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 […]
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 16, 2016
We are not invincible a travelogue

We Are Not Invincible: A Travelogue

Much has been written about what it’s like to be young, wild, and free (there’s even a song about it). Like so many, I was infatuated with the idea that I was invincible. I used to believe that in this life, you had 2 choices: either you live life so outrageously well, diving from one adventure to the next or wait for decay with your regular 9 to 5 plus commute every single day for the rest of your life. They always made it seem like one was better than the other. Ultimately, what you choose will define who you are. […]
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 […]