Hi. My name is Vince Imbat. I’m a writer, poet, and photographer who walks in Laguna and elsewhere in the Philippines. I spend most of my days thinking and contemplating about the question “How should I live?”

Subscribe to my newsletters

I regularly send two newsletters:

  • Lilim: a bi-weekly newsletter about walking in Laguna and elsewhere in the Philippines.
  • Uman: a monthly newsletter documenting what it means to pursue philosophy, contemplation, and writing independently as a way of life.

What I Do

In my pursuit for answers, I study a wide variety of resources from different disciplines, cultures, and eras. I collect insights about the art of living and carefully and critically reflect on them. I write my thoughts in atomic notes and revisit them regularly through a note-writing system and practice I call Talahardin or “garden of notes.” I support this practice by cultivating mindfulness, moderation, and introspection, facilitated in no small part by long walks. I see walking as a discipline of its own or perhaps a state of mind that creates a space for me to pause and grow my thoughts organically.

Taken together, all of these create a holistic “practice of the mind,” which I hope would help me better understand the world. Occasionally, when I have made enough progress on a certain subject, I write an essay about it. These essays are usually personal in nature, a narrative of how I have understood and embodied the things I have learned through contemplation and application. Some of them are more theoretical as I attempt to understand things in a more objective and general lens.

My goal for studying and writing is always to develop deep understanding first, so that I could respond to life appropriately. My studies are designed to help me act with purpose, integrity, and compassion. I experiment with different methods on how to achieve this and report my progress in my monthly newsletter, Uman. I also write a bi-weekly newsletter on walking called Lilim.

What Led Us Here

I was once a young pastor for an evangelical religion in a group specifically ministering to the Deaf. My life had its challenges, but a clear path was laid in front of me and I just had to follow it. Everything I believed in was spoon-fed to me and everything I did conformed with a prewritten script. I was an inexperienced 19-year-old with many years ahead of me, but I felt safe, secure, and purpose-driven.

In 2011, all of that changed as I went through a painful year-long depressive episode that changed my life forever. The suffering I experienced led me to question everything I used to believe about myself and the world I lived in. It crushed my entire worldview to pieces, and along with it, my identity and life purpose.

A year after my depressive episode, I left my calling at the church to seek a new way of life—one that was more authentic to who I really am. I was faced with the almost impossible challenge of rebuilding how I saw the world and my place in it. Having abandoned my previous beliefs, community, and way of life, I was left without a clear path and purpose. I had no choice but to find my own.

Little did I knew that the years of programming within the confines of my childhood religion was designed to crush this very desire to search for truth independently. With no knowledge or training to do a proper search, I jumped from one political, philosophical, or spiritual tradition to the next, only to find myself with the same existential void I had when I started. No matter how enticing the existing groups and traditions were, they always left out or even went against an important aspect of my personhood. Political and philosophical groups I joined glorified intellectualization, critical thinking, and abstract reasoning while dismissing contemplative practices and self-understanding. On the other hand, existing spiritual groups, both Western and Eastern, heavily used illogical languages as they neglected and even discouraged the cultivation of a rich intellectual life.

Despite these challenges, I continued to have an insatiable hunger for truth, freedom, and beauty. I knew deep within me that these three could all coexist in a single way of life—a way of life where one can have a deep and satisfying relationship with oneself and the world while still being able to cultivate a sharp mind that does not have to believe in things it is not ready to believe in.

But to live such a way of life, I realized that my path shall never be found out there. It had to be built—handcrafted in here by my own mind from the ground up through an independent philosophical and contemplative practice.

Where We Are Going

My purpose is to live a life filled with Ginhawa —a Filipino concept, which is usually translated as “well-being,” and Saysay, which means “meaning”. I want to help build a world filled with meaning and well-being—a world where self-actualizing people live in nonviolence, compassion, and freedom. To realize this vision, I am committed to developing “deep understanding”—that is, to “see things and people as they truly are,” so I may always act with mindfulness and compassion.

My most important work right now is to develop my understanding of myself and the world around me and to live intentionally. Along the way, I use this website as an iterative documentation of this journey, an ever-updating resource for living a life of purpose and meaning. To document my journey, I write reports that combine a narrative and a how-to manual of my individual projects and life areas. Ultimately, the essays published in this website along with the Talahardin shall serve as an articulation of my personal life philosophy.

Other Projects

I also maintain other projects adjacent to my main work:

  • Kaliskis na Ulap - A collection of translations from Henry David Thoreau’s journal and other writings.

  • Mantaltaliwa - A collection of contemplative literary works written in Pangasinan.

How to Stay in Touch

I created this website to share my work and in the process find fellow companions in this journey. If you are interested in learning more about what it means to live a life of independent thought, contemplation, walking, and writing, you might find my work helpful. I write about my journey and document projects related to this way of life in my monthly email newsletter Uman. You can learn more about the newsletter and subscribe here.

Alternatively, you can directly send me an email at vince@vinceimbat.com. I would love to start a conversation with you.

Of course, you can always start by exploring my work first. Read some of my poetry, vignettes, or personal essays. Or you could jump right into my more theoretical works by checking out my essays or browsing through my collection of notes.

Whatever you choose to do, it is my sincere hope that our paths meet again.