Expert Interview Series: Alwin Aguirre of The City Roamer on traveling while running a business
Alwin Aguirre is a lifestyle blogger who likes to travel and share his experiences on The City Roamer. We recently talked with Alwin to hear his thoughts on traveling in the Philippines and running his business while doing so.
Tell us about your background. How were you able to turn your love of travel into a career?
“I’m the blogger behind The City Roamer, a lifestyle blog in the Philippines, and I share discoveries about travel, food, technology, and more. I’m also an online service provider that helps businesses get found on the internet through content writing, social media, and web design/development. I love technology, and being able to work online made me realize that I can use it to my advantage by being anywhere and still doing business.
Since your travels focus mainly on the Eastern Hemisphere, could you provide some beautiful vacation locations that may not be familiar to Westerners?
One of the best vacation spots that Westerners can visit in the Philippines is Zambales. It’s just a few hours’ drive from Manila and has great destinations such as Potipot Island, Anawangin, and Nagsasa Cove. These are perfect for beach lovers. You’ll also find spots that are perfect for surfing.
Finish this sentence: “For someone traveling to the Philippines for the first time, the most important piece of information to know is…”
… that there’s more to the Philippines than Boracay and Palawan. I know these spots are popular and travelers like to visit them. But there are other beautiful places to explore depending on what type of traveler you are, like a foodie, adventurer, or someone who loves culture or religion.
What are some of your favorite “adventure” vacation spots that you’ve visited?
I haven’t been to many adventure spots, but one adventurous thing I’ve done is caving at Sagada. It was challenging as we went down deeper into the cave. I had to stretch myself to navigate throughout the cave. I’m not tall, so making sure I was holding on to something while setting my foot on the ground was really hard.
But all the hard work was worth it when we reached the bottom part of the cave. I enjoyed the freezing cold water and the sight of various rock formations. I was awed seeing body heat evaporating from our skin. It looked like spirits leaving our bodies.
How do you go about overseeing your website and managing your business while traveling?
There will always be lull times, and I take advantage of those moments to check my website. And when everyone’s asleep in the evening, I’m still up working on my laptop.
“I’m also on the lookout for new products and services that promise to provide a better experience.”
As a freelancer, can it be difficult or bothersome to deal with or accept payments from advertisers, affiliates, and other payers who are scattered around the world?
I know it can be difficult if your client doesn’t have access to the same services that you’re familiar with. Fortunately, I have yet to experience that myself. I did hear horror stories from those who had to set up their accounts just to get paid – and that can be time-consuming and stressful.
Before I went into freelancing, I made sure that I had access to all the necessary accounts and tools to make that happen. I’m also on the lookout for new products and services that promise to provide a better experience.
If someone wanted to open a tourism-based business in the Philippines and cater their services to international travelers, what suggestions might you have for them?
I’d suggest that that person travel to and explore the Philippines for quite some time. Having a better understanding of the Philippines and its places and cultures will not only enable them to sell their services better, but will also help them provide better customer service because of their first-hand experience of the country.
In the future, do you think the Philippines will become a more popular travel destination for Europeans and North Americans? Or will it continue to cater primarily to vacationers from the Eastern Hemisphere?
I’d like to believe that the Philippines is already a popular travel destination for Europeans and North Americans. It’s just that the vacation spots visited are the usual popular destinations. I’ve been to Puerto Galera and Boracay and met vacationers from Europe and North America.
The Philippines has more to offer than white sand beaches. I hope that tourists will look into these alternatives.”
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