Looking Back with 2018

So, I was reading some blogs when Dennis at StayShoti followed me and I saw that he made a blog post regarding what happened to him as of this 2018. And that blog inspired me to make one for myself to see, contemplate, and somehow realized that I have a blessed year thus far. I hope by making this blog post would inspire me to see the positive more in life than the negative because I think I needed it more now than ever.

[If you are interested to read Dennis’ blog post, you can find it here: Looking Back at 2018]

A little bit disclaimer before you read further, this blog post is not entirely related to books. This blog post would be mostly related to my personal life that I wanted to share with everyone. I am writing this because of I kind of feel down these days because I couldn’t get the outcome nor the desired result I want before 2018 ends and it somehow disappoints me at some point. But along the line, I was able to figure out that I don’t need to pressure myself on achieving everything at the same time. I hope, whoever will read this, will be inspired and understand that we have our own timelines.




I was able to reach the ‘Five Fingers’ Coves of Mariveles, Bataan. Given the number of travels that I’ve done in the Philippines, I would never know that I would still amazed by how beautiful Philippines can be. If you wanted a little hiking, then swimming and island hopping – this destination is for you.



Conquering Aurora was never easy but definitely worth it to see after a steep hike. This magnificent view would be able to attain after a 45-minute of assault. What I love about Dingalan is that it was so serene that after reaching the top, I don’t want to go back and see what the other places will offer. Mountain view is one of my spontaneous journeys this 2018 and I would never regret it since it was one of the reasons why my sanity is still intact.



Three consecutive travels in 2018 and all of them either have a hiking or a form of a hike. By now, I would totally admit that I fell in love with mountains. There’s this fulfilling moments and satisfaction within yourself when conquering mountains and reaching the summit. It taught me that your path would never ever easy but always worth it at the end when you reach your destination. So, don’t give up and keep on moving forward. I would like to share a quote that I stumbled upon on the web from Edmund Hillary, “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”



I told myself that I would hike Mt. Pulag whatever the outcome of my licensure exam. If I passed, I would hike for being thankful. If I fail, I would make this hike as a challenge to keep on going. I would never know that this hike would be one of the greatest highlights of my 2018. Short story: I passed and I am very grateful. Imagine being able to conquer the highest peak in Luzon and the 3rd highest mountain in the Philippines. Who would have thought that I would be able to hike this given that I never had an exercise for six months preparing for my examination? Okay, you could perceive my other hikes as a form of preparation. But in all seriousness, I’m just grateful at this point. I wonder when would I feel this thrill, excitement, and happiness again?



Another thing that I am grateful for is having a sister that I could relate to, maybe not in terms of books, but about travels and conquering the world. This is what I love about our relationship as siblings, we always have each other and would definitely support her no matter what her decisions are. Yes, it is a little bit cheesy but those cliché lines about siblings are sincere. Acknowledge it. Deep down you are as well. This is why we get along, we help each other grow and I hope she will grow beautifully on her own in the future.

As for Mt. Hapunang Banoi, this is one of the hardest mountains to climb in Rizal. If you haven’t prepared yourself with Mountain Climbing literally. Don’t pursue this mountain. There is a lot of assault in this mountain, rough rocky roads, and a lot of stamina and endurance needed to reach the summit. As I mentioned above, I don’t regret going into a difficult journey, what matters is that you reach it. Be proud of yourself even those achievements are small things.



After reaching the 3rd highest peak in the Philippines, I was able to see the wonders of the smallest active volcano in the whole world. Don’t let the difficulty level of this volcano deceive you. It was hard. The heat and the sand-like structure of the path is the real challenge here. But despite everything, who wouldn’t love to see the marvelous abyss that this volcano has to offer?



Planning for a chill climb, I didn’t expect that this mountain would give us hardship. We pursue this mountain because we want an easy and relaxing climb but those thoughts have perished once we get to hike this one up. Have you experienced the heat of summer, forest fire, thirsty, and exhaustion all at once in a span of four hours? This mountain offers those difficulties but despite everything, we enjoy the 360 degrees view that we get to see here. Mountains truly test your will to go on.



