April 29, 2019
I Dress Best When I'm with You

I Dress Best When I’m with You

You know me, I can get up from bed with my bird’s nest of a hair, prepare coffee in my underwear, don’t even bother to brush my teeth, and slump myself in front of the computer and check on the day’s tasks.   But I always look forward to seeing you.  […]
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 […]
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 […]
January 7, 2019
DearSelf Backpackingwithabook 2

Dear D, Don’t Blame Yourself for Dreaming Big

Dear D, It’s okay. You can open your eyes now. It’s all over. You can open your eyes again. Breathe. Come out from your covers now. It’s all over. You’re not alone. It’s not over for you yet. Come out of your covers now. It’s a new day, you’re back […]
September 22, 2018
exploring mai chau on my own being 32 and single

Being 32 and Single

I fell in love. I was five years old. I named him Bona, after Tatay Boni who raised his mom. Bona is a cat. We got a ginger cat and named him Kitty.I was seven years old when my paternal uncle told me you love cats so much you would […]
October 22, 2017

As Travelers, What Do We Leave Behind?

Dear, It is Sunday. I’m seated at the open patio outside our room. Tobi is inside, watching something German. Gags, he said. Across the narrow alleyway that is wide enough for a car to pass through, the caged birds sing these lovely melodies. Caged and singing. Odd, like Vietnam’s. The […]
June 12, 2016

Dear Kai, It Is All Right to Be a Tourist

Dear Kai, Some weeks ago, you asked me about your Southeast Asian trip. Is a three-day trip too short for three countries: Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh) – Cambodia (Pomp Penh) – Thailand (Bangkok)? I said that you’re such an addict—an expression I used when I did not know exactly what […]
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 […]
May 18, 2016

Dear Isa: It Is All Right to Not Travel

My name is Isa, I’m  also from the Philippines. I discovered your blog through your recent travel essay on leaving everything behind to travel the world. Consider me a new follower of your blog; while I envy that you have seen as much of the world as you possibly can […]
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 […]
April 4, 2016
Being a Brown Filipina

A Traveler’s Honest Talk on Money

A big part of me hesitated to do this. After all, our society thrives in paradox: post instagrammable photos of your travel but be mum about your travel fund. We are built on, built in the nondiscussion of taboos: sex and money. A supposed “responsible social media user” must not talk […]