October 7, 2016

CORRUPTION IN LAOS | How to Have a Nasty Encounter with Policemen in Laos

DISCLAIMER: This first appeared on my column Down South on TV5’s Interaksyon.com. Included a lot of photos here! This is a personal experience. Corruption in Laos is real. Corruption in my own county is effing real.  A glass wall divided us. That must be sufficient as a border for the immigration officer to pocket the 5000 kip in plain sight. He asked for it without any explanation or receipt in return. On the other window, Tobias had to negotiate with another IO on the conversion of $25. 450 000 Kip was too much payment for his visa on arrival. We […]
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 […]
May 17, 2016

Why Working Some More Instead of Traveling Europe Felt Great

Last month, I emptied my cabinet of clothes and realized I had a lot of second-hand dresses I haven’t worn yet. Sorting out the clothes—what must stay and what must be given away—was not as easy as I thought. I let my small garden at the back die. I moved empty pots after empty pots. Layers of dust piled up on the shelves of books. Cobwebs started to form in corners. My little place, which used to be neat and orderly, mirrored my mind: chaotic, confused, confusing. I was in the process of dehoming. Despite traveling constantly, having my own […]