19 Things to Celebrate From My 2019

Take from my year-end Pinto Art Museum getaway

For me, 2019 is not so different from the years that had passed. It is ordinary for the most part, with some sprinkle of extraordinaire on the side. It is also one of those few times in my life that challenged my status quo and made me, through leap of faith, assume drastic and life-changing decisions.

Celebration over regret and despair

2019 is one of the difficult years of my life because of the challenges I had to hurdle both at work and in my law studies. I had made several sacrifices and overcome risks during this year.

However, no matter how difficult it has been for me, I still choose to celebrate this year.

I prefer celebration over regret and despair. This is because 2019, just like any other year, is a gift of life from God that is worth celebrating. Besides, it taught me hard earned lessons that I know I had to encounter to become a better person, more productive professional, and more committed future lawyer.

Hence, happy or sad, I will always be grateful for this year’s experiences.

19 things to look back to and celebrate from 2019

For 2019 and beyond, I choose to look at the beauty in all things. And to commemorate the current year, before embracing the new year head, here are 19 things that fill my heart and soul with happiness, learning, and gratitude:

# 1 Grueling law studies

Weird, right?

You might think I am faking it, but believe me or don’t, I embrace even my most grueling experience in law school.

For some, while there’s nothing to celebrate about terror professors and nerve-racking law school subjects, I firmly believe that these are key to becoming the best lawyer that I could possibly be in the near future. Hence, I celebrate every setback I encounter in law school as much as I do for all my law school successes.

Law school mishaps are nothing but lessons in disguise. Neither should we label them as “failures” or denials of opportunities. Rather, they are simply a “redirection” as Ms. Catriona Gray, 2019 Miss Universe Title Holder, would call them.

#2 Difficult government work

Yes, how can I forget? Ironically, this would be one of the topmost item in my 2019 gratitude list here.

My original plan for 2019 was to quit government office work and venture into freelance writing, while studying law. While I was able to do that for the 1st semester of the year, supervening events made me quit my freelance work for a position in one of my country’s national security agencies.

Talking about love for my #inangbayan (Mother Country).

I’ve been to some of the most difficult government security agencies in the past, but that hasn’t made my current government work any easier.

I now work with one of the offices of the Philippine’s executive branch, in which high intensity workplace pressure is but an everyday thing. I do a lot of writing, documenting, and meetings almost everyday, and I deal with some of the top officials of my government. However, I feel prouder and more privileged than being challenged, stressed, and intimidated.

(Privilege is the perfect word because that’s exactly how I would describe public service in the government — dignifying yet humbling.)

#3 Better salary grade

I thank the Lord for 2019 because this is the year when I was able to get a good paying government job.

Don’t get me wrong — working in national security arena is never a glamorous job. But at least, as compared with my previous government jobs, the current one pays the bills better. *Winks*

#4 Newly discovered passion for writing

My profound discovery on my knack for writing happened back in 2016, when my love, Jumel, urged me to try taking up a writing and defense analysis job with one of my country’s security agencies. However, it was only this 2019 that I found the immense potential I have of this skill, even turning it to a passion that has allowed me to earn a living and explore my inner self a bit more. In fact, it is this newly discovered skill and passion that allowed me to explore my potentials as a professional writer and published author.

Waaah! Here’s my work. Photo by Manmar Francisco (Defense Research Officer, National Defense College of the Philippines)

To check some of the works I wrote and/or co-authored with Jumel, click here.

#5 Having a small bag collection

I know this may sound ridiculous for some, but I shamelessly take pride on the small luxury bag/contemporary designer bag collection I have for 2019.

If it wasn’t for the paying jobs and opportunities I’ve had for this year, I wouldn’t be able to invest on timeless pieces, ranging from Coach, Tory Burch, Longchamp, and Louis Vuitton (my newest purchase!)

That said, here are some of my favorite pieces:

#6 Meeting one of my musical heroes

The Open Concavity
With then music icon and singer, Assistant Secretary for Philippine Department of Finance, Mr. Tony Lambino.

