Sweet Soul 2013 Review

“Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted.”

That’s my mantra for 2013. Actually, this has always been my mantra. It’s a quote from John Lennon, and it instantly became my favourite quote (the quote I live up to) the first time I heard/read it. In the previous year, I had a lot of time to waste, and sure I did enjoy wasting it.

I was able to go to the places I’ve always wanted to visit… and re-visit, with some amazing people.

  • Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. May 2013.
    It was my first company outing! And I’m more than happy that I finally got a chance to visit these provinces (and enjoy their food!). And to think that the whole trip was for free? Oh god, I sure enjoyed it.
  • Bontoc and Sagada, Mountain Province. October 2013.
    Went here with my dormmates back in college — Ani, Ciamae, Ate Lara and Ate Janelle. The first time I went here was back in 2010 for my photography class. I enjoyed it more this time since I didn’t have to think of taking good pictures and got to really “experience” the place! And oh, what a great momma (betel nut + apog + tobacco leaf) experience that was!
  • Binondo, Manila. October 2013.
    This is supposed to be a whole day food trip with Arbie, but we arrived there late, so we just had lunch and walked around China Town while having our merienda. Chinese food is good!
  • Liliw, Laguna. December 2013.
    Laguna road trip! Went back here with Arbie to buy my family and friends (and myself) some slippers and shoes as Christmas presents. We had lunch at Arabela! I really love the interior and ambiance of the place, and of course, their food was heaven in the mouth!

This year, I discovered and was introduced to some great artists whose music, I’m pretty sure, will stay with me like forever!

  • The Oktaves. I’ve seen them live late 2012 in UPLB, but I never get to appreciate them that much until my friend Mariel gave me a copy of their album as birthday present. Their song “Olivia” is a part of me now.
  • Neutral Milk Hotel. Thanks to my best friend, Clang! I found them on her playlist. They have a unique sound, and I love how raw their music is.
  • Gavin de Graw. Okay, sorry. I know him since 2005 because of “I Don’t Want To Be” but I didn’t bother to listen to his other songs (I regret it, okay?). This year, I got a copy of his “Sweeter” album, and, man I must say that this guy is too underrated!
  • Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. This band is a gift. Listening to them is good for one’s soul. They’re among my top favourites now.
  • Bullet Dumas. Just before the year ended, we got to see this kind sir play live in a benefit gig for the Haiyan/Yolanda victims. And we knew that he’s a genius from the moment he played his first note.

I’ve also been to a number of music gigs this year — among these are the Beatles Night at the ’70s Bistro, UP Fair in Diliman, and the UPLB Feb Fair, in which we (my good friends I met back in the university, Butch, Kring, Mushi, and I) just lied on the grass under the stars while some good musicians were playing live… Ah! Good times!

Got to read a pretty good selection of books this year! Some are recommended by friends, others I found through reviews.

  • Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler. So true, this can’t be fiction. LOL.
  • Submarine by Joe Dunthorne. Oh evil treat! I love how Oliver Tate’s mind works.
  • Losing It by Cora Carmack. Yeah. I know, I hate it, too.
  • Every Day by David Levithan. All the feels. I closed the book. Took a deep breath. Cried.
  • How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton. de Botton truly knows how to coast through life.
  • 1984 by George Orwell. Oh this book scared the shit out of me. Think of North Korea times 8.
  • Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. This one’s my favourite among the bunch! I love the story because of the movie, but I never thought I can love it even more after reading this book! It’s insane! I LOVE IT.

Too bad, I didnt’t get to list all the films and TV series that I’ve seen this year. But here are some of the remarkable ones! Most of them are Oscar entries.


  • Cloud Atlas. Well, it’s mind blowing! I enjoyed figuring out who the actors are for each character.
  • Les Miserables. It’s hard to get over this and the Revolution. I even changed my desktop wallpaper to Eugene Delacroix’ Liberty Leading the People. Haha!
  • Life of Pi. “I wept like a child. Not because I was overwhelmed at having survived, although I was. I was weeping because Richard Parker left me so unceremoniously. It broke my heart.” So did I, Pi. So did I.
  • Argo. They deserve the Oscar. Period.
  • Django Unchained. I love blood and cotton fields! And I love Tarantino humour!
  • Robot and Frank. Oh! I really love this one. This could happen in the near future. Made me realize that people can develop attachment to their machines (robots) and get their hearts broken when it stops to function; but machines, they won’t love you back! Well, they might “love” you, because “they’re programmed to.” It hurts.
  • Seven Psychopaths. Keyword is “psychopaths.” And I will forever love dark comedies.
  • Sound City. Dave Grohl made me appreciate more the “human element” in music!
  • On The Job. I guess, if not the best, one of the best Filipino films I’ve ever seen!
  • Dear Zachary. Broke my heart a million times! Everyone should see this. Can’t help but question Canada’s judicial system.


  • Final episodes of Breaking Bad
  • Breaking Bad
  • Hannibal. I love gore and twisted things so…
  • Bates Motel. Watched this out of curiosity, and because I love Psycho.
  • Breaking Bad.

ALSO IN 2013…

  1. My housemates and I moved last June into a town house just a few meters away from our old apartment. We already hosted three house parties ever since we moved in. One was in July for the housewarming. It was the biggest party among the three. The others were intimate parties for the Halloween and Christmas.
  2. I learned how to cook “real” food, not just the plain ol’ fried cuts! I prepared sushi, and cooked Adobo, Beef Rendang, Chicken Curry and Pasta Puttanesca! Yay!
  3. Mama found out that she has a malignant cyst on her colon. It was removed, but the cells already spread out. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer. The medication process is not yet done, but she already had her last chemo session last December. Let’s just hope that all the Cancer cells are gone.

2013 Realizations

  1. Some people just don’t really show their affection that much, but it all comes out when you need it the most. This is in reference to my cousin. He’s the first person I phoned when Papa told me that Mama has Cancer. I felt comforted after talking to him.
  2. Science is the bitch, Bitch! You know the law of science that says: “Nothing is displaced unless it is replaced.”? My friend Ninz took this as reference when she was giving me some ~love advices~ LOL.
  3. You can’t force yourself to like the wrong person for you to get over a failed relationship. The right person will come and unknowingly (for both of you) help you totally get over the past heartbreaks. You’ll know if it’s right, because you feel right. You don’t have to push yourself to believe that it’s right, because IT. JUST.FEELS. RIGHT. You just have to wait, who knows for how long… it might be in a few months, in a number of years… it could be in exactly 365 days. 😉 And that leads me back to #2. “Nothing is displaced unless it is replaced.” — Yes, it’s true. But one must remember that when a person drowns, the air in the lungs was displaced as it was being replaced by water. You can’t force water into the lungs. It kills.
  4. True friends allow and support you to do risky/dangerous things. Not because they wanted to put you to harm, but because they wanted you to learn. There’s a big difference between “pagkukunsinte” and letting one experience things for them to grow as a person. True friends — what’s risk for you is a risk for them. You know, the “You jump, I jump” kind of thing.
  5. No. You can’t have too many friends. Others will be replaced. That’s just how it goes.
  6. Taking risks is scary but it’s a lot better to take it than live a life of “what ifs.” What if doesn’t work? But what if it does? Damn it! Just do it to know if it will.

Hmm. Pretty much enough life lessons for 2013, huh? Holla!


About Gillian Cruz

I have a feeling that I am a reincarnated hippie from the '70s.
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