Get to know six of Manila’s top travel ‘grammers

Get to know six of Manila’s top travel ‘grammers

We ask them about their next big adventure and the Urbanize gear they’ll take with them.

The age of the Internet and social media has allowed us to live our lives vicariously through other people from all over the world. From scaling mountains to reveling in the sights and sounds of the biggest cities, the world is never more than a couple of online taps away. But even with all this technological wonder, seeing the world, for one’s self is much more than seeing it on a screen.

With the holidays upon us, it’s the perfect time to get out, face the world, and experience it firsthand. But of course, you’re going to need the proper gear to get going. Urbanize, a lifestyle store for the urban adventure and beyond, is the perfect place to get started. Whether you’re going to exotic forests or conquering undiscovered city spots, they’ve got you covered. They’ve got everything from bags, storage, accessories from brands like Pacsafe to Artiart to even their own Urbanize label.

If you’ve no idea where to go, don’t fret — your Instagram feed is all you need. There are countless FOMO-inducing accounts out there, but not quite like those of Javi Cang, Alexis Tsoi, Patrick Martin, Benj Ramos, Raniel Hernandez and Paolo Cuarteron. These ‘grammers have been all over the place and then some, and a peek at their well-curated galleries of breathtaking travel photos are a testament to that. They’ve climbed mountains, chased waterfalls, and captured it all for us to see — ain’t no mountain high enough, after all. We gathered all six of them and asked them about their travel plans for next year, and they’ve included everywhere from Palawan to the base camp of Mount Everest. Jealous yet? Well, as Benj’s motto goes, “Never live vicariously.” Sounds like something worth including in your New Year’s resolutions.

Pacsafe Slingsafe LX300 in Tweed Gray (P3,490)

Raniel Hernandez, 25, @rayniyel

I’m planning to explore more around the Philippines and Asia. I have this travel community called Sino Pinas, and basically we go around the Philippines, rediscovering virgin places that aren’t too crowded and touristy.

I’ve been dreaming about Iceland for the past seven years, and it was a dream come true. I didn’t know it would happen this year. It was just a random trip with Benj and the others. We just invited people and we said, “Let’s do it!”

For us photographers, cameras are the most important, along with bags. Of course, I’m excited for the trips. To get to discover new places, to see more places and get to know more people, friends, and to travel with them.

I chose this Pacsafe Slingsafe. It has safety features like an RFID, and anti-theft functions. It’s good especially for our gadgets, wallets, cameras and other valuable things. It’s very useful not just for traveling, but for strolling around the city as well.

Cabin Zero 44L in gray (P2,950)

Javi Cang, 26, @javycang

I think my big objective next year is climb this thing called Meru base camp, it’s in the northern area of the Indian Himalayas. My plans are to continue to explore the Himalayas so maybe I’ll make two trips there next year.

I’m excited to take my travels further and higher, to more remote places, to more scenic spots. And probably just overall explore more.

I try to never leave my camera. Having a rain jacket in hand is something I always find myself using, just because the weather can always take a turn for the worst, anywhere you are. And of course, a comfy backpack.

This year’s highlight is probably the Himayalas. I was there a few weeks ago, in this place called Annapurna. I was there hiking for a week, and we went to this place called Annapurna Sanctuary, which is sort of like a cradle between the highest mountains there. It was pretty epic.

I chose the Cabin Zero 44L backpack because sometimes I enjoy traveling without check-in luggage. I think having something that can pack all your stuff and be able to carry it on makes everything convenient, especially for short trips.

Focused Space Seamless 600 Series in Heathered Green (P3,490)

Benj Ramos, 24, @benjstagram92

Actually, I might stay put a little bit next year because I’m working on something. But you never know. Last year I was thinking about planning for this year and I said, “Okay, these are the only trips I’m going to take.” And then, surprises, seat sales, you never know. Sometimes if you’re free you just say yes. So we’ll see.

[Iceland is definitely my favorite destination] for the landscape. London for the city life, it’s so vibrant and everyone’s so fast paced. Barcelona for the food, culture, art. Morocco for the culture. Turkey, for architecture and hospitality.

