"He is the first Pinoy to successfully visit all the law-created 1634 municipalities and cities in the Philippines."

• Marco told me that his most expensive trip was in...

• "Tanggap ko na, na hindi ko siya magagawa noong..." Marco recognized the possibility that he may no longer do this goal in his lifetime.

๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ FEATURE STORY • Note: Ads may appear in this post. Google may automatically place them in between paragraphs.
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I think it's safe to say that he is the most traveled person in the Philippines today based on the number of towns and cities he visited. He is the first Pinoy to successfully visit all the law-created 1634 municipalities and cities in the Philippines. He recently completed his "1634 PH" project this year by landing to his last town—the Kalayaan town in Palawan, a Philippine-settled sovereign territory in the contested Spratlys archipelago.

 ►  How Did I Meet Marco?

This is a 10-year project that he started in March 2013. I first met Marco in 2014 when we visited some towns in Abra. Our first meet-up was virtual when we had a conversation about some towns in Abra online. This followed our Amburayan towns and Southern Ilocos Sur towns project, and continued with our epic Mapun island adventure in the Sulu sea. During our first meeting, I thought he was just joking when he told me that he had a crazy idea of visiting all the towns and cities around the Philippine archipelago. About 9 years ago, I was with this man who would become the first Pinoy to visit all the towns and cities 9 years later from that moment.

๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ LANGIDEN • The first time I met Marco Puzon in person was in 2014. The first town we explored together was the town of Langiden in Abra.
Last night (08/12/2023), I called Marco. I asked him if I could feature his story on this blog as an entry to this national blogging conference. I didn't want to call this a competition, because every story is a winner on its own merit. I wanted Marco to feel that his story is feature-worthy with or without winning.

Marco did not hesitate to share his story on my platform. We had almost an hour of phone calls. I know it was not enough. His collection of 1634 towns and cities is definitely an endless story to tell. So I asked him questions that he has also answered in many of his interviews, but I will continue to re-echo his answers in my platform for his story to be heard by more people.

 ►  Where and How 1634 PH Came to Be?

I was curious why he was doing this. What was his motivation? We had a long chat about this, but let me share to you the reason how and where he started this project based on his own written words.

MARCO: “Was I going to tick off an entire province for just going to a single town that was far from the capital?” On July 17, 13 years ago, the idea to visit all the towns and cities came to be. I had the opportunity to facilitate a workshop in the town of Barobo in Surigao del Sur BUT thanks to a flight delay of several hours, I had no opportunity to see more of this town aside from the seaside resort venue. Given the tight schedule, I also had zero chances of even seeing the provincial capital Tandag City. I knew that there must be more to it than just ticking off an entire province without seeing a lot more than it could offer. I credit Barobo as the birthplace of 1634 PH - the dream to see all of the towns and cities of the Philippines. I revisited Barobo in July 2017, registering it as No. 1434/1634, marking the start of the last 200 towns and cities.

๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ FEATURED • Photo of Barobo’s municipal seal featured along with five other photos in Marco’s “Where Was I Today” posts detailing his whereabouts on a particular day from 2013 to 2020.
Although he considers Barobo as the birthplace of this travel project, Marco officially started his goal in the town of San Ildefonso, Bulacan which he tagged as town #1. I asked him why he chose San Ildefonso, Bulacan. He told me that he used to pass through Bulacan towns via NLEX going to and from Manila. With a curious spirit and after 30 years, he wanted to discover Bulakenyo towns along the Maharlika Highway. He packed his bags and traveled to San Ildefonso, Bulacan and eight other towns in Nueva Ecija and Pampanga for Day 1. He registered San Ildefonso as his No. 1/1634. That moment was a history in the making.