Apart from my ultimate idol and girl crush, Lea Salonga, Tony Lambino is one of my favorite singers during my younger years. He and his group, Smokey Mountain, popularized several socially relevant and thought provoking masterpieces such as “Paraiso” and “Anak ng Pasig”. They are classic Original Pilipino Music (OPM) that was well loved by Filipinos, especially during the 80s and 90s. 

In one of the government officials’ meetings I’ve attended in 2019, I was lucky enough to have stumbled upon Sir Tony! He was such a nice and humble person. He has a candid and genuine personality!

#7 Opportunity for relaxation and travel

In January 2019, I discovered the beauty of two of Antipolo, Philippines’ famous travel spots. Surprisingly, I was able to squeeze in travel and leisure in my busy toxic study and work schedule!

Luljetta’s Hanging Garden Spa

This December 2019, I am fortunate to have visited this place twice to take full advantage of their full spa and wellness package — hydropools, infinity pools, spa, doctor fishes, and overlooking views while submerged in a relaxing jacuzzi!

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Foot spa by a minipond inhabited by “Doctor Fishes”!
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Special Suman and Lemon Grass tea for snacks
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Jacuzzi-all-you-can! Lol.
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Relaxing mountain view

Pinto Art Museum

2019 is also the year when I and my Jumel fulfilled our lust for anything art as we were able to visit one of the Philippines’ popular museums, the Pinto Art Museum.




Someday, I’ll find a way to have Jumel’s artworks exhibited in this museum, or even elsewhere.

#8 My love and prayer partner

Since I met my loving partner and fiance, Jumel, in 2016, I made it a point to celebrate and thank the Almighty God for our relationship.

We are neither an affluent or a perfect couple, but we are rich with family, friends, love, respect, affection, and faith to the Lord.

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My Love Jumel. A photo taken in his office. ❤

#9 The gift of family

Even though this is common to all and rather self-explanatory for most, I would still like to “flex” the fact that I am blessed with a wonderful, supportive, and loving family. I thanked the Lord for their existence in the previous years, and I won’t stop gratifying the Lord for their presence in the years to come.

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Taken during my 31st birthday celebration

#10 The gift of true and reliable law school buddies

You know who you are.

As you are reading this blog post (and in case you’ve gotten this far in this article), you know that you were the ones I ask for information about our law professor’s arrival.

You were the ones who would be glad to tell me next meeting’s reading assignment whenever I’d skip law school classes for work.

You are among the very few ones who would help genuinely his law school classmate, without getting anything in return.

You are all too many to mention here, but that doesn’t change the fact that I am, for life, indebted to all of you for all the good deeds you’ve done for me, my future panyeros and panyeras!

#11 Better sleep

Ahhh… One of the topics closest to my heart!

Not getting enough MEANINGFUL sleep is so devastating. It can literally ruin your productivity and life. And I am not scared to admit that these is one of the challenges I had to hurdle until the latter part of my 2019’s first semester.

Good thing, by sticking with all the tips and tricks I’ve researched and tried, I was able to get meaningful and adequate sleep in the latter part of the year. Now, gone are the days when I’ll have miserable bedtime experiences and shut eye!

#12 Health consciousness

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

Alongside achieving better and more meaningful sleep (despite my stressful working law student life) is my firmer resolute to eat and live healthy this 2019.

This is the year when I became more aware of the fact that I am not getting any younger. It is also the year that I realized that I have to take care of myself even more, not just for me but, more importantly, for my loved ones.

I am proud to say that 2019 is the year when I was able to take control of my caffeine intake and prevented caffeine dependence. This is also the year when I discovered and took advantage of the benefits of sleeping and waking up early, and the wonders of essential oils.

#13 More patience and better anger management

Have you noticed that 2019 is the year of full-blown self-awareness for me? Actually, this is also the year when I finally came to terms with my issues on temper and anger management.

