2.18.2019

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018


Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

December 2018 was a good month, at least to me. Aside from it's my birth month and I was totally feeling it, I've also received great news. Months back, I joined Sun Life Financial's digital journalism contest about financial literacy. The winners were chosen last December. And guess what? I was one of the three winners! 

It was my first time to join the contest after dismissing it in 2017 because I didn't have time to write. Last year (so weird to say last year when it's just Feb 2019), I really felt like joining so I wrote my blog posts way ahead from the deadline. We're supposed to write 3-5 blog articles about financial literacy. At first, I had no idea what to write about because my financial life has been a rollercoaster ride and I thought "what could I write that's worth sharing?"

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Turns out that you can never go wrong with a good personal story that's filled with lessons plus a dash of your own writing voice. Probably that's just what I did - throw in a couple days of writing, editing, and proofreading. It was a nationwide contest and I was told that it's the first time someone from the Visayas region got in for the digital category. 

When I got an email that I was one of the grand finalists, I didn't know what award I'd get, but I was invited to attend the Awarding and Thanksgiving Party which was just a few days after my birthday. Of course, I said yes! After all, I don't always get a chance to join this kind of contest, let alone have an all-expense paid trip to Manila. I could certainly use a mini staycation.

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

I was so thrilled though that there was nothing mini about my staycation. I had the best time and experience ever. It really felt like a quick but not rushed vacation. My flights and accommodation were all paid for by Sun Life. With those alone, I already felt like a winner so I told myself that no matter what happens, I'd be grateful that I was one of the finalists. 

The event was at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig so my hotel was also booked in BGC. I stayed at Seda Hotel for two nights. I enjoyed the wonderful service of Seda (the best I had so far in a long time).  From the hotel pickup to the check-in process, to the suite room, the car transport to the events place, the housekeeping, and up to the last minute of my stay - everything was a breeze and I didn't have a problem at all. 

I really, really just loved the service of Seda Hotel! Everything was explained thoroughly to me and I still felt at home - something that I don't really feel that much when I'm in hotels. 

I stayed in Manila for two nights. I arrived on a Tuesday afternoon and the event would be on a Wednesday morning. Since I still had a lot of time, I decided to contact Anj, a really good friend and kabarkada back in college, to see if she could spare some time to meet me. She was the only one that came to my mind, really. We barely communicated after college but I remember a lot of funny and significant moments with her back in the uni.

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

After a couple of back and forth messages, I was so glad she agreed to meet me! We haven't seen each other for ten years. After graduation, we just separated ways and never saw each other again. My friends and I started living in different places after college so we don't really get to see each other often, but when I do have the time and the chance, I always make sure to meet up or at least try. 

College life was one of the best seasons of my life, mostly because of good friends and fun times with them. I studied far from home and it was the time of my life when I was "training" to be Little Miss Independent. ;) If I can, I would go back to all the places my friends and I would often go to and revisit them one day. It would be nostalgic for sure. 

I honestly had so much fun with friends that I didn't once bother thinking about having zero love life at all. I had zero love life back in college. Ha! But I digress. 

Going back to my staycation experience, so Anj told me she would come meet me in BGC even though she's coming from Cavite. So thankful she went all the way to see me. Huhu! We had dinner at Agave Mexican Bar and Restaurant - walked around BGC, talked a lot, reminisced the good old days, took lots and lots of photos, hugged tight, laughed so much - ahh college feels! 

I don't always go to Manila and Anj was also busy with work but that day, she was on a rest day so it was really fate that brought us together once again. I'm so emotional right now. Haha sorry! 

The next morning, I was off to Marquis Events Place at Rizal Drive - just near the hotel. The event was at 9:30 AM and it was a quick one too. I was awarded the second runner-up for the digital category while the first runner-up and the grand winner were both from Manila. I was so happy because I got along so well with them. We were just on the same table during the event but we never really talked. We just talked after the awarding. 

I didn't know any blogger there except for Arnel, PR of ABC Digital and the one who invited me to join the contest, and Kim (haven't met her before the event), the Digital Marketing Specialist of Sun Life who arranged everything for my trip (thanks Kim!).

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

After the awarding and after so much chikahan as if we've been friends for life, we went to Coffee Bean to grab some drinks and talked some more. And yes, it felt like I've known them even before I met them. Haha! We really just got along so quickly and I'm very happy to meet new friends in Manila. I never really expected that. I never had problems being alone in a new place but I also always welcome new acquaintances. 

After the event, I rested for a while in my hotel room, then I went on a quick mission to find some murals around BGC. I must say that I totally fell in love with BGC. When I think of Manila, all I can think of is traffic and pollution, but when I walked around BGC, it feels like I was walking around the streets of Singapore. But I heard it's an expensive place, haha. It'd be nice to live there but ehh, I probably won't be able to afford it. 

Anyway, at first, I had a hard time looking for the murals. I actually did a quick research before heading out. After a couple of minutes, I found one, and then some more. I found a total of seven murals! Not bad. I wanted to have my picture taken in front of the murals but there were no strangers to ask, plus my tripod couldn't suffice. But well, such is life. At least, I fulfilled my mission. LOL

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

Staycation At Seda Hotel, BGC + Sun Life SINAG Awards 2018

At around 7 PM, I went back to the hotel - satisfied and proud that I found my way back. Ya know, a strong sense of direction is not really a strength of mine, but I'm so happy to report that I didn't get lost. I'm getting better! I just bought Irvin's Potato Chips to see what the hype was about - it tasted really good by the way but as I already knew, it's too expensive for me. 

I spent the night snuggled in bed - just watching TV and enjoying my last few hours in the city before I headed back to Cebu the next day. Overall, it was a rewarding experience before the year came to a close. 



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