It’s been a long journey with many twists and turns, but Wrangler’s yearly search for the ultimate adventurer has finally reached the end of the road as Rhyan Joe Sianquita was chosen as the 2018 True Wanderer.
Of the thousands of participants who shared their best #Live2Wander moments online, 10 finalists were sent on a three-day journey to different places in the Philippines. As a professional travel organizer, Sianquita has explored many beautiful destinations across the country, but chose a unique location for his True Wanderer trip: the warzone of Marawi City.
“I travel every week because of my job,” he said. “But what made this trip so different is the destination. All the blogs called Marawi the ‘city of no return.’ But at the airport, I met so many wonderful people who made me realize that it wasn’t true. They were even inviting me into their homes!”
In this year’s search, Sianquita was one of over 9,500 True Wanderer hopefuls – the highest number of participants in the four-year history of Wrangler’s annual travel program. At one point, he was discouraged as he browsed the other participants’ posts.
“I was up against many professional photographers, and their captions were also so good,” he said. “As the day of the announcement came closer I became more worried, but decided to just tell myself that I already won through the experience.”
And it was quite an experience indeed. The finalists also had to undergo three different challenges during their three-day trip and shared photos and the stories behind them using the hashtags #TrueFoodie, #TrueCulture, and #TrueAdventure. Sianquinta’s entry stood out, with his #TrueAdventure caption reading:
“Every time I travel, it’s important to have a picture-perfect adventure. As I walked through the warzone in Marawi, the angst of being there was real; it’s not a perfect picture. Along with the 1st Scout Ranger Company, I crossed through the memorable sites of ground zero carrying the memories and stories before and during the war. We felt the anguish and pain of losing a fellow comrade. But something sparked in me what only eyes of the heart and soul can see. Beyond the chaos and hostility is a promise of HOPE. Rubbles turned into building dreams of a better Marawi, where faith and camaraderie from each and every Filipino will make this land rise out from the ashes. Let the world know how strong is Lahing Kayumanggi! Bangon Marawi!”
Sianquinta won P500,000 worth of prizes, including a 3-days/2-nights all-expense-paid trip for four to any Philippine destination, as well as travel gear, one drone camera, one tablet, and Wrangler gift certificates. He is particularly excited about the drone camera because he wants to take even more spectacular shots while on his travels.
“I’m a hiker, so I want to be able to hike in mountains abroad like the Everest base camp and Kinabalu. But for my upcoming True Wanderer trip, I’m thinking of going to Bohol,” he shared. “My mother has never been on a plane so I want to bring her with me, along with my graduating sister and my wife.”
“I’m overwhelmed and I’m happy I didn’t let down those who supported me and believed that I could win,” he added. “It’s really not about your destination but it’s about the memories you make along the way.”