My 2021 Year in Review

Last Updated on January 1, 2022 by Tina

If 2019 had been one of the best years in my life and 2020 is the year I never want to revisit, I’d say 2021 is in between. It wasn’t that good and it wasn’t that bad either. I had good days and I had really bad days. But I am still thankful for everything that happened, including the bad ones.

So to continue the tradition that I started two years ago, let’s do a recap of 2021.

Visited Tourist Spots in La Union

In the first two months of the year, I was still jobless so what kept me busy was the store. But since it’s pandemic, we were barely making money so we decided not to open on Sundays. Almost every Sunday, my siblings, my nephew, and I would go on road trips and visit tourist spots in La Union that are already open. We continued doing it on my field breaks when I started working (I just had to wear N-95 mask when I’m with them just to be safe). We visited the watchtowers of La Union, Taboc Baywalk, Agoo Eco-Park, Pindangan Ruins, Centennial Tunnel, and Hiraya. And a few weeks ago, we visited Bato de Luna and Immuki Island.

I Got A Job as Community Relations Head

In March, I started a role as Community Relations (ComRel) Head for Mankayan and Bakun projects. I was actually offered the role last year before the pandemic happened. However, I told them the earliest that I would be available for the job is April because my then-boyfriend was scheduled for surgery in Thailand and I have to accompany him until he gets back to Singapore and stay with him for a little bit more. So many things happened last year though. We weren’t even able to get back to Singapore together anymore. Anyways, after that there were lockdowns and I was unemployed and we had to close shop for a while. But a year after I was still offered the job. Maybe it was really meant for me.

It’s my first time working as ComRel because I’ve been working as a geologist most of the time. Our company is still applying for an exploration permit and in the Philippines, you can’t do any exploration work (which is what geologists do) unless the company has a permit. And that is what I’m doing right now, to do the things necessary to secure a permit. When my siblings found out about my job, they were surprised. I am not a very sociable person, I am short-tempered and I have fear of public speaking. Well, after ten months in that role, I can say that I did well (I guess).

With that job, I got to meet and interact with leaders, elders, government workers, and teachers in Mankayan and Bakun, both in Benguet. I learned how to drink coffee (if you know me, I’m not really a coffee drinker except that time I got influenced into drinking when I was backpacking two years ago.) Every time we would meet with locals or visit government offices, they would always offer us coffee. With my current role, it is not polite (not sure if that’s the proper term) to say no when you get offered a drink.

I also learned how to be patient and humble. Even if I’m so pissed off already, I still have to smile. And even if I know I am right and the person I am talking to is wrong and is not making any sense, I still have to smile and not argue.

Another thing I learned was how to talk to and engage in small talks with people I just met. And of course, public speaking. I’ve done speeches when I was in elementary because I was the class valedictorian, but that was ages ago. I really have fear of public speaking that I avoided taking that subject when I was in the university. So one time I was talking to my ex, I told him that if I did well with the presentations maybe I will start vlogging too. Anyway, I ended up doing four presentations instead of just two, because there were only two of us who could speak the dialect and the locals prefer having the presentation in their dialect.

Had A Few Hikes

The last hike I had was in 2019 in Southern Taiwan. Before that it was Kota Kinabalu. I’m glad that this year I had a few. In case you do not know, Mankayan and Bakun and towns in Benguet, a province located in the highlands. Just 4 days I think after I started with my job, I went on an early morning hike to Mt. Gadagad, also known as Prayer Mountain in Mankayan. And then there was the hike to Pilipil Red Soil in Cervantes, Ilocos Sur. I also did hikes with my colleague during our rest day and a very short hike with Violet here in La Union, at the back of my house. I said short because our guides couldn’t find the trail anymore so we had to abort the mission. The last hike I did this year was our visit to Las-igan, a faraway sitio of Barangay Cabiten in Mankayan. There is no road for vehicles going to the village, only foot trail. To get there, you need to hike from the end of the road for 1.5 hours. This reminds me that I need to write a blog post about that soon.

Published Regularly On My Blog And Started Earning Through Paid Ads

Late last year, my blog started getting a lot of traffic when I wrote about how to get a medical certificate in Quezon City and when my post about travel to La Union was shared by a famous Filipino vlogger on her YouTube channel. I took advantage of that increase in traffic by putting ads on my blog.

In the past, I didn’t want to have ads on my blog because it is annoying (right?). But my hosting is expiring in a few months and I’m gonna need money to renew it. I had to find a way to make money so I could pay for it. When I started blogging, I had a high-paying job and I only considered blogging as a pastime, to document my travels when I’m in the mood to write. So I really didn’t mind paying for the hosting and domain using my salary. But after backpacking, I said I want that life and I need to find a source of income where I could make money even if I am traveling.

So I started publishing more with the motivation of my ex (we used to have a cheesecake deal). Then early this year with the help of successful bloggers, I started learning about SEO and applied it to my blog. And I am happy to say that at the end of March this year, I was able to earn money to pay for my hosting. Pageviews went down when the Delta variant spread through the country in April and affected tourism yet again. But now things are looking better and slowly I am getting more traffic to my blog again.

And I was told that the income you make from the ads depends on where your traffic comes from. Traffic from countries like the US, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar give me a higher income so I will work on writing content that attracts traffic from these countries.

