2011 in Retrospect

"I know now why I am always lost. It's not because I don't have a map, it's because I don't have a destination." --Takemoto, Honey and Clover

2011 has been a great year. I also consider it as the most memorable time of my life so far. There are ups and downs, side by side(?), milestones, first times, life-changing experiences, getting lost and finally getting back on track. It was also a time when I realized that I haven't enjoyed much of my previous year because of  being tied to academics. I should have enjoyed my college life more and it happened in the latter part of my senior year. Still, I am being positive in looking back to the year it was.

Pencils and pancakes: My 20th birthday
I spent my birthday in the drawing board, trying my best to celebrate the last day of being a teenager. I can still remember how untimely my birthday was because I cannot invite any friends and classmates for we all have a deadline the next day. But still, some of them sticked and even helped me in my adversary. The family brought some food in the apartment and there we celebrated my birthday amidst scattered papers and pencils. A bit unorthodox, but I liked the feeling. :)

Palaruan ni Juan: A Filipino Amusement Park
One of the biggest challenge of my academic life is this sort of checkpoint before graduation. It started the previous year but it only materialized this 2011. From the start, I have been longing for the best thesis when I got inspired by a friend who made such a wonderful design of a lakeshore development near Mount Pinatubo.

It was probably my inspiration to strive for my goal. Six months of constant pressure and sleepless nights paid off, and I was awarded the best thesis of the year. I am proud to admit that the output was not only my effort because a lot of people contributed to its success, without them, I wouldn't have produced enough worthy of the award.

One Sunny Sunday: Four years in the making 
It was a day I would never forget.
I never expected April 17, 2011 to feel very momentous --- I honestly just expected a tiring, sunny day filled to the brim with rituals and obligations that I would be happy to endure in the name of graduation and of the sablay that I would finally have had earned the right to wear.

But it turned out to be a very fun day, a great way to end the four-year-long journey that was college. Yes it was incredibly sunny, and most of the program was tedious, but all the hassle was nothing compared to that one moment of finally being pronounced graduates of the University of the Philippines. It felt great to be among that sea of students who were all smiles and cheers after having flipped their sablays --- it was joyous, momentous, and was the exact, wonderful closure that all those UP students needed, me included.

So that's that. After four long years, I am now a proud UP graduate. I know that I have said it countless times already, but it feels wonderful. April 17 was one of the happiest days of my life. College was a wonderful journey, and while I will surely miss it, I know I'm glad that it is finally over. Cheers to the Class of 2011! At maraming salamat, UP Naming Mahal!

Going up North: The Ilocos Trip
I have heard a lot of great things from up North -- the pristine beaches, massive churches which hold great historical value, bizarre landforms and interesting stories. That's why last summer I did not hold back to grab the opportunity in exploring Ilocos Norte. After graduation, two of my friends planned to have this getaway and it was timely that his family had an affair for the 3rd week of April so we stayed in his aunt's house -- making it one of my most budgeted trips of the year!

The Art of Patience: Analog Photography
I grew more and more in love with the craft of analog photography since my acquisition of my first slr camera. There's nothing that can beat the feeling of anticipation while waiting for your photographs to develop, not to mention waiting for the best shot that you can have to fit within the 24-36 exposures of film. Yes, it is costly, but it doesn't compare to digital. I don't have to post process my photos because the result that I acquire is already what I wanted a photograph to be: Raw and untouched.

Mindoro: Of waves and sand
The family figured it was also a time to reconnect with my relatives in our hometown Occidental Mindoro. My father's side f the family offered a thanksgiving party to the barangay where they originated. Seeing my cousins, aunts, and uncles after a few years made me think that we really got older. The coastal and fishing village haven't changed except for the receding coastline due to accretion since the time we went there a few years back... I also figured that the water in the creek I used to swim to got shallow, but it's just me getting bigger.

We also did a short trip to my grandpa's grave, went fishing and walked long the wave-battered shores. It somehow feels nostalgic playing in the sands with my cousins again, and looking back to the years when we were just 4-feet tall and can barely go out into the water. 

