Honestly, I was supposed to do this earlier but due to the Korean fever at the moment writing this post was delayed.
Anyway, when I read my 2012 summary, I was proud to read my achievements especially in the blogging industry. Unfortunately this year, I didn’t have the events I had when I was in the Philippines. Half of my 2013 were spent in various places and by mid 2013, I flew to Australia as an immigrant.
Looking back, here are some of the highlights of my year. I summarized it by category and this year I provided some pictures to make up with my late posts.
Category: Beauty / Sponsors
As mentioned, it’s not as much as before but somehow I managed to have a few. I started my year with a hair makeover at Toni & Guy salon at SM Megamall and mid last year at Bhajun Salon in Westfield Parramatta. I also got to attend my last blog event for Eskinol early 2013 and found out that a post of Gyuma is displayed in SM North. Hahaha!
The year 2013 was an awesome time for me to visit new places and travel with them. I have shared with you my experience on how to get a US Visa so going to the USA is one big milestone for me.
But first, I’ll share my random trips in the Philippines first.
Last February 2013, we went to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar to celebrate my grandfather’s birthday. We stayed in a beautiful old house there and just enjoyed Philippine history as we tour the area. By April 2013, my mom’s friend from the USA visited the Philippines and we went to Virgin Beach Resort in Batangas to enjoy the tropical beach. By May 2013, we went to Davao as a gift to my grandmother’s 80th birthday. It was a time for me to see my dad as well before leaving for Australia. It’s nice that I was able to squeeze in these adventures back then.
Now let’s go international. Yay! My first international trip in 2013 was in the USA. I was able to secure a good deal of return ticket to San Francisco. I went there late February and stayed there for a month. I stayed in Sta. Cruz where my aunt lives so the nearest theme park was the Sta. Cruz Boardwalk. After some time, I went to San Leandro to visit my friend, former colleague at FTSP, Maan. I stayed there for a week and we toured San Francisco non-stop! We visited Monterey as well and met up with Bosconian friend, Anthony and Thomasian friend, Jay. It was a nice experience seeing them overseas. I definitely loved staying at Maan’s place and witness how cool her family is. We even went to Silicon Valley to see the famous Google office. After a week, I went to Los Angeles via bus by myself and stayed in my aunt’s friend’s place. I am so grateful for them as I was able to see the city of Los Angeles. Of course, I wouldn’t miss the theme parks there. That’s actually the main reason I went to the States. Hahaha! Call me childish but I simply love theme parks. So I had one day in Universal Studios, one day at California Adventure and one day at Disneyland. How cool was that!?! Even if I’m by myself, I can’t help but be happy and proud of myself experiencing it at that very moment. Another good thing, I was able to go to all the rides I wanted. I was so fortunate that there were no long queues for each ride and the max I waited was 10mins to be served. Just thinking about it makes me really smile! My mom’s friend, Tita Babes, same friend that we went with at Virgin Beach Resort, toured us in San Jose. We went to different places such as Winchester Mystery House, Jelly Belly and the Tech museum. It was one amazing US trip and wished I stayed longer and visited other states. I still want to visit friends in New York and New Jersey. Well, I’ll be back someday.
After the solo adventure in the US, I went back to the Philippines and prepare to have another trip overseas. Well, this was the time I maxed out my savings and just enjoyed everyday before migrating to Australia. I have a week to rest and organise my stuff for our “family” trip to Japan! Yeeesss! Since Andrew’s 3 aunts resides in Japan, it’s the first country that his parents want to visit. Since it’s their first family overseas, they wanted to see their relatives in Japan. So we packed our bags and off we go to Osaka! We went to his aunt’s place in Kyoto and experienced an authentic Onsen there. Oh how I love and missed Japan! Hehehe. After Osaka, it’s time to visit the relatives in Tokyo. We rode the overnight bus from Kyoto to Tokyo and explored the city with his relatives. Since it was the time of Cherry blossoms, it was definitely a trip to remember! I’ve always loved “sakura” and it was really special that I was with Andrew this time around. We visited parks and places where we can find cherry blossoms and took pictures of everything. We also went to Disney Sea but didn’t enjoy it as much I enjoyed Disneyland in the US. Apparently, it was school holidays and all the kids and other tourists were at the theme park. We waited for 3hours in one ride that only last for less than 5mins. Oh well, it was still an enjoyable ride. We also went strawberry picking in one of the towns in Japan and I ate all I can pick. Hahaha! I also went to my cousins in Hamamatsu, a 3-4hr-bus ride from Tokyo. I stayed overnight there and went to see Mt. Fuji and the theme park Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park. The rides in that theme park are the bomb! Guinness Book of Records awarded three of the rides as world’s best. Unfortunately, due to the weather, I got to ride only one. The ride was the world’s steepest roller coaster, Takabisha! It prides itself with world’s steepest drop at 121 degrees tilt drop free fall! My cousin admits that he was shaking after and can’t find his breath. Hahaha! It was awesome! I’ve got to be back that park with Andrew and hopefully all the rides are operational by that time. It was really an unbelievable family adventure. Looking forward to more!
