My 2022 Year In Review

A summary of how my year went ✨

Back when I still write in Medium (those articles are yet to be migrated to this blog), I used to do a yearly reflection. Unfortunately I wasn't able to keep track and continue ever since the pandemic began. Now that we've quite adjusted with how we can go on with COVID unfortunately still being here, I'm glad that this year allowed me to give some space to focus and revisit some of the activities I love to do, and this gave me something to write about.

2022 Graphic

On fitness and wellness

I had some health issues here and there but thankfully nothing too critical. Generally, I'm happy with my fitness progress this 2022. I even got an Apple Watch this year to track my progress and motivate myself even more. 🔥

I got more confident about my body

My body this year is probably the best one I've seen so far. Though my weight (44kg) rarely changes, I'm amazed to see my body getting more toned. I wasn't even aware that my back was already looking like how it is now.

Photo of Sam showing her bare back

I passed my Kendo Shinsa

Probably a highlight of my kendo career is passing my first official Kendo Ikkyu Shinsa (exam)! This means that I'm one level away from getting Shodan, which in english terms means getting my first degree "black belt", though there isn't a visible, wearable belt in kendo.

Sam pointing at her number, K115, in the list of kendoka who passed the exam Sam with her friends, Chichai and Chenney senpai Sam with her friends from IGA Kendo Club Sam with her friend, Leanne

Years ago, kendo practitioners from the Philippines had to fly to other countries with an official kendo federation accredited by the All-Japan Kendo Federation because they are the only ones who are permitted to hold a shinsa. Back in 2020, I was already gearing up to take my exam in Hong Kong but it got cancelled due to the pandemic. It was only recently that the United Kendo Federation of the Philippines (UKFP) was finally recognized and accredited by the All-Japan Kendo Federation, making the UKFP eligible to hold a shinsa locally. I'm glad to be part of such a historic event of participating in the first ever shinsa in the Philippines, and passing for the rank I tested for! 🎉

A group photo of all the kendoka who attended the shinsa

I got to bike more

Because of the increasing car ride-hailing cost and our transport crisis (lack of efficient public transportation and all), I've been biking a lot everywhere this year. I even carried my kendo gear which is a full luggage on my bike! Another great thing about biking is how I get to connect with the bike commuting community. I've met new bike friends this year and I'm looking forward to seeing them to bike events and tambay again!

Me and my partner have also been biking to our date places and we're glad to be able to go to places without having to rely on a car 🚲

I now have a skincare routine

Huge thanks to my friend, Pierce, I've finally created and continuously sticking with my skincare routine. Nothing too fancy, just a bunch of cleansers and moisturizers and making sure that I'm applying sunscreen on my screen before going out.

On Personal Identity

Things that made me embrace my personal identity, and a lot of it happened this year.

Feeling more proud about being a lesbian

While it's not a secret anymore, I feel like this year is the first time that I've truly accepted who I am. This includes not being worried and scared about what other people think and proudly telling people upfront about who I really am.

Sam's mirror selfie wearing a rainbow sash Google's Pride gift pack Sam attending Pride March with her friends and her girlfriend Manila Bulletin Lifestyle newspaper featuring Google's Pride Conversations

The trigger for me was when I became part of Google's Pride Conversations, where we spoke about diversity and inclusivity in the tech industry. Hearing my co-speakers stories and talking about how we can create a safe space for everyone was such an insightful experience. It made me realize how much I can help nurture an environment and culture that respects and empowers people to do their best work. Simply being proud of who I am and showing my authentic self is in itself a step towards opening a dialog that fosters inclusion. 🌈

A screenshot of the virtual talk with all the speakers shown

My tattoo is finally done

After 7 8hr sessions (yes, 7 full work day sessions), my tattoo is finally done! It took that long because of how intricate the details are. There is a meaning behind my decision to get a snake tattoo, but I'll save that for a conversation over drinks.

A photos of Sam's snake tattoo on her left arm


An update on our small family: Me, my partner, and our pets.

We adopted Fray

Fray is one of the stray kittens at the back of our condo unit that we feed. We decided to adopt her because out of all the kittens, she's the one who approaches us the most.

First photo of Fray. Her fur is really thin Fray inside a cage A healthy and recovered Fray, resting on her cat bed Fray bonding with our other cat, Soju

Little did we know that Fray was severely sick. She was suffering from feline parvovirus, a deadly virus that affects cats. She also had other underlying issues that needed medical attention. We took her to a vet clinic that specializes on treating cats. She was confined for days and we're really happy that she managed to survive! She looks really healthy now compared to when we first picked her up.

Her name is based from a character in Final Fantasy XIV, a game that me and my partner love so much. Fray from FFXIV is a Dark Knight, a fitting name for our little voidling.

On creativity

I got to draw more women

Though I didn't get to draw more around the second half of the year, I'm still glad that I got to draw a lot of women characters! Drawing women has always been my struggle, but I can draw men just fine. It's probably because I have a certain bias towards women and I want my artworks to look good enough for me. I've finally learned to just let go and just draw, and this helped me be more lax about drawing instead of freezing from creativity and perfectionism block.

Compilation of some of Sam's digital artworks

On Work

I left SplitmediaLabs/XSplit

Back in 2020, I returned to SplitmediaLabs where I worked on Gamecaster and XSplit. Sadly, I had to leave again this 2022. I've always said this before and this is still true until today: SplitmediaLabs is one of the most fulfilling jobs in my entire career. In this company, I managed to design for millions of content creators around the world. The projects I've handled in SplitmediaLabs are some of what I'm proud of the most. You can check out the Gamecaster Web Case Study I'm still in the process of writing my case studies for my projects under SplitmediaLabs. SplitmediaLabs has helped me become the designer that I am today, and I know that all my learnings from this company will help me in my career wheresoever I go.

I started my new journey at Deloitte

As I close my chapter with SplitmediaLabs, I've now started my journey with one of the biggest consulting firms in the world, Deloitte! 💚 I'm still pretty new in the company and I'm excited to make an impact here!

Onwards to 2023

My goals for 2023 is to continue my momentum from 2022. I don't wanna set specific, big goals this 2023, and instead I wanna focus on building consistent habits in terms of fitness, kendo, design, and learning, while keeping in mind what I want my year to look like and achieve.

Happy holidays and I hope that we all have a wonderful year ahead! 🎊