Honestly, I hadn’t really planned on writing a yearender blog post for reasons that are relatively mababaw (i.e. my internet connection S U C K S here in Baguio City), but I thought it would be nice to cap this mostly WTF year with a look back at the moments I was most thankful for. After all, happiness stems from having a grateful heart, right?
And so without further ado, here are the 16 sweetest moments of my 2016.
1. Being able to write for kids. (Bayong ng Kuting Workshop, January 2016)
Being able to write is, in itself, a blessing, but at the end of 2015, I decided to challenge myself and enroll in the Bayong ng Kuting Workshop. The workshop required us to craft an original children’s story around the Bayong ng Kuting universe. And if you think writing children’s lit is easy, think. again. No news yet about our submissions, but no matter the outcome, I’m so glad I took on this challenge. ^_^
2. Dipping my toes in uncharted waters. (#romanceclass @ Komiket, February 2016)
Another first for #romanceclass and myself was being one of the participating merchants at the Komiket, an event that featured and celebrated indie komiks and the talented people behind them. We probably stood out like a sore thumb then, selling romance novels alongside comicbooks and art, but it had been fun, and we actually sold books! I believe this was where the idea for #4 came up (though I could be wrong, heh).
BONUS ROUND: I met Manix Abrera for the first time in this event! He is SO COOL. <3
3. Discovering new stars and reigniting a fire in my heart. (3 Stars and a Sun, March 2016)
3 Stars and a Sun was a PETA-produced FrancisM rap musical that tackled the importance of learning and remembering one’s history, and the perils revisionism may have on future generations. It was a brave piece of work that touched my heart and soul, and that also led me to discovering this theatre gem named Nicco Manalo. ^_^ (I “meet” him again later in the year!)
4. Crossing out one item off my musical bucket list. (Les Miserables Manila, April 2016)
This musical was one for the books! Seeing the film version in 2012 got me hooked, but watching it on stage was a different magic altogether. Great, great show. I wish I could say the same about the person sitting in front of me, though. (Two words: Theatre etiquette.)
5. Being part of something monumental. (#romanceclass’ #AprilFeelsDay, April 2016)
#romanceclass authors and readers alike tolerated the sweltering summer heat just to be able to participate in the community’s very first standalone event, April Feels Day. We were treated to an afternoon of feelings, featuring new members of our growing family–Salve, Herv, and Jef. It was also the first time I saw people literally HOARDING our books. The high felt so good, we had two more within the year!
6. Releasing a new book. (Scandalized, May 2016)
In March, Anvil finally announced (privately) which books they were publishing from the 31 finished manuscripts submitted via the #SparkNA workshop. Unfortunately, mine wasn’t able to make it to the print publishing cut, so I decided to self-publish it instead. Thanks to the efforts of an entire village (with special mention to Rix, Layla, Pach, and Porcey), I was able to release Scandalized and got heartwarming responses from people who’ve read it. <3
7. Reuniting with an old friend. (Rak of Aegis, June 2016)
When PETA announced Rak of Aegis’ fifth and last run, I KNEW I had to do everything in my power to have my fill of this addictive little musical. And I did. I saw the show five times from June to August bringing the number of times I’ve rak-ed out to a whopping FOURTEEN. Oh, and did I tell you how I was basically pulled into the cast party? Because I was, and even though I felt embarrassed being there, the cast was so gracious having me (us, my sister, Pach, and Tina were also pulled in haha) there. I love them so much, and I miss them so. ;A;
8. Meeting awesome personalities. (Celine, Zsaris, Champ – June 2016 | Atom, Pia – August 2016)
Mina’s always had these fun #romanceclass lectures where she invites people in particular jobs/industries to shed light on how these people “operate,” especially in the romance department. In June, we met rockstars. That’s Celine Fabie of the Ryan Cayabyab Singers, independent musician Zsaris, and Hale frontman Champ Lui-Pio.
In August, we met journalists Pia Arcangel and the legendary Atom Araullo. While I’m not really Champ or Atom-biased like some of the #romanceclass people are, I appreciated their presence and insights during the lectures. They were so cool and game, and hey–I had LOTS of fun!
9. Beating deadlines and being fab while doing it. (#romanceclass’ #FeelsRushIn, July 2016)
How does a “ragtag” volunteer army of indie romance writers somehow defeat a deadline that’s absurd, sir? How do we put up a full event in ten days, make it all worthwhile for the people coming our way? Yo, turns out we didn’t have to worry–the community we know and love knew how to cope with the flurry. We’re constantly inspiring, surprising even ourselves when everyone drops whatever they’re doing just so we could go “VOLT IN!”
