Jay Exiomo


Jay Exiomo

Although he lived much of his toddler years abroad in the US and spent his early childhood roaming around the Philippines with his parents, Jay didn't really catch the travel bug until much later in 2006, when he was dragged to a microfinance conference in Thailand. He considers it his first true taste of travel, with his childhood already but a vague, distant memory. Something about being in a foreign place stirred his wanderlust, and his feet have constantly itched since. After graduating with a degree in Multimedia Arts, Jay worked as a news writer, then as a high school teacher. Presently, on weekdays he's writing professionally for money, which he plans to save so he can travel more (yay for selling out!); while on weekends he's doing volunteer work for two NGOs and/or updating his other blog Pusang Gala.

Asia » Philippines » Ifugao January 16th 2015

We are about 20 minutes into our tricycle ride from the town center to the Batad Junction Point when I realize I can’t stand the cold. We have left Baguio City and crossed into Ifugao province in the dead of the night, but to everyone not of this territory – I, Joseph and Dave included – every provincial boundary disappears and this becomes only a place of cold. It’s a shivering cold and everything is somehow about the cold. In the days before we find ourselves in Ifugao, I had found myself increasingly intrigued by the mountains of Cordillera in northern Luzon, reading as much as I can about these spiny ranges that command awe, respect and fear in equal doses among its inhabitants and visitors alike. It’s not a new occurrence for me, though. Ever ... read more
Paddy Stairs
Preparing For Planting Time
Batad Local

Asia » Brunei » Bandar Seri Begawan October 10th 2014

On a windy October morning, the estuary of Bandar Seri Begawan’s river is buzzing with activities. From the tables of a food stall, the locals are waking up along with the sunrise while nursing cups of coffee, watching a parade of sweaty runners and parents holding their kids’ hands. While there’s a dearth of cars plying the wide roads, the busy vibe of the bus station near the river is obvious. On the river, a number of motorboats glide through the waters, going to and from the Kampong Ayer. A host of vendors are shouting, announcing their wares to passersby. This Friday tableau is common to someone who grew up in a city. People like me who grew up in Manila often take such chaos for granted. But to witness such bustle in the capital of ... read more
Kampong Ayer
Royal Regalia Building
Bandar Seri Begawan

Asia » Philippines » Mindanao » Zamboanga del Norte September 3rd 2014

The sky is gray, occasionally spitting rain. Palm trees by the shore are swaying to the strong winds. The waves, not really big but strong, are crashing to the shore. I climb the ledge overlooking the sea and try to gain a wide-angle perspective of where I am. Except for a couple of souls strolling, the oceanside boulevard feels desolate. Pop music blares from the restaurant row fronting the beach but they're practically drowned by the howling winds. I'm in Dipolog City with my mom and a group of her former colleagues for a convention and the opening of a new local branch of the central bank. I'm not here for any of those, however. I'm here to see for myself a part of Mindanao I haven't been to before. And reignite a stalled love affair ... read more
Casa redonda
Dipolog City Boulevard
Sunset Boulevard

Asia » Taiwan » Taipei February 23rd 2014

One of the downsides of having a full-time job is that you have to give up your flexibility as far as schedule is concerned. The past three months have been an exercise of ingenuity in scheduling, especially considering my unorthodox working time (night shift, from 8p.m. to 5a.m.). As a result, I’m only left with weekends for trips out of town. One of the trips I can squeeze in is a trip to Taipei for two days with a couple of my cousins. The flight and hotel were booked last year through a promo so there’s no backing out now. Besides, the trip itself fits right in with my schedule, so no worries. And it has been a month since I left Manila and it has been driving me crazy to the point that I’ve been ... read more
Taipei 101
National Palace Museum
Shilin Night Market

Asia » Philippines » Panay » Kalibo January 19th 2014

It’s ten o’clock on a Sunday morning in January and the winds of Kalibo are blowing hard. “Can you take me to the town center?” I ask the tricycle driver as soon as we get out of the airport. Soon we’re zooming through the highway and snaking our way through small trucks with people clutching Sto. Niño, figures of the Infant Jesus. The town center is filled with people walking around narrow streets, filled with anticipation for a day that will later crescendo to a boisterous evening. The capital of Aklan province is celebrating the Ati-Atihan Festival. For about a week, the locals take to the streets in extravagant costumes, dancing spontaneously to the loud beat of the drums. The events climax on the third Sunday of January, starting with a slow-moving procession that goes around ... read more
Street Party
Group Picture
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

