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Arigatou and Sayonara, 2019!

2019 is probably my most expensive year, but everything’s worth every peso/yen. I am rich in memories and friends!

I went to Japan thrice: Fukuoka & Nagasaki in March, Yamanashi in July, and Tokyo in November. The first one was planned for almost two years, while the latter ones were unexpected, especially the latest trip. Having a multiple-entry visa is both a pro and a con: on the one hand, it’s so much easier to schedule visits to Japan, but on the other, I feel this constant itch to go there repeatedly! I know I will visit again, just not anytime soon. I need to recuperate financially, but I don’t have any regrets. Every experience is unique and just makes me love Japan even more. One of my dreams is to visit all of their 47 prefectures, and so far, I’ve been to just 6 (including Chiba and Yokohama). Slowly but surely! ^^

JP

The UAAP basketball season was shorter this year because of the SEA Games. I am proud to say that I was present at all of the UP men’s basketball team’s games! That meant various extra expenses: tickets, transpo fare, gas/parking fees, food, merchandise, cheering paraphernalia, etc. No complaints, though! I’ve been cheering for them since 1999, and I have no plans of stopping. In addition, I found new friends who share my passion and energy for supporting the UPMBT and UP in general. I don’t recall exactly how it happened, but people now call me the “patron saint” of UP fans! Hahaha! Not sure if it’s because of being a long-time supporter, helping people get tickets, or both?! 😀

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Because of my Japan and UAAP basketball experiences, I’ve become much closer to a few long-time friends. I also gained a new family thanks to the #UPFight community on Twitter, particularly my core group: Grace, Bea, Tiff, Golda, Mark, Li, and Phim! Despite meeting most of them just this year (Bea and Grace in college), I feel like we’ve known each other for years! Moreover, a few players followed me back on Twitter and Instagram, including *gasp* Shaun Ildefonso of NU!!! Basketball fan goals!!! (sobrang kilig ko dito hahaha di pa ako maka-get over!!)

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Of course, all these won’t be possible without my job, so I will never get tired of saying I am forever grateful to RareJob! Here’s to more lessons, Japan trips, and school support in 2020!!!

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Letting Go and Moving On

Nah, this post isn’t a breakup post – not in a romantic sense, no. 2017 has been a great year, no doubt about that! However, I’ve let go of some things, which led me to choosing this theme for my year-end “essay.”

First, I’ve let go of financial worries. When I was younger, I believed I could not do many things as I always had an excuse, but I know deep in my heart it was because I was worried about how much they would cost me. However, managing my finances has significantly improved this year. No, I am not a lottery winner, and I still have my usual financial obligations, but I now have decent savings, enough for me to fulfill my wants and needs. I even decided to finally get my own insurance-investment (thank you, Jovel and Kristine), one that isn’t managed by my dad (hehe sorry papi, but thank you for our policies). I regret not saving the moment I started working in 2007, but I have learned from my mistakes, and with the help of my two best friends, I am more financially aware and wiser.

Second, I’ve let go of some fears. I was afraid to try the business program at work because I thought I was not qualified. Actually, I was afraid of FAILING and embarrassing myself in the process. However, thanks to the push and motivation of the right people, I overcame my fear and even joined the young learner’s program. Being part of 3 premium programs helped me in letting go of my financial worries, which also made me bolder when it comes to traveling. I already have 2 travel destinations in 2018. I know that is nothing compared to a lot of people, but traveling is something I wish I did more when I was younger, so beating my once-a-year travel rule is a big step for me.

Lastly, I’ve let go of some relationships. As the saying goes, “People come and go. The best will stay.” This 2017, I have weeded out who my true friends are. My two best friends, in particular, Ulrike and Ernest, have helped me make better life decisions, especially when it comes to adulting, and I know that we will continue to be there for each other until we reach all our dreams! I have also learned to be warier of user-friendly people, and I’m glad that my closest RareJob and Food Crawler friends are there to make sure that our circles aren’t invaded by any unwanted and negative forces.

