Feb 8, 2016

Looking Back at 2015.


Happy New Year everyone!  Well, Happy Chinese New Year! That still counts right?

I don't know where January went.  I was talking to someone and told her "Ya ok let's, in Feb" and she said, "Joei, it's already Feb!".  I was shocked because I really thought it was still January!  In a nutshell, things became hectic and crazy so I had to take a hiatus from blogging due to personal and professional reasons.  But now I'm back and hopefully not just for today.

It has been an annual tradition of mine to start the year with a tribute to the year that passed.  I don't get to blog about everything that happened, especially my travels, so this is my chance to mention all of those things in my share of cyberspace property.  Here we go!


New Year's Eve in Valkyrie
January

T and I counted down with our friends in Valkyrie at The Palace.  We ran into my friends Kat and Paul who got married a few days ago, as well as fellow entourage members, so it was like we had a mini reunion of their wedding too!

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Mig & Cara's Wedding
January

Mig married his long-time girlfriend Cara and T was a groomsman at their wedding.  The wedding ceremony was held at St James The Great Parish in Ayala Alabang and the reception was held at the Filinvest Tent, which was beautifully decorated to fit their Moroccan theme.




Beauty and the Beast
January


T and I watched Beauty and the Beast at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.  It was the first international tour of the original Broadway musical in celebration of their 20th year anniversary.

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Read more about it:
Beauty and the Beast in Manila




Pope Francis in Manila
January

T and I walked for more than 10 kilometers, was squashed and pushed by people, shivered for hours under the rain, and I had the chills because of the flu.. And yet I could say that this is one of the best days of our lives!  Thank you Pope Francis!

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Edward and Enggay's Wedding
January

It's quite unfortunate that I had the flu during the wedding of our friends Edward dela Rosa and Enggay Vicente but missing it was not an option.   So we booked a room at Chateau Royale, where the reception was, to allow me to rest when I feel like I couldn't keep up with the festivities anymore.  Check out their beautiful stage set up!




Breakfast at Antonios
January

Breakfast at Antonio's has reopened in a new location and this is the first time T and I got to visit.

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MRI 
February

Nothing serious but since T captured this moment, might as well share it :)




Lourd Ramos
February

Mau Bagsit-Marasigan, my sister's really good friend and Lourd Ramos' business partner in one of his branches, invited me to her salon in BF.   I had no idea what I wanted but at that time, Jennifer Aniston and a few other celebrities cut their hair into a long bob, more popularly known as the lob, so that's what I ended up getting.


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Melox Ever After
February

Remember the pretty wedding of Nik and Nic last year?  This time, it's Pox, the brother of Nik, who got married.  It was another lovely ceremony at the Juban Farm and a fun wedding reception because Pox and Mela tried to out dance each other with the help of their friends.




The Suites at Mt Malarayat 
February 

I was really in need of a getaway anywhere outside Metro Manila so T and I stayed at Mt Malarayat  Golf and Country Club after Pox and Mela's wedding.  Look at that beautiful view of Mt Malarayat!


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Pre-Valentines Game Night 
February 

My friend Mish invited me and T and a few other couples to her house for a pre-Valentines celebration. We decided to do game night and it was so much fun! All of the couples went home with cookies baked by Mish. 




Paolo V and Ileana’s Wedding 
February 

We spent Valentines Day celebrating Paolo V and Ileana’s wedding at Angelfields.  It was actually a good idea to have the wedding on Feb 14 because they saved their guests the trouble of making dinner reservations and going through Valentines Day traffic ;)




My Post Birthday Treat for T at Nobu 
February 

I promised T a birthday treat to Nobu Restaurant, but as usual, things got a bit hectic from December until February, so I only got to schedule dinner then.

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Crafternoons 
March 

For some reason, my artsy side (or what's left of it) was awakened around this month.  So when my friends Patty and Mish invited me to Crafternoon's brush lettering workshop with Anina Rubio, I immediately said yes!

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Lake Pandin 
April 

For Holy Week, T and I went with mom and her friends for Visita Iglesia. We started in Alabang and headed south to Laguna. We stopped by the beautiful Lake Pandin for lunch and my mom captured this moment.




Crown Staycation
April


There are three hotels in City of Dreams Manila-- Nobu Hotel, Hyatt, and Crown Towers. They say Crown Towers is the most luxurious of the three and fortunately, my mom let me tag along with her and her friends.  This is the first of my many staycations this year!

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T in the Hospital 
April 

I'm always the one in the hospital so watching over T is a new experience for me.  




