October 22, 2017

As Travelers, What Do We Leave Behind?

Dear, It is Sunday. I’m seated at the open patio outside our room. Tobi is inside, watching something German. Gags, he said. Across the narrow alleyway that is wide enough for a car to pass through, the caged birds sing these lovely melodies. Caged and singing. Odd, like Vietnam’s. The next-door villa’s dog barks. The leaves of the bananas, plumeria and young coconut tree in the yard rustle with the breeze. Widi’s kids are talking about something in their local language. The boy passes by our gate in his bicycle. He gives me this questioning look upon seeing me smiling […]
June 12, 2016

Dear Kai, It Is All Right to Be a Tourist

Dear Kai, Some weeks ago, you asked me about your Southeast Asian trip. Is a three-day trip too short for three countries: Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh) – Cambodia (Pomp Penh) – Thailand (Bangkok)? I said that you’re such an addict—an expression I used when I did not know exactly what to say. I threw the question right back at you: isn’t three days too short for three countries? But come to think of it, why not? T and I crossed three countries within 24 hours. T had to fly back to Germany from Bangkok while I had a flight to […]
May 31, 2016

An Open Letter to My Fellow Travel Bloggers

Dear Fellow Travel Bloggers, In my list of daily chores to do, one task remained unfinished for the past four months: it says, “Japan, at least 1000 words, for god’s sake, Jona.” I am referring to my sponsored week-long trip to Onomichi City, Hiroshima, Japan last November. I have written about it twice already: one for BWAB and another one for my travel column Down South on TV5’s interaksyon.com. These two articles are long, about 1500-2000 in words. But can they be considered a travel essay? Hell, no. They are informative, with several, and I would say lousy, attempts on […]
May 27, 2016
Letter to My Passport

LETTERS | Dear Passport, We Will Go Far and Wide

Dear Passport, After my two-hour session with the fifteen-year-old, I transferred to the café’s al fresco area for my other personas to work—the content writer and social media manager, the other selves that must stay connected with the virtual and often fake world. Please remind me that these personas are my main source of income that allows us, you and I, to travel abroad. Passport, T set a challenge for me: to limit my FB visit to an hour a day. I came up with the most articulate answer I could think of, which you have heard more than once—my […]