So yes, it wasn't as exciting, but I'm here, about to regale you with the year that was, and all its memorable events. I'm hoping 2013 will be a year of more firsts, more risks, and more fun.
1. My day job. I'm now a recruitment assistant for a call center in Alabang where I handle the complete recruitment process from application to orientation. Getting a day job was my mom's idea, who couldn't get used to my freelance writing gig. She wanted me to get a regular job, and in a way she was right. I was gaining a lot of weight, and getting a regular job meant a credit card. My journey towards becoming a corporate slave began when I applied to become an HR staff for Zara (which I mentioned but did not name). I think they liked me, because they refused to accept my application as HR staff and were asking me to get an assistant manager post for Massimo Dutti, a more upscale label. I didn't want to work weekends and I wanted to also focus on Star, so I turned down the offer, even though it was extremely tempting.
I also applied at C3, a call center in BGC. I really wanted to work in the Fort because it's becoming the center of the social scene. I went through one interview and was instantly offered a job (HR assistant). However, since the company is still building its brand, the department is working overdrive to get the needed manpower. And they had work on Saturdays. The recruitment manager decided to cut Saturdays off my schedule but I still turned down the offer because of my commitment to the Star.
Right now I'm here at American Data Exchange I was recently regularized, and I love it here. I get to maintain my section at Star, add another writing gig to my plate, and still manage to go out. The hours are long, but the people are great and it gives me a sense of purpose. I made a lot of friends and even briefly participate in the Fun Committee, a group composed of managers that aims to make employees stay longer.
I had a lot of business opportunities this year but no matter how hard I try, I couldn't add more. Now, I'm pretty much happy with my three jobs. I think it's more than enough. But I'm about to start a small business with Nikko and I'm hoping it goes well.
2. My social life. Because of my three jobs, I couldn't get into more projects that would require too much attention. But I still did get to go out and have fun. In fact, I went out every weekend in 2012. I went to art shows and exhibits, musical plays, film festivals, seminars, premieres, launches, and parties. Some of my favorites were seeing Picasso's works at the Met, Art in the Park (which I wrote for the Star here), Carlos Celdran's Livin' La Vida Imelda, Gay Pride, Cinemalaya, the launch of The Manila Review, the Manila International Book Fair (where I got to buy most of Jessica Zafra's books and got to meet Alex Gilvarry who wrote From The Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant), the Bloom Arts Festival, and seeing Mamma Mia!, Battalia Royale (on its first production!), and Bona.
Photo from Calme de Gracia Calmerin
3. Erratum. Two years ago, I started Erratum, the annual journalism seminar of the student publication in my alma mater. It was a success, and I was happy to hear that the next editorial board decided to make it better. And they did. They got a bigger venue and more established speakers (my favorite being Rogue's Raymond Ang). I am proud to say that the second run was a lot better than the first, and I was touched that they tapped me to give the "inspirational speech." My message was that you don't need to come from a big school to get into publishing, but that it helps if you know people in the industry. As much as I wanted to inspire future journalists, I didn't want to baby them. I'm not sure if I did well, but I got a shirt and some money, which I blew off the following day.
4. Writing gigs. I'm still with the Star, and I celebrated my one-year anniversary last November. I have a new section called Supreme Picks, where I highlight the events people should be going to during the weekend. I have a new writing gig for When In Manila, the online magazine. I'm not as active as I want to be because of my two other jobs but I've gone to several fun events, such as the launch of Book Below Zero, a TOMS event, Miss Resorts World Manila, the launch of SM Accessories' new line, the launch of Parker's new collection, the launch of Ingersoll's new line, a MUNI event, and on several critiquing trips with Nikko to some restaurants.
I also managed to get myself into Fantastic Filipino Fiction, a collection of horror stories to be published by Dean Alfar and Kenneth Yu. My story was about cannibalism.
5. Thailand, Baguio, Ilocos, Subic. My year wouldn't be complete without travel, and this year, I was able to complete my goal of going to four cities. I went to Thailand with the folks, and it was such a magnificent experience that I vowed to visit every year. Bangkok is a city steeped in culture with touches of modernity that it's fun to explore the contradiction. Plus the shopping is intensely cheap and fun. So far, it is my favorite foreign city.