Finally! Not a mountain on the list but a Canyoneering in Badian, Cebu. Maybe not as intimidating as hiking but this activity offers the same energy that you will be needed when you are going on a hike. Canyoneering is a mixture of swimming, hiking, jumping on 40 – 50 ft. falls, and of course, enjoying the view at the end. This experience can last for 4 to 5 hours, depends on your pace. I highly recommend that you should go for the slow pace since you will get to experience the place for yourself. Plus, there wouldn’t be any photobomber on the pictures. If I were to go back again and try Canyoneering for the first time, I would.



One of the best decisions is when you decided spontaneously. Didn’t know that I will be able to go to Bohol and see the Chocolate Hills and the Tarsiers when I put a side trip on my itinerary in Cebu. I was making my plans back then and I was thrilled how near Cebu and Bohol with each other. Bohol is definitely one of the highlights of my 2018 and I’m glad to cross this off on my bucket list.



Osmena Peak is the tallest Mountain (Peak) all throughout Cebu. You can see the scope of how small the city is and how mesmerizing the peaks are. My tour guide told me that this is the version of their Chocolate Hills in Bohol. The breeze of winds are cold and the climb is not as hard as you think but the place would take too long to reach. You have to ride a 4-hour bus ride from the city then find a motorbike to bring you up for 1 hour and a half and maybe another half of hike to reach the top. It is definitely easy and I think everyone would enjoy the trek to the top since you could smell the nature and the cold air is so refreshing compared to the city life.



Talay Falls, Hidden Falls (featured photo), and Hulugan Falls are the falls that we chased for a day trip in Laguna. They are all amazing in their own way but what I couldn’t forget is how stunning Hidden Falls and how tall and wonderful the rainbows in Hulugan Falls. Just be aware that to reach the three falls is that you have to take care of your footing because of the muddy trail which makes me fall four times along the way. You should try to visit this place. I highly recommend because nature is always the best therapy when you are feeling down.



Zambales captivated my heart three times already. Including this last trip. I already went to Camara Cove, Capones Island, Anawangin Cove, Talisayen Cove, and Nagsasa Cove, then the Pundaquit Beach and the Pundaquit Falls. Now, located in Liwliwa Zambales, we were able to see and swim to the enchanting Sagpat falls. I also experience Glamping for the first time here. Bonfire, making smores, eating healthy and amazing foods and visiting the beach. This place has a lot to offer. I also enjoyed our ATV here. It wasn’t my first time but I love the excitement that it ignites in me.



Who would have thought that I will be able to pass this stressful and emotional-breaking examination? I’m just grateful to those people who have been on my journey giving me a positive mindset. To name a few, thank you Erika @ The Nocturnal Fey, Shaine @ Wanderer in Neverland, and Soleil @ Queen Soleil. THANK YOU SO MUCH, GUYS! Thank you. THANK YOU.



One of the things that I realized when I was driving is that it really takes a lot of effort, mental awareness, and alertness to drive a car. After completing the course, I have a huge respect towards to drivers. It wasn’t really easy to drive a car and it would take a lot of toll on you physically. But what I liked about this experience is that this is the first step towards adulting. I hope, I would be able to master driving at some point.



Jellyfish - Lineart.jpg

This year, I was able to try and (finally) finish a complete traditional art that I really like. I used black pens as a medium to complete this art and scanned it. Then I enhanced the white and black colors through Adobe Photoshop.

Also, I was able to make an inspired art from The Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao. See it below!




Here is the list of the books that I was able to read for this year and their review counterparts:

