It's been a hell of a year. The highs were terrifically high and the lows were incredibly low, I think it's safe to say 2022 forced me to understand there is a gift to everything — everything. It's not an easy thing to learn, and one I'm still in the process of understanding. But such is 2022, generous with time, chances, and everything else to the very end.
I thought I'd honor — may I call 2022 My Best Year Yet? — and all its gifts with this little year in review. It is, incidentally, the first blog post in my, ehem, very own website. I know! Thought I'd put a little personal touch to this primarily professional space just to make it a little more real.
Discovering “Schitt’s Creek” in February. I am so bad at this love thing and I know I'm extremely late to the party but gosh. How this show helped me get a better understanding of love! I adore all of the characters and I think they were written with so much love and compassion. Predictably, I have been returning to the serenade episode and even after too many replays, it still makes my heart flutter. David (and Patrick) is my favorite but so is Moira and Johnny and Alexis. All of them!
Booking myself a two-night stay at The Pen in February to do a preliminary on the Pasig River. It turned out to be so much more than field work. Apart from riding the river ferry, which I absolutely love, I also got to visit the Post Office, check out the Ayala Library, had my Shake Shack tradition of beer and burgers for late Saturday merienda. On Sunday, I jwalked to the Legaspi market, only to realize I didn’t bring my wallet. So I walked back home and ordered room service of salmon benedict — but not without treating myself to a little gander that involved a lot of art and a lot of trees. I have never felt so fucking rich , like financially, culturally, historically, and time-wise speaking. What a treat. I should to do this more often.
That Monday afternoon in March when Mignac came to the house to take my photo for the fellowships and programs I was applying to. It was the first time I ever had my profile photo taken and it couldn't have been better. We accomplished the actual 'shoot' in 30 minutes, hung out in our front yard, and ended with beers and burgers in Chilis. Definitely a Monday afternoon for the books and as though that wasn't enough, guess what? I made it to both programs!
Another one from March: Owning a beach house has become a personal dream and though I am nowhere near ready or able to afford it, I thought it was important to take a small baby step to fulfilling it. So we took a little road trip to look at beach lots and on our way home, I saw an important reminder from the universe.
5. That Black Saturday in April when Anna and I began planning our trip for Char’s September wedding. We spent the entire sticky summer afternoon checking airline and hotel rates, looking at too many websites, and considering too many possibilities that I legit got dizzy. I remember it was already pretty dark out and needing to take a break. I was seated on my bedroom floor and thought I probably should check my work email because it's been two days since I last logged in. Kablam. I saw good news waiting for me: I had been accepted in the Oxford Climate Journalism Network!!! Check out a screen grab of the email I forwarded to my boss, which was the first thing I did upon finding out! I still feel the same thrill just looking at it.
6. That one time Aimee, Chrissy and their husbands came for a hang. We laughed and laughed and I loved it. I think this was in March? Or was it May?
7. Those two bone-cracking massages in Bohol last May. The first one, I felt my whole body crack in relief. I got up to a magnificent full moon blazing the night sky and guiding us back to our room, where my FB was bursting with notifications. My boss had made a big deal about my getting into the OCJN. He published a story about it and shared and tagged me on the social network, immediately bringing me back that thrilling feeling and allowing me to share the fantastic news to so many of my friends!
We had a second massage two days later, and we arrived with the therapists not ready yet. They had asked us to wait and I did so on a hammock, underneath a star-filled sky, inebriated. How wonderful, really.
8. Attending two Kakampink rallies, the first in Pasig last March and then in Manila in May. It was nice to share the moment with my brother, his wife, and their friends. It was nice to be able to use my concert experience in navigating the thick crowds. It was good to remember what hope feels like.
9. Was that June? When I went on a date with myself to see ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ in the theater. That was a Saturday, when our ELP seminar ended early. I thought I'd run errands and finish photocopying a bunch of travel documents and saw I could still make the next screening and I just went for it. What an experience.
10. Birthday dinner at Bea’s last June. I've never had anyone prepare a birthday dinner for me and it was just the most thoughtful, sweetest thing. I love my friends.
11. The AAJA reception thing at the Bloomberg Singapore office last July and meeting my batch at the Executive Leadership Program, as well as other journalists from the region. Hello future, is that you knocking on my door, picking me up?
12. That August afternoon with James in Singapore, slurping laksa, shopping for shoes, going around galleries, and talking about love and sex. I really look up to him and love him very much.