After the adrenalin rush filled adventures, it’s time to pack up and prepare myself to a new life in Australia. Weeks before my departure, I planned some meet ups with friends as farewell dinner since I won’t be back for more than a year. So friends from elementary to college as well as colleagues and family had a chance to dine with me before leaving. It was not as dramatic as you think but more on bon voyage messages.
Late May 2013, I’m off to Sydney. Due to the foggy weather in Australia that time, my flight was delayed so I still had time to communicate with friends and family before departure. The time is up and I need to board the plane. I’m not sad but excited. I know I’ll be missing a lot of events and opportunities in the Philippines but it’s always a dream of mine to venture overseas and see if I can manage to stay alive. Hahaha!
As I arrived in Sydney I said to myself that I’ll make an effort to be in. I should acclimate myself in this new environment and learn the do’s and don’ts. If I can, as much as possible, I want to involve myself in the community and whatever opportunity life brings to me. As a result, here are the highlights of my Sydney life.
I joined the Parish’s Youth group and played the bass with guitar during the mass. I also joined them in the Church’s activities such as the Theology on Tap where we made it to the Catholic Weekly newspaper. I also joined the World Youth Day Rio event held in Sydney and experienced what the pilgrims are doing at that very moment. It was fun to get to know new acquaintances that share the same interests.
I also found myself being involved in Sydney marathons. Although I’m not a runner in the Phils, I managed to train myself and run for at least 5k in an event. In 2013, I did 3 runs in total namely: City2Surf, Blackmores Bridge Run and Rebel’s Run Sydney marathon.
Also, it was my first time to attend a concert tour ever! Since my cousin is a die-hard fan of Beyonce and is also the “Beyonce” of their school, we got the tickets months before the said event. I was hesitant at first but I must say it was worth it.
About 2 months after I arrived, I am thankful that I was able to find a job. I am a developer analyst in one of the small business firms in Bondi Junction. In this job I was able to enhance my skills in programming and develop my training skills as well. I was able to go to Newcastle and Wagga Wagga for training because of NEXA Group.
I felt that I’m settling in nicely so I want to learn a few things that I’ve always wanted to acquire. I signed up for a Beginners Hip-Hop class, Yoga, Training to become a Eucharistic Minister, Driving lessons and deepening my faith thru the First Spiritual Exercises. It was a good start up lessons for me and I’m excited to enrol to other lessons in 2014.
I am also grateful that we were able to see new places in NSW such as the famous “The Dish” at Parkes, Cowra Japanese Garden and Bowral’s shopping centre. I also went to Watsons Bay, La Perouse and Shark Bay. I also went to Canberra with Reg to see the tulips at Floriade 2013.
There are random things also quite nice mentioning like going to Chatswood Concourse to see Australia’s The Voice winner Harrison Craig, first birthday celebration in Sydney at Sake Restaurant, Christmas and New Year as a permanent resident.
Finally, with all the events, lessons and travels I had, the best things to cherish are the times where I met new friends and see old friends. In 2013, friends from the Philippines visited Australia and I’m thankful that they kept in touch knowing that I am here in Sydney. I’ve met Richard, a former colleague that I haven’t seen for quite sometime and thru him I got to know new friends as well. Kuya JC together with Bo Sanchez’ family and friends went to Sydney to witness the Hillsong event. It was amazing that he was able to coordinate a meet-up with me. It was because of him that I was able to see our long lost friend Marge who is also residing in Sydney. I was able to meet Filipino community thru PinoyAu forum meet ups. I’ve attended 2 gatherings since I’ve been here. By late 2013, I was able to see a dear friend who I haven’t seen in more than a decade. I’m thankful that Diana didn’t hesitate to contact me and share her time with me when she was here. My good friend Reg came to Sydney a year before me and introduced me to her friends as well. I was able to see our former University classmate Xave thru her as well. I’ve gain new friends from the Parish community and so thankful that they’ve welcomed me warmly.
I can’t explain in words how thankful I am for all the blessings and opportunities I’ve received in 2013. It’s been a bit of a struggle but definitely a gift of grace. I am looking forward to a better me for 2014. I don’t have a list of resolutions but I’ll make sure that I’ll take steps to become a better person this year.