Life Lately

2016: Behind my Best Nine

2016 annual review

Much has been said about 2016 being the worst year ever. Here’s how the year looked like to me.

#1 The Yard, Quezon City

Photo has been used for Manila Nightlife article which has been published also in the Manila Bulletin. It was during the night spent with other blogging friends sampling out the must try’s of the famous food park.

#2 Batad

Went with TrailAdventours as a volunteer guide to the famed Batad and Banaue Rice Terraces. My inner grade school child squealed in delight as she saw the sight only previously seen in books.

#3 BGC murals

Because I’m a lover of wall art, me and my friends hunted them down at BGC. It was actually a triple date in celbration of Toni’s birthday. Photos have been used for my third Life Lately installment.

#4 Caramoan Islands

Won a trip to Caramoan Islands with TravelBook PH. Saw the raw and rugged beauty of the islands that have spurred many Survivor episodes.

#5 El Nido

Gone to Palawan, the world’s best island,Β cramped with Europeans clad in bikinis that made me feel like a foreigner. Saw the splendid beaches, crystal clear water, magnificent limestone formation that tourists all over the world fly in for.

#6 Guimaras Island

At the start of the year, we missed the Ati-Atihan Festival in Aklan by a week. So instead, we backpacked the entire Panay Island — taking buses from Aklan to Antique to Iloilo to Guimaras Island to Capiz and back. Still zero plans to go to Boracay.

#7 Intramuros

After taking up MBA this year, I hardly had the time to go too far from Manila. Took mountain climbing trips, museum visits, and city tours instead. Priceless when we took Dad, a history teacher, to Intramuros and seeing him marvel and pause to read each historical marking.

#8 Masungi Georeserve

A chance meeting with the owners of Masungi Georeserve, who at the time faced crisis on possible closure due to permits. Went on a personal visit where it was clarified that politics and land grabbing were behind the threat of closure. Saw the beauty first-hand and wrote in the name of the #FreeMasungi movement.

#9 Mt. Batulao

One of the few mountain climbing trips this year. Went to investigate the boycott of Mt. Batulao in the name of illegal fees and collections. Later this year, it has been lifted. We are now freer to see this seemingly dinorsaur’s back mountain again.


It was also the year that I….

  • Contributed to various publications, namelyΒ Cebu Smile Magazine, Manila Bulletin, Definitely Filipino, looloo, and Thought Catalog.
  • Won an Oppo F1S phone!!!
  • Earned my first commission at affiliate marketing.
  • Became top contributor level at TripAdvisor.
  • Read Brene Brown and Harriet Lerner books.
  • Reviewed a record-breaking number of accommodations.
  • Briefly enjoyed PokemonGo.
  • Voted for the first time…
  • …and avoided posting anything political at the ongoing Facebook shitstorm.
  • Climbed fewer mountains, Mt. Sembrano and Mt. Balagbag.
  • Went to Coron as an assignment for Manila Bulletin.
  • Started my MBA journey, which is the highlight of this year!
  • Purposefully gotten myself left behind to explore Baguio City with perchance strangers.
  • Finished the entire Harry Potter and Star Wars series.
  • Joined fewer Ultimate frisbee tournaments, but still played pickups frequently at Sunken Garden.


Lots of my millennial peers say 2016 is the worst year ever. Maybe 2016 didn’t turn out the way we wanted to be. On my end, there is a long list to be thankful for. Now, 2017, let’s see what you hold for us!

This post is an entry to Pinoy Travel Bloggers 2016 Blog Carnival hosted by PinoyAdventurista!

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  • Reply
    March 17, 2017 at 1:56 PM

    Wow, you did have an amazing year! I am so happy for you, I had a so-so year. But this year has alreaady been great and is looking even more promising! Mountain climbing, its something I’ve always wanted to do but am too scared to even try. lol, kidos to you for even thinking about mountain climbing…

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      March 19, 2017 at 2:07 PM

      Hope you’ll try it this year! Maybe start with mini-hikes first.