[01] Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce

[02] Ivon by Michael Alywin

[03] The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk

[04] Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

[05] Wood for the Trees by K.R. Allcoat

[06] Sons of Ares by Pierce Brown

[07] Please Don’t Go Before I Get Better by Madisen Kuhn

[08] Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

[09] Coldmaker by Daniel Cohen

[10] The Boyfriend Bracket by Kate Evangelista

[11] A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

[12] LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

[13] Dear Universe by Pierra Calasanz-Labrador

[14] The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik by David Arnold

[15] Mirage by Somaiya Daud

[16] The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

[17] Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf

[18] Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

[19] The Last Watchman of Old Cairo by Michael David Lukas

[20] Nyxia Unleashed by Scott Reintgen

[21] This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

[22] Are We All Lemmings & Snowflakes by Holly Bourne

[23] White Sand vol. 1 by Brandon Sanderson

[24] White Sand vol. 2 by Brandon Sanderson

[25] Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

[26] Tell Me Something Good by Jamie Wesley

[27] Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines

[28] All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

[29] Wildcard by Marie Lu

[30] The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell

[31] Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

[32] Unwind by Neal Shusterman

[33] The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

[34] Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

[35] Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

[36] Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

[37] Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

[38] Circe by Madeline Miller

[39] The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

[40] The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

[41] The Irregular at Magic High School by Tsutomu Satou

[42] Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

[43] Your Soul is a River by Nikita Gill

[44] The Gilded Wolves

[45] The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom



Last February, I was able to visit Big Bad Wolf Books and meet some book bloggers, bookstagrammers, and bookish friends here. It was so huge that you could feel the exhaustion inside for browsing a huge collection of books. Nevertheless, it made our bibliophile hearts happy.



Penguin Random House International invited me to join the #MissPBackListBinge Readathon and do the photo challenges. I was so thrilled to see the books in a boxed set since I loved Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children before then. I was able to read until Hollow City which I really love and adore. I couldn’t wait to read Library of Souls and to get a copy of A Map of Days for myself. The books are huge and aesthetically pleasing. My shelf needs them. If you are interested to see my post for this tag, you could check the links here: [Post 1] | [Post 2] | [Post 3] | [Post 4]



#Flip4Green is a box full of the Green Brother’s books and swags. I was able to receive this thanks to Penguin Random House International. Those PENGUIN MINIS are cute and to die for. I love love love it and they are easy to read. In regards to convenience, I would definitely choose this more than the digital counterpart. But let’s admit it, we would still buy the physical books no matter what the format is. You can check my photos here:

[Post 1] | [Post 2] |[Post 3]



I’m adding this on my list since this is the first ARC that I have from Brandon Sanderson. My close friends and the people who I interact with knew that I love love Brandon Sanderson books and I couldn’t get enough. Just imagine the joy, excitement, and thrill when I received this package. Thanks to the ARC God. But seriously, it all thanks to PRH.

You can read my book review here: [Book Review: Skyward by Brandon Sanderson]

Check out how much I love Brandon Sanderson on my Instagram:

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“In the end, I must proclaim that no good can be achieved of false means. For the substance of our existence is not in the achievement, but in the method.” ― Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings – Whenever I feel like reading some encouraging life quotes that can evoke deep and wonderful meanings – I always go for Sanderson quotes. They are the exact wisdom that I would definitely love to hear and read all over again. – What are the things that you do to motivate yourself? . . . . #brandonsanderson #book #books #read #reading #author #blogger #novel #bibliophile #reading #fantasy #blogging #book #bibliophile #adobe #lightroom #photography #instagram #bookstagram #bookblogger #goodreads #jamestrevinorepost #bookhaul #bookoutlet #library #bookshelf #bookworm #unitedbookstagram

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I was browsing some Oathbringer quotes while avoiding spoilers and I stumbled upon this quote whereas I think a lot of Millennials or anyone can relate: – “To love the journey is to accept no such end. I have found, through painful experience, that the most important step a person can take is always the next one.” ― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer – THIS QUOTE IS SOOO TRUE!! Currently experiencing it and I couldn't agree more. – Also, this another quote that I think everyone would be inspired to live by: – “Accept the pain, but don't accept that you deserved it.” ― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer – I'm going to tag people who are close to me in this post to read the quotes. So, they can be motivated, inspired or maybe just to be kind and try to be brave in life. – Any quotes that you are trying to live by? Share it with me please? . . . . #BrandonSanderson #StormlightArchive #Oathbringer #Google #Fiction #YoungAdult #HighFantasy #Fantasy #EpicFantasy #Bookstagram #Vlogger #Blogger #ScienceFiction #Gollancz #UK #London #Asia #Adobe #Goodreads #Life #Bookshelf #Library #IGReads #Books #Spotlight #Greece #Bibliophile

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"A person knows when they’re in darkness, even when they can’t see. -Nightblood” ― Brandon Sanderson, Warbreaker – Warbreaker is one of Brandon Sanderson Novels that I really like. It taught me to look beyond and try to see one step ahead what will come from the story. And as expected, I always fail to see and yet amazed by how Sanderson's brain works. – If you are up reading Stormlight Archives, you should try to read Warbreaker first since there are relevant stories/characters that will make an appearance later in the books. – Also, drop some indie music/artist recommendations or any kind of music that you would totally recommend. . . . . #Warbreaker #StormlightArchive #Mistborn #Fiction #YoungAdult #WayofKings #BrandonSanderson #Fantasy #Adult #EpicFantasy #HighFantasy #Tor #FinalEmpire #Bookstagram #Google #Adobe #Lightroom #London #Australia #Greece #Goodreads #Magic #Thailand #Vietnam #Millenial #Celebrity #Booksigning #Skyward

