Firsts in 2016 (highlights)

I guess my 2016 ended a bit late. It’s been a blast for everyone. A lot were saying that 2016’s been their worst year ever. Well I’ve experienced a few challenging situations as well. But I would like to focus more on what 2016 has brought me. I guess I had a difficult time thinking of whether staying or letting go of 2016 (hence the late blog post haha).

Here are 5 highlights:

1. First International Conference

Participants of the Case for Space Conference (photo by UNDP)

I will definitely remember 2016 for this. As you may have probably read (or not), I traveled to Bangkok, Thailand to participate in a conference. The event was organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

It was an incredible experience. I made a lot of friends. It was my first time to travel abroad alone. It has always been my dream to go to places and feel relevant at the same time. I’m ultimately glad that I was able to contribute to projects which will benefit a lot of people. Hopefully, this experience won’t be the last. In fact, I’m keeping an eye out for other international opportunities.

2. Enrolled in an online course


At first I thought this idea will just be taxing, and I won’t probably remember most of the lessons. But it was cool to find out that I can manage studying a real course online.

This is another first-time experience for me. Online learning is proof that there are many ways one can gain and share knowledge even when outside the classroom. I decided to enroll because I wanted to find out how it feels like to complete an online course aside of course from knowing about the subject I enrolled in (Social Norms, Social Change). I was also inspired when a friend of mine finished a Marketing course online.

The course is still going on. I still need to finish one and a half weeks of lectures. Hopefully, I get to have the certificate (but I have to pay for $45 haha!).

3. Maintained a good standing in college

I never thought I would actually made it out alive after a grueling semester. Everything was almost falling apart.

But I am very thankful that I was able to survive and become a College Scholar. I thank (again) everyone who made it work. I am promising myself that I will continue to thrive and be the best I can. This is for all those Filipinos paying taxes for my education.

4. Joined two organizations

UP MUN family and workmates during the last day of the SLMUNC 2016

This has been a fruitful year indeed after I joined two organizations. Last March 2016, I officially became a member of the UP Model United Nations (shout out to the best batch, Fortior Concordia!). It was an incredible journey as it was my first time experiencing the so-called “process” when joining an organization in UPLB (it’s a culture). After the finals, I felt like my abilities and capacities were put to the test. I was able to realize further my strengths and weaknesses.

This was during the soft launching of the AYLA-PH Laguna (photo by AYLA-PH Laguna)

Late 2016, I also joined an international organization known as the ASEAN Youth Leaders Association-Philippines Laguna (AYLA-PH Laguna). I wanted to be part of this organization because I saw how I can fully use my devcom skills in its projects. I was also amazed on how they implement and evaluate their initiatives. Hearing the members’ stories were truly heartwarming, and it can really spark a fire inside one’s heart.

So far I’m just waiting for the annual YConnect Conference for me to become a fully pledged member of AYLA-PH Laguna. The productivity continues this year!

5. Learned how to ride a bicycle

Biking adventure during the fam’s trip to Baguio (apologies for the blurred photos huhu)

As a kid, I’ve never learned how to ride a bike. My mom always tells me that it’s too dangerous especially that a lot of road accidents involve either bicycles or motorcycles.

But when the fam went to Baguio, I taught myself how to ride the bicycle since I was told that there’s a biking park there. When we got to the park, I saw how fast the kids are with their bikes. It made me feel nervous as I fear that I might fall. It was also a bit embarrassing since I’m already 19 yet a lot of the kids there are much better than I am in riding the bike.

Nonetheless, it’s a new skill learned. Next up: driving.


I guess if I am to choose which one word best describes 2016, it would be “first” as many of the experiences I shared were first-time experiences. Another word, if permitted, could be “relevant” since a lot of the events were also life-changing events.

2017 is already here. Hopefully, I will be able to live up to what I’ve set in 2016. It’s been a thrilling roller-coaster, but it was fun and exciting as well.

To all of you out there, make 2017 a far better year. Try something new. Make your “firsts” happen.

Photos are all mine otherwise stated.


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