Travel Writing and Blogging Workshop at the Filipinas Heritage Library


Have you ever written something about your adventures when in Manila? A trip to the historic walled city of Intramuros, maybe? Or that time that you visited the National Museum in Taft Avenue? I’ve always enjoyed writing about my trips – aside from having something to remember in tangible form, I get to share my experiences as well.

 

Travel Writing and Blogging Workshop at the Filipinas Heritage Library with April Yap
Filipinas Heritage Library at the Ayala Triangle Gardens Makati

 

I recently got to participate in a travel writing and blogging workshop at the Filipinas Heritage LibraryApril Yap, a PhD Candidate in Creative Writing at UP Diliman, facilitated the workshop.  Like most travel enthusiasts, she admitted that travel blogs are her main source of information when she checks on her next travel destination – what to see, where to eat, everything. April said that travel blogs are honest, and travel writers give their true experience about a place.

 

Travel Writing and Blogging Workshop at the Filipinas Heritage Library with April Yap

Our animated facilitator, April Yap

The Class

There were 15 of us in the class – proletarians (like me), someone who works for the government, a visitor from Australia, artists – and everyone had a penchant for writing and traveling. A little something: I love getting by people who share the same interests as I do. It’s like sharing a common source of positive energy. The places they described excited the traveler in me – from the city of New York to the very rustic Turkey, to the dangerous paradise called Tawi-Tawi – every place sounded inviting. Hearing everyone’s what they had to tell actually encouraged me all the more to set foot on distant lands.

 

Travel Writing and Blogging Workshop at the Filipinas Heritage Library with April Yap

 

 Travel Writing and Blogging Workshop at the Filipinas Heritage Library with April Yap
My crush is the one in green, the one with the glasses. Teehee. One of the smartest guys I’ve met. He has the hottest job ever, too – being a technical services manager for a big pharmaceutical firm.

The Workshop

It was a three-part series (I think all great things come in trilogies i.e. LOTR, Star Wars :P), which started with a thought-filled classroom discussion. Our second meeting was filled with church visits all over the metro, and we critiqued one another’s work on our last meeting.

 

 

Travel Writing and Blogging Workshop at the Filipinas Heritage Library with April Yap

 

 

Travel Writing and Blogging Workshop at the Filipinas Heritage Library with April Yap

Saints Peter and Paul, Makati

 

Travel Writing and Blogging Workshop at the Filipinas Heritage Library with April Yap

San Agustin Church, Intramuros, Manila

 

Travel Writing and Blogging Workshop at the Filipinas Heritage Library with April Yap

Inside San Agustin Church, Intramuros, Manila

 

Travel Writing and Blogging Workshop at the Filipinas Heritage Library with April Yap

 Nuestra Señora de Gracia, Makati

 

Anyway, enough raving. Let me share with you some tips for travel writing and blogging.

 

1. Use your senses to describe experience.

 

Synesthesia. Merriam Webster defines it as “to describe description of a sense impression in terms of another sense”. Something like, pungent color or an affair that screams with illicitness. It’s always fun to play with words. It rambles the brain pretty good. Gives your story a refreshing note, too.

 

Make your readers feel that they were traveling with you by arousing their senses. Bring the smell, the heat, the rawness of things to them.

 

2. Express your unique point of view, feel free to doubt it, and don’t forget to say how the trip has changed you.

 

Blogging involves how you were during the whole experience. Did it pain you? How did it change you? Give your readers a taste of how it was like during your travel. It would give a more human touch to your story.

 

3 .Find the human-interest story.

 

I think it has been embedded in our DNA that we become interested in stories that involve other humans.  Try talking about the people you’ve met during the trip, or describing the “locals”. A certain group, a certain race, defines a certain place. The people that makes up a place defines that place best. Like the Igorots that made the Banaue Rice Terraces, or the Babaylans.

 

4. Accentuate contrasts and contradictions.

 

And by all means, magnify. It will be interesting. Contrasting and contradicting events will actually give you and your readers a broader aspect of a place.

 

5. Legends, folklore, and gossip make great leads.

 

The Philippines alone is beaming with thousands and thousands of stories, coming from this light. The elders of the Igorots recite and chant the Hudhud. Capiz won’t be Capiz without the stories of kapres and aswangs. There are Krakens. Yetis. The Loch Ness Monster. If this interests you, why not write about it on your next travel? It will be a colorful description of your journey.

 

6. Do not forget to establish physical parameters.

 

Even when you’re writing about the holistic experience, you should not forget that you are travel writing. The presence of the place will always be an important element.

 

7. Be aware of what you’ll talk about

 

Be conscious of your style, angle, and anchor. Ask yourself, what are the things that you notice when you travel? What are the things that you remember? Write about these things. For when you travel, you’ll notice the unfamiliar. I think it’s analogous to noticing the first thing that moves when you stare at something stationary.

 

The next time you travel, ask your self, are you a tourist who simply wants to see places, or are you a traveler who’s in it for the journey?

 

Armed with these tips, I’m sure that you’re all set to write about your next travel – not just when in Manila, but in all of the places that you will traverse. And when you write, always remember April’s advise: the more specific the story, the more resonant it is with the reader.

 

 For more information, please call Camille Martinez at 892-1801

Mobile: 0917-561-2413

E-mail martinez.cc@­ayalafoundation.org

or visit filipinaslibrary.org.ph

Here’s a schedule of the next writing workshops at the Filipinas Heritage Library:

Business Writing and Presentation

By April Yap

October 20, 21, 27, and 28, 2011

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Advanced Travel Writing

By Kristine Fonacier

October 17, 20, 24, and 25, 2011

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Short Story Writing

October 21 and November 21, 2011

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Online sessions in between

Advanced Creative Writing

By Dr. Rosario Lucero

November 8 and December 12, 2011

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Online sessions in between

 

Travel Writing and Blogging Workshop at the Filipinas Heritage Library

 

 






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