Each last week of December, I always look forward to write the highlights of my year. Not that I wanted to be wistful and morose as the year prepares to bid goodbye but it's a perfect time to look back what I had gone through the past eleven months.

An opportunity to reflect on my life, to see the kind of path I had traversed and to figure out where all these things lead me as another year rolls in. It allows myself to ponder on my fate, recognize the blessings I received, the adventures I took, the people I met, and identify the things that went wrong in my journey.

But this year is a bit special because it also marks the end of the decade. Wohaah! So what have I accomplished in the decade? What kind of life I had lived? It's a bit surreal. I mean thinking how my life runs in the past years feels like packing for an adventure to the unknown and never come back.


I had a lot of misses and failures and disappointments, but I learned to deal with it, developed my wisdom and became who I am today. Now, I just focus on the exciting life ahead of me. The road is still long. Struggles and bad days are still inevitable but what's important is that I am a different person now than 10 years ago. I've matured emotionally and have a different mindset.

It's been years since I've set a big goal to make a difference in life but only half is realized. However, I considered it as achievements. Though I am still struggling to create a room for myself, I have fulfilled more than what I have expected. I finished my masters, took a trip abroad and published books. With this achievement, I stopped thinking the situation where I failed. And just count my blessings and focus on what I have accomplished.

My greatest accomplishment: writing a book

This year, just like most of the years that I lived independently away from my family, I will be welcoming another year, another decade, alone in the house. Nothing new about this and I am getting comfortable with it. I haven't felt bad or lonely or feeling abandoned. I felt being me. In fact, living alone taught me how to become more independent, organized and courageous.


The year 2019, though not my greatest, has given me so much things to remember and so much things to be grateful. I know I failed in some aspects and there are goals I have set that were not fulfilled but it provided me a large window to look back on my failures and how to make up with those misses. Disappointments and failures provided me strength to overcome the odds and ways to improve for the better.  My life has been put to a test at some point. But I endured and survived.

So much to reflect on the value of life and myself in general. This year, I got to see and feel the different stages of emotions:  Happiness and sadness, joy and disappointment, affection and heartaches, success and failures. I remained steadfast and strong and was able to sort out things soundly. I have also come to realize that recognizing my worth and discarding things that I don't have control bring peace of mind.


In a year of ups and downs, I have realized that it is important to always recognize the two sides of life, the logic of the circumstances, and the purpose of living, to find balance. Without identifying the in-betweens, struggles, frustrations, happiness and excitement might never be understood. I have also realized that humility and kindness are great virtues. So I should show kindness and affection to people I love to be with, without expecting something in return. 

The Year of Happiness

I am always a happy person irrespective of the circumstances that put me in the place. I have lived alone all my life but there was never any moment that I pitied myself for being single. I always tried to be happy. I always tried to be motivational and hopeful. I always tried to bring light to every room I entered and to every person I met. I wanted to spread happiness and kindness. And create my own sunshine during the grayest days so that I would always walk in the path of righteousness and positivism.


Happiness is something that we create, it is something that we manifest and there's no specific place, person or situation that can provide us with a genuine happiness. It comes from deep within. What we feed in our subconscious becomes our outer disposition. I always feed my subconscious with happy thoughts. Despite failures in some aspects, I experienced happiness for the most part of the year.

The Year of Forming a Connection

Since moving to Manila after I got my masters degree I resolved to welcome changes in my life, to try new things, to form a close connection with the people I find amazing and comfortable to be with. I had a very secluded childhood, I grew up protected by my parents. I did not grow up mingling with so many people. When I attended college, I kept myself away from the crowd. I refused to join groups until I developed this weird fear of getting near to people.

When I left my job in the university and transitioned to a corporate career, I had a hard time adjusting to a stressful surrounding, fast-paced and noisy environment, strange culture, liberated people, large crowd, it took years before I found my groove to relax and be comfortable. So in 2018 I thought it's time to get out of my comfort zone and try to connect with people and be friended with a guy because that's something I have not experienced before.

Eventually, circumstances intervened.

Out of the blue there's this person who I find nice and pleasant to talk with, who seems different from other men. I felt so comfortable when we talked.

At first I find it a bit uncomfortable and strange, weird in some aspects, because it is something I have not done before. Initiating a conversation, reaching out and talking to a guy, sharing thoughts and moments. It was not easy. I struggled to understand the dimension of the bond and how it should be handled. At some point I became confuse how things should be kept going without feeling demanding.

