Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 My Year in Review

Just a few hours left until we officially say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017! Looking back at how my year went by has become an annual tradition for me ever since I started it.

2011 was the year of exploration. I quit my job earlier in the year without a new steady job to go to. Took a swing at writing freelance full time. I also explored other cities in the Metro. 2012 was a sad year for me overall because of my father's passing due to an illness and so I didn't really write about the year that had been. 2013 was the year full of adventures. It was the year I decided to enroll in LEAP, an amazing leadership program that made all those adventures happen and where I met so many awesome people I now call friends. 2014 was all about my relationships - building new ones, rekindling old ones and strengthening friendships I already have. And 2015 was the year of travel for me. I went exploring both in and out of the country with friends and family last year.

This year, 2016, for me has been a year full of discovery. It's also a year I crossed off a lot of things I've been wanting to do for so long off of my bucket list. What do I mean by that?

1. It's a year of discovering new food joints! 

I didn't often blog this year. But when I looked back at my old posts, I realized it's full of food posts!
I had a burger at Hole in the Wall, an upscale food court in Century City Mall. I ate at an ancestral home that's been turned into a charming restaurant. Tried a new pizza place near our office. Had a taste of New York. Discovered a not-so-new pasta place which serves seriously good pastas! These are just to name a few by the way!  

It's no wonder I became overweight this year!

2. I had a weekend staycation at a new posh hotel in Pasay 

If you've been in the area of Mall of Asia this year, particularly around the bay area, you probably have noticed this building that's shaped like a ship. That's Conrad Manila. When I saw that hotel, I told myself, I want to experience staying there. And I got to do so when a dear old friend came back from London for a visit.

3. I finally experienced what's it's like to attend a murder mystery party!

Really. I've always wanted to know how that would feel like. It's from growing up reading mystery novels like Nancy Drew. So when I read online that there's a company in the Philippines that organizes one, I hosted a murder mystery party right in time for my birthday and invited some friends. It was a party to die for.

4. I had a couple of travels. 

Where to next?

One was for work in Cebu. The other a vacation in Singapore. My Cebu travel was a pretty chill one. It didn't feel like work at all. It turned out to be a welcome break from all the stress back in Manila. As for the latter trip well that gave me clarity on what I wanted to focus on this coming 2017.

You see before I went on my trip, I met up with my Serenity friends. My friend, Jaton was getting married in October and so we decided to set a day to meet up and bond and also of course so he could give us our invites to the wedding. Jaton asked us that day what we wanted to create this 2017? Was it the year of love? A year focused on growing career wise? I had no idea what to answer back then. I was so confused and bothered that I didn't know which among the many things I wanted in life to prioritize for the next year.

After that trip however, I got my answer. I'd like to refer to that trip as a true eye opener. Not gonna get into the details anymore but it's safe to say that my relationship with my friends - how strong was our bond - was also tested during that travel. I learned a lot about me and how I handle troublesome situations and I learned a lot about my friends too. I'll tell you more about what the answer is on a separate post. Meanwhile, you can read my Singapore travel diary.

5. A relaxing massage at Neo Day Spa 

You know what's a great way to destress? A trip to the spa! And I've read about Neo Day Spa a couple of years ago and I've since wanted to drop by this posh spa. Thanks to my spa loving friend, Anerine, I finally got to try it and I have to say the service here is wonderful! I highly urge you to try!

Our post spa glow

6. I met #JaDine this year. 

I'm a fan of this love team! Ever since their Diary ng Panget movie came out, I've shipped them. I even watched their concert on Pay per View earlier this year. Show of hands who was thrilled to find out they've become Team Reel to Team Real? I know I was!

This year, I met them both in person!

Nadine is so pretty! And James is sooooo cute!!!! I was super thrilled to meet them both!

7. And lastly, 2016 was the year I upped my Instagram game. 

I especially enjoyed sharing OOTDs on Instagram because honestly, I love dressing up! And doing OOTD shoots with my friend, Jordan, I've discovered I actually enjoy doing it and sharing it online! Next year, I'm going to blog more about my OOTDs and I will be calling it StyLIZed. My #2016bestnine only proves this! Most are OOTD shots.

So even though I know there are some shitty things that have happened in 2016, in my life, there's still been a lot of good things that took place. 2017, I'm excited to see what you'll be like for me! Next year I will move forward with love and passion as my life's theme.

Happy New Year folks!!!


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Blog Giveaway: Brew Your Best Year with Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf's The Giving Journal 2017

Every time I'm about to ring in the new year, I like to plan on how I want the next 365 days of my life to be. When I was a kid, I used to do so by creating New Year's Resolutions like so many other people. But for some time now, I've been doing so by writing down my plans on paper so a planner always comes in handy for me!

