CHRONICLES FROM GREAT HEIGHTS (an exclusive interview with Louie Danganan)
Traveling has always been more than just a form of lifestyle and leisure. For some, it is a much-deserved escape from the concrete jungle they live in, or demanding life in the corporate world. For 26-year old Industrial Engineer graduate of Bulacan State University, Louie Danganan, traveling is his ticket to a braver version of himself. I’ve been friends with Louie since the golden years of Tumblr here in the Philippines. But in this exclusive interview, i discovered that he’s got a lot more dimensions in him that people need to know. His knack for
landscape, street, & night sky photography, local backpacking, waterfall hikes. His love for photo blogging, reading novels, poetry, indie rock/ indie pop & pop rock music to name a few.
We’ve known each other a few years back, when we were active on tumblr. When and how did you discover tumblr?
*Digging into my memory* It was around 2007 or 2008 when I heard Tumblr from a friend and looked it up in curiosity. I have had a few blogs before I stick to the project blog I have today which I started in 2013.
I see you’re into traveling now. When did your knack for it started?
My interest in traveling got piqued when I was sent for official business trips in 2011 to Visayas and Mindanao. Then further stoked by a 6-day hitchhike trip to Marinduque the following year, my first ferry ride. It was an epiphany to make the most out of my capable years. It is not for life that I am able and hale I thought then that then is the time to do something like it. Travels got frequent and more frequent and here I am still into it.
What is it with traveling you love the most?
Traveling is many exciting things. That’s what I love about it. I am exposed to the world, and I’m consistently challenged to outdo myself. What I would not typically do in the comforts of home, I find doing when I travel like reaching out to people, listening to their stories and socializing. Another thing is discovery. It gives me sense of accomplishment when I learn about a places despite physical and mental effort it requires. Travel allows me too to creatively express my self through photography while I let loose of myself in beautiful, foreign places.
How many places in and out of the country have you been to? Which among these places is the most unforgettable and why?
I don’t count. I’m after the experience as trite that may sound. For a fact, I haven’t been outside the country yet for reason that I personally endeavor to explore much of my native land first before I set out exploring other lands/ seas. I’m smitten by our islands, mountains and seas that I’ve dedicated my present blog for personally documenting how fascinating the Philippine archipelago is. And I take pride in doing it.***One remarkable experience I had to say was when I ventured out to do my first (unintended) solo travel to the southernmost tip island of Palawan called Balabac for five days in the summer of 2014. There I met a very good friend, listened to plenty of intriguing and in some occasions, unbelievable stories by my hosts ranging from his good young days of carefree, silly travels, to sea pirates and poachers in that area of Palawan, to crocodiles in local politics and literal crocs in Bugsuk Island, to extra terrestrials during the Marcos era.
Moments from that travel that are etched in my mind: Sailing the glass-like surface of the varying blue and green shades of the Sulu Sea; discovering a pink beach down south - Comiran Island; boat-racing with a pod of dolphins; riding a bogo, a local boat, across a stunning beach just to buy soda from a sari-sari store on the other side of the island; a simple supper of sweet, succulent crabs, fish and tomatoes while being greeted by a low hanging full moon, its yellow glimmer on the surface of the black sea; sleeping in a hut that stood by the white beach so fine, raw and vast it could equal two football fields; chased the sunset by doing nearly an hour of walk to the west side of the island through the inland woods and chased in return by the night on our way back to camp, only the patch of white sand and moonlight serving as guide; greeted by an unseen rustling in the loo in the middle of a pitch black night that turned out to be huge hermit crabs tramping on the floor.
I could go on and on and on and it seems glamorous in retrospect. But in fact, it was very simple and spontaneous, at times, unsafe even. Those days when I was stripped off of any personal material preoccupation, my appreciation was higher, and it made the experience truly unforgettable.
What is your key takeaway in every travel you have? Every learning experience, the frames that I take home, and the confidence I gain when on the road. I must admit I always get anxious whenever I set out to travel but I believe that taking that fearful leap is how I become courageous.
5 most essential things you need when traveling. (Aside from passport of course)
As I have not ventured out of the country yet, passport did not make it to the list ((: On top of money and phone, my 5 most essentials are:5. sarong (my all around cloth, blanket, towel, cover, etc.)4. sunscreen3. wipes2. headwear - bandanna or cap1. dlsr & gorillapod.
Your dream destination.
Locally, Babuyan Group of Islands . Internationally, Lofoten Islands, Norway
Which do you enjoy better, traveling alone or traveling with friends? :)
Traveling with one to a few friends.
By the way, what camera are you using?
I lug around a Nikon DSLR D5200 with 18-55mm kit lens. While equipment matters for performance and image quality, I believe the taker’s skills, perspective and motives are most significant in photography.