Hi there, I’m Jona!

Ha Noi, Viet Nam

This blog is problematically named. I travel with books.

BWAB is my attempt to document and write down my ways of living this one precious life.

For real-time stories, puns, self-deprecating awkwardness, find me somewhere else.









Some years ago, I had an altar of “when you’re broken” reading list. They comprise of Michael Ondaatje’s "The English Patient," Alice Munro’s "The Progress of Love," and Andre Aciman’s "Call Me By Your Name." And the staple Mary Oliver’s “In Blackwater Woods,” Jack Gilbert’s “Failing and Flying,” Derek Walcott’s “Love After Love,” and the pseudo-poem of Jorge Luis Borges’ “After A While You Learn.” I read them. Again. And again. Cried. And cried. Soothed myself. Healed myself through their words again. Cried again. Read them again. This predictable yet painful cycle of breaking and mending. Each pain is different. Each healing is different.

Jona of Backpacking with a Book


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This is a sincere, honest online platform for an ever-curious mind. Yes, it is a travel and lifestyle blog. If you feel like reading this biatch, who is uncompromisingly raw and honest on money, relationships, self-love, travel, and anything that bugs this chaotic mind, do leave your email below. I promise, I'm such an absentee newsletter sender.

Jona of Backpacking with a Book



April 16, 2019
Being a brown Filipina

On Being a Brown Filipina: Righting What Is Not Wrong

Bet nila yong skin mo. Ganahan ang mga puti sa imong panit. They like your skin.I’ve been told countless times by many fellow Filipinas, both young and old.  Nila, They refers to white men, both young and old, who salivate over exotic creatures like me. And each time annoys the hell out of me. I never fail to point out how I hate words and phrases like exotic, you remind me of Pocahontas. The intentions were nothing but compliments, but I always reason out why those are nothing but derogatory and insulting.  I even wrote a piece on it. Yes, I had a substantial […]
April 6, 2019

At Almost 33, Letting Go Becomes Easier, But It Still Stings

TRANG AN, NINH BINH—I missed someone. I don’t know who exactly. It can be T whom I shared my first visit here with. It can be D, whom I cut communications for the past weeks. Or it can be anyone, someone I’m connected to. I missed the feeling of having someone beside me, looking at the same view. “Peaceful, isn’t it?” “Yes, we are.” These were actual words written in my diary, a pre-menstrual cycle feeling. It was an honest, raw feeling. I missed that feeling. I missed feeling that feeling. That feeling of nostalgia of looking at something achingly […]
April 1, 2019

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 […]
February 21, 2019
Top 15 Filipino Restaurants in Cebu Hukad Restaurant

The Top 15 Restaurants in Cebu City to Experience Filipino Dishes

It’s totally not unheard-of that Cebu is one of the leading tourist destinations in the Philippines. Centrally located in the Philippine archipelago, Cebu, dubbed as the “Queen City of the South” (which is geopolitically incorrect) is truly a wonder to behold sans its horrendous road congestion problems. Known for its prime attractions—pristine (I know, too cliche an adjective) white-sand beaches, crystal clear water (as long as it is not rained and flooded), majestic falls (undoubtedly), city sights, rich culture and history (hello, colonizers), and not to mention one of the biggest and most colorful festival in the Philippines, Sinulog festival, […]
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