8 THINGS I’M EXCITED FOR IN 2018

Location: Manila, Philippines

Outfit: Look 1: Grey Suit (Topman), Burgundy Tie (Topman) | Look 2: Turtleneck (H&M), Suit (Perry Ellis), Shoes (Zara Man) | Look 3: Striped Sweater (Korea), Trousers (Topman Oxford), Printed Socks (Topman)

I’m sitting at a café thinking about the year that was—was 2017 a good one? Most certainly not. But before we get to that, here’s a little backstory about this blog entry (wow, I never lose my touch in my pathetic attempt at rhyming lol). I woke up at 9 in the morning, opened my phone, checked my Instagram and came across a comment that says, “I’m looking forward to that year-ender blog post.” I know I could easily just ignore it, but then I realized, why didn’t I even think of making a year-ender blog entry? I do it every year. Was it because I wasn’t as inspired as before in blogging? Was it because I was so into creating videos for my YouTube channel? Then it hit me, this wasn’t really a good year for me. I used to get so excited creating year-ender posts and share them with you guys. The idea of looking back at all the new cities and countries I travelled to, the people I met, the projects and campaigns I was booked for—it always seem like the perfect year. Telling you guys that 2017 was not a good year was like showing you all my flaws, failures, and that everything you see online is a lie. I beg to differ. Telling you that 2017 wasn’t a good year was telling you that I am vulnerable, I get hurt, I fail and that it’s not always going to be smooth-sailing. I started my 2017 by getting blacklisted by a company and my talent manager suspending me for 3 months (meaning they won’t book me any projects/campaigns). In the middle of the year, I got cyber bullied for tweeting about the shooting in Las Vegas but choosing to stay quiet about the situation in Marawi. People on social media can be really mean—which made me deactivate my Twitter account for a while.
Towards the end of the year, my carry-on bag was stolen at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof (the central station). I lost my laptop, my camera, lenses, external hard drive (with all my content for 2017), wallet (with British pounds, euro, Philippine Peso and US dollars), and my passport (with all my existing visas—Japan, Korea, US, UK and Schengen). 2017 was definitely a year of regret, failures and poor decisions. But it was also a year of learnings and growth. This year made me a whole lot tougher and wiser. So yes, I may have lost a few opportunities (and my passport)—but I also gained something intangible and something priceless.

I have traveled to 15 beautiful countries and visited 33 cities this year—how can it be a bad year? I am in my 20’s and I get to experience these things. I really have no right to complain. I am blessed with a family that is fun and loving, the kind of family you would choose over a night out with friends. I am also very lucky to have friends who are so supportive and although we come from different walks of life, we all get along so well. I have a job that I am so passionate about—how can it be a bad year? This 2018 I am leaving all these negative thoughts behind. My friends know how positive I am and how I try to make a joke of a bad situation. Welcoming the New Year is a chance for us to learn from our mistakes and think hard about what we want to achieve this year. I have no idea what my resolutions this year are—so writing this blog entry will really help put things to perspective. Whatever I write below will be completely on-the-spot. This is going to be exciting!

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1. BETTER SKIN

I know this sounds a bit shallow, but 2017 was a year of good skin for me (wow, kapal lol). But seriously, I never realized how good my skin can look when I started having a routine. Us guys often feel like we don’t need to care for our skin the same way women do. I started comparing my photos from 2016 and 2017 and saw a HUGE difference with my skin. Just this 2017, I started using a toner, niacinamide, midnight oil, a moisturizer and I plan to do the same this year. If you feel like none of the products you’re currently using works for you, ask yourself whether your skincare routine and lifestyle habits are up to par. Because yes, it does take a little getting used to. I get so lazy putting all these products on my face, but when I started seeing results, I do it religiously now. I want to discover more skincare brands that will help me achieve my best skin yet. Got recommendations? Help a guy out!

2. FIND MY EDITING STYLE (AND STICK TO IT)

Photography has become a huge part of my life and career—it helps in building and defining my blog and online persona. Post-processing plays a big part in this process. This is why this year, I want to find an editing style…and stick to it. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you guys probably notice how often I change the look and feel of my photos. I tend to be so bipolar when it comes to editing. My feed in the summer is different from the rainy season. My feed when I was in Bali is so different from my Europe photos. I am still in the process of experimenting until I find the right editing style that fits my personality and works for me. Here’s a tip if you’re struggling with the same problem (geez, are these the problems of millennials now? lol). Experiment. You’ll never really find out what you like or what you’re truly passionate about if you don’t try different things. So put yourself out there! Sooner or later you’ll find your niche. Good luck!

3. MORE CONTENT

I don’t know about you, but when I know I have a lot of things to do, I get so overwhelmed because I can’t decide which one I’ll do first. With this, I end up accomplishing nothing at all. The same goes for my ideas. I have so many ideas—but I get so OCD as to how I will execute these. Some of you think that these photos and videos you see online are effortless. Well, it’s the complete opposite. It is our job to make it look effortless. A lot of work goes behind every photo and video—and it can get frustrating when you lose all your creative juice and you get burnout. That is why it is so important that you are really passionate at what you do. And yes, people get burnout when they do the same things over and over again. I was surprised that this happened to me—thinking that everyday for me is different. This is probably why I was so into building my YouTube channel. It’s an entirely different world from writing (and I must admit, a lot more fun). But this is why I love ringing in the New Year. It’s a chance to start with a clean slate—that is why this year, my goal is to create more content. Content that you will benefit from. Sometimes when I write about something, it is for the sake of me getting rid of my backlogs. This year, I will create articles and videos that you will surely love and enjoy. Got anything you want me to write and/or film? Comment it below!

