Monthly Archives: December 2013

My 2013 Top 20

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Thank you, Lord, for 2013. It has been another great year full of blessings. I wish I could have blogged about all my fascinating experiences, places I’ve seen, people I’ve met. But I don’t even get to meet my target of blogging at least once a month because of the many other things I do. To make up for it, praising you with heartfelt gratitude for these wonderful memories of 2013 (blog to follow :)).

HERE’S MY TOP 20!

1. Sitting on the Great Wall of China
2. Close encounter with the cuddly pandas of Chengdu!
3. Learning how to dive: check na check!
4. Swimming with sharks and majestic pawikans at the UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site and Philippines’ only national marine park, the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, and getting to see the bird islet with the Red-Footed Boobies flying overhead
5. TV interviews for our advocacy to protect the Tubbataha (*Shell winning a 2013 Quill Award of Excellence for “Beauty, Bounty and a Shared Heritage: 25 Years of Protecting Tubbataha”)
6. Earning my BOSIET certificate (and passing the Helicopter Underwater Escape Training — thank goodness this certificate is good for four years!)
7. Biking through Belgium (embarrassing that our German biker companion had to help push my bike and I through the uphill cobble stone streets, since I haven’t biked in years and was so out of shape! Nyehe =})
8. Taking an ΓΌber pleasant boat ride in the picture perfect city of Brugge, UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its graceful
swans and interesting architectural structures alongside, and buying yummy artisan Belgian chocolates at Miss Chocolates!
9. Witnessing the Shell Powering Progress Together conference on energy, water and food in Ahoy, Rotterdam with Ms Toni Loyzaga of the Manila Observatory (and the dynamic duo Suiee and Badz)
10. Walking through the famous Zaanse Schans Windmill Park in Amsterdam with a cup of fresh strawberries in cream on hand
11. Road trip to Wiltshire, England (straight from airport!) to see the historic and mysterious Stonehenge
12. Visiting my friend Tin and her lovely family in London and doing all the touristy things (riding the London Eye, gawking at the royal treasures and Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, having Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason’s, dinner at a traditional British pub for fish & chips, and shopping gabi-gabi sa Primark!)
13. Being adopted by the Escobar family as we toured Windsor Castle πŸ™‚
14. Walking through Notting Hill’s Portobello Road Market with all its interesting abubuts (and finding the famous Blue Door apartment of Hugh Grant in the movie :))
15. Taking part in my first Social Performance Review in Sabah, Malaysia (and enjoying being the only girl in the team)
16. Seeing the Rafflesia, the world’d biggest flower (better known as the flower in Plants Vs. Zombies!) at Mt Kinabalu Park
17. Seeing the Puerto Princesa Underground River, New 7 Wonder of the World, on Valentine’s Day πŸ™‚
18. Enchanting firefly watching at Iwahig River in Puerto Princesa
19. Crossing five rivers to visit the indigenous Batac tribe for Malaria Awareness Day
20. Helping out in whatever little way I can through my work or personal capacity in the relief operations for those affected by natural calamities throughout the year.

Thank you, Father, I am truly blessed, for another year well-lived. May 2014 be as wonderful and even more. May I live more, give more, serve more, smile more! May I be your instrument to inspire others to live a full life. Amen.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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Rediscovering Malaysia

Video
Rediscovering Malaysia

I’ve been to Malaysia many times but always just in the capital, Kuala Lumpur. Grateful for the chance to see more of Malaysia this year. Was able to see Miri, Kota Belud and Kota Kinabalu just before 2013 ends. Here’s my workcation video blog below. Hope you enjoy!

Travel highlights:
1. Visit to Mantanani Island community – 2 hours boat ride from Kota Belud!
2. Trekking at Kinabalu Park, UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. The canopy walk through the rainforest was so cool and refreshing!
3. Tour of the Upside Down House of Borneo
4. Sighting of the “Rafflesia”, the world’s largest flower! It takes about 1 to 4 years to grow the flower in special climate conditions, and it lives for only 5 to 7 days before it turns into charcoal black. Lucky we at least saw one that was about 3 to 4 days old, near wilting already but still amazing.
5. Bargain shopping for Sabah snack delicacies, fashionable Malaysian shoes, and seawater pearls!

*Music credits: “Good Life”, performed by OneRepublic

Special thanks to our tour guide Sharif (Amazing Borneo tours) for the very professional and informative tour of Kinabalu Park, and especially to Mr and Mrs Helmi for being such wonderful travel and shopping companions! Mr Helmi is with the Malaysian tourism department and he says that next year, Malaysia will embark on its tourism campaign, “Visit Malaysia 2014”, where they have lined up many tourist activities. This video blog is just a sneak peek of the many interesting places to see and things to do in Malaysia.

Rediscovering Malaysia, photo collage