The Emotional Traveler: Philippine Travel Stories

Most photos of Philippine travel involves huge smiles from the subjects. Can’t help it, can you, guys. Even us, we can’t help but smile whenever we go out and experience the beauty of the Philippines. Smile and laughter are universal expressions of happiness. Let’s do something different. Let’s feature the VisitPinas-tagged photos in Instagram which shows deeper emotions, but somehow seeing happiness through it all. C’mon, it’s not complicated. Here we go.


It’s a classic movie scene, Luke Skywalker shouting “Noooooo!!!!” when Darth Vader revealed that he’s the father. Full of emotions. Of course, Luke didn’t have a beach to stand on, unlike Neon Ibañez (check his Instagram account, @getneonized, for more photos) while on the Cagbalete Island, the crown jewel of Quezon Province. If he did, we’re sure that Star Wars scene would be quite different.

We’re also sure that Neon doesn’t share the anguish felt by Luke, and even if we can’t have a closeup of Neon’s face, we gather from the caption of his photo, coupled with how he looks like in it, that he’s trying to express an emotion straddling thankfulness, happiness and awe. “Life is better when you are under the sun,” he said. Mapapaluhod ka sa ganda. Kainggit.

Fierce and Proud

We do glimpse TV shows on fashion, mostly when there’s nothing good to watch on free TV (we’re stingy, you know). They don’t smile much in the fashion world. Fierce! That’s what they always say to aspiring models in reality shows. Fierceness, of course, is a tricky emotion. We figure it’s like sex appeal — either you have it or you don’t.

If you want to see how fierce looks like, just go back to the photo of Mon Villaverde above (check his Instagram account, @mon.villa, for more photos), with his getup proudly blending with the sun-scorched, yet stunning, landscape of Sabtang, Batanes. That, we think, is how fierce looks like.

That’s another fierce look, from Arvel Panaligan at Mt. Pinatubo, Botolan, Zambales (seriously, we thought we’re looking at Parokya’s Chito Miranda; check Arvel’s Instagram account, @arvelpanaligan, for more photos).

It’s a familiar body gesture. Its like an athlete who succeeds while keeping emotions in check. It’s the look and the body language, sometimes accompanied by “yes!!”, that tells you how proud someone of his/accomplishment. Great job, dude.

What’s amazing about being emotions and body language, as we noted somewhere in this post, is that you can sense it even with a person’s back towards you, like in this photo at Sambawan, Biliran, by Cris Bordon (check his @bordlove, for more photos). This one, we sense fierceness, too. We can be wrong of course. Turns out Cris is simply looking for his cellphone: “My mobile phone is missing. Can you help me find it in the picture?” Sorry, dude, we can’t help you with that; we can’t look past the beauty of the landscape shown in your photo.

If you want to see “fierce with attitude,” we found the right photo for you, here:

This is the globetrotting Denmark Alejandro (check his Instagram account, @thenmarked, for more photos) in Pandanon, Bohol. Top that, and we’ll feature your photo here. Game?

Find Yourself

“When was the last time you conquered yourself and you decided to step out in faith?”, Rome Bacsain asks in the caption of her photo in Mt. Ulap, Itogon, Benguet (check her Instagram account, @romegoesaway, for more photos). If it were some other photo in her feed, we’d readily know that she’s one lovely, fashionable lady. We don’t see any of those in this photo, with her face turned back from the camera, looking at the distant mountains somewhere in the Philippines. Yet we can feel the overflowing emotions in the photo composition, with the deep shade (of orange?) lending a deep sense of welcome solitude, in perfect harmony with her caption. Love, love, love!

[See also Climb Every Mountain: Philippine Travel Stories]

Perhaps people who wish to reflect on life are naturally drawn to mountains. Perhaps the magnificent view pushes people to reflect, even if they don’t mean to. With the breathtaking view, how can you not reflect on the deeper meaning of life? Things like, “baket ba kse ako umakyat dito, nakakapagod na bumaba.” Kidding aside, if you see a view like what Ali Zabala (check her Instagram account, @aljonatics_, for more photos) witnessed in Mt. Hapunang Baloi, Rodriguez, Rizal, what would you think of? Ali has this to say, “Never lose sight of what keeps your heart pumping.” Yes, sir.

From the top of another mountain, Mt. Batulao in Nasugbu, Batangas, Trish Whiz (check her Instagram account, @adventherese, for more photos) has this to say: “In the last quarter of 2016, I was in a bad place and this trip helped me to get out of there. It felt good when I finally started to go out again and do what I love. This was the start of my healing process.” We all fall into some dark place sometimes. We’re happy for you, Trish, and we’re rooting that you’ll continue your journey. We look forward to more photos of your journey and we do hope we’ll bump into you in one of our travels.

We will be updating this post, so tag us with your “emotional traveler” photos 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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