Ian Limpangog
Ian Limpangog

Freedom Wall made it to the 12th Best Cebu Blogs Awards finals

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I could hardly contain the emotion. I was flipping my pen while staring through the glass window panels of Ozanam Building when a marquee of intertwined thoughts rolled like phantasms. Sober memories, emotional breakdowns, and reminiscence of joy intersected my chaotic memory lane like scattered pages of a torn and crumbled diary.

The struggle

The window view wasn’t helpful at all. Though I was preoccupied with my recollection, I was disturbed by the annoying insertions of peripheral visions.

Immediately opposite my line of sight were grubby horde of rowdy students chit-chatting at the study area. I was envious of their intemperate laughter and unproblematic disposition.

Below the window was a vacant, unmaintained carpark. Few dilapidated sedans that were probably abandoned by their owners flumped at the corner.

From afar are rusty trailer trucks that dashed the adjacent highway. They complied the “no blowing of horns” policy, but their thunderous engine revs were reverberating through the concrete walls.

Honestly, the sceneries made more harm than charm and more disconcertment than enlightenment.

The look of enlightenment. This not how I look when I was staring through the College of Engineering window.
The look of enlightenment. This not how I look when I was staring through the College of Engineering window.

Meanwhile, unusual mannerisms emerged while I was trying to suppress the stress. The stress that was brought by uncertainties as well as excitement for new beginnings. My eyes could not focus on one direction and my other hand was busy reaching awkward places of my anatomy.

Normally, I don’t share my plans, so I did not approach anyone, not my closest friend, not even my parents, to talk about life issues and significant decision making.

I was thinking: should I prepare for the licensure exam or should I start working?

Graduation photo
Friendster went out of business and I wasn’t able to recover my college photos. Luckily, I was able to find a low-resolution graduation photo. Yes I was an Octoberian, I was a working student back then.

I was on my fifth year in the university and I was graduating soon. Making ends meet was the utmost priority.

I’d been enduring that struggle for a while. I stared at the same window, recalled the same set of memories, and performed the same mix of awkward gestures. However, that day was different. The night before that, an episode of the popular TV show, Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho, tackled blogging opportunities and all good stuff that came with it. I was restless after learning about the income possibilities. The idea of “I don’t need to be an engineer to decently earn a living” marauded my fickle thoughts and clouded my irresolute judgement.

Suddenly, I was awaken from that daydream when the phone in my pocket vibrated. Ma’am Leah called and it startled me for a moment. The company that employed me as an OJT contacted me for a research post at their laboratory. The call added another layer of confusion to the disorderly thoughts I’d been battling with the whole time.

That moment, my decision was inclined towards securing a job than getting a professional license.

The decision

I could hear my heartbeat pulsating erratically. It was like a stress-induced arrhythmia. I unwittingly kneaded my shoulders until they were numb to change the focus of my system to physical pain rather than emotional quandary.

In the end, I accepted the job and decided to supplement it with blogging as another income stream. Though I have no extensive experience to both worlds, I chose to explore the uncertainty.

I hit two birds with one stone when I made that decision. I did not only challenge my anxiety head on, but I also went beyond the norm. Not every individual is capable of taking the same level of risk.

By the way, our research paper was selected for print publication and we received a decent honorarium for that. I used the money to buy the domain, freedomwall.net, and then explored the online opportunity.

It wasn’t originally a blog back then, but an online forum, where visitors contribute information instead of me making all the contents alone. Clever idea, right? But It did not work out.

Freedom Wall home page look circa 2010
This is how the blog looked like back then. So “jologs”. And yes, I joined Usana. I was desperate of earning easy money. I failed at multi-level marketing as well.

I then decided to make a blog using the same domain and published everything under the sun. Topics about technology, politics, lifestyle, current events, personal opinions, and even online income opportunities populated the blog. It was an amalgamation of information, cluttered in a fairly organized digital magazine. It did not work out as well.

The paradigm shift

Fast track to 2012, my officemate in my new company brought me to Palawan; Coron specifically. I was enthralled by the beauty that was so unique and was so spectacular to behold.

The first time I saw Coron, I thought it wasn’t the Philippines. Endless translucent, azure, and aquamarine waters surrounded the stunning array of limestone massifs where white sand beaches adorned the edges.

Coron was really fascinating. It was able to influence my decision to focus on travel blogging
Coron was really fascinating. It was able to influence my decision to focus on travel blogging.

It took me a while to process all the wonders that I witnessed. Mesmerized and excited, I was convinced to write about the experience, so that I have something to go back to.

My first even beach camp was in Banan Island in Coron. It rained really hard at dawn and soaked most of our stuff with rain water.
My first even beach camp was in Banana Island in Coron. It rained really hard at dawn and soaked most of our stuff with rain water.

The events in Coron helped me in morphing my blog. I dedicated it to travel alone, a niche that I could be really passionate about.

From then on, I’d been to places. I dived into unfamiliar territories, traced fading pathways, chased fascinating sunsets, and ventured into the unknown. I’d even backpacked multiple countries alone and experienced the bad, the good, and the exciting.

Ian Limpangog at Mount Mauyog
Conquering summits is not my thing but I really enjoyed it.

At one point, I went on a rebel mode, and then beautiful realization came afterwards. I had written a story about it. To know more, visit Change the Way You See Love.

Ian Limpangog at Bohol Man Made Forest
Travelling alone is my thing. I find it more relaxing most of the time.

The pay off

In 2015, I moved to Cebu and joined Cebu Bloggers Society where I earned a new family. Well, that was the feeling back then. I also have a separate piece about my CBS undertakings. To learn more about it, go to My CBS Story—More Than a Fair Trade-Off: A Tribute to Cebu Bloggers Society’s 10th Anniversary.

And finally, in December 2017, all my efforts and dedications were rewarded. BCBA recognized me as Cebu’s Top Travel Blogger and blogger of the year, which was sponsored by Megaworld. The recognition did not only boost my confidence but it also added pressure for me to focus on creating quality and relevant contents. It was another challenge to take on.

Freedom Wall won the 2017 Best Cebu Travel Blog and Top Cebu Blog/Blogger of the Year
The recognition in 2017 added confidence and, at the same time, pressure to produce quality contents.

My charm did not end there because, this year, I was nominated again. My fingers are crossed, hoping for the best and praying for blessings.

The message

The Best Cebu Blogs Awards, on its 12th year, continues to inspire and recognize Cebu-based bloggers and content creators for the dedication and passion to their respective crafts.

The annual gathering to reward Cebu’s talented and promising bloggers is made possible by the staunch commitment of the Best Cebu Blogs Awards (BCBA) core committee and the helping hands of the sponsors. Thank you Realme Philippines, PLDT and Smart, Megaworld, Cebu Pacific Air, Summit Galleria Hotel, BPI, Krispy Kreme, Pancake House, Red Ribbon, Starbucks, Sizzlin’ Steak, and Terriyaki Boy. The awarding would not be in fruition without your generous hearts and unparalleled support. Again, thank you!

And to my co-finalist, congratulations! Being in the finals is a milestone itself. Since you made it, you are one of the best. Good luck to all of us.

Excited for the BCBA 2019 awarding ceremony
Excited for the BCBA 2019 awarding ceremony
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