December 13, 2016

TEDxUSanCarlos Talk | How Traveling Shapes Me as a Woman and a Writer

It was TEDxUPCebu that invited me first to debunk the popular dictum [quit your job and travel the world] after some of the students read my open letter Dear Isa, It Is All Right Not to Travel here on BWAB. But I’m leaving Cebu to pursue a year-long trip abroad while fending for myself through jobs online, so I declined their offer. Another opportunity knocked on my door, this time  around from the University of San Carlos. Here is the piece I shared to a very attentive crowd. “Wa ka mahadlok maglaag-laag nga ikaw rang usa? (Are you not scared traveling alone?)” I […]
August 15, 2016

DOWN SOUTH | Of Trails and Traces in Chiang Mai

This post first appeared on my travel column Down South on interaksyon.com on June 12, 2016. Included more photos here. 😉 I grew up climbing trees, hunting wild guavas, assigning names to animals to pass them off as friends, and wishing there was a living river nearby. Life would have been a lot easier for me and my siblings. Life would have been graced with laughter—the kind unique to constant frolicking in the water. T grew up biking the hills and climbing snow-capped mountains and swimming in a massive lake—so massive they called it “der see,” which literally means “sea.” […]
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 […]
March 4, 2016

Why You Should Stop Calling Us Exotic

He stands out like a sore thumb. He is 6’6″. I am 5’5″ taller than most Filipinas, but I stand like a dwarf beside him. He is white. I’m a dark-skinned Filipina with small eyes. A very odd couple. I know. We were walking around Borobudur (Yogyakarta, Indonesia) last December, without knowing it was a holiday season for locals as well. In almost every corner, a local Indonesian or a group of students would stop us and ask him for a photo. Most of the time, I played the photographer. Moments like this make him extremely uncomfortable. Yes, westerners are […]