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I’m not a fan of horoscopes. When my wife started reading our horoscopes for 2016, I told her to check what it said for 2015. To my surprise it turns out, my 2015 zodiac prediction was the most generic most accurate description of my year.

“For the Rat Chinese zodiac sign, 2015 is going to be a year of challenges and learning to overcome adversity. The best things in life never come easy and Rats are going to have to remember that in the Year of the Sheep.”

Yes, I’m a rat.

2015 was a very challenging year. It was a year of adjusting to change. As you know, change has two obvious outcomes. Change for the better or for the worse, whatever the outcome, there is always a period needed for adjustment. Even when your life changes for the better, in many cases, it is still incredibly challenging to undergo that change.

Here was my 2015 in photos:

manu in stomach

This year, we found out we were going to be a family of three.

We named him Lucas Emmanuel – for the possibility of Star Wars nerdery and a left handed Euro step. Manu for short.

Photo by Rainbowfish

Photo by Rainbowfish.

As you can tell, we were excited to become parents.

But little did we know the extent of the challenges and joy our little boy was about to bring.


Everyone says having a kid changes your life, but it never sunk in with me until I really had one.

On October 2, 2015, this little bundle of joy was born. What followed was a month of unbelievable learning.

“18. Beware the Poop. You will be surprised by the distance that thing can cover. When changing diapers, be very aware that there is a ticking time bomb right in front of you. The stories of poop exploding like shrapnel are real.

19. I find myself checking if the baby is alive. I get paranoid if he stops moving and simply sits there. That’s when I feel the need to nudge him a little bit. In the hopes, he’ll nudge back. After all, keeping him alive is the number one priority.”

– Excerpt from 31 Discoveries of a First Time Father.

We still managed a fair bit of travel before he was born.

Short stints in…



“Fortunately, the gloom didn’t last long and it became clear that Bantayan has, at least on the surface, recovered quite well. Many of the houses we passed were in good shape. The resorts seemed to be functioning just fine. Restaurants were open and, in many cases, full. There seemed to be a healthy number of tourists. I’m guessing tourism is a big part of the Sta. Fe, Bantayan economy. With that in mind, I’m writing this piece hoping you plan to visit this lovely place.”

– Excerpt from our Bantayan guide.



I’ve been meaning to make a Siargao guide. Maybe if we go there one more time… I love it there.


Ditto for Bohol.

somwhere in japan

The longest trip was a two week vacation cruising around Japan.

“This strict adherence to the rules makes for an incredibly safe environment. In all the time we spent in Japan, we only saw a security guard once. We didn’t see any in the train stations, the streets or any of the establishments. The shops in the malls didn’t even use metal drop down doors to close their shops. They simply covered the entrance with a piece of cloth and rope. On the first day, the guide literally said, “You don’t have to worry about anyone stealing your things. It is very safe in Japan.” Not many people can say that with a straight face and confidently back it up.”

– Excerpt from Japan guide.

almost twins

I even got to do a little street photography.

EASTER EGG: Speaking of street photography, we’ve got a photowalk this February. Full details coming out in a few weeks. If you want to know about it first, send us an email.

fernans cruising

Photo credit Marc Fernan

We were lucky to do the whole Japan trip with family.

Trips like this remind me of the importance of family and cultivating these relationships. Without a doubt, all forty of us had a fun two weeks cruising.

queen city cap

This year, I’ve also taken liberty to a few Zerothreetwo shoots. One of the opportunities this website gives me is an excuse to go out shooting every once in a while.

The Queen City Cap lookbook turned out to be a favorite collection of mine. Big thanks to Jason Almendras for co-shooting and organizing the shoot.

sinulog shirt

The Sinulog lookbook was the most recent shoot. I had big plans, unfortunately, rain started to drop thirty minutes after we started shooting. We literally only used the festive dust three times. Not nearly enough time to truly experiment with the stuff. It was still incredibly fun. My sister Monica was a good sport.

assistant leah

While my assistant, Leah, was very professional.

She’s such a cutie.

tree in mactan

For one of my last photos, I decided to share this photo of a tree. It’s not so much the photo or even the tree itself, but about what we were doing when the photo was taken.

This was taken during one of my walks with my wife early 2015. We were staying in Mactan. It was a nice night for a walk and we decided to go out for no reason. That was a fun night. Once the brunt of the pregnancy hit and Manu was born, we haven’t had the opportunity to go out for the heck of it. When you have kids, your life really does revolve around them. You will sacrifice so much. It will be hard. I’m likely not the first person telling you this. It’s a cliché at this point, but it really is worth it. When you look at your kid’s face, all of the weight of your sacrifice and hardship goes away. Although a part of me misses the spontaneous night outs, I wouldn’t change anything about 2015.

With that, I’d like to end this post with a greeting.

From my family to yours, happy new year.

Photo b

Photo by Kim Mendero


Carlo Villarica
Coffee stuff in Follow @sobermusings.
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