Misadventures: Back in Baguio – Day 1

It’s been 10 years ago since I last step foot in one of the coldest place in the Philippines. Baguio sure is the Summer’s capital, as people would flock this place to escape the scorching heat of the city.

I’ve been planning this trip since forever, so when a friend asked me to go with her, I immediately started planning. Unfortunately, not all plans go as you want them to, so instead of cancelling everything, I decided to go ahead with the plan, even if it means I’ll go alone. As they said, change the plan and not the goal.

I left the office early in the morning to catch the bus going to Baguio at 3:30 AM. I decided to board the JoyBus Executive coach, since the travel time is lesser.

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What I love about the bus is that there is so much leg room. There is a comfort room inside the bus, and it took just 4 hours to reach Baguio.

I arrived the City of Pines at around 7 AM. I went to where I had my hotel reservation, which is Bloomfield hotel. Good thing there is already an available room, and although I had to pay extra since it’s an upgrade – I’m originally booked in a deluxe room without balcony, and I had to upgrade with the one with balcony.

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The room I had is just right for a solo traveller like me. It’s clean and feels homey. It has the basic necessity that I needed during my stay.  I resisted the urge to lay down on the bed and sleep, because I wanted to visit as much places as I can before sleepiness takes over my body (I came from the night shift, so I’m gonna be knocked out soon, that I know).

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It was a good thing that I chose to stay in this hotel, because it’s right at the heart of Session Road. It’s near SM Baguio. It’s surrounded by nearby restaurants, and bus terminals. It was easy for me to get a cab to roam around the city.

After I checked in, and settled my things inside the room, I began my Baguio misadventure. Since I just came from my shift, I decided to have breakfast first at Cafe By The Ruins, but then the taxi driver also didn’t know where that is. Instead, I decided to head to the Wright Park and The Mansion first.

The Wright Park is located in front of the The Mansion, which is the President’s residence in Baguio. The first thing that got my attention was the array of beautiful  flowers being sold by the entrance. This park also  has horses, which you can ride on. Unfortunately, I was not able to take pictures of the pink haired horses, just the flowers.

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There is a stairs from the park that leads up to the pool of pines and the mansion. When I was told that I need to walk up the stairs to get to the other side, I was shocked. I am scared of stairs and heights, and I’m not even sure if I can get there without being too breathless.

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Good thing I was able to reach the top. From there, I was greeted by the Wright Park circle. A few steps away form is the pool of pine. It was on my way back that I realized that the pool has Kois in it.

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At the other side of the street stands The Mansion. I was able to enter the place, but only just behind the gate.

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Before I go to my next destination, I headed to Pizza Volante, which is right across the park, to have a quick breakfast. I ordered the Kenny George Pizza, Hot Chocolate and Mama Lou’s Apple Pie.

The pizza I got is a 6 inches one, since I also have the apple pie. The Kenny George pizza contains sausage, pepperoni, onions, bell peppers, and mozzarella cheese. Although the pizza is small, it made up for the toppings. I was already on my third slice, and I somehow felt full, but there’s still the apple pie.

Mama Lou’s Apple Pie was a big one. I was surprise how big the serving is, and how much the apple filling is. It was served hot and with a side of maple syrup. I’m not sure how it stated without the maple syrup, but the apple pie and maple syrup combination tasted great, although I think I have put a little more syrup than I should that’s why it tasted too sweet.

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Plus, the staff is very accommodating and helpful. They were able to answer some of my questions regarding getting around Baguio.

My next stop is the Mines View Park. I was a little bit hesitant going to this park, because the last time  I was here, I got a little bit dizzy. Plus, looking below the deck makes me scared.

There is an observation deck in the park, where you can view the mountains of Benguet. But before you can reach that, you need to go down the stone stairs. My shoes were quite slippery, so I had to be careful with my steps, or I may end up falling on the ground, or worse, down the deck.

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The view of the mountain is breath taking and very relaxing. I love feeling the cold wind from the deck. There were a lot of people in the park, so it’s hard to take better pictures of the view, or even go down the deck. I spent most of the time by the gazebo to just look at the mountains.

The last place I went for my first day in Baguio is the Baguio Botanical Garden. This is just near Mines View Park and Teachers’ Camp.

From the entrance of the garden, you can have your picture taken together with the Igorot for a certain fee. As you entered, you will be greeted by beautiful flowers. Basically, since this is a garden, expect a lot of plants, trees and flowers. There are also huts, which are replicas of the traditional houses of the Igorots.