Photowalks, Foodtrips, Thriftshop trips
I always pondered upon life after schooling. Yes, I believe that we will always be students throughout life but when you stopped going to a spoonfed lifestyle of school, it also marks the time that you should learn the things yourself. There won't be any teachers to guide you or lessons that are required to be reviewed. So it's essential that you make your own experiences. I also admit that this is my depression stage where I mostly stayed ireeke my room thinking too much about being unemployed and resorted to the perverted world of the internet. Occasionally, I go out on photowalks with friends and also foodtrips which caused me to gain weight and lose self esteem, but made me realize a lot of things.

Corporate burnout? NOT.
Good things come to those who wait. And I must say, great things. For a couple of months I have been out of the radar, consistently searching for a job that fits my skills with the diploma that I hold dear and waited for the one who would accept me. I even thought of resorting to studying again in a vocational school to be a seaman, just to make an excuse for travelling and the pressure of unemployment, but it isn't His will. I went to numerous interviews and was finally accepted to a company I was dreaming of (I literally dreamed of this company.) And just this October, I am working full-time and getting paid fairly while having an opportunity to travel abroad.

Sagada: A Mountain recluse
The first paycheck that I received went to this semi-spontaneous trip with a big group of individuals who share the same passion: travelling. We all gave up the tradition of visiting our loved ones in the cemetery to experience the rugged landscape of benguet last All Soul's Day. I am quite sure that this is just the start of the many trips I will make in the years to come. Here's a link to the series.

We climbed mountains, entered caves, swam in underground rivers, rode a jeepney at dawn, waited for the sunrise, ate at cozy log cabins, told ghost stories, celebrated a birthday, descended cliffs, and enjoyed each other's company.

The Grinch is on leave: Holidays
It has been an emerging tradition in spending our holiday season at our home with a big extended family. Most of my cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles gather in this occasion of family bonding and pricelss moments. I have never been this close to my family and relatives, and I thank Him for that. :)

Blog-domain and Finding love in traveling
For a long time now I am wishing for a space on the net with an address of "myname.com", where I can chronicle things I've done -- in which I got! Finally, a blog domain was offered by godaddy.com for $1 and Robx of thecreativedork bought me one as charity.., hence, peculiarhours.com

On the other hand, an online community of bloggers called PTB Bagets exposed me to the joys of traveling and experiencing life through different landscapes and people you encounter along the road. I admit it helped me to see things in different perspectives; and enlightening me that travel isn't just a luxury when you get old or after you retire. Travel should be done while you're young because you still have the physical strength to explore. It shouldn't always be too expensive especially nowadays where almost all places are accessible with airfare promos. Even a short trip to a nice place in your hometown won't hurt. Still, it just depends on what you prioritize. But for me, I am sure I will go places, with a MAP, and a DESTINATION!

Who says 2012 will be the end of the world?
I declare now that good things, if not great are in store for me this coming 2012. They say you must constantly remind yourself of the things you need and the things you want in order to get them. So here they are! :D

Staying in UP - I am planning to stay inside UP campus this March 2012 for the upcoming board exam for landscape architects. Finally, I will be able to live a slow paced life away from the hurly-burly of the city and focus on studying, afternoon naps, and midnight jogs. :)
Board Examinations - The last week of March will decide if I am already worthy to be a professional.
Japanese Scholarship - I haven't forgotten my dream to reach Japan one day and this is one of the way. :)

Hongkong-Macau - Thiscoming January 5-9, the family and I will be going on a trip to HongKong and Macau to start the year! :D
Mount Pinatubo ascend - The latter part of January with PTB
Coron - April 2012 with family
Davao - Davao City and Samal Island on May 4-8
Caramoan - Island hopping and PNR ride on May 11-14
Cebu - no dates yet
Zambales - August 2012, Nagsasa
Palaui Island - tentative, probably Feb or March
along with a lot of weekend spontaneous trips!!!

I thank my readers for constantly supporting this blog. Cheers for more adventures this 2012! Let's be thankful for the coming year and stay positive always! :D


  1. wow a very fruitful 2011..hope you get the same and more this 2012.
    Happy New Year ( ^=^)v

  2. Natawa ako sa 'gaining weight and losing self-esteem'! Wahaha! Ganda talaga ng photos mo Byron!

    Fresh na fresh ka pa from college, I really hope you don't burnout and lose your spark like everyone else. It's a tough tough world out there.

