364 – On Recapping 2022, Part 1: Posts

And now, 2022 has come and gone. While most of the world has learned to live with COVID-19, the conflict in Ukraine has had serious repercussions being felt worldwide since February. Perpetual lockdowns don’t work and the world will have to open up sooner or later. Here in the Philippines, the incumbent President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has made face masks voluntary in both indoor and outdoor settings. There are still COVID-19 booster drives here, but only those who need it the most – Filipinos of advanced age and those with weakened immune systems – avail of the shots.

Just like many, I’ve also adjusted to the new normal. Opportunities to work outside whenever cabin fever hits also become opportunities to visit various food spots. I’m glad that restrictions have loosened up a bit here in Manila, which allows for some freedom of movement. Now, let’s look back on the past year and the various milestones I’ve hit in 2022.

Q1 2022

I started off January 2022 with the seventh This or That post, featuring two brands of bottled coffee available where I live. I also wrote about our December 2021 meal at Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken & Sauce Bar a short drive away from our place. February saw me write about dishes I cooked at home, alongside a non-food post that elaborated more about me.

For March, I managed to publish five posts – with majority of them being non-food. The first one was a review of Fish & Co. in Trinoma known for its fish and chips and variations on the signature British dish. This was followed by two reviews on items I purchased from Southeast Asian e-commerce platform Shopee (coal tar shampoo and tea tree oil soap). A post about nostalgic tunes from the 80s and 90s, alongside a post about Mom’s food trip during her 2011 work-related trip to Indonesia, marked the month.

We visited Mom for her supposed 63rd birthday in January of that year. A month later, I got my first COVID-19 booster dose from Moderna courtesy of my current employer. I paid a visit to Ortigas in March, doing some errands while my younger brother met up with his friend from college. Days later, I paid our family dentist a visit for a much-needed cleaning and oral checkup after two years of lockdowns.

Q2 2022

The month of April did not have new posts, as I recapped the previous quarter. I only got back to standard posting in May – with five entries in all. Four were related to food, while the remaining one featured an outfit I wore. The May series featured my review of Kettle at Shangri-La Plaza Mall which I managed to visit after six years; a triptych about cultured milk drinks; a dish I tried during a visit to the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig; and a recipe for a healthier version of the Filipino specialty Bicol Express.

The food-related posts continued in June, with two triptych entries and two full reviews reaching the finish line. I wrote about Saboten at the Serendra commercial complex in BGC, and The Brewman Coffee