Dec 31, 2017
2017: A Year in Review
In A Nutshell
I'm usually out of the country backpacking my way across Southeast Asia, but this year, I didn't leave the Philippines. I've only been to 4 provinces and towards the end of the year, feeling travel-fatigue moving every 2/3 days, I've decided to stay put in a place for 30 days before moving on to the next. My new mandate was to be productive and thrive no matter how bleak the situation might be in my chosen destination.
Sure, a life of travel is exciting and adventurous, but it still has its low points.
Women my age usually like me, but I can't seem to go beyond friends with them - life would be a lot simpler if I were open to the possibility. They are rich in wisdom, life experience and wit to match. I do enjoy moments with them as we carry on a conversation indefinitely.
Given the age disparity, the austere measures I take as a renunciate and the added uncertainty of my nomadic life, this puts me between a rock and a hard place when it comes to matters of the heart. Still, I'd rather be alone than be stuck with someone I don't resonate with.
Other people got sick, lost a loved one, suffered catastrophic losses. Me, I just got lonely. That's enough to be thankful for.
While in the Philippines, I didn't really meet too many people. Usually, I interact with travelers, but I didn't see much of them where I was going. I also use Couchsurfing for coffee conversations but that hardly happens either. Still, I came upon interesting lives that shaped my peoplescape.
My platonic friendship with Jeanne is a permanent fixture in my life. Wherever I end up, no matter how isolated I am, I feel assured there is Jeanne. We always spend time together whenever I am in Cebu City, but even when I'm not, I invite her to come join me if I'm not too far away. She joined me in Moalboal, Panglao and Loboc. We decided that if we're too old to be doing what we're doing and need to settle down, we'll get us a land where we'll have our own individual nipa huts, a yoga center and a cafe. We can spend our mornings over coffee and our Theosophical talk like we always do. Friends will come and visit and it'll be like Friday Milk and Juice Night all over again.
Juan and Jeffrey Huerte
Father and son, Juan and Jeffrey, were my landlords in Loboc. But they played a bigger role. Unselfishly and with open hearts, they opened up Loboc to me, taking me into hidden nooks and crannies, telling me about its history and riding with me to interesting spots. In their own way, they exemplified the life of contentment, simplicity and peace. They live as much off the land as they can - their own veggies, making their own sikwate from their cacao, pounding their rice harvest, etc. Loboc was special because of them.
Kins and Ludwig
Kins and Ludwig are both good friends from Theosophical Society and Vipassana Meditation. We don't need to explain much to the other - we already know where each is coming from. They would join me for breakfast talks, tag me along community gatherings, or just sit in meditation. They are my mainstays in Tagbilaran.
Judith and I don't hang-out much, but we don't need to. Ever since I left Bohol for Cebu to hold a meditative space to help her get that competitive edge that contributed to her winning the championship in Manila's major dance event, we've become good friends. I cannot visit Cebu City without having her across the coffee table to catch up with.
Charlotte and Alyssha
I met these two wonderful souls during my 3-month stay in Camotes Island. We became instant friends - hanging out for pizza, going out to the beach, meeting up in Cebu and almost connected again in Bohol, if not for a typhoon. This friendship is definitely long-term and for keeps. Can't wait to see them again.
Grant and Mitchell
In Camotes, I would while away my time hanging out at Mitchells' Kay Lami food kiosk where Grant, me and Mitch talk about world events as well as local events. They were embarking on an exciting project in Camotes shortly before I left. I'm sure things have come a long way. Grant and I managed to stay in touch and connect online. The horizon is broad for future possibilities.
I was surprisingly reunited with someone I've always wanted to be with. For years, she remained one of a few I would have abandoned my nomadic life to settle down with. However, the reunion made me realize she was far from the romanticized notion I built-up in my wild imaginings. It would have been better if I had not seen her again to keep the idealism alive...if only in my head. She remains a friend but I keep it arm's length.
