Fighting Fears: HUNKS AND GIANT HAMMOCKS (Beautiful Destinations and Masungi Georeserve) Part 1

by May 30, 2016Blog, Hearty Living, Inspirations

beautiful destinations tom and jeremy jauncey jacob sam james philippines

My friend River and I meeting the team behind BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS at Lucky Rainbow Seafood Restaurant in Makati. Beautiful Destinations is one of the most inspiring accounts on Instagram (with six million followers and counting). They feature the best travel photos and destinations in the world from both professional and amateur photographers.

Hunks and Giant Hammocks?!? What was I thinking? Well, I suddenly realized that there’s more to it than just interrogating a hunk and encountering a giant hammock. Behind these two things that happened a few weekends ago, I found out that I was actually fighting with some recurring fears.

But before I share about these fears, let me give you an update that impressive contents about the Philippines are being shared with millions of people here and abroad through the world of Instagram. At the moment, our country is being promoted by means of photos and video clips by one of the most inspiring and influential travel accounts on InstagramBeautiful Destinations (Skifties 2015 winner as Best Social Media Influencer and Best Social Media Agency).  

How did this happen? Beautiful Destinations in partnership with Philippine Tourism Department traveled together with BD’s team: Jeremy Jauncey (Founder of Beautiful Destinations), Tom Jauncey (Head of Brand Partnerships & an epic licensed travel drone pioneer for BD), Jacob Riglin (Community Manager and amazing photographer for BD), Sam Kolder (Filmmaker and Videographer for American DJ Duo the Chainsmokers), and James Relfdyer (the young iPhone only Photographer).

For ten days, the team experienced the best in Cebu (canyoneering and swimming with whale sharks), Bohol (meeting the tarsiers and capturing the sunrise with the Chocolate Hills), Palawan (being enchanted with its beautiful islands) and Manila (encountering the main city of the archipelago and meeting its people) while documenting their firsthand experiences. With this special partnership, they were able to produce some of the finest and most inspiring travel contents about the Philippines, which resulted to a number of great responses around the world.

So, this and the hunk also happened.

Jeremy Jauncey Beautiful Destinations Media Press Conference Philippines

(Coughing***) This is the passionate and hardworking founder of BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, Jeremy Jauncey. His father was a professional photographer who met his Colombian mum in London. He was born in Venezuela and studied in Scotland. Indeed, traveling has always been in his blood.

I rarely get intimidated with personalities but I certainly get a bit jittery with people who are passionate and creative in their fields especially when it comes to traveling and photography. If you’ve been aware about what I do then you know how much I love both traveling and lifestyle photography. Now you have an idea about my excitement in meeting the team behind one of the accounts that I admire and follow on Instagram. But I also have another problem. I didn’t know that the man behind Beautiful Destinations would be such a charming bloke! In other words, a hunk.

That’s when a familiar sense of alarm started to pour in as I expected to meet a crowd of strangers and encounter new people at their media event.

Being this psychologically alarmed may sound weird since I’ve been hosting events, been conducting some speaking engagements that leads me to interact with different people. But most of the people that I know don’t actually realize that every time I face the crowd, do a talk and interact with new people, fear always starts to creep inside of me. And it’s something that I need to deal with every time.

“Courage is grace under pressure.” – John Maxwell

(One of the major embarrassing moments that I had was when I was in College. I joined a Flairtending competition for the first time. I made my own concoction while flipping bottles, pouring liquors and dancing in Beyoncé’s music. Nearly in the middle of my routine, I had a mental block. I failed. And after going through the failed performance, I cried in the ladies room. Why me? Why? 

Then I tried to join again. This time it was in a bigger venue for the Chef’s Parade. I trained with friends and at the competition where majority of guys joined, I was nervous, paused, did what I can and just enjoyed it. I won 2nd place.

What did I learn? I learned to be myself. I learned to be prepared. And I learned that I am not a Beyoncé kind of girl. I’m more of an Andy Williams’ or Boys Town Gang’s-“Can’t take my eyes off you”-Dance-Mix-kind!

So every time I’m about to encounter new things, I recognize the fear and try to face it. I get nervous – yes but I still try to do it anyway. I try to enjoy the moment. And sometimes still embarrass myself.

I guess that’s what happened when I had the chance to have a quick interview with Jeremy Jauncey during the Beautiful Destinations team’s meet-up with the media.)

Jeremy Jauncey media Philippines Beautiful Destinations

Here’s me blurting out my first two questions to Jeremy Jauncey without really thinking.

So, what happened?

At the cue of the host for more questions, I raised my hand and started with a very serious question, “Hi Jeremy! I’m JM and I have a question for you that’s actually for the ladies here. (pause) Are you in a relationship right now?”. Toinks!

But wait, after answering my first question it didn’t end there as I even had a tremendous follow-up, “What are you looking for in a woman?”. He said that he’s actually been never asked that question before. And the crowd went ecstatic (at my expense)! Oh my J! What did just happen? I had the audacity to ask those questions? I can’t believe my mouth just did that!

But to be fair I think everyone had some good fun (I hope). And being mindful of the time I immediately continued with my real question, “What’s your vision for Beautiful Destinations in five or ten years time?” (Yeah-ba! Puede na bang pang Ms. Universe?) Jeremy’s response? He and his team were actually very accommodating in answering all our questions despite their busy schedule and the time.

“Courage allows you to move beyond fear.” – John Maxwell

What did I get from this experience? Dealing with fear could be frightening but amusing. You just need to be yourself, learn to laugh at yourself and enjoy the moment. Fear could always be there but it’s what you do with it that will matter in the end. Have courage and move beyond the fear.

As simple as my story, I hope that you got something worthwhile about my first fear in this two-part blog. Whether to turnaround your fear of speaking in public, or being with a crowd of strangers, or in meeting new people. And I also hope that you get to see the amazing contents about the Philippines on Instagram. (Check out @BeautifulDestinations, @JeremyJauncey, @TomJauncey, @Jacob, @Sam_Kolder, @JamesRelfdyer and @TourismPHL. Let me know what you think about their work.)

I’m about to end this part but if you’re curious about Jeremy’s answers, yes, he is single. He’s very open minded and doesn’t really have a particular type. He’s open to meeting new people and even to recommendations. And his vision for Beautiful Destinations? As they grow their business, their vision stays the same. To inspire people to travel and see the rest of the world through the images that they produce and to represent the people that they meet.

(***Their footage in Cebu, Bohol, Palawan and Manila are also shown in New York, outside the Philippine Center at 556 Fifth Avenue.)



Getting to this spiderweb view deck with friends has its own journey and story! Think about the rain, a Go Pro cam that fell, and so on. The question is, did we all made it to the Giant Hammock? What kind of fear did we all end up fighting with?

If you have your own stories to share about your fears and how you were able to deal with it, don’t forget to share it. Send me a message or comment below. 🙂 

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What people are saying about this blog:

“What a fantastic blog JM!!! Loved reading every detail especially you sharing from your heart. My third question for Jeremy would’ve been related to his belief system then you would’ve known more clearly if he’s the one….. 😊 💕” – Roisin



  1. Roisin

    What a fantastic blog JM!!! Loved reading every detail especially you sharing from your heart. My third question for Jeremy would’ve been related to his belief system then you would’ve known more clearly if he’s the one….. 😊 💕

    • Joanne-Marie

      Hi Ro! Thanks so much! Appreciate your time in reading my blog. 🙂 Haha! That’s a good question (very personal) though the setting for the media and the Q&A was really for their team and business, Beautiful Destinations. I just blurted out some personal questions at the start, which resulted to a more fun Q&A and crowd. 😉


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