14 Highlights of 2014 (Part 2)

Hello! Welcome to my first 2015 post! In Part 1, I recounted the first 7 of the best highlights of my 2014. In this post, let me tell you about the next awesome seven:

7. Meeting More Fellow Bloggers

While I’m lucky to have been invited to a lot of foodie events this year, I’m even more fortunate to have met a lot of bloggers—veterans and newbies—who have the same passion with food, writing, and photography as I do. It’s always nice to meet people whom you share the same interests with, and even more fun learning what they do beyond the blogging.

For instance, in our F1 Hotel staycation, I got to meet THE Spanky Enriquez, Camille of The Soshal Network, Kat of The Hungry Kat, JP Valdes of Berto in Brogues, Eric and Jazmin of Eric-Jaz Foodies, and Yen and Chuckie Dreyfus—to mention some. I got reunited with Renz of A Not so Popular Kid as well. I was in a few events with B’ley of Blogalag, as well as with one of my favorites, Gerry of Dude for Food. Among the travel bloggers, I got to meet the faces behind Pinas Muna (Ramil and Edgar) and Turista Trails (Karl). Hearing about their stories and listening to their expertise were awesome.

6. Throwing a Kiddie Party for Nanay’s 50th Birthday

We didn’t want a pretentious, restrictive party for our Nanay’s 50th birthday (yes, she’s 50!) but we wanted something special so my siblings and I decided to surprise her with something really fun: a kiddie party. That’s right! A fairy-themed McDonald’s party with children’s games and cute party favors and mascots.

As we wanted it to be an intimate affair, we only invited family and really close friends. Our bunso, whom I influenced with my love for dancesport, agreed to do a chacha number with me as a surprise for our mother—boy, was she delighted to see her sexy daughter in full Latin costume. We got her a customized cake that matches her name (Rose) and insisted with the McDonald’s people that we inject our own program—to which they gladly obliged. The funniest thing is, my mom was wearing a dress more fit for a pretentious, restrictive affair, LOL! The day ended with the 6 of us going wild in a bar.

5. Celebrating an Uneventful Birthday

Whereas last year’s birthday bash was a total chaos, this year’s was exceptionally laid-back and intimate. To prepare for it, I did nothing (hahaha) to spare me of any responsibilities and expectations. I didn’t plan any parties, didn’t try to assemble friends for any drinking sessions or treats—as I told you, I did nothing.

Well, my closest friends did something and they surprised me with a birthday salubong. OK, I knew a salubong was in the works, but the real surprise was not knowing who will actually come. And I was surprised with the people who did. Basically, we just drank and caught up with each other’s lives—and they gave me the sleaziest, porn-worthiest cake ever. On the other hand, my family just prepared a simple feast for me at home. We just ate and drank a few bottles by night, I opened a few lovely gifts, and that was the happiest birthday so far.

4. Marveling at the Beauty of the Bangui Windmills

Some things in our bucket lists can be anticlimactic—you know, feeling underwhelmed and feeling as if the expectation was more than the realization—but seeing the Bangui windmills was definitely not like this. I never expected the humongous structures to enthrall me; they were just so perfect. I have a big fascination towards towering figures, and Bangui gave me what? A year’s worth of high? It was simply breathtaking.

After absorbing the scene around me with my eyes, my nose, and my skin, my friend Kat and I proceeded to do what nobody else has done with these windmills: take photos with them in dancesport poses. I seriously scrolled though a lot of Google images—and while there were a number of nice jump shots, there weren’t any dips of New Yorks. Do I sound so smug? You bet I am. Haha!

3. Relaxing at the Pearl Farm Beach Resort in Davao

I had my much-needed summer break when we went to Davao for the 4th Philippine Summer Ball competition. I wasn’t in the competitor lineup—instead, I was part of the organizing staff, assisting the scrutineer and handling the paperwork.

But the highlight of my Davao trip was going to Pearl Farm Beach Resort—an expanse of land (and sea) that spans both Samal and Malipano. The luxurious resort was the ultimate venue for relaxation! We did nothing but lounge into the beautiful infinity pool, walk along the white, clean shore, take pictures of the perfect surroundings, eat scrumptious food, soak in the Jacuzzi while listening to reggae music, and drink ice cold albeit overpriced beer. We even had a chance to relax in the most expensive villa.

2. Riding the Paoay Sand Dunes

The best part of my Ilocos trip last July wasn’t reliving history or getting some sun—it was riding the sand dunes of Paoay on a 4x4. The experience was the most exhilarating one I’ve had this year. We arrived at Paoay thoroughly exhausted from a tour that started very early, but once I was in the monster vehicle, all tiredness and foot pains went away.

Zooming down steep slopes. Almost flipping over while taking sharp turns. Riding bumpy terrain. And all the while, the humid sea air blowing on your face, making you darker and darker with each passing minute. I even got to try sandboarding—which I managed to perfect (i.e. reach the bottom without falling off) after 3 trials. Yay!

1. Getting Wild and Cozy in Boracay

Undeniably, Boracay is the best destination I went to this year—and for a variety of reasons: (1) the laid-back mornings which are so conducive to doing nothing—I literally just drank beer near the shore and took in every detail around me; (2) the wild, crazy nights of partying, which resulted in so many memory lapses but also so new friends from around the globe; (3) the Boracay Pub Crawl, which is agreeably the #1 activity in the island with its ability to turn strangers into friends; and (4) the seemingly endless options of activities.

Unlike most beaches, drinking by the shore is allowed even at night—and amazingly, the shore isn’t littered with bottles, chips wrappings, and cigarette butts. I’m not adventurous when it comes to water, but for those who are, you’ll get high on Boracay. As for me, I would probably come back and do the same—lie on my back with some San Miguel within reach, wait for the sun to come down a bit, swim a bit, then head back to my hotel to prepare to be smashed. Well, maybe I’ll check out the other islands and quieter beaches other than White Beach next time!

There you have it—my awesome 2014! In closing, I would like to thank everyone who touched my life and shared moments with me last year—even those who are not mentioned here. I believe that everything—even the tiniest detail—contributes to how I am right now, and everything has a purpose.

For my readers, let’s all hope for a bigger and better blog for 2015—more delicious pictures, more engaging writing, and more relevant topics! Thanks for reading up to the end of this post—without you, honestly, all the previous articles up to this one would be totally useless. So thank YOU and keep coming back! I hope to meet you and dance, drink, travel, or eat with you!

If you like my posts and would love regular updates on travel photos, food finds, restaurant reviews, dance articles, and drunken tales, follow Pepe Samson on Facebook!

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