Highlights of 2015: What I’m Thankful For

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No year is consecutively great for 365 days. I’ve had my fair share of roller coaster, hot-cold, up-down emotions that’ll do even Katy Perry proud. But, since I am primarily an optimistic person and pretty positive on the regular, I figured it’s good to recap the best of 2015 to help me remember the year better. If you’re the type to enjoy listing down things to be thankful for or are looking for a way to appreciate blessings more, I suggest you do the same. Take a piece of paper and write down all the good things that happened to you this year from the huge to the minute. And because this is essentially my diary and you, my friends, I’m sharing my wins – both big and small – with all of you.

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Check out the credits!

1. I Got A New Job!

Career-wise, this year was pretty awesome. I got signed on as Managing Editor at Explore Philippines Magazine, a bi-monthly travel lifestyle magazine and I absolutely love what I do. We shoot at the most beautiful Philippine locations and I get to interview people who make a difference in the country and the lives of Filipinos – like former Congressmen or enviable jetsetters. I was also extremely fortunate that I got to write the cover story on blogger Kim Jones and husband actor Jericho Rosales for our October-November issue. Kim is one of my favorite bloggers in the Philippines because I admire her hustle and I’m so happy I got to sit down, interview and share the couple’s story. Also, I’m on a masthead!

A couple months later I also became the Editor of the magazine’s online counterpart, http://livetoexplore.ph, and I’ve been working on both a lot. (Also, if you were wondering, I’m still working at SoFA as Social Media Manager. It’s been 2 years and counting.)

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After class photo- I swear I’m much nicer during.

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Last day! Left: One of my students/friends, Jekka Sison, painted me this awesome parting gift. Right: A photo with some of my students after each blog presentation!

2. I Taught A Class!

Speaking of SoFA, back in Feb-March, I taught a Blogging 101 class at SoFA Design Institute. Even if it was only 4 sessions (for 3 hours each), I felt amazing to be able to share my knowledge of how to put up a blog, set yourself apart, how to use social media and a bit on how to write. We had a bunch of activities, a field trip and a panel presentation on the last day. I had 17 impressive students for the workshop and I’m really hoping the school offers the subject again. If I’m being honest, I’m thinking of doing the workshop again maybe outside of the school this time ‘coz there’s a lot more to share. So, let’s see if I can get that going. Anyone interested?

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Clockwise from top: A sample piece on Mega Magazine; Me on Mega’s Contributors Page; As Managing Editor on the Explore masthead and a photo with Chef Miguel Trinidad of Jeepney NYC post-interview for an article

3. I Wrote. A Lot.

I’ve always wanted to write. Always. But I’ve always been so afraid to do it because once you pursue what you really want, you might have nothing to fall back on if you fail. It’s a weird philosophy for someone supposedly positive, I know. I’ve written a couple of articles before for Manila Bulletin but it was very sporadic. For some reason, this year the assignments just kept coming in. I’ve written more than 10 articles for MEGA Magazine this year, at least 2 per issue in EXPLORE and I still have a bunch to submit come first week of January. Writing for publications is not the best source of income, mind you, but I absolutely enjoy it.

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The gorgeous Mykonos Village in Balesin, Quezon

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4. I Got To See The Philippines.

I’m one of those people who compare international fares to local fares and could never understand why people choose to spend more on local travel than see a different country. But this year, thanks to both my travel job and this blog, I’ve been able to go to different parts of the Philippines. There’s so much more to see but I’m glad I’m starting to explore what this country has to offer. Balesin, Iloilo, Baguio, Bohol, Palawan are just some of the places I got to witness recently and full disclosure: the Philippines is beautiful.

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5. I Went Home.

If a year passes without me going to Michigan I feel pretty fidgety. I miss my family a lot on a regular basis and I’m really happy I get to spend time with the people I love even if it’s just once a year. I also got to go to New York to check out a school I’m eyeing for a post-grad in Journ. So that was fun. Hopefully that pushes through.

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My Katy Date

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6. I Saw Katy Perry! 

Thanks to Smart Communications, I got to watch Katy when she came to Manila last May. I absolutely love her and got a little teary eyed when she closed the show with her hit Fireworks. I still don’t know what a plastic bag feels like but the concert was everything you’d expect it to be – funny and purry with the costumes on full blast. It was so worth the 4-hour traffic jam post-concert.

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7. I Got To Work With Some Of My Favorite Brands.

I am very appreciative of brands that I’ve worked with in the past who still continue to partner with me to this day. I enjoy brainstorming creative ways to tell a brand’s story or introduce a collection so working with brands keeps me on my toes creatively. This year, I got to work with some favorites like Smart, Nivea and Neon Island. I also got to shoot for some brands like social enterprise Rags 2 Riches, apparel brand NAVA, and footwear brand Menina Step. I also welcomed new brand friends like MAC Cosmetics, ASUS, Pink Sugar, Pandora, MEMO and a few more. Thank you very much for the trust. It’s been an amazing ride. Looking forward to bigger and better stories in the future.

On that note, I would like to end with a big thanks to you, my readers. I know it’s so much easier to just scroll through Instagram but I appreciate those who take time to read my words and listen to my stories and musings. I mean it when I say without you, I’d think I’m crazy pouring my heart out to the interwebz with only potential creeps as an audience. The happiest of new years to you! May your 2016 be even better than your last. Sending everyone reading this love, light and so much more blessings that you can list down come Dec. 31.

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