In the News: Top 5 Take-Home Tidbits from the Lonely Planet No More Seminar (Fully Booked)

Almost a month ago (and fresh after the grueling campaign!), I and my “writing sisters” from Writer’s Block Philippines joined Lonely Planet guidebook author Greg Bloom in giving a travel writing seminar to guests of Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street . It was great fun sharing our insights from two of the things we love most–writing and traveling–and to be joined by no less than an authority in the field.

Here, I’ll share an excerpt of what Fully Booked published in its blog, but for more meaty stuff, read the original post in the Fully Booked website.

Now that summer’s officially over, wouldn’t it be great to relive your travel adventures by writing about them? 😉

~ N

P.S. For an interesting look at what Greg Bloom thinks of Manila, read this post in ClicktheCity.com. 🙂

Top 5 Take-Home Tidbits from the Lonely Planet No More Seminar

Originally published in the official blog of Fully Booked

Fully Booked - Lonely Planet No More travel writing seminar - Niña Terol-Zialcita, Nikka Sarthou-Lainez, and Ana Santos of Writer's Block Philippines; Lonely Planet author Greg Bloom; Regina Cruz and Aimee Diego of Fully Booked
Fully Booked – Lonely Planet No More travel writing seminar – Niña Terol-Zialcita, Nikka Sarthou-Lainez, and Ana Santos of Writer’s Block Philippines; Lonely Planet author Greg Bloom; Regina Cruz and Aimee Diego of Fully Booked

Last weekend, Lonely Planet visiting author Greg Bloom was joined by Writers Block Philippines’ Nina Terol-Zialcita, Nikka Sarthou and Ana P. Santos to give nice, long, comprehensive seminar about travel writing.

Each speaker tackled a specific topic in travel writing—getting published, guidebook writing, feature articles, ethics. They also entertained questions from the audience of almost a hundred people, gathered at our Fort branch atrium space. While the seminar gave a great picture of the travel writing industry, how to do it as a job, and how to get started, here are five important take-aways from the workshop that are essential to anyone who would like to get into it!

1. Tell a story

“Each place has a story and your job is to find out what that story is,” Nina Terol-Zialcita mentioned. A travel article is more than a narration of what you did from the start to the end of your trip. Learn to focus on a certain part of the experience: the cuisine, the sights, the people, a realization and the events that led you to it, or anything else that struck you.

2. “Always try to get people into your articles.” — Greg Bloom

“That’s where the stories are,” Greg said.

“Imagine your destination as a person you want to get to know,” shared Ana P. Santos of Writers Block. How would you describe the person to others? Get talking to the people from that place and find out about the spirit behind it. Include dialogue in your article as well, as it shows the interaction and specific experiences that helped you build your story.

3. “Don’t underestimate the seductive power of a decent vocabulary.” — Ana P. Santos

The basics should never be taken for granted: well-written prose, grammar, a good introduction and a tight conclusion. What is heat vs. what is humidity? Know the nuances and words in order to provide a clear picture to your readers.

4. Know the market.

Research about the travel writing scene. What publications are you pitching to? What is the specific tone of that publication and how can your story fit into it? What are the trends in travel, and what would people want to read about? Where is the demand in travel writing? Is it in feature articles? Guidebook writing? This can also be a source of income when done well and done properly. The topics you write about should also be marketable to a publication and its audience.

5. Your primary responsibility is to the reader.

A part of the seminar was also dedicated to the ethics that govern one’s travel writing piece. While we want our readers to understand why we fell in love with a place, we also don’t want to be accused of ‘gushing’ over a city. Try to keep a certain sense of objectivity as well. While the article is written in the first person, the essence of it should still be about the place, and not about you.

This is an excerpt only. To read the full post, click HERE.

 

 

A Witness to Vietnam’s Charmed Life (asianTraveler)

Article By: Jim Sullivan and Niña Terol-Zialcita
Images By: 
Courtesy of Life Heritage Resort Hoi An

Image courtesy of Jim Sullivan / Life Heritage Resort Hoi An
Image courtesy of Jim Sullivan / Life Heritage Resort Hoi An

Inside the resort gate, just minutes from the whirl of downtown, the pace instantly goes languid amid tropical garden paths and riverside vistas. Each individual accommodation in the 94-room compound is a sanctuary unto itself, spacious and split-level with sleeping quarters above, lounge area below, and private veranda just outside the door. The bathrooms provide still another level of retreat with sunken terrazzo tubs and discreetly positioned windows for maximum natural lighting.