 ►  Worst Experience Among All the Towns

I asked Marco about his worst experience in this 10-year project. Marco responded: "I have no worst experience." In his point of view, unfortunate things that may have happened in pursuit of this grand travel goal were not about the town per se but due to "unfortunate circumstances." He did not want to blame the town and its people. It was just an unfortunate timing that could happen to any of us. He did not want to put these towns in a bad light just because he had these unfortunate circumstances.

 ►  Challenges Encountered Along the Way

At one point, Marco wanted to give up, firmly when sharing this story, and the conversation left my heart pierced —because I understand the effort, the time, and the resources he spent to achieve this goal, only to feel hopeless because of the pandemic.

With only six towns left, too close to completion. It was too close, yet so far. Marco lamented, “Tanggap ko na, na hindi siya magagawa noong pandemic." Marco recognized the possibility that he may no longer achieve this goal in his lifetime during the pandemic years.

I have also shared my survival story during the pandemic on this blog. Like me, Marco is also a pandemic survivor. He mentioned to me how his resources were depleted—including his life goals that were set aside due to the pandemic.

๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ BUTIG • Photo of a commemorative marker in Bayang and an eco park in Camp Daril Iman in Butig, Lanao del Sur municipal seal featured along with four other photos taken elsewhere in the country in Marco’s “Where Was I Today” posts detailing his whereabouts on a particular day from 2013 to 2020.
Another challenge that he encountered reaching the far-flung towns safely, like in Butig and Bayang in Lanao del Sur. He relied on the knowledge and kindness of the people to overcome logistic and accommodation challenges. There are many towns with no accommodation facilities for visitors, so he coordinated with the LGU for recommendations. Residents opened their homes, and Marco even got hosted in several occasions by the mayors, vice mayors, municipal councilors and by the barangay captains.

 ►  His Most Expensive Trips in PH + Mapun stories.

Though he did not want to divulge exactly, Marco told me his back-to-back adventures to complete the last six towns was his most expensive trip; and it also took him a month’s leave from work to visit the final six: Tagapul-an, Sto.Niรฑo, Almagro in Samar; San Vicente and Capul in Northern Samar; and Kalayaan in Palawan.

 ►  What's Next for the Most Traveled Pinoy?

After landing to his last town, Marco shared these insights about completing his 10-year project:

I began this journey on March 27, 2013 and before the 1634PH goal reaches its’ 10th year, I managed to visit Pag-asa Island along with two other islands, Lawak and Likas, as part of the Great Kalayaan Expedition, completing all the 148 cities and 1486 municipalities of the Philippines.

“How far will I go?” My post in 2013 asked; and on its first day, I clocked three provinces, four cities and 11 municipalities. I have gone way farther than I imagined, and as the news of the completion of my travel goal spread, I feel grateful to have finally reached 1634/1634. I am thankful for each of the congratulatory messages that I received, for every assistance and acts of hospitality received since Day One.

“Which is your favorite city or place? Do you have a top ten list?” These questions have been asked, but I will not answer them as I really find it difficult to squeeze all 1634 to just 10. I chuckle at the different natures of the comments by netizens, some cynical, bitter, happy, proud… but I hope all of them reach their dreams too, travel goals included. The 1634PH goal formally ends tomorrow, and I graciously and quietly close this part of my life, but with travel updating to be done should a municipality votes for cityhood in a plebiscite or if a new town or province is created. A day to a full decade tomorrow, the record fiercely stands at 82-148-1486, reached after 116 sorties (29 work-related, 87 leisure) of 480+ non-consecutive days in a span of 10 years. Follow your dreams. I wish you all the best.
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ KALAYAAN • Marco completed his 10-year 1634 project this year by visiting his ultimate town located in the West Philippine Sea.

 ►  Mainstream Media Recognition

The completion of this travel project was noticed/picked-up by the mainstream media.

Marco's story is indeed very interesting and historic. This blog entry is not enough to share all his best experiences. The last town that he visited was the Kalayaan town in Palawan, a sovereign territory of the Philippines in the Spratlys archipelago.

