16 Things for 2016

Right before I went on holiday break, I was trying to think of a year-ender post and realized that I actually had enough to write 16 things for this year. Maybe I was a little bit lazy in 2015, or maybe 2016 was just chock full of stuff, both good and bad but I need this little reminder to keep myself grateful for the following year.

But let me be all cliche for a while: I can’t believe it’s almost 2017.

So let’s start – some 16 things for 2016.

1. 2015 started with an intense longing to leave and maybe, quit. Haha, okay, so maybe this isn’t so positive? But there were several things that I wanted to end at the start of the year, partly for cleaning up, and partly because the environment wasn’t so healthy anymore. Without really going to detail, I did manage this — with some actual cleaning up and letting go, and with some decisions to stay. It’s funny when I look back on it now, but I realized that yes, decisions to leave or stay shouldn’t be done when you’re emotional.

2. Singapore! First SFC International Conference in an international setting. My first out of the country trip for the year, and also quite adventurous because of our airport shenanigans on our way back. Was terribly sick this time, though, but it was a good trip nonetheless.

Weee excited for tonight! #SFCUnstoppable #iamSFC

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Then I went to Singapore again later in the year for a business trip. My first out of the country business trip was very productive, and made me feel quite…mature? It was fun!

See that chili crab? I couldn't eat that crab, huhu. But yay, lovely dinner with the Ascender Global Marketing team 🦀🔶

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3. I turned 30. Funny how I was more scared of turning 30 when I turned 29 than when I actually turned 30. I turned 30 quietly, with my family, in a comfortable bed with wine and cheese on the side. If you’re almost at this age and you’re freaking out — don’t. It’s actually quite nice. :)

 

4. Switchfoot x 3. My third Switchfoot concert! I will never get tired of watching them live. :)

 

5. #AprilFeelsDay + #FeelsRushInHow do I describe this? Oh, I already did. This is a happy day in the middle of a hot summer and pre-election madness in the Philippines. Kilig is the answer. :P

 

A few months later, we had #FeelsRushIn, organized in 10 days by the awesome girls (wasn’t hands on with it so much because of school). It was just as fun, discovering new talents and observing the crowd and all that. A preview of what’s to come? :D

 

6. Speaking of elections…talk about toxic? Still toxic now, but the bright spot was always #romanceclass and how we all managed to find the kilig in everything, despite the madness. Like that fic we wrote because of a picture and a ship we formed. The fic remains unfinished, because we couldn’t take reality. Sort of. :P

 

7. Finished school! I started a Certified Digital Marketing Course in 2015, and finished it this year! I took up Social Media Marketing in April which I enjoyed immensely (and learned that I have been underestimating social media marketing a bit) and took the final Marketing 360 course in July. Both of my defenses were on the day before Feels Days, haha. But I am now certified, so yay. Studying is fun!

Kristina Ana Matanguihan, CDM 🎉🎉🎉 🍾

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8. Lost a dear friend. This year was also the year that I faced grief from losing a dear friend to death. It’s surprising and sad and I still miss him terribly, but I am glad that I had good memories shared with him. Thanks for everything, Chief.

The last time we saw each other was the first time I found out about your writer life. You told me you were a UP National Writers Workshop fellow and I was so surprised – in the 5 years I have known you, why didn't I know this? Haha. And then you asked me about my next book and I told you that it was almost done. Then I apologized because your name was supposed to have a cameo in a scene but I took it out. "Manginginom sa kanto kasi si Kuya Erick sa kwento," I explained. "Kaso parang di bagay sa pangalan mo. So next time na lang." You just laughed and said it was okay. Little did I know that it was the last time I would ever see you. And when you left, I almost thought of putting that scene back, if only to remember you, but I realized that you deserved to be in a better spot, where people who know you will have no problem knowing that it's you. After all, we did meet at the WYD that was all about standing firm in the Faith, so it seemed right that this book about faith will be dedicated to you. :) Around this time five years ago was the time you asked me about my prayer intentions for the WYD vigil and it would be one of the things that sparked that fire that brought me back to SFC. It's been lonely without your bright soul here, but it's not so dark what with the many tiny fires that you have sparked in all the people that you have met and loved. :) And it's comforting to recognize you in them. 🔥 Will always miss you, Chief. Estad firmes en la fe. 😇❤️

