Isabela, being the second largest province in the Philippines, and the largest in Luzon, is relatively unheard of in terms of tourism.
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It was only until I was invited to become a guest speaker for a Regional Travel Summit, where I quickly went down to research on what the city has to offer. Thankfully, there was a direct local flight from Manila to Cauayan that took only 1.2hrs of travel compared to an 11-hr journey by bus. It was as accessible as it can be, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. Characterised by its green, rolling terrains and kilometre-stretch of plain lands, Isabela proves to be a laid-back province, but quietly progressing into becoming the next big tourist destination in the Philippines.
The event that I was invited to was organised by TKETProject (Tourism Kinesthetics & Economic Trajectory – Project), the only premiere travel studio in the Philippines that aims to promote innovative thinking in the field of Tourism and Hospitality. It took place in Ilagan, the capital city of Isabela, which gathered about 300 Hospitality and Tourism graduating students from 2 representing Universities.
It was my first time to represent TheTravellingFoxes. I mainly talked about the Art of Purposeful Travel and how I’m turning my passion into profit. Putting in mind my audience who had very limited resources or opportunities to travel as much, I focused on inspiring them to go out of their comfort zone and be open to trying out new things. It was pretty clear that they only had one dream profession in mind (and perhaps the only way for them to travel).
One girl was asked, “What do you want to be after you graduate?” “A flight attendant” “Why?” “Because I want to serve people” “Serve them how?” “Like, serve them food”
Most of them, if not all, aspired to be a flight attendant. But, when I asked the crowd who among them wanted to start their own businesses someday, almost everyone raised their hands. These were kids with big potential and ambitious dreams, but are probably limited by what they know is accessible and possible for them. The event provided them an avenue to feel motivated, and the speakers including myself, aimed to inspire them to dream bigger and to think out-of-the-box. Sharing my stories on how I travelled, put up my own business, failed, learned, and now, starting another passion project, hopefully challenges them to do the same.
I was very moved when the students went up to me right after the event, telling me how in some way, I was able to touch their lives and inspire them. Experiences like these fuel my passion even more, and give me hope to see the youth getting interested in topics such as entrepreneurship. A province like Isabela definitely needs innovation and growth. It has immense potential, and it all starts with the youth. If we instil in their minds how much potential they have to succeed, the possibilities are endless.
It was unfortunate that I only had limited time at Isabela, which is why I wasn’t able to tour the place more. I heard though, that there are 3 beautiful islands with white sand beaches (Palanan/Dicotcotan, Divilacan, Maconacon) that are uncharted and unexplored due to the inaccessibility and lack of roads. Most of the roads are being developed now and will most probably be open to the public in less than two years’ time. This I’m excited about, but until then, I hope to go back and feature them before it becomes the next destination to be!
Want to watch the official video? Click on this link here!