Asia » Philippines » Aurora » Baler December 29th 2013

“If you’re feeling the board’s nose rising, just slide forward,” Miguel yells at me, his voice drowned by the strong winds and large waves. “Think of it as riding a bike – the more you think about what you’re doing, the more likely you’ll fall.” I’m perched atop a faded blue surfboard, trying to maintain balance while a succession of swells tries to knock me over. I try to erase all worries – not actually fear, since I love water (maybe because I’m an Aquarian) – and not care about all that’s around me. Ah, the things around me. I’m surrounded by other surfing neophytes unmindful of the chilly December winds, as we learn how to conquer the waves. I’m in Baler, the capital town of Aurora province in northeastern Philippines, popularized by two films – ... read more
Ditumabo Falls
Monkey Game
View From The Top

Asia » Philippines » Sorsogon October 27th 2013

I’m having a staring contest with my breakfast. Quite literally. Two sausages for the eyes and half a fried egg for the mouth. That’s all I picked from the hotel buffet. And even then, I don’t feel like eating at all. Truth is, I only served myself this food to take a picture of it. “You’re not going to eat it?” Sam finally asks me. He’s a colleague, a music teacher. “I’m still full from last night,” I tell him. “After we had dinner, I went to check out this restaurant I’ve been dying to try since I read it in a magazine. And it turned out that I ate more than I can handle.” He shrugs. “Too bad. You shouldn’t have stuffed yourself full last night. You’re missing on all these great, free food.” For ... read more
Bulusan Lake
Bicolano Cuisine
Mount Mayon

Asia » Indonesia » Bali » Kuta September 7th 2013

In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices. – Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love I spend my final afternoon in Kuta Beach, the main tourist drag of Kuta in southern Bali. Heavy clouds drift overhead, casting a gloomy look on the long stretch of beach, though the general vibe of the area remains alive. I stroll along the dirty-white sand, passing a surfing school doing lessons with a few tourists who are learning to conquer the waves for the first time. A group of schoolchildren does some extracurricular activities, running towards me as soon as I signal to them my camera. Vendors sell bottles of Bintang beer, shirts and souvenirs. Somewhere in ... read more
Tourist and Locals
Surfer Boy
Made's Warung

Asia » Indonesia » Bali » Ubud September 6th 2013

I wake up to the bus conductor yelling where we are. “Ubud! Ubud!” he wails, as the passengers get off the bus. During the early afternoon drive to this bucolic town in the middle of Bali, all image of paradise I had in my mind of this Indonesian island were quickly replaced by grinding traffic and unremarkable city structures, and before I knew it, I was asleep. After yesterday's trip to Mount Bromo, I backtracked in the afternoon to Surabaya, where I took a short flight to Bali, the last leg of my (ill-advised) whirlwind trip. I had actually scheduled an early morning walking tour that would have taken me across Ubud's rice fields, local villages, and possibly a Balinese dance school. But during my last night in Yogyakarta, a blackout hit the city, which prevented ... read more
Fruits and Art
Ubud Hospitality

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Bromo Tengger Semeru September 5th 2013

It’s already dark when I reach Probolinggo, just like Desy said. It’s a little past 6 p.m., but with the streets practically empty and only a few sleepy eateries and stores open, it feels later in the night. I don’t have much difficulty finding my hotel, though, and after less than an hour, I’m in my room, lying on the bed and absentmindedly watching an Indonesian soap opera on television. I call Asrori Kholid, the one-man staff of Probolinggo’s tourism office and whom Desy had earlier connected me to. I announce I’m already in Probolinggo and tell him where I'm staying. “I’ll meet you in a short while,” he says. It’s almost eight by the time Asrori knocks on my door. He’s either in his late twenties or early thirties, looks more like a front man ... read more
Lunar Landscape
Mount Bromo
Mount Bromo

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