I’m a big fan of travel literature and a good chunk of my bedside reading material belong to this category. But in as much as I like reading them, I rarely buy local travel magazines because I don’t feel like they have anything new to offer apart from the tried and tested travel narrative in the usual getting from point A to B writing fashion.  And while some of the writing is good, I sometimes feel that the views of the writers or the places featured tend to be predictably too common.  Okay , so Paris is beautiful but do you think we need another article to glorify her treasures?  Sure, the writer probably loves the place but so do a million other people, is there a way of presenting a usual place without falling to typical cliches?

Enter the latest travel magazine to hit the newsstands, the aptly named Roam.

Roam is totally not what I would have expected from a local travel publication.  For one,  it is paper-packed (150 pages) and, at first glance, has a bit of an artsy-meets-MTV feel to it. I would go to as far as saying that its has comic-book quality to it (down to the size!).

I certainly found the lay-out design to be very edgy with hints of the tome Pinoy Pop Culture published a few years back.  For its premiere issue, Roam dedicated all its pages to this city of my personal affection: Manila.  By this, I mean it in her plural-mutated-sprawling-overbearingly huge form (not just the city of Manila) but the whole metropolis, all 600 sq. kms of it.  And I’m sure, given the size of my city, you’ll easily find something to fill up every page.

Certainly, the contents were well thought of,  a mish-mash of the usual Manila travel subjects- Intramuros, Chinatown, Quiapo et al. There’s also food reviews and the occasional emotional ramblings about a place.  But what I found fresh were the unconventional stories. The Luneta Photographer’s club (they existed?) feature presents a human-face to these faceless wanderers in our city’s biggest park.  Quezon City, Parañaque and Kalookan (!),  places in the Metro you (and certainly I) didn’t think of as worthy travel stories also found their way in and definitely gave the theme another kick. Ditto with features Marikina (boonies for me), balut-making and Korean immigrants.  All the articles made for an interesting read.

Well almost.

Some stories fell to the usual ‘predictably too common’ angle trap. The Intramuros article was ho-hum.

All said, a great read.  Kudos to Roam for coming up with a phenomenal travel magazine.

And THANK YOU too for your little blurb about Old Manila Walks and yours truly in the Vintage Manila article.

While we’re at it, same appreciative words to the Manila Times for featuring our BIG Binondo Food WOK here.

Ditto with Real Living Magazine for their blog write up here.

And finally, while surfing for ‘my’ online presence (yes i do that), I chanced upon an interesting article about Binondo and this blurb about Old Manila Walks by the Straits Times in Singapore. Thank you, thank you!