The biggest highlight of the year was probably our trip to Ilocos Norte. It was filled with discovery and relaxation. The trip showed us that the Philippines is truly gifted with natural resources and picturesque landscapes.
We trekked Mount Pinatubo and met new friends along the way, explored the well-preserved streets of Vigan, went Sandboarding in Paoay, Laoag, were humbled by the giant Bangui Windmills, pampered in a gorgeous resort in Pagudpud, and stayed in Kapuluan Resort on Valentines Day. The minimalist-inspired resort served organic food (yes, we’ve seen their little farm).
As if the 10-day trip to Ilocos wasn’t enough! My family and I went to Zambales last March. We walked around the streets of Olongapo, went camping in Anawangin, explored the nearby islands, went to Zoobic, and on our last day, dropped by Ocean Park in Manila. This was my gift to my 2 younger brothers who both graduated from college that month.
After all the ‘wanderlusting’, I didn’t realize we had been together for six years. He was out of town during our anniversary so I didn’t really expect much until a surprise came knocking. A big bouquet of flowers! We both don’t see the significance of giving flowers, but this one was an exception.
After searching for the right home to live in, I finally found an unfurnished apartment in Mabolo that was perfect for me. It was love at first sight! I couldn’t wait to transform it. There was a point, though, when I couldn’t stop buying things I didn’t need but thankfully, I was able to overcome my impulsive behavior.
On May 11, we opened our first stall in JY Square. The whole process of running a business was new to me and very stressful. I learned so many things from Happy Sacks like how to pick your staff, interview and train them, manage and run the numbers, deal with people in a non-introverted way, promote products through marketing, solve problems, create a system, and so so much more. It gave me nightmares (literally), but the challenge was so much fun at the same time.
I don’t know what it is, but I can’t seem to say no to travel. Sure I still have lots to do for our new business, but when the opportunity to travel came, I had no doubts about it. Siquijor felt like being lost on a secret island that only a handful of people know about. We spent hours sunbathing and swimming and floating on the beach.
We were a foot away from them! We weren’t allowed to touch them but just looking at them blows you away. This was my first time seeing them in the wild. On a side note— Apo island was great too!
Happy Sacks was featured in a prominent newspaper in Cebu! Jeremie and I were so nervous during the interview.
Other good news, Jeremie got an offer in Paypal so he had to move there. I was happy and just a little sad that we were going to be separated by water. So this is how long-distance relationships feel like. I expected something far worse, but it turned out okay.
We celebrated Jeremie’s birthday at the Camp Symmetry Festival in Singapore. Lots of great bands played, but we were there for Ra Ra Riot and Explosions in the Sky.
Since I planned on constantly traveling to Singapore to see Jeremie, we decided to sell Happy Sacks to a good friend of mine. I’m sure she will take good care of it. It’s sad to say goodbye to our first startup, but on the plus side, at least it lives on.
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