Looking Back at 2016.

Nope, that's not a typo in the title.  I know it's 2018 already and I should be reminiscing about 2017 but I wasn't able to do this tradition of mine last year and I still could not stop thinking about it. 2016 was one of the most momentous years for me since T and I got engaged!  So before I go down memory lane for 2017, let me pay tribute to 2016 (and it's written like 2016 is just about to end because I'll just be continuing a draft that I've started before). So here goes..


First Breakfast of the Year
January

Like always, T and I celebrated New Year's Eve in Tagaytay Highlands with his family and then we went to Balay Dako for the breakfast buffet.  Check out the view of our family room.  This was taken from the balcony!

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Read more about it:
Balay Dako's Breakfast Buffet



Dumaguete Trip
January

For his birthday, T and I went to his family's province.  It was one of our most adventurous local trips by far, well maybe second to our trip to Siquijor.


Siquijor Trip
January

This trip was one for the books as well.  What a mystical and enchanting island! I can't wait to go back.


Valentines Weekend Staycation
February


I had a little quite time during Valentine's weekend via a staycation at Hyatt Hotel in City of Dreams Manila.

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Valentines Date
February

Instead of doing our usual Valentine's dinner, T and I attended the Date Create session at Sip N Gogh. It was a bit challenging since we had to sit side-by-side to create one painting with two separate canvases. And here we are putting the final touches to our masterpiece.

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Therese & Elvin's Wedding
February

My good friend Therese, who is a practicing lawyer in New York, flew to the Philippines to have their wedding reception in Sofitel Philippine Plaza.


Madonna Live in Manila
February

They say that when you want something, the universe will conspire to achieve your desire. I really wanted to watch Madonna but I wasn't willing to shell out that much money for two tickets, only because T is not really a Madonna fan.  I couldn't find anyone to watch it with so I just let it go in my head but not in my heart.  And all of a sudden, two VIP tickets fell into my lap.  No kidding!  So I was able to watch the Queen live in all her glory.  This was a night to remember.   Thank you Lord and thank you universe!

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Top Finisher at a 5K Run
March

I participated in a fun run organized by the Senate Gender and Development Focal Point for Women's Month. This kick-off activity is in support of the 100 Day Maternity Leave Bill and to celebrate the Senate's 100th year. It was no surprise that Senator Pia Cayetano finished first. I, on the other hand, did not expect to place second because the last time I ran was a year or two ago! Plus, I am still recovering from a head injury that I got two weeks back. I honestly felt like giving up halfway through the race but I was challenged to continue running seeing Senator Pia at a distance. Now I know that the key is to try to follow her pace. This is a milestone for me since I've never won a race. Woohoo! Congratulations to the organizers for a fun and successful activity! Look.. Everyone is smiling and enjoying, including us!


Isdaan in Calamba
March

I've been to Isdaan in Pangasinan, which we pass before or after a Baguio trip, but this is my first time in the one in Calamba.  This was our pit stop after joining the elections campaign that day.


Go Kart
March


This was one of our Sunday fun days with T's family.  I should blog about this since this is a first for me!


Staycation at Nobu Hotel
March

I love Nobu Hotel! I honestly feel like it's my home away from home. It's nice how they always have personal touches, especially during turndown service.  Check out the handwritten note from the General Manager of City of Dreams Manila which they left for me and my mom, together with a cake and sake.

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Masungi Geo Reserve
April

It was close to impossible to get a slot in Masungi Geo Reserve around this time because it just opened to the public. So when they called me and said they had a slot for me, I asked my friends who among them could go with me on such short notice.  So here we are! Guys, aren't you glad I'm your friend? :P


La Cocina de Tita Moning
April

La Cocina de Tita Moning is closing its doors this year for good. So I treated T for his birthday (yes, I know I'm a few months late) with lunch and a tour here.

