Palawan attracts just about everyone. No exception is a 32-year-old singer who has chosen to stay good and be inspired by the place she now calls her home.
Sheila Mae Sanchez-Trinch, or Shellem to her friends, is a professional singer and artist who used to perform in Quezon City and even abroad. A trip to Palawan convinced her that this is the place she has been looking for.
“Nakita ko ‘yong difference ng buhay namin sa Manila at dito. Kumbaga sa Manila, marami kang options pero ‘yong buhay mo ay iikot lang sa isang box. Unlike dito, na open ‘yong box mo. Hindi nga ganun karami ang options dito pero mas feel ko na mas may quality ang buhay ko rito,” she said.
She was completely encouraged to remain in Palawan after meeting her husband, Isaac, who is Spanish and also a fan of the island. Following their wedding, they relocated to Port Barton, San Vicente, and opened an accommodation business in 2017.
“It’s a small town. Maglalakad ka lang, talagang napaka-peaceful. Iyon pala ang start ng meaningful life,” she said.
Their time on the island of Port Barton opened her eyes to the importance of environmental stewardship and promoting sustainable tourism.
Shellem actively promotes Palawan, primarily to foreign visitors, and encourages them to visit.
“Noong nag-start na mag-boom ‘yong tourism sa Port Barton, nakikita na namin na parang nada-damage na ‘yong environment, ‘yong underwater nakikita namin kung papaano nada-damage. Pati ‘yong forest namin, marami na rin basura,” these things caught her interest to make people realize the blessings of Palawan.
“Gusto ko maipakita o maiparinig kung ano ba talaga ang Palawan.Magkaroon sila ng curiosity kasi tingin ko di pa siya ganon kakilala. Kahit sabihin natin na world’s best pero kapag may tourists kami, never pa nila naririnig yong Palawan,”
Lost in Palawan
Shellem wrote and released a song called Lost in Palawan with the help and encouragement of her husband. It was a project that ended her seven-year absence from the music scene.
She mentioned that in the year 2020, when the pandemic struck, she had the opportunity to write songs and experiment with promoting Palawan in her own unique way, through the medium of music.
The song “Lost in Palawan” was written to help lighten people’s spirits while they dealt with the pandemic.
After only a few weeks, her song has received over 11,000 plays and counting on the SoundCloud app. It can also be listened to on Spotify.
“Ano pa ba kaibahan ko sa ibang artist? For me, wala akong masyadong kakaibang talent or hindi ako ganoon talaga kagaling na artist. Pero at least doon sa ginawa ko, maging iba ako,” she said.
She followed Lost in Palawan with two more songs, Tequila on the Rocks and Latin Lover. She’s also experimenting with the fusion of Latin and Filipino styles in her music, she says. Bolero Man and On My Own are two new songs she’ll be releasing.
Palawan promotion as a content
As a musician who has recently moved to Palawan, she is looking forward to hearing songs that encourage visitors to explore the province once they arrive at the airport.
Shellem hopes to market her songs to a larger audience who will listen to her message about the province.
“Kung before, hindi magiging ganon kalalim ang composition ko kasi hindi pa ako ganon ka-eperience pa. Ngayon na mas matured na ako, right timing,” she said.
“Kapag nakuha mo na ‘yong gusto mo sa buhay, gusto mo na lang magkaroon ng purpose, makatulong. Doon sa kanta na ‘yon natuwa ako na nasa 11,000 na. Kung may mas mari-reach pa ako, ang tao magkakaroon ng curiosity sa Palawan,” she said.
She also encouraged content creators to produce videos about Palawan and use their influence to feature more about the beauty of the island, particularly the way of life of the locals.