    And tama ka, travel while you're young. Had I been exposed to the PTB like you and Ivan when I was your age, maybe I wouldn't have gone through all that crap. But it's crap that made me stronger so I guess it's all good. =)

    When you go to Japan, live my dream for me. =)

  3. wow! what a great reflection of the year that will pass in a few hours!:0 HAppy New YEar!

    You are still young and there are still more things to see and expect.

    I had the same experience as yours after graduation, having difficulty of finding a job, I also waited for quite long to finally be employed. "He" helped me

    The "graduation" part, that made reminisce the time when I dreamed of wearing "sablay", if only I pushed through with entering UP. Sayang, kung pwede lang sayang gawing in-budget ang studying, haha! well, someday, sana makapagsuot rin ako ng sablay!

    Anh yeah! traveling! I'm really happy when I met a lot of travelers, that made me realize that it is really possible to conquer the place you;ve been dreaming to visit and at a very low cost! Thanks to PTB! And syempre, PTB Bagets!

    Cheers Byron!

    see you soon on the road!

  4. nice, what a great way to end the year. i also think that way, if you want to achieve something, you must own it. Sometimes I forgot that you just graduated, ang lalim mo kasi minsan mag isip, pero minsan naman ang babaw... nyahaha.

    Thanks for influencing me to go back to film again. Nabuhay ulit si fisheye hehe...

    Here's to more travels, achieving goals, conquering fears and a peaceful mind. Sama ako sa Cebu!

  5. Really, really nice photos. Looks like you've accomplished a lot this year! And you have lots of destinations in line. Best of luck!

    Happy New Year!

    PS I love the graduation pics. Reminds me of the time I also wore my sablay. Hehe.

  6. Good luck in everything you do Byron ! Happy new year !

  7. your photos never fails to amaze me kuya :P it's amazing that you've always got the time to blog about things :)) whenever I try to, my mind seems to wander off.

    have a great 2012 ahead kuya!

  8. Ang ganda ng year-ender post mo! And I love the new layout! Happy New Year Byron :D

  9. Hands down sa mga photos!!! Woohoo! And oh, grabe naiyak ako nung graduation ko! Waaaaa. Kasi in high school, it's boring, OA and cheesy. But nung college. Grabe! Kasi four years din ako nag suffer ng sleepless nights, pumayat at pumangit pa ako lalo due to stress... ayun. Iba talaga ang UP experience! :D

    See you soon kapatid!!! Mount Pinatubo huweeeee

  10. landscape architect ka bro? astig ng plano ah! :)

  11. nakakatawa talaga pag totoo hahahaha! thanks robx! will definitely ignite this spark all the time. :)

    don't say as if you won't reach japan hahaha you know you can do it!!! :D

  12. Yup! though hindi pa licensed hahaha :D salamat idol!

  13. Thanks renz! Grabe lang yung naiyak hahaha see you sa pinatubo!!!

  14. Much thanks Allie! i am humbled.

  15. It's good practice to blog once you have the urge. I myself experience what they call the writer's block, but it's temporary, so just resume when you have the inspiration to write. Thanks flo! Cheers!

  16. Much thanks bryan! Even though most of them are plans, it won't hurt to just declare it from the start para macondition na agad. Wow isko ka din pala!! :)

  17. Wahahaha my pleasure je! it was a humbling experience to meet good people like you this year. I hope to have more travels with the group, and hoping you'll inspire more people as much as you've inspired me. :)

  18. Thank you and happy new year! Same to you miss! :D

  19. See you soon darwin! Tama na emo! Hahaha and don't regret that you were not able to go to UP. "He" has a reason for that. Here's for more travels! :D

  20. BYRON! Best thesis ka pala congrats! And bitter pa rin ako sa di pag-attend ng graduation rites because of thesis things :( Tag me along on one of your photowalks, and pwede rin ba maki-charity kay Robx?


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