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.


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. :)



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



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!




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.



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! ♥



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. :)

It’s the end of 2015, and we’re okay

Earlier today, while doing some last-minute grocery shopping, my friend Isa retweeted this:

And I thought, Yes, this.

I admit that I have been putting off this 2015 recap for the past few days and was intent on doing other things (like writing) because I wasn’t sure how to go about this. I mean, 15 is a pretty big number to fill (maybe I should quit doing this numbers thing for my recaps), and I guess a part of me is a bit in denial that this year is ending now.

And perhaps there’s a bit of dread coming in, unlike the previous years, and it felt a little disconcerting because I love the New Year. I love it because it meant so many things: new beginnings, new goals, new everything – even if really, not all of them are new. Everything’s fresh and just brimming with possibilities, and I like to make January 1 always awesome so I could carry it for the rest of the year.

But the ending of 2015 and the start of 2016 is a little bit different. I admit that it’s also probably because I’ve been on vacation, and I am loving the fact that I didn’t have much to do nor work to think of and the new year coming meant I’m closer to going back to the office again. Haha. I guess another factor is that I’m turning thirty next year and how about that for some growing-up anxiety.

I mean, thirty. Friends who are already past that age tell me that it isn’t a big deal afterwards, but I bet you were also freaking out slightly when you were approaching that age. :P But really, I guess there’s that feeling that I should have a grasp of my life better now that I’m reaching a new decade. Like I should have this and that, like I should have a plan and an answer to some of the questions that I had back when I was 20, or 24, or something.

But you know what? Those are lies. No one has all the answers and no one has things figured out right now. And Stephanie Kay Sharp’s tweet reminded me that it’s okay not to be completely 100% ready for 2016 by the time this day ends, because who’s completely ready, anyway? I don’t think anyone really is. The best I can do now is reflect, be thankful, and pray for what 2016 has in store for me, for us.

Because 2015 is all about FAITH: being assured of what is hoped for; being certain of what we cannot see. 

Now that I’ve got that word vomit out (I just watched Mean Girls the other night, haha), I’ve decided not to the 15 things, because really, 15 is not enough, and also already daunting for this Tita to remember everything. ;) I think I’m the only one pressuring myself to do the same things I did in the past years. So, instead, an unnumbered list.

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All These Things (8): Space for what matters

Before anything else: help me out for one of my final projects for school? If you’re a romance reader anywhere in the world, may I borrow ten minutes of your time to answer this reader survey? This is to profile our target market so I can create a marketing plan for indie romance books by Filipino authors. Survey is open until Wednesday, so please answer and share! Thank you! ♥

I was planning my week last night before going to bed and while I was doing so, I started freaking out because why are there so many things to do? I feel like I’m running out of time, which, of course, is all in my head. But I can’t help it sometimes, especially when I realize that it’s almost past half October, and soon it’s November, and the last two months of the year is usually my busiest.

And the lola in me just wants to get enough sleep.

I’m not complaining, because there’s nothing to complain about. I do know that I may be too busy sometimes. My friends at work tell me this all the time, and lately, I agree. And lately, I’ve been thinking of the things and activities that I could maybe let go of, even temporarily, to make room for other things that I need to prioritize. Like writing, school, SFC, exercise, and sleep (most important!).

I guess I’m coming to a point where I realize that I don’t need to do everything. Years ago, I kept on saying “Yes” to so many things because they’re fun and I want to try new things…but maybe now, it’s time to start saying No. Because I only have so much time, and I need to make space for the things that matter.


The Mermaid From Siquijor by  Justine Tajonera, from the #StrangeLit Fateful Turns bundle. With all the things I need to do, I barely have the time to read, and when I do read, I want it to be as stress-free as possible. Meaning short stories, or stories that don’t make me think too much (but feels are okay!). I hang out with my Kindle and my Buqo app a lot, because paper reading makes me fall asleep too fast and I just feel guilty with the book.

That said, the #StrangeLit bundles are really fun, and I’m only about 1/5 through the stories (there are 41!). Reading these makes me wish I could write fantasy, but I think I’m really more of a reader of the genre. But who knows, maybe later.

Go get them if you haven’t – they’re Php 90 each on Buqo, with 10-11 stories in each bundle!


Sill that novel, and also some articles for work. :D I have to put that novel on hold for a bit because of school, but when I’m on break, I write some. It’s an uphill climb, but that’s good for the heart, right?


Jon McLaughlin’s new album, Like Us. Liking it so far. :)


Of what to do after this. Do I design, or do I edit?


Nothing as of the moment, but I bought a new air purifier scent from Mia Maison last week, called Rain. (I may have bought it because of the association with my book. :D) It smells so nice and clean. :)


That I be satisfied with the productivity I have every day, when I know I have exerted effort. (Because there are times when I know I haven’t, and that just feels right to feel bad about that. But I mustn’t let that get to me.)

So now my wish is that I would focus, give my all, then let go at the end of the day.


Purple and black dress, black cardigan. It’s Monday, and it’s always dressier during Mondays.


Studying! It’s not easy to juggle schoolwork and work, and it’s totally not easy heading to Makati for the whole day on Saturdays, but I like being in class. Learning is fun, and meeting new people is also very fun. We had our last class for Digital Marketing Analytics 102, and we still have a long way to go with our marketing plans. But look at us, so happy in our last class picture!

We have a final defense on October 24 to get us our Specialist titles, so wish us luck. :)


A pair of hands to help me out at work would be nice. What did the Gospel last week say? Ask and you shall receive? There. Lord, please give me someone to help out with all of this soon.

Also wanting to iron out the schedule this week – including the non-work event tomorrow at Makati, and the dentist appointment on Friday. Not looking forward to the dentist thing on Friday, but alas, it is needed.


A good workout. And not to be lazy so I can get that workout.

Also to pass the defense on the 24th.

And yes, sleep. But that’s a given.


Slightly bit hassled because of the adulting things I need to do. Haha, but well, we cannot avoid being adults, and stuff. Remind me to call my dentist later.

I also feel like I need to hustle now. So, hustling. Don’t let the Monday blues beat you, folks!

Image credit: Time’s Up by Ana Fuentes