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It was very relaxing to roam around the place. A lot has changed since the last time I was here. There were more structures and status for photo ops, and the landscape has changed. The place is also being improved, as I noticed some construction at the back. I was expecting more flowers around the area, since this is a garden, but there wasn’t much flowers. However,  it’s almost zen look makes me feel at peace.

I was supposed to go to one more place before heading back to my hotel, but I’m about to get knocked off because of lack of sleep. So, I decided to end my day one and take my rest.

Stay tuned for day 2!

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Misadventures: Chillin’ in La Union

Back during my Ilocos trip, one of the provinces we passed by is La Union. Since then, I had been curious as to what the province can offer, aside from their beautiful beaches. Good thing I found out that Hitch Travel and Tours offer a day tour in La Union.

I was supposed to go on March 1, but unfortunately, that trip was cancelled. My next was option was March 31, since I filed for a vacation leave on April 2. And I was hoping there won’t be much people around and no traffic, since it’s a holiday. We left Manila around 1 AM and I was surprised we were already in La Union at 5 AM.

After a quick breakfast, we went to our first destination – Namacpacan Church.  This church is also known as Santa Catalina de Alejandria Church.

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Namacpacan Church\

This church houses the status of Blessed Virgin Mary, known as Apo Baket. As per history, it was said that the image was supposed to be brought to a seminary in Vigan. However, there was a storm, and the galleon ship that brought the statue from Mexico decided to stop by Darigayos. When the sea is already calm, the ship decided to sail again, but the strong wind forced the ship to go back. It was then decided to transport the image by land, and was temporarily placed in this church. However, the image was too heavy to be transferred by land. The priests saw this as a sign that the image should stay in the church.

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Altar

Next, we went to Baluarte watch tower. This watch tower was built during the Spanish period, and serve as a look out point against pirates. Recently, this has been restored.

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The watch tower

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Since being restored, they also added this heart shaped railings that serves as love lock. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring any lock. And unfortunately, I don’t have someone to have a lock locked here.

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Love lock

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The watchtower is right next to the pebble beach, where you can see nice looking and colorful pebbles. We were told by our tour coordinator that we can pick and bring home some pebbles, and I did.

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Colorful pebbles for sale

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The special pebble I brought home

Our next destination is Kamay Na Bato. This is an art gallery owned by a Korean. There are a lot of paintings inside for display, as well as art pieces made of stone.

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This ape will greet you upon entering the art gallery

There were a lot of interesting sculptures in this gallery. Some are funny, some are weird, and some are x-rated.

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I’m not sure what these turtles are doing…

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Some of the paintings on display

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After Kamay na Bato, we headed to Halo Halo de Iloko for lunch. I’vebeen hearing a lot of good things about this restaurant, and good thing we decided to have our  lunch her. This restaurant is quite hidden, as it’s located in a residential area.

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The place is cozy and homey. It also has this artsy vibe, based on their design. A particular piece that caught my attention is the huge china plate on display.

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Don’t mind the chairs though

I ordered the fired halo halo and the native cheeseburger. The dessert was served first. I don’t know if it’s because the cheeseburger took a long time to make.

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Pritong Halo Halo

The pritong halo halo tasted good. I enjoyed it more than the native cheeseburger. I was expecting to have a cheeseburger in it’s usual form, but I was surprised when I served this two buns. I didn’t enjoy the native cheeseburger, as the bun is to sweet. It didn’t have much filling, and the filling is just Vigan longganisa.

After our lunch, we went to the Ma-Cho temple. I’m actually excited to go to this one because it’s a Chinese temple.

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Unlike the temple in Tagaytay, we were allowed to go inside this temple. I was able to do some prayer, and make a wish using the moon blocks or Jiaobei. I was actually a little nervous doing the prayer and offering, as I am not really Chinese. I might get everything wrong. But good  thing those who works at the temple taught me.

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My incense

Our next stop is the Poro Point Lighthouse and the Poro Point baywalk. The place was near the Thunderbird resort. Unfortunately, the lighthouse is not open during our visit, but still, we stayed to take some pictures.

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We were supposed to go to the Thunderbird resort, but they are fully booked. So instead, we went to our last stop, which the the grape farm.

