Sharing all things about pet-friendly travels and full-time work from home setup

My Philippines’ Top Travel Blogs for 2013

Five years ago when I moved from Bicol to Manila because of work, I was a shy provenciana then who only knew three places from where I rent a space: my office, the  church and the nearest mall I can hangout on my rest days. That’s how small I thought the world is. But everything changed when I met a number of foreign travelers who visited the country recently. Their travel stories made such a great impact that I got bitten by the travel bug quickly.  Meeting them through a traveler’s website, opened a door for me to join a local travel community and to meet the local travelers.  I got very curious big time on how they made it possible to go places that I discovered most of them have blogs where they share their travel experiences. I did started my own  travel blog too but my accomplishments since I have work on holidays are just a dot to what they have. This is how I got hooked up on travel blogs.

Note: This is in response to Melo Villareal's  Out of Town Blog Top Travel Blog of the Philippines Survey

It just feels great that for every travel blog I read, it leads me to another travel blog so It is very easy to compare and gauge what are those that satiates my preference. Hats off to the people behind these travel blogs whom I think stand out from the rest: 

His travel writing style and photos are average but he has this unique charisma on how to catch the attention of the public. When he decided to travel  the 80 provinces of the country, he did not just said “I will travel the whole Philippines” instead made a blog post of “100 Days of Backpacking the Philippines“ and he did not just showed that he traveled the cheapest way instead he emphasized it by using the hammock as the way . He is now organizing tours.  He found a way to make money out of his blog. Isn’t that great?

His travel writing style and photos are above average compared to Journeying James. He uses florid words and technical phrases that he is more of a writer. What I like more of him is he delves a little bit deeper to the historical side or some informative trivia of a place not just showcasing its physical distinction which most of the travel bloggers don’t emphasize this side too much.  I followed every single post of him when he traveled across USA for  monhts.  I was also able to join his walking tour a few months ago and he knows a lot.

Who would not forget her viral blog post “Date a girl who travels?” She touched every traveler's hearts with her line “Date a girl who would rather save up for out of town trips or day trips than buy new shoes or clothes. She may not look like a fashion plate, but behind that tanned and freckled face from all the days out in the sun, lies a mind that can take you places and an open heart that will take you for what you are, not for what you can be…” Awww… 

I just hate it when most of the travel blogs I read whenever it is owned by a girl it is full of her solo photos, you know those jump shots and close ups.  This one is an exception. Her writing style is very formal than that of Solitary Wanderer. Photos are great and the itineraries are described in full details that you will feel that the kind of research is superb and thorough scrutiny.

Two girls quit their job and traveled SE Asia for 6 months… this is their story which is a quest for a location – independent lifestyle that made me curious to check this travel blog the first time. The travel writing style is very light more of conversational often with a personal tone not the one that I read from The Pinay Solo Backpacker. This is a blog for a girl-powered travelers that features more of the experiences than the place itself.  Photos are average but somehow the blog stands out in terms of girl – power community in travel blogging.

Two distinctive things from her: she often posts her super cute doll mestiza looking daughter who is of mixed race and her occasional in two – piece bikini photos. Who else would not be carried away to click that ‘Like’ thing on Facebook and keep on staring at the photos on her blog and fan page? I also loved her photos while she, her husband and her baby doll made a round-the-world trip.

This blog is mixed with some wit and humor that I think they did not mind  about SEO considerations to rank higher in search engines. They just write their heart out like having the balls of posting this anonymous traveler’s tale who went into this place, met someone along the road, slept together, texted and called for a while after when each got home then forgot  each other. 

I was there in a travel product store at The Fort when she had a “despedida” announcement that she is going to have a round-the-world-trip. I can still remember what she said “When you are 35, single and have saved enough money you have no choice but to travel the world.” which made everyone laugh. She is now back and traveled for 14 months nonstop, been to 25 countries, 110 cities and spent around 2 million. Who would not want to be in her shoes for that?

He has the best travel photos and comprehensive travel blog posts of all the travel blogs I mentioned above. I just recently found his travel blog and just seconds after his homepage appeared I knew I am viewing a one-of-a-kind travel blog.

This is one of the earliest blogs I remembered appearing whenever I would google every travel-related search I have in 2009 back when travel blogs are still few. I am also into culture and heritage that’s why I personally love his blog. He was one of the organizers of the International Conference on Cultural Tourism last year where I am a participant and it was cool seeing him there.

Travel blogs have mushroomed so much that the competition to retain a big chunk of readership is really a challenge. Sooner or later every travel blogger will be covering almost every single part of the country so there is a need to evolve.  We all know that online readers have a very short attention span. These travel blogs should find a way to be kept in mind by these readers for a longer time. To create an advocacy like to teach a craft to the locals while on the road or be bold enough to write the flaws of the place NOT always the promotion of tourism I think are great ideas. To tell which ones are worth - visiting and which ones are better left untouched are a lot greater. 

I once backpacked to this place alone because I was drooling to the photos of a travel blog and its extraordinaire description only to find out that there were a lot of stray dogs and not advisable to be explored alone. I finally was able to visit the place when I met a few locals along the way going there as well. To my disappointment, it was overly promoted. I wished it was described as is instead of a paradise superbly enhanced by an image-editing software. 

Should this be the future of travel blogging, what do you think?

Hi there :) My name is Maria Rona Beltran, the Founder of this travel blog and shop - Travel Maria you are reading right now. I want to stay connected to you to a lot of other online ways so I am sharing you my other social media accounts.  See y'all online soon:)

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  1. Aw. this is so sweet! An honor!
    what SEO? LOL :-)
    Hugs from us both!

  2. Thanks for including me in your list! Stellar list you have here, I'm --as Ron said-- honored. :)

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  4. ahhh... i love ate gael's pinay solo backpacker too...

    if i were a girl, i would have a girl crush on wanderlass hahahaha...

  5. Great list. And my fave travel blog tops your list. :)

  6. Good job for making a post like this Mariaronbeltran. I'm a follower of We are sole sisters!

  7. Indeed, Philippines is the best place to visit on group or even solo backpacker.
    Let's continuously promote local tourism in the Philippines.

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  9. stumbled on this post while searching something. thanks for including me on the list and giving an honest review. yeah, i stopped writing travel narratives over a year ago,I do write some personal stories 2-3 per year only, because I have to pour my heart when writing it. lol my blog originally started as a diary of my travels, never thought it will attract readers. Eventually, I got scared and shy sharing personal stories, so most of my old personal posts and long drawn narratives are now in private, readers can no longer read them. I guess I don't want the blog to look like every article is all about me. :D I decided to answer most questions by writing guides and all. From time to time I get email and messages from old readers asking me to write travel stories again, like the old times. Maybe soon enough I'll write that way again, but for now, I save narratives for travel magazines. For me, travel blogging is not a competition, what's more important is we connect, we help and learn from each other and use our blog as a tool to improve lives in certain communities and encourage/influence our readers to bring out the best in them. Nice meeting you here dear. Happy travels and more power! :)

  10. wow! thank you for dropping by and these nice words to me. you're one of my most admired travel bloggers in the phil :)

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