Pico de Loro 
April 

My neighbor and volleyball teammate Joy celebrates her birthday in Pico de Loro every year but because of my schedule, T and I always don't get to go.. Until this year! Actually, we still almost didn't make it since T got confined in the hospital a week before but I think God knew I needed a break and T recovered quickly so we pushed through with the trip. 

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Sicogon Island
April

This is one side of the island, the other side is a sandy beach. Trivia: The 1974 movie "Pinakamagandang Hayop Sa Balat ng Lupa" (The Most Beautiful Animal in the World) with Gloria Diaz and Elizabeth Oroposa was shot here. And this year, Ayala will be developing the island into a world-class destination, complete with an airport and a jetty, providing 25,000 jobs to locals.




U23 International Volleyball
May

A looooong time ago, I was a member of the national youth volleyball team so it was exciting to learn that the Philippines is hosting an Under 23 volleyball tournament!




Ibu Oka 
May 

T and I finally got to eat in Ibu Oka in Bali.  It became famous globally after Anthony Bourdain proclaimed their suckling pig to be the one of the best in the world. 




Monkey Forest 
May 

This is a significant event for me because I was a bitten by a monkey. Yes, you read that right.   And because it's the Year of the Monkey in 2016, I'm taking it as a sign that I'll be lucky next year :D




A Beautiful Villa in Ubud
May


T and I loved our villa in Ubud.   I particularly loved having breakfast at our veranda overlooking the pool and spending time in this huge outdoor bathroom which extends even further to the right.




Elephant Ride
May


This is not my first elephant ride but it's my first elephant ride with T.  I think every elephant deserves a snack after the ride so if you do this, please pay extra for your elephant's food!




Ketut Liyer of Eat Pray Love
May

Another thing to cross off my bucket list! Remember the book turned movie Eat Pray Love? This is Ketut Liyer’s home and I had my future read.  I can't share what he told me though.  Don't want to jinx it!




Rice Terraces
May

I was in awe when I saw this man-made wonder.  Pictures can't do this place justice!




Potato Head Beach Club 
May 


You might be thinking why I included a beach club as one of the memories I want to highlight in 2015.  It's because T and I really enjoyed our stay here.  We loved the crowd, the vibe, the people, the drinks and we can't wait to go back!




Seminyak Sunset 
May 

One of the most beautiful sunsets I have seen in my life! No filter used and no editing made (except for the watermark) on this photo.   It was amazing!




Uluwatu Cliff 
May 
 

Another beautiful place that left me speechless!  It was definitely worth crossing a forest full of monkeys again even as I was still recovering from my monkey bite.




Birthday Dinner at Four Seasons Resort Bali
May 

T and I won’t be together on my birthday so we had an early celebration at the Sundara Restaurant of Four Seasons Resort Bali.   Needless to say, it was perfect :)

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The Palace Pool Club 
May 

I'm including this because The Palace Pool Club is the first pool club that opened in the Philippines!   I first went here during the Veloci All-White Party.

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Meg Magazine
May

Yes, that's me in Meg Magazine's May issue with Nadine Lustre on the cover.   The article was about the highest paying jobs (in terms of starting salary) in the country and was meant to guide high school students in choosing their career paths.  My first job was at a law firm and I was fortunate enough to be given the chance to handle various cases since not all Junior Associates get to experience that.  Honestly, it was nerve-wracking at first because contrary to what everyone thinks, you don't learn everything in law school.

On another note, for some reason, I made myself older in the article.  I wasn't 32 yet when Meg Magazine interviewed me.  After 25, I stopped counting :D


 


 Staycation at Nobu Hotel
May

I had a staycation in Nobu Hotel with my mom and T so I could spend time with them before I leave again.  


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Birthday Breakfast at Denny's
May 

For my birthday, my sister Sab brought me to Denny’s in San Diego for breakfast then we met up with my cousins in the afternoon and played bowling.




Dallas
June 

It was my first time in Texas and the first thing I thought of was food so I headed over to the nearest place and ordered ribs.  It was so good that I can't believe they considered it fast food there!




Manhattan
 June

So I'm back to the the concrete jungle where dreams are made of ;)




Julianne Moore 
June 

While walking down the street, I got distracted by all these people dressed as characters and missed my turn.  I had to walk a few blocks down to get back on track when I saw this lady who looked like Julianne Moore. No one was really minding her so I thought, "Is this really her??" because there are a lot of look alikes or people impersonating celebrities for tourists around the streets of New York.

