Traveler Profile: Why Francis Baraan IV Is More Than Your Average Hotelier

In between the days he spends fending off trolls and writing opinion pieces, he manages his own beach resort and still manages to find time for travel.

For Francis Baraan IV, traveling is just one aspect of his fast-paced multifaceted life. Even when he isn’t out to explore what the world has to offer, he is still met with different kinds of excitement (and often kept on his toes) through his “many hats” — being a hotelier, entrepreneur, human rights activist, blogger, and journalist to name a few.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Francis Baraan IV (@mrfrankbaraan) on

If you’re wondering why his name sounds familiar, chances are you came across one of his viral posts on social media. On Twitter, Francis is a social media activist known for fearlessly criticizing the administration which, of course, earns him his own critics in the form of pro-admin supporters and online trolls. He recently became an opinion columnist for The Philippine Business and News, his pieces aptly titled “Brutally Frank.” And in between the days he spends fending off the trolls and getting his thoughts out there, he manages the lovely Sirom Beach House in Pangasinan with his brother, Amadeus Baraan (Grandeur Traveler).

One could certainly say that Francis is quite a busy guy. He’s got his hands full day in day out but maybe it’s this seemingly endless hustle and busyness that makes him enjoy traveling and spending time at his beach house even more. After all, every once in a while, getting away from all the stress and exploring new surroundings could be just the recharge you need.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Francis Baraan IV (@mrfrankbaraan) on

Francis’ love affair with travel came a little late unlike his brother, the Grandeur Traveler, who found his love for adventures early on. His wanderlust started in 2013, when he visited Europe for a solo trip. Since then, he has been to many places — both local and abroad, and often with his loved ones.

Today, as the world tries to figure out living in the “new normal,” he has also put a pause on his excursions and opted to stay in Dasol, Pangasinan to manage Sirom Beach House.

“I spend my time these days here at our own beach house. Since I’m bipolar, I actually try to find time to exercise and work and write,” he says, when asked about how he has spent the past six months of the quarantine.

“I don’t really recommend traveling anyway, because of the pandemic. It’s better to take extra precaution and it’s better to be safe,” he adds. “But I do recommend local tourism and travel as long as you comply with all travel requirements.”

 

Every traveler has an interesting story to tell and Francis is no exception. From visiting countries all over the world to starting his own hotel, there’s never a dull moment in his life. He mentions that, unlike other travelers, he didn’t start with a list of countries to cross out or bucket lists to fulfill. For him, the joy of traveling is spending time with your loved ones and maybe the stunning view and memorable adventures are just cherries on top.

 

Travel stories, tips, and lessons from Francis

Which countries have you visited?

I have visited Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Japan, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, South Korea, and the USA.

Where is the most interesting or most beautiful place you’ve been to?

All the countries I have visited are all beautiful. They all have different things to offer and are unique in terms of culture, food, people, and main attractions. But [Hong Kong] will always have a special place in my heart. It’s such a shame, though, what has happened to it now, because of mainland China.

What’s one place you recommend everyone should visit at least once in their lives?

Well, for Filipinos, I recommend visiting at least one Asian country and Palawan.

Can you share your best/funniest travel memory?

The best, most memorable travel memory I have are:

A family trip to South Korea. When my Dad was still Justice Undersecretary, he tagged my siblings and me along for a four-day official state visit. We were treated like royalty from Day 1 to Departure — red carpet treatment. We got to meet ambassadors, university directors, governors, mayors, and the Great Monk of South Korea, who was the equivalent of the Pope or some holy man there.

A solo trip to Italy. When I landed and got to the airport, a man in a suit welcomed me. He introduced himself as Tony, the Chief-of-Staff of the Philippine Ambassador to Rome, Ambassador Virgilio Delos Reyes. Apparently, my Dad surprised me. He arranged for me to be taken care of by the Embassy because he is good friends with the Ambassador. I was asked to pay a courtesy call to the Ambassador the next day and was toured around Rome for 2 days by Tony.

As an established traveler, what can you say is the worst part about traveling?

The worst part is not having access to Wi-Fo while outside my hotel or accommodation, especially when I’m alone. I have a bad sense of direction and I get lost easily!

Which place is still on your travel bucket list?

Bucket list: India, Africa, and Morocco.

Any plans to travel the 81 provinces of the Philippines?

Yes, of course. Local travel first before foreign travel.

Based on all your travels, what do the Philippines have that other countries don’t?

The Philippines has a lot of beautiful beaches–more beautiful than most countries. We have El Nido, Boracay, etc. And the Filipinos are some of the most beautiful, hospitable people in the world.

What’s an item you can’t travel without?

I can’t travel without my cellphone, moisturizer, passport, and of course, books.

How do you manage to fund all your adventures?

Businesses, passive income, and credit cards.

Can you share a practical travel tip you’ve learned?

I’m the worst at giving practical travel tips. I travel heavy–meaning, I never travel light. But I would say, plan your itineraries so as not to waste any time.

What advice can you give for those who want to travel but are struggling financially?

Just save up for the bucket list. No need to rush. In the meantime, explore your province and its neighbors. There are always budget accommodations. And if you can, travel with friends so you can split costs.

What lessons have you learned from all of your travels?

The lessons I have learned are learning to appreciate others’ cultures and customs.

What comfort can you give to fellow travelers who might be having a case of ‘cabin fever’?

Everybody feels the same way… But I think the best way is to sometimes just get out. If you have a garden, go to your garden. Or be creative; read a book, binge watch Netflix.

 

Follow Francis Baraan’s adventures on Instagram, @mrfrankbaraan and @mrfrankbaraan_reads. You can also find him on Twitter.

 

READ MORE:
Traveler Profile: Amadeus Baraan and His Adventures and Misadventures as ‘Grandeur Traveler’
The Four Places to Consider on Your Next Solo Trip
Dip Your Toes in These White Sand Beaches Near Manila

Tags: