A Quick Look Back on 2016

by - 10:46:00 PM

So much had happened for the past year and as the hustle of preparing for the annual Media Noche to welcome the new year waned, it got me thinking... What am I thankful for in 2016?

Here's a quick rundown of the adventures I was blessed with the past year: 

Malaysia-Laos-Thailand Out of My Own Pocket

The first quarter of the year was a momentous time for me -- being able to travel outside the country (USA was the first but Dad took care of it) out of my own pocket was a dream that finally came true in 2016. Sure, it wasn't easy but as they say, great things involve lots of hard work and perseverance. Tickets were purchased a year before and every day since then, I was conscious of my budget and painstakingly saved every penny I could to fund that dream.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
On late February, we had a quick tour of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where we got to see the iconic Petronas Towers up-close and discovered how great it would be to have a reliable transportation system and a free bus network for tourists who want to explore the city's key spots.
Vientiane, Laos
We then spent a day in Laos' capital city of Vientiane where I learned the importance of never forgetting where you came from. As I slowly immersed myself in the Lao people's simple way of life, I realized that my very own country, the Philippines, isn't too far behind from where we once were and from where Laos is currently in. By remembering and learning from the past, it is then that we can truly move on and propel ourselves to have a better future.
Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Phuket, and Krabi in Thailand
Majority of the trip's duration was spent in Thailand starting with the culture-rich city of Chiang Mai in the northern part of the country then zigzagging our way to the bustling capital city of Bangkok to getting lost in the big blue seas and towering limestone walls of Krabi and Phuket. There were so many things to do in Thailand that it felt two weeks wasn't enough.

India on a Business Trip 

Another highlight of my 2016 was getting the chance to go on a business trip for a month in India. To be honest, India wasn't really of my list of places too visit and I haven't really thought of going there any time soon not until three days before our flight when the CEO dropped the "You're going to India" surprise.
Ahmedabad and Udaipur in India
Being on a non-leisure trip in a place with a completely different culture and language challenged the hell out of me and made me feel that, hey, I need to step up my game and show them how awesome Filipino workers are and that no matter how crazy it may get, I always have my friends around to laugh at me, eat chicken with me, and smoke sisha with me. And did I mention I got nabbed at Hong Kong airport for a pepper spray I forgot to place in my check in bag? Ha!

My India trip was definitely one for the books and I wouldn't have it any other way because who doesn't love an all expense-paid trip to a place where there's so much culture and interesting people? I wish to go back!

Ilocos in the Philippines with the Gang

Majority of my out-of-town trips were just me and my boyfriend and there were times when I travelled with a small group of friends (hello Siargao and Bicol buddies!). In 2016, we took it to the next level by travelling to Ilocos in northern Philippines with not only five or seven but with 10 people on board. And what do you expect with 10 crackheads on long drives and a lovely place? Of course, lots of crazy shenanigans and food trips. Yeah, boy! 
Vigan, Laoag, and Pagudpud in Ilocos, Philippines
We were able to visit the world-renowned cultural city of Vigan, marvelled at the Bangui Windmills, screamed at the top of our lungs at Laoag Sand Dunes, and went on a gastronomic adventure with the Ilokano and Kapangpangan cuisine.

Baguio-Tagaytay, Philippines - First Family Trip Ever

And this is something I will forever hold close to my heart. 

My parents are the homebody type, already content of just staying at home and enjoying a home-cooked meal with the entire family. I'm not even sure if they approve of my sporadic out-of-town trips and my wanderlust dream of one day travelling the world but there's a part of me wishing we could see new places and experience new things together.
Baguio - Tagaytay, Philippines
So when a promo fare came up, I took the chance of booking the entire family to Manila which became our pit stop towards our main destinations --- Baguio City and Tagaytay. I admit, I was pretty nervous at first since it was our first time to travel together. I had to shift from the "I'll-take-care-of-myself" kind of thinking that solo and group travel with friends entail to "I-have-to-take-care-of-everyone" kind of thing. But seeing those priceless smiles and hugs? Totally worth it!

My 2016 had been great! Just like every one else, I had my own fair share of ups and downs, of misadventures and crazy adventures, and I thank God for all these blessings and lessons gained. 

I may not be where I planned to be and I may still not know where I'm heading to but I know I'm on the right track and things are looking up. May my 2017 be even better than the last and may I be a better person than I was before. Cheers! :)

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