I thought what the heck and got my phone to take photos. At that moment, the cameras came from around the corner and that's when people realized she was someone important. People tried to snap pictures but the guys around her blocked the angles and shooed everyone away. Good thing I already took some a microsecond earlier, one with half my face too! 

Now I realized that it was a fortunate accident that I got lost.  I liked Julianne Moore since she played Clarice (just when I thought no one can play that role except Jodie Foster). And it was also a coincidence because they were showing 'Still Alice' on the plane during my flight to New York. But the best part out of all this? She smiled at me!




New York Public Library
June

It's no secret that I love books so I visited the New York Public Library a number of times during my stay.   During one of my visits, I also got to see Public Eye exhibit, which is the first retrospective of photography organized by the New York Public Library.  It was pretty interesting since it shows how photographs evolved through time up until the age of social media.




Bryant Park
June

This is another one of my favorite places in New York.   I make it a point to make a stop here every day, whether to eat my breakfast which I get to go from Dean and Deluca or to just rest in between my walks.




Les Miserables on Broadway 
June 


I'm so lucky to have friends who treat me to the most spectacular things.  Coach Dennis and his wife Aby, who both live in New York, gave me tickets to see Les Miserables on Broadway.  The performances of Fantine, Cosette, Eponine, and of course, Jean Valjean were all great!




One World Trade Center
June 

Here I am on top of the tallest building in the Western hemisphere, the One World Trade Center.   This is the view from the 102nd floor.   Goosebumps!




Brooklyn
June

This is not my first time in New York but it is my first time to visit another borough other than Manhattan.  I'd like to spend more time exploring this neighborhood next time!




Dominique Ansel 
June 

I love to eat and I adore desserts and pastries but I had no idea that cronuts were a recent creation by a pastry chef who has a small bakery in New York.  I thought the cronuts were like doughnuts that have been here since time immemorial.  And so, this day was a milestone in my foodie life.  I was actually scared of taking this photo because I might drop the cronut.  Each person can only get two pieces at a time and they make only a few batches per day.  My friend Aby and I almost didn't make the cut!




Iago’s Martial Arts Exhibition 
June 

I timed my visit to New York so I could attend the Martial Arts Exhibition of my godson Iago.   I’m so proud of him!




Lunch at Ça Va Brasserie
June

I met up with my classmate from law school Therese who is now a practicing lawyer in New York.   We had lunch at Ça Va Brasserie and I got a pleasant surprise when Chef Todd English reposted the photo of the dish I ordered on Instagram (thanks for tagging me Mish!).  By the way, Therese is getting married again in the Philippines this month so I'll be seeing her again very soon!




Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night
June

I used to just see Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night in postcards and now I'm standing beside it.  I can't believe it.  This is such a surreal experience for me!




Central Park 
June 


The important scenes of one of my favorite movies of all time were filmed around Central Park.  That's why I immensely enjoyed going around but I wish T were there with me though.




Times Square 
June 

My friend Keesa just won an Emmy (yes, as in THE Emmy’s) award for a show she wrote and produced.   It just so happened that she was also flying to New York the same time I was so we met up for dinner and a few drinks to celebrate her award!




New Jersey 
June 


If New York was the concrete jungle, the suburbs of New Jersey was the complete opposite. It was so refreshing to see all that green after being surrounded by buildings and offices.




Las Vegas 
June 


The last time I went to Las Vegas with these girls was in 2010 for New Years.  And after five years, here we are again!




Fremont Street Experience
June 

My friend Liz suggested that we go to this place known as the old Las Vegas. I can’t believe I’ve been to Vegas numerous times but I have never been here!




Los Angeles 
June 

I stayed in downtown Los Angeles with my friend Liz and her husband Rudi for a few days.  On my last night, she brought me to Urth Cafe and talked about life and love ;)




Meeting Katherine Heigl 
June 

Another one of the highlights of my year was meeting Katherine Heigl through my sister Sab's celebrity dog Speedy (you can follow him on Instagram @speedyboyboy).  Petco Foundation had a gala where Katherine Heigl and her mom Nancy were given the Hope Award to honor their work of ending animal cruelty and abuse through the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation.   Speedy covered the event and took over Petco's Instagram account.

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Center of the World 
June 

My sister Sab and I decided to go on a road trip to see places which are off the beaten path.  One of those places is this pyramid in the middle of a desert which actually marks the official center of the world.




Tallest Flagpole in the World 
June 

My sister and I also went to see the tallest unsupported flagpole in the world.  Calipatria, where the flagpole is located, is also the lowest city in the Western Hemisphere at 184 below sea level.




