Making My 2020 Stand Out

Saturday, January 02, 2021

The entire 2020 is now a memory that will not be forgotten both historically and personally. The year predominantly placed the pandemic in the spotlight and made other news revolve around that. As everyone was forced to a lifestyle adjustment, we each had our own way of adapting to the new normal.

I have my own set of small achievements, memorable moments, and new things I tried for 2020. This is not a list of ground-breaking achievements or goals reached. It's just ten things I want to remember my involvement and efforts for 2020. In no particular order...

1. Work from home (for months).

Our extra bedroom served as my office away from the office.

The last time I worked from home was over a decade ago when I was a freelance digital consultant for social media and web. The dynamics of working at home then and now were a whole lot different. First off, working from home a decade ago didn't prohibit you from working at a cafe, or going out. It just meant that I wasn't working in an office environment. The big difference here was working from home while incorporating a corporate structure into the workflow. That meant getting used to virtual meetings, accessing everything from the cloud, executing entire projects online, and focusing on work despite the more convenient and cozier environment. What can I say? I survived.

2. Reached Level 8 on Local Guides. 

In February 2020, I finally reached Level 8 on Local Guides. A level 8 status on Local Guides means you've earned at least 15,000 points by contributing to Google Maps. It was a long way to Level 8 but I made it. The next level is making a heroic impact to get to Level 9 with the added challenge of travel restrictions. The journey continues.

3. Took toy photography to a new level.

Since I was staying at home, I took the opportunity to enhance my toy photography skills. I took hundreds of photos using tripods, lightboxes, lens add-ons, light sources, and camera tricks to come up with toy photo. I made up for my lack of drawing skills by using different apps to transform my photos into toy art. I printed my favorite works to resemble trading cards. Want to see more? I post on Twitter at

4. Wore shorts (with a coat and tie) to work.

I wanted to dress up for my birthday which fell on a work day. So what did I do? I wore a coat and tie to work. Work just happened to be from home so my outfit led to a mixture of the two. Hence, this attire.

5. Started a new educational social media project.

Learn a Tagalog word every hour and its English translation.

If I didn't already have enough social media accounts, I created another one. After some research on the theme, content, scripts, and automation, I created the twitter account @anongsalita, which is a Tagalog phrase for "what word." Inspired by the Twitter account @everyword that tweeted every word in the English language, @anongsalita tweets a Tagalog word alphabetically every hour. I've enhanced the tweets since it started in January. It now includes an English translation and randomly displays photos of the word or a visual representation of the word. It became educational for me when there were words that even I didn't know what it meant. Since there are over 20,000 Tagalog words in the dictionary, this will take quite a while. What's the word of the hour? Check it out at 

6. Went on intermittent fasting for half of the year.

Water, lemon water, tea, and more water, filled my tummy this year.

Staying at home slightly took a toll on my weight. Not being able to go out and exercise didn't help either. So I did some research and decided to try intermittent fasting, which in the simplest sense means to fast for 16 hours and eat within an 8 hour period. For me, the biggest change meant not having breakfast. How did I do? Here's a glimpse of how it started (I Didn't Eat For 800 Hours And Survived.) I took a holiday break which started two weeks earlier to care for Aileen but I'll resume as soon as the extended holiday season is over.

7.  Google map contributions reached over 38 million views.

In January 2020, my combined photo contributions to Google maps reached over 20 million views. Just before 2020 ended, my photos got an additional 13.9 million views. Overall, all my contributions to Google maps reached over 38 million views. I was hoping it would reach 40 million by the stroke of midnight on New Years Day but even if it didn't reach that milestone, I'm equally as overwhelmed with the number of views. Thanks to my Local Guides summit batchmates for the continuous inspiration to help and reach out to the public through the wonderful service Google maps provides. 

8. Learned how to perform a song live through livelooping and record it.

I had the gear. I had the equipment. I had the musical skill. I just needed to figure out how to put them all together in a nicely wrapped video. I had several tests and practice sessions and chose the best setup and strategy to pull everything off live on my own. Livelooping is basically a music technique where one person plays one instrument/music track at a time and when the melody loops, adds another instrument and more until a full beat and melody is achieved good enough to pass for a live performance. I did run into several technical challenges like using up all the space on my laptop but in the end, I'm pleased.


9. Attained new gaming victories and leadership.

I was way behind my gameplay status in Final Fantasy XV (A New Empire) at the start of the year. I've been playing this game since 2017, and met good virtual friends along the way. They even supported me when I had my knee surgery. I stayed because I consider them my onling gaming family. Since I missed the gameplay, I rebooted and created a new account, and founded a new guild called "Kobra Cai" (inspired from the Netflix series "Cobra Kai" and yes, the spelling was intentional.) As the new guild was slowly growing, a sudden turn of events from my old gaming family suddenly appointed me as the new leader. So now, I lead two guilds. I didn't see that coming. 

My other victory came in the form of reaching the final level of Pokemon after four years of playing. It took a lot of strategy, effort, and walking to attain that and like winning the Oscars, I wrote my acceptance speech here. Pokemon Go trainers around the world, including Sweetie Aileen would relate how fulfilling it is to achieve something every other player would want to attain. 

10. Sported long (uncontrollable) wavy hair.

This is the neatest it is before it goes haywire.

It was the perfect time to grow my wavy hair way longer than my usual. With the lockdown/quarantine months in play and most people were cutting their own hair or leaving the fate of their looks to someone else, I surely knew I wasn't gonna go down that route. My son had a headstart by growing his hair late last year, and I figured that this may be the last time I would be able to grow my hair long while I still have hair to grow. After nine months of letting my hair run wild, it did just that. My mom would totally understand the unruliness of my locks defying gravity as hers did too. You should've seen this mom. 

Overall, 2020 has been a standout year for different reasons. I also learned some hygenic and health skills such as wearing masks for extended periods of time, consciously distancing myself from someone who forgets how long one meter away from me is, and to pinpoint the exact location of a cough and head away from that direction immediately. 

2021 is here and I'm ready to face a new set of tasks, skills, and challenges. Let's make this year stand out for the right reasons.

Happy New Year!  

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  1. Woot way to go Sweetie! It was huge achievement just to stay home too! Love love.