Of Feelings & Space

I have no problem with directions. But, hell, I have terrible sense of distance.

Case # 1: It was a solo trip in Baguio. With the map I printed back home, I was left on my own to explore the City of Pines. I thought it was only a short walk from downtown to the Mines View Park. Boy, what looked as walking distance on the map was actually a long hike that took almost an hour.

Case # 2: When I moved to Cebu City, I noticed that my friends can tell how far places are to each other using meters and kilometers–the real measures of distance. SM is 3 kilometers from IT Park. Moalboal is 92 kilometers from the South Bus Terminal. And the nearest Starbucks is 500 meters from my house.

For me, that’s way too cool. I can’t even imagine how far 3 kilometers is. And, normally, Filipinos will just say 15 minutes from IT Park, 3 hours from the bus terminal, or next to my house, or next next to my house.

BUKIDNON: In the middle of nowhere, we found a waterfall.

BUKIDNON: In the middle of nowhere, we found a waterfall.

That’s because the Filipino concept of space is not measurable. Space is subjective, expressed in feelings like malayo (far) or malapit (near). To point at things–which we sometimes do with our mouth–we say doon if it’s far or d’yan if it’s near. Nothing is clear cut. If you trek in the mountains and ask a local where the next village is, you’ll probably be told d’yan lang (over there). And that can mean crossing two mountains and a river.

This concept of space is what inspired the blog. The Philippines has more than 7, 100 islands and a long list of beaches, mountains, heritage sites, museums, foodtrip hotspots, and festivals. At first look, it appears intimidating to visit all these destinations. But, with the right feelings and mindset, nothing is truly far for the curious wanderer. Just around the corner, between here and there, can be another adventure waiting.


Everything is within walking distance.



D’YAN LANG was born out of peer pressure.

On February 2014, I decided to put up this blog after some friends pushed me to write travel guides for the places I’ve visited. My photos looked OK, they said, so better get them out of Facebook and put them on my own website.

I’m not new to blogging. I’ve tried writing about personal reflections, PowerPoint, training tips, and anything under the sun. All blogs saw a few posts, and then met their untimely death. And after many failed attempts, I was doubtful.

Still, I took the challenge. To try again for the nth time to eternalize a travel blog—with only a crude camera phone and tons of faith, that hopefully there would be many sober nights for writing—was a brave decision I made in my career. It worked, fortunately. Slowly, one trying-hard photo after another got published, the writing got more flavor, and the photography more tolerable.

The blog, it lived happily ever after.


Palaui Island, the first destination featured on D’YAN LANG.


APR 2014—I became a travel insider at Choose Philippines, ABS-CBN’s digital platform for promoting Philippine tourism and culture. From then on, the Choose Philippines partnership has grown to be D’YAN LANG’s strongest collaboration in promoting travel destinations in the country.

MAY 2014—Wanting to see more of the Visayas and Mindanao, I moved to Cebu for laag-laag. It was a perfect decision, I soon realized. Cebu is a quick hop to many other islands like Bohol, Siquijor, and Negros, and also happens to have plenty of social media influencers. I joined Cebu Bloggers Society (CBS) and got inspired by how serious they take blogging as a way of life.

NOV 2015—Competing with more than a hundred blogs in the country, D’YAN LANG won the People’s Choice Award in the 1st Bloggys Philippine Blogging Awards.

DEC 2015—The blog was awarded by  CBS as the Best Photo Blog and Best Travel Blog in Cebu, the only blog to get two awards for that year.

FEB 2016—Mobile photography became the primary medium for photo blogging after I ditched my DSLR. We partnered with Huawei Philippines to support the advocacy, and became one of the major influencers for the P9 campaign.


Words by Aris Mape
Updated Sep 2016