Somehow, I felt ashamed and scared but I pulled some courage to keep it going or else I will miss the opportunity to connect with the person I feel comfortable talking with.

They say that we don't meet people by chance, but by purpose. It's either they are blessings or lessons. But as months go by, I know my connection with Ron is both a blessing and a lesson. The encounter happens in a time that I need to break the monotony in my life and talk to a guy, a time where I am not afraid anymore to see the worst of life, a time where I feel I need to be connected with someone to understand life better in a complex situation.

I have some expectations during the first few months. I expected a lively connection that would not be severed. I expected a close bond, a great attachment where I could feel at home. I expected a situation where I would not be begging for attention anymore. But life can be hard. It pushes us sometimes to the edge of dejection.

One day, our connection took the high road. The moment I dreaded came all too suddenly. We disconnected. We stopped talking. The regular conversation ultimately died. As though it ran out of energy. For a moment, I thought life had dealt me with hard blows and arrows and I felt being thrown out.

Pondering on what happened, I realized that setting expectations is one of the most dangerous aspects in human relationships and in forming a steady connection. It is a rust that destroys friendship and  potential attachment. We cannot control life nor the flow of the circumstances each day. We cannot control other people's decision who they want to be with, who they want to talk with, because they have their own choices and priorities. I soon realized that setting expectations kills freedom of choice and liberty to live.

During the months that we did not communicate, thoughts flung in my head like crazy butterflies. I thought of the accident he was involved. I thought of the damage it gave to his physical and emotional state. I thought how he dealt with the trauma and pain. Somehow, I felt guilty for being self-centered, for being insensitive. I should have given him the respect and sympathy. I should let him rest. Soon I realized that demanding someone's time is bad, impolite and lacks respect. I should have understood the situation. Eventually, I let go of my disappointment and just focus on what I will be doing with my life. If things are bound to happen, then it will, it does not have to be forced or insisted. It has its own time and space. So, each night I wished him well.

It gave me a different perspective as the year approached the final months. I became more forgiving,  I became more considerate and mindful. The failed connection helped me evolved into a mature person and realized that not everyone I would encounter will stick with me all throughout. They have their own life to live. So, in the middle of my busy days, I would think of him and how the encounter provided me a room for self-realization and improvement. I eventually stopped thinking why people keep rejecting me. They are not. It's just that they have their own choices and priorities. So I just treated our connection as a lesson to live by and a blessing to help me grow as a person.

Sorry for posting this stolen shot

But circumstances can be very generous. Allowing certain things to occur when life seems hopeless. One night we met again and reconnected, as though nothing happened haha! It's one of the most awkward moments and I nearly stammered. But it felt good. I felt better. One of the life-changing occurrences in my life that's worthy to be highlighted.

I always treated our connection as a blessing, a lesson, a gift that should be cherished and celebrated. Here's this person who happened to be there at the right time when I needed someone to establish a great bond, to have a long conversation, to share life's stories. This encounter is a message that life is not really unfair to me.


Ron is a nice guy, a great gentleman. I mean I don't know how he would see himself as a person, but I view him that way because that's how I knew him, that's how I saw him. Warm personality, down-to-earth, very polite with his words and actions, very cordial and with a sense of humor. He spoke with substance, a man of his time I like his approach in life, very responsible and with great sense. And all throughout the year that we communicated he never let me feel being a nuisance or an extra baggage.

I am always grateful, very thankful with his kindness, talking to me and listening to my thoughts and stories. Our connection is a great blessing because I was never close to a guy before. I am glad we reconnected before the end of the year. Something I should be very thankful.

The Year of Sadness

2019 has given me so much to remember, not all happy thoughts, but failures and disappointments as well. In September I was grieving over a lost connection, wasted encounters I had with Ron whom I find to be very comfortable talking with. Had a great start in communicating, long conversation, laughter, happy moments. But it died down. For two months I was reflecting the way I interact with people and the way I behave and just accepted that maybe it was my fault why it ended so abruptly. But we reconnected this month, weeks before the decade would be over. It lessen the burden in my emotional state.

Noriz, my pup that died in Dec.8
Morie died in August 25

Still I suffered pain in other aspects. Pain of losing our beloved pets to illness. Morie, our two-year old dog died in August. She was such a sweet dog, always sleeping at the foot of my bed. Noriz, our two-month-old puppy, died in December 8, it was devastating because he was like a shining star in my life. He came during a time I felt so alone and sad and needed a constant companion. I cried the whole afternoon when he passed away.

