Sunday, January 3, 2016

Year-End Musings [2015]

This is my year-ender post for 2015. It's my first time to do one! :D I want to remember the places I've been to, even if I don't have separate blog posts for most of them. This year, I'll make sure to get back on track though by writing more often! ;)

Despite the rocky start, I was able to pull through and see the beauty in every situation that came towards me. God definitely had plans and I am still in awe of how they unfolded right before my eyes. I was able to travel and see more of His wonderful creations. Oh, and I didn't expect to fall in love and be loved in return. It's one of the greatest feelings in the world. (Feeling busog comes next, then feeling fresh after a cold shower on a warm day comes third for me. Haha)

Now, I'll be sharing with you what happened throughout my 2015!

January: Batad (Banaue, Ifugao)

I kickstarted my travel last year by going to Batad, which is a Unesco Heritage Site. This was probably one of the most tiring but worth it treks I've been to! The place was so cold, smoke would sometimes come out when we spoke. (No, not the cigarette kind!) We slept in a simple homestay, and there was no need for air conditioner at all! I didn't do research beforehand, so I thought that climbing the Banaue Rice Terraces will just be like walking up the stairs. No kidding. In reality, we walked on the edges of the famed rice terraces, which would sometimes be so thin; one slip and it's either (1) you fall down into the muddy rice plantation or (2) goodbye. (We survived!) Also, there were steep flights of stairs with endless steps, but the view was beyond magnificent; the place - so calm and serene. I was in the company of good friends, which made my trip even more worthwhile. Highly recommended!

I've blogged about this experience in a separate post, but I do miss hiking. This one's a 2-hour drive from Quezon City, and if you're not a fan of getting your hands dirty, this hike is for you, since you literally have nothing to hold on to (no rocks nor roots). This one's purely trekking, and it's beginner-friendly. 

March: Bangkok, Thailand

This one's my second international trip, and the first one I've paid for myself. (The last time was in Hong Kong when I was 7, and I hardly remember anything from that trip. Haha!) Thailand is a third-world country, but their train system is awesome and so modern. They have a train that goes directly to the Suvarnabhumi Airport - how convenient is that! When we got out of the airport, we saw a small McDo dessert/snack stall and tried almost everything - from parfaits (with 3 toppings!), to carbonara pie, to Fanta-infused drinks and more. Why don't we have all of those here? We also went to a lot of touristy places, but some of the most memorable ones for me are the Grand Palace (pretty golden temples!), Baipai Thai Cooking School, Chatuchak Weekend Market (nice dresses at rock bottom prices), and Chocolate Ville. We also went to almost every supermarket and bought lots of food back home. Given the chance, I would definitely go back to Bangkok!

April: Avilon Zoo, Rizal

My friend Chris of #TopeTravelandTours is actually responsible for all my travels to date. He plans them so well, just like a one-man travel agency! This time around, he got our group vouchers to Avilon Zoo. It's been a while since I've visited one, so I'm happy! However, I didn't like the part when I saw a grown man teasing the tiger inside the cage by touching it repeatedly while laughing as if to mock the tiger (seriously, grow up!), and I was actually waiting to see if his hands will come off. (It didn't.) Animals deserve respect, too.

May: Bolinao & Alaminos, Pangasinan

Our first stop was in Bolinao, where we visited churches and other landmarks. We also got a taste of their famous delicacy, the bamboo cake! It's actually sticky rice inside, and it goes so well with coco jam. In Alaminos, we hopped several islands by boat. I've always read about Hundred Islands during my elementary years, and I can't imagine how it would be like. It's so nice, but what excited me more was our itinerary next month.

June: Coron, Palawan

I have to admit, I am afraid of water since I can't swim! But that didn't stop me from wanting to go to Coron because this place always looked so beautiful in photos. In person, it looked even way more amazing! On our first night, we dropped by Maquinit Hot Spring to relax. Every day was a feast when you're in Palawan. Seafood are dirt-cheap there compared to when you're in Manila, so you can have all the fat crab claws and lobsters you want, every single day! And I'm not even exaggerating. Thinking about those makes me want to go back there right now! We went island hopping at the different Coron lakes, where some had clear blue water and some were blurry. The lakes are nice to look at, but it was in Malcapuya Island where we enjoyed most. The sand is powdery white, the water is so clear (that you'll want to swim far to see everything as you snorkel), and the best part is, we had the beach (almost) all to ourselves since we went there on a weekday. It's not as developed as Boracay, but I don't mind at all. The island life here is peaceful, so there's no partying. In fact, I want to keep Coron as a secret paradise so it won't be polluted, but it's too beautiful to not share. If I were to choose, I'd opt to revisit Coron over Boracay in a heartbeat.

The first half of my year was filled with traveling and adventure. As for the second half, it's time to save up! Haha :D

Before I turned 26, I had my ears pierced for the 3rd time in my life. (This was such a frustration for me.) This time around, I think it has finally healed properly. What a relief. No more clip-on earrings for me! But I'm not planning to remove these studs from the pedia anytime soon. I'm already fine with the fact that I have earrings, even if they're simple like that.

August: My 26th Birthday

My birthday this year was quite eventful. Guys, may boyfriend na ako! Haha. I've known Panda since I was 16 (so that was 10 years ago), and it was just this year that we zinged. He baked me this cake for my birthday, and it's the cutest and yummiest for me since it was made with love. Looking forward to making more memories with you, Panda! :3

Let's skip the next few months since they were mostly filled with work. I did a lot of OT and skipped a LOT of events. I hope this year will be different for me. Also, last September, I was on my way home around 8:00PM when a thief attempted to snatch my cheap Android phone while I was riding the jeepney along Roosevelt Avenue. (Guys, it's not safe there.) Attempted, since the jeepney was moving and he must be inexperienced since his grip slipped. I was in shock since my phone was so cheap; I never feared that anyone would ever take interest in it. Then I realized, thieves aren't choosy since panlaman tiyan din yun. Always be careful. On a side note, I hope Duterte wins so our country will be a safer place to live in.

December: Christmas!

CBCP - Tuesday Diversity


CBCP - HV Ladies
Panda & I

My Family

Panda's Family

Christmas season is always fun, not just because of all the food, but because it's the time when you get to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. I've waited for Christmas for so long since I was already feeling so weary, but God is faithful when He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest," -Matthew 11:28. Now, I am taking my weekends as a time to recharge.

So finally, 2016 is here. Cheers to a fresh start, and may we all achieve the goals that we've set for ourselves. ;)


PS. Travel photos are property of Christopher Chan. Do not use without permission.

Let's keep in touch!

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  1. Cheers to an even better year, Helen! And hello love life! :D


  2. We share the same penchant for all things cutesy! Love the cake! Lucky Girl! Hehe. Happy new year Helen! More blog sales this 2016? ;)

    1. Like stamps? :> Hihi Yup, I'll make one real soon. :)


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