My 2019 Year in Review

As the year and decade was coming to a close, I saw some of the people I follow on Instagram post their best nine for the year or the summary of their year. I wanted to do something similar not on IG but on this blog. It was supposed to be my last post for the year and the decade, but I got busy preparing food for medianoche that I didn’t find the time to do it. The year was already over, it’s already 2020 so I guess this now becomes my first post for 2020.

I would say 2019 had been a good year for me. Probably the best one so far. 2016 used to be my favorite year but now it’s 2019. Below is my 2019 in summary:

I attended a wedding every quarter.

2019 was the year that I attended four weddings. The first three were weddings of people I personally know and the fourth that I attended, I was a plus one. The amazing thing is that each wedding happened every quarter. The first one was my former colleague’s wedding. It was last February at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan. The second one was in May in Quezon City. It was the wedding of one of my close friends in the mining industry.

The third one was in September in Boracay. It was my best friend’s wedding. I even had a funny experience while I was on the island for the wedding. On my first night, I stayed in a hostel dorm room and was awakened by the sound of people having sex. Read about the story of that experience here. The last wedding I attended was just last week in Malolos, Bulacan. It was the wedding of a colleague of Andreu.

So many weddings in one year. So far I haven’t gotten any wedding invite for 2020.

I traveled a lot.

In my 37 years of existence, I think 2019 was the time when I traveled to so many places. I started the year by going on a solo trip to Siquijor in the first week of January. I was supposed to stay there for three nights only but I loved the place so much that I ended up extending for another night.

In the second month, I attended a colleague’s wedding in Las Casas in Bataan. We got there early so we decided to check out Mt. Samat.

In May, I went to Bali for my best friend’s bridal shower and to Singapore to accompany my nephew’s first out of the country trip. There is a funny story about my Bali trip. Even if it was for my best friend’s bridal shower, I actually did the sightseeing alone (We only had one whole day and one night together). It was like I went on a solo trip. They availed a package tour to Bali because they thought it was cheaper and I chose to DIY because I feel that package tours are not very flexible. In the end, when we compared notes, it turns out they spent more than I did and I got to see more.

In June and July, I went on a solo backpacking trip over Indochina (excluding Peninsular Malaysia). I did it for six weeks and was able to explore five countries- Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos. Experienced so many things, tried different types of transportation such as trains, night buses, moto-taxi, and even slow boat. I crossed countries through land borders. It was a very unforgettable experience and I’m planning to do something similar again this year if budget permits.

In September, I went to Boracay to attend my best friend’s wedding. It was my first time to visit the island that so many people rave about. The island wasn’t how I expected it to be (I guess I had very high expectations of the island), but I had a great time going out with her friends from work.

In November, I explored the southern part of Taiwan with Andreu. We had a great time riding around in motorbike, visited some national parks, tried different Taiwanese foods in the night markets and drank lots of milk tea.

In December, Andreu’s colleague got married in Malolos. He flew to the country to attend the wedding. I promised him I will show him around when he comes here. Clark had been our base during his stay here and so the closest places that I could take him are Zambales and Bataan. I also made him try some Filipino dishes. He used to make comments about Filipinos putting cheese on ensaymada so I made him try ensaymada from a local bakeshop. I told him only the fancy bakeshops like Goldilocks and Red Ribbon put cheese but I found out even local bakeshops do that now.

I published more posts on my blog than in the previous years.

In 2019 I made it a point to be active on my blog. I have read a lot of articles about people monetizing their blog through affiliate marketing. To be able to do that though you need to have lots of content. That is what I was trying to achieve so I made it a point to publish two posts per week. I even sought Andreu’s help in achieving this goal. I was able to do it in the first month after I set my goal, but after that, I got so busy that I was not able to keep up with my schedule. That left me with owing Andreu a lot of cheesecake.

I met people from different countries.

During my solo travels, I met people from different countries. During my trip to Siquijor, I met a Taiwanese girl named Jupei in my hostel. She was one of the reasons I extended my stay on the island. We spent my last day there driving around the island on the motorbike she rented.

In Bali, I met a girl from Brunei named Hyatt and Camille from the Philippines in the Nusa Penida tour I booked through Klook. I also did the Uluwatu Temple Sunset tour with them.

In Vietnam, I met another Taiwanese girl named Ariel during my Mekong River tour. In Cambodia, I met Lenita, a Samoan flight attendant living in Australia. She was my roommate in the hostel and I spent my birthday with her. We checked out the cave, tried the food in a famous restaurant in Kampot and did the Sunset River Cruise.

In Myanmar, I met Monica, a Mexican who was my roommate at the hostel in Inle. We met again when I was Yangon and went for lunch to catch up. Then we met again in Hanoi and went to check out the train street together. When she came to Manila last October, I showed her Intramuros.

In Myanmar also, I met Wai, Ekko and Mr. Zaw. Wai was my guide in the Inle Lake boat tour. I met Ekko, another guide from Inle while I was doing the boat tour. Mr. Zaw was my guide in Mandalay. He brought me to so many places and made me try local foods in Myanmar.

In Laos, I met so many Asians in my hostel. One of them is Josephine, the third Taiwanese I met last year. She was my roommate, and we explored many places in Luang Prabang together. We climbed Mt. Phousi at 10 in the evening, then crossed the bamboo bridge afterward and stayed there for quite some time, just listening to the sound of the river. I also did the two-day slow boat journey from Luang Prabang to Huay Xai in Laos. Then we crossed the land border to Chiang Kong, Thailand and spent the night there with her. I had a great time with her, I kind of got sad when we had to separate ways in Chiang Rai.

In Laos also, I met Miyu, a Japanese photographer. She was also my roommate in the hostel. Together with Josephine, we crossed the second bamboo bridge in Luang Prabang to watch the sunset then explored the night market afterward.

Another girl I met at the hostel was Nadia from Malaysia. I started a conversation with her after the girl serving our breakfast made a mistake of giving me the food she ordered. During that time she said she’s doing volunteer work at a hospital in Luang Prabang.

Other people I met at the hostel were Peng from Thailand and Julita from Indonesia. They were also my roommates and I met them on my last day in Laos. Together with Josephine, we went to have dinner together, checked out the night market then went to Utopia to hang out and have some beer.

Last but not least, I think the best thing that happened to me last year was I met the most amazing guy during my trip to Singapore. He might not agree with me but I really think he is amazing. He is the nicest guy I have ever met. We both love to travel and while I blog about my travels, he creates nice videos of his travels on a motorbike on his Youtube channel.

He was the recipient of the postcards I sent during my backpacking trip. I think what made my backpacking trip less scary was the fact that he knew my whereabouts; I shared with him my location, told him how my day went and my plans for the following day. We spent a few days together in Chiang Mai, Thailand, celebrated his birthday in Taiwan and showed him around Central Luzon, Philippines. 2019 wasn’t a great year for him, but I am claiming that this year is going to be his year and it’s going to be great (hopefully mine too). Oh by the way, this guy I am talking about is Andreu.

So I guess that’s it for my 2019. Such an eventful year. So excited about what’s in store for me this 2020. Hopefully more travels. Happy New Year everyone!

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2 thoughts on “My 2019 Year in Review

  1. Awesome post Tina. As I was reading the words you have written, I just felt all the emotions and feels. Amazing people and places. So inspiring ?

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