My travel essentials are my camera and a good jacket. And a sleeping mask because when you’re traveling, you never really know when you’re gonna be in transit, so sometimes you lack sleep and you’re traveling in the morning and it’s really difficult to have the sun in your eyes.

I keep saying, “This is my best year so far,” and then the next year always finds a way to top it. This year was pretty solid in terms of travel, friends and financial stability. I’m hoping next year turns out even better.

I chose this backpack from Focused Space for its color. I like the color green. It’s very outdoorsy — there’s bound to be a reason why I like the outdoors, which is mostly green. I just feel like… it speaks to me. (Laughs)

Pacsafe Metrosafe LS200 in Vintage Red (P4,490)

Alexis Tsoi, 23, @lexitsoi

I’m more of a spontaneous traveler in a way. But when there’s a plan, a schedule, that’s when I plan on what we’re doing for that trip.

The only one [I’m sure to visit soon] is Hong Kong, ‘cause my dad is from there and I’m a citizen. We also have plans — maybe, just maybe — for Palawan with my friends. But then, when it comes to travel, I don’t really plan ahead. If the opportunity comes, okay, game.

I’m most excited about the spontaneous plans with friends, family. And more opportunities for photography and businesses.

Obviously, I never leave without my camera. Usually, I would bring just one lens that’s good for everything. And my phone. I always bring a raincoat for the weather, then of course my bags. My mom said, “My friends are going on a tour of Iceland, do you want to go?” I’ve actually been bugging her about it for a year, then suddenly the opportunity came and we took it.

I like this Pacsafe Metrosafe ‘cause it’s small and easy to bring around. If I have a last-minute trip or anything, I can just bring this around. And it’s not just for travel, I can also use it every day. And I like that it has a compartment for my umbrella — I always have to have a payong. It also has a lot of room and pockets so you can organize stuff.

Focused Space Ivy League in Tweed (P2,990)

Patrick Martin, 25, @patrckmartin

Organizers are essential. I’m very, very O.C. when I travel, so I need to have my own pack for chargers, digital equipment, my drone, camera, stabilizers.

In April I’m going to Europe. In June, I’m going back to watch Coldplay in Germany. We’re also planning to climb to the Everest Base Camp in May, and I’m also planning to go to India with a friend, and then Eastern Europe by August.

If I were to choose one, it would be Everest Base Camp, since it’s everyone’s dream mountain. I’ve just started my relationship with mountains, and it’s slowly growing. It’s an item on everyone’s bucket list and one of the top in mine.

My favorite trip would be summiting Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia. I did it with Javi [Cang]. It was crazy because we climbed it for nine hours. Going down, it was raining and it was so cold, so the moment I reached the bottom of the mountain, I removed all my clothes and I was steaming. We also had to shoot there, because I do travel videos as well. When we got to the summit, we only had 30 minutes to shoot.

I always want a day pack that I can bring when I go around the city, where I can bring my laptop, camera and other things, and this Focused Space Ivy League in tweed is perfect for that. It’s very handy and I can do a lot of stuff with the bag. Plus it’s stylish.

Cabin Zero Urban Camo 44L (P2,950)

Paolo Cuarteron, 24, @paocua

Benj [Ramos] and I went around Europe. Surprisingly, Turkey was different, in a sense that it was out of context for me. Like from the stereo type of it being magulo, chaotic, but I discovered it’s not. Another highlight would be Nepal, where we went hiking to Annapurna. We hiked there for six days and it was my first expedition. And it was at such a high altitude that I got acute mountain sickness, or altitude sickness.

Of course, my camera is essential. And my watch to keep track of time. A good backpack to carry all my stuff and my phone, not really to stay connected online, but to let my mom know I’m safe when I’m out of town. Good shoes also.

I might go back to either Nepal or Tibet next year — that’s the one I’m most excited about.

I like the design of this Cabin Zero Urban Camo backpack, and where the belts are located — which is weird, but in a good way. They also add a bit of safety to the backpack apart from the zippers.

Urbanize is located in Alabang Town Center, Uptown Mall BGC, U.P. Town Center, Gateway, Shangri-La Mall, Glorietta 3, Ayala Malls Serin Tagaytay, Solenad 3 Nuvali, and The District Imus. For more information about their brands, visit and follow them on Instagram.

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