2020 in Review: The year we stayed home

2020 is a crazy roller coaster, the year started with a bush fire in Australia, the death of Kobe Bryant, the rising US-Iran tension, and then Corona Virus that affected millions of people all over the world not just financially but mentally as well, this is also the year we stayed home. All our plans, goals, resolutions took a detour and we were forced to retreat into our own little sanctuary. 2020 is the year of the pandemic, but it is also the year where we get to know ourselves better, we discover our true priorities and the year we reset and deepen our spirituality and strengthen our relationship with ourselves, others and God.

I want to remember this year, all the crazies, the blessings, the tantrums and everything I did that helped me survive this year. So when I look back, I’ll be able to give my self a tap on the back of how much I’ve grown because of this year. Here is my 2020 in review.

JANUARY

I started the year in Chiang Mai — in Tha Phae Gate with Kat. I wanted to create a new tradition of celebrating Christmas and New year to a new place that’s why I went to Chiang Mai as part of our 15-days Indochina Backpacking Trip.

on January one, I met my soul animal (the elephants) and hiked the highest peak in Thailand. I’ve always wanted to bond with an elephant, I feel like I am connected to them or that our spirits are one, they are very motherly, intuitive, caring and I think that’s the reason why I feel like I’m connected to them.

we also get to know Bangkok through an intense food trip with my Thai friend, Nat. I’ve been to Bangkok last 2018, but this is the first time I discovered the city more through its food. I had so much fun while doing it with my friends.

after Bangkok, I went directly to a Peace Mission in Mindanao- where we trained teachers and youth leaders and I attended the ART OF PEACE FELLOWSHIP organized by the British Council and Xavier University. I have never thought of myself as an artist but I have organized art programs for artists and that makes me somehow understand about art and its importance in building a culture of peace. I loved this training so much because it deepened my understanding about my self, increased my skills on facilitation and also I feel inlove with art, once again.

and then on the last week of January I went to Maguindanao to distribute slippers donated by Havainas to our Kapatiran Schools. Mamasapano, Maguindanao always a has a special place in my heart that’s why I’m always excited to go back. I was so happy to see the kids happy with their new slippers, they appreciated it so much because

and then went to an evacuation camp in Davao del Sur to distribute play kits to children. They are the ones affected by the series of earthquakes that hit Mindanao last 2019. I was so sad being there, but also amazed by the resilience of the people. Some could not even return to their homes because of the danger of the location, I don’t know what happened to them now but I hope there are all doing well.

before going back to Manila, I also visited my family in Davao and spent the night there. I spent my High School years in Davao that’s why I’m always happy to see my family there. Even if it was just one day, it felt really happy to be there.

A lot happened in January, but it was all worth it.

FEBRUARY

The month started with a series of activities – a write-shop for after-care modules, I accompanied Ate Honey to the Ayala Young Leaders Congress in Batangas and also the launching of the Cyberpeace Program with Google. I have always wanted to work for Google that’s why I’m so thrilled to be working with them for this project.

(PS. We were supposed to visit different schools all over the Philippines for this project, but 2020 had a different plan– and so everything went online).

and then I spent Valentines day watching the Academy Awards winner PARASITE and bought a lot of Mindfulness Books in Big Bad Wolf. See what I bought here:

On the last week of February, we travelled to Iloilo. The covid virus is already scaring everyone, including me, I was thinking of backing out lol but we pushed through. We did an Iloilo North to South itinerary and it was a great way to get to know the province more. This is my last travel for the year and I am glad I did not backed out!

Watch our Iloilo Vlogs Here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3.

I also started editing our Indochina Backpacking vlogs– WATCH IT HERE.

