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 […]
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 […]
February 15, 2016
Poor but Wants to Travel Abroad

Yes! Not Everyone Can Quit Their Jobs to Travel Abroad

Some years ago, I handed half of my salary to my mother. I am single, have the highest-paying job among my working, familied older siblings. And culture dictates, it is my responsibility to help my parents and younger siblings. A year or two had passed; the half became a quarter because places around the Philippines left me more curious and held me captive of their sheer beauty. There were months I did not give anything to Mama except hugs. Because traveling around the Philippines became traveling around ASEAN. I am frowned upon by neighbors and relatives for having this stand. It […]