Angie Duarte Shares the Three P’s of Travel Writing.

“What makes for a good, even a great peace? It is engaging, informative, descriptive, entertaining and fresh.”
“What makes for a good, even a great peace? It is engaging, informative, descriptive, entertaining and fresh.”
Catherine Angela Fructuoso Duarte aka Angie was the speaker of a travel writing session happened on June 18.2014 at Fully Booked, Bonifacio High Street, Taguig City. She is a travel writer in various travel magazines. So I was fortunate enough because I was able to listen and learn from her talk during the said event. The major sponsors of the event were the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Digital Photographer of the Philippines (DPP).

PEOPLE ARE THE REAL GEMS OF THE PLACE.” she started to talk.

Preparation. This is the first thing that you need to do prior on traveling (physical preparation). Preparation is a thing that is done to make something ready. You have to do a research for the place – Climate, Culture and Character, CharacterS, Currency, Chat. In Climate, you have to know if this place is risky because of their Climate. And Culture and Character – you have to be aware of what the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively in a specific tribe and place. CharacterS – the community itself. Currency is important especially traveling abroad. “We went to China and inside the airport there was a money changer booth, so we have to change the dollars on hand .And there was like a service charge (PHP 500) and PHP 500 is still PHP500, right? When we went out just 3 mins away from the airport, there were lot arrays of money changers booths outside wherein you don’t need to pay PHP500 for service charge.” Duarte said. “Lesson learned” he jokingly added. Chat is the languages – this is also important - bring dictionary or any gadget for translation.

Moreover, you also have to know the style of your Publication. Be proactive in your story pitch.  Pack properly and get travel documents and paper in order.

Process - the series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end. It is what to expect while on assignment. Be inquisitive and curious ASK, ask anyway – let the people tell their story. Be adventurous but within reason – meaning take risk but calculated risk. “I am not that kind of traveler who spends the entire day in a hotel watching cable. I have friends like that, I rather go out even in the middle of the rain because there is also a story in the rain.” she shared. “Anyway, I can watch cable in my house” she laughed. Immerse yourself in the local culture as much as you can however you have to respect the local culture. Take an attitude check – am I behaving in accordance to the community?. “In Baclayon Church, it is not allowed to go inside if you are wearing short-skirt. So what I did, I get my balabal. But they still not allowed me to get in because the design of my balabal are skulls” Duarte said.

Indeed, if you work in a publication, work as a team. Be flexible. When interviewing, ask interesting topics. Let your interviewee narrates and avoid a yes or no questions. “I rather opted to talk with old people because they are more knowledgeable about the place and they had stories that are worth writing for.” She stressed.

You also need to manage your expectation to avoid disappointment. Of course, you will not expect a five-star accommodation if you are traveling into a remote area. (e.g. tribes).  Be careful and take detailed notes- record you thoughts right away, it can be in a notepad because you can use those thoughts during the “Proper Writing”.

Product.  This is the major purpose of your travel- to write. First thing you need to do is gather all your facts and cross check if necessary. To those bloggers, it would be better if you capture every moment in your travel and preview all the photos afterwards – it is a huge help to remember those thoughts.

In writing, know your style and the style of your publication. Write in the first person in past tense but then it varies on your style. You need to stay true to your character. This is the best thing of being a blogger because you can write based on your character unlike in publication you have to balance it between you and your readers. Bloggers can speak unlimited and show their emotion. Writers are paid to write by a client therefore you have to balance everything- that’s the challenge of a writer.

Moreover to start with your article, weave in the interesting observation. If there are already blogger and writer who writes about the place, and then write it in a different viewpoint. Start strong – a brief anecdote or it can be an AHA moment.  Your first few paragraphs should contagious and avoid clichés. Don’t eat Dictionary and Vomit it back towards your readers. It should be creative and narrative. Show it, don’t tell. Capture your photo and caption it clearly. Manage you reader’s expectation. Choose your next words carefully; avoid redundancy especially if you are given only limited words.

After her talk, there were giveaways distributed to those who participates the question and answer portion- of course I got one. “What makes for a good, even a great peace? It is engaging, informative, descriptive, entertaining and fresh.” She ended the evening with a smile.

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