Ha Noi, Viet Nam

Hi there, I’m Jona!

I’m in my early 30s and is currently based in Ha Noi, Vietnam.I primarily write poetry and short stories in Cebuano and lengthy travel essays in English. Blogging has become an outlet to think out loud.

At 32, all self-descriptive adjectives are now preceded with unapologetically.

Unapologetically feminist. Unapologetically loud. Unapologetically independent. Unapologetically bitchy. Unapologetically domesticated. Unapologetically laugh-loving. Unapologetically growing.

But after nonstop traveling that brought me to Australia, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, Nepal, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia, I now call Ha Noi my Point A. I now grow some plants in my tiny balcony, hang out in cafes after cafes, try to learn the language, and stuff myself with all the Vietnamese goodness.

PSEUDO  CREDENTIALS:


WRITING

First Prize 2013, Palanca Awards (Cebuano Short Story Category)
First Prize 2013, Sinulog Writing Contest (Poetry and Personal Essay Category)
Fellow, 54th Silliman National Writers Workshop
Fellow, 17th Iligan National Writers Workshop
Winner, J Y Balacuit Literary Award 2010


SPEAKERSHIPS

Taipei, Taiwan | The Rise of Social Media Marketing
TEDxUSanCarlosWomen | How Traveling Shapes Me as a Woman and as a Writer
Rare Philippines | How to Use Social Media to Foster Your Cause
Cebu Provincial Tourism Board | Social Media Climbing: Promoting Town Destinations

I juggle many personas: I maintain a travel column on TV5’s Interaksyon.com, write for Rappler’s and Sun.Star Cebu’s travel section, and manage clients’ social media accounts, content-write for some clients, and pretty recently, I tried my luck in creative consultancy.

My poetry collection, Alang sa Nasaag (For the Lost), swings between the beauty of the domestic life and the lure of the vagabond. I won the Palanca (first prize in short story in Cebuano; it is the biggest literary contest in the Philippines) and Sinulog writing contest (first prize both in personal essay and poetry). Both happened in 2013.

I got five cats named Carbon, Fuente, Hipodromo, Angkla, and Laag. They now live with my parents’ except Carbon, who got adopted by my neighbors.  I love local markets and inun-unan.

Despite constantly traveling, I never master the art of not getting lost.

You can read some of my published articles here. I’m quite active on social media, so find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I feel too old for Snapshot. Tsk. šŸ˜›

Unapologetically,
Jona of backpackingwithabook.com


COUNTRIES Iā€™VE BEEN TO 

OCEANIA

Australia  [ 1 month campervanning East Coast]
Papua New Guinea [ 2 weeks covering Port Moresby and the Highlands: Goroka, Lae, Mt. Wilhelm, Mt. Hagen]

ASIA

East Asia

Japan [ 7 days in Onomichi]
Taiwan [1 month]

South Asia

India [26 Days covering Old and New Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Darjeeling, Calcutta, and Kerala]
Nepal [1 month ]
Sri Lanka [7 days covering Colombo]

Southeast Asia

Cambodia [2 weeks covering Phnom Penh, Battambang, and Siem Reap]
Indonesia [1 month covering Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Mr. Bromo, Bali, and Lombok]
Laos [5 Days covering Luang Prabang and Phonsavan]
Malaysia [Visited several times: Kuala Lumpur, Taiping, Cameron Highlands, Penang Island, Mersing, Tioman Island]
Myanmar [1 month covering Yangon, Mandalay Old Bagan, and Inle Lake]
Philippines [More than a decade of exhaustively traveling around my homecountry]
Singapore
Thailand [9 days covering Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Chiang Rai]
Vietnam [Living here]


THE MOST READ POSTS ON BACKPACKINGWITHABOOK.COM (ASIDE FROM SEO-FOCUSED TRAVEL GUIDES)

TRAVEL THOUGHTS 

I’m a Southeast Asian Traveler, Neither Rich Nor a Begpacker
A Developing Country Citizen’s Perspective: What’s Wrong with Leave Everything Behind 
I Travel, I Eat, I Got Diarrhea
Wanna Make Your Blog Popular? Travel the Philippines and Praise or Bitch it
What Stops Us Filipinos from Traveling?
Yes, Not Everyone Can Quit Their Jobs to Travel the World
I’m Sorry for Being a Spoiled Traveler
Why You Should Stop Calling Us Exotic
Why Working Some More Instead of Traveling to Europe Felt Great
Why I Felt Embarrassed Being Called a Travel Blogger

MONEY TALK  SERIES

A Traveler’s Honest Talk on Money
I Saved Up USD3700 for Two Years
Can You Really Save Up from Cooking for Yourself?
A Money Guide for Develping Country Citizens: Why You Must Have a Separate Travel Fund Account

LETTER SERIES

Dear Isa, It Is All Right Not to Travel 
Dear Passport, We Will Go Far and Wide
Dear Kai, It Is All Right to Be a Tourist



I accept copyediting, content writing, creative writing, photography, and speakerships jobs. Email me at backpackingwithabook[@]gmail[dot]com. I also run different writing courses online. Learn more about these courses here.


COUNTRIES I’VE BEEN TO 

Just some parts of the country really


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Let’s wander. Let’s love. Let’s laugh. Let’s live. Let’s cry. Let’s be human. Let’s be humane. Let’s understand. Let’s try. Let’s risk.

Rock on! Tagay!

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