The ABCs of 2017: A Year End Review | Lady & her Sweet Escapes

Feb 2, 2018

The ABCs of 2017: A Year End Review

2017 was a roller coaster ride. It took me on a winding track of ups and downs. There were a lot of hellos, a few goodbyes, a sprinkle of challenges, and a shower of blessings. It was a crazy beautiful year; hence, before we move on to new blog posts, allow me to reminisce and share my most memorable experiences from A to Z.

Care to join me in the memory lane?

2017 year-end review

A is for Athens. 
This is where our Big Fat Greek Holiday commenced. Having heard of negative experiences, we came to Athens with low expectations. But it turned out that this old city is unpretentious and charmingly likable. Needless to say, we were fascinated!

B is for Bollywood Parks.
All my life, I have only watched one Bollywood film and that is the world-famous Three Idiots. So I thought I wouldn't enjoy Bollywood Parks. However, the vibrant colors and the spectacular performances are adorable. I even found my husband gleefully nodding his head to the Indian beat. 

Ed and Lady in Bollywood Dubai
Bollywood Parks Dubai is an Indian Wonderland!

C is for Cairo. 
The capital of Egypt has been on our travel list for so long. And last year, all the universe conspired to make the trip happen. We were ecstatic!

Lady in Khan El Khalili Cairo
Watch: Cairo Travel Vlog

D is for Dubai.
Dubai has been my second home for nearly a decade. This is where I seek for my much-needed personal growth, where my blogging stint flourished, and where I'm finding fulfillment in my career. In 2017, I was led to open several doors of opportunity in this city. I couldn't be more thankful!

Lady in Dubai
Read: Dear Dubai Newbie

E is for Entertainer.
We have considered The Entertainer a Dubai-essential since 2013. It used to be a book of Buy 1 Get 1 Free vouchers, but this year, it goes all digital (which is more convenient, if you ask me). In 2017, we dined at half the price in several new restaurants and in our long-time favorites because of this money-saving app!

F is for Food Trip in Hanoi
Hanoi is a foodie wonderland! Food is actually the very reason why I wanted to visit Vietnam's capital. During our short visit, I devoured five bowls of pho, two cups of egg coffee, three servings of Vietnamese rolls, and sampled other local favorites like Bun Cha and Trang Tein ice cream!

Lady in Hanoi Vietnam
Read: 7 Foodie Spots to love in Hanoi

G is for the Great Pyramid of Giza
We have seen quite a few iconic structures that got me teary-eyed. But it is only upon seeing the Pyramids of Giza, that I felt goosebumps from head to toe! This ancient wonder is mind-blowing!

Lady in Giza Pyramids Egypt
Read: The Pyramids! Finally!

H is for Holidays in the Philippines
For OFWs, having a chance to go home for Christmas rarely happens. So, I felt very lucky to have the opportunity to spend the holidays with my family twice in a row!

Watch my homecoming vlog below:

I is for Illustrado 100 MIFG
I am in Illustrado magazine's 100 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf 2017 issue! This is 2017's biggest surprise for me, and I still get jitters every time I think about it. To be in a magazine with the people I look up to - those who serve the country, those who empower Filipinos, those who inspire me to be a better version of myself - is simply unbelievable!

Maraming Salamat, Team Illustrado.

Lady in Illustrado most influential Filipinos in the Gulf
Such an honor to be with Doc Gelo and Faith in this spread!

J is for Job... my full-time Job
I am a Medical Laboratory Technologist. I work full-time, 6 days a week! And that's quite a surprise for the people I've met on social media who think I travel, eat, and blog for a living! Whenever I travel, I often find myself contemplating how lucky I am to work in a company that nurtures positive environment and promotes work-life balance. On Instagram, my 2017 may look like a year of travels, but in real life, it was a year of career challenges, learning opportunities, and growth!

K is for Kuala Lumpur 
We spent two days in Malaysia's capital during our Indochina Trip. We had a street food feast in Jalan Alor, souvenir shopped in the Central Market, and visited Batu Caves. I conquered my fear of heights in KL Tower's Sky Box. And we welcomed a new day with the most wonderful view of Petronas Twin Towers from The Face Suites' infinity pool.

Ed in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Read more: Where to get the best view of Petronas Twin Towers?

L is for La Mer Dubai 
Our good old Jumeirah Open Beach was closed for some time, but it finally made a comeback late 2017. Ed and I were stoked! It was revamped and is now called La Mer; a fresh and hip beach destination with dining and retail outlets, vibrant murals and perky decors.

