A couple of days ago, someone special asked me: what was my favorite memory of 2022?
It was a question that made me stop on my track and pushed me to reflect on how my year has been. This year has been a roller coaster ride. I won some, I lost some.
Lots of changes have happened. Some of my favorite colleagues have retired (shout out to Michele Logarta, our OIC who steered the whole team throughout the pandemic), and will be retiring soon (hello, sir Andrew Baldonado).
It’s the year when we had to step up even with the limited human resources we have and do a better job at promoting our shows and projects. We’ve dealt with unexpected things, but I hope we could at least receive an outstanding grade.
Personally, 2022 has been a year of realizations, reflecting on the things that are acceptable and sustainable, grasping new opportunities when they arrive, stepping up the game, acquiring new skills, asserting myself while choosing which dragons to slay, and strengthening friendships.
This year, it was all about advocating work-life balance, as well as working smarter than harder, and knowing when to rest without feeling guilty. Hence; all those weekend getaways I did throughout the year. I rested when I needed to, which meant going on trips to the beach, my happy place.
Finding that happy place you can always go back to when you need to destress and recharge from your hectic life is necessary.
Recently, I had a chance to change scenery before things got too hectic this holiday season. Through the invitation of Nestor Jardin and Celine Arenillo, I was able to visit Pico de Loro Beach again.
I first visited the place sometime in 2008, when the newest SM real estate development partnered with the WWF Philippines to plant 40 taklobos (giant clams) in Santelmo Reef on Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu, Batangas.
A couple of years later, I found myself at the premier seaside development on Hamilo Coast again when they formally opened in 2011. Only two and a half hours away from Manila, the 1.5-kilometer sandy shore of Pico de Loro Cove offers a comprehensive selection of recreational and leisure activities. Guests and club members can enjoy a variety of food and beverage outlets that each offers unique and exciting menus.
This year, I returned to join their holiday festivities. They ushered in the festive season with a Christmas tree lighting by the beach, led by Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club chairwoman Elizabeth T. Sy, president Rita Dy; SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation SVP for Operations Walid Wafik, and Costa del Hamilo VP for Project Development Imee Francisco.
The 30-foot Christmas tree, which symbolizes joy and positivity, was handmade. Pico de Loro, as I mentioned during dinner, has the most creative staff. As early as September, a small team led by housekeeping supervisor and chief designer Florencio Garcia would gather locally sourced materials and found objects around the cove. They would turn these recyclables into creative decorations, including the bird-inspired Christmas tree. The team worked with the Engineering team, led by chief engineer Paul King, to make the carefully handcrafted decorations come to life and bring joyous sparks.
Stage/film actor Vien King serenaded the guests during the tree lighting, followed by the ceremonial gift-giving for Children’s Joy Foundation, Inc. Proceeds from the sale of the Green Christmas products were received by Jennalyn Platon, on behalf of the foundation. Guests enjoyed sumptuous cocktails specially prepared by the culinary team headed by executive sous chef Charles Marinduque.
The media team, with blogger friends Alex De Vera Dizon, Rod Magaru, Ryan San Juan, and Myke Soon, as well as veteran journalist friends Carla Mortel, Lea Manto-Beltran, and Annie Alejo, enjoyed our stay at Pico Sands Hotel, the tropical contemporary hotel that offers 154 well-appointed rooms with captivating views of the lush mountains and tranquil lagoon. We even had a chance to visit Santelmo cove again, even with a last-minute request from our lovely host.
It was a short stay, but it was enough to rejuvenate our weary city souls.
In four days, we will say goodbye to 2022 and welcome the new year. We won’t know what curve balls life would throw our way, or how things will pan out. But I hope things will work out well in our favor.
Here’s to more adventures, taking chances, and being happy. Cheers!