Lost charm, found

The rest of the resort exudes Old World elegance that is far from contrived and, quite frankly, difficult to manufacture. Although the resort had undergone a massive renovation in 2008, the rework of the interiors, undertaken by top hospitality designer Pisani Designs, only sought to recast the property in a more authentic light and allow for more space in the rooms, more light in the baths, bespoke furnishings, and an upgrade that transports the Life Resorts visitor to a more genteel era.

Life Resorts Hoi An’s Heritage Bar celebrates the history of the most exquisitely preserved 19th century trading port in Southeast Asia and provides an outdoor perch on one of the town’s most quaint streets. A series of archival prints explores the town’s past, and cigar aficionados hold court in segregated spaces, seasoned by the finest imports and Life’s commitment to a wine list that does justice to the finest New York hotels.

“Life is what you make of it, and we’re making the most of it on the Thu Bon River,” declared Chris Duffy, general director of the Life Resorts.

Image courtesy of Jim Sullivan / Life Heritage Resort Hoi An
Image courtesy of Jim Sullivan / Life Heritage Resort Hoi An

This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit the asianTraveler website HERE.

Mati: Davao’s Next Big Thing (asianTraveler)

Words by Niña Terol-Zialcita

Images by Ena Terol

A boy awaits his turn at skim boarding at Dahican Beach, Mati, Davao Oriental | Photo by Ena Terol
A boy awaits his turn at skim boarding at Dahican Beach, Mati, Davao Oriental | Photo by Ena Terol

It was around six o’clock in the morning on a Sunday when I found myself staring at a vast expanse of blues and greens, enveloping waves that were crashing a little too loudly and strongly for this hour of the day. I removed my slippers and dug my feet into the cool, soft sand and then decided to just leave the slippers behind and take a short walk while taking in the pristine beauty that surrounded me. To the left side of the beach was a mountain range that was a deep and healthy green, covered entirely in lush foliage that is now rare in the city where I come from. In front of me, toward the horizon, were various shades of sea-green and blue—the sea seeming to merge with the sky. The only sound that I could hear was the crashing of the waves and the little voice inside my head telling me that maybe this was a place I could visit more often—perhaps even build a home in for my retirement.

I was in an understated sense of serenity, but I was also about 1,300 miles away from home—in a place called Dahican Beach in Mati, Davao Oriental, at the easternmost tip of southern Philippines.

Nature’s hidden gems

Although Mati is generally perceived to be a “sleepy town,” what first-time visitors here don’t realize is that three days will not be enough to experience the best that this city has to offer. Aside from an abundance of lush greens and coconut trees (the city is also dubbed “The Coconut Capital”), Mati is blessed with beautiful bays and beaches, diverse marine life, the freshest seafood that one will find, and people that are very warm, hospitable, and—contrary to how media project the southern island of Mindanao—living side by side in peace.

On the three-hour road trip from Davao City International Airport to Davao Oriental, the first natural sign that will welcome visitors to Mati is “The Sleeping Dinosaur”, a forest-covered hill that is named such because it supposedly resembles a sleeping brontosaurus (or, to some, a sleeping lizard, turtle, or even dragon). Its mystical quality seemed to be the perfect sight to greet passersby, as if signaling the many other natural wonders that guests will experience in this unassuming but progressive city.

The "Sleeping Dinosaur" seems to be a mystical creature guarding Mati | Photo by Ena Terol
The “Sleeping Dinosaur” seems to be a mystical creature guarding Mati | Photo by Ena Terol

A series of chats with our guides, Juvy Tanio, Jude Taraya, and Gretchen Navalta, revealed other must-see spots in Mati for nature lovers. One is Pujada Island across Pujada Bay, a 156-hectare island surrounded by white beaches that is accessible through a 45-minute boat ride. Although the island has not yet been developed and does not have facilities for the luxury traveler, it is deemed ideal for swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, and diving. Locals and visitors typically head there for a day trip and also bring food along for an island picnic. Another is the Pygmy Forest in Mount Hamiguitan, a great site for trekking and mountain-climbing which, incidentally, is also a contender for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage list because of the natural bonsai plants that grow in the forest, as well as its rich biodiversity.

This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit the asianTraveler website HERE.