel writer heading back to Manila from a recently concluded feature assignment. He borrowed the book I was reading “Honeymoon with my Brother” by Franz Wisner and pored through the pages and read through some entries, he was laughing by himself then threw this question point blank at me “When was the last time you really had a personal trip?” I hesitated for a moment as I think. So what has 2010 been like in terms of travel for me that I couldn’t readily answer his question?
To be honest, there are joys of establishing oneself as part of the “new media”. The perks of being able to travel was plenty this year like how the year started amazingly with Lakbay Norte Tour. A bus-full of media peeps doing a horse-shoe route of Northern Luzon. It was fun and exhausting and as always great to meet new people.
Mid this year, I had the pleasure to finally visit Macau with an invitation from MGTO. I liked the old quarters and its heritage sites. It’s what I imagined Manila could be in terms of grandeur. Then later this year I visited its neighboring islands of Hong Kong. It was easy to like this modern city, especially with the fun characters at Hong Kong Disneyland.
Locally, I got to go around La Union through the premiere resort Thunderbird at Poro Point. North Face also brought me back to Baguio for the TNF 100 Trail Run and I surprised myself having ran 11k after not having ran a marathon for years. I also got to explore more of Palawan. El Nido partially with the help of Seair and Microtel for that tour of Puerto Princesa.
While I consider being part of media as work, I do have my own work as Freelance Travel Photographer and Writer and it also has taken me places this year. It’s funny I had visited Bohol thrice in a period of a month, first as a part of media and twice for work and it centered around the wonderful Peacock Garden Boutique Resort. Then I went back to Mindoro for another Travel Writing and Photo Assignment this time focusing in land to lean more about it’s history with McArthur for its centennial.
The debut of Backpack Photography Workshops this year took several participants to Banaue, Batanes and SOCCSKSARGEN region. It was both a learning experience for us the teachers and our students. It was fun and we try to extend some days after ‘work’ that I was able to revisit Batanes’ Itbayat and also explore Saranggani down south. And much better, it widened our circle of friends.
Family trips played a major role in travel as well in 2010. First quarter, I was able to visit Guam USA, accompanying my Mom on her first trip out of the country (and my first trip out of Asia) to visit relatives there. It was a memorable 2 weeks, except I was in sickbay for a few days preventing me from exploring the island city. Then my sister from Canada came by for a couple of weeks visit and treated the family for visit to Puerto Princesa Palawan then a road trip up North Luzon for Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur.
It was a fruitful travel year, much more than I expected. While I welcome more media tours and work related travels this coming year 2011, I yearn to do more personal travels either solo or with friends where I could do research, itinerary and go on our own pace. I think the last time I really did this was my trip to Laos when I really got loose and explored. God willing and it depends on the finances, I’d get to do this kind of travel more again in 2011, since life as a freelancer is so unpredictable. That’s why I’m still thankful for all the travels this year going into my 2nd year into being a Freelance Travel Writer and Photographer. I’m still not sure what holds for me on 2011 but I’ll take it one step at a time.
There’s this nice paragraph from the BootsnAll article entitled “The Eat, Pray, Love Effect: Is Travel Really a Path to Self Discovery?” by David Jedeikin that I really like since it speaks volumes about documenting one’s travel which I think is the core of this blog. I know I won’t be able to cover all the places I want to visit in time, but who cares about the numbers, it’s the quality of experience that matters.
“But the real purpose of documenting a journey isn’t for Hollywood, Random House, or even for your family and friends. It’s for you. The act of recording an event allows the mind to crystallize it, to fix it in time, to better remember it and its impact on your psyche. This is the point behind all those shutter-clicking tourists at the Eiffel Tower or the Pyramids of Giza: to amplify and heighten memory. The experience of documenting a journey need not detract from the journey, nor should it “take over” the trip itself; instead, it serves as silent second companion, a sounding board on which to capture memories, feelings, and experiences. “
With this I’d like to greet everyone a blessed year ahead! And thank you for being here throughout the years and hopefully for the years to come.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.