TRAVEL INSPO | 20 Questions with Will Fly for Food

One of the saddest things that has happened alongside the advancement of visual media is that nowadays, people—especially the young ones—don’t read anymore. Longform has become a “waste of time”, and “the blog is dead”—or so, they say. People spend many hours watching videos on YouTube and Facebook, but couldn’t even spare 5 to 8 minutes reading a lengthy piece. As much as I blame laziness and the shift of interest to moving pictures, I also attribute this trend to too much internet clutter—yes, everyone has a blog nowadays, and sadly, around 70% is just ... clutter.

photo credit: @flyingforfoodnow

I’ve been a voracious reader since childhood, and until now, I still prefer substantial written works. On lucky days (read: without much workload), you will find me browsing the blogs of my favorite persons on the internet, one of which is—or should I say, two of them are—Will Fly for Food, created by avid foodies and travelers, JB and Renée. I’ve been following their adventures even before I started my own blog (and way back when theirs was still named after a Japanese delicacy), and what keeps me coming back, more than the fantastic photos, is the natural, honest, and incredible writing. Always informative, straightforward, witty, and no-shit, Will Fly for Food’s words are remarkable, making their blog one of my absolute favorites.

Of course, the fact that they ADORE food so much also engaged me, since I love eating too! They are simply pure travel goals, so imagine my delight when I finally met them last year and we shared a few rounds of beers. I couldn’t help turning to GROUPIE MODE! And when they agreed to do “20 Questions” with me, it was like your favorite celebrity granting you an interview! Below is our fun exchange of travel, food, and life questions—I hope you enjoy reading it! (Sorry lazy peeps, no flashy drone videos below, LOL.)

1. In today's world where people read less and less, what still inspires you to create awesome write-ups in your blog?

JB:  Basically the same reason why I started this blog in the first place.  As much as I enjoy putting together travel and food guides, this blog is first and foremost a digital journal of our life together.  I want to have something to look back on 30-40 years from now and say, “Do you remember that time when we went to so and so place and we did this and that?”  Documenting our memories is my number one motivation.

2. If you have to choose only one place where you have to live forever, which one is it (and why)?

JB:  Just live, and not work right?  If so, then Japan for me.  Japanese food is my favorite and the culture is fascinating.  I would never want to work there though.  Way too stressful.

Renée:  Paris, because aside from its elegant architecture and museums, I can live on just baguette and cheese for the rest of my life.

photo credit: @flyingforfoodnow

3. Has a destination ever made you cry because of so much beauty? Which one?

JB:  San Francisco.  I lived there for about 4 years and I still consider it one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to.  At one point, I never thought I’d leave.  My friend Brian and I were walking up a street in Pacific Heights one day, and when we reached the apex of the hill, the entire bay with the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz came into view.  It wasn’t a distant and hazy view either, it was crystal clear, like we were holding a movie-screen-sized postcard in front of our faces.  It was so stunningly beautiful that we both gasped when we saw it.  I’ll never forget it.

Renée:  The Grand Canyon.  Not just for its beauty, but for its size which made me realize just how small and insignificant we really are.

4. We all know how much you love traveling for food! So what are your top 3 destinations for food?

JB:  Japan, Spain, and India

Renée:  Spain, Japan, and Italy

photo credit: @flyingforfoodnow

5. Most unforgettable meal in your travels?

JB:  Gaggan in Bangkok.  That was incredible.

Renée:  Gaggan in Bangkok and Iroha in Osaka, where I had my first kaiseki experience.

6. Biggest food misadventure during your travels?

JB:  On our first trip to Korea over 2 years ago, we missed out on this dish called ganjang gejang, which is soy-marinated raw crab.  I’ve been regretting it ever since so I made sure it was the first thing we tried on this return trip to Seoul.  I felt my lips tingle minutes after I had my first bite, but I’ve never had any kind of allergic reaction to crab before so I ignored it.  An hour later, and my lips are all poofy and taut like Angelina Jolie.  I guess raw crab is a different matter haha.  It was a little embarrassing riding the subway home that night but it was worth it.  Ganjang gejang is delicious.

7. If you had PhP1M right now, where would you go first?

JB:  Ushuaia and Antarctica.  I’ve been curious about Ushuaia ever since I watched the movie Happy Together.  It’s regarded as the southernmost city in the world.  Something about the ends of the earth is fascinating to me, like you’ve gone as far as you can possibly go.  Ushuaia is the jumping off point for cruises to Antarctica so why not kill two birds with one stone?  That would be the ultimate trip for me.

Renée:  Ride the Orient Express!  I’ve wanted to ride the Orient Express ever since I saw the original version of Murder on the Orient Express.

photo credit: @flyingforfoodnow

8. If you had PhP1M right now, what travel gear would you buy first?

JB:  The best performing DSLR money can buy.  I don’t know what that is but I’m sure I’ll find out haha.  I’ll get all the best lenses for it too.