  • Reply
    EG III
    January 25, 2017 at 5:24 PM

    I don’t agree with all that talk about 2016 being the worst ever. It looks like it was good to you and it was awesome for me as well (Although I’ve still never read a Harry Potter or Star Wars…GASP).
    Also, The Yard looks like a pretty chill place…I’ll be in Manila this weekend so I might have to check it out!

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      January 28, 2017 at 11:35 AM

      Haha! No, I just watched the entire series! But for 2017, I’m already on Book 6 of Harry Potter. I’ll probably rewatch the movies after that! There are so many revelations.

  • Reply
    January 19, 2017 at 9:25 PM

    HP and Star Wars films? Yay! The force is now with you! Hahaha. Maybe others say that 2016 was terrible because a lot of famous and notable people died. It was like a Game of Thrones in real life for them. Wow. Congrats on blogging, winning and masters! Seems like 2016 is a big year for you! πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      January 20, 2017 at 8:25 PM

      Thanks Kristine! I bet it was big for you too. We both are in a Master’s program after all. Hope we finish soon! But as for me, it def won’t happen this year yet. Haha.

      • Reply
        January 22, 2017 at 1:15 AM

        You’re welcome! But, I think mine’s waaaaay longer than yours. Haha. Your classes are here in Taft or a different campus? πŸ˜€

        • Reply
          Sam Coronado
          January 25, 2017 at 1:04 AM

          Taft AND Makati haha depending on the subjects. But I’m trying to make it mostly Taft. How about you where do you study, and it’s MBA too right? πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    January 16, 2017 at 10:21 PM

    Seems like you’d accomplished so much last 2016! I am very happy for you. These pictures just show that our fondest memories are not (directly) things that can be bought, but experience. πŸ™‚ 2016 was pretty eventful for me, too. Lots of twists and turns, but at the end, I loved it. Wishing you a better and wonderful year ahead! πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      January 16, 2017 at 11:29 PM

      Thanks Mimi πŸ™‚ I completely agree. Experience makes me so much happier than material things. At the end, I really think it’s the former that counts. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    January 14, 2017 at 6:58 AM

    What an incredible year of adventures and achievements! Congratulations on everything you accomplished last year! I hope 2017 is just as full of excitement! 2016 was definitely a rough year for me, but 2017 is looking up!

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      January 16, 2017 at 11:27 PM

      Thank you. At least we now have a new chance to have it better. Good luck!

  • Reply
    January 11, 2017 at 9:58 PM

    This is a great list. Seems like you did some pretty awesome things in 2016. 2016 was nice, and I’m enjoying 2017 even more. I’m confident that this will be an amazing year with a lot of opportunities. And I’m curious wat your top list will be by the end of this year ;). Hopefully lots of good things will happen.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      January 12, 2017 at 5:30 PM

      I hope so too Carola! I’m half-scared, half-excited πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Marge Gavan
    January 6, 2017 at 3:48 AM

    Based on this I think you’ve had a pretty amazing year. I was actually quite surprised that many people consider 2016 as the worse year. I’m not sure where they based this on, was it because of the unpleasant world events that happened? Because to me, 2016 is a pretty amazing year. I was able to travel a lot, I even went to Japan, and yeah blog sponsorship, I had a lot of those last year. Also, I got a new job in 2016, which is a lot better and challenging than all of my previous jobs.

    Anyway, I hope our luck would continue this 2017. Here’s the best year yet!

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      January 6, 2017 at 11:28 PM

      Marge! Happy that your year is happy too. It was based, I think, on 2016 “claiming lives” of famous people. While I feel sad for some of our losses, well technically you can’t fault it to 2016. That’s life! Haha. Happy to hear about your trip to Japan and blog sponsorships. I also hope we’ll have more of those this year πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Me-An Clemente
    January 5, 2017 at 12:24 AM

    That’s truly a remarkable list of things to be thankful for. We really have to appreciate what we have than to compare ourselves to other so we’ll be happy. I’m happy to be a part of your 2016. Hoping that this year we’ll still have opportunities to go on an adventure whether near or far. Also, I’m happy for you that you’re taking your masters degree.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      January 5, 2017 at 6:05 PM

      Super glad I met you this year, too, Me-an! Cheers to F.E.L.T.! And hoping to see you girls soon πŸ™‚

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