13 Highlights of 2013 (Part 2)

2013 is one hell of a rollercoaster ride for me. I can honestly say this has been my saddest and happiest year, my most eventful and most serene -- the year when I was at my richest and poorest, and at my most stupid and most wise.

I have gotten used to reminiscing awesome and not-so-awesome events at the end of each year, believing that both the good and the bad say something about what I am now. And you know what? I fucking love what and who I am right now: a not-so-happy but contented person who has learned a lot in a year, and who is ready to face whatever it is that awaits me in 2014! I’ve never been so ready! Lovelife na lang nga kulang eh, hahaha!

In my previous post, I wrote about the first six of the 13 highlights of my 2013. So now, let me share you the next awesome seven:

7. Visiting Chinese General Hospital Every Three Weeks for Chemotherapy

OK, first things first: I’m not the one under chemo, it’s my Tita. Second, it isn’t exactly an awesome thing but let me explain why it’s on the list.

Tita Cherry (or Nang-Nang, as I fondly call her) is my aunt and godmother, the woman who stole me from my mother (hahaha) when I was little. Many friends wonder why I live with my Tita and not with my parents, so here’s the short story: shortly after I was born, my mom contracted measles, and worried that I will catch it, she asked Tita to take care of me for a few weeks. My mom soon recuperated, but Tita has fallen in love with me and she refused to give me back and she went to the woods to hide me and she opened a portal to the other world (human world) so that my mom would never find me. And then in the human world, I was reborn as a ninja with the power of flames and I met a lady named Cherry, who adopted me and trained me to become a warrior. Hahahahaha!

Anyway, I was in Cebu with my mother when I heard the news: stage 2 breast cancer. Immediately we scheduled an operation. After that, adjuvant chemotherapy started.

Why it’s in this list is that I realized that my Tita, whom I treat like my second mom, isn’t getting any younger. And healthier. I want to give her things she wants and take her to places she likes—the way I did with my Mom in Cebu—but I haven’t had the chance to. Now that I got splashed on the face with cold water that is cancer, I am planning one of the many future out-of-town trips with her and maybe my sister and my mom. So I hope she recovers soon so we could start partying!

6. Getting Trained by Highly Acclaimed Coach Peter Townsend for Our First-Ever National Ranking

Our generous coach, Bong Marquez, who kept giving us wonderful memories year-round, brought us Peter Townsend early this year for the March National Ranking. It was my first national with my then-partner Onang, and certainly getting lessons from the best fired me up so much.

(Digression: People have no idea how expensive it is to get workshops from foreign coaches, especially those mentoring the world champions. An hour can cost as low as PhP 10,000. Imagine that. And I get that for free.)

His workshops were so remarkable, insightful, and helpful that during competition day, I felt like a wild animal aimed at devouring everyone. First Quarter Ranking wasn’t my best dance, but it was one of the competitions I really enjoyed—new partner, new knowledge, new techniques, new costume! Enough said!

More of the 2013 DSCPI First Quarter Ranking here.

5. Feeling All Feminine at the Lion’s Club Third Kind Competition

I knew I wouldn’t ever win a competition like this because (1) I’m not a comedian and (2) I’m not a comedian, but still I went ahead to do it for fun.

Third Kind (or Third World) is a special dancesport event where in males dance as females, and vice versa. Yes, in full costume.

All sweaty after the rounds -- don't judge me. Hahaha!
After competing in the morning with Onang and bagging 1 silver and 1 bronze plus 8,000 pesos (nyahaha), I changed out of my Latin top and into a green dress to burn the floor with BJ in the Third Kind event.

I must admit it felt really fun dancing like a woman—and also because ladies’ steps are so much easier than the men’s, yes, you heard that right, your heels are not an excuse—but to tell you the truth, I won’t do it ever again.

What can I say, it was fun while it lasted.

4. Meeting World Champions Neil Jones and Ekaterina Sokolova

This section can be summarized into four letters: FUCK.