Aside from that however, I also like to jot random things on my planner - from friends' birthdays/special occasions to work meetings, to blog post ideas to expenses I've incurred and things I have to buy - an idea I've adopted from my Dad. I know, I'm so old school! A lot of peeps nowadays rely on their smartphones for that but whatever. I like my system. 

Anyhow, I've finally decided on the planners - yes, multiple (actually just 2) - I'm going to use for 2017! And because I also like having coffee at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf with Ryan a lot, I've been able to complete stamps from them already resulting in multiple planners!

I actually like CBTL's The Giving Journal. For one thing, they come in colorful versions.


It's also got inspirational notes with really nice illustrations inside which really lives up to their Brew Your Best Year brand messaging. 


It's also got a good enough space to write down things everyday whether they're goals, meetings or just random things.

And of course, for the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf lovers, some coupons you can use when you visit!

Plus with The Giving Journal you're also supporting CBTL's advocacy. It's not called The Giving Journal for nothing! Every cup purchased and every Giving Journal redeemed helps enable the dream of Real Life scholars to take flight. Read more about that here

Don't you just love this time of the year? You've got a delicious coffee to drink while you chat with friends, do some work or just while the time away perhaps accompanied by a good book to read or a laptop for your TV or movie marathons (CBTL offers free WiFi for Swirl card holders) and at the same time, you get to have a very nice planner while being able to help someone too! I know I do.  

Want to make this 2017 your best year ever? This planner can be the perfect companion! And on that note, because Christmas is the time for giving, I'm giving 2 people The 2017 Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Giving Journal! 

The mechanics are simple - it's follow, tweet and comment! And by New Year's Day 2017, I'm picking out the 2 winners! Oh and this contest is open to Philippine residents only

Monday, December 19, 2016

Mini Vacation in Cebu

December is usually a busy time at work for me because of back to back events. This year, at this time of the month, I found myself unexpectedly traveling back to Cebu for work again.

Cebu's the province that I've been to quite a lot - mostly for work. Even though that may be the case, I usually try to do a little bit of sight seeing.  This year, I did that too. I went to the newly opened SM Seaside Cebu and Temple of Leah. But to be honest, this didn't feel like much work to me. It almost felt like a real vacation - short as it may have been - still a vacation is a vacation.

First time to use AirBnB locally and I had no regrets. I'll tell you a little bit more about the place next post. But I think that's how it started - the feeling that I was on vacation and not work. 

What places did I go to this year? Well, for starters I went to the newly opened SM Seaside Cebu along with my workmates. I know it's a mall. What's to see in a mall? We followed this guide. Actually I didn't get to do everything in the list. A few of it at least.

The Cinemas - We didn't watch a movie there. But we did take photos at the cinema lobby. There's a wall there that's so Instagram worthy - it's very colorful. 

We also checked out Sky Park where you'll see Water Play which is a great place for kids to play at! Actually watching them made me wish Water Play was also open for adults! Ha ha!

And Kenneth Cobonpue's exhibit is there as well. It's actually the playground.

Also took a photo of the different colored spiral staircases. My favorite of course is this apple green. Incidentally, this is going to be 2017 Pantone Color of the Year. Isn't that awesome?

Also saw The Cube which is kind of like Mall of Asia' LED giant globe except the Cube's not LED but I didn't take a selfie with that anymore. I also visited Chapel of Pedro Calungsod. It was drizzling when I went there and there was a wedding going on so I also did not take photos. 

Another sight I saw in Cebu this year? The Temple of Leah. It's our very own version of the Taj Mahal - it's built for love by Ellen Adarna's father, Teodorico Soriano Adarna for his late wife, Leah Villa Albino Adarna in 2012.  

With all the statues in the place, it feels like being transported to Rome and Greece which is well the architectural design of the place. 

The grand staircase with the statue of the woman this temple was dedicated to. I'm just gonna say this gesture is seriously romantic. I think this can make any cynic believe there's such a thing as real love. 

Temple of Leah now has an entrance fee of Php50. I think that's to support the continuous construction of the area.

And since this is a sort of vacation, there was a lot of eating involved too! 

And finally, these were my hard working, fun-loving, and easy-going companions who made this Cebu trip memorable. 

Nicole with her "candid" shot at Temple of Leah.   

Glydel and Fate on another BTS shot 

Group shots taken with the Lenovo VIBE Shot. Fate's working the panoramic selfie shot since I have shaky hands and can't seem to figure out how to work it even though it's my phone. Ha! Ha!

Of all the work trips I've done in Cebu, this has been by far the best trip of them all.