A Year In The Life

11:59 PM

It took a while to get me back to write.  I tried to write but I wasn’t pleased.  It scared me actually.  I can’t risk not being able to write a good blog post especially that I’m having difficulties finishing my pending short stories. Getting stuck in writer’s block scares me a lot.  I apologize if it took me days.

Now, looking back, I want to think 2014 as the start of great things to happen in life.  I could still remember how I welcomed 2014 with much more positivity and with a bigger dose of hope after what happened the previous year. The year 2013 made me realize many things and allowed me to be more faithful to God and more appreciative of the things I was able to achieve over the years.  It was the turning point, I should say.  I was able to say to myself, that even though I still pray the same prayers, and pray for more, I was contented with what I have.  However, I prayed that things might be better for the next year.

Even on the onset of 2014, wonderful things begin to happen. The came and went by so swiftly and it brought about happy memories, flooring me in ecstasy.  It was a year of unexpected blessings and answered prayers and hopefully, the momentum continues this 2015.

If I were to pick to pick the best thing that ever happened last year, it would definitely be my college graduation.

Nothing beats the feeling of finally receiving my college diploma and that for me, is the best of 2014. After a long haul, I finally finished my college degree bagging three special awards for myself last March.  After the hardships I encountered, including a failed graduation last October 2013, I'm just elated with the fact that it is finally over.

During my department's Tribute to Parents
and Sagbay Ceremony

Landing on a decent job comes next after graduation.  Nearly four months after my graduation, I finally had a job.  Not just one, but two.  Having my jobs definitely was answered prayer down to the very last bit --- a job that won't require me to wear a uniform, a work that will make me feel fulfilled, a work that I will enjoy, and a work that I do really love.  I may not be able to practice my degree but it does not matter anymore.  Being a writer has given me so much to be thankful about.

It was May when I attended a national collegiate students' press conference in Davao.  It is my first time in Davao and the city is just breathtakingly beautiful.  Seeing some of its tourist attractions, visiting indigenous communities (situated at the foot of Mount Apo), tasting Durian for the first time (I think I won’t do it ever again), and meeting new people I came to appreciate the beauty of this city down south and the warmth of its people.  Although the experience turned out rather unpleasant after a few days, including my fellow Wordian being rushed to the hospital among others, the trip gave me more maturity, especially in handling unforeseen circumstances.  It stretched my claim being “BDO”.

A view of the Bellevue Hotel from one of its seaside view rooms.
Being a blogger and a journalist, as well as being the adventurer in me, allowed me to visit many other places as well --- from resorts and restaurants, to local tourist destinations.  My recent visit to Anda, which will be chronicled on my second #BeholdBohol feature coming out some time this January will top my local destinations list.  It is a treat for all nature lovers with so many natural landscapes to explore and behold. Cave pools, white sandy shorelines, mystic islands, waterfalls --- select your adventure and they have it right there.

Because we came to be awed by the sunrise
but Himontagon Hill's sunset view is much more breathtaking.
(c) Ann Therese Decasa

Kimpoy Mainit, The Voice of the Philippines Season 1 finalist
while on our way to Lamanoc Island, the mystical island of Anda, Bohol.


Maria Ressa always inspire me.

The cool guys of Parokya ni Edgar
(c) Vince Chiu
Back in February or March, I once said that 2014 will be a year where I will be having many photos with celebrities.  Back at that time, I met my idol Maria Ressa --- that was January --- and interview the boys of Parokya ni Edgar in February.  The heavens must have heard what I said because by July 26, my career as a journalist started.  And my first interviewee was Queenie Melody Fullante, Miss Bohol 2014.

Julian Trono and Once Upon A Kiss Stars Miguel Tanfelix and Bianca Umali.
That was the springboard to all my celebrity encounters.  I won't forget sharing a lunch table with Miguel Tanfelix, Bianca Umali, and Julian Trono who were part of the now defunct show, Niño during the pocket press conference for GMA Kapuso Night for the Sandugo Festival.  That was my second day of work and I was not health conscious back then.  My knees were shaking and I can't enjoy eating because I was too conscious and too nervous.  Minutes after I was done interviewing the kiddos, I was set to do a quick one with the one and only Asia’s Songbird, Regine Velasquez.  I was more comfortable already. 