Unfortunately, all the grapes has been harvested when we arrived, and only green grapes were available for picking. In the farm, they also sell grape, guyabano and blueberry wines. The wine they made is very sweet, it almost tasted like a juice.

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Green grapes

It’s good to go on a travel, especially on a holiday. This tour is almost like a road trip, since we have to ask the locals around for direction. It’s a little bit tiring because of the hours we traveled, but I did have fun. I find La Union a very interesting place.

 

Misadventure: Books And Fireworks

I’m into the second (going third) month of 2018, as well as into the morning shift, and I have not gone into any misadventure yet. Well, except for the food park crawl with my college buddies last January. But that’s a different thing! I need another misadventure, and it doesn’t matter if I go solo!

Let me start off with a planned date with my BFF. We were supposed to go to the Pyromusical Competition this Saturday at SM Mall of Asia, but we had to cancel because she had not been feeling well since the start of February.

Next, a colleague told me about going to this book sale called Big Bad Wolf, where you can buy books in a very low price.

Have I mentioned I didn’t have any solo misadventure for this year yet?

I don’t want to waste my weekend again playing The Sims 4, or wrecking my brain trying to finish a story that took me forever to finish. And so, I decided to go to Big Bad Wolf and to the Pyromusical.

Big Bad Wolf, from what I have gathered, is the biggest book sale from Malaysia. It has been in other countries such as Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Thailand. And since reading is part of bucket list, and I wanted to check the books they have, I decided to go to this event.

Big Bad Wolf had it’s run for 2 weeks and is open 24 hours. Nevertheless, there were still a lot of people who came, since it’s the second to the last day.

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There are a lot of books I really wanted to buy, but I had to stick to my budget. Some of the books I was hoping to find was not there, or maybe I did not look hard enough. Nevertheless, I’m happy with my purchase. I bought a total of 9 books for Php 1880. Not bad, right?

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I wanted to buy this one, but still expensive for me 😦

 

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My haul

After staying for an hour in Big Bad Wolf, I decided to go to Mall of Asia to stroll while waiting for the Pyromusical. Once I saw a booth where the tickets were sold, I immediately bought my tickets. I chose to stay in Gold or Standing Area.

IMG_2199 I also had my late lunch there. I stayed for the rest of the afternoon hanging out at Cafe Bene.

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Then, by 6:30 PM, I decided to look for the venue of the Pyromusical. Good thing I was able to find it right away, and I was able to enter early.

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There were a lot of people that night. While waiting for the event, the crowd was entertained by a band. However, there seemed to be some technical issues that the event started around 8:00 PM.

Here are some of my favorite shots from the competition.

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The countries competing that night is USA and Germany, with the latter being the 1st runner up last year. I heard they won again last night.

Even though my day was so full and tiring, I enjoyed my solo misadventure. I hope I could watch the Pyromusical again before it end its run this March.

My Splice Of Life: The Someday Jar

Sometimes, you find a book and at first look, you knew you’re going to love the story. Does this happen to anyone, or just me?

Anyway, reading more books and staying offline as much as possible is one of my bucket list/ New Year’s Resolution for this year. Before Christmas, I decided to stop by Book Sale and find a book I could read. Luckily, I found this book entitled “The Someday Jar” by Allison Morgan.

The story is about Lanie Howard, who works at her boyfriend’s firm. She was about to get married to her boyfriend, when she found her someday jar. Her someday jar is like her bucket list, that she promised to her estranged dad that she will do and finish before she gets married. Although she was having second thoughts of opening the jar, she finally decided to open and read her slips when she was saved by a stranger/fiance’s family friend from choking on a lemon rind. Yep. Choked on a lemon rind.

It was very light and funny. It focuses more on Lanie’s attempts to fulfil her childhood wishes, before getting married. Of course, there is romance involved in the novel, but it was subtly  done, it didn’t overpower the main theme of the story. There are a lot of scenes in the story, wherein I had to to stop reading and laugh until I could no longer laugh.

When you’re on the brink of death, I guess not only will your life flash back to you like a movie. Maybe you’ll instantly regret the things you have not done in your life because you wanted stability and stay in your comfort zone. Honestly, this book has encouraged me to tackle all or most of my bucket list for this year.

What I liked about Lanie is that she found the courage to continue with her someday jar, although Evan, her jerk of a boyfriend, and her mother is against it. Although some of what she have written in her jar is impossible or quite silly, she managed to finish them all.

