2014: the year I found myself chasing secret dreams was the same year I kept pushing limits, defying stereotypes, and climbing peaks of mortality. It was the year my heart wandered and my feet followed close behind. It was the year I moved as far as I could and brought home stories at the end of each tale. It was the year I junked the impossible and proved that the mind can bring one to places when the body may want to renounce. It was the year I fought hard for my passions and the hurdles that came alongside them. It was the year I awoke from dreaming a life and started living my dreams. In foresight, it was the best.
On moving, I found beauty that is the Philippines and beyond. From the regional travels up to down south, the historical streets of Vigan, yoga poses in Kupurpurawan, jumpshots at Bangui wind farms, coffee by Burgos windmills, church-mapping in Paoay, historical joyride in Laoag, breathtakingly destructive 4×4 ride in Paoay, hilarious sand-boarding in Ilocos, arduous land trip to Zambales, hard-to-get paradise of Anawangin Cove, breathtaking Mt. Pundaquit view of China Sea, elusive deep-blue river of Hinatuan, therapeutic water curtains of Tinuy-an falls, long -motorcyle rides in Bislig, timely surfing festival in Surigao, perfect waves in Lanuza, overwhelming winds from Pacific, sunsets in rivermouth, ambush first-solo flight, towering buildings in Singapura, getting-lost in Chinatown, colours and temples of Little India, Marina bay wonders, dreamland in USS, Botanical garden wandering, animal-overload in SingZoo, brother-sister getting-lost in the metro, river safari discoveries , sentosa madness! Who could forget Davao’s downtown night street market, dusk bus ride to Digos, flying-exhibition 3-hr motorcycle trip to Kapatagan, National Mountain Clean-Up voyage, fresh water source in Agco river, beautiful woman in lake Venado, trail running to catch sunset and sunrise at our highest point, hugging-clouds and breathing-fog fantasies to realities, sumptuous fiesta-meals of my Mt. Apo climb, marble river unresolved mysteries of Tribu Bato, Davaoenos’ hospitality, sweet pomelo gifts in Davao city, police check-points in Cotabato, rest days in Samal Island, Mandaue skills to succeed home tutorials, shooting for Isang Daan short-film by Sikma, rediscovering Oslob ruins, food-hunt in Cebu South, educational Bojo River cruise in Aloguinsan, family R&R at Hidden Valley Pinamungahan, mastering Osmena Peak, cheap goods shopping in Dalaguete, cold-dip at Kawasan Falls, pilgrimage to North Cebu churches, special gifts for special kids in Camotes, transpo luck in Manila, annual visit in Alabang, roaming UP campus, annual pledge in Baguio, road trips in Cordillera, perilous road to Bontoc, exotic lushness of Benguet, only-in-social-studies-boo
On pushing, I viewed the world like never before. From the adventures of different thresholds to climbing in different terrains, beneath the surface of the sea, hiking the hillside of Cebu, exploring the 7 caves of Campo Siete, claustrophobic-salient spelunking, trekking to white Cave of Cebu west, swimming with the gentle giants, regular rock-climbing in Cantabaco, spur-of-the-moment biking around the metro , swimming lessons for a cause, rappelling crags of Toledo, biking for earth day, Sirao Peak camping with AOC family, hannah’s highest city-lights-view birthday celebration in Chalet, braving the furious jungle of MNL, double Opeak-kawasan traverse, long-route to Anawangin cove via trek to Mt. Pundaquit, hiking Whang-Od’s uphill home in Buscalan, crucial open trail to Godi-Godi, endless boulder trail to Dry crater, zero visibility toxic sulfur fumes in Apo, six highest peaks in Davao, 90 degrees climb and struggle at the Mossy forest, 5-layered clothing and shoe-in-plastic-in-bag camping at the highest freezing saddle camp, 12-hour injury suffering while descending Kidapawan trail, and the greatest of them all- climbing the grandfather of Philippine mountains… In all of these experiences, I found faith.
On fighting, I saw the sweetest form of victory. From aerobic to anaerobic sports, the 5-month FM101 training session, post-shift 10K conditioning jogs at ayala, AFC football Saturdays at springdale, Lady strikers’ early Sundays for Aboitiz Cup, AFC’s hard-earned championships in ECCP, success in Goal for Jacob inter-company cup, ladies’ post-shift basketball drills, PCS Queens’ full-force in basketball league, accepting defeat in WABL, extreme 5-month-long futsal weekend overnight at Atillo gym, jog to San Carlos heights, conditioning trek to Mt. Babag, suicidal no-sleep-prior trek to 7 towers of Cebu, excruciating 24 hours non-stop indoor and outdoor football conditioning at Don Bosco, bittersweet 40-hours non-stop weekend football marathon simulation at San Roque, and the greatest of them all, the crazy 101 non-stop Kick for Life Football Marathon to break a World Guinness Record of longest playing football played by two teams, in benefit of Let it Echo babies with Congenital Heart Defects… In all of these experiences, I found love.
Behind living these secret dreams of travel, adventure, and passion, it started as a lucky year— I got a free VIP pass for Cut & Style event, got promoted, saw my sister on Toga, and unexpectedly won 3 Sports Unlimited adventure photo contests— and paradoxically, it ended as a knee challenging and heartbreaking year— FM101 aching knee injury and robbery of my Dear Nikon plus my laptop with ALL my files. Even so, I had a fair share of everything last year and I wouldn’t have it in any other way. 2014, at 22, with everyone in it, I call it my year.