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I would never tire with my Sanderson post. 😂 SKYWARD by BRANDON SANDERSON AND KINGDOM OF THE BLAZING PHOENIX BY JULIE C. DAO will be published on November 6!!! Don't forget to buy both books because it will never betray you! I promise and I can vouch for that! – I've dreamed as a pilot when I was young but growing up, I still want to, but the means of being one would be highly competitive factoring the financial means. So…. – Anyway, how's everyone's Halloween? Did ya trick o' treatin'? . . . #Skyward #BrandonSanderson #Halloween #Bibliophile #Goodreads #Lightroom #IGReads #Reading #UK #London #Australia #BookBloggers #Millenial #Bookstagram #BookPile #NakedSpine #photography #America #BookOutlet #ARC #Fantasy #ScienceFiction #YoungAdult #Fiction #Diverse #Platoon #Fighter #pilot

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I finished Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson and it is an easy ⭐⭐⭐⭐ read. It was brilliant and genius and I didn't expect how the story resurface at the ending. I did expect the plot but what I didn't expect is the "after" of that plot twist. Also, I really liked it when there's an author's note explaining things at the end. IT MADE MORE SENSE. Like wow. Have you read the Annonated Edition of Warbreaker? Brandon knows how to slice things up and explain them into pieces!! – Also, I would like to thank everyone who joined the #FPBChat yesterday. My eternal gratitude is forever with you guys! THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! . . . . #book #books #read #reading #author #blogger #novel #bibliophile #reading #fantasy #blogging #book #bibliophile #adobe #lightroom #photography #instagram #bookstagram #bookblogger #goodreads #jamestrevinorepost #bookhaul #bookoutlet #library #bookshelf #bookworm #unitedbookstagram #BrandonSanderson #Millenial #UK #london

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Just finished tweeting some things over my twitter account. Got to spend my day yesterday at #MIBF2018 and @nationalbookstore #BookBingeBazaar and I had fun!! Really had fun!! Photos of Book Hauls are coming your way after the storm. Couldn't take photos at the moment. Sooooo, how was your day? Did you go to the Manila International Book Fair? – Tell me the books that you bought! or tag me! . . . . #Bookhaul #BrandonSanderson #Fantasy #Legion #ArcanumUnbounded #WayOfKings #Mistborn #HighFantasy #Goodreads #UK #Australia #Switzerland #Manila #Philippines #SMX #MallOfAsia #BookFair #VengefulSeptember #Lightroom #Photography #Bibliophile #SpineBenders #JamesTrevinoRepost #Bookpile #reading

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#VengefulSeptember | Books you wish never written. – I think every book deserves a publication of its own. Whether I love it or hated, I think every books deserves its own spotlight. Why? I may like or even love a book but it may not be your cup of tea – I may hate or loathe a book but it maybe the book you need right now or it could be the book that will make you fall in love with reading. – What I didn't want is people who openly, negatively, atrociously repeatedly discourage people or readers to do not read a book or a certain title. You may be a voice or an influencer to promote a book but you don't discourage people from reading anything they are interested of reading. Remember, and you could perceived this an advice, that everyone has its own taste in books. Actually, in general: Its like this; I don't like [insert title here] but I don't promote or share that I didn't like the title. It could offend anyone who loved the book. You may look it as being empathethic but it is one of the traits that I think that every people should develop. You may do wonders. You may reach someone and above all, don't stop being kind. – DID YOU SEE WHAT NEW BOOK JOINED MY SANDERSON COLLECTION??!! . . . . #BrandonSanderson #Skyward #AloyoftheLaw #Steelheart #Firefight #Calamity #Mitosis #Legion #SkinDeep #TheBandsofMourning #TheWayOfKings #WordsofRadiance #Oathbringer #Fantasy #HighFantasy #EpicFantasy #Fiction #BookBlogger #Reading #Blogging #Bibliophile #Bookhaul #StormlightArchive #NakedSpine #JamesTrevinoRepost #Bookstagram

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Wow. What a productive year on hosting blog tours. This year, I also discovered that I love hosting book tours that will reach the Filipino book community. Aside from the Filipino book community, I would also like to reach to the Asian reading community that I have yet to work for 2019. But this first step is already a progress, right? I hope that I could plot amazing plans for next year since I’m cooking something for everyone. For now, I’m going to drop that I’m currently hosting the PH BLOG TOUR of THE GILDED WOLVES by ROSHANI CHOKSHI who has Filipino roots.

