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.
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!
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. :)
#hello30: winding down. 🍷 About to blog and respond to messages from the comfort of this room 36 floors up. Turning thirty was just like any other day, but with more reminders that you are loved and remembered. 😊 My twenties was a spectacular time of learning and growing, and I am quite excited to see what this next decade brings. Thanks to everyone who sent their greetings and well wishes. Cheers! 🍾
4. Switchfoot x 3. My third Switchfoot concert! I will never get tired of watching them live. :)
Third Switchfoot concert I've been to and they just keep getting better. Totally worth not being a Tita and standing at the mosh pit. Thank you for rocking out with us on the most wonderful Sunday of the year. ❤️ We love you! 🇵🇭 (One day, I will get a clear picture of Chad.) #SwitchfootatWalkway #switchfoot #SwitchfootManila2016
5. #AprilFeelsDay + #FeelsRushIn. How 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!
Decided to take the CDM Social Media Marketing Specialist track thinking it was easy, but I totally got it wrong. Well, okay, it wasn't as headache-inducing as Digital Marketing Analytics, but I didn't realize that there's so much hard work goes behind the scenes of social media marketing! This class gave me a whole new appreciation for it and the people who do it all the time. Two weeks till the defense! Let's get that specialist title. 🙌 👊 #CDMsocialites (📷: SMMS FB Group)
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. 😇❤️
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. :)
Something new from me, finally! My new short story is out!📱💚❌ Get it from Amazon – http://bit.ly/itsamatch * * * IT'S A MATCH (a short story) Cams Ronquillo is single and ready to mingle – at least, online. After finally moving on from her last break-up, she decides to try online dating thanks to the encouragement of Gabriel Evangelista, her friend, business partner, and serial (online) dater. As she learns to navigate through the potential dates at her fingertips, Cams decides to break one of their online dating rules…and gets a very unexpected match. #CxG #ItsaMatch #romanceclass PS – I totally forgot how terrifying this feels. 😂
Sometime last year, we started talking about putting this together but it was too late to do it then. When time came this year, I volunteered to get it done because Christmas is fun and I love holiday stories. 🎄 So proud and happy about this one! MAKE MY WISH COME TRUE: A #romanceclass Christmas Anthology will be out this December! 17 stories, 19 authors, lots of feelings 💕 More Nico and Faith in this one. 🍟 Pre-order ebook at gum.co/romancechristmas 🌟
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. :) ♥
Here's a little secret about #MakeMyWishComeTrue: I didn't have a hard time putting it together. I think the only thing I stressed over was the tight timeline but everything else was a breeze. I think it's because I was working with a bunch of really talented authors and we have really amazing readers. Love you, #romanceclass! 💓 📷: @tarafrejas
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)
True story: because there was a possibility that Atom might not make it to our #romanceclass lecture, I lit an extra candle at church this morning to ask if he could please please please be there. I mean, I did ask for a particular actor to be at one event when I was doing the St. Joseph novena for the first time and it happened, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask again now! And then this! Pangarap ko lang to dati. 🙌 #PrayBoldly talaga. Labyu beh. (Haha) 😍 (Thank You, Lord! 🙏)
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. :)
This time last week. 😊 I think it was last year when I made a decision to always say yes when there is an opportunity to serve. I know that sometimes I fail to follow through but for every time that I said yes, I found that the Lord always continues to bless and sustain all throughout. And true enough, He was still just as faithful as He guided me in the middle of the #SFCMMRecon2016 preps for the cluster and preparing for this sharing. What He has put in my heart more than a decade ago remains true up to this day and will remain true for as long as God wills it: "And I would give the world to tell Your story, because I know that You called me." ❤️ #ChristBound #iamSFC
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! ♥
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. :)
"Are you still okay? You have so much on your plate!" ➡️ Got asked this question so many times this week and yes, I am exhausted and yes, I still have a lot to do, but as I keep on saying, it's not like I am being asked to do what I don't like doing. With a little bit of passion and a whole lot of grace, many things can happen. 🔥 Happy Friday, friends! And happy Values Launch to all #Ascenderites! 📳
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. ♥ ♥ ♥
So that's how it feels. I mean, hearing Fall Like Rain's podcast episode was one thing but THIS. 🙈 It could be that I was also only running on sugar at this time so extra feelings? Haha. I'm still processing but thank you, Gio and Gab, for bringing Nico and Faith to life. 💚💚💚 You deserve all the French Fries in the world. 🍟🍟🍟 PS – I finally have a picture with #NJOLO together! Yay. #ForeverSucks #FeelsFest #romanceclass #NatGioWeekend
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. :)