We’re taking this Thing by the reins
beating deadlines, ignoring headaches
And we’re never gonna stop until we rise to the
top and earn your love and learn from our mistakes, we’re
Watch us engaging ’em, seducing ’em
Conquering ’em, we’re
We go and write more books
We drop ’em and you’re
That’s how we start the craze
Ok I got a little carried away. Basically–we had ten days to put together an event in Trinoma in July… and we did it! 😛 Peace out.
10. Unlocking life goals. (Manila International Book Fair & #AllTheFeels, September 2016)
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Our own little happy corner at #MIBF2016! Our utmost thanks to everyone who dropped by and gave these indie titles a chance. 😘 You don't know how happy you made all of us. We hope you enjoy #AllTheFeels, snd we'll see you again tomorrow! #romanceclass #StrangeLit #HeistClub #books #bookstagram #bookishevents #FilipinoAuthors #FilipinoIndie
Thanks to BDAP’s generosity, #romanceclass got a booth (A FRICKIN’ BOOTH GUYS!) at the Manila International Book Fair, only the biggest bookish annual event in the country. Not only that, said booth was situated at the frickin’ entrance of the frickin’ venue… which meant lots of people saw us (and by us, I mean our books)! We discovered that five prints per title weren’t enough stocks for a five-day event, and that our printer, JMD, is a frickin’ rockstar for printing more stocks for us twice in four days.
Yes, there’s a lot of frickin’ in that paragraph because HELLO–it’s a frickin’ dream come true! <3 We were so surprised by the outcome of this endeavor and we are looking forward to next year’s. Hopefully.
Another life goal: Be read by Gio Gahol. Take a look.
My family was also present during #AllTheFeels! It was a little awkward, but I appreciated their coming to the event so much. <3
11. Being part of something monumental, part deux. (#romanceclass’ #FeelsFest)
Another incomparable high came in the form of the #romanceclass FeelsFest in October (at Glorietta 5, no less!), wherein 19 NEW BOOKS were released. Seriously. 19. New. Books. We had a table full of ONLY new releases and it was such a lovely sight to see. (I released Settle the Score/Hustle Play during this time too! I sold out all the copies I had on me that day! <3) Here’s a fun vlog from KB Meniado of Bookbed.
At this point, I was so physically and mentally exhausted over ~everything but the community and their burning passion for this endeavor was my drug. I love them so much, and I can’t wait for the next event. (February will be insanely busy, guys. Just saying.)
12. Planning something awesome with awesome people. (New project with Jay and Six)
Can’t say much about this yet because SURPRISE–but yes, we are working on something fun, and something we hope you will love. April 2017.
13. Seeing someone I look up to in the flesh. (Ebe Dancel’s 12 Monkey’s set, November 2016)
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Prom. 🎶 For some reason, I have been connecting this song to Charles and Garnet since Settle the Score was written. Idek haha. They're not even in high school. But anyway, I loved that Ebe opened his set with this song. It was amazing. Isang kanta pa lang sulit na entrance fee ko. ❤❤❤ #opm #filipinoartists #ebedancel #12monkeys
Ebe Dancel’s All-Sugarfree gig at 12 Monkeys couldn’t have come at a better time. That’s all I have to say about it. He was awesome even if he struggled with his voice a bit during the show. The night was made even more amazing when we saw some theatre friends–one of whom even photobombed us (with permission) in our picture with Ebe. ^_^
14. Breaking my heart with a beautiful new musical. (Mula sa Buwan, December 2016)
I wordvomited about this lovely, lovely musical here. They’re returning to the stage this February 18. You’d better watch it.
Follow the Mula sa Buwan Facebook page for updates.
15. Collaborating with some of the most talented, generous people I know. (#romanceclass’ Make My Wish Come True, December 2016)
I couldn’t be more thankful that my first collaborative writing venture was with #romanceclass. Make My Wish Come True was a project six months in the making, and we couldn’t be happier we actually were able to release it just in time for the holidays.
More information about this anthology here.
16. Writing “The End” for Waiting in the Wings, December 2016)
Most amazing way to cap my year, I guess–to finish a new book. More about it here.
There were more, tinier moments that made 2016 worthwhile, enough to make me forget all those times I flipped tables mentally or wanted to find a cave to live in. But if life had a highlight reel, these 16 moments will be on top.
2017, please be better and brighter. We’re going to do our part; we hope you don’t disappoint us.
Happy New Year everyone! <3