It was this year that I face a lot of struggles in life from my personal life to my family. I have several difficult decisions to make and a tough life that really have challenged me inside out, only these have open doors to a lot of opportunities. It is then truly right, that our great failure in life is what brought us to the happiness we desire which was what exactly I have gone through. Our failure in life is what brings our life colorful, whole and complete because after all, it is not a matter of how many times we failed, but a matter of how many times we hoist ourselves and learn to still celebrate life even after disappointment and failures.
Allow me to share with you my unexpected and amazing opportunities that I’m really thankful for this year 2016.
1. I resolved to buy my own domain this year after one year of blogging.
Yes, it was this year that I resolved to get my own domain and have committed to my blog. I started blogging April 23, 2015 because I wanted to elude entertaining my broken heart. I wanted to be busy that time and just love to be generative. From that time, I blog about my travels and random thoughts while traveling as my personal reflection in life without even sharing it to my friends because I simply wanted to write and express whatever my heart says. It was in April this year after one year of blogging that I bought my domain as my gift for myself. It was also that time where I started to have a strong will and drive to write and have set goals in my blogging life.
2. I became an official member of Pinoy Travel Bloggers.
Nearly a month after I bought my domain, I applied in PTB to become a member and right after 4 days of screening and evaluation and I’ve met the minimum requirements needed, I was able to pass. PTB is the leading travel blogger groups in the Philippines and it houses the brilliant, amazing, award winning and famous travel bloggers in the Philippines and some of them are being acknowledged and awarded outside the Philippines. It was May 20, 2016 that I was welcomed on the Facebook group page of PTB as an official member and I was so elated during that time cause I truly didn’t expect that I can make it. Thank you for Sir Marky Ramone Go of Nomadic Experiences for welcoming me and for the rest of the members and for idol Rojae Braga of The Adventures of Adventuroj for helping me to become a member.
3. I have an increased follower in WordPress and I started to have a good engagement.
It was after I bought a domain and became active in blogging, I receive almost followers everyday in my WordPress account which I never expected it to happen. I also received good comments from other bloggers and readers that I didn’t expect it at all, which was, made my confidence level high enough and motivated me so much to continue on writing. You know that feeling when you started to receive a word of appreciation from the people you haven’t met personally with what you write is really beyond compare.
4. I was able to create my Facebook Page, Twitter and became active in my Instagram.
Yes, it was only this year that I had my Facebook Page and my twitter cause I didn’t mind it before. I never expected that blogging would have to be associated with a lot of Social Media account, which turned to be really a big help for me as a blogger. I also began to become active in my Instagram which I normally don’t post pictures way back before.
You can follow me on my Facebook Page at: Thelittlelai: Beyond limits
5. I had granted a chance to contribute to some of the online travel magazine and have some collaboration with other travel bloggers.
It was also this year that I had a chance to contribute to some of the online travel magazine. My very first contribution was in the windowSeat.ph online magazine about the Six Local Destinations Best Explored on a Bike which I shared my biking experience around Olango Island. I too had an opportunity to contribute to TripZilla Magazine, which was also becoming a way that have made me received more writing gigs. I also had my first collaboration with Everywhere With Ferna about the 5 Reliable Adventurous Tour Guides in the Philippines. After all these first time opportunities, there has been a great deal of opportunities that have opened door to me and I’m so thankful for those that have helped me to explore the wider world of possibilities.
6. I became an official member of Cebu Blogging Community.
It was also this year that my application in Cebu Blogging Community was approved. I was granted a chance to be welcomed together with other new members during their 2nd year anniversary at the Mandani Bay Showroom, Mandaue City last August 13, 2016. The Cebu Blogging Community is the leading Blogging Community groups in Cebu.
7. I gained a bunch of blogger friends and have bonded with some of them as well.
I guess one of the blessings I received this year is meeting a bunch of bloggers. I was able to came across on the different bloggers, according to their inches and have learned a great deal from them as well. I was granted a chance to climb Mount Lanaya together with Marj of Dakilanglaagan and Gly of Chasingpotatoes where I saw a glimpse of my bravery in some ways. I as well had an experienced climbing a mountain with Angel Villamor of Travel Blogs and More/ anjville.com where she rescued me as I have fallen off the ground due to the painful involuntary spasmodic contraction of a muscle in my calf area. It was also this year that I made friends with a heap of travel bloggers virtually and some I’ve met them personally.