Also, videos help with revenue and rankings so I might start vlogging soon. Stay tuned for it. 😉

I Showed A Lot Of Skin 😂

It all started when I had my second tattoo, I think. I asked my friend if we could do a photo shoot for my new tattoo so I have something to use in my blog post. We did it on my birthday. We took photos with us in bikini, posted it on Instagram and as expected, it got a lot of engagements (I used to say that bikini pictures always get attention). And I don’t know, after that it just became our thing every time I come home for my field break. We would set a day to meet and hang out and part of that hanging out is taking a dip on the sea and of course photoshoot 😂 (so that we could pretend we’re traveling even if we really just walked a few hundred meters to the beach).

Visited Two Underground And One Open Pit Mine

In the latter part of the year, I was able to visit two underground mines and one open-pit mine. Because we haven’t been doing any geology-related work (except for that geohazard assessment we did after typhoon Maring), our boss set these mine visits because he didn’t want us to forget about geology. And I am very thankful because finally, I was able to visit the underground gold mine of the Lepanto.

My first job was with Lepanto but I never got to see the underground mine when I was working there because back then they do not allow women to go underground. They had this superstitious belief that an accident occurs in the underground after a woman visits. They say that a diwata (goddess) is guarding the underground and when a woman visits she gets jealous causing the accidents.

The visit also reminded me of the time when I was the supervising geologist of the underground drilling of Far Southeast Gold Resources. I used to go underground at least twice a week and I’m the only girl who goes underground during that time, except for the rare occasions when there are female visitors.

The two other mines we visited were the underground mine of Benguet Corp. and the open-pit mine of FCF Minerals.

I Had Bad Days Too

I wanna be transparent here so I want to tell you that it wasn’t all good days. I’ve had bad days and really bad days. And I am telling you this because when I was going through that phase, I found comfort with knowing that other people, even the really popular and beautiful influencers we know went through the same.

I mentioned last year that towards the end of the year, my boyfriend and I broke up. I have been fine after a period of mourning, and I was even hopeful for some time. But when the Delta variant started to spread worldwide, something happened and I got depressed. So bad that it even affected my blogging. For almost two months I think I was able to publish only two posts. And I wasn’t even busy at work at that time. I really just didn’t have the motivation to do so.

Thanks to Crisha Uy, a famous vlogger here who I follow on Instagram, I learned from her that it’s okay to embrace the pain. I watched her video where she shared how she survived the heartbreak. She actually had it much worse because her boyfriend of 8 years broke up with her to get back together with his ex. Imagine 8 years. They looked so happy during those years, but they still broke up. Crisha is a really nice girl (you can tell with the way she speaks and acts on her vlogs) and is way prettier than the ex. Oh well, just sharing.

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that some people experience these things. And for me, with the help of my friends, my mom, and a lot of prayers, I got through it and came out stronger than ever. There were times when I thought that I was fine already, and then my hormone messes up with me, and then I’m back to feeling down again. It’s normal. But as they say, nothing lasts forever.

Things I Learned/Found Out This Year

I want to end this post by sharing some of the things I learned/found out this year.

That I have amazing friends.

I don’t have many friends but I am proud to say that the very few friends I have are people I can depend on. Hanna, Violet, and Eve are always there for me whenever I need someone to talk to. They don’t get tired of me even though sometimes I keep saying the same things over and over again. Mina, that Egyptian guy who I used to hang out with answers my calls even when he is working. We haven’t seen each other for 5 years already and he really wasn’t the serious type but I was surprised he has this serious side of him too when you need someone sensible to talk to.

Mother knows best.

We’ve probably heard this before already, but I’m a very stubborn daughter. But this year, I finally listened. The things she says make a lot of sense.

Always pray.

Prayers really helped me a lot when I was feeling down. My mom and Hanna always tell me to pray, for everything. Hanna told me that when she was battling depression, whenever she’s feeling down, she just prays and after that, she feels a lot better. And that’s what I did too and helped me survive my situation.

Always be grateful.

Because of the comforts in life that we have experienced, it is so easy for us to complain when we feel a little inconvenience or when something bad happens to us. But with all the people I’ve met and the places I’ve been to this year, it made me realize that we are still very blessed. We don’t have to experience the hardships that other people are going through every day. And, instead of sulking when something bad happens to us, let us be grateful because we could have had it way worse. My mom always tells me “you just don’t know what God is saving you from”.

Don’t get too attached and enjoy it while it lasts.

Hanna and I often talk about relationships and how it is so scary nowadays. You’ll never know until when the person you love will keep loving you. We’ve seen this with a lot of famous influencer couples. One day they are so happy and in love and the next day you find out they’ve parted ways. We came to the conclusion that we shouldn’t get too attached so that it will be easier to move on. Instead, just enjoy the moment, and enjoy it while it lasts. I’m not being cynical here. Also, Hanna is married so no reason for her to be cynical. We’re just good observers.

What’s meant for you will come to you.

I think no need to explain here, I already told you about how I got my current job. And this happened also with Lepanto. The first time I applied, I was already processing my papers for employment. But something happened with my NBI clearance and getting the clearance got delayed. I didn’t get the job. Later on, I found out that that delay was actually a blessing in disguise because I was able to study full time for my board exam. Also, if I was able to get the job, I would have been one of the employees who experienced having a delayed salary because shortly after my application, some employees went on strike which affected the operation of the company. And Lepanto was really meant for me because after passing the board exam, I got hired immediately. Like, I started four days after the exam results were released.

Okay, this post is getting super long already and it’s almost 5 AM. I hope you didn’t get bored reading this recap. Happy new year and may 2022 be the year the virus starts self-destructing. Haha. I wish you all a great year. And I manifest that this year is the year I fulfill my long-time dream!

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