Here are 5 Travel Lesson by Juan Miguel Severo


“Pardo,” I answered the lady who was selling burgers and fries on the lobby of the event site to her inquiry on where I was from. “What?!” an obvious image of disbelief immediately painted on her face. “Is he that famous for you to come here?”

I couldn’t help but ponder on her statement as I went back to my colleagues who were at the moment enjoying the music played by the Dumaguete based band – Hopia. It isn’t as if it’s the first time that I’ve heard this statement. Whenever I meet locals of the mountainous areas of Cebu like when we went to Mt. Hambubuyog or when I went solo trippin’ at Kabutongan Falls, it has always remained a mystery to them on why I spend time, effort and money going to places which they reckon as nothing but a boring agrarian area or water source.

I was in this state when the crowd roared in exuberance and began clapping their hands in anticipation. The main actor of the night has finally arrived – Juan Miguel Severo. Yes, the poet – the dakilang hugotero of OTWOL – whom I have been following on Youtube and had mentioned on my previous post. He was invited by Cebu LitFest group to perform live at Lakwatsa, Cebu, share his poems and inspire many poets are heart.

I couldn’t believe what I felt at that moment. It’s like seeing your favorite character coming out of the book you have so dearly love. And the moment he started talking, my heart literally fluttered like crazy. A lot of things started floating around my head while listening to his stories of love and misadventures.

  1. Accept who you are. 1

 You won’t accomplish any if you won’t learn to accept who you are and what you can. A lot of people had been wanting to move of out of their comfort zones but can’t or should we say would not because of fear. Practically, this fear is stimulated because of how society tend to judge people with what they do and who they are. They allow society to limit them. “I can’t do this because I’m gay.” “I can’t go to that place because it’s very far.” “That mountain is too difficult for me.” “I don’t want to do it because they might stay away from me.” “I’m afraid that they might not accept me.” “I can’t go because I don’t have anybody to go with me.”

  1. Be socially active. 2

Though Juan Miguel Severo is known for his “hugots”, he has other poems that tackle social issues like the one he shared about the struggles of a farmer, the perspective of a rape victim, mistresses, and LGBTQIA. We have to be the voice of those whom the society and the government refuse to listen – the tribal communities, marginalized sectors, oppressed, depressed, exploited, and of course, the overly maltreated environment.

  1. Encourage others. 3

This is one of the many reasons why I continued blogging even with the number of workloads and other engagements that I have. I don’t have the monopoly of knowledge. I need to share what I know. I need to encourage others to start discovering the wonders of nature, to fall in love with sunrise and sunsets, to explore their own provinces before going outside the country, and to give back to the country.

  1. Feel the moment. Let everything consume you. 4

Sunset. Sunrise. Reaching the summit. Sea turtle encounter during a diving event. Hearing your favorite song while riding a bus. Beaching after months of hard work. These fleeting moments are indeed something that would definitely melt the heart, inspires the soul, and motivates the body to keep going no matter how cruel and rotten this world can be.

  1. Feel the pain. And let it drive you to better places. 5

“Sinong magkasintahan dito? Wow, ang saya. LAYAS!” We had a hearty laugh when JMS said this. While most of those who attended were singles and the topic shared during spoken poetry event centered on being left behind, being broken, and being unaccepted by society, knowing that nobody felt alone in this journey, made the mood of the night totally amazing. Probably, to be able to move with the past heartaches, one must embrace what he or she feels. If you’re hurt, then you’re hurt. But it doesn’t mean that you have to deal with it forever. To quote Taylor Swift, “Let the pain fuel you to keep going.”

(Photo credits: Wilma Mangubat and Cebu Literary Fest)

Jerika Teodorico singing “Baklay”
Dumaguete based band “Hopya”
Word Anonymous
Juan Miguel Severo’s book
Juan Miguel Severo and bestfriend


Check Travelbook for details on how to go to Cebu!