Fellow Great Kalayaan Expedition traveler and GMA News TV main anchor Raffy Tima featured Marco on the evening news. Other media outfits also had interest, like the morning show "Kada Umaga" hosted by Pia Guanio in the segment: "Pinoy Inspiring Amazing Story." View the interview on YouTube.

๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ QUEZON CITY • Marco had a photo with host Pia Guanio in a show where he was entitled "Pinoy Inspiring Amazing Story: Unang Pilipinong nakalibot sa buong lungsod ng Pilipinas"
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ PASIG • A radio station in Pasig introduced Marco this way: "Kilalanin ang ating Ehemplo na si Marco Puzon. Siya ay isang Manunulat, Community Developer, at ang kauna-unahang Pilipino na nakalibot sa 1,634 na bayan at lungsod sa buong Pilipinas. Tunghayan at alamin ang kuwento sa likod ng makulay na paglalakbay ni Marco Puzon sa inyong himpilang 702 DZAS FEBC RADYO TV.
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ FEATURED • Marco was tagged by GMA Network as the "Ultimate Pinoy Adventurer."
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ FEATURED • Marco's first mainstream media appearance was on GMA News TV through Raffy Tima."

 ►  Ending Thoughts

For a millennial like me, I constantly look for inspiration from amazing and inspiring people. Being a millennial, travel blogging is the online niche that I have discovered to best represent myself. Marco's story definitely ignited more fire in me. I may not be able to duplicate his achievement, but Marco told me to never compare myself to him. He said that each person has a travel goal that is unique from the others.

During his interview with Pia Guanio, the host asked what was the highlight of the completion of his 1634 project as he landed on Kalayaan islands located in the geopolitical hotspot of the West Philippine Sea. Marco said: "I feel proud when I got there. I'm proud that I was able to sing our National Anthem when I was there."

๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ KALAYAAN • Marco: "I feel proud when I got there. I'm proud that I was able to sing our National Anthem when I was there."
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ KALAYAAN • Marco (from his Facebook post): "Ultimate travel goal: Joining the flag ceremony with municipal employees, officials, uniformed personnel, pupils at the integrated school, and other guests at the grounds of Kalayaan Municipal Hall and the Tomas Cloma Shrine. Never have I ever been prouder to sing our anthem on Pag-asa Island, Kalayaan, Palawan. (Monday 03.20.2023)"
Landing to his last town, Marco posted a photo of a marker on Pag-asa island with the Philippine flag on it and a banner showing that the Philippines has 1634 towns and cities; and Kalayaan town is part of the Philippine sovereign territories that he visited—his 1634th town.

More than all these travel achievements, Marco traveled to many towns and cities with a purpose. He traveled as a community developer and researcher, helped war-torn towns, facilitated psychological interventions to women and children of communities affected by disasters, and did a lot of social works in far-flung towns despite the danger and the risks. In his travels, the footprints that he left may have been temporary; but he, for sure, left a permanent impact to the people he helped. This is the story of Marco Puzon: the most traveled Pinoy in the Philippines, a fellow Ilocano, and a proud Filipino. • END OF STORYFollow Marco's online travel journal at Marco de PH. You can also see all his media appearances in his page, as well as an updated post of his 1634 travel project.

This story is an entry to COMCO Mundo’s “UNMASKED: The COMCO Mundo Write to Ignite Season 3”. The initiative aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities. “UNMASKED” aims to explore how each mask is a person brimming with hope and wonders to share with others, as well as why it is important to tell their inspiring journeys in life. The “Write to Ignite” Season 3 is made possible by COMCO Mundo League of Enterprises, with airasia, Babyflo, PHILUSA Corporation, Century Tuna, Licealiz, Lamoiyan Corporation, Rรฉmy Martin, and Uratex Monoblock as brand partners.




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• 2023-August-12: This post was published.



Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano-Cordilleran. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For collaboration or partnership, email your business proposal at admin@edmaration.com.

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