Making Peace with 2016


2016 started out rather auspiciously for me. I was in a crowded Spanish plaza, eating grapes (as per tradition), popping champagne bottles, and taking selfies with festive locals who were randomly hugging and kissing strangers. It was a good start to a seemingly good year — but I was equally as far away from home as I was from reality.

The events that followed soon after we got home from our Spanish excursion were quite troublesome and unfortunate. Needless to say, 2016 turned out to be a severely hostile year for me (and for the entire world, in general).

Being an extremely sentimental person, however, I’ve decided to make peace with 2016 and move on to 2017 with nothing but gratitude for all that went right and for the lessons from all that didn’t.

So this 2016, I am thankful for…

Health and Wellness

  • Achieving my fitness goals (and more) with circuit training, running, and yoga.
  • Establishing a daily meditation practice and actually sticking with it (well, for the most part of the year, at least).
  • Finding out that my mom’s lung cancer was the controllable kind, and that she’s responding well to the chemotherapy.

Academics and Career

  • Winning the Golden Sharpie Award for Best Design in our mini-thesis class.
  • Being part of the Ayala Group Summer Internship Program 2016, and meeting a hundred other interns from the different Ayala Group of Companies (Ayala Land, BPI, Globe, etc).
  • Working for Ayala Land Premier’s Innovation and Design Group (ALP-IDG), and being personally mentored by its Studio Head and Senior Architect-Planner.
  • Finding a thesis topic that’s very dear and close to my heart.

Travel and Adventure

  • Renting out a car and going on an 18-day road trip around Spain with my family. After our last Euro trip (seven countries in three weeks with a guided tour group), we decided that we wanted something more in-depth and slower-paced to actually be one with the locals. So this time we stuck to just one country and did a more intensive cultural immersion (and got more shopping time).
  • Spontaneously flying off to Singapore with my mom when she found out I was going through a very painful and difficult time of my life.
  • Going to Hong Kong with my friends after spontaneously buying plane tickets that were on sale. I actually spent half of that trip wandering around on my own to satisfy my craving for a solo adventure. (Thank you for understanding my needs, friends.)
  • Climbing Mt. Batulao with ALP-IDG (for their Christmas party) right after submitting my last thesis requirement for the first semester.


  • Strengthening my relationship with my mom and being more open with her after all our heart-to-heart talks during our Singapore getaway.
  • Developing a deeper relationship with my friends after realizing that they will always be there for me when I need them the most (even if they’re all busy and we haven’t actually seen each other in months).
  • Being with someone who allows me to grow freely on my own, while he too chases after his own passions and aspirations. “A partner, not just a romantic partner,” as he would put it.

Passions and Personal Growth

  • Not just finding the time, but also making the time to indulge in the things I’m passionate about (yoga, portrait photography, editorial design, etc.)
  • Being able to share my passion with my partner (and vice versa). He actually accompanied me to Global Mala! And I tried climbing with him a few times, too, despite my fear of falling.
  • Staying away from destructive social media, and focusing on my work and passions rather than curating a seemingly “perfect feed” of what my life looks like from the outside.
  • Getting my heart picked apart and reoriented in a more self-sustainable way.

This 2016, I am most grateful for all the lessons I’ve learned, and the strength I’ve developed to keep me going and hoping for a better 2017.

Happy new year, everyone!


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