Sunday, January 3, 2016

My Highlights of 2015

And so we looked back to see how we lived our life for the past 1 year.  Some good, some not, some may be great!  Whatever those views are – will help us drive our 2016 to be much better or happier.

Here are my highlights; and I can only say that it has been a GREAT year amid all the challenges, some failures and occasional stress. ;)

New Places
My trip to Southwest US was a big travel highlight.  I’ve been dreaming of visiting Utah and Arizona (and few others) and finally saw (and photographed) spectacular sceneries and out-of-this-world rock formations!  And being there with the family is a better, more memorable shared experience!
at Bryce Canyon Utah

Rio de Janeiro was not yet in my travel list, but sudden opportunity allowed me to “quick step” on its famous landmarks!  For free! =)

Failed selfie at Christ the Redeemer (don't worry I have a few good ones)
Challenging Climbs
I got more than what I’ve asked for in terms of technical challenge.  Ama Dablam (6800m) was challengingly difficult and although I didn’t summit – it was still a unique and happy experience.  I’m also glad that there are other Pinoys in the team which seems to tell me that there will be continuity in this sport.
Read more about my post-trip thoughts here

The team, Ama Dablam peak behind (right side)
The prep climb in Mt Makiling was rather unique, it was my first time to traverse the mountain – but more because of the experience of being attacked by an army of forest leeches! 
Mt Makiling, start of the hike
Born Again
Happy to be momentarily back in GMA7's Born to be Wild as a guest host.  The climb on Makiling and the trip in Nepal were featured in the show.  The show (and the team) will always be close to my heart.  Naks! :)
With the Born crew in Mt Makiling

I’m glad and thankful that my Nepal team helped in a big way to make our Monjo school project a reality!  I’m proud we did it, even with limited funds or campaign time – it made our trip more meaningful and memorable!
It was also feel-good experiences to help organize and participate in some outreach or community work, particularly Habitat for Humanity and Scrapped Pallet-to-Chair program (both sponsored by Procter and Gamble).

Recycling scrap pallets into school chairs donated to schools in Laguna (c/o P&G)

Volunteers of house-painting activity c/o Habitat for Humanity
Monjo school in Nepal where we painted for a day, and campaigned for donations reaching to more than 6000USD for rehabilitation work
I also started exploring ways how to promote hand-woven fabric to preserve this local tradition, and consequently help our weavers earn a little more.  Not much in terms of volume or scope but I felt good that the process has started.  I see a good future on this one, and I wish we get more support from our community.
Sleeping sacks (malong) and warmer-cowls made from hand-woven Inabel from La Union are "test-marketed" through the help of Lagalag store in SM North

“Joy will take you further” of Johnnie Walker was an unexpected blast!  It was truly flattering (to be lined up with great people) and I was truly proud of being part of the campaign.  Thank you Diageo and all their partners for the opportunity!

Some of the personalities involved in the campaign

There are more highlights on the personal side (which I’ll keep for myself).  Although it was a great year – I wish to have done so much more!  For now, I’m thankful that it was a good year, and do hope for a brighter one this 2016.
Good luck everyone!


Babeth Lolarga said...

Happy New Year, Romi. I'm glad you had another one of those years where you were able to strike a balance among your work, pleasure and your advocacy for a better world. My best to you always! - Tita Babeth

Romi Garduce said...

Happy New Year Tita Beth! the usual feeling is "i wish to have done a little more" :) hopefully better this year, and even better next next :) Wish you a great year ahead!