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This Palawan trip has indeed given me enough time to self-reflect and remember those beautiful and innocent moments in my life that I deleted. I'm definitely gonna check my old configuration...
"This Palawan trip has indeed given me enough time to self-reflect and remember those beautiful and innocent moments in my life that I deleted. I'm definitely gonna check my old configuration..."

► I didn't expect that this time would bring me back to my old self. I miss those days of youthful fun, really. I just overdid it. I don't blame anyone though, not even myself. I was young and careless. Making a mistake was part of the process.

► It was my old self who didn't care how good I should appear in photos. Browsing my old photos, I realized how my self-esteem changed a lot since then. I'd swear, whenever I look back to those photos, it's cringeworthy. I wonder where on earth I gained that level of confidence to post those photos, and still felt good and proud about it. Today is a different story.

[Palawan Province, Mimaropa Region, Luzon Group, Philippines]
EDMARATION
| 1 | [BATARAZA] ► THESE CULTURAL PERFORMERS, DURING THE TOWN'S FOUNDATION DAY CELEBRATION, WERE SO AMAZED TO SEE A 'TRAVEL VLOGGER'. MORE THAN 5 YEARS AGO, REGULAR LOCALS DIDN'T EVEN KNOW/CARE ABOUT BLOGGERS/VLOGGERS.
The rising popularity of YouTube may have killed the traditional blogging style, but it has also given bloggers a new way to express themselves online (through videos). While video blogging (in short, vlogging), is an old stuff, its popularity skyrocketed just recently when YouTube opened its partnership program for video creators to publish ads.

The internet community today (mostly, if not all) thinks that being a blogger is also being a YouTuber. It's not actually a wrong assumption, but it's not always the case. There are also bloggers who thrive in their rich world of wordplay and poetry.


 ►  Flashback: A setback of my travel goals and style



I've reached that point of becoming too busy for my corporate career—too busy that I didn't even care about the dates of upcoming special occasions or national events. Indeed, when you enter a different season in life and decide to take the road to maturity and real adulthood, there are previous habits and lifestyles that need to be deleted in your life.

As I've become more career-oriented, I also became very conscious of my time—spending it for myself to become as productive as possible. One of those habits that I gradually deleted in my life is the utilization of my precious time for too much fun (including my leisure travels and too much social media). Don't get me wrong. Having fun and using social media are not really bad; however, danger comes in when too much attention are allotted for the aforementioned, hence endangering our balance (homeostasis) as a holistic human being.

So what's the connection of homeostasis to my recent travel to Palawan? I would answer this way. I went to Palawan without knowing I would celebrate the Chinese New Year there. Straight from work, I took my flight to Palawan. As I said, I've reached that point where I've become too busy that I already didn't care of these national or international events that I used to fervently track. I didn't know it was going to be the first day of the year of the metal rat!

Since I'm new to the world-of-too-much-work (another season of my life), I'm still learning how to balance it, again; or shall I say, re-calibration?

I was afraid to live another imbalanced life (before was too much fun, less career). I wanted to bring back the old fun and figure out how to balance it with my new world—a probinsiyano millennial doing corporate jobs in the big city.

An invitation of a friend to visit an isolated island in the Sulu Sea was an idea that I entertained. We've planned for this trip for several months; and that trip was the reason why I was in Palawan. I took this opportunity to undo and recover the deletion of "too much fun" in my life.

I reformatted my life recently, but I forgot to save a back-up copy of the configuration that once made me a very positive and happy man. Now, I want to recover those—not necessarily everything, but even a small portion of the data will do. I know I could develop those remaining data into creating a more complex yet life-changing (for good) existential algorithm.

After almost three (3) years of living in the busy world, it's now "been there, done that." I already have a first-hand experience of both perspectives—too much fun and too much work. I would say I'm wiser today than yesterday.

This Palawan visit would jump-start another season in my life—with new lessons learned as an adult. We should not stop improving ourselves, should we?


 ►  Puerto Princesa: Chinese New Year 2020



I didn't expect that this time would bring me back to my old self. I miss those days of youthful fun, really. I just overdid it. I don't blame anyone though, not even myself. I was young and careless. Making a mistake was part of the process. It's weird, but those times I made a mistake were seasons I didn't really consider myself to have committed a mistake. For me it was a learning curve.

Now that I've been exposed to more complex life processes, I could probably go back to the old fun with an army of wisdom and maturity in me.

Chinese New Year Palawan
| 2 | [PUERTO PRINCESA] ► IN EVERY SHOW, THERE'S ALWAYS AN INTRO. FOR ME, MY LIFE IS ALSO A REAL-LIFE SHOW WITH MANY CHAPTERS; AND THIS TRIP WAS THE INTRO FOR MY NEWEST SEASON IN LIFE.
Walking randomly in and around the downtown of Puerto Princesa allowed me to time travel to my old style—something I dearly miss.

I knew myself that my taste of a good travel is not really seeing the most popular tourist attractions. Don't get me wrong. I also love visiting the popular tourist spots; but I feel like I could level-up my appreciation for a destination when I walk (or simply sit still) solo while I introspect. I know this is an old story. Many travel bloggers have said that, but I will still say it because I mean it.