Wes, the stranger who saved Lanie, was a swoon-worthy character. He was very supportive of her, even if he doesn’t show it. He had always taken Lanie’s feelings in consideration, unlike Evan.

Kit is the kind of best friend you’ll want. She’ll hate whomever you hate. She’ll make sure you look good and pretty by lending you her stuff. She’s also very supportive of Lanie with her someday jar.

I really enjoyed reading the story. If I could, I could have finished this in a day. But hey, I got to finish it, and love it.

Here are some of the favorite lines/quotes from the book.

“Do you ever worry that life is passing you by while day in and day out you’re focused on what you’re supposed to be doing, rather than what you want to be doing? Then, before you know it, you’re old and curled up on your deathbed, weigh ninety pounds, nothing but elbows and knees, consumed with remorseful thoughts that obligations and function controlled your life while you sat idly by and watched it happen. Feeble and unable to eat anything but chicken broth or ice chips, you think, Golden years my ass, I’ll never get the chance to shout my name from the rooftop and why didn’t I take advantage of my youth?”

“Call me Wes. I dropped the ‘-ton’ years ago, right after my boy band fell apart.”

“Stay. Stay because I might be in love with you.”

“Because every girl needs a candy cane.”

“Fear reminds us we’re still alive. Regret will dig us an early grave.”

“Promise me you’ll explore life. Promise me you’ll color outside the line.”

 

 

 

Food Trip At Kantorini

It’s been a long time since I met up with my college buddies. I think the last time we met up was back in 2016. We didn’t have a chance to meet up last year due to our busy schedules.

So we decided to meet up yesterday and go to a food park. We’ve been wanting to go to this food park in Katipunan called Kantorini,, and so we went ahead with our plan. Kantorini is a small food park situated near Ateneo. Its aesthetics is inspired by Santorini in Greece. And the since this is right next to a street corner, hence, it was called that name (“Kanto” (corner in Filipino) + Santorini = Kantorini).

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Signage at the entrance

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Greek vibe

My friends wanted to go here because it was featured in a TV show. I got curious as well. I checked the menus of the stalls there, and the food they sell sounds promising. Unfortunately, when we got there, only a handful of food stalls are open. Some of the open food stalls had really pricey food. We’re not sure if all the closed stalls are already for rent, or they’re just closed because they know that not a lot of people will flock the area on a Saturday night.

We decided to order at Pizzanista, Bingsu Desserts and Potato Hub. We first got our Mango Cheesecake Bingsu at Bingsu Desserts, which is their best seller. We got the large serving for the 3 of us.

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Mango Cheesecake Bingsu

We liked how it was filled with so much mango bits. The ice was shaved very finely, and the whipped cream cheese topping has just the right sweetness. As my friend put it, the mango just takes away all the stress she had. This is actually the very first bingsu I was able to finish.

We ordered the sample platter at Potato Hub. I’m not sure what the toppings are, but it seems like spaghetti sauce, cheese sauce, and sour cream.

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Sample Platter from Potato Hub

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fries and bingsu

I like how abundant the sauce are. The fries were very filling, as we kept on eating them as we waited for our order from Pizzanista.

Although we ordered first at Pizzanista, our food arrived after we finished our bingsu and fries. I joked that our dessert is pizza and chicken wings. A lot of people were ordering at Pizzanista, so our orders came late. We ended up waiting for the chicken wings for 2 hours.

We had Quattro Formaggi pizza and Honey Mustard chicken wings.

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Quattro Formaggi Pizza

I think they bake their pizza by charcoal oven. I like how the crust is charred. I was surprised how soft the dough and crust is. I love the savoury and tangy combination of the sauce and the pizza.

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Honey Mustard Chicken Wings

As for the chicken wings, we waited for more than an hour for this to arrive. However, it was worth it. We ordered 12 pieces, thinking that the wings are small. But we were again surprised to see how big the wings are. I love how sweet and saucy the chicken wings are. It tastes good together with their sauce. I think we were too full from the pizza and fries, or the wings are just big, that we were not able to finish everything and ended up taking it home.

It was fun to hang out at Kantorini. It’s vibe is very relaxing for anyone who is stressed out from work or school. It’s both for people who just want  to go  on a food trip, and for people who  wants to get a drink or two. It would have been nice if there were more options, and more food stalls are open. I enjoyed my food trip here, though.

