Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thankful for 2014

2014 was indeed much less intense than 2013 although amazing nonetheless and I'm truly thankful for that.

I'm thankful for all the places I visited this year. I'm glad that I was able to go around the Philippines more because I'm learning more about my country and I even learned some Bisaya and Waray. I was able to go to Mindanao for the first time! I also made new friends from my travels this year.

L-R, top-bottom: (1) surfing in La Union, (2) church in Oslob, (3) sunset in Anilao, (4) boodlefight with the people of Barrio Butig in Eastern Samar, (5) Samal Island, (6) Bulguksa in South Korea, (7) Dicasalarin Cove in Baler, (8) Banaue Rice Terraces and (9) the Hanging Coffins of Sagada

I'm thankful for the new things I tried, did, and learned this year:
  • surfing in La Union and decided that it's not my thing haha.
  • went to a speed dating event along with a couple of friends and it made me realize how socially awkward I am. Lol.
  • swam with whalesharks in Oslob
  • watched the sunrise a good number of times!
  • joined my first external hackathon with some co-workers and surprisingly won!
  • finally got the courage to make bread and the results were actually good!
  • brought out my dad's old electric sewing machine and managed to make my own skirt and, just yesterday, a dress!
  • experienced the best boodlefight ever in Barrio Butig in Eastern Samar
  • said GOODBYE to my BRACES! Bwahahaha!
  • started a gym membership and I feel that I'm getting stronger. For the first time, I ran 4.4 kilometers without walking breaks within 40 minutes and that's an achievement for me because I'm really clumsy and weak when it comes to physical activities.
  • tried Pilates.
  • hiked a mountain alone, without proper gear in South Korea. I think that's the most dangerous thing I've done in my life to date. I really want to go hiking again but no way I'm doing it alone or without proper gear!
  • started playing the ukulele and turned it into my stress-reliever.
  • finally learned how to knit!
  • made pie using pastry crust again after so many years (it was apple pie) and I think I'm gonna make more.
  • grew my hair to its longest. I started getting noticeable grays as well but I just decided to shrug it off and embrace it because it's easier than trying to hide it. Besides, my dad already had a lot of gray hair in his teenage years so getting mine in my twenties makes me feel like I should be thankful they arrived at a later time lol.

L-R, top-bottom: (1) the skirt I sewed, (2) macarons, (3) cinnamon rolls, (4) my new ukulele, (5) last weekend's apple pie and (6) the new dress I sewed

Of course, the year didn't go by without challenges.

This year, my social life suffered a bit. I guess work-from-home situation really is taking its toll on me. I spent more time at home (many times alone) than outside the house. I've become really lazy to get out of the house unless I'm traveling. My aversion to crowds has gotten terrible (and it's actually one of the reasons why I don't like going out). More than half the movies I watched in the cinemas this year, I watched alone. I always find myself holed up inside my room working or crafting or reading a book or watching something. I guess I really just enjoy the solitude but I think I also have to work on my rusting social skills and on my relationships with family and friends.

This year was also full of challenges in my career and many times I find myself questioning my life decisions but I'm just trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I also neglected my blog a bit but I'm positive I can catch up!

Thank you, 2014 for being amazing. And here's to our 2015 hopes and dreams! Cheers! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Banaue: A Sudden Trip Up North

Monday evening, I suddenly found myself on a trip to Banaue-Sagada with my co-workers. It was very sudden and I only had 20 minutes to pack. I even left my towel and my jeans (haha) but I managed without them and I'm proud of myself that I can pack a week's worth that quickly because I'm usually a slowpoke at packing.

It was Tuesday noon when we got to Banaue and it was raining. We brought our work there (since we work remotely) and therefore barely had time for sight-seeing. 

The view from our inn.

The next morning, however, the sky cleared up for a while and we were lucky to see the rice terraces from the different view points.

In school, we hear A LOT about the rice terraces and I've seen countless pictures already but seeing it for real is totally different-- it's breathtakingly amazing! I cannot imagine how our ancestors created this 2000 years ago with just their primitive tools.

Wild sunflowers were growing everywhere.

The two photos above were taken on the way from Banaue to Sagada. We may not have gone sightseeing much but the drive across the mountains was already a treat in itself. The views look just like paintings!