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Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

This could be “too religious” for some, but I daresay that God’s words are keeping me on the right track on this continuous journey. God has used my love, Jumel, and Pastor Nestor Ebrada, among others, to finally embrace His presence in my life. Through them, I let the Lord take over my emotions every time I feel like I’m falling short of taking in control.

However, this doesn’t mean that I am completely done with this whole anger management thing. I believe that to be completely calm in approaching every situation is both a skill and commitment, which I have consistently work on. Having worked on this aspect of my life this year means committing to all of it for the rest of my life as a Christian.

#14 Finding silver lining in everything

Almost every Filipino (including me) became a fan of Ms. Universe Catriona Gray’s winning “silver lining” answer. But then, when you come to think of it, her answer is certainly correct and relatable.

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Photo by News 5

It’s hard to find a rainbow in every after thunderstorm, and a silver lining even in devastating situations, but 2019 taught me that it is the best way to deal with struggles, challenges, or setbacks.

So, instead of worrying and stressing my self out on things that I know I can’t change, I do my best to focus on the things that I can still make a difference on.

I’ll make sure to remind myself of this ideology in the years to come.

#15 Witnessing injustices first hand

2019 is the year when I discovered several cases of injustices, both in my own circle and those of Jumel’s. While I am disappointed with how people behave and the system of governance of my country works, these did not drive me and my Jumel away from the path of committing to righteousness.

With this, let me reiterate my favorite bible verse on the matter, hoping that whoever reads this post would do what’s right, even in the most tempting or compromised situations:

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#16 The gift of empathy and understanding

I thank the Lord for allowing me to land a job which, albeit difficult in nature, is surrounded with emphatic and understanding co-workers.

These co-workers are always included in my prayers. Little do they know that they are part of my success as a person from now on.

#17 More wisdom 

As some would say, maturity doesn’t necessarily come with age. Nonetheless, that’s exactly what happened to me, particularly this 2019.

With all the hullabaloos or struggles that I had to hurdle this year and the previous ones, I can confidently say that I’ve developed that degree of maturity necessary to make me a productive citizen of this country.

#18 The Open Concavity

Indeed, one of the reasons I’m thankful for this 2019 is being able to create my very own blog — THIS BLOG!

As I mentioned in my About Page, I created my The Open Concavity blog primarily as a way to share my musings and bible devotionals that “plucks my heartstrings”, and to  cope with the toxicities of my law school life.

However, as I go along, I realized that there’s more to blogging than I previously thought. As of date, I view this blog not just as my temporary niche in the cyber space, but as my own platform to spread positive vibe, knowledge and experience, and the Word of the Lord.

# 19 God’s love


If there’s something I will ALWAYS be thankful of (not just for 2019 but in the years to come) is the Lord’s unconditional love for me and my loved ones.

Through the years, the Lord has never abandoned me in all my struggles, even when it felt like He did because of my prejudices. He has always been there, waiting for me to find my way back to His path of love and justice.

2019 is the year when I fully celebrated Christianity and the Lord’s presence in my life. This is the year when I finally learned to surrender all my tribulations to him, with no conditions and second thoughts.


How about you, what are the things worth celebrating from your 2019?





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4 thoughts on “19 Things to Celebrate From My 2019

  1. Wow! This is a beautiful post, Tina! I love your positive attitude. It’s so nice to see all your beautiful pics as well. You look lovely. I don’t think you’re faking it at all, and I find your attitude inspiring and refreshing. I’m glad that we’ve connected here on WordPress! Keep it up…you’re shining. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your kind words, Tina! Life could be [really] difficult sometimes, but the thought that everything will be okay after surrendering all your tribulations to God consoles me every time. Hence, even though I’m in the most compromised situation, I know that everything will be fine because God has my back. That’s the only thing I cling on these days.

      Happy New Year to you, my friend. May God bless you more in the years ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am a Chinese junior high student. I have already prepared for the new 2020. I have set my goals for 2020. I was happy that I got a highest score in my class during the last exam in my school. This article is useful for me to plan for my new year. Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year! I hope you will be better in 2020.


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