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My 2018 in review

Short story: it was an awesome crazy edge-of-your-seat year for me.

Long story: this year I was able to accomplish a lot of things I told myself that I’m going to accomplish. Maybe not all, but maybe I was at least halfway there. Some of them I did not tell myself I’m going to accomplish, I just kind of did.

So yeah, here’s a quick rundown of what happened in my 2018.

Greetings from The Great Barrier

Cairns, Port Douglas, and The Great Barrier Reef

My 2018 started with a bang. On February of this year, I went on a solo travel to one of my dream destinations: The Great Barrier Reef.

Enjoying the view of Bat Reef in The Great Barrier from above

As many of my friends know, I am a passionate scuba diver. I love the ocean so much and if there’s one place that I find myself in total peace and silence, it would be under water.

It was also on this trip that I got to do my first solo road trip. Though it wasn’t really the best time to go to Cairns during the early months of the year (wet season), the experience of being on the road for hours just by myself was satisfying to say the least. It was the kind of quiet that I think I needed at that time.

Bungy jumping with AJ Hackett Cairns

The Regional New South Wales

Once I had the confidence of driving long distances, I knew I couldn’t be stopped.

As soon as I had the chance, I went on driving down south and west of Regional NSW. It was this time that I was able to tell myself that I really am in Australia. The scenery was gorgeous and breathtaking.

It was also during these times that I met Mark and Eugene, some of the craziest coolest friends I have ever met.

Sunrise above Sea Cliff Bridge

Check out my Regional NSW post HERE.

Finally an Australian Resident

Every Filo (or at least most) who comes to Australia, either as a student or has a temporary working visa, dreams of becoming an Australian Resident.

The Universe must be smiling down on me when, after months of anticipation, anxiety, and a wee bit of stress, I finally have my permanent Australian resident visa. Thank heavens!

I have got to be the luckiest bloke in town as I got my PR less than two years from arriving in Australia.

Coming home and the making of #AkoAngSiargao

For the first time in almost two years since I moved to Australia, I was able to come home to The Philippines (I was not able to go home the previous year because the whole family decided to go somewhere else).

The main agenda of coming home was for my brother’s wedding (not my biological brother though). The happiness I had seeing my good ‘ol buddies and friends was overflowing and the reunions and gatherings that ensued was out of this world. Well, at least out of my world.

Months prior to coming home however, I was already in touch with Jed, my other brother from a different mother. I wanted us to make something, a campaign, a video documentary, whatever, for Siargao.

Siargao is a beautiful paradise and it deserves the best treatment from the locals and visitors alike. With the fear of whatever happened to Boracay happening to Siargao, Jed and I came up with #AkoAngSiargao. Well, it was mainly his idea. I just provided the support.

#AkoAngSiargao will come out summer next year.

Moments in Bali, Indonesia

This year, I was able to tick off four items on my bucket list. The first was to see The GBR and the second was to go diving in Bali and see manta rays.

While my trip to Bali was supposed to be solo, a good long-time online friend decided to come hitch with me. She goes by the name Emme. She’s crazy and loves to travel, too.

Kelingking Beach, Nusa Penida
Kelingking Beach, Nusa Penida

We were set to go when, weeks before the trip, she told me her cousin Mae would love to join. And so two becomes three.

No later than a week when Waqui, one of my closest girl friends (I consider her my younger sister) from Davao, found out we are going to Bali and so she wanted to join.

Waqui and I in Nusa Penida

So a travel adventure that was supposed to be solo now ended up with the four of us. Not complaining though. Sipping martini’s and tequila’s while waiting for the sun to set in Seminyak Beach is never boring with those beautiful ladies.

The three ladies who made my Bali trip more amazing: Mae, Emme, Waqui

Check out my travel blog about Bali HERE.

New job, new place

Probably the best thing to happen to me this year was finding this current job that I have. Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling and going out, but that’s something that anybody can have, given sufficient resources.

However, it is not everyday that you meet someone who will tell you that they love their job. In fact, I love my job so much that I miss going to the office after all the year-end holidays.

Note: unfortunately, due to privacy concerns, I cannot post photos of my office and officemates. But trust me, they’re awesome!

After settling in with my new office, workmates, and work stuff, I was set to look for the perfect place to call my home. And boy oh boy was I one lucky bastard.

Just as I was on the verge of giving up, I found the perfect three-bedroom granny flat in a good suburb. I needed my place to have three bedrooms so I can accommodate friends and family who’s visiting Sydney. The other bedroom is, of course, for my flatmate.

Home sweet home

My flatmate? That crazy guy who goes by the name Eugene.

Got my Lady

Initially when I arrived in Australia, buying a car was not on my mind. I kept thinking, “why would I need a car when I can easily commute around?” That’s pretty much accurate.

BUT, and this is a big but, for someone who LOVES going on road trips, outdoors, quick getaway travels, I think I really need to have a car. Apart from that, I won’t be able to do side gigs on the weekend and after-office hours without one.

So, meet Lady.

Finale: The Great Ocean Road and the Regional Victoria

My year started with ticking off one item on my bucket list. That alone should give me satisfaction. But lo and behold, my year is ending with ticking off TWO items.

For my Christmas holiday, I flew to Melbourne and wandered around Regional Victoria. I was initially torn between going to New Zealand and Tasmania. As it turned out, the airfares to those two were sky-high and was way out of budget. So, I kind of settled with Melbourne / Victoria.

Totally not regretting that decision.

I mean, why should I?

Seeing the sun rise above Yarra Valley on a hot air balloon – check!
Driving along The Great Ocean Road – check!
Seeing the 12 Apostles – check!

Sunrise over Yarra Valley
Driving along The Great Ocean Road

Oh wait, that’s actually THREE items off my list.

I’m really thankful for all the blessings that I received this year. I’m quite eager and excited to know what 2019 holds for me.

Handara Gate, Bali
Me to 2019: come at me bro!
Handara Gate, Bali

So that’s pretty much how my 2018 went. How did yours go?

Oh, and this year I turned 32.

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