Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ivan Henares celebrates 25 years of traveling & travel writing

While looking through my old stuff, I found a travel journal which I made in 1985 about our family trip to Japan and Taiwan. I was five at that time and after the trip, my mom encouraged me to write about the trip which was bound into a scrap book called My Trip to Japan and Taipei: April 15-24, 1985.

The photo above is my family at Zojoji Temple with Tokyo Tower in the background, a testament to the fact that despite their push for modernity and progress, Japan prides itself in its heritage and puts in a lot of effort for its preservation.

Zojoji Temple, the chief temple of the Jodo Buddhist sect, was founded in 1393. Tokyo Tower on the other hand was built in 1958. Modeled after the Eiffel Tower, it is 1092 feet high and broadcasts most of Japan's TV and radio stations.

I even made my own illustrations to accompany the hand-written text of the scrap book. It took me several months to complete it, October 1985 to be exact. But it was my first attempt at travel writing.

In Japan, we visited the 1985 International Exposition in Tsukuba, Tokyo Disneyland and the different districts of Tokyo such as Ginza and Akihabara.

There's also a drawing I made of the subway system which really wowed me as a young kid. I'm sure even as adults, we're still impressed with the very efficient public transportation system of Japan today.

After Japan, we spent an additional four days in Taipei before returning back to the Philippines. We got to visit the Taipei Zoo and the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall among other attractions in Taipei.

Twenty-five years ago, who would have thought I'd be traveling and writing like this now? It's fun to look back at where it all started, and why I continuously yearn to visit other places and experience different cultures even more.

Ivan About Town just turned five!
I didn't realize it either that my blog turned five this month too! I wrote my first blog entry on April 19, 2005 in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. As the first line of my first entry went, "What a way to start my blog, writing about my journeys in some really exotic place!"

It was my first backpack trip. And I thought, instead of having to repeat my stories to my friends when I got back, I'd just update them through a blog. So that's how Ivan About Town was born. Hope to visit Kota Kinabalu again this year!


  1. lani grace27.4.10

    Thanks for sharing your travels with the rest of the world. I've enjoyed reading about your travels and hope to someday visit the places you've described. Salamat Kuya!

  2. aww! this is sooo cute! good thing you were able to keep 'em.

  3. Anonymous27.4.10

    it's wonderful that you've drawn and wrote your travel experiences as early as 5 y/o. i wish i have been exposed to traveling as early as you and my son now. i have been to tokyo recently for 14 days and came home last holy week; this post makes me miss ginza, akihabara electric town, and the spring season in tokyo more!

  4. Anonymous27.4.10

    btw, i like tokyo disneysea more than disneyland. =)
    oops, i almost forgot: congratulations on your silver anniversary as a traveller and travel writer!

  5. Thanks everyone! If was fun looking at the old scrap book :)

  6. I love this post Ivan.

  7. Shiloh27.4.10

    This is so cool. After digitizing your scrapbook, you may want to put it in a safety deposit box (blame it on my Ondoy thoughts).

  8. Yeah, I know what you mean. I lost some of my important photos to ceiling leaks.

  9. haha....galing! Kyut ka pala noong bata ka, anong nangyari?? hee hee

  10. Congratulations Ivan, and thanks for sharing your insight, experience and great narrative style with your readers. Your blog is a great resource, specially for domestic travel. As the post re your Japan/Taiwan album at five year old shows, it's obvious you've had wanderlust for a long time-travel on, travel safe, travel well!

  11. I particularly liked the collages. These show that even at a young age, you were able to articulate well an experience with impeccable clarity. It feels like your Tokyo adventure only happened yesterday!

    Congratulations Sir Ivan for this milestone!

  12. Congrats Ivan, may you spend the rest of your days moving your feet and writing about it. You were born to be a wanderer. To you (and hopefully for me too) it's not just a phase but a whole life in itself.

  13. Japand and Hongkong 1985 were my first destinations abroad with my Mom and younger brother. Visited Tsukuba 1985 Expo as well as Disneyland although don't know if my memorabilia are still intact back home in Baguio.


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