Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 Wasn't So Bad

Personal life-wise, if it was Kagulo 2015 then last year was Kaya Mo 'Yan Gurl 2016.

(Luh, new year essay writing contest na naman.)

Canibad Beach, Samal Island

2016 gave me some sort of pause and relief from the heaviness of emotional baggages. Depression is still present but is kept at bay by instances of calm and mindfulness and by a series of opportunities I am grateful of.

Isla Reta, Samal Island

I got a new job, lived in a new city for 6+ months, watched my brother get married, officially became a tita, traveled out of the country, joined a trail run, and climbed a beautiful mountain.

For the most part of the year I think I just went with the flow. I said yes to most things, said no to some. Ang mottos ko talaga for 2016 were 'Just fucking do it' and 'Whatever'. But sometimes I still had apprehensions and anxieties kaya di masyadong todo. Haha.

Leaving Angeles City and moving to Baguio is one of the major yes's I did, a decision that was actually made in 2015 while in Sagada.

Pieta Memorial Park in Angeles City where runners and bikers go for their morning exercise. Pretty ironic, I know.

I didn't expect to appreciate Angeles City like I eventually did. Sure, it has its quirks - red light district workers everywhere - but the memories I associate with my 2-year stay there are some of my greatest learning experiences. It was a witness to my heartbreak, anger, despair, and confusion. It fed me well. I made friends and acquaintances. So when I was aboard the bus shuttling me out of the city, I felt a mixture of sadness and gratitude. I looked out the window and a montage of memories flashed against the seemingly never-ending fields of green.

Fiery sunset in Baguio City

Afternoon trek at Camp John Hay, Baguio City

Moving to Baguio was the kind of respite I needed. Food and public transportation are cheap. I walked a lot. Though the streets can get stressful at certain areas and times of day, it is laidback enough to keep me calm. Because I've stopped taking anti-depressants (there are still instances where I feel the need to go back, though), I need nature to keep me balanced and get my attention to living things other than myself.

Ili-likha Artists Village, Baguio City

Mt. Cabuyao View Deck, Tuba, Benguet. Mt. Santo Tomas at a distance.

Panangbenga Festival 2016, Baguio City

Northern Lights Music Festival, Baguio City

I started to get to know myself again and make choices to reconstitute my identity. I am your average, introverted, forgettable commoner. I haven't done fantastic things. I have hurt people. I have hurt myself. It is this awareness that I hold myself together no matter what and that inspire me grow and do shit just to add value and meaning to my life.

Kinginerz ang drama pero totoo HAHA.

Finished an 11K trail run at The North Face 100

Mt. Ulap, Itogon, Benguet

La Presa Strawberry Farm, Tuba, Benguet

Snorkeling at Balicasag Island, Bohol

Sometimes I think I am and will always be alone for the rest of my life. And then the universe slaps me from my selfishness and self-absorption to remind me that there are people I should connect with more and be thankful for. A colleague-friend who referred me to my current job. A friend who was my constant buddy in Baguio. Another friend who I lugged backpacks with in my overseas travels. A friend who welcomed me in her home as I transition back to Cebu. My sister, a source of cuteness and calm. And, other people who I should really be hugging right now for just existing and being part of my life in big and small ways.

Mini-reunion with OWW Cebu relocators. We came to Cebu 9 years ago!

Jini & Vietnamese street food, Saigon, Vietnam

With Cari and Momo, Dalaguete, Cebu

With Jay and Don at Mt. Pulag summit

Being mobile with work allows me to pursue a nomadic lifestyle, albeit temporary. It allows me to travel and still earn a living. This year I travelled to Malaysia (Penang and Langkawi) and Vietnam (Saigon, Mui Ne, and Phu Quoc) and just lugged my laptop for work. I missed this lifestyle when I worked for a travel management company in Clark Freeport Zone. Desk jobs are fine with me; I've spent most of my working years in corporate setting. But, location independence work-wise just gives a different satisfaction and more excitement & flexibility.

Georgetown street art, Penang, Malaysia

One of my favourite street arts in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.

Just one of the numerous gorgeous tilework in Georgetown

Monkey Beach at Penang National Park, Malaysia

However, my remote work will end and I will transition to working in an office (same company though) again soon. I was initially hesitant to the idea (kasi hello kelangan bumalik ng Cebu di pa ako ready guys AY WUW) but as it has been a year of just-fucking-do-its, I jumped on to this another opportunity of professional growth and learning.

Queue for this dessert stall (I love their chendul) in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

This desire for growth and learning has been a theme for most of my life. It's like I always try to reach for and understand things bigger and more complex than my immediate reality. At the same time, however, my anxieties pull me back. I want to be spark-y but normalcy is convenient. I want spontaneity but I also want security. Perhaps that's why I have uprooted myself many times, made decisions that may sounded too rash or impulsive at the time, took risks - to see again what's out there after a period of dormancy.

Hostel swimming pool, Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Still I am grateful I get to do things that I do. There are some regrettable decisions (mostly involving money LOL) but the learnings and memories are for keeps. I remember them with fondness and LOLs.

Pantai Cenang Beach, Langkawi, Malaysia

Sao Beach, Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Red Sand Dunes, Mui Ne, Vietnam

White San Dunes, Mui Ne, Vietnam

Andami kong triggers this year and I faced most of them. Of course, hagulgol levels ganyan but I get to ruminate and process them. Do I have to feel this right now? Yes. Do I have to feel this for a long time? No. Is it within my control? No. Is this temporary? Yes (or maybe???). What do I do now? Iyak ka muna, gorl. What do I do next? Smile again, be kinder to myself, breathe, and live.

Mt. Pulag Summit, Benguet

Happy New Year, everyone!

x Roanjean