With certain notable exceptions, 2013 was a personal banner year. I’m not sure how 2014 will top it, but hopefully it will *graduation!!!*
February: I got to meet Costas Christ when he visited El Nido Resorts as a judge for the World Travel & Tourism Council’s 2013 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. It was an honor to be able to pick his brain about sustainable tourism.
March: Bloc Party in Manila! HOMG Bloc Party in Manila!!! I’d dreamed of this moment since I got hooked by Weekend in the City. To see and hear them in the flesh… WOW.
May: Almost three weeks of traveling across the United States! Visited Seattle, Alaska, and Florida (uy bi-coastal!). All three places were memorable for their own reasons. Seattle is now officially my favorite city in the US, with its combination of nature, culture, art, food, and walkable streets in one place. Alaska was a place I never thought I’d ever get to visit but I did! All that wild beauty just blew me away. And even though it was my third visit to Orlando and its various theme parks, this visit was extra special because it was with Les, one of my best friends since high school and someone I hadn’t seen in years.
Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska
Skagway, Alaska. I only found out that this place was part of a national park when I got there! Pick up a trail map from the park office and get away from the hordes of tourists along the main street. I got this perfect view while hiking along one of the nearby trails. I do wish I wore better shoes though.
Glacier Bay, Alaska. Braved the freezing wind on the top deck just to look around for hours.
Spent two days just walking around Seattle. Went on a food trip inside Pike Place Market. Waited in line at Pike Place Chowder for a good amount of time and chatted with the local behind me who recommended visiting the Seattle Art Museum. Did not regret it. Also got to visit the EMP Museum (another must-visit!) and the Seattle Aquarium.
Me and my bestie Les inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We always said that we’d go to Hogwarts together, though she’d be a Slytherin and I’d be a Ravenclaw 😛 Don’t mind our color scheme in the photo.
Did I mention that I timed my visit to coincide with Star Wars Weekends? Because I did and I got Sam Witwer’s autograph HOMG! He’s so… white. Haha!
June: our baby Geekerie participated in the June Toycon with a bang! It was our first time to sell collectibles in addition to shirts. We’re expanding!
September: I left the island again to concentrate on finishing my master’s degree.
My last day of work: the last of training for Nature Interpretation batch 4.
Saying goodbye to my insane coworkers. I miss them.
Saying goodbye to the Environment girls *bawlllllll*
A few days after leaving the island, I packed my bags again and went to Siem Reap, Cambodia with Adrian and my friends Shylz and Allen. We tired ourselves out going up and down temples, so many temples that I’d already lost count somewhat.
Angkor Wat at sunrise (yes, I took the classic/overdone sunrise shot)
Angkor Wat sunrise selfie
The view from the top of Pre Rup temple
Me and Adrian inside Ta Phrom temple AKA the Tomb Raider temple.
October: celebrated seven years with this guy via a trip to the Mind Museum. We almost got eaten by a dinosaur! *nods nods*
A milestone in my career as a graduate student: I presented part of my thesis at the 12th National Symposium on Marine Science. Realized that the majority of marine science students at the conference were female! Yay women of science!
After the conference, went on a side trip to Padre Burgos in southern Leyte to dive in Sogod Bay. The Napantao site took my breath away (and the current almost swept me away!), but it was in the Santa Monica site that I got one of my treasured photos from the trip.
Adrian finally got to swim with the fishes!
It was the week after this that supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) smacked into the Visayas.
November: My photo was recognized as “Highly Commended” at the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2013, in the category Best Photography for Responsible Tourism. This is the greatest achievement of my career in sustainable tourism thus far. I waited up to get the results via live tweets. It was really weird, waiting to get the results of something so important via tweet, but their live stream wasn’t working. I was invited to go the awards ceremony in London but had to pay my own pay. Erm graduate student + recently umployed = no funds = thanks, but no thanks.
I also started writing articles for the Science and Technology section of GMA News Online! I love science and I love sharing science so this was an amazing opportunity. Just two articles so far (the ARRAS kite photography project and the new species of nudibranch Tritonia khaleesi) but they’re the start of more to come 🙂 [By the way, the lead author of the T. khaleesi paper replied to my article with a link to a video of T. khaleesi prior to mating. I googled/stalked and couldn’t find him leaving comments on other articles about the discovery. Booyah!]
December: raised funds for the victims of typhoon Yolanda via cause-play. This fund-raising project hit even harder because the beneficiaries were students in UP Diliman whose families were from the affected areas. One night of costuming raised over Php 15,000 in donations.
And finally, I got to spend Christmas at home! After two years in a row of spending it working, it felt fantastic to finally be with my family and friends.
What to look forward to in 2014: finishing my master’s degree (PLEASE!), finding a new job (can’t believe how difficult it is to find a job in sustainable tourism), and saving up for my own condo. Allons-y!