Chinese New Year Palawan
| 3 | [PUERTO PRINCESA] ► TRAVELING WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS IS VERY FULFILLING, BUT TRAVELING SOLO IS MY ORIGINAL STYLE. I TRAVELED WITH SOMEONE THIS DAY, BUT I MADE SURE TO HAVE AN AMPLE "ME-TIME."
Chinese New Year Palawan
| 4 | [PUERTO PRINCESA] ► VALENCIA STREET IS THE EPICENTER OF PALAWAN'S CHINATOWN.
I love these: observing people, looking at the trees, counting the fastood restaurants I saw, counting the lanes of a street to figure out how broad it is, stepping onto covered drainage manholes, searching for the tallest building in the downtown, counting how many floors that building has, and more.

Walking along the Rizal Avenue of Puerto Princesa made me discover that the city was going to stage a Chinese New Year event at the Chinatown Center Palawan (Valencia Street, near the public market). That moment, I realized I would be welcoming another lunar year outside my hometown Vigan. I immediately went back to the pension house where I stayed to take all my blogging essentials with me. You know, blogging and traveling were the most important duo of my old self.

I got back that enthusiasm to document and blog this event. I lost that enthusiasm, but I'm recovering it back.


 ►  Resurging the Travel Spirit



Admittedly, I gradually lost both the desire to travel and the desire to blog/write lately. For the past few years, there was also a sharp decline of blogs published daily. I don't know exactly the reason why that happened; but I surely know myself that I also became inactive in blogging not because I joined the bandwagon, but because I changed my priorities.

Majority of bloggers are millennials (indeed, this is a millennial thing). I believe, the reason why others set aside blogging in the mean is the same as mine.

I thought I was going to graduate as a travel blogger. Aside from the fact that I shifted to a different career (still related to health care though, but this is the hipper side of the nursing profession), I admit that my interest to travel also declined by time, probably because I've been to the places I once drooled to visit; and the travel satiety has taken me over.

One thing more, I don't have much liberty now like I used to do. Before, I could ask a vacation leave for a month—something that was easy-peasy for me to do when I was still hospital-based; not because my health care service wasn't needed, but because I had the privilege to ask for it with an army of supportive bosses and colleagues who support my life passions outside my nursing profession.

I thank God for this time. Visiting Palawan (and that island in the Sulu Sea) has caused the heavens to pour out the spirit of travel-joy for me. That emotion is something that I consider a spiritual experience—a personal moment when traveling changes your view of the world (in an affirmative manner) and of your existence (more on the motivational and anti-depression side). How cliché is that?

I could somehow say that I've just risen from the travel grave. On the third day, I resurrected. Yes, I just did. This was an 11-day adventure.


 ►  Bataraza: Visiting My Relatives



I'm beyond joyful to reconnect and be hosted by no other than my relatives in Bataraza, Palawan. Visiting my relatives in Bataraza allowed me to decode my genetic make-up. Reconnecting with my relatives and learning more about the history of our clan solidified my love for travel. I may have set it aside mean time, but I knew it's gonna haunt me back.

EDMARATION
| 5 | [PALAWAN] ► I TOOK THIS SELFIE INSIDE A VAN GOING TO BATARAZA FROM BROOKE'S POINT.
I had a great time chatting with my auntie about the diaspora of our clan. My father is as well part of the diaspora that happened every generation—from Mindanao, he migrated to Vigan (and many of his siblings too left their hometown in Kabacan, North Cotabato without losing their strong connection to their hometown).

Our clan has a long history of migration. However, we could only trace our forefathers 3 generations ahead of us through reconnecting with relatives and reconciling our family tree (a cousin of mine is active in tracing more though).

EDMARATION
| 6 | [BATARAZA] ► MY AUNT AND MY COUSIN TOURED ME AROUND THIS TOWN IN SOUTHERN PALAWAN.
EDMARATION
| 7 | [BATARAZA] ► MY COUSIN, WHO WORKS AT THE MUNICIPAL HALL, HELPED ME SECURE THIS VIP SEAT.
What enticed my paternal bloodline for continuous migration every generation is something that I'm still trying to figure out. One thing is greener pasture. My great grandfather went to Mindanao and acquired hectares of land. As a child going home to Mindanao, I was amazed to see those fields that were so huge and wide the eye can see. Mindanao was indeed a fertile soil for them to till. Me, my brothers, and my cousins under my Eteng lineage love traveling and going to new places. I could probably say that it's part of our genetic makeup to have that strong desire to explore new places and conquer new territories. You may challenge me to show a scientific evidence but I'm not going there. My intuition and guts are enough. It's natural. We love going places but we never forget where we came from.

Not all people love to travel; but my clan, majority of us, are vagabonds. Many of us are migrants too. We didn't settle in one place to form a tribe. We instead conquered new territories, from generations to generation.