8. I’m so thankful to be part of High Intensity Bloggers (HIBsters) Season 1.
I guess because of this program I have gained recognitions and have made me even more productive in my blogging life. This program aims to help every member of the group to mold their passion in blogging. Every member should have a minimum of 4 blog posts in 15 days and counted as one cycle, so in one month a member should have a total of 8 quality blog posts or more. This is I guess the reason why I’m able to publish 8 articles or more than 8 blog posts in a month. This program was started last October 1, 2016 and will end on December 31, 2016. And every member is expected to have published 24 articles that are totally related to their niche. I myself was able to publish a total of 30 articles within 3 months in this program.
I would also wish to thank all the members of HIBsters for being so driven and passionate about blogging that have really challenged me as well. Everyone of you deserve a congratulations for being able to take the challenge and be part of this wonderful program. I desire to see you all for the next season. The following bloggers deserve a recognition for being dedicated to their passion because being part of this program is never an easy one and we all knew that.
1. Johanna Marie Frejoles of ️Laagan Nga Bata
2. Jomar Lipon of Laaganko
3. Christoeffer John Restauro Estrada of Four Eyed Laagan
4. Carlo Andrew Olano of Kalami Cebu
5. Arnold Meguiso Jerodiaz of Wandering Soul Scamper
6. Rome Nicolas of Basta Bisaya
7. Manny Urgada of Jay&Gee theco-sins
8. Nhagz Torremcampo of Nhagzventures
9. Rea Alducente of Blissful Snapshots
10. Pam Baroro of Hey, Miss Adventures!
11. Jullian Robin Sibi of Utterly Random Techie
12. Marica Pidor of Chasing The Dreamer
9. I won an award in the 2016 Philippines Best Blogger as 3rd Place under the Travel and Leisure Blog category.
It was also this year that I became one of the finalists in the 2016 Philippines Best Blogger and I didn’t expect that I got the 3rd place under the Travel and Leisure Blog category. It was one of the memorable happenings and recognition in my life since it was my first time. Words are not enough to express how grateful I am for the award and this was made possible because of my readers, blogger friends, my friends and to all the people who keep supporting me. Once again thank you so much to everyone, especially to Ram of masterryo who never failed to support me since the first day I started my blog.
10. I was able to do my 10 days Solo Backpacking in Central Mindanao.
I’ve always dreamed to have a longer solo backpacking, but due to my works demand and responsibilities in the office I couldn’t make it. But God might have heard me pleading and asking for this, and finally it happened. I got the opportunity to do solo backpacking in Mindanao this year and I’ve visited 3 provinces. I’m just so grateful that I was able to make it this year and this was the longest Solo Backpacking I have ever had since I started traveling last 2014.
11. I was presented an opportunity to be one of the speakers during the Cebu Blogging Summit.
I never thought and I didn’t even have imagined that I’ll become a speaker to talk about blogging. All my life I always love to speak about the things I love, but during that time I think I’m not that deserving enough since I haven’t had much experience in blogging. I couldn’t say no to the offer, because what I have counted that time is not about the achievements of a blogger to become credible to speak, but having a heart and a passion to share whatever I have learned and to inspire those aspiring bloggers who are willing to listen and learn. It was truly a memorable experience for me as I’m talking about the things I learned and I have inspired them to take the decision of pursuing their passion and start acting upon it.
12. I was able to visit 10 Provinces in the Philippines and one country in South East Asia.
I know this is not a big deal for some big time travelers, but for me this is already something I’m really grateful for. I’ve visited a lot of unknown tourist destinations this year, some are truly off the beaten path and they’re really stunning at their own innate state. I was also given a chance to visit Hong Kong this year and I really had a great time there.
13. I was awarded as one of the Top 25 Travel Blogs in the Philippines and have made it to the 3rd spot.
I was completely speechless after knowing the news that my blog Thelittlelai: Beyond limits is one of the Top 25 travel blogs in the Philippines along with other amazing travel bloggers in the Philippines. I couldn’t believe it since the other blogs that are included on the list are most sought-after blogs and have made names and are being recognized not only here in the Philippines, but in the world as well. The Top 25 Philippines Travel Blog and Websites on the web was made possible by the Feedspot Blog Reader. They collect thousands of top Philippines Travel blogs in their index using search and social metrics.
Above all I would wish to thank God for all His goodness and for the talent that He has given me. I recognize that without Him, I won’t be able to accomplish all these things. Thank you Lord for renewing my strength everyday and for the knowledge and wisdom that you have entrusted to me. I would thank all the people who have trusted me and have open doors to a lot of opportunities. To all my friends, readers and those who have supported me since the day I began blogging, thank you so much. Advance Happy New Year and a Prosperous 2017 to all of us.
I cognize that we all have something to be thankful for before this year ends. How about you guys? What are the things that you would wish to give thanks before the year will end?