Salvation Mountain 
June 

In the middle of the Colorado desert is this visionary art work by local resident Leonard Knight.    It was such an inspiration seeing and reading all those prayers and praises!  I hope Mr. Knight can still see (he passed away the year before we went) people driving all the way there to admire his art.  May God bless his soul for this beautiful act of worship.




Joshua Tree 
June 

This is where the Colorado and Mojave Deserts come together and is also the home of the Joshua Tree.  They say this place is also the inspiration for the truffulas in The Lorax so I guess you can call it the land of Dr. Seuss!




San Andreas Fault 
June 

I'm sitting on the edge of a mountain overlooking the San Andreas Fault and the Coachella Valley.  This is one of the best (if not the best) views I have seen in my entire life!




Palm Springs 
June 

Remember my travel buddy?  I've forgotten to take photos of Stitch the Snitch during my adventures so here's one in Palm Springs.  It's not my first time here but it's my first time to stay the night and I loved the evening vibe!  My sister Sab and I had wine and sushi at a restaurant downtown.




Old Eagle Mine
July

Going inside a 145-year old gold mine is a pretty cool experience but definitely not for the claustrophobic!




Julian Apple Pie 
July

I felt like I was warped back to the 1800's when my sister Sab and I visited the town of Julian.   We walked around and found a bookstore selling rare and hard-to-find books.  I got some Nancy Drews that were printed in the early 1930s.   Of course, we wouldn't leave this town without trying their famous apple pies too.




Skydiving 
July 

For fourth of July weekend, my sister Sab and I went skydiving.   The experience was indescribable!  Another item checked off my bucket list.




Comic Con 
July 


As kids, we were always in San Diego because of my mom and now my sister lives there.  But it's the first time we ever thought of checking out Comic-Con!




Dreamplay 
July 

As soon as I got back from the States, I brought T’s nephews and nieces to Dreamplay in City of Dreams Manila.




Hyatt Buffet 
July 

The start of the many visits to Hyatt Buffet.  Starting from this day, I think we had the buffet almost everyday..  Literally!  No exaggeration.




Chris Brown 
July 

T surprised me with tickets to the Chris Brown concert as a 'Welcome Back' present!




SONA 2015
July 

The State of the Nation Address (SONA) is important to the Filipino people because it is when the President reports out the economic and political progress of the country, among other things. But the SONA has a more personal meaning to me.




Caloy and Monic’s Wedding 
August

Caloy and Monic's love story is almost 20 years in the making.  They are indeed the true testament of destiny and ever after!




Hyatt Staycation 
August


Like I said, this is the year of staycations!  This is one of the suites at the Hyatt Hotel in City of Dreams Manila.  I have yet to blog about this stay though.




 Lebron James 
August

To be honest, I'm not much of a Lebron fan and even rooted for Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors during the last NBA finals but Lebron James is Lebron James and an opportunity to watch him in action is not something to be missed.  And guess who got the ball that Lebron James threw?

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Staycation at Acacia Hotel 
August 



DLSU vs Ateneo 
October 

Even if DLSU did not win UAAP Season 78, this game is still worth mentioning for the excitement and the surprise factor it brought to everyone!

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Bamboo Bike Tour in Intramuros
October

I've been wanting to do a tour around Intramuros since I've heard of Carlos Celdran's but even if it's just in the metro, T and I haven't been able to do so.  Luckily, T's sister Michelle asked us if we wanted to join her and her friends in an Intramuros Ecotour by Bambike so T and I were finally able to do the tour!  I'll also blog about this soon.




Anniversary Dinner at Blackbird
November


Weeks before our anniversary, T asked me what I wanted to do. It just so happens that the Globe iPhone 6s launch is on the same day so I asked him if we could just go there and celebrate our anniversary some other day. Of course, it was totally fine with T but he still surprised me with dinner in Blackbird at the Nielson Tower before the event.

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Globe’s iPhone 6s Launch
November

After dinner in Blackbird, T and I headed over to Bonifacio Global City for the iPhone 6s launch where Globe Telecom brand ambassadors, together with fifty preferred Globe customers, will officially get their hands on a new iPhone 6s ahead of everyone else in the Philippines.

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Ultra Light Flying with ACFC
November 


Even if T and I didn't have much sleep because the Globe event finished late, we pushed through with our ultralight flying lessons with Angeles City Flying Club.