13. Finally understanding drag culture via Drag Race Philippines. I loveloveloved the "Pop Off Ate" episode and thought that was it but then it was followed by the terrific rusical/divas episode bringing everything up a notch. Another episode highlight from the show: Eva's Tampalpuke/Rufa Mae impersonation. How funny, how smart, how enjoyable.
14. That whole week in September when Twitter was abuzzed with the “Don’t Worry Darling” press mess and then the queen died but people’s sense of humor continued to shine through. This is why I love Twitter and the Internet.
15. During my layover in Incheon Airport en route to New York in September, Frank and I started messaging, initially about Roger Federer's retirement but then later in the conversation, I brought up Diego, our network manager from OCJN, because I had previously sniffed out they were connected, and it was a blaaaast. Frank has this cool, positive energy about him that I love, and it just shined the whole time he was recalling his experiences at the bar with Diego. I got disconnected in the middle of our conversation so landing in New York with a bunch of messages from Frank about Diego was an absolute delight.
16. Brooklyn last September. Carla translating leeg as ne-ek still cracks me up. Walking the Brooklyn bridge with her and talking about life and love and laughing throughout was a darling of a moment and, I'd like to think, an affirmation of our friendship.
When we got to the foot of Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan, I saw someone with a tote that read “somebody in Belgium loves you,” and immediately thought of Sami. (:
17. Traversing New York from the west side to east via Central Park one afternoon in October. It was peaceful and quiet and something I could not do just three years ago. I started in Westwide Books, checked out Zabars, and then cut through the Park to end up in the upper Eastside to visit my uncle. It was lovely.
18. In October, I had my return to theater experience with no less than ‘Music Man’ in Broadway! I fell in love with Hugh Jackman — it was the first time I ever felt wanting to experience being flirted on by a celebrity. He’s such a talented charmer, I swear. I haven’t stopped listening to the OST and each time, it leaves me smiling.
19. Attending the opening of Kawayan de Guia x Louie Cordero exhibit in October and meeting Kidlat Tahimik, who said I looked familiar?! He spent a considerable amount of time talking to me and wow. I am wholly convinced the best of us are the most generous and kind.
Seeing Jerome, Ria, Moira, Stanley, and Paul, and then bumping into Howie that evening was cherry on top. Never have I felt more like a woman about town than that evening. Clearly, I need to go out more often.
20. Edward Norton reacting to my question at the "Glass Onion" virtual press conference last October. OMG. That we even got invited is a privilege. That (one of) my question/s got picked is a highlight. For it to garner a big reaction from Edward my love (and a lot of the cast) is beyond.
When the host said the next question was from the Philippines, from GMA, Edward my love said, "You've already given two questions to the Philippines, what's going on man." He was mistaken. That was the only question from the Philippines. But no matter.
I asked the cast to share funny bloopers and most of them, though it wasn't a blooper had something to share. Someone talked about Kathryn Hahn's pancake episode, another talked about her beige wardrobe, Edward talked about Daniel Craig's hilarious ad lib, and the director Rian Johnson talked about "the coolest cut," which again generated a big reaction from Edward my love.
I swear, it's so thrilling and judging from his reactions to my question, I am convinced Edward and I will have a great date if we ever went on one.
21. Jack White’s concert in Manila last November. It was intimate, and we were right in front and he and his band were really just so talented and skilled, they took us all for a trip across genres. Especially loved “Carolina Drama.”
22. Not entirely pleasant but necessary: Calling out people for their unpleasant behavior this December. It was a necessary reminder of my agency and power. I still don't like doing it, but it's good to know I'm getting better at standing up for myself, at taking up space, and at tapping into my rightful power. I still don't hope to be doing it as much in the future but I'm including this here to remind myself I can and I should when I need to.
23. Ely and Raimund sharing the mic during "Pare Ko" at the Eheads reunion show. The two musicians famously don't like each other so seeing them so carefree and as though they enjoyed each other's company was heartwarming to say the least. The whole show — the whole thing was an experience I happily shared with Mignac!
The year has one final week left to it. I don't know if I have any more energy left in me to even say "I'll make the most of it," or if asking for "just one more grace" is being greedy.
There is a hint of fear in my heart though — how do you follow up such an amazingly full year?
Because I am honestly so tired and it's not looking like I'll catch a break this Holiday season to get even a semblance of the fresh start that comes with every New Year.
But then a friend posted on her Instagram, a quote that I had been leaning on since I came across it in early December.
"Effort is maybe a kind of prayer," read a portion of the quote she attributed to Diane Arbus.
So maybe I can follow up 2022 by praying.
Here's wishing you a Merry Christmas and a better 2023.