Around The World But Back To Prague: Marco Lobregat Tells Us Why Of All The Places He's Been To, This City Stands Out
Marco Lobregat is everywhere. In the last couple of years, he’s become a business development strategist, doing business development consulting for different companies across different fields. He’s also known for Ministry of Mushrooms, his mushroom advocacy, and as a host of The Green Mind, a show on sustainability that airs on the Lifestyle Network.
But before all this, there was travel.
After going around the world for work, TV host Marco Lobregat shares what made him fall in love with Prague—and how it inspired him to contribute to the travel industry.
“I came at a time where the company (that I was working for) was evolving and growing, and I became kind of, like, their point person to opening new markets. The first time we went to Czech Republic was my project. I had to open it up, I had to discover it. I loved it,” Lobregat says. “We were there for work and it was difficult in the sense that English was not very well spoken, but that in itself has it charms.”
Getting into the Czech mindset was an interesting thing all its own. “I read The Unbearable Lightness of Being there, so what do you think I felt?” Lobregat says. “But after that, I doused it with all the beer I could.”
Czech Beer, image by Barry Lancaster, Flickr
Lobregat is particularly enthusiastic about the beer. “They’re the home of beer. Until now, Budvar, which is a city, is in contention with Budweiser because they’re saying beer is really from Budvar. There’s so much great beer there.”
Cesky Krumlov, image by michael 7601, Flickr
Because of work, he got to visit the countryside as well. “You can drive from one end to the other in about five hours and when you leave Prague, and the countryside is beautiful. Rolling hills of agriculture, then you enter old steel towns, a whole field of sunflowers. And their architecture, even their small towns,” he says. “We went to Cesky Krumlov, which is a UNESCO heritage site, we stayed in a loft on top of a tower and you could see the other tower and there was a bear pit with bears instead of a moat. Intense. We checked in (our hotel) and heard music and checked it out and it was a full-on ska band. Amazing!”
The food, he says, is just as amazing. “My favorite Czech food is their hangover cure. It’s their version of garlic soup. It’s a clear broth with parsley, an egg that’s almost cooked in the broth but with still some rawness, and they give you croutons and ham that you put on top. It’s super good. Street hotdogs in the Czech Republic are super yummy,” he says. “There was also this hidden Italian place that was run by an Italian family that’s been there for a long time. Trattoria Cicala. When you go in there, it’s got pictures of the owners with celebrities.”
Speaking of celebrities, Lobregat got to see some as well. “I saw Brad and Angelina! We came from a meeting, we were sitting down, we were by the river, we had just closed a deal, I believe, we were drinking on a nice afternoon. No one was minding us. We were like, that chick’s kind of cute, then—holy cow! And we see Brad enter. We didn’t go in or anything but—That’s amazing! We just saw Brad and Angelina!”
Art Nouveau Lucerna Palace with the famous statue of St. Wenceslas riding an inverted horse
In short, Prague was a feast for Lobregat’s senses. “I loved everything about it. The architecture—art deco is amazing and it’s alive in all of their buildings. What I love about Europe that saddens me about the Philippines is that they maintain old architecture. We tear buildings down,” he says. “There are so many things to discover, but it doesn’t present itself right away because I don’t know if one time you’ll be able to see all of it right away. There are these little nooks and crannies in the streets as well. The people around us were very nice.”
To this day, the thought of packing his bags and heading out leave him giddy. “I get kilig. I’ve always been on the move ever since I was a kid. My dad had a farm in Lipa, I have relatives in Zamboanga, we would always be moving around. I just like moving around and seeing different things and being with different people. I’ve made so many great friends and connections, it’s so nice to visit. And the people make it,’ he says.
Travel has been such a big part of his life that he hopes to be able to do something to help the industry. “When you talk about travel, what I would like to do as a TV show would be to, for example, doing the Santiago de Compostela, or like the old Silk Route, tracing that back. I would like to cross the trans-Siberian railway. I’d like to traverse South America,” he says.
His plans include working on issues that plague local destinations. “Local travel needs to be sorted out, and I want to write about it,” he says. “I went to Sagada recently and it is now different. There are hordes of people now. You can’t sustain that much people. The sense of Sagada before was always discovery. I’m not saying it’s terrible, but at the same time, if there’s no planning and everyone’s going in the same direction, a mass of people going there will just not sustain the place, especially if you’re the type that leaves your trash, if you’re the type that doesn’t care. They should do there what they do on Mt. Pulag, where you call and reserve because you need to know how many people are coming up. It’s an unsustainable rate of growth.”
In the end, travel, he says, is about communication. “Understand and respect the culture instead of imposing your own.”
It is also about embracing the unknown. “Keep an open mind and be sensitive. Get excited. Plan, but don’t overplan,” he says. “Let experience come and surprise you.”
Sounds like a good plan.