Wednesday, September 24, 2008

GUEST POST by Clare de Guzman Amador

GUEST POST: Why we have not run out of reasons to stay in the Philippines


Posted under social entrepreneurship

clare_kids and manila bay

By: Clare de Guzman Amador

We travel primarily for the experience and then after the experience, we tell our stories. Our stories set us apart—we may go to the same place but come home with different takes. We buy the same souvenirs but got them for different reasons for different people. Our photos are the same frames, still we show it to everyone.

All because our stories are our own and each experience hits us at the core. Travel is one of the best ways to experience the greatness of a place, of a people. It almost always leaves a positive mark—something that changes us and makes us look forward to every sunrise.

Youth Trip Philippines (YTRIP) began as a story. A story of traveling around the Philippines and how the experience can change us as Filipinos. Along the way, we figured, if only more Pinoys could do the same, things might just work better. After all, once we see how amazing our people are, how beautiful our country is—what would hold us back from loving and taking care of it?

YTRIP is a youth-led non-government organization that promotes sustainable local tourism and responsible travel to widen horizons and make Pinoys value our country and heritage deeply. As we find our stories, we discover ourselves. For us, travel is one of the most enjoyable ways to express the best of who we are as a people.

Founded in 2006, YTRIP is a small group of young professionals and industry advisers. We volunteer and devote time, effort, and resources to jumpstart educational projects, using travel and tourism as tools.

Tourism, for YTRIP, is not just about movement, but the shift from one mindset to another. We see tourism as a tool for positive change, beyond economics and more on social impact and responsibility.

So far, we’ve run several projects—we’ve brought yayas and kids to Museo Pambata, we’ve taught college students photography, clean-ups, and backpacking; we’ve learned about Filipino dance, music, and baybayin. For the long haul, we are working on our PiliPinas campaign: Piliin ang Pilipinas. Choose the Philippines by willfully supporting Pinoy products and places. YTRIP is also embarking on becoming a social enterprise to become more sustainable.

There still remains the notion that traveling is a luxury. YTRIP believes that if frameworks, strategies, and networks on budget travel, sustainable tourism, and Pinoy culture are made accessible and experiential for more people, then more Pinoys will truly experience the Philippines. Horizons will expand, stories will converge, and we will no longer say, “wish you were here” because no one will be left out of the journey anymore.

This is why we’re building our travel program with tour groups who have the same vision as ours, to promote great value heritage tours. YTRIP also hopes to create more opportunities for public school students to travel, as we develop our Field Trips for Public School Students program.

Whether it was passion for the Philippines that gave birth to passion for travel, or the other way around, what’s important for us is that we have not run out of reasons to stay in this country. We have not run out of reasons to hope. Here in Pinas, we have 7,107 reasons to explore, 86 million people to meet, centuries of history to be rooted in, and a promising future, a national story to create. We always look forward to the next trip.

*Clare de Guzman Amador is the founder of YTRIP. She is currently working in the office of a Philippine senator but hopes to focus full-time on YTRIP in the future. For more info, you may log on to or You may also email

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