MARCH

I spent a day with my friend from Peace Revolution, Ziomara (Guatemala). She was visiting the Philippines, that’s why I fetch her from the airport and ate at the Vegan Restaurant called Cosmic in Makati. Zio and I spent four days in Thailand for the International Peace Training with Peace Revolution and I’m stoked that she got to visit El Nido and also I was able to introduce my culture and country.

and then on March 12, 2020 — few hours before my flight to CDO, Noodles, which started hanging out our Peace Home last Oct 2019, gave birth to five cute kittens.

that day, I’m also flying to CDO for the second Art of Peace Fellowship. I was so hesitant to leave, I had a lot of reasons on my head including the corona virus scare which is all over the news– but I was also very excited to meet my co-fellows, I had so much fun last time so I know I’ll be having so much fun this time too. — so armed with face mask and a bottle of alcohol, I went even if I’m sooo soo scared.

I arrived 10pm in Xavier Hills Estate but at 11pm– the President announced a total lockdown starting March 15 — so I need to go back to Manila the next morning. I was so scared, I actually treated everyone to be a carrier of the virus so I did not talk or go near anyone. I sprayed alcohol every now and then and washed my hands more than anything.

I arrived in Manila on the night of March 13 — I don’t have food stocks and the people are panic buying — it did not sink in to me yet, I continued my daily tasks until — I realize that I am not allowed to go out the peace home unless I need to buy food — and that I need to have a quarantine pass or else…

Cleaning saved me on the first few weeks of quarantine that felt so long, mentally exhausting and emotionally draining. I rearranged the peace home– just so I could do something, — whenever I’m stressed, I need to do something to my environment so I will be okay once again. I basically spent the first two weeks of the lockdown cleaning, sorting things and organizing our stuff- it’s something that kept me away from all the negative news and online outburts in social media.

APRIL

My kittens are already one month old, and they already started walking around- I love seeing them grow. So here’s a bunch of cute kitten photos.

and then their mom got evicted to our place without me knowing, I was so depressed that time.– I started sharing my bed to my kittens.

This month, I started posting videos in my channel– as a way of escape and but also to process my feelings. Watch the playlist here.

and also started documenting a lockdown cooking diary– with mostly pasta. Click Here to watch: I’ve always loved to cook so sharing my cooking journey through a video really helped me as well.

MAY – We started conceptualizing for Peace Hero Kids TV. I really wanted to do this. There’s no peace education platform where children can learn about living peace as a way of life, that’s why I really pushed for this to happen. This is also a realization of my dream of becoming a director. I am so glad that a lot of people helped me in this project.

JUNE– We started filming Peace Hero Kids TV episodes. We are also working on a song for the Heroes of this pandemic. So stoked to be able to see our volunteers once again and working with them too!

JULY – Nothing really interesting happened this month ( or maybe there is but I wasn’t able to document it lol). All I know is that I’m struggling to maintain peaceful habits of sleeping early, drinking lots of water and eating healthy. I’ve been eating chicken tinola almost a week. for the past three months already.

AUGUST – We started the Cyberpeace Hours with Google and also started a series called Mindful Wednesday. I invited my friends from Peace Revolution to talk about Mindfulness and also meditated with them. I learned a lot while doing this and also felt very happy cos I have encouraged a lot of my friends to meditate with me as well.

SEPTEMBER – Peace month! We are still very busy even though it’s online.

OCTOBER – I don’t remember anything happening this month, but I think I’m still trying to survive here lol.

NOVEMBER – – My birthday month! So my friends surprised me in the peace home. I don’t even know they were coming. I was still asleep when they knocked on the door. It was a simple yet amazing experience. We also started training 40 schools from Marawi City. Even though the training is online, it’s still an amazing experience. I’m missing field work so much.

DECEMBER – My stepfather got sick this month so our family is a little bit stressed out. He refused to be admitted because he’s afraid he and my mom might get infected with covid so it’s a little bit hard especially for my mom. They spent 24th of December in the ER and my mom was so stressed. (He died in January due to kidney failure).

Overall, 2020 is a rollercoaster – and I am thankful for God’s provision and blessings that helped us survive this year.

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