Sorry, no results were found for

This Filipina Anthropologist Made 44 *Audio Walking Tours* Across The Philippines

Find out how travel can make you proud about your hometown.
Raizel Albano audio tour guide Philippines

Our chosen mode of transportation often dictates our travel experience. Hop on a train, and you take in the scenery from your window. Get in a car, and you don't have to worry about lugging around your things. Board a plane, and in less than 24 hours, you're in a world so different from your own. But there's nothing like good old walking to really connect you to a place: your feet enjoying the cobblestone streets, stopping to smell the flowers when the mood strikes, checking out the sights up close.

That's what 34-year-old anthropologist Raizel Pauline Albano had in mind when she started working on her audio recordings of walking tours across the Philippines. For her, traveling is all about allowing yourself to experience life in its fullest form, and what better way to accomplish that than by going on a walking tour where you're right where the action is and in charge of your own path. 


Under the username Anthro on Foot, Albano produced 44 audio recordings for self-guided walking tours all over the Philippines and published them on the izi.TRAVEL mobile app. There are walking tours for Antipolo, Bacolod, Cebu, Laguna, Cavite, Manila, and many more. Anyone can download these recordings and use them on the road for only P65 per tour.

walking tour Iligan
PHOTO BY on Foot
watch now

Creating a New Travel Experience With Self-Guided Walking Tours

"I came up with this project because of two things: First, I had the opportunity to join a few walking tours overseas and thoroughly enjoyed them," Albano tells "Second, I've also always felt na nakukulangan ako sa tour offerings within the Philippines na laging kailangang nakasakay sa sasakyan-[although] understandable naman ito kasi mainit and marami sa ating roads ay hindi built for walking. Pero siyempre makulit ako: I still believed in the idea that it was possible [to just go on walking tours], just like how it's possible within heritage districts in the Philippines."

It all started in 2018 when Albano went on a DIY walking tour in the historic district of Angeles City in Pampanga. Months later, she made a walking itinerary for her dad's hometown, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, while there for the holidays.

"After doing these two tours a few months apart, I thought, 'Wow, ang hirap pala gawin nito!' But I also had this nudging feeling that I still wanted to do it kasi aside from nag-enjoy ako kahit mahirap gawin, I also firmly believe that it's about time we gave honor to each other's hometowns within the Philippines. I wasn't really thinking about foreign tourists when I started this project but more [about] locals appreciating their own hometown and other people's hometowns."


Albano decided to pursue her passion project (with a newborn child in tow), starting with hiring a voiceover talent named Macy Pabustan in 2020. Getting sponsors became a roadblock when the pandemic hit the same year, but the anthropologist just forged on. She focused on building the content and doing the nitty-gritty of desk research while the world was on a halt. She chose the 44 places-including spots she'd been to and those she had yet to visit.

walking tour Camiguin
PHOTO BY on Foot
walking tour Baguio
PHOTO BY on Foot

"The key for me was to include at least one place for every province para kahit paano well-represented 'yung lahat ng regions for my first launch," explains Albano. "Inuna kong isama 'yung mga napuntahan ko na, and then naging priority sa pagbuo ng itinerary na puntahan 'yung mga hindi pa."


When pandemic restrictions eased in 2021, she grabbed the chance to travel again and build on her content. Her job as an anthropologist allowed her to explore areas she'd never been to. It was as if everything just fell into place as her day job complemented her passion project.

It wasn't the pandemic nor budget considerations that were her biggest challenges in content creation though; it was self-doubt.

Anthro on Foot Raizel Albano
Albano was one of the 12 winners of the UNESCO Silk Roads Youth Research Grant, where she was given the platform to share the results of her work at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France.
PHOTO Courtesy of Raizel Albano

"Ang daming naging self-doubt na naganap throughout these past four years," Albano recalls. "Although common naman 'yung walking tours in walkable cities overseas, like Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and many cities in Europe, pakiramdam ko uncharted territory siya in the Philippines and in many developing countries, so I felt that I had no guidance, no blueprint to follow. So every time that I work on this project, I always end up asking myself, 'Qualified ba akong gawin ito?' I had no doubts about the potential of this project, but my doubts came from the fact that it was I who was doing it."

In the end, Albano's advocacy for traveling mindfully pushed her to continue.

Going Beyond Traveling and Travel Marketing

Albano graduated with a degree in Anthropology from the University of the Philippines Diliman. She is currently affiliated with Euromonitor International and previously with the UNESCO Silk Roads Programme as an applied anthropologist.


"I feel that of all the many things that the field of anthropology continues to teach me, it's the importance of providing context, a backstory, to every travel story. Providing an honest and faithful context honors the journey that led the story to get to where it is now."

Albano believes media needs to do better when it comes to promoting the travel industry. Social media platforms, according to her, "are designed to give a dopamine hit." The short nature of the content often fails to provide the "full, honest, and faithful backstory."

She also encourages anthropologists, fieldworkers, and grassroots entities to make themselves more available online in order to provide cultural context to current trends in travel media marketing. Anthropology can provide insight, too, on colonial legacy. 

"Many of our popular tourist attractions still hold the legacies of our colonial past, but this doesn't always have to be the case. As what modern anthropology teaches us, we can also choose not to get stuck and finally overturn the legacies of that colonial past by offering tours that celebrate the true spirit of our country. Great strides have been made in the past years, such as in the rise of island, hiking, walking, and food tours in the country," Albano emphasized.


Telling the Stories of Home

Albano's collection of 44 audio tours is all about places in the Philippines. Why? "To improve the culture of travel in the Philippines, I believe that, first, we must prioritize promoting the Philippines to each other, to fellow Filipinos." 

When we already believe in the potential of our hometown, then our level of confidence in promoting our country can reach new heights. But this is not an easy place to get to. In fact, Albano's most challenging walking tours in terms of the creative process are those of her hometown, San Fernando, Pampanga, and her parents' hometowns, Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija and Laoag City in Ilocos Norte.

Anthro on Foot in Naga
For Albano, traveling is also about immersing in the art and culture of the place. In Naga, she had the opportunity to meet Bicolano artist Pancho Piano (center).
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Raizel Albano
Anthro on Foot in Iloilo
Albano would often travel with her daughter. On a work trip in Iloilo, she tested out her walking itinerary for a weekend.
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Raizel Albano

"Iba kasi 'yung level of personal expectation in doing these tours, because you'd think I'm an expert just because I grew up and lived in these places. But that's the thing with doing something different with something so familiar: it can be easy to take things for granted that we tend to fail to notice something special about them. It was difficult because I had to try to detach myself from a feeling of familiarity with anything and everything that I regularly saw growing up. So memorable itong three places na ito kasi sila 'yung pinakamahirap gawin."


For Albano, of prime importance too in gaining confidence to promote one's hometown is knowing it is able to meet the basic needs of its own people, and that its citizens feel safe in their own homes and communities. After all, how can you promote something you're cynical about?

"This is easier said than done because we know full well the realities in the Philippines, most poignantly the ever-growing and ever-disturbing inequalities around us," says Albano. "But I still believe in the magic that happens when we decide to believe in our potential, even if realizing that means turning our backs on people, entities, and institutions that constrict that potential (not that I'm promoting it, but I'm just saying the possible realities). Until and unless we believe in ourselves and each other, we can never go far in improving the culture of travel in the Philippines."

To access Anthro on Foot's 44 audio walking tours, download izi.TRAVEL on Google Play or Apple Store, or visit izi.TRAVEL's website.


Also read: How Many Philippine Provinces Have You Been To? Track Your Travel Level Using This App

watch now