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Read more about it:

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Les Miserables
April

I love plays and musicals but T is not really fond of them. So when he said he wanted to watch Les Miserables, I immediately bought tickets and got the best seats available. I wouldn't have gone if it were just me because I just saw it in New York but this is the first time we'll be watching a Broadway show together. I'm so happy! And I hope this won't be the last.

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Read more about it:
Les Miserables in Manila!


Call of Duty
April

No, I'm not referring to the game.  But I can't say anything more except that when the nation calls, you answer right away.. Regardless of the situation or circumstance. I can only share a photo of the sunrise while on a flight to Davao.


My First Half Marathon
May

I finished my first ever half marathon with T's sister Michelle. I felt like I didn't prepare enough though and my back started to hurt this week coupled with the appearance of the monthly visitor (this was nerve-wracking for me!). But more than the physical, I realized it's important to be mentally and emotionally ready as well. The crowd of runners, the fatigue, the smoke from the vehicles, the sun.. And oh my, the heat! It really helps to have a buddy. Michelle and I ran side-by-side from the beginning until the very end and we finished at 2 hours and 46 minutes according to my Garmin watch. We did it!

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Birthday in Boracay
May

All I wanted for my birthday was a relaxing beach trip with friends.  And I got my wish!


Proclamation of President and VP
June

I took this photo on the first day of canvassing and today, it ends. We have new leaders.. President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo. 


Stilts Calatagan Beach Resort
June

We just got back from Boracay but my childhood best friend is getting married at Stilts Resort and I was a bridesmaid so T and I booked two nights stay there as our last summer hurrah.


JB & Maisie's Wedding
June

My childhood best friend Maisie got married! As kids, we shared with each other our aspirations in life.. I wanted to become a lawyer, she wanted to become a doctor. And decades later, here we are living our dream.

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Kobe Bryant In Manila
June

Kobe. Bryant. In. Manila.  Enough said.


T and I Are Engaged!
June

T and I are engaged!  Although we didn't make an announcement immediately and just told a few friends and family members first. But when we were ready to tell the whole world, we did it using Starbucks cups because Starbucks is special to us.  It's where I study during law school days (and where T waits for me until he falls asleep in the table beside me) and where we spend our evenings together after work or dinner.

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Goodbye
June

I said goodbye to a chapter in my life.  I don't usually post black and white photos but I think this is the perfect time to use it. As I empty this space, the last thing I took out was my favorite work shoe. It feels like an end of an era.


Oishi Snacktacular 2016
July

I don't usually include blog events in my Looking Back series because it's supposed to be a personal trip down memory lane but this human claw machine cracks me up every time.

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Cooking Lessons
July

The only reason I didn't see the need to learn how to cook is because I like eating out. But when a chef gave me free lessons, how can I say no? I learned how to cook various Filipino dishes, including my favorite sinigang!

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SONA 2016
July

New term, new set of elected officials, new President.  Let's see what the next six years will bring the country.


Cintai Corito
July

My birthday treat two months later. I better call this our engagement lunch instead.


Harry Potter and The Cursed Child
August

Yes, this is a life event for me.  When I got the book, all I wanted was to stay home and read. But adulting. So I had to find reading time while waiting for our food or before going to sleep.


Staycation at Marriott Hotel
August

Next best thing in hotels after beds.. Their pool area.


Coal Power Plant Visit
July

I flew to Davao to visit the newest power plant in Mindanao called Therma South which uses Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) technology. It was pretty amazing to see what goes on inside these mega structures.


Baler
August

I flew to Baler in a helicopter and I could not get enough of both natural and man made formations I've encountered on the way there.


Bataan Nuclear Power Plant
September

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is a completed but never used power plant in the Philippines. It was built during President Marcos time, more than three decades ago. I went to visit it with the Secretary of the Department of Energy and a few Senators and it felt like I stepped into the Twilight Zone.  Everything is "new" but dusty and looks like it belongs in another time and space.