Shan Shan 
Smokey 

Then my beloved cat, Shan Shan died suddenly in the morning of November 23. I was at DFA for my passport renewal. It was terrible since I planned to bring her to the vet as soon as I am done with my appointment. But it was too late when I arrived home.

Tux, our three-month-old kitten followed a week later. And just before the year ends, Smokey, our seven-month-old cat, died yesterday (update: The 10 months old dog we adopted, Cooper, died on the afternoon of December 31 due to kidney failure so sad 😭). So many sadness and heartaches this year, but I guess this helps me see the balance of life. 

The Year of Travel and Blogging

I have not traveled much and I felt bad. Had a plan of going to South Korea in September but had to postpone due to my passport that needed to be renewed by November. However, compared in 2018, this year is a bit active when it comes to my travel pursuits. I made two beach trips this year, had some bonding with friends in an out-of-town travel, did numerous food blogging adventure, mostly solo, and posted several updates in my travel blogs.

Playing with waves and soaking in the sun at Puerto Galera

Got to improve also my skills in vlogging and able to tweak some of the travel and food videos I took. I have not worked on the promotion of my travel vlog channel in youtube but it generated several views, something I am always grateful.

Despite my very introvert nature where I love the life of seclusion, and a moment with myself alone, writing. I like traveling a lot. It's a great escape and a breather. So every now and then, I always thought of going somewhere, taking road trips to discover new places I have never been before and gain new experiences and learning. Indeed, 2019 has given me countless opportunities to see the other side of life.

Torres Farm Resort, Naic, Cavite in January
Luljetta's Hanging Garden and Spa, Antipolo in May
Magalawa Island, Zambales in January
Puerto Galera in November

Some of my favorite trips this year: Magalawa Island in Zambales, Luljetta's Hanging Garden and Spa in Antipolo City, Puerto Galera in Mindoro. The restaurants I have visited this year with really amazing and luscious dishes: Din Tai Fung in SM Megamall, a michelin-star rated restaurant, Basil, a Thai-themed restaurant in White Plains where I visited during my birthday in April.

Check out my travel blog for more of my travel adventure, click the link: Gourmand Travel Guide

The Year of Self-Reflection

Life has thrown me punches, arrows and blues this year, some are difficult to absorb, others are immaterial to remember, and some left a scar in my self-esteem, but all those events had given me enough room to grow and evolve. I learned lessons to get on with life's toughest battles. With different patterns of emotions rising up in my life this year, I have come to realize that in times of bad days, no one can ever help me pick up the shattered pieces of my life than myself. So I learned to appreciate my strength and my courage.


Living life alone gives me so much to learn. It taught me to be self-reliant and resourceful. It taught me to be tough and independent. It taught me how to survive in a world that considers single as second-class citizens, it taught me how not to feel sad and helpless. That I should be happy because life is a gift itself. That I should not force myself to people who don't like me. And must accept what life has to offer. 

The Lessons I learned in 2019

So what have I learned from all the failures, disappointments, heartaches and disillusionment? I should learn to live an independent life without thinking who will save me from the pit of loneliness. I should create my own sunshine. I should learn to live independently.

I finally resolved to stop dwelling on things that I don't have control. I should look forward and move on and just enjoy life as it happens. I should set my goals and head sight for the future. I just focus on what I can do to make my life worth living and what I have. 

Thank You Ron!

Yes! So many reasons to be grateful with this guy. For keeping me company in thoughts hahaha! For having a great conversation always. For patience and generosity of his time. I've learned a lot in one year that we communicated and interacted. I always feel at peace and at home when we talked.

Thank you so much for being part of my 2019 and for allowing me to see the other side of life, for letting me experience how it would feel like talking to a guy haha! Thank you for keeping up with me, for reconnecting, for your extra patience to keep the conversation going. It means a lot to me. Such a great moment to remember in 2019!

Looking Forward To Another Year of Hope and Amazement

I am looking forward for a rosy 2020. Welcome to the new decade self! I am wishing a happy life, a peaceful mind and a healthy existence. I hope to go on a number of trips and exciting adventures this year. Well, hopefully. I wish to create a meaningful life, a successful goal and a fresh start. I am very grateful to everyone who has been with me in this life's journey, who has been part of my year 2019 and the decade as well!


Signing off for 2019! I wish everyone a happy life, filled with great blessings and abundance in all aspects and a close bond with family, friends and loved ones. May the coming year bring you peace, unity, prosperity and love. Welcome to a new decade! 

Happy New Year everyone!




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