In action.
(c) Fiel Angeli Araoarao-Gabin
A lot of my other celebrity interviews were remarkable in their own way.  My interview with Paulette Cambronero, one of the country's most promising new entrants in the music industry, was both heartwarming and inspiring.  It was nice to hear a sweet story of success from someone who has chased her dreams long enough and is now finally having the time of her life.  Kirby Asunto, the talented young girl who sang the Philippine National Anthem during the Pacquiao-Bradley fight in 2012, inspired me to be more and do more and that age is not a hindrance in doing charity works of your own.

The stars of Rebuilding Bohol benefit concert
Marlo Mortel, Arnel Pineda, Kirby Asunto, and Jacob Benedicto
I won't forget the über fun interview with Jacob Benedicto, the charming PBB All-In housemate.  It didn't feel like work but more of a casual conversation with a friend.  My encounter with the promising Marlo Mortel, who I can tell from his televised interviews, is a reserved person, allowed me to have a sneak peek of his life outside the limelight.

If I would have to give a most kilig interview award, it would definitely go to (drum rolls) JM de Guzman.  He has this fresh positive aura and though he has gained a few more pounds after retreating from the limelight for quite some time, JM is still captivating and handsome.  But more than that, it was the occasional exchange of banters in between questions, his boyish charm, and his warm but sheepish personality that had my spine tinkling. If given a change, I would do that interview with him over and over again, though I’ll start by asking him: “Will you marry me?” Kidding!

I still get kilig every time I listen to my recorded interview
with JM de Guzman.
However, the best interview, by merits of impact and starstruck factor would that I had with renowned Filipino writer Victor Peñaranda, who launched his newest collection Lucid Lightning in Bohol last September, and the multi-awarded Marjorie Evasco.  Their presence made me very nervous.  Who wouldn’t? As an aspiring writer, being with them was like a dream come true.  Much more the insights I have picked up in the interview.  The interview fueled my interest in Boholano culture and my appreciation for Filipino literature.  That conversation was what inspired me to come up with the #BeholdBohol feature.

My jobs allowed me to meet many amazing people all along the way, a lot of them I would not be able to meet if I did have another work.

For instance, I wouldn’t be able to meet and make friends with Norman Tinio, Philippines’ most prolific and most reliable pageant blogger, if I was not a journalist.  There are also the bigwigs in the community that I was able to shake hands with, some of them I was able to talk to.

Norman Tinio flocked by your blogger, Kino Rara,
and Flora Mae Gudez backstage during the Miss Panglao Pageant

The rare opportunity to meet and mingle with fellow Boholano and Cebuano bloggers was amazing.  For the first time since I started blogging, it felt like we were one community and hopefully, Boholano bloggers will be recognized by the business here in Bohol.  I hope we get more invitations. ;))

My blogging also earned me some overwhelming responses as well.  I would never forget how Marlo Mortel’s fans skyrocketed my views in less than 24 hours.   As of writing, 12 Questions with Marlo Mortel is my most read article with 595 views and counting.  My Twitter account was flooded with tweets, retweets, favorites, and follow backs.  It almost broke me to tears.   Jacob Benedicto’s fans also floored me with their amazing response when I opened the #12Questions series with him.

Same goes to the supporters of the Miss Silka Bohol edition this year.  My blog reached foreign shores because of that.  One of the contestant’s parents told me that it was her relative in Canada that notified her about the existence of my blog.  Kate’s father, Sir Ted Javellana, became one of my active supporters.

Aside from the bigwigs and those I was able to meet due to work-related or blogging activities, there are my workmates who are with me most of the time.  My office mates at the Capitol Complex, where I spend my weekdays, made my office time less mundane both more fun.  They are the ones who really support me (or tease me) about being on a diet.  My LifestyleBohol team also make work cool and very intuitive.

Dining with my office mates at JJ's Seafood Village.
To top it all off, there are my friends who stayed with me along the way and my family who are there to always support me. 

I wrapped 2014 with an immensely thankful heart.  I prayed the same prayers I prayed.  I asked for good health and safety always for my friends and family and prayed for more success.  And I know that God listened to my prayers.

This is deeJAY and that was my 2014 and I look forward to a more beautiful, more fruitful 2015. 


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About the Blog

DEEJAY WRITES is a proudly Boholano lifestyle and travel blog by LifestyleBohol in-house writer Deejay Arro. Launched in June 2014, DEEJAY WRITES ranks among the Top 200 Entertainment and Lifestyle blogs in the country and has been consistently receiving positive feedback from readers..