A few years ago, I came across an article online that had gone viral. It was called Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Wares. Every now and then, I would read the list to remind myself of what truly matters in life. This year, I realized that I needed to work on number four: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. The first person I thought of was Lek. I haven't seen her since she moved back to Thailand with her husband and son several years ago. I've been visiting my parents almost every year in Manila but I never seemed to have enough time to make a side trip to Bangkok to see Lek. I finally changed that this year and made the commitment in February. No matter how connected we are online, I tell you nothing beats seeing each other face to face. We just picked up where we left off. I know now not to let years lapse before seeing each other again. The same is true with my other friends. I also made trips to Los Angeles and Santa Barbara in April and back again in Manila last November. Some friends I spent time with locally when they happen to be visiting San Francisco. I feel truly blessed to have them in my life and appreciate the gift of time to be with them.
S, a graphic designer friend of T gave us a bunch of postcards this year and one of them read: stop thinking and start something. That's exactly what we did this past summer. We've been talking passionately about the incredible healing effects of eating a whole foods plant based diet that S said we should just start a small project together. We spent a lot of time in the kitchen trying out several dishes. I photographed the food while T designed the recipe cards. It's still a work in progress but you can see some of the images at my tumblr site: Shoots to Roots. My dad once told me that "Health is wealth" and I really believe that now more than ever.
On the photography front, I'm proud to say that I've hit a milestone. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Republic of the Philippines) purchased two images from the Family Spaces series last May as part of their growing permanent art collection. The email came a day before my birthday so it was a wonderful gift to have this year. BSP holds about 1,400 works of art spanning more than 200 years, from the late 18th century to the present. They began collecting major works by contemporary artists in 1971 and later expanded in the 1980's. It is considered the most significant institutional collection of Philippine art today.
As 2013 closes, I am most grateful to God for all the experiences He has blessed me. I thank Him for for giving me the strength and courage to overcome my doubts and fears. It was a difficult year emotionally especially confronting past issues head on. Thankfully, it has been resolved. I can say with certainty that I finally have peace of mind. I look forward to a productive and prosperous 2014!