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9. Published books 1.5, 2, and 2.5. After a book and writing that is 2015, I made up for it this year! I finished and published It’s a Match last May, Keep the Faith last July, and Five Minutes Till Midnight, part of Make My Wish Come True in December. It was a challenge to keep pushing words out because I still face a ton of self-doubt but the accomplishment of seeing it out and having them read is satisfying. So yes, I’m still here, still writing and not going anywhere. :)

 

Special mention to the Christmas anthology because I organized this, and like I said, it was fun because it wasn’t so hard to organize it with a bunch of talented writers. :) ♥

 

10. So much theater. I think it was in 2008 to 2010 that I thought I was a theater person because I watched some shows but those years were lightweights compared to 2016. I was in the theater 10 times this year: 3 Stars and Sun, Godspell, Rak of Aegis x 3, Love/Sick, Ako si Josephine, The Tempest Reimagined x 2, and Mabining Mandirigma. I credit these theater experience with #romanceclass, especially Tara, who kept on organizing feels trips so we could support our friends. Definitely going to more shows next year. :)

 

11. Romance Lectures. Learning doesn’t have to be boring, and kilig is always the answers. I wasn’t able to attend the previous #romanceclass discussions in 2015 because I had other commitments, but this year we changed it up to  being paid lectures. We did 2, but that was because the second one was kind of the peak? Haha. Not complaining, because hey, I never thought I’d meet Atom Araullo in the flesh until #romanceclass came along. ;) (I already met Champ through a friend years ago, but I only discovered his LI factor during the rockstar lecture. :D)

 

12. Conference Sharing, Part 2. I was blessed to go onstage to share at the TEACH Expo in 2014, so when the opportunity came again this year for the SFC Metro Manila Regional Conference, I said yes. And man, what a journey it was to write my sharing, polish it, and then deliver it. It was my sort of coming out to SFC Metro Manila about my writing. :)

 

13. #romanceclass x Manila International Book Fair. Talk about dream come true. Every time we were asked if we’ll ever have a booth in MIBF, we always say no because it was too expensive. But BDAP generously offered us a booth, and we took it and it blew us all away. I wasn’t there for the first few days but news of our books getting sold out was crazy thrilling, but it was even more crazy when I got there on the weekend. Probably the first MIBF I attended that I didn’t get to buy books, but the most memorable of all MIBFs I have attended. Thanks to everyone who bought my books! ♥

Thank you, friends, for dropping by and hanging out! 💖 #MIBF2016 #romanceclass

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14. New stuff at work. So the earlier part of the year had me struggling for things at work, which was a usual struggle of staying or going. I held on to opportunities to be poor in spirit, and held on to God’s work, no matter how slow it can be. Later in the year, so many things changed at work that left us breathless, but has introduced me to more doors than I can count? Really getting by with God’s grace, and still getting by with that in the coming year. :)

 

15. FeelsFest All Feels days are specials, and this one was extra special because we had a lot of time (well, a month hehe) to prepare for it, plus there were so many feelings this day! And new books! And other things! I posted a longer recap here, but my favorite part would be having my favorite scene in Keep the Faith read by Gio and Gab. ♥ ♥ ♥

 

 

16. Lots of family time. I had a lot of out of town (read: Tagaytay) vacations with my family this year, and it’s always extra fun with my nephew around. This Christmas, I was all set to celebrate with them via Facetime, but God was gracious and gave us time to be physically together for the holidays until the year ends. :)

 

2016 has had a bad rep, and in fact, I’m nursing an allergy attack right now so it’s really a hassle. But it’s so easy to focus on the bad and make us feel bad when in fact, there were good things that happened this year if we just care to look, and if choose to be thankful. Despite all the darkness, despite all the craziness in this world, let’s not forget: gratitude is always an option. :)

See you in a bit, 2017. :)

This One Solitary Life

So I haven’t posted here in almost six months. Hello, blog is still alive, just a lot neglected. But since it’s already December – and almost Christmas – I figured it’s time for a post.

Not a long post, because I am usually reserving that for the days leading to the New Year. For today, I don’t have much to say, except that I’m sure we all need the joy and peace and love that we can this Christmas because 2016 has been throwing a lot of punches and curve balls at everyone, especially in the last months. It’s easy to forget all the good things that happened when all we see are the bad, and we forget to be thankful for what we have. During one of the dawn masses I attended, one of the priests said, We complain when we don’t get what we pray for, but we forget to thank God for the tragedies He has spared us from. So powerful.

So in this last few days of 2016, I’m resolving to be more grateful for what this year has been – both good and bad – in preparation for 2017. :)

But first, Christmas. Check out this video from Lifeteen, to remind us of the person Christmas is about — “…the one person, one life that changed the world.”