Oh yeah!!!
Neil and Ekaterina are … fucking awesome. Amazing dancers. Cool people. Funny. Rowdy. Humble. Youthful. Talented. I don’t know what to say, it was just unbelievable.

Read more of my awesome experience with the world champions here.

3. Taking My Mom and My Sister to a Four-Day Food Trip in Cebu

Originally, this Cebu trip was only for the Dancesport sa Sugbu competition, but since majority of my friends backed out, I nearly went to Cebu alone. Thanks to my sister, my lifesaver; she booked my mom and herself a ticket to the Queen City, not just to take a vacation, but also to watch me compete with a borrowed partner, Krizzia.

After the competition where we reached only the semi-finals, I moved out of Waterfront and joined my family in their hotel. Then the food tour began.

Finally, I got to try the restaurants my best friend Alej and I skipped on our 2012 Cebu trip: Lantaw Floating, Zubuchon, Golden Cowrie, and Tablea Chocolate Café. These four places introduced me to some of the best dishes I’ve tasted this year.

More importantly, this is my mom’s first-ever plane ride, so it’s pretty special to her. And spending time with her for four days just talking and eating is pretty special to me too.

More of our Cebu food trippin' here.

2. Witnessing a Sunrise Above the Clouds and Digging a Hundred Meters Underground in Sagada

Sagada holds a pretty special place in my heart. Falling in love with it came to me as a surprise. I wasn’t too inclined towards the nature stuff, and Sagada was full of it. Unexpectedly, I wanted to live there.

Lush greenery. Fresh, cold air. Wooden houses. Ramshackle shops. Foggy mornings. I never thought the idea of living in the mountains could be so seductive—until I discovered Sagada, that is.

I was able to witness the two main attractions of Sagada: the Kiltepan sunrise, which took place on top of the clouds; and the depths of the Sumaguing and Lumiang caves, which featured interesting and dangerous rock formations. Both of which, I was able to experience for the first time.

I can’t tell you how beautiful it was in Sagada simply because the beauty is incommunicable—you have to be there and see it with your own eyes, feel it with your own skin. My Sagada trip gave me a lot of first-times, that’s probably why it’s so memorable.

More of Sagada here.

1. Exploring Hong Kong in Full OOTDs and OOTNs and Making It My Own Personal Gastropub

Ask my Hong Kong travel buddies what it is they like most about Hong Kong, and I guarantee you, they won’t say “The Peak” nor “Disneyland”.

I am positive, they will scream in unison: the party life!!!

OK call us shallow people. Superficial, slutty bitches. I don’t care. If you like drinking, dancing, and drinking while dancing, Hong Kong is the place to be. More specifically, Lan Kwai Fong. It’s the haven of partygoers and drunkards, the place where every color, every hue (is represented by me and you) comes together to have a good time. No, it’s not sex. It’s the total atmosphere. The lively music and the beer and the chatter. And the diversity: English, Caucasian, American, Asian, African, African-American, Australian, whatever. I fucking love it.

We love HK!!!
Don’t get me wrong, I loved Disneyland, it was my first time there, and visiting the theme park was a childhood dream that came true. I enjoyed Ocean Park, which had more exciting rides than Disneyland. The Victoria Peak took my breath away—seeing Hong Kong from its summit was a total blast. And I loved just going around the city with my winter clothes, shopping, looking at shops, drinking milk tea, eating street food—the experience was incomparable. But it was the party life that haunts me, even in my sleep, telling me to come back, come back.

Oh yes, Hong Kong. Don’t worry, I’ll be back.

More of my top 1 travel moment, Hong Kong, here.


There you go! My top 13 highlights of 2013! I really wish you enjoyed reading about my memories as much as I did reminiscing about them. Hopefully too, even if I sounded a bit crazy sometimes, you were able to pick up an insight or two.

I’m sure you also have your favorite moments, and I guess this post reminded you of your own experiences! For sure they’re as awesome as mine, if not even better!

Thank you for reading up to the end of this post. Happy New Year! And don’t forget, follow your dreams and make each day count!

pepe samson

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