2021 Highlights: a Gratitude Post for the Year That Was

I saw this image quote on my social media feeds and it struck a chord in me. It says:

“This January, start the year with an empty jar. Each week, add a note with a good thing that happened. 

On New Year’s Eve, empty the jar and read about the amazing year you had.” 

How I wish I saw this image post last year! Nevertheless, though I wasn’t able to do this exercise in 2021, I’d like to put this into practice this year starting with this gratitude post. It will not only help overshadow the tragedy brought by Typhoon Rai / Typhoon Odette, but more importantly,  it will help me start 2022 with a grateful heart knowing that despite all the ugly things 2021  brought to our lives — Mahal’s mom passed away last March, my grandfather passed away last June, my mom got Covid (and thankfully survived it the last quarter of the year), plus the many mini breakups Mahal and I had this year (and thankfully overcame — there’s still hope for us…) —  life is still good and continues to get better. 

Just to get a good perspective about things, let me remind myself that back in 2020, when the pandemic started, we stayed at home in our tiny pad for 6 straight months, only had enough emergency savings to last us a year at the most, pivoted our mushroom biz online, and just focused on earning as much income as we could. We were even blessed to be able to transfer and live in a bigger place, even if it was just for 5 months, just so we can breathe and not feel mentally and emotionally suffocated by the lingering pandemic. Come December 2020, we were lucky enough to get the additional funds we needed to be able to transfer from Cagayan de Oro to Oslob, Cebu, uproot our half city / half farm life and commence a much-coveted beach kind of life, which we have been lucky enough to experience and live for almost a year now (since January 8, 2021). We’ve come a long way since the pandemic began. Personally, my savings are still intact and hopefully will continue to accrue despite not depriving myself of simple travels and luxuries. I just feel thankful for all the blessings that came my way the past year whether big or small. Life has been good to me and to my family and for that, my heart is full. 

So, without further ado, below are the highlights of my 2021 for which I am very much thankful for:


We transferred to Oslob, Cebu, and started living a beach kind of life. 

Mahal celebrated his 42nd birthday as well as his mom’s 76th birthday before she passed away. 


We had an evening outdoor cinema picnic for our Pre-Valentine’s Celebration which I’ve always wanted to do here.

We spent Valentine’s at the beach with Mahal’s family.

We spent my 43rd birthday at a really nice resort in Southern Cebu — Badian Island Wellness Resort.

I got myself a new phone and a new bike (with 3 wheels, similar to Andi Eigenmann’s bike in Siargao) — fell in love with it the second I saw it on display coz it reminded me of the movie Eat, Pray, Love. 

MARCH 2021

We spent a day in Argao, Dalaguete, and Boljoon, visiting the park, the church, the beach, and trying a new cafe we’ve never been to before.

Tuz and I spent a day at Club Fort Med, my favorite beach resort in Boljoon, Cebu… just as two… mother and son bonding moment. This happened before Mahal’s mom passed away. 

APRIL 2021

For our summer getaway, we stayed at Plantation Bay Resort in Mactan Island, Cebu. We had the best time there! They gave us a promo voucher after we checked out so we’re planning to visit again sometime in the future.

MAY 2021

To celebrate Mother’s Day, we spent several days in Malapascua Island in Northern Cebu.

JUNE 2021

To celebrate Father’s Day, we stayed at Cebu Seaview Resort in Moalboal and Mahal got to do scuba diving for the first time. 

JULY 2021

Finally got to try a really nice cafe in Dalaguete called Kioskofi. 

We also did a trip to Cebu City to take care of some investments and errands. 


patio decoration

I had a pretty extravagant shopping spree at Shopee — mostly ordered home stuff to beautify and redecorate our little beach nook. 

Mahal helped me set up and beautify our mini veggie garden and outdoor kitchen.

We spent all of our free time at the beach. 


beach l

Most of my free time was spent tending our veggie garden, harvesting, making veggie dishes, and celebrating at the beach.


I got myself a house assistant (my own personal yaya)! This is one of the best decisions I did so far. Just so you know, I am a DIY queen. I’m used to doing stuff by myself and I don’t mind. I enjoy doing chores, cleaning up, cooking, planting, harvesting, etc. But there came a point when my energy and time were already getting depleted… resources that I very much need to be able to do other more important things like income-generating activities and other personal projects. When I hired help, I was able to get more time and energy for other things I wanted to do and I am truly grateful. 

We celebrated our 86th Monthsary at the beach.

My wish of celebrating Halloween 2021 for one whole week came true! Although we did start decorating and celebrating on Oct. 9 and ended the celebrations on Nov. 2. This was the happiest Halloween celebration of my life!


We celebrated our 8th Monthsary at a very posh restaurant in Cebu City called Anzani.

We celebrated Tuz’s 6th birthday at Crimson Resort in Mactan. We stayed there for 3 days and 2 nights. 

I was able to go on a shopping spree in Cebu City.


Most of my Christmas shopping from Shopee got here before the typhoon hit. 

We survived the worst typhoon of our lives and we were able to redecorate and celebrate in time for New Year’s. 


Looking at all these blessings, no matter how big, small, or simple, has given me a sense of hope that life will continue to get better. In my heart, despite the many heartaches and pains, including the aftermath brought by Typhoon Odette, I still thank the year that was, for bringing us so many happy memories, so much joy, for making me stronger, more resilient, more humble, more loving, more forgiving… for teaching me incredibly hard heart lessons, and instilling in me that no matter what happens, life does go on. I also learned that some things simply cannot be forced. Everything happens in its own time… in God’s own time. And my job is to just go with the flow, enjoy each moment as it comes, while also making sure that I am prepared for the worst. Life is like this vast ocean that surrounds us… I can either sink or swim in it. And even when life gets too hard to bear sometimes, with just a change of perspective, everything can be figureoutable! We have this God-given immense power within us that will help us survive and overcome any storm. 

Furthermore, in life, good and bad will always be there. Just remember that we always have the power to choose to see the good… to magnify it and emotionalize it so that more of it will come. 

And with that, I welcome 2022! I know in my heart it won’t be 2020 too. This New Year will be bigger, brighter, and much, much better! Watch out for some of my upcoming January posts as I will share with you useful tips on how to make 2022 our best year so far.


Until then! Stay safe and enjoy the new year!


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