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 updating his other blog Pusang Gala.

Asia » Philippines » Marinduque March 23rd 2016

It all started with an invitation to see the Moriones. So for five days I find myself in the “Heart of the Philippines.” That’s what the residents of Marinduque call their province, a heart-shaped island separated from the coast of Quezon province by the Tayabas Bay, and is just about located in the center of the archipelago. Here, a 120-kilometer circumferential road snakes through scenic views of the coastline, isolated beaches, charming villages, and a mountainous interior with a flourishing wildlife. It has what an adventure-seeker or a solitude-lover seeks. But the province’s true calling card is the religious Moriones festival held every Holy Week. A few days before Easter, a different sight starts to emerge in Boac, the provincial capital. Men dressed as Roman legionaries walk the streets, their faces behind masks, their red capes ... read more
Preparing for the Cross

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang June 24th 2015

A serene evening greets me as my tuktukdelivers me to my guest house in central Luang Prabang. I’ve long wanted to go to Luang Prabang, Laos’ tourist epicenter, with its elegant old school vibe and temples and French cuisine. And now I’m here, asking the lady at the guest house lobby about my companions. Right on cue, CJ appears and finally seeing someone familiar in this foreign town after being on my own for the past few days, I feel comforted. Seconds later, Roxy emerges and joins us. The two have been here since this morning after an overnight trip from Vientiane, and have already explored much of the town, as well as the nearby Kuang Si Falls. Luang Prabang is a ... read more
Tak Bat
Lao Smile
Wat Pha Pai

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane June 22nd 2015

I’m having breakfast of croissant and coffee at La Benneton, a French bakery near my hostel in central Vientiane. From the bakery’s veranda, the classical music playing in the background and the drone of conversation of French expats at a nearby table make this section of Southeast Asia feel like Western Europe. Lingering elements of French culture are common in Laos – Vientiane features dozens of budget cafes serving European baked goods, and these establishments typify Vientiane’s relaxed pace. Smiles are pasted on the servers’ faces, and their charming disposition only makes you want to linger more and revel in the languidness. I have arrived in Vientiane 12 hours ago with no other plan than to explore as much as I can before heading to Luang Prabang. I’ve decided to dive in on my own terms ... read more
Luang Prabang-Style Sausage
Lao National Museum

Asia » Thailand » North-East Thailand » Nong Khai June 21st 2015

The train chugs as it arrives at the station, the final stop after traversing the northeastern railway for almost 11 hours overnight. I quickly alight the train, a purple second-class sleeper, and make my way to the information desk. I am now in Nong Khai, a sleepy riverside town in northeastern Thailand more famous as an entry point to Laos than as a charming destination in its own right. But I have spare time so I might as well burn it exploring the town. Nong Khai is a multi-ethnic town that’s prospered since the construction of the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge in 1994, connecting it to Vientiane, Laos’ capital, in the northern side of the Mekong River. Consequently, trade between here and Laos flourished, and made travel between the two areas easier. Notwithstanding the growth of the ... read more
Governor's House
Sala Kaew Ku
Mut Mee Guesthouse Garden

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok June 20th 2015

I thought I was past that phase, if I can even call it a phase. Since college I have developed an obsession with traveling. There’s something in seeing a place firsthand and having your ideas challenged based on what you are experiencing on a personal level. In a way, it has augmented my sense of reality, being able to discover things for myself. Traveling allows me to see the world in a different light, by giving me the opportunity to experience things and meet people, and in the process turn them into real entities that truly stir your emotions far beyond the capabilities of the clichés of travel romantics. That wanderlust really took shape when I went to Thailand in 2006. It was a trip made possible not really because I had already developed a sense ... read more
Wat Pho
Reclining Buddha
Traditional Dance Students

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

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