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Why I became a ‘probinsyana’


Henry David Thoreau, one of my favorite poets and arguably one of the first hippies in America, once wrote: “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”

That statement influenced my decision to leave the city.

I have lived in cities my whole life, luckily including the capital cities of a few countries. I’ve been living in Manila for a good 20 years before moving to the province.

Let me tell you why.

Prior to starting my own digital consultancy, I worked in the corporate world — advertising agencies, publishing houses, big companies and start-ups. My average stay in each company was two to three years.

I’ve always wanted to learn more about my line of work. I’ve also tried my best to fit in and get along with my work mates and bosses — many of whom have remained my friends.

But in one instance, I pondered why I was working so hard. What was the end goal? What was I trying to achieve? A fat paycheck? Recognition and awards?

My answer was no to all of the above. So, what motivated me to work, aside from the never-ending duty to pay the bills?

I thought that the end goal was to save money and, when I reach a certain age, move to the countryside and have my own farm. I love to eat and like planting things and watching them grow.

Then I realized, why the heck can’t I do it now? So, about 10 years ago, I was planning to move out of Manila for good. Don’t get me wrong, Manila has its fun, conveniences and wonders, but as I grew older, I wanted something else.


At first, during my mid-30s, I wanted to move out of the country and see what the world had in store for me. But I love the Philippines so much that I thought there was more to it that I have yet to discover, that I can leave Manila but still live somewhere else in the country.

One of the insights in my journey was that I didn’t really need many things to survive. I really wanted to have a Ludwig drum kit, but it’s a “want,” not a “need.”

When I whittled down the bare necessities that I truly wanted in life, it was about waking up and seeing greenery, my favorite color. I wanted to see the sky, not only through small breaks in between buildings, but as a dome.

I wanted to learn how to grow my own food. I wanted to eat closer to the source of my food, though I’m still a sucker for good instant ramen.

Am I turning into a hippie? I don’t think so.

But I believe that, to simplify my life, I need to recognize the “noise” in it, and try to move away from the distraction to see the essence of what truly matters.

I have become more deliberate in my actions, while holding on to the things I value. It’s still a journey and an adjustment, but I like this simplified path more than the frenetic one I left behind.

It does not hurt that we live in such a beautiful country.

Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph


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