4. HAVE MY OWN TEAM

Okay I know this is a little too ambitious, but I really want to have my own team this year. I want to grow my brand and take it to the next level. I know I am not in the level of Adam Gallagher nor Aimee Song, but having a team will really help me focus on my content this year. For the past 8 years, I have been a one-man team. However, I am grateful to have my talent manager Gizelle, my accountant Tita Mercy and web developer Redel handle the technical and business side. However, a few months ago, I was given the opportunity to sit down with (THE) Francis Kong and he told me that my brand should be scalable. Meaning, if I want my business to grow, I need to make it bigger. I don’t accept projects and campaigns that I know I cannot commit to. But I feel like if I have a team, I can do so much more and focus on the bigger picture. Yesterday I spent almost 2 hours in LBC writing the contact details of the winners of my giveaway (there were 20 of them lol) to be shipped to their homes. Imagine if I had someone to do that for me—I can probably write 1 blog post with that time! Time is always the enemy, don’t you think? Crossing my fingers for #TeamDGManila this year! Any of you guys interested? Hit me up!

5. WORK WITH BRANDS I LOVE

I feel like this year will have a lot of career highlights—yes, I’m claiming it. Haha! Looking back at 2016, it was a year of fewer projects, but definitely more challenging and fulfilling. I definitely had more projects and campaigns last 2017 but they were not as challenging as the projects I did in 2016. I also got to create more videos for my YouTube channel (which I’m so happy about). So I am hoping that this 2018, I will have more challenging projects! Because being challenged is the only way to grow, right? My mom always tells me that I always have to be nervous when I do something. When I don’t get nervous or if I don’t challenge myself, that’s when I lose. So cheers to more challenging yet fulfilling work this 2018!

6. MAKE MORE VIDEOS

Building my YouTube channel is probably one of the most challenging things right now—but I love it. I’m not going to lie though, I had those moments when I would think “is this really worth it?”—that I somehow neglected my blogging life because of this. Editing videos takes me the whole day and some of the vlogs I release would only reach 2,000 views or less—this disappoints me but it really reminded me of my early days in the blogging world. No one was reading my blog except for my family and a few of my friends, but I didn’t care. I was doing it because I enjoyed writing and documenting everything. Building my YouTube channel reminded me of the good ol’ days when I would keep creating content so that maybe someday, someone will take notice and share it with his or her friends. 2 years later, I got my first big endorsement for an international brand! Remember, you’re only as good as your last post. So make it count and make sure that you’re always proud of what you put out there. You are never fully done proving yourself. No matter how long you’ve been in the industry, someone is going to be younger, more talented and more creative than you. But don’t let this dishearten you—take it as a challenge. Adapt and think long-term. I’m excited to create more videos this 2018!

7. TRAVEL TO MY DREAM DESTINATIONS

Did you watch the insta-stories of your favorite people on the internet during New Year? Did you notice that the highlights of their year are always the destinations they visit? Because trips are the most memorable (or probably the easiest to remember lol). People (most likely the ones who work corporate jobs) cherish these out-of-town/out-of-the country trips. Most of the money I earn goes into my travel fund. There’s really something about traveling that can change you—you become more open minded, cultured and inspired. 2017 was a year of travel—but this year I am more than eager to tick off more from my travel bucket list (local and international). I’m thinking Batanes, Siargao, Coron, Maldives, Jaipur, Morocco, Finland and Turkey. These places have been top of mind for the longest time. Hopefully I can visit one, or two (or all lol) of these destinations! But first, I need a new passport. Haha!

8. A NEW CHAPTER FOR MY FAMILY

This year is going to be so different from the previous years because my sister is finally getting married (in less than a month)! We’re all busy preparing for her big day (I’m her man of honor lol) but more than the preparations, I can’t deny the fact that things are not going to be the same anymore. We are a family of 6—my older brother and sister have a family of their own and moved out of the house a long time ago. So it has been me, my mom, dad and my sister in the house for quite a long period of time. Whenever I would travel, my sister would stay home and keep my parents company and vice versa (my parents are not super old lol we’re just clingy like that). My sister is someone I’m really close to. We tell each other everything, burst out into songs and dance numbers out of nowhere, we have way too many inside jokes, laugh at the most random things and listen to each other’s problems. I hate to admit but she is crazier than me and a whole lot more fun. When she comes home, she makes her presence felt—and my parents love that. I, on the other hand, get so drained from socializing (may it be at events or a meeting), so when I come home, I tend to be more quiet (hello introvert me lol). This is why I can’t imagine my sister moving out—it’s going to be so quiet in the house and I’m going to have to step up my game and entertain my parents. Haha! More than that, I just can’t really wrap my head around the idea that she’s moving out. It’s like losing a best friend.

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