9. What camera(s) do you use?

JB:  I use an old Canon 550D DSLR with two lenses – 50mm f/1.4 and 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6.  I’m cheap so I usually won’t upgrade my equipment unless it’s beyond repair or obsolete haha.  On our most recent trips though, I saw people with DSLRs that had touchscreen displays and much better low light performance, so I may upgrade sooner than I thought.  Technology is changing so quickly and I need to keep up.

10. Your biggest travel idol/inspiration?

JB:  Anthony Bourdain.  I love that dude.

photo credit: @flyingforfoodnow

11. Top 3 favorite bloggers?

JB:  Aside from idol Pepe (hey guys, I didn’t edit this in, OK?), Derek Earl Baron of, Mark Wiens of, and Yoshke Dimen of

12. Tell us one weird/funny/embarrassing thing your followers/readers don't know about.

JB:  Ren’s an adorbale klutz.  She really is.  She’s always tripping or banging her head against something.  When she went to San Francisco with her sister last year, she sent me this text while in transit at Taoyuan Airport in Taiwan. (see first image below)  She can be gullible too, as you can see in this exchange.  I love pranking my wife hahaha! (see second image).

13. What do you think of Filipino travelers as opposed to foreign travelers?

JB:  Traveling internationally, I’ve never found issue with Filipinos, but domestic travel is different.  Many Filipinos have no discipline nor pride in their environment.  It’s infuriating to see people dropping trash where they aren’t supposed to, like Sumaguing Cave in Sagada or the ocean.  Take public places for example.  There are trash cans 15 feet away but people still choose to drop their trash on the floor expecting others to pick it up!  

When we landed at NAIA from Seoul recently, I was walking on the left side of the walkalator but someone was just standing there, blocking my way.  As you probably know, the etiquette for walkalators, like escalators, is to walk on the left and stand on the right.  His companion asked him to get out of the way and he did, but not without saying this:  “Ay wala na tayo sa Korea!  Pinas na to.  Wala nang ganyan ganyan!”  It was frustrating to hear him say that.  How can we possibly progress as a nation when people have that attitude?  

photo credit: @flyingforfoodnow

14. Traveling with an itinerary or spontaneous travel?

JB:  Before our blog, spontaneous travel.  I remember going to Nepal 20 years ago by myself with no plans.  And when I say no plans, I really mean no plans!  I didn’t have any hotel reservations, no return flight date, or any idea what I was going to do.  That was before the internet too so all I had with me was a Lonely Planet guidebook.  I sorted it all out when I got there.  I wound up going white water rafting for two days, going on safari, going on a week-long trek, and seeing Mt. Everest from up close in one of those small turboprop airplanes.  It’s still one of the best trips I’ve ever taken, largely because it was all unplanned.  But ever since I started this blog, we always travel with an itinerary to document as much information as possible.  I went from hardly planning at all to becoming an over-planner.

photo credit: @flyingforfoodnow

15. Top 3 places in the Philippines?

JB:  El Nido, Vigan, and Sagada.  I haven’t been to Batanes yet but based on what I’ve heard, it’ll probably be up there too.

Renée:  Palawan Palawan Palawan!  Haha kidding aside, Palawan, Davao, and Cebu.  I'm ashamed to admit it, but we haven't been to too many places in the Philippines...yet.

16. Top 3 international bucket list for 2018?

JB:  Barcelona, Lisbon, and Tokyo.  I’ve been to Tokyo before, but that was over 20 years ago so it doesn’t count.

17. Sunrise or sunset?

JB:  Sunrise

Renée: Sunset

photo credit: @flyingforfoodnow

18. Which sounds more romantic: a tent under the night sky while watching Aurora Borealis or a breakfast aboard a hot air balloon in Cappadocia, Turkey?

JB:  Aurora borealis.  The hot air balloon in Cappadocia is romantic too, but the pilot kinda kills the mood haha.

Renée:  Aurora borealis

19. What surprising thing have you learned about yourself in all your travels?

JB:  That I’m curious, and a nerd haha.  I’ve also learned that I’m pretty fearless and hungry for experiences.  I’ll try anything once, as long as it’s sustainable and doesn’t cause any harm.

Renée:  That I’m not interested in sightseeing or visiting tourist spots.  I prefer getting a feel for the place and its people just by hanging out at cafes or local hangouts.  So when JB has to go take pictures of touristy attractions, I usually wait for him at a cafe or something.

20. Favorite travel moment of 2017?

JB:  Skiing again after over 20 years, spending 4 minutes in North Korea, and visiting an onsen town in Japan.

Renée:  Kurukowa Onsen in Japan.  I loved everything about it, from the unique feel and atmosphere of the place down to its delicious food.

Follow JB and Renée on their website, Facebook, and Instagram.

photo credit: @flyingforfoodnow

If you like my posts and would love regular updates on travel photos, food finds, restaurant reviews, dance articles, and drunken tales, follow Pepe Samson on Facebook!

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