As a client, I stayed in Michael's hostel for a few days. That also gave me a glimpse of him as a person, his friends and the idealized position they hold as the next-generation movers and shakers of Cebu.
Frederic and Joan
I met this dynamic Belgian-Filipina couple in Loboc where they run an upscale SUP river resort, Fox and Firefly Cottages. We had dinners a few times, checked-out their SUP and yoga scene and got better acquainted. I was surprised when they asked me to resort-sit their place during the holidays while they're gone. They just met me! They said we have common friends and they checked me out. Turns out I wasn't too bad.
Jean Jacques Gautier
As part of the Plongeurs du Monde, JJ included me in his class for a freediving certification course in Apo Island. I reached 16m and got me stoked into serious freediving. I could imagine working with JJ next time he visits the Philippines again.
Mejul is a faculty of University of Bohol who appreciated my lifestyle choice and has invited me to give a talk to his students about my own brand of philosophy and spirituality. He further invited me to conduct a yoga class for some 60+ students. I would have wanted to hangout with him, but despite a standing offer to be my breakfast guest, it didn't happen.
At Fox and Firefly, I had a conversation with one of the Canadian guests who was also traveling alone. With a brewing typhoon, it was rainy and cold with not much outdoor adventure to do. We ended up into long conversations at the resto for the 2 days she was there. We also went to town to try out traditional Filipino carinderia food. Increasingly, we shared substantive and meaningful topics. It's rare to bump into a traveler who is not rushed to check-off the 'been there done that' checklist.
I just read something on her post, "...from chatting .....to a fellow traveler met in a hostel with whom I talked for hours and learned so much". I wasn't tagged so perhaps it wasn't for my eyes. I learned a lot too - it's a 2-way street.
Lindsay and Tory
I made an impromptu announcement to the group of resto guests at Fox that I was conducting a yoga class the following day. Four people showed up for the practice but Lyndsay and Tory stayed after class and invited me to join them for breakfast where we talked some more, gaining depth and intimacy as we carried on. Later, we did a photo-shoot after which they joined me for pizza and hot cocoa, without a pause in our sharing. It was good bonding that begged for a deepening connection. It's not everyday I come across kindred souls. I already miss them.
Ferdie and I go back to our high school days. Sometimes, he gets stationed to where I am close by and we get to hangout. Such was the case in Cebu City and Anda, Bohol. Ferd is like a well-worn shoe that fits comfortably. He's fun too, bringing out the kid in me. Despite the distance, we manage to hangout at least once a year. I look forward to that this 2018.
He was the senior food critic at the food tasting event at Palm Grass Hotel when we met. That started a friendship where he invites me for pizza and vodka at Michaelangelo Pizza whenever I visit Cebu City. He has a lot of life experience, insight and humor. When we talk, it's not just food.
I don't know if it's me, just the individuals I talked to, or collectively, it's a millenial issue. But I noticed that when they say "YES", it's likely they meant, "I'll try". Of course I work my schedule around that "yes" - moving meetings, rescheduling a ride, preparing stuff, etc. But they hardly show up - they forgot, last minute cancellation, showed up late or simply oblivious to what "yes" means. I hate to generalize, but I feel wary when I'm dealing with a millenial - except the few who have been proven reliable.
I don't dwell on the 'could have beens' or the 'should have beens' of life. If it didn't happen despite my due-diligence, then it probably wasn't meant to be - and that's that. I don't lose sleep over it. But just for keeping tabs, my misses are:
- durian - It seems irreconcilable to be in the Philippines and miss the durian season in Davao. Perhaps it's also because I renounced Duterte and a friend advised me not to be in Davao for the meantime. As explained, "It's rabid here for now."
- Vipassana and Himalayas - I usually do my 10-day Vipassana silent meditation course every 6 months but I haven't done it in years. I applied to the advanced Satipathana course in the Himalayas but I was rejected for not having meditated 2 hours/day. But I can apply again for a regular course in 2018 - I'd still be in the Himalayas.
