On paper, the concept behind AXN’s Adventure Your Way is simple: It’s a weekly crowd-sourced travel program showcasing destinations and adventure activities all over the Philippines. Put into practice, what actually happens is this: veteran journalist Atom Araullo traverses the country with an itinerary designed and selected on the whims of an army of netizens on social media. Anything and everything from skydiving to bungee jumping to camping on a cliff edge is on the table. Needless to say, it makes for some seriously good television.
“Being at the mercy of people on internet is quite thrilling,” says Araullo. “It goes back to the idea that sometimes, you don’t know what the best thing to do is when you’re travelling.”
“I’ll get sued,” he laughs. “But that’s part of it.”
Fans taking direct control of what happens on the show has lent it the entire project a degree of spontaneity. with even the producers left not knowing exactly what’s going to happen next—from Araullo’s unscripted interactions with locals to even his some of his activities. A quick look at the Adventure Your Way Instagram reveals choices between cleaning stables or rounding up cattle in Masbate, visiting Blue Soils Hills or Marlboro Country in Sagada. What the host does depends entirely on the number of votes each activity gets online. And if he doesn’t want to do it—
“I’ll get sued,” he laughs. “But that’s part of it. That’s the concept. I’m ready to do both. I have a preference, but if they say this is what won, then I have no choice but to do it. It ends up fun anyway. And like I said earlier at the press con, so far, I’ve been quite lucky. The things I want to do actually win.”
An avid traveller himself, Araullo’s also welcomed the opportunity to revisit many destinations he’s already been to. “When I go to a lot of these places in the Philippines, it’s usually in the context of a big news event,” Araullo explains. “There’s not a lot of room to really appreciate the culture, traditions, the nuances, the people living just their daily lives. But going to these places to do certain challenges and to really explore a place, you’re able to uncover new things as well. It keeps on changing, and even if I’ve been to all of these places, they’re always worth visiting again.”
But beyond Adventure Your Way’s travel aspect, Araullo himself has been one of the show’s hooks, having both the daring and the following that made AXN representatives approach him with the project way back in 2016. He’s begun to occupy a peculiar space in local television, taking on the roles of both news subject and report, and it hasn’t escaped him.
“It’s something I’ve had to think about on several occasions,” Araullo admits. “I guess my voice matters to some people. I have to acknowledge that, treat it as a strength. Even in the world of journalism, it’s all about trying to reach the audience. That won’t happen if you don’t even give me the time of day, right? You have to prove that you’re a person worth listening to, and you can do that in many different ways. You reach people in places where they don’t expect to receive anything, like in social media, or,” he grins, “in a travel adventure program.”
You can catch Adventure Your Way on AXN every Thursday at 8:30pm.