Nobu Breakfast 
November 

I can’t believe this is the first time we’ve tried breakfast at Nobu (I'm not a breakfast person).  My favorite dishes are the French Toast with Yuzu Whipped Cream and the Soba Pancakes with Peanut Mizo Butter.




 Jino and Syg’s Wedding
November

Another event we attended in Angelfields was Jino and Syg's wedding.    Finally found an appropriate occasion to wear my Diane Von Furstenberg long wrap dress!




MnM Christmas Cookie Swap
December

My friend Mish of mommanmanila.com invited me to be one of the judges in her annual cookie swap, together with Cy Ynares aka The Bald Baker and Cat San Juan.  It was such a fun get together and everyone went home happy with giveaways and tubs of delicious home made cookies!




Ping and Garet’s Wedding
December

I was down with the flu but I wouldn't miss Ping and Garet's wedding for anything!  I wasn't able to go to the ceremony at the Santuario de San Antonio Parish in Forbes because I had a day full of meetings in Quezon City but fortunately, I was able to make it to the reception at the Manila Polo Club.  Everyone had fun at the wedding, especially during the speeches of the entourage and the family members.  Here I am with the glowing bride Garet.  Don't you just love her headpiece? 




DLSZ Alumni Homecoming
December

People have been asking me if there were any plans for a 15th year reunion because I organized our 10th year high school reunion with the help of my batchmates.  But my plate was really full this year and I couldn't really take on another project anymore so when someone brought up the idea of attending the alumni homecoming, that's what we did instead.  I wasn't able to send out invites to everyone but a good number of my batchmates still came.  Maybe when it's our 25th, we can have another big party like what we did during our 10th.





T’s Birthday and Star Wars
December 

T knows I love Star Wars and how much I want to watch The Force Awakens on the first day so he agreed to watch the premiere on his birthday.   He is the coolest!   I even got our adopted cat Kuteeng, a Yoda costume and Mariachi a Chewbacca cat toy.




Senate Christmas Party 
December

I was leaning towards not going to the Senate Christmas Party because I still wasn't feeling well but ended up going anyway.  The theme of the party is 'black and white' so I wore a geometric print maxi that I just packed in my bag in case I decided to go later that day. And guess what? It turned out to be a lucky dress because I was chosen 'Best Dressed' that night!




Christmas Eve 
December 

Our family tradition.. Hearing Misa de Gallo then opening gifts at midnight.  Thanks to technology, my sister got to celebrate this moment with us via FaceTime.




Christmas Day
December


For Christmas Day, we had dinner at Circles in Shangri-La Makati.  T had been wanting to wear 'ugly' Christmas sweaters since last Christmas and finally we got to do so this year :D




Nurture Wellness Spa
December


I treated my mom to a full spa treatment at Nurture Wellness Spa in Tagaytay for her birthday.  Since we were there anyway, I treated T and myself to treatments too ;)




Rustic Mornings 
December 
 
My closest college friends and blockmates make sure we get together during December for our annual Christmas dinner and to celebrate Ara's birthday.   It's become a tradition already in our group because we don't get to see each other often during the rest of the year, busy schedules and all.




Mystery Manila 
December 

After Rustic Mornings, we went to Mystery Manila to solve Buried Bodies.   And guess what, we did!  T had his A game on and helped solve most of the riddles. 




Tapat Star Wars Christmas Party
December

Our student political party Tapat had a Star Wars Christmas party.  A week back, I started looking for a costume but then stopped when I thought I couldn't go.  Come the day itself, my schedule freed up but it was already 8pm and I didn't have a costume!  Good thing I have lots of stuff in my closet for a Rey outfit.  

I'm so glad I went because I got to catch up with friends I haven't seen in a long time.  Kudos to the whole group for really dressing up and to our hosts Aaron and Jan for transforming their house into a full blown Star Wars set!




So that's it.  Although it's a bit overwhelming because I had to go through my photos and posts again, I feel like this is a nice way to jumpstart my blogging this year.  Hopefully, this will push me to start writing regularly again.

And on a final note, I might have done this last year and the years before that but I would like to thank everyone who has been part of Joei & Me--- T, my friends, sponsors, readers, and fellow bloggers.  Thank you again and again for the support!  :)


2 comments:

  1. You had such a wonderful 2015!!! Loved reading about how your year went. Hope this year will be even better than ever!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Liz! Hope this year will be good for you too :)

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Thank you for the love! ♥

I enjoy meeting fellow bloggers and readers from all over so feel free to comment and I'll get back to you as soon as I can :)

♥ joei

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