Having born and grown in Vigan, I consider this city as my hometown by heart and spirit. I think we were tasked by destiny to repopulate or Eteng-ize Vigan. 😂

Kidding aside, I've just found new reasons to travel (to reconnect) as we (our clan) were spread (both Eteng and Guquib) from the flower farms of Benguet, to the valleys of Kalinga, to the rice fields of Isabela and Cotabato, to the towns of Palawan, and to the communities near the Agusan marsh! That's all I know for now. I'm excited to find more!

Note: We are of Ilocano-Cordilleran heritage and we speak Ilocano even some were from Mindanao (some millennials of our clan have adapted the local language though, but still could understand Ilocano).

This is just the story of my Eteng (my grandmother) lineage with roots from the land of warriors (then Kalinga-Apayao). My Guquib (grandfather) side is another story, but has the same migration plot.

From the three original old folks, the most ancient that we could trace (our ancestors), we spread like wildfire in the Philippines and in the world. 😂

Like a lost tribe, we now have a strong connection through social media. Most members of the clan were never seen by me in person. Annual clan reunion is also happening for many years now.

Now I got more reasons to travel far and wide with all these blood-connections.


 ►  Brooke's Point: How I Lost My Self-Esteem?



After visiting my family in Bataraza, I went back to Brooke's Point town where my travel buddies were waiting. We visited the downtown and enjoyed how idyllic it was. Few meters away was the market where I met fellow Ilocanos. I didn't expect I was going to meet one here. One of them was from Pangasinan, and they speak Ilocano at home. I learned that there is a significant Ilocano community in this town—like Ilocanos who haven't assimilated to the local language.

EDMARATION
| 8 | [BROOKE'S POINT] ► THIS FEELING IS SO FAMILIAR—LIVE JOURNAL AT PORTS, SLEEPING AT TERMINALS. YEAH, VERY TRADITIONAL 'POOR TRAVEL BLOGGER' STYLE.
I miss the old travel style that speaks, non-verbally, of who I really am—randomly meeting locals and learning their stories. Come on, it's so inspirational and interesting to hear the stories of these people. How cliché is that?

I admit I deleted these travel styles I used to embrace because some people called it superficial whenever I claim and write about it online. I was swayed to believing them. You know, I sometimes consider the comments of other people, for my self-improvement; but not all of them helped me improve.

Because my stories of immersing myself with the locals and appreciating the local way of life were things that were viewed as superficial in an attempt to romanticize my travel stories, I shifted to doing what I thought was a more acceptable travel trend—the instagrammy style: glossy, nice view, nice hotel room, aura, filtered photos, nice clothes, taking off my clothes to show my skin and body, choosing the best angle, and mostly unrealistic stuff. I'm not against the instagram travel style because I don't have the right to dictate what other travelers should do. I, myself, was influenced by that style and trend. I'd admit that I still do it now; and I liked it. The former replaced my old travel style of being dirty poor in my travel narratives and ugly in photos.

My visit to Brooke's Point made me remember my old self on the road: dirty, poor, ugly, sunburned, broke but happy, etc. It was my old self who didn't care how good I should appear in photos. Browsing my old photos, I realized how my self-esteem changed a lot since then. I'd swear, whenever I look back to those photos, it's cringeworthy. I wonder where on earth I gained that level of confidence to post those photos, and still felt good and proud about it. Today is a different story. I've been more insecure of my self when I was exposed to a new environment that's devoid of acceptance, saturated with unnecessary competition. I tried to blend in the new crowd, but I lost the true identity that defined who I am.


 ►  Ending Thoughts


This Palawan trip has indeed given me enough time to self-reflect and remember those beautiful and innocent moments in my life that I deleted. I'm definitely gonna check my old configuration, and extract the essential basic html codes of my life I used to replace (with a more complex process), leading my life to suffer the effects of a lower bandwidth. It was so complex, yet unnecessary—limiting my potentials and ability to develop a new better version of me.

I surely will undergo a travel reconfiguration by fusing the essentials of both my old and new versions. For my resurrected travel bug, I'll ctrl+alt+delete, switch user, trouble shoot, reconfigure, and reboot. I'm excited to travel more like I used to do. There is a saying clinging in my head now: "Old, but gold." I'm going back to my old style, mixed with the essentials of the new world. I can't wait to test-run my new, yet classic version.💚 | end of story |

I value your thoughts! The comment box is located at the most bottom part of this section, or above (in the beginning of this article). :)



Maps Showing the Location of PALAWAN

MAP OF PALAWAN
► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

✈ This post was filed under the categories "Travel Diaries" and "Feature Posts". See more posts related to this below.

✈ The maps I used on this post are from maps.google.com.ph.

✈ All photos are mine.

✈ The insights, condition and name of places or properties I mentioned here are based on the facts and situation on the day of my visit. Take note that you may have a different experience when you try the activities or see the properties/places mentioned here. Names of places and properties may also change by time.
UPDATE HISTORY FOR THIS BLOG POST
► 05-April-2020: This post was published.


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EDMAR GUQUIB

Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano. Genuine Bigueño. Sucker of Long Land Trips. Loves the Highlands. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For sponsorship, advertising, event invites and collaborations email me at edmaration@gmail.com.

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