Something I thought recently: with how engrossed I have become in the latest smartphone features, am I starting to miss life’s simple joys?

There is no doubt that the smartphone is one of the most successful innovations of the digital age. In fact, over 5 billion people, more than half the world’s population, are mobile phone users.

You see, my friend, I was born in the late 80s which, technically, makes me a millennial. The generation that they said was born directly into the new era of technology and has founded the social media movement. We’re the first generation to come of age with cell phones.

However, you don’t have to belong to the “Millennial Generation” to appreciate a smartphone and all its benefits. Even kids today love smartphones, right?

Last December, I decided to buy myself a new mobile phone. That’s after spending three years with my tried and tested Samsung mobile device. Maybe it was the thrill of the Christmas season that urged me to buy a new phone as a gift for myself. In any case, I decided to go with a Huawei device.

Personally, I love my new smartphone, especially its Leica camera!

It’s fast, has a big screen, and it works well with Google AI assistant. For a little over $500 USD, I managed to own a phone that I believe could compete with some of the finest premium mobile devices today. I was so excited to use it and immediately equipped it with all the apps that I needed.

Read More: Huawei’s Mobile AI Assistant Kirin 970 Unveiled at Berlin IFA

Island Adventure

Last week, I went to this small island called Pamilacan off the coast of Bohol, Philippines. I was looking forward to that trip for weeks and so excited to explore that small paradise. I was also dying to capture its beauty in photos using my Huawei’s Leica camera.

From mainland Bohol, it took us an hour to reach the small Pamilacan island by pump boat.

I was at a loss for words for when I first stepped on the island’s fine white sand and saw its raw beauty.

The place where we stayed offers cottage accommodations. Guests have the choice of staying in huts made of wood, Anahaw, or Nipa leaves. We call these houses Nipa huts. It’s pretty exciting for me because I spent most of my life in the city and it would be my first time staying in a Nipa Hut.

As you would probably guess by now, I have everything captured on my new phone!

Pamilacan Island
First real glimpse of Pamilacan Island | R.Fuertes

Now, let’s go straight to the highlights of our stay in Pamilacan Island. For two days, we took advantage of the food, the scenery, and, of course, the clear blue sea. We spent our days swimming, boating, and snorkeling in the island’s fish and turtle sanctuaries.

Throughout this time, I was grateful to have my action camera and my three-month-old smartphone with me to capture every moment.

While the view from above was indeed mesmerizing, it utterly failed in comparison to the marine ecosystem that lay hidden beneath the sea.

Aside from experiencing the wonders beneath the water, I will never forget that sense of calmness that engulfed me while I was sitting in that small boat with my little son, in the middle of the sea, watching the sunset.

I felt so fortunate that I got to snap and keep the memories of that moment on my smartphone. But, as they said, some good things never really last. During our last day, I decided to take my son snorkeling one more time before we left that noon.

I didn’t really have any plans of taking more underwater videos, so I left our action camera behind. However, I took my phone with me in case of emergency. I put it in a waterproof pouch that I never bothered to close since I usually leave it inside the boat when I swim.

We rented a boat and off we went to the fish sanctuary!

Off to Pamilacan island's Fish Sanctuary
Off to Pamilacan island’s Fish Sanctuary | R.Fuertes

My son went into the water first. I stayed in the boat for a while, watching him with my phone hanging loosely around my neck in its pouch. A few minutes went by when I saw the huge school of fish circling our boat.

Guess what happened next?

Something urged me to jump into the water and without warning. I did it. Yes. I cannonballed my way into the sea with my smartphone around my neck. The crazy part was, I was so thrilled with the sight of the fish that I forgot my phone.

I only remembered it when our guide pointed at my chest. For a while, I felt terrible about it. I can’t believe I’m going to lose all the shots I took of that trip.

When we resurfaced to take a breath, my son asked me with a worried look if I was okay. Looking at his face and the beauty that’s surrounding us, I realized that the real essence of our memories couldn’t be captured even by the most powerful smartphones or cameras in the world.

I can’t afford to ruin the experience for him just because I damaged my phone.

Some sweet moments with my son
Some sweet moments with my son | R.Fuertes

I left the device in the boat and swam with my son for a while longer.

After that, we went back to the island, packed our things, and went home. I avoided talking about my silliness and my dead phone.

Final Thoughts and my Ultimate Traveling tip

Technological advancement is great as it paves the way to our future. However, while we tend to get smitten by the latest gadgets, tech devices, wearables, and smartphones of today, we should never forget that there’s life outside of the devices we spent most of our time with.

You don’t have to record something for it to be significant.

Smartphones may indeed offer us some of the convenience that we could only hope for in the past. It could capture the beauty of the sunset, the smile of the people we love, and the beauty of nature. But, that photo won’t give you the same feeling that you had when you actually witnessed the moment unfold with the naked eye.

the fanciest and most expensive gadgets can capture life, but memories and experiences are still engraved in our hearts and minds.

Lastly, if you’re going to use your phone to take Instagram perfect shots while you’re traveling, always make sure that your cloud storage backup is on.

Yes! I was not totally bummed by the incident because I discovered that all my precious pictures were automatically uploaded to my Google cloud!

If you’re wondering where my Huawei phone is right now. It is still buried deep in rice grains!

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