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Kitten Rescue
October

On the way to work, we saw a kitten looking lost and panicking in the middle of the highway. It almost got run over twice so T got out of our car, stopped all the buses (this was crazy!) in the middle of morning rush, and picked the kitten up. The kitten has been with us ever since.


Bon & Tina's Wedding
October

Bon and Tina both live in the US but they flew here to have their wedding reception like Therese but in Manila Peninsula Hotel.


Staycation at Marriott Again
October

It dawned on me this day that sleeping in and staying in bed past noon has already become a luxury at  my age.

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Halloween
October

T and I didn't have time to prepare this year unlike last time so we went as Wednesday and Pugsley Addams.  Yes, we know they are siblings :D

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Read more about it:
Halloween 2016


GeoThermal Power Plant Visit
November

I went to Bay, Laguna to visit MakBan Geothermal. This was taken in the control room.


Anniversary
November

The day before our anniversary, T asked me where I wanted to go. He knew I was tired and the best gift he could give me was sleep so he said we could talk about it the next day. The next morning, I was woken by the sound of hurried knocking on my bedroom door. Thinking it was our help and there was a situation with the cat, I opened the door. To my surprise, T was there with this beautiful bouquet in his arms. He even gave my cat her own small flower bouquet which she loves!


Annie the Musical
November

Our second play of the year, amazing! I love it that I get to watch musicals with T now. It was our anniversary weekend so we watched the play and then we ate in Wolfgang's Steakhouse in Resorts World Manila.


Maddie's 7th Birthday
November

The daughter of T's good friend Marco turned 7 this year.   I still remember when we attended Marco and Dana's wedding.  Wow, how time flies!


Maria Cristina Falls
November

I've only seen this in my history books when I was a kid and did not imagine I would get to see this in my lifetime.  How surreal!

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Davao Again
December

Davao has been the second most visited province (after Boracay) on my list because of all the trips I made only this year. I've coined a term for all these visits and am surprised that people began using it often afterwards. Maybe you will too. Hashtag #workcation!


DLSU vs Ateneo
December

The Green Archers are the UAAP champions this year. No kidding, whenever T and I watch, they win unless I accidentally wear blue. But I know someone who has the opposite effect on them. He cheers for the DLSU side pa naman.  


T's Birthday in Enchanted Kingdom
December

T's birthday is also his mom's birthday and his parents' wedding anniversary. So basically, his birthday is barely celebrated :D  What I usually do is plan something before or after his birthday so we can still celebrate with his parents.  Remember the Stache Bash I planned for him before? This time, I thought of bringing him and a few friends to Enchanted Kingdom since we've always loved theme parks!



Okada Manila Opens
December

T and I were on the road when we saw awesome fireworks outside our car windows.  We followed it  and it led us to Okada Manila, the newest hotel to open in Entertainment City. Total Vegas feels!

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Staycation at Crown Towers
December

My favorite hotel pool area is Crown Towers. I love having staycations here. The people are so friendly and everything is stress-free! Their in-room coffee machine is a major plus too!

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NAIA X Opened
December

This is momentous for people who live in the South. Albeit doubly expensive, this reduced traffic by a whole lot for us!


Christmas Day
December

We had our Christmas Day dinner at our favorite buffet.. Hyatt Cafe!



Tapat Christmas Party
December

December is always filled with Christmas parties and this list would be a long one if I included each and everyone. But I have to mention the Tapat Christmas Party because this fun bunch always comes up with the best themes every Christmas! Remember our Star Wars party last year? This time, we all went as video game characters.  Guess who I came as.



New Year's Eve
December

As like all the other years, T and I celebrated New Year's Eve in Tagaytay Highlands.


I'm not sure if I've forgotten anything else but I'm so, so happy that I was able to still pay tribute to 2016. Ok, so I have to write my 2017 one next lest I forget that instead. Happy New Year everyone!

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♥ joei