Mompowerment: RJ Dancel, Living Life One Adventure At A Time

RJ Dancel of Ang Buhay Lokal / The Good Trip & mompreneur for Hanamayari: 

Travelling around the provinces of the Philippines is inspiring and aspirational through the eyes of young mom and travel enthusiast, RJ Dancel. In her blog, Ang Buhay Lokal, she captivates readers with her beautiful photos and play of words. “My partner and I have a goal to complete all provinces in the Philippines,” shares RJ. 

More than a love for travel, Ang Buhay Lokal is powered by a deeper sense of pride for all things Filipino. RJ explains, “When you travel locally, you get to know your country, you meet people from different regions, and you can be an agent of change. As our newfound friends, the locals, brought us to rural communities, we started to meet indigenous groups. Then there’s something that sparks in your heart that tells you, there’s so much you can do to help.”

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From her engagements with different communities, her business, Hanamayari, and a passion project on conservation & culture, The Good Trip, was born. As RJ discovers the country, so she uncovers handicrafts and local gems. By introducing people to these products, she helps indigenous communities in leaps and bounds. “We talk to people, understand what they do and what livelihood they have. Then we put it out on the online market. I want to use my digital abilities to help communities, showcase their work, and give advice on how they can innovate their products,” she adds. 

The Good Trip (thegoodtrip.ph) is the product of everything RJ has learned in travel; some are lessons from other people and their stories, others come from chasing our own curious questions. It's a guidebook with conversations about sustainability, conservation, culture, and consumerism

Travel, work, and business seem so promising, but RJ also has her share of struggles. She was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type II when she was in college and found out she was pregnant shortly before graduating. These were challenging times for her. But amidst the trials, she felt an instant change when her son Ynigo was born. 

She shares, “I had post-partum depression for 3 months that heightened my bipolar disorder. But every night, after crying, I’d always look at my son and have a feeling of positivity overcome me. He’s like my medicine, he gives me so much hope.”

As RJ reflects on her life so far, she sees strength. She continues to overcome bouts of self-doubt and darkness as she accomplishes one thing after another. No matter what comes her way, she faces the future with a huge, giving heart. Her mantra of doing good and being kind always, radiates to her family, extends to strangers, and reflects on communities she wants to help. This is a mompowerment mantra RJ hopes to pass on to her son. 

No one can say what the future holds, but RJ faces it with the mindset that the best is yet to come. She anticipates her next adventures empowered with the belief that there is more to see, more people to help, and many more moments to live and love.