2016: My Year In Half

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I unwittingly breezed through the contents of my 2016 planner. That was when the intention of writing down the emotions I felt during my recently concluded Ilocos Trip turned into a “(mid)year in review” moment; I found myself reading through the pages, looking back.

I realized then that more than half a year already passed.

I thought, “this is an apt time for me to self-review how was my 2016 so far.” Alas! I decided to write this article to serve as a semi-annual review. Thus, 2016: My Year in Half.

(Read my 2015 annual review here.)



This month belonged to 2015 more than this year. It was a continuation of my Christmas (and New Year) since I haven’t been able spend it with family. We had a simple post celebration – food, movies, each other’s company. January was also a continuation of December 2015 because depression was still lingering around the corner.

I had to wake up when I feel sleeping all day. I had to go back to work even when I really don’t want to leave home anymore. I had to be positive when negativity was already eating me up.

I fought hard. It was a difficult battle.

I wrote my first blog article of 2016 that month. It was lengthy. It was therapeutic. It was with a purpose. It symbolized that I’ll not back down nor will I choose defeat.

I won that month.



“A jam-packed emotional roller-coaster ride.” That’s my February in a nutshell. A lot – as in a lot – happened! It was a series of events that stirred me emotionally both in a negative and positive way.

Allow me to elaborate:

By the first days of the month I tendered my resignation after an incident happened at work. My moral compass can’t bore a decision the management made. Lines were crossed. I had enough… or so I thought. The top management called me a day after and talked me out of my resignation. They changed the decision into something that was very acceptable for me.

I gave myself some days to think.

Seven days after, I celebrated my first year working in Balesin. It was a major milestone in my professional career – one year of continued service in a company.

Couple of days prior I deferred my resignation indefinitely after I talked to my mom, my girlfriend, her mom and dad. I never felt more loved than those moments – exaggeration aside.

Yet, I still felt lost.


Rice Terraces, Hanging Coffins, Traditional Tattoos

I traveled to the mountainous north by the last week of February. The weeks in-between allowed me to slowly mend, traveling was my last hurrah in healing myself. Being one with the mountains, breathing the cold February breeze, spending time with old and new-found friends were tonic. It was curative.

I admired the beauty of the Chico River and the Banaue Rice Terraces

I’ve done spelunking in the caves of Sagada and waited for the sunrise in Kiltepan (there’s none, it was cloudy).

I’ve visited Whang Od in Buscalan, sipped the best coffee in the world, and had my bâtok (traditional tattoo).

Wandering, really, was euphoric. I wasn’t only healed by the end of the trip, I was changed. I viewed the world differently, more positively. I started to see the beauty in everything once again – “the beauty amidst the chaos”, as I often puts it. (February)
February was topped by meeting Apo Whang Od, the last mambabatok (Photo courtesy of Kat Fernandez)



My blog is very much similar to Facebook and Instagram posts, the life you see here isn’t my reality. More often, it’s my highlight reels.

Since I read Dave Ursillo’s article, I try to show my humanness – that I’m like everyone else. I thought I owe my readers that much. They have the right to “watch” (read) my behind-the-scenes. That is, the ordinary and the mundane; that there’s a simple life behind the articles, that I struggle just like them.

Going back. March was about the behind-the-scenes. I stayed and worked in the island for the entire month. I timed-in, timed-out. Socialized. Watched movies. I did what every person does in his everyday, and I had a good time doing these.

March was modest. It was unpretentious. During this month, I convinced myself that it’s alright to work 9 to 5, and not travel the world.



2016 was the best birthday I had in my life, so far. It was during this month.

I was used to not celebrating my birthday at all. There’s even a birthday I spent alone by playing in an arcade the whole day. I’m not complaining. I’m not very sentimental and I don’t up my expectations. Thus, when Baymax brought a cake and gave me gifts (bookmark and book coupon), I was profusely happy.

(read: it was really my girlfriend and her mom, Baymax was a balloon)

I was really surprised!

I had been able to spend time with my family as well. That really upped 2016 as the best birthday yet! (April)-1
The best birthday so far! Celebrated it with Baymax (Photo courtesy of Kat Fernandez) (April)-2
Best birthday so far! Celebrated it with family (Photo courtesy of Krizia Ann Cruz)



May was one of the great months.

By this month, I was fully recuperated. I had my old zest and positive mindset. I was able to meditate for 26 consecutive days. That was a personal best.

I traveled to Bicol with family by the last days of the month. It was a loaded itinerary. We did wake-boarding in Cam Sur; ATV ride near Mayon Volcano; and jet skied in Sorsogon. However, more than the places visited it was the time spent with family and relatives I enjoyed. (May)
Mayon ATV experience last May 2016 (Photo courtesy of Krizia Ann Cruz)



June was another behind-the-scenes. Plain and bland. I stayed in the island the entire month, focused on work. I spent most of my free time watching Game of Thrones and catching up with Vikings episodes. I also swam and run most of the afternoons to add novelty to my routine (or maybe because I was reading Murakami’s memoir about running that time).

June passed by unwittingly to be honest.

I spent more time anticipating next month to come.



July was a special month. It’s the month when I took a flight to Manila to visit my girlfriend on her birthday. We – my girlfriend, his brother, and I – celebrated her birthday by going to Ilocos as well.

Even before my plane landed in Manila, I surprised my girlfriend by giving her a bouquet. She hated receiving flowers! She thought it was impractical and saddening – seeing the flowers wilt. But I thought, “What the hell?! I’ll make her feel special, it’s her birthday after all.” I bought a bouquet of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Practical. Doesn’t wilt. I felt ingenious and witty! (Disclaimer: there’s still flowers. But she appreciate it, thought it was pretty)

The night of her birthday, we traveled to Ilocos. We spent four days and three nights. We started from Pagudpud then Laoag and ended in Vigan. It was an amazing trip. We enjoyed a lot from our DIY Ilocos Trip! (July)
Ilocos trip just last July to celebrate my girlfriends birthday (Photo courtesy of Paolo Fernandez)


2016 So Far

The year has been good to me, so far. I can’t complain nor will I ask for more. Life was meant to be lived on the present, and each present moment I lived was the best in its own regard. Not perfect, but the best.

I look forward to the second half of 2016!

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