Since Chino Roque won the Axe Apollo Space Academy competition, we have been following his journey to becoming the first Filipino astronaut. We first met him while prepping for the shoot of a tourism video that he did for Globe, and as early as then, we could already see how hungry he was for adventure.
When Chino isn’t busy with flight school and CrossFit, he travels to local destinations. We got in touch with him to talk about his adventures so far.
1. You seem to have been traveling more often after you won the Axe contest. Is that a conscious decision or it just happened?
I have always had this plan of exploring most places in the Philippines before venturing out to other countries. I’ve been working as a coach and as a marketing assistant for Crossfit Manila before I won Axe, and even then I promised myself to save as much as I can to explore our country by the time I turn 25. So I guess both, what a coincidence, huh?
2. How do you choose your destinations?
To be honest I avoid going to the same place twice so I do my research with the help of travel blogs. I gotta know the must see places, the best time to visit, the local delicacies, and the ideal budget. ?
3. What are your travel must-haves?
Music! I always bring portable speakers and head phones to play my Spotify playlists. I always carry around a sarong with me so I can chill anywhere, and if needed it serves as a light towel after a spontaneous dip or swim. But most of all I carry a rosary with me most of the time to keep me and others around me safe. Also, to thank God for all the beautiful places I’ve seen.
4. Suppose a friend asks you: Take me to the most beautiful place in the Philippines. Where will you take them? Why?
Tough question. But we’ll probably go to Batanes. I love the beaches in Batanes, even though it isn’t really famous for its beaches. (Waves are powerful!) But the whole province seems to be suspended in time. From the rolling hills to dinner by the lighthouse, I had the best time meeting people with genuinely good and generous hearts. I also had an amazing tour guide named Kuya Nards who had everything set up for me. I’ll make sure to see him next time I come around. To simply say that every corner was beautiful won’t even suffice.
One of my favorite Chapels so far would be the Mt. Carmel Chapel in Basco Batanes. The chapel sat on top of a hill overlooking the countryside with both the West Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean on peripheral- not to mention the dormant volcano Mt. Iraya just behind it. This place truly makes you feel God's whisper.
5. What are the highest and lowest points of your travel history so far?
I’ve always been an optimist so most if not all my travels are high points for me, but I can say that climbing Mt. Pulag the second time was the highest point so far (And you can take that literally, too).
6. What is the most silliest thing that you have done or that happened to you while traveling?
I wouldn’t really know because my friends tell me that I am always silly. My best friend Arts would know so if you could get a hold of him he’ll probably share a story or two.
7. What are the areas that you think Philippine tourism needs to improve on?
Conservation. Many of our natural wonders, from coral reefs to mountain ranges to wildlife, are now threatened by the growing number of irresponsible tourists. I think it’s just basic human responsibility that we clean up after ourselves.
8. What’s your ultimate dream destination in PH?
It used to be batanes but since I got that checked off my list, I’m planning on going to Siquijor, Camiguin and Leyte next.
9. What is your favorite thing about traveling?
That’s an easy one. Food. It satisfies a long day of adventure and motivates you wake up early in he morning to catch the sunrise. It gives you a taste of the local culture and blends you in with their tradition. I love eating with my bare hands.
My favorite Pinoy food is: Mila’s sisig in Pampanga.
My favorite Pinoy beach is: Malcapuya in Coron, Palawan, just because of the experience of getting stranded the whole day watching the moon rise in blood red and sleeping under the stars with all your best friends around.
The weirdest food I have tried is: Kinilaw na tamilok.
My ultimate travel pet peeve is: being in a hurry.
The most romantic place in PH for me is: Batanes.
My steamiest travel moment happened in: Boracay. Mainit kasi nun. (LOL). ?️
I once got my heart broken in: Boracay.
I never expected that I would fall in love with: Bohol.
You will be surprised to learn that I…: take pleasure in long drives, but traffic always gets in the way of my happy go lucky disposition.