Again, some people missed-out on major opportunities - life changing career opportunities, missing out on the Bitcoin explosion, etc. Me, I just missed out on a fruit and a wonderful place. They are still there for the taking next time. Life is beyond kind to me.
On the Horizon
I don't really subscribe to a future or make too many plans for it, but on the horizon, I see a few looming possibilities:
- resort/hotel optimizer - As eyes-and-ears for resort owners gone on vacation or simply as a consultant, I can study whatever system they have and optimize things - it's a gift I have. It could be as simple as non-trail worthiness of their mountain bikes or system changes that might reduce cost and optimize earnings. I could make a manual out of it and add it to my tool box. This ensures my lodging and a little money
- Himalayas - the Himalayas continue to excite me. I can simply attend a basic Vipassana course just to get there. I have a feeling wonderful things await me there.
- responsive website development - with my new skill as a web designer who can hand-code a responsive website from scratch, I can be more aggressive in taking-in new business. I don't mind having a little more disposable cash.
Hidden Natural Law - for the taking
I've mentioned this a few times in my previous blogs but I remain intrigued by this hidden natural law I seem to have stumbled-upon. It repeats itself with predictable regularity like the Fibonacci sequence, fractals or even gravity, that draw me to the conclusion that it's not coincidence but a natural law known only to people who have stumbled upon it. With no address, no home, very little money, no property, no powerful contacts....why don't I starve on the open road with my nomadic life? Why do I get to travel extensively and end up in the right place at the right time where I meet people who manifest wonderful things for my well-being? If this just happened once or twice, then maybe it's just coincidence. But in the 8 years I'd been traveling without a home or a base, it has never failed. I have never proven this law to be flawed. I'm definitely not using them (I never use people) nor do I contrive towards an end goal. Things just ebb and flow naturally...effortlessly as though there is a natural law to which all these things comply with.
How exactly can you comply with this law? I don't know, but I've come across a few Easter Eggs that make up pieces of a jigsaw puzzle illuminating the big picture. I would like to explore this law until I can get a tangible grasp on it - and share it to everyone. This law is too empowering, too amazing and too transformative to benefit only a few. Parts of this jigsaw puzzle are outlined in my Midas Touch blog.
I wouldn't be surprised if I keep staying longer in a place before moving on. Traveling doesn't excite me as much as it used to. In a perfect world, I'd have a comfortable working area with high-speed internet by the mountains in my wooden hut overlooking the waters - morning sikwate, tuba and an open-air cafe area. Within my grounds is my own yoga space and calisthenics playground. My shire will be a revolving door for friends to stop by and chill. I'd have a few ducks and rabbits freely roaming around my space (no, they won't be eaten). I don't have the funds for it, but the good thing about this hidden law I talk about is, I don't need the money for it - I only need to put my intention and the universe works in the background manifesting it. One day...
Reader Comments:Olivier Beaufils
(Jan 3, 2018) What a beautiful human mosaic Gigit! Thank you very much for these conversations that I had the chance to have with you and that taught me. Thank you for your spirit for staying with us despite the distance. I wish you a 2018 year full of light. See you soon I hope!
(Jan 3, 2018) So happy to have met you Gigit. Keep spreading the good vibes wherever you travel in the New Year! 🙂
(Jan 3, 2018) Hey Gigit, I am wishing you a joyful, happy year filled with gratitude. 🙂
(Jan 2, 2018) Happy New Year Gigit !! Hope this year will bring lots of fulfillment, encounters, endeavours and positive energies your way! Have a Fantastic 2018!!!
(Jan 2, 2018) Grateful to be part of your 2017, Gigit! I fully agree with you that there is such force so powerful that brings people you are meant to meet in life. Your soul is just as mysterious as that and as wonderful. Thank you and may you be continually blessed with what truly enriches one's soul.
