This past year I celebrated my tenth year in Singapore. I also moved houses, got promoted, bought land, and voted for the next president of the Philippines. I’ll remember 2022 as the year that, for me, was a step back to normal. The pandemic isn’t over. But many people are over it. As for me? I think I’m okay now. Here are my best moments from the past year.
❤️ Seeing my family again after being forced apart by the pandemic. Clearly the highlight of the year was coming home to Manila in June to reunite with my family after more than two years apart. TBH it was anxiety-inducing and I tested religiously before arrival and after arriving. The homecoming was perfect. We also got to spend time together at a beautiful airbnb in San Juan, La Union. Best birthday trip ever.
🇻🇳 Going overseas for the first time during the pandemic. Before Manila, I was actually backpacking briefly in Hanoi. It was my first overseas travel since 2019 and I wanted to spend it exploring Hanoi’s Old Quarter. I met up with my friend E and together we went on a street food tour. I also got to visit the infamous Hanoi Hilton as well as check out the city’s many coffee shops. It also led to the other highlight which is…
🎯 Getting my first tattoo while in Hanoi. I wanted to make my trip to Hanoi extra memorable so I researched what’s a good place to get a tattoo. I found Silver Ant Studio on Instagram and made an appointment for a consult. It happened quickly but I left the place a happy customer. It’s a simple but meaningful tattoo: “Press continue”. Never a game over.
🇵🇭 Voting in the Philippine national elections for the first time. I thought we had this but we didn’t. I voted for the first time in the Philippine national elections since I gained Filipino citizenship in 2019. I made the absentee vote at the Philippine Embassy in Singapore. I remember I wore neutral colours when voting because I didn’t want to roughen up with folks. But lo and behold, people went in blood red.
🏞️ Starting the process of purchasing my first piece of land. What was on my wish list before I turn 40 came (somewhat) true, three years early. I started the process of purchasing land in San Fernando, La Union. This is together with a group of friends who are purchasing adjacent lots. As of this writing, we’re already applying for the title paperwork and expect to make the 2nd half payment in early 2023.
🧳 Enjoying a promotion at work and shifting our office location into a WeWork. I got promoted to Senior Executive earlier this year and I’m also the de facto Philippines lead for the media team at my company. I’ve never been promoted in all my previous roles. So this is a victory I’m celebrating in 2022. We also relocated our Singapore office to a new space that is one block away. We’re now in a WeWork opposite Lau Pa Sat.
📦 Moving to Tanjong Pagar. With our two-year house contract in Pasir Ris expiring in August, we wanted to evaluate our living situation since the cost of rent in major cities around the world has increased tremendously. Our rent in Pasir Ris, one of the more distant locations to live in for those of us working downtown, was increasing. We felt that paying more and staying far didn’t make sense. We went on the most difficult house hunt in memory but landed a very central apartment in Tanjong Pagar.
💻 Working remotely from Manila and La Union. I think another highlight was being allowed to work remotely from Manila and La Union during my homecoming visit in June. My work can be done almost entirely digitally and remotely. In La Union, I got to work from a co-working space with a view of the surf. In Manila, I got to work from a hotel which afforded me opportunities to meet with journalists in person.
🇸🇬 Welcoming the family back to Singapore for holiday. My family also wanted to enjoy their first overseas travel during the pandemic. They picked no better place. I welcomed them in Singapore back in November. We had a carefully-planned itinerary which included buffet food, shopping, and sightseeing. It also didn’t involve a single MRT or bus ride. We took the Grab six-seater vehicles which were really comfortable!
😷 Surviving Covid. I got Covid in October and documented my experience here on my blog. I think I got it bad (too). I had a sore throat, a bad cough, and fever. I don’t know how I got it. I say that because I’m the kind of person who has avoided crowds, who has opted to continue wearing a mask in crowded areas, etc. But I still got it!
🏃🏻 Racing again in-person. With virtually all pandemic restrictions lifted by December, I joined an in-person race again. The last one was in 2019. I think this was a personal turning point. Most people are already living “normally” in the pandemic. Some people aren’t. I’m now comfortable again to go out there, meet, and mingle.
🚲 Featuring in a Multisport article about cycling in Singapore. I was featured in Multisport (a sports publication under Inquirer) and this included a video feature. I had fun sharing with Multisport my cycling path. You can read the article here.
Happy new year, everyone!