Overall, I am thankful for my family, friends, and Leo, who all guide me no matter where they are. I’m ready to let go of 2017 to usher in another year of awesomeness!!!

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Thank You, 2016!

Another year is about to end, which means it’s time for me to write something lengthier than usual. Facebook’s On This Day feature allowed me to look back through my old year-end posts, and I noticed these recurring themes: food, friends, family, and fun!

FOOD

In recent years, Instagrammers have been posting their best 9 pictures, especially from October to December. I generated mine earlier, and it’s composed of mostly food shots! During the first part of 2016, I attended foodie events on almost a weekly basis, which made me constantly have content for my YouTube channel. Thank you to all the restaurant owners and managers who believe in our capacity to help them, and for the great food, of course!

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My best 9 on Instagram! @astroboyisgay

 

FRIENDS

Food is best shared with friends, right? This year, some people I met through Zomato decided to form The Food Crawlers. Although we have different roles, – writers, photographers, vloggers – one thing we have in common is our love for food! I particularly value the ideas they have for my vlogs, especially when they gamely participate in them! They’re such creative, witty, and fun people to be with! I value them a lot, especially Mickey and Richard!

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The Food Crawlers!

Another group of friends I am grateful for are my fellow RareJob tutors (and also some of the staff), particularly the “Antwehs and Titas.” They are the kind of people you’d very much want to work with because they continuously lift you up with inspiring stories, contagious laughter, and motivational advice! No crab mentality at all! Although our job is home-based, it feels like we’re one huge happy family thanks to constant chatting and regular meet-ups. We all love RareJob for bringing us together, allowing us to earn well, helping us grow as educators, and providing chances for everyone, everywhere! In case you’re interested to join us, register now! 🙂

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The Titas of RareJob – beautiful inside and out! ❤ (pic by J Marie)

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With the “Antwehs” of RareJob and some of the staff/officers! (pic by J Marie)

FAMILY

Speaking of family, my dad visited the Philippines in February and stayed for a month. One month felt like only a week, though! It felt great to fetch him at the airport, but it was devastating when he already had to leave! When he looked back at me and my sister, all of us savored the moment because we didn’t, and still don’t know, when will we be seeing each other again. I hope our mom and brother could also visit soon! Fingers crossed!

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An extended birthday celeb with my dad and sister. Oh, I turned 30 this year!

FUN

I’ve always been a positive person, so enjoying life is something I’m good at! I had so much fun not just with my family and friends, but also with the love of my life, my dear Leo! We celebrated our 6th anniversary in July, and for a change, we decided to celebrate it by traveling to Cebu! It was both our first time there, making the trip even more memorable! I renewed my passport in September, while he finally applied for one in October, so hopefully, we could plan an international trip soon! I love you, dear! :-*

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My dear. ❤

And that’s a wrap for 2016! Cheers to an even better 2017!

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Thank You, 2015!

In the Philippines, once the -ber months arrive, time seems to be on fast forward mode, and come January, I always say, “Mamaya, Pasko na naman!” (Before we know it, it’s going to be Christmas again!) I’ve been writing year-end blog posts since 2 or 3 years ago, focusing on monthly highlights. This year, however, I’d like to focus on giving thanks.

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Photo credit: Rohit Prabhakar

First, thank you to all the foodie invites I received this year! I started this blog simply to comment on other WordPress blogs, which then became an avenue for my Project 365 (I’ve completed my 6th set!), and now, I even write food/restaurant reviews. 2015 is definitely my breakout year as a blogger, with greatly improved stats, particularly the blog views, which tripled in number compared to last year’s 20 thousand: 66k views! Which then leads to…

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…thanking my blog readers/followers! The Philippines and the US are the top countries, but I would specially like to thank those from Japan because a lot of them are most likely my students from Rare Job! ❤

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Ahhhh, Rare Job. How do I begin thanking you? Thank you for being such a good company to work for. I may be an independent contractor, but you guys make all tutors feel like being part of a huge family! Thank you for the fun tutor gatherings, useful workshops, and the awesome opportunity to give chances for everyone, everywhere!

