Life Goals for 2017, A Collage

Authorities on positive psychology, leadership, and management argue that visualizing our dreams could powerfully impact the fulfillment of such dreams by teaching us to focus on what we want to achieve and by changing our inner monologues so that we actually start the dirty work to make our aspirations come true. To be a writer, one must write, for nobody becomes a writer by not writing. Visualization will remind us of our goals so that we’ll always think about them, so that we’ll always do something to be a kilometer or an inch closer to them.

About two weeks ago, before the birth of this blog, I collected 10 magazines and dismembered them to create a collage of my goals for the next three years. This is the updated version of my Facebook post. You might remark that majority of the items on the list are travel goals. Yes, that is true. Travel, to me, is the best form of education one can partake in, only in much more fun way than reading about Croatia in your bedroom or feasting on savory phở in an American restaurant.

A collage depicting my life/travel goals for 2017

A collage depicting my life/travel goals for 2017

So here’s my list:

1. Become an epidemiologist/public health specialist. 

And work in an international organizations like the World Health Organization, the United Nations, the International Care Ministries, the International Committee of the Red Cross, World Vision, or the Asian Development Bank.

2. Volunteer for the restoration activities of the rice terraces of Batad and Banaue in the province of Ifugao, Philippines. 

Voluntourism is becoming a hype now in the travel sphere, and what better way to see a UNESCO World Heritage Site while also enriching your appreciation of nature and human genius? Route +63 is a budding social enterprise here in the Philippines that arranges volunteer+travel tours to Ifugao and to other provinces. All the members of the team are alumni of Ateneo de Manila University, my alma matter.

The Route +63 team at the Rice Terraces  Photo from Route +63

The Route +63 team at the Rice Terraces
Photo from Route +63

3. Go on a month-long retreat in India, Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan. 

Religion is one of the biggest facets of a culture, so I wish to understand Hinduism where it is practiced widely. I’m a Catholic Christian and my belief in our faith is strong, so please don’t worry about me getting swayed. I shall be embarking on such journey merely for cultural understanding and for understanding ways of life that are quite different from mine.

4. Conduct medical missions in Palawan, Abra, and Sulu.

I chose these places because I feel that they need special attention when it comes to healthcare. Palawan had been torn by malaria and dengue. Abra is still experiencing political conflicts, and medical services have been negatively affected. Sulu, on the other hand, is a mere newbie in the process of rising up from cultural and religious conflicts. I hope to show the world that there is hope for the people living in these provinces, that the Philippines is a nation willing to be empowered.

5. Live in Vietnam for at least a month through home-stay programs or Couchsurfing

Nothing beats traveling while also staying with local families if your idea of traveling is cultural immersion and interacting with people. Rarely will you find a chef willing to freely show you how to make Vietnamese spring rolls or a writer who will gladly recount folk horror stories without constantly checking his watch. But if you stay with locals, you’ll get an insider view of what it really means to be Vietnamese (or any nationality).

Eating with a Vietnamese family Photo from John Stanlake

Eating with a Vietnamese family
Photo from John Stanlake

6. Join a choral group. 

I’d been singing in public for two years when I stopped doing it because of school (no money, no time). Music is one of the gifts I’ve always had since I started singing when I was a kid, and I don’t want to lose it because it gives me life. To sing about life and love is part of my purpose.

7. Be fluent in Spanish by passing the C2 qualification.

No, I am not aiming for C1 even if people argue that only a handful pass it, that most learners only reach C1. To lower my standards means to settle for something less than I deserve. Besides, aiming for C2 will make me study smarter. In fact, I will be a liaison coordinator for a Chilean student through AFS Intercultural Programs – Philippines. 🙂

8. Be a professional mountaineer. 

As I have mentioned in my previous articlemountaineering as a professional mountaineer will not only make my climbs safer, but it will also enrich my experiences as a mountaineer because I’ll be able to venture into the “dangerous” places that I would otherwise not visit if I were not properly trained.

9. Attend at least 5 Philippine festivals and get lost in the language of music. 

Chants, dances, and musical rituals evolved from the need of our ancestors to communicate and express themselves. The mediums (or media) I have mentioned should not be underestimated in this modern era. Lasting friendships have been formed when foreigners dance together to a common rhythm. Artistic endeavors have been inspired by the social nature of drum beats. Religious dialogues have become easier to bear because of these venues for non-verbal communication.

And no, these things seldom happen in clubs or bars.

Ati-atihan festival in Kalibo, Aklan Photo from Araling Pinoy

Ati-atihan festival in Kalibo, Aklan
Photo from Araling Pinoy

10. Find out which regional food items in the Philippines are the most healthful. 

And share the information to the world by doing research (and traveling) should I decide to use this topic for my thesis in MS Epidemiology. Our country’s cuisine is rich in vegetables and fruits, and there ‘s a huge chance that some of our food is awaiting to be presented to the stars for its medicinal and health-promoting properties.

11. Kayak in at least 3 provincial beaches (one in Luzon, one in Visayas, and one in Mindanao). 

Whenever an article about Southeast Asian beaches is published, Philippines is hardly mentioned, which is quite puzzling. It’s always Phuket or Bali or Halong Bay. And if the Philippines gets the attention, we only read of Boracay, Coron, and Puerto Galera.

12. Bike around Calabarzon (Region IV-A) especially around Quezon and Rizal.

I’ve been traveling extensively around the Southern Katagalugan, and I have seen many places of interest to me. But all of those I have seen while riding a bus! It’s about time that I travel slowly. 🙂

13. Marvel at the European flavors of Portuguese Macau and British Hong Kong.

Old Manila, just like these two cities, still retains its colonial color through its architecture, urban planning, and restaurants. This is one of Manila’s lovely features. Many Filipinos are flocking to Hong Kong and Macau, and I wish to know what the hype is all about.

The Largo de Senado of Macau Photo from Danut Ivanescu

The Largo de Senado of Macau
Photo from Danut Ivanescu

14. Experience Holy Week in different provinces for the next 3 years.

For 2015, Marinduque it is for the Moriones Festival! Oh, I’ll be hitting two birds with one stone. (See #9.) This island province has always been intriguing to me, and I guess visiting it during Holy Week will be a brilliant decision.

15. Take up courses in travel writing and travel photography. 

I claim that I’ll be successful in travel writing, and today is the best time to invest in my craft. Whether I end up as a travel writer for leisure or for a career, knowing how to write more effectively and take more breathtaking pictures will always make me a better person, and that’s what’s more important.

So you think this list is too much for me to do? Stay with me for at least three years, and let me surprise you. 😉

Do you have some goals that you want to work on for the next three to five years? Please share your thoughts here. 🙂


7 thoughts on “Life Goals for 2017, A Collage

  1. Haha would love to journey with you for the next three years! My heart is swelling up with inspiration as I was reading this post. Your passion is very viral. Thank you very much for sharing!

  2. Shine says:

    Ikaw na Rye! I like it that you still have the plan to travel around the Philippines and reach out to the poor and needy, while dreaming at the same time of travelling the world!

  3. Lucky says:

    I’ll then revisit my bucket list and try to find out where we could possibly go together realizing some of them. And I’m sure there will be a lot! You perfectly summarized your life’s goals and I wish you good luck in achieving them.

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