(Jan 2, 2018) Happy, healthy, more stable 2018 to you Gigit! Congratulations on a successful 2017! Let's catch up hopefully soon. Cheers!
(Jan 2, 2018) Thank you, Gigit. See you soon. I'm excited to see you again. Always amping and we miss you. Love the message. ❤ *kiligs
(Jan 2, 2018) More power to you bro!!! Keep riding... Hope to meet you somewhere down the road and catch up... Peace!!!
(Jan 1, 2018) Happy New Year, Gigit! I just love reading your stories. I can actually imagine and picture the places you've been to, and the people you had the wonderful opportunity to meet. It gives me that "I was there" or "I met this beautiful person" kind of feeling. You're simply an amazing writer, with so many other awesome talents. And I am just so grateful and honored to have played a small part of your journey. Thank you so much! God bless you always. Don't worry about being single. The right one will come along when you least expect it. "Let love find you".
(Jan 2, 2018) I somehow felt you across the coffee table while reading this. Thank you Bobette :) Happy new year!!! ❤
(Jan 1, 2018) Happy new year Gigit, and hope 2018 will bring you as much peace, happiness, travels and magic as 2017!!!!
(Jan 1, 2018) Happy new year git!!! You are a wonderful soul
(Jan 1, 2018) Happy New Year dear friend. Only the best for you in 2018!!!
(Jan 1, 2018) Happy New Year Gigit, so happy to have met you... Love to read you... xo
Merly Barrete Barlaan
(Jan 1, 2018) Happy New Year to you Gigit! The best is yet to come. You are a good writer, I enjoyed reading it. Thank you for including me on your beautiful tapestry of faces. Rest, assured, you will be my guest as soon as I have that "Lord of the Ring" house manifested. Wishing you good health and even more blessed and beautiful adventures this year
(Jan 2, 2018) ...make it fast! I'm holding my breath for it 🙂
(Jan 1, 2018) What a wonderful post my friend, A great read to send one on a positive path in 2018. happy new year and may it be filled again with positives and adventure.
(Jan 1, 2018) Glad to be part of your 2017 memories, Git! To more serene escapades this 2018 with Miss Jeanne!
(Jan 1, 2018) It was a pleasant surprise catching up with you in Apo Island. When I get the chance again, prepare to spill about that mystery lady hahaha
(Jan 2, 2018) ...as a gentleman, my lips are sealed 🙂
(Dec 29, 2017) I met this beautiful soul Gigit, in Bohol, Philippines. He invited me to attend his sunrise Yoga class the next morning. The others that planned to attend the class overslept, so I received a one-on-one session. That morning in the dark, as the roosters began to crow, my intuitive voice told me something magical would come of it, so I popped up. After class Gigit offered me some fresh tumeric and ginger tea and we shared space. What's sharing space? It's when you bring your entire presence to another without judgment and witness their story and emotional state while simultaneously being present to your own. Gigit shared that he left the corporate world and has been traveling and living a healthy, happy life as a minimalist for the last 8 years. I immediately sensed his inner peace the first time I saw him. He embodied positive energy, possessed a genuinely warm smile and walked lightly like a gentle breeze. I remember thinking to myself, he must be a Yogi or a teacher. He was both. As we shared space he reminded me of a few things I've carried with me.
(Dec 30, 2017) Every once in a while, a kindred soul passes by validating what you hold true about yourself and how your thoughts, actions and speech ripple through this collective whole manifesting reality as you architecture it. Thank you for that gift Shannon ❤
Next stop: Mountain Bike Rides from Tagbilaran to Loboc
Year in Review Blogs:
- 2019: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2019
- 2018: A Year In Review Dec 31, 2018
- 2017: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2017
- 2016: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2016
- 2015: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2015
- 2014: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2014
- 2013: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2013
- 2012: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2012
- 2010: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2010
- 2008...Looking Back Jan 5, 2008
- 2003: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2003
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