Lady in La Mer Dubai
Read: Beach Day in La Mer

M is for Mykonos
I must admit, Mykonos was too much for me. Too windy. Too expensive. Too crowded. But it is also too pretty not to like.

Lady in Mykonos Greece
Read: Mykonos for Non-Partygoers 

N is for Naxos
Spending a night in Naxos is the best decision we made during our Greece trip. This lesser-known island is tucked in between the famous islands of Santorini and Mykonos. It is where we got to unwind and enjoyed the Greek island atmosphere just as it is.

O is for Oia
Definitely the prettiest village in Santorini, Oia took my breath away! Ed and I had to go there twice during our 3-day stay on the island. It is a stunning neighborhood of white and pastel houses, accentuated with blue-domed churches and windmills. 

P is for Pier Chic
Dining in Pier Chic - Dubai's most romantic restaurant - is a dream come true. Thanks to my husband for taking me there on my 35th!

Watch our YouTube video:

Q is for Quiz Night in Amwaj Rotana
It was a tough food quiz, yet I had tons of fun with three of our blog readers! We didn't win, but it was a great opportunity to bond with the people I have been in touch with online for several years. Props to Amwaj Rotana for organizing the Bloggers Event.    

Quiz Night with Rochelle, Lei and Paula
Quiz Night with Rochelle, Lei and Paula

R is for Riverland Dubai
This attraction made me feel I'm in a romantic village far far away in an instant! Riverland, particularly the French Village, is designed to be a picturesque medieval town with traditional houses and cobblestone streets!

S is for Samsung Galaxy S8
Mid-2017, I became a brand ambassador for Samsung Galaxy S8! Yayyy! And I am so happy not just because I got to collaborate with a world-renown brand, but also because Galaxy S8 is amazing! This phone has been doing wonders. Don't you know that I film my YouTube vlogs using only my S8 camera? 
T is for Temple Hopping in Siem Reap
It was summer of 2017 when I ticked off #11 in my 20 Before 2020 list! Ed and I flew to Cambodia to see the majestic temples in Siem Reap. We watched the sunrise in Angkor Wat, explored Ta Phrom and Bayon, watched the sunset in Phnom Bakheng and took off the beaten path to Banteay Srei!

U is for Unplanned Getaways
When there's a long weekend and we couldn't travel out of the country due to time/budget constraint, we take spontaneous trips within the UAE! This country has a lot to offer; beautiful beaches, rugged mountains, glorious desert, chic city life. Last year, we had memorable last-minute getaways and my favorite is our beach holiday in Ajman.

sunset in Ajman
Sunset in Ajman #nofilter

V is for V' Spirit Cruise in Ha Long Bay
Cruising in Ha Long Bay, one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, is a dream come true! Ed and I sailed amidst the ethereal landscape for 2 days on board V' Spirit traditional junk. It was a memorable cruise. We went spelunking, tried squid fishing, learned how to make Vietnamese rolls, and we also joined a Tai Chi class!
W is for Wakeboarding in Al Forsan
Although it scares me, I love watching my husband fulfill his extreme goals. His milestone is my milestone! :) Last year, he tried wakeboarding for the first time. His first few runs were wobbly, yet he came out of the water smiling from ear to ear. He enjoyed wakeboarding so much; he dragged me back to Al Forsan a month later for another session.

X is for X-treme Rides
I also had my fair share of extreme adventures last year! There's actually no escape when you're in a theme park with your friends! We went to the opening of The World of The Hunger Games in Motiongate Dubai and I rode the Capitol Bullet Train - my most extreme rollercoaster ride by far!

Check out our YouTube video:

Y is for YouTube
As you can see, my YouTube channel is up and running! It's been there since 2015, but it was only last year that I vlog more often. Personally, I consider this vlogging stint as my way to cope up with my fear of speaking in public and being in front of the camera. I'm still fighting my demons but, yeah,  baby steps and we'll get there! 

Z is for living life with Zeal
I couldn't think of a better way to repay all those blessings than to live my life zealously. 2017 has taught me to accept challenges, to remain faithful, to look on the bright side, and to love the people around me even more. 

Lady in KL Tower Sky Box
Thank you, 2017!  
And thanks to YOU too! Thank you for reading my posts, for following me on social media, and for the heartwarming messages. You just don't know how you have inspired me to keep this blog running!

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