Of course, the one picture that had to survive was an unflattering one. Taken from Nikko's Instagram
On a whim, Nikko and I went to Baguio for the weekend in June. We really didn't do much, just walk around and check out bookstores and shops then go home and eat. We spent much of the weekend just eating and shopping. But one of the highlights of our trip was visiting the BenCab Museum, which was in itself a work of art. Gorgeous, gorgeous. I didn't blog about my trip because sadly, I lost my camera a week after at Enchanted Kingdom.
I was slated to go to Capiz in late October but cancelled because of the fear of aswangs (I wasn't afraid, but people pressured me not to go). I was disappointed so imagine my joy when Nikko invited me to an all-expense paid trip to Ilocos. It was for a feature for When In Manila and he tagged me along. Ilocos has been one of my dream destinations and I got to see Laoag (empanada!), Paoay (sand dunes!), Pagudpud (beaches!) and Vigan (longganisa!) I had a great weekend just disconnecting from the real world through historic and nature trips and early nights in.
My last out-of-town trip was Subic with the folks. We checked in at this beach hotel for two days and spent the time gorging on delicious seafood we prepared ourselves. The beach was pretty standard but the company (and the food) was absolutely divine.
Photo from here
6. The Born This Way Ball. I was one of the first few people who found out Gaga was performing here (the perks of working in a newspaper - I also got news of One Direction endorsing Penshoppe months before it came out) and I was really excited to catch the show. I didn't catch The Fame Ball Tour in 2009, but she'll be promoting a lot of songs for The Born This Way Ball so it was an opportunity I couldn't miss. I watched with Nikko and it was such an experience. I felt that Gaga finally stepped out of Madonna's shadow and is making her individual mark in the industry. The show was dark, a little strange, but original and full of energy. I found myself dancing to many of the songs - my favorites were Born This Way, Scheiße, and Marry The Night. I screamed myself hoarse that night, but it was exhilarating. In true Gaga form, she empowered the outcasts, the gay community, and those who ever felt different. You can feel the sincerity in her cause, and it made me proud to be who I am, flaws and all.
7. My love life, or lack thereof. Like last year, my love life hasn't been exciting. This is my third year to be single, and I don't feel bad about it. I once had a feeling that I wouldn't have time for boyfriends as soon as I graduate from college and I was right. I'm busy with my three jobs that I don't even think about entering a relationship. I go out on dates, have fun, hook up, but nothing else. Sometimes I feel lonely and wish I was in a relationship, but I haven't met the one guy who will sweep me off my feet and make me go gaga.
8. Getting an iPhone. I'm not really a gadget person and was really happy with my beat-up Nokia phone. I thought about getting an iPhone but quickly dismissed it, thinking I would eventually get bored with the apps. I'm happy with whatever that can text and make calls, so I never got one. That is, until my mom got me an iPhone 4 as a Christmas gift. I think she didn't tell me she was going to get me one because she knew I was going to say no, after what happened when she offered me an iPad for my birthday this year.
I'm addicted to it. I can't get enough of the apps, which has one for absolutely everything. I love Viber, Grindr, iBooks, and the apps for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Blogger. My current addiction is the TED app, where I can have access to all the talks. I must admit, life has become easier and more convenient with the iPhone, and I can't believe it took me this long to get on the bandwagon.
9. Relatives coming over from the US. This year was extra special because my relatives came over from the US to celebrate Christmas. In September, my grandmother and my cousin arrived; my grandmother will be staying here permanently, while my my cousin stayed for three weeks for his break. His family arrived for Christmas and stayed for two weeks, where we shuttled from our house, Katipunan (aunt's house), and Antipolo (uncle's house). It was a pleasant kind of pandemonium having our family semi-complete (the only one missing is an uncle who didn't come home from the US due to work), and the Christmas and New Year's parties were beyond awesome. They haven't been here for five years, and I'm hoping it won't take another five years for us to meet again.