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Photo credit: JC Caldo 

Thank you as well to ABS-CBN’s Chicken Pork Adobo Network, particularly to my network manager, former UAAP courtside reporter for the UP Fighting Maroons, Michelle Sarthou! I never thought creating vlogs could be so much fun! Thank you for this opportunity of sharing my mostly food adventures to a wider audience!  Oh, if you haven’t subscribed to my YouTube channel, please do! 😀

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Thank you of course to my family and friends who have been supporting my new career as a YouTuber! Thank you for all the cameos and suggestions, as well as for appreciating all my food recommendations, particularly when it comes to Marikina restaurants! Many thanks as well to new found friends, especially fellow food bloggers! Looking forward to having more gastronomic adventures with you!

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And speaking of Marikina restaurants, I would also like to thank the wonderful owners who have become my friends, even like a second family. Special shout-outs to Tito Joy of Mandi’s Grill Grub, Tito Alvin of Tokyo Tempura, Ms. Aya of Bronze’s Shabu Shabu, and Karen of Yohel’s Bagnet Station!

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Lastly, I would like to thank my dear boyfriend, Leo. Thank you for your patience, time, and love! 5 years, 5 months, 8 days, and counting. I love you! ❤

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Photo credit: Geraldine Lozada

THANK YOU 2015! I’m so ready for you, 2016! 🙂

 

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My 2014 in Review

For the past two years, I’ve been writing year-end posts that focus on the highlights of each month. This year, I’ll try something different and focus on stuff that I am really passionate about or events that have greatly affected my life.

FOOD

One of the things I have a great passion for is food. Hello, obvious naman sa katawan di ba?! Haha! I love exploring new dining places, particularly within Marikina. I’ve written about many of them here on Facebook or on my blog, and I really enjoy sharing my experiences about food with other people. I find great pleasure in being a guide whenever my friends decide to have a food trip in Marikina! It’s also nice to receive messages or comments from my readers, especially when they thank me for writing about a certain place or dish. I feel like a professional food blogger! Haha! 😀

From looloo.com (kulang pa yan! haha!)

From looloo.com (kulang pa yan! haha!)

FRIENDS

My best friend!

My best friend! 🙂

Exploring dining places is best experienced with friends! My closest friends are already like my “second immediate” family members! This year, I realized that I have found my best friend a.k.a. the sole member (so far, but I think someone’s joining him soon haha) of the “Sagip Single Foundation”: Mark (a.k.a. @toniomarkopio). He is the first person I would invite whenever I win tickets to a movie premiere or any event that is held on a weeknight as my boyfriend is on the night shift. He is such a fun person to be with that I sometimes wonder why he’s still single! Haha! Reto ko sa inyo, single ladies out there! 😀 Aside from him, my friendship with “Team G” has also solidified even if Levi and Eds have so many cheesy moments hahaha =p But what I value the most is our teamwork every time there’s  a contest wherein the prize/s is/are awesome! 😀

Team G!Team G!

FUN

Late last year, I started to be part of the corporate world again. However, because of the differences I had with my then boss, I decided to resign. It was the most crucial yet best decision I made as my heart was at peace the day after my resignation. The work was great, the pay was awesome, and my colleagues were fun to be with, but my boss was…ah never mind. Suffice it to say, I do not want to work with someone who doesn’t make me happy. In September of this year, I started to work as an online ESL teacher for Japanese students, and it has been great so far! Actually, things continue to become better as I even received an award within 3 months! I am a social butterfly, so talking to my students is a great way for me to exercise what I’m good at while having fun! My schedule is also very flexible, and no one bugs me during weekends!

Then of course, there’s my love life…my Leo! We celebrated our 4th anniversary in July. We had so much fun especially since it was our first time to celebrate it out of town – in Tagaytay. I am lucky to have him because he is so thoughtful and patient, even when I have mood swings! Haha! I love you, dear! :-* Thank you for all the support and love!

My dear <3My dear ❤

2014 has been a great year. I am looking forward to even greater moments in 2015!