With my blog turning seven this 2017, the tradition of listing down the special people who have made the past year extra special is not something I would let go. This is actually one of those things that I look forward to. I started this list in 2011 and never stopped since then.
Every year, I meet new people or reunite with old ones, and some of them make very significant influence in my life. This yearly blog post is my way of telling them that I appreciate them in my life.
Okay, let’s stop all these non-sense monologues, okay?
Now, please make way for the people of my 2016…
2015 made me realize how big the blogging community is, but 2016 actually had me interacting in that community. This year was phenomenal for my blog and my growing circle of blogger friends! I travelled with them, covered events with them, commented on their posts and got genuine replies! I am forever in awe of their dedication to provide valuable content to their readers even if most of the time, compensation is out of the question. I actually always find myself staring in amazement and thinking how lucky I am to be part of such a fun and hardworking community.
Bloggers, in general, are extremely industrious people. Imagine juggling a full-time job and publishing content after content to keep readers engaged; that’s a lot of hard work! It sure looks like a glamorous job (or past time) but
NO, IT’S NOT!
In 2016, I got really serious in taking control of my finances. I was able to track every centavo that comes out of my wallet and was able to save for my future through the stock market. I got really inspired with Mark Zuckerberg’s frugal habits. Even as America’s richest man under the age of 30, Mark and his family live below their means. They do not buy fancy things to show off and make use of the available resources that they have. That is, even if he can easily afford luxurious items.
I learned to let go of the “Pasikat Mentality” that most people are practicing. Now, I always find ways to maximize my money’s use. I even took in freelancing jobs to augment my salary. This way, I am able to save more for long-term usage.
Dear Mr. Zuckerberg, thanks for the inspiration and for Facebook, of course.
Nope, I am not a person of my 2016. I couldn’t find a decent photo of a solo backpacker so I decided to put my most solo backpacker-look photo to date. I did two solo backpacking trips this year and had gained an immense respect to all solo backpackers all over the world.
It’s a different world out there: trusting strangers, eating alone, trying to take decent photos on your own, sleeping (hoping that you would wake up alive the next morning), figuring out how to get to one location to another, and the list goes on!
I don’t know how you guys do it! But all the travel blogs I read were right: it’s so addicting!!!
Ms. Belle, my boss, is one person who instilled an all-new definition of leadership in me. When we had our team building event last February, I told her that her leadership style is perfect, and she just laughed. I love her transparency, commitment to keep her employees engaged by always coming up with fun activities, and bravery to lead a start-up company. I know for a fact that just working for a start-up is already challenging, what more to actually lead one? It must be really crazy there on top. Salute!
I usually throw a look of disgust to people who wildly welcome artists at the airport. Yeah, I’m cruel like that. But in the year that passed, I actually tried to be one of them!
My ultimate boyband favorite, a1, came to Manila in November. I failed to manage my time and my finances and so I was not able to watch their concert at the KIA Theater. I even attempted to welcome them at the airport but my schedule got in the way. Luckily, I met some people online who are a1 fans as well.
And boy, are they solid a1 fans.
They watched all their concerts, collect memorabilia, follow them everywhere, know all the details of their life, send them gifts, and more. I suddenly felt like a bad fan, LOL
I got to meet some of these girls in a birthday celebration they prepared for a1 members Ben Adams and Mark Read. And then again in a swimming party also celebrating Christian Ingebrigsten’s birthday. The boys weren’t there, sadly, but we shared some cakes and food. Yup, the cakes in the photo above have Ben and Mark’s faces. Cool, eh?
Even if I wasn’t able to see my favorite band perform live last November, I got a better takeaway: NEW FRIENDS! I learned that fangirls are adorable people, extremely generous, and fun to be with. They flood my timeline with all things a1 and I got to learn more about the band through them. It was as if I now know them personally unlike before that I only admire them on the side. It’s cool to know some people who share your same craziness towards an artist. It gave me confidence to show the world who I idolize with zero level of shame.
I swear I will not look at fangirls the same way ever again.
KEVIN AND ALVIN
Kevin San Agustin and Alvin Tan were my Couchsurfing hosts in Cebu. It’s their first time to host a female solo backpacker in their home, considering that they are both guys. I told them not to worry, it’s my first time to have male hosts as well, LOL.
I stayed with them for four nights and in their house, I got to meet a lot of Couchsurfers from all over the world. Kevin and Alvin toured us around Cebu City, gave out valuable tips on where to buy this and that, how to go to this place in the cheapest way, and of course, showed Filipino hospitality by cooking meals for us and attending to all our needs.
These guys inspired me to help out travelers and show them a different side of the Philippines that travel websites can never display. Nothing beats being toured by a knowledgeable local and using public transportation like how they do it.
During my stay with Kevin and Alvin, I learned that you don’t have to be rich or to have a nice house to be hospitable. I love their enthusiasm and genuine concern for their guests. Hopefully, this 2017, I will be able to pass their kindness forward.
You see, 2016 has really opened a lot of opportunities and adventures for me! I can’t believe I actually did all those things: solo backpacking, fangirling, freelancing?
It’s crazy, right?
But undeniably fun!
Life really gets better and better each year, don’t you think?
Thank you so much to the people of my 2016! I love you guys!