Without spoiling everyone, I might host two Fantasy books on mid-2019 and a romance on mid-2019 as well. I am also waiting for another blog tour proposal for a Fantasy book that is going to be published in the 3rd quarter of 2019. And there could be another book from an author that I hosted this year that I am going to host again. It is up to your imagination to guess which books are they. Last clue: There are one romance contemporary title and a lot of fantasy books! Drop on the comments to guess the titles of the books that I plan to host! I will confirm it. 🙂




One of the great things that I learned this year is that even if you only interact online, they can be your friend. Bookish friends are the best when it comes to socializing. They (We) know what each of us needs. Books. But mostly, personal space, introverting, and of course, reading. Cheers to more bibliophile meet-ups!

C U R R E N T  A D D I C T I O N



Verdict: To be honest, writing and curating this blog post lessen the sadness when going back to those things that I’ve done this year but the sadness is still there. Slowly eating and devouring each one of us. It is only a matter of time where we will break down or something positive would come in between that darkness. The frustrations when you are trying to achieve your goal, the confusion of what path you should take after graduating and passing the board exam, the undecided feeling of whether you follow your dreams and passion or follow what your parents expected you to do, or trying to ask for more time to think, to evaluate life is one hell of a pressure.

I’m still sharing this because even if I have these unexplainable feeling of sadness, I still want people to inspire that I’m trying to move forward. That I am being vulnerable and transparent to everyone about my feelings. That even if I am a [boy] reader, I could also feel things. I could also be human as everyone. Being strong – or not crying at all is not a sign of weakness nor a question of whether you are masculine enough. It is a question of whether are you human enough, are you alive and living to feel these things? Yes. It always a yes. Even if life tries to throw things at you. You are living. And you are trying and that’s what matters. You keep on going until you make it.

My thoughts might be all around the place. All around in this narrative but I want people to realize that it is okay to be sad. It is okay to be happy. Don’t be guilty of the things that the world is trying to throw at you. It is okay to feel and to be empathetic but I learned this year that self-care is important. Your time for yourself, those time where you will reflect and contemplate about life are the investment that you could give only by yourself.

What I am trying to say here is that be you. Don’t be a better version of yourself. At the same time don’t be the worst. Just be you – the mix of your better and worst that makes YOU. Don’t prove yourself to anyone. Let your success be the voice that everyone needs. Let your silence be the blade that everyone would face.

A little reminder: Don’t underestimate yourself. Don’t question your abilities. You might not be aware of your capabilities but those little things that you are trying to accumulate over time will be useful in the future. You might not see it right now but they will be helpful. They are the abilities that you will hold onto to reach the top. So, just keep on harnessing them. Listen to your own voice, to your own brain. Don’t let someone dictate what you want. They don’t know your story. Don’t let them get to your head because you know yourself more than anyone. Just be you. YOU.

Keep on Rockin’

— Message for myself.

Also, if you reached the bottom of this blog post please consider reading the blogs of these amazing book bloggers who responded on my tweet. They are amazing and you might learn something from them.












16 thoughts on “Looking Back with 2018

  1. It’s great to know that you have experienced wonderful things this year too! Sometimes it does feel difficult to always be positive and see the good in everyday life, but I do hope you have a great coming year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your honesty. And I love that you’re embracing positive feelings and those of sadness. It’s important to acknowledge how we’re doing to allow us to make change for ourselves and others. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I empathize with your feelings here at the end. Writing my own end of the year post was very cathartic but it ended up bringing me a lot of peace. I love that you end with a note of inspiration too. It’s very uplifting and something I needed today. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is brilliant, mate! We almost always see the dark side of our life, but then we look back and by that, I mean actually look back and we see the bright sides of it. This is such an inspiring post! Keep the positivity flowing!


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