2018 felt so long yet it went by so quickly. It’s the year that really made me realize we should cherish every moment and live life to the fullest because we never know what will happen next.
I thought I won’t beat my record last 2017 of traveling 11x in the near future but now that I’m writing this entry, I just realized that I (unconsciously) travelled more in 2018! A big factor that contributed to this is I went on a lot of business trips last year- something I’m super thankful of- work and play hard, as they say.
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of #SingTravels last 2018- my family, friends, strangers I met along the way, and followers who always show their virtual support, especially when I go on solo trips. I have truly gained so much from all my trips last year- practical life lessons, great memories, invaluable experiences, and relationships I’ll cherish forever.
With that, let me give you a quick recap of the Best of 2018 #SingTravels:
I would spend almost every single day of my college days in UP with Aileene, Yna, and Caitlin but of course, things changed after graduating. Cait and I entered corporate world, Aileene went to Law school, and Yna migrated to US- that’s why I’m super happy this barkada trip tradition still pushed through. We might have skipped a trip together last 2017 but we all still feel so blessed that our schedules aligned and made really good memories in Bali- our best #CABY trip so far!
This work trip came in as a wonderful surprise (learned about it 2 weeks before we left). I spearheaded the #GigixMaybelline launch in the Philippines late December 2017 that’s why I was tasked by our brand director to lead the PH team in Tokyo for the Asia Press Launch. Shared so many beautiful and unforgettable memories with actress Alexa Ilacad, our Maybelline girl Gabbi Garcia, and Gabbi’s manager Bianca- this includes me experiencing my 1st emergency trip to a hospital in a foreign land at 8 in the morning HAHA. Of course, seeing Gigi Hadid in person was the icing on the cake. I see her face in the visuals that I approve every day at work so meeting and seeing her LIVE definitely felt surreal.
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, BRUNEI
Super random but I wanted to scratch this country off my scratch map so I decided to explore it during the Chinese New Year holiday last year. It was a very chill trip as I got to finish all the touristy places in 1 day. The people there are really nice and warm and I got amazed at how obsessed the country is with fitness- random trivia: I personally think they have the 2nd best indoor cycling teaching style, after Ron’s Ride Rev classes.
EL NIDO, PHILIPPINES
I don’t get to travel around the Philippines that often since I find it harder to go around by myself (with all the land and sea transfers involved) so I’m super thankful our company outings are almost always held in some of the best spots around the country. It was my first time in Palawan and I enjoyed the right mix of chill-ness+ nature appreciation + adventure El Nido offered to us.
SYDNEY + MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
I repeatedly visited the same countries for the last 2 years and vowed to explore new countries this year- and Australia was actually the 1st trip I booked for 2019. I immediately fell in love with this place after less than 30 minutes of setting my foot in the country. Good food, amazing coffee, organized transportation system, and a great mix of busy-ness + chill-ness- I can definitely imagine living here in the future. Also, this was a solo trip but I didn’t feel alone at all as apparently, I have a lot of friends who have moved to Sydney and Melbourne so I got to catch up with them almost everyday.
Since I took on a new role at work towards the end of first half of this year, I needed to go on trips for onboarding and trainings- and this was the first of the series. Loved how the work days in SG were sandwiched with holidays so I was able extend and spend time with my best friend who’s been based in Singapore for more than a year now.
Surprise! I didn’t expect that I would be visiting Singapore again that soon HAHA. Was back for my onboarding with the APAC Chief Digital Officer + Team. Didn’t do much non-work stuff in this trip but glad to have squeezed in catch-up over meals in between with L’Oreal friends.
Where do I begin… Remember the NAIA Fiasco caused by the Xiamen Airlines Airplane skidding off the runway? I experienced the chaos first-hand (and documented the whole thing on my IG Story Highlights.) I was supposed to be in Taiwan for the long weekend before this trip but needed to cut my trip short ‘cause there was a sudden important meeting in Hong Kong. Even then, I was left with 2 days in Taiwan supposedly. However, due to the multiple cancellations caused by all the hullabaloo in the airport, I was left with literally 10 hours in Taiwan before my flight to Hong Kong. Nonetheless, I’m happy I didn’t give up despite all the rebooking complexities as the meeting in HK was a very fruitful one. Humbled to be surrounded by and learn from the different Chief Marketing Officers and Chief Digital Officers of L’Oreal across the Asia and the Pacific region.
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
I’ve been thinking of going to Seoul before the year ends but kept on putting off the idea as the ticket prices are really expensive. The day I finally decided to close my eyes and just book it as my Christmas Gift to myself, I received an email informing me that we’ll be having a work meeting in Seoul. Can you imagine how happy I was? Extended over the weekend to do café hopping, eat good food, and explore the hipster areas of this beautiful city.
I was invited last year to an international media trip but unfortunately, I needed to decline as I was launching the Gigi x Maybelline collection in the Philppines that time. I’m so happy that when I got the invite to this media trip this year, I still had leaves + the timing was okay. First cruise experience + good company + we even got to explore 3 cities/towns in Vietnam (Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Ho Chi Minh)– definitely a trip to remember!
Since the last stop of the cruise trip was Singapore and we were flying back home from there, I decided to extend just over the weekend to spend time with Kate. Love chill weekends doing what we used to do together back when she was still based in Ortigas: cycling, eat, have good coffee, and chill.
NEW YORK, USA
It feels surreal to see the city I’ve been dreaming of visiting since I was a child in person! Visited and stayed with my office barkada, Reisha, watched 5 Broadway Shows (highlight was HAMILTON!!!), ate lots of tacos, and explored Manhattan + Brooklyn via subway + by foot. New York, the City of Dreams, the City that Never Sleeps, was truly magical on its own charming ways.
I didn’t plan ANY trips to Singapore this year but surprisingly, this was my most visited foreign city this year HAHA. This was a very impromptu trip and was a result of me suddenly craving for spicy crab and Hainanese chicken, remembering that we have a long weekend coming up, and wanting to visit Kate (because she didn’t go back to Manila this year 🙁) One of the highlights of this trip was discovering a cool hipster movie theater- The Projector!
This was my nth time in Hong Kong (since we really need to land there at least once a year to maintain our residency status) but really, I always look forward to our family vacation every year! ‘Tis the season we get to drop work for a while (hehe), relax, eat good food, and enjoy each other’s company.
Capping off 2018 by spending the last few days of the year in my favorite city! People who are close to me are actually surprised that I didn’t get to spend that much time in Taiwan this year (well, one of the reasons for this was the airport fiasco since I was supposed to go there twice this year but ended up just visiting for real this Dec.) Taiwan always feels like home- I love strolling around the city with no itinerary set and just discover quaint cafes along the way. Of course, a highlight would be watching the Taipei 101 fireworks display once again- only this time, I didn’t need to rush to the airport to catch a 1am flight as I got a 7am one + we got a closer viewing area this time around.
Cheers to more travels and adventure this 2019 🙂