Me, Myself and my Selfie Stick: Philippine Travel Stories

The selfie stick. Banned in many crowded places for safety reasons. It won’t be necessary to ban the selfie stick if it’s not ubiquitous, and it won’t be ubiquitous unless it has an excellent purpose. You see, the selfie stick serves an important role in this era of social media — you can take your own photo without asking anyone for assistance or, in case of a groufie, without leaving anyone out of the photo.

In these photographs, culled from the VisitPinas-tagged photos in Instagram, we’ll illustrate how the low-tech selfie stick can showcase the beauty of the Philippines while, of course, including the traveler in the frame. You don’t really need an expensive drone to take amazing photos of the Philippines. Look.

We start in the beach because, well, why not? When you’re at the Malawi Sandbar in Caramoan, Camarines Sur, there’s no doubt you’ll note, like what the buff JesTravels (check his Instagram account, @carinobrutal07, for more photos) and his lean selfie stick said, to enjoy your life before you run out of time.

This. Is. Not Sparta. This is Mount Halcon. From the beach, we head on to the mountains. Mount Halcon, located in the island-province of Mindoro, is the 18th highest peak in the country, at 2,586 meters above sea level, yet it’s reputed to be the most difficult to climb because of its steep slopes.

This probably explains what Rai Sean (check his Instagram account, @rhyjoe) said, in his photo below. It’s been months since he hiked a mountain with a 9/9 scale of trail difficulty, he said, and added that he will hike another tough one in few more days (you can join him in his hikes, you know, so go ask him for his next adventure).

There’s a certain vibe that comes with traveling. It’s not unusual to interact and easily bond with fellow travelers, which is made easier with the help of a selfie stick. There’s a mountain of difference between asking someone to take your photo and asking everyone to join you in the photo. Groufie! Travel memories can be fun with a bunch of strangers, like what we see in this photo by Russell Jan Herrera (check his Instagram account, @rujanherrera, for more photos) at the Masungi Georeserve in Baras, Rizal.

The mountains featured above reward the mountaineer with a wonderful view of the sea of clouds. Some mountains, however, provide a view of the actual sea, as what we can see in Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas, in this photo by erradora (check her Instagram account, @errainea, for more photos).

To be sure, we’re going to find a selfie somewhere in the middle of the beach and the mountains — the metropolitan areas. Until then, let’s head back to the beach, this time at the Paliton Beach in San Juan, Siquijor, in this groufie courtesy of Solange Piñero Ferrer (check her Instagram account, @thetangerinegurl, for more photos):

Islands and white sandbars. The Philippines has lots of those. In fact, you’ll find lots of old references to the Philippine Islands (no Philippine Sandbars, though).

This is Digyo Island, Cuatro Alas in Inopacan, Leyte. We’ve long wanted to feature this photo, courtesy of Henish Hey L. (check his Instagram account,@henishheyl, for more photos). He knows enough, he said, to know that no man is an island. True, true.

The shoreline has many faces in the Philippines. It’s a beach, mostly. Yet the Philippines has a lot of rocky shorelines, like the ominously named Isla Diablo off the coast of Dingalan, Aurora. There’s a tidal pool here, also called Pulong Diablo, where, according to hi (check his Instagram account, @dealwithdavid, for more photos), he took this selfie before drowning.

He’s kidding, of course. He’s pretty much alive, as we can see from his IG posts.

If we mix the rocky shoreline variety with the soft, white sand beach, what do we get? We get something like Cabugao Island in Carles, Iloilo, photo courtesy of Allyson Jude/a> (check her Instagram account, @sadlynoally, for more photos).

This post has seen one revision, yet we still can’t find a selfie or groufie in the metropolitan areas, which makes us wonder if a selfie stick is normal, or expected, in the outdoors, but uncool in the urban areas. Interesting theory.

Too bad, really, because we can even find selfies from the sky, like this photo by Dith Vitug (check her Instagram account, @dithvitug, for more photos) featured in Free as a Bird, Paragliding in Carmona, Cavite: Photo of the Day.

Or this sky fun at Dahilayan, Bukidnon, photo courtesy of Charmaine Erika Lim (check her Instagram account, @errkalim, for more photos) and featured in Come Fly With Me: Philippine Travel Stories.

From the sky and through the mountains, we skip the urban areas (we’re still waiting for your photos, guys), we head on to the beach and, wadoyouknow, underwater.

Not just your ordinary underwater selfie (it’s funny how a diving selfie can be ordinary, but bear with us). This photo, courtesy of the amazing Mags Dizon (check her Instagram account, @magsdizon, for more photos), is a free diving selfie at the Skeleton Wreck in Coron, Palawan.

It’s something we expect from someone whose passion (other than the honey project) is freediving. It’s something we don’t expect, close to impossible, for the rest of us mortals. Fighting the reflex to breathe when you’re many feet underwater is a herculean task. Resisting that reflex while calmly taking a selfie? That’s insane…and fun! Woohoo!

We are going to update this post, so tag us with your selfie or groufie, with the visible selfie stick, while showcasing the beauty of the Philippines.

[Photos reproduced with permission (thanks). Tag your Philippine travel photos with #visitpinas so we can track it down. Photos will be featured in this blog’s photo of the day and in instagram/VisitPinas, facebook/VisitPinas, twitter/VisitPinas.]

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