Merry Christmas, friends. ♥

Sing it with your hands in the sky

When 2016 started, I decided to create a playlist on Spotify called 2016 (heh). It’s mainly to keep track of the new songs I discovered this year, and also a way to make it easier for me to make playlists like this. Because look at that, it’s July already, and we’re halfway through the year, yadda yadda yadda <insert minor freak out here>.

Oh, and did I ever mention that I love Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist? Or that I love Spotify, period?

Truth be told, I almost forgot about making this list, if not for Timehop reminding me that I’ve been doing this for the past three years. Let’s not break the streak, and let’s not forget this blog exists, right? So here are 8 songs for the first half of 2016. 

1. Bawat Daan by Ebe Dancel

Kung puso ko ay imamapa
Ikaw ang dulo, gitna, at simula
Nahanap din kita

I got into Ebe Dancel again thanks to Heneral Luna, so I spent quite some time listening to his solo album on Spotify. I loved Sugarfree, his former band, back in college, so it was quite nostalgic listening to his songs. I love, love, love this one, and I would’ve put this in the final year soundtrack but I want to feature it now because I don’t want to forget it later. I really, really want to watch him perform this live one of these days.

2.Rejoice & Pray by Ablaze Music

Never be afraid of anything
Just pray and keep the faith

I honestly didn’t think I’ll get the ~feel~ of this song when I heard it first, but there was a particular time at the start of the year when I heard this and caught that lyric, and I smiled because it felt like a reminder to keep on writing my next book. This is one of my favorite pick-me-up songs now. :)

3. 3 Stars and a Sun by FrancisM

I’m ready to defend the 3 stars and a sun!

This song is brought to you by PETA’s 3 Stars and a Sun, which I watched with #romanceclass friends early this year. Talk about a very, very intense play, from the very beginning up to the very end. It became a lot relevant later on, too, especially during the Philippine elections. It’s probably the first time I felt super emotional on some political things. My favorite part of this song, really, is the start, where someone is narrating the story of Honorio Punongbayan:  But the most important thing they shared was a ferocious love of freedom. Hay Pilipinas kong mahal.

4. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching by The Natural

She see me like a Freddy Prinze
so I’ma treat her like she’s all that, yeah

This is the first song I really liked when I discovered Discover Weekly on Spotify. Hee. I haven’t danced for so long (not the kind of classes I used to take, anyway), but this one just makes me want to dance again.

5. Pagsuko by Jireh Lim

Ikaw at ako ay alaala na lang kung susuko ka na

Another Discover Weekly discovery that just screamed my character Faith’s name over and over again when I first heard it. This always makes me feel so melancholic even if I couldn’t relate to this at all. Thanks for the feels. :P

6. Forgetting You by Nathan Angelo

I’m forgetting the way you moved
The way I felt
I’m forgetting the time we spent
All by ourselves
Cause it’s too late to try to change your mind
And there’s nothing else I can do
I’m forgetting you

Nathan Angelo is a new to me artist that sounded familiar, like the other singer-songwriters that I follow. I chanced upon this song randomly and I liked it on first listen. Kind of melancholic, just like song # 5, and also maybe a book # 2 song. I’m quite happy that I can’t relate to this. :P

7. Autopilot by Reese Lansangan

You’re more than I imagined
And I’m shaking my head, girl you did good
My eyes are screaming “Just take my hand”
I’m staring you down so hard

I first heard Reese when I attended Marla’s event, Letters Out Loud, almost four years ago (!!!). I followed her online and was really pleased to find out that her debut album is on Spotify, too! I liked everything there, but this one stood out because of that beat and because I realized this is a Fall Like Rain song. Hihi. I kind of miss the feeling that this song is trying to say, hee.

8. Alexander Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Oh, Alexander Hamilton
When America sings for you
Will they know what you overcame?
Will they know you rewrote the game?
The world will never be the same, oh

If you haven’t heard of Hamilton yet, stop reading this post and listen to the entire cast recording right now! I’ve seen people talk about Hamilton: An American Musical all over my social media feeds but it took a while for me to get into it. When I finally did — oh my stars, what a nerdy, fun, and heartbreaking ride. I listen to the whole recording over and over again and I discover something new every time. (Or when I don’t, I just learn how to rap it better. :p)

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How many times did I say “Spotify” in this post? I didn’t mean to. Or maybe I did. Any songs you liked in the past 6 months? Share them in the comments. :)

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