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Travel

12 Things I Learned In 2014

It’s the last day of 2014 and once again I will try to encapsulate the highlights of my year in a single post. Each event delivered a lesson, which I’d like to share with you. Before we embrace the promise of 2015, allow me to share with you the 12 Things I learned in 2014.

Not all celebrities are arrogant

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I don’t get to meet celebrities every day but to be honest I used to carry the impression that they all have heads the size of watermelons. It wasn’t until I met the people behind the electronic rock duo, Turbo Goth, Sarah Gaugler and Paolo Peralta that I started to reconsider my opinion. I started the year by getting ink by Sarah in her studio, Snow Tattoo. If there is a license for arrogance, Sarah could have it, she’s an actress, a model, a recording artist, and one of the most sought-after tattoo artists in the country. Most of all she has a pretty face, but surprise surprise, Sarah is not given to conceit that is the downfall of many a celebrity. On the contrary, she is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life. Sarah and Pao moved to the States sometime this year. I do hope that they come home soon and when they do I would love to get the customized tattoo that Sarah and I agreed to create for me when we meet again. [Click here for the story of how I got inked by Turbo Goth’s lead, Sarah Gaugler at Snow Tattoo]

The love of family is the most important thing in the world

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Being 32 and single have a lot of perks; you have no one to answer to, you’re not responsible for anyone but yourself, you are free to go wherever or do whatever you like. I do enjoy being single but I’d be lying if I say I want to be alone for the rest of my life. To be honest, the idea alone scares the shit out of me. The truth of it I’d been slapped with when I joined an outreach by PBO at Kanlungan ni Maria in February.

But the biggest thing that I learned from this endeavor is the importance of family. Though the abandoned elderlies are being taken care of at KNM, most of them expressed their desire to spend the rest of their remaining days with their families. And so it breaks my heart that the people these lolos and lolas are longing for are the very ones who have forgotten them. [Read the story about PBO’s volunteer activity at Kanlungan ni Maria]

Why lie if you can make it happen

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In high school, I was so envious of people who can afford the finer things in life that I often weaved lies to promote my social standing. One of the lies that I used to tell back then is that I’d been to Boracay. Since I could lie with a straight face, nobody could see through it. Until one classmate went to Boracay that summer and came back with information that I didn’t possess. I still remember the smug look on her face when I couldn’t name this one bar that was popular on the island back then. Because of the shame that I felt from that incident I made a promise to myself that if I want a good life, I shouldn’t have to lie about it. It took me a while but I am happy to report that I have been to Boracay, and this story is now verifiable. [Read: Boracay: First Day]

There is a Reward for hard work

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In what I consider to be the most physically taxing trip I’ve ever taken, my former officemates and I went to the Cordillera region in April. I only went for the rice terraces but gained more than I expected. The view of the magnificent Amphitheatre, a night in a traditional Ifugao hut, swimming in the cold water of Tappiya falls, exploring the caves, it was an ultimate summer adventure. The entire trip though was anything but easy. To fully experience the place it takes perseverance, hard work, and body pain. [Read: The Trek to Batad, Ifugao]

Save Mother Nature, Save the World

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The Ocean Park Adventure trip is the last and the most fun summer outing that I had with the previous company. It’s the only park I know where the importance of preserving the environment is promoted in every way possible. Therefore, it’s the best place to take your children not only for the great shows but most importantly for the lessons they could gain about environmental awareness. [Read: Ocean Park Adventure, Subic]

No Pain, No Glory

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In June, we climbed the mountains of Kalinga to meet and get marked by the last mambabatok, Apo Whang-Od. Though I am no stranger to getting inked, nothing could have prepared me from the pain I experienced from this ancient tattooing procedure. [Read: Kalinga: The Maria Whang-Od Mission]

If it’s meant for you, it will come easy

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I read somewhere that if you really want something the universe will conspire to make it happen. It will be so that you won’t even have to work so hard to attain it. That’s exactly what happened when I got this job in my present company.

Party doesn’t always mean happy

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Filipino parents usually hold a party when their kids turn 1, 7, and 18, none of which I was able to experience. Hence, I have always fantasized about having a big party. I thought that if my parents couldn’t afford it, I’d arrange one for myself when I finally get a job. In the past few years, I was able to do just that. Not exactly the big parties that I had in mind but they were still my parties. Naturally, I pictured the same for my 32nd birthday, even planned to have a 1920s-themed party. That was the expectation. In reality, I almost spent it alone if not for my dear friend who decided to treat me on that day. I really thought it would be a sucky celebration but it turned out to be great. And this time I was genuinely happy. [Read: Thirty-second]

Good health starts from within

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In September, I decided to get myself back in shape after a year of mindless eating and skipping the thread mill that resulted to muffin top, chubby cheeks, and unflattering photographs. One of the first steps that I took is to try yoga. Aside from the physically challenging poses, the thing that I appreciated most about yoga is the approach to the internal well-being of a person. Good health starts within. If the mind is cluttered the body gets a hard time taking in the discipline needed to maintain good health. [Read: Discovering Yoga]

Good things happen when you least expect it

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Before it happened I was already thinking of Bohol. I had no definite plans, I was just imagining myself taking selfies with the view of the Chocolate Hills. What I didn’t expect is that the vision would happen before the year ends, and I didn’t even have to pay for my fare. [Read: Quick Guide to Bohol]

Writers are some of the best people in the world

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I didn’t know how much I missed my writer friends until I met them for dinner last November. It felt a lot like coming home. All the topics I couldn’t discuss with other people I could suddenly throw in the air. The meaningful dialogues, the varied topics, the company of intelligent people who actually listen, I finally had them all in one night. It was such a great joy! And I am not just being biased. I’m telling you, one of the best people you could ever meet in this world are the writers.

It’s always better to be overdressed

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One of the rules I go by is that in any event, it is better to be overdressed that to sport a “nautusan lang sa kanto” outfit. A person’s outfit tells a lot about his or her personality and since I am anything but a simple creature I always make an effort to dress well. Because of this principle I did everything that I could to look my best in the year-end party of our company. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration on my part to say that one of the reasons I enjoyed the party immensely is because I loved the gown that I wore.


In retrospect, 2014 has been a pretty good year for me. Three of my dream destinations have been scratched off my bucket list, I have moved on to another company with better compensation, I met many new friends, eaten more than I should but also started a journey to better health. But like in any other year, I just as I gained I also lost many things. But I am saying goodbye to 2014 with peace in my heart that things are the way they should be. More than anything else, I am grateful for all the lessons that I learned and I hope to gain more of them in 2015.

This new year my wish is for you to find whatever it is that you are looking for. Happy New Year!

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Travel

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Philippines Travel

Malacañang Park

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