#PH81: Is it Worth It?

Conquering 81 provinces of the Philippines, or #PH81, is a goal set by some travelers.The sheer number of our administrative units in this country is something that poses as a challenge--not only by Malacanang and the Interior Department, but also by our biyaheros, lagawan, latagaw. A challenge that every traveler is game to complete, like Pokemon.

PH81: Building Bridges, Conquering Stereotypes

Personally, I've set this as my goal for my twenty-something year old self:
"Uy! May seat sale nanaman! Saan nanaman kaya ako pupunta?"
"Naku! Kelangan ko mabili yang ticket na yan!"
"Gusto kong pumunta doon!"
"Kelangan kong makumpleto ang lahat ng probinsya sa Pinas!"
From Luzon to Mindanao, we travelers set it as a personal goal. It is a good objective actually. It enables more Filipinos to explore the different cultures and natural treasures that the Philippines is endowed with. No longer they are boxed in the small world, but embracing the beauty and the diversity that our country can offer. No longer we are boxed with the usual akala and the stereotypical image of the probinsya, the syudad, and others.

In other words, nagiging malawak ang kaisipan nating mga biyahero tungkol sa ating mundong ginagalawan. It teaches us how to respect other peoples, their customs, and appreciate it. We eventually learn more beyond our usual "Sibika and Cultura/Makabayan" subjects in school or what we see on television.

Those 81 provinces has something unique to offer to every visitor for an experience.

And for us biyaheros, visiting that province is like earning a badge of merit, an experience worth reminiscing, and lessons learned.


Despite it being a noble goal, some people tend to flaunt it, or even shove it to others. Some of them think this is the basis of being "well-traveled," and makes you a legit "traveler" and not just some tourist.

Some people say that, "Hey, I've been to all provinces! Iwan niyo na ang trabaho niyo at maglakbay!" Others would mention, "Napuntahan ko na iyan. Ay! Hindi mo pa napuntahan?" While some may sound quite innocent, but it may become trigger words that may label us as an a**hole. While others are intentionally looking down at those who haven't traveled well.

Let us be considerate. Some people are having hard time traveling due to various reasons--mostly financial and time. Maaaring may pinagdadaanan sila besh. Being a d*ck doesn't inspire people to travel, seriously.

Our own struggle

Sometimes, it's not even on the goal-setter themselves who may trigger it, but the readers themselves. They may feel a sense of envy or jealousy with the other traveler, or pagka-inis.

There were some studies that were posted countless of times on legit media stating that browsing through vacation photos of your friend on Facebook or social media may trigger our depression and bitterness.

There are times that even if we went there for business, study, or an urgent concern that makes traveling a necessity, some people couldn't avoid but be envious about it, to the point na sisrain ka or accuse you of being "everywhere" and not living the life that they have.

Personally, sometimes I do feel this from some of my friends, then say "sana andun din ako, hindi rito." Aminado din ako na sometimes I feel envious on people having conquered all the provinces in the Philippines--a goal that my twenty-year old self would have wanted to finish.

Then again, I was battling my own devil. That is when unplugging on social media becomes a cure.

Kanya-kanyang diskarte sa biyahe, ika nga.

Realizing the complexity of emotions (and adulting), I accepted that I'm not able to conquer it all in such a short time, and would instead savour a rather longer or slow cruise to each destination, as I age. Tito mode na kumbaga. Eventually, I hope, I would conquer them all--unless some congressman would create another province from their fiefdom, then all 81 of them.

As for the readers and fellow bloggers, it's all about kanya-kanyang diskarte. While some have goals of conquering all the provinces, others prefer to take it slow. Some would love to go around ASEAN while others just chill in the Philippines. Envy doesn't bring any good to us emotionally--we might end up depressed, unmotivated, and bitter. Kumbaga, let's just respect each others way of travel. Let's be happy that we have goals to conquer. Let's not be d*cks.

For those who are to conquer the 81 provinces: GO CONQUER #PH81! They are worth your effort and experience. Just take note though that this is not a race or a competition, but rather a goal that we are to accomplish for ourselves. We recommend that we take some time to appreciate the greatness of the place, and be part of it one way or another. It will have its ups and downs--that's what adventure is all about. :)

As for me, priorities have changed. While I still love to travel, but as I've mentioned earlier, I prefer to take it slow. Financially, it has been a struggle as you go "adulting." I got bills to pay. Another one is my graduate studies. I have to balance work and school in a city that gobbles up your travel time itself. So much for knocking on the thirties, but hey, I like it still. :) I have to beat the energy gap sometimes.

No matter, we have different reasons why we travel. Visiting all the 81 provinces is still a goal worth getting--in our own pace and time. (I pray that it'll stay 81 please, for the love of the people and the Philippines--unless, you know...)