Coffe Shop Saturday: SweetBlooms Cafe

Sometimes, you find a little treasure when you least expect it. Just like what happened to me this week. I only went to Miniso in Gateway Mall this Wednesday to hoard buy some pens, but after I came out of the store, I found a new little cafe hiding in one of the nooks of the mall.

I liked how the cafe was designed, even if they only occupied a small space. Again, I was not able to take a picture because I was scared the staff would find me weird. I like how their shelves were filled with pastillas flowers. Not only were they displaying their product, but it also made the place pretty.

Since I was in a hurry last Wednesday after my trip to Miniso, I only ordered their Iced Cafe Americano. The coffee is not that strong, which is to my liking since I had acid reflux that time. I’m not sure if it’s because of the number of Splenda sachet I put in my coffee, but it was a little bit sweet. Well, maybe it is anyway.

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So this Saturday, I decided to come back to this coffee shop. I was supposed to go to Megamall to meet my best friend for dinner, but she bailed out. And since I have so much time to spare and not much money to spend, I decided to stop by this cafe and order the other drinks and try out their cakes.

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Because I still have acid reflux, I stayed away from caffeine and ordered their Strawberry Smoothie. I also ordered the rainbow cake because it looks cute. Honestly, I ordered a cake, because the last time, their unicorn cake caught my attention.

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The strawberry smoothie tasted fresh. It wasn’t too sweet as I expected it to be. It was milky yet tangy and citrusy.

The rainbow cake, however, was on the sweeter side. The cream cheese frosting tried to balance the sweetness and tanginess of the cake. I like how vivid the colors of this cake is. It wasn’t only mouthwatering, it’s an eye candy as well.

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The price for the drinks and the cakes are just right. I bought my iced coffee for Php 65, while the strawberry smoothie and rainbow cake were at Php 85 and Php 135. The place is also relaxing, as it was almost at the hidden part of the mall. I think it’s only new, so there are not many people hanging out there. The interior is cute and whimsical, which also relaxes my eye.

So for those who are in Cubao area and would like to try out a new coffee shop, give SweetBlooms Cafe a visit.

 

Not Another New Year’s Resolution – 2018 Edition

Well, it’s time of that year once again to make new year’s resolution and wishes. I’m not sure how many of the New Year’s resolution in 2017 was I able to do, and how may of my wishes came true. And so, here I am again with my resolution for 2018.

1. I’ll prioritize self-care.

This year was particularly a big challenge in terms of my health – mentally and physically. 2017 was the year I got really sick because of my lifestyle. I got more depressed during the first half of the year because of this. So this year, I’ll prioritize myself. I will eat healthily, take good care of my skin, exercise more,  and prioritize my mental health. I’ll stay away from anything that would stress me out. I’ll be more positive with my life.

2. I’ll overcome my social anxiety.

I’m not sure if I’m just unfriendly, or too introverted, or anti-social. Sometimes, I think the person who donated his/her blood to me simply has hatred for people in his genes, and passed it out to me. I observed that I’m having a hard time interacting with people these days. So for this year, I resolve to be more approachable and friendly, even if I don’t like the people around me.

3. Do most of the things in my bucket list.

I’ve listed a lot in my bucket list planner, and I hope I can do most of it in 2018.

4. Save more money

This is always part of my new year’s resolution. I’m not sure if I fail or not, but I think I did fail. I’ll try not to impulsively buy the things I want. I’ll do more money challenges (hey, the Php 50 money challenge was quite effective for me vs. the 52 week challenge). If I want something and it’s not on my budget, I’ll do my best to save up for it (this article actually has a good advice about impulse buying). I’ll do my best to addup to my UITF and Mutual Fund. Most of all, I will not easily lend someone a huge amount of money, because I’m not even sure if they will return the money to me on time.

5. Travel more.

I was able to do this last year, but there are still so many places I want to go. So I’ll save up more so I can travel more.

6. Stay away from social media from time to time.

If there’s one thing I realized this year, one of the source of my anxiety and depression is my social media. Honestly, I felt envious whenever I see my friends. Plus, it adds up to my stress and hurt my eyes. So I decided I’ll go offline for a week from time to time, especially in FB.

7. Read more books

Since I’m planning to be offline most of the time, and reading 10 books is part of my bucket list, I will read more books this year. I used to read tons of book back then, until internet ruined me.

As for my plans next year, still I’m not sure. That would depend on my work schedule 🙂