It's almost mid 2018! I think today is the perfect time to stop for a while and analyze the past months or so. Honestly, I feel that this year has been dimming when placed side-by-side with 2017 (aka the best year ever) but now that I am trying to recall what happened since January--well 2018 isn't so bad at all!
Greatest achievement for me so far is getting my blog recognized by a local award giving body. I am so glad that I am not only nominated at the Nuffnang Blogopolis Awards for Travel category, my blog also won People's Choice!! I remembered getting the news that I won while I was inside a grocery store in Bali. I was with new friends, so it's a bit embarrassing for me to freely express myself (aka cry or humble brag haha). I think I got the chills, as I ran looking for my new friend Etienne in halls and shelves of Bali's assortment of native snacks and souvenirs. "Nanalo ako!" Haha! I just had to make the moment memorable even though I wasn't physically present during the announcement.
Sending my thank you to everyone who voted for me, I always make an effort for things that I love and people that I love. Pero lagi ko ngang sinasabi, walang pilitan pag ako naman ang receiving end. Never imagined in my wildest dreams that you guys will support me this time, almost cried in the grocery here in Bali when I found out hahaha! First award after 10+ yrs of blogging... and it’s for WRITING about my TRAVELS! Kaya salamat, for reading, supporting, and sending the love through the @nuffnangph #Blogopolis2018 awards!!! ♥️ Pls know that someday it will be YOUR time to shine! 💫 Kamsahamnida saranghae chingus!!!! #NNWanderWarriorAna • Thank you to my beb @artsyava for taking the next vid and pic! Congrats din sayo!!! Thank you @etiennechantal for this📸! ☺️
I think that at my age (past 30), there are up to zero recognitions for doing a job well done. Unlike when we were still in school, there's always the annual awarding ceremony for getting good grades or even for actively participating in school orgs complete with medals, stage presence, certificates, and your parentals beaming with pride in the sidelines. I may be old, but it's still nice to feel that my work is appreciated. My parents were still the first ones I messaged. I dedicate the award to all those days I am stuck in my bed just writing and writing even though I get less page views than I was expecting, lol! Or the times I was so tired but had to answer all the messages I got asking help for their visas and itineraries. All worth it.
When my laptop gave me the black screen of death a few weeks ago, I was a little less worried because I know in my heart that most of my pictures are already online anyway, along with my stories. They are not as hi-res as the ones in my old Macbook Pro, but I am not left with nothing. I think that's the fulfilment of still writing and writing my travel stories although it can be time consuming. Readership matters but not my top priority. I want to have those little moments in my life etched somewhere in the World Wide Web, that I can look back to from time to time and in the future.
(sorry for the messy background I am trying to pack, hehe) - new Macbook Air vs old Macbook Pro:
I still love looking back to my Korea Winter (Busan and Jeju) and Spring (Daegu) trips earlier this year. Whenever I open and reread these blog posts, I transport myself back to that afternoon when I got lost in Busan's highway, or that Jeju tour day where temperature is just too cold, etcetera etcetera. Losing a laptop is just the WORST because I cannot write as frequently as I want to, and also because ANG MAHAL NIYA PALITAN. Lalo na I have an upcoming big trip where I need all the funds (ang galing talaga ng timing ng ganito, so I am not surprised na hahaha). But when it comes to the memories, almost little to no worries at all. Mas masakit siguro sakin mawala ang blog ko.
In a repair shop with my bff Paul, trying to recover my Macbook. Only got to retrieve the files which is not bad nadin.
Canvassing for the cheapest Macbook, and hindi padin sya cheap a! Hehe.
Excited to write more!
Another memorable time for me during the past months was when my friend since St. Scho days came home from the States for her wedding. She's already married civil, but this time, family and friends were all invited to her big Manila church and reception celebration. I think Chickie and Jopo are our barkada's long-time couple. They are very inspiring, calling each other partner since they were best friends since college, then now as husband and wife living their full potentials in the States.
We had a surprise bridal shower for Chickie which I helped organize. It's a mini onsen party in Makati where we first had games then had our onsen and massage experience, ending the night at the hotel's buffet. Sobrang solid nito! I think I will even be returning here on my own, sobrang naenjoy ko yung onsen, massage, and buffet nila!
The wedding came in just a few days later, and since the couple is based in the States, lahat handled na ng organizers so we just went there and enjoyed the day. It has been a while since I had my hair and makeup done in a salon, plus wear a really girly and flooowy gown, so we took lots of pictures the whole day! Haha! F na F ko naman!
I was also part of Chickie's bridesmaids, and sobrang ite-treasure ko to forever. When friends pick me to be part of their entourage, I feel so honored and blessed for our friendship no matter what stage we are in life right now. Thank you BB! I super miss our Landmark, Bora buddy, and all our fun memories here in Pinas and I wish I can visit your new home someday so we can truly catch up na! ❤
Another momentous happening for me during the past months was Ashley getting pregnant and finally giving birth to baby Aki (aka Autumn in Japanese). We had a few meet-ups pa, having brunch instead of meeting in media events, and the most recent one before her due date was in QC at The Vegetarian Kitchen after my Taiwan trip with Ava.
Everything's PLANT BASED here, so I really finished everything that I can! Sobrang sarap nung mushroom skins!! I wish I live closer to vegan restos so I can try more of them.
I think these Preggy Ashley months were memorable for me because it's not everyday you get to witness someone close to you turn a totally different chapter in her life--or a totally different BOOK pa kamo! I've known Ashley for a long long time thanks to the Internet, and if you want to know how long ko na sya kilala it was during the times she was still based in Japan, my current blog is still non-existent, and people still call her CANDY! Haha!
And now she's not just my Japan-based friend or my blog events buddy or my Korea in Manila girl, she's now a MOM! Time is really flying by before my eyes, and I can only watch whether it's good or bad. That night when we received a Viber groups message from Ashley with a photo of her baby, it's definitely one of those good days.
Lastly, and almost all of my life updates include this day, is another Bloggers United event. We are now on our FIFTEENTH installation, and I cannot believe padin how it gets BIGGER right before our eyes!!
I've blogged this before, but I will repeat lang for the sake of new readers, I always thought that I will be the first one to quit organizing BU. It's not a walk in the park, we had fair share of troubles, fights, and stress that only come when it's BU season nanaman. But only to get surprised AGAIN AND AGAIN with the support and love from readers (and viewers!) who will line up for hours outside our venue before we open our gates.
We still have major problems during our last event involving electricity, weather, and venue size, but whenever I interview our goers who will approach me that day, they are still all-smiles and will laugh with me and makikipag chikahan padin with me as if hindi sila pumila ng 2 hours sa labas! Huhu! I will read Tweets na grabe ang bagyo and commute nila that day, and pinila just to get in.. ending their posts with "but all worth it". Wala akong masabi. My heart is with you all! ❤
I am counting the days till my next big adventure for 2018! I realized that since I got the award for People's Choice for Best Travel Blog, that was when I STOPPED traveling for a while! Haha! I would have wanted to have side trips in Japan or Korea before this much awaited "Great European Escape" in July, but sakto lang din muna siguro to stay put here in Manila to witness friends winning in their own lives.
So these are the things I was up to for the past weeks that I was not traveling and had no AnagonTV flooding Instagram Stories. I was here at home with family and friends. ❤😊 To enjoy, to rest, to hustle for funds (haha) ... But now I am ready again! ✈
Excited to tell more stories!