January 25, 2016
Leave Everything Behind and Travel the World

A Developing Country Citizen’s Perspective: What’s Wrong with “Leave Everything Behind and Travel the World”

 I shared the table with a Dutch traveler for our complimentary breakfast of coffee, two toasts, and few slices of melon—something that the Burmese or us Filipinos do not normally have for breakfast. But I enjoyed it, nonetheless, especially after an hour or so of pedaling on sandy paths, checking temples at the crack of dawn. When travelers meet, conversations often revolved around Where are you from?, Where have you been?, How long have you been traveling?, How long is your trip?. And I feel that one’s traveler-ness is gauged according to one’s answer. The longer your trip is, the better, […]
February 19, 2016

Why I Felt Embarrassed Being Called a Travel Blogger

The eyes of the girl sitting beside me had tear marks. Before I entered the immigration office, I saw her through the glass window, answering the questions of the immigration officer. When I sat beside her to fill up the form, I heard her asking the immigration officer if the travel tax would be refunded. READ MORE: About Me, Jona, the Witch It was my first trip abroad. My arrogance got the better of me: I skewered five countries in five weeks. I did not declare my full-time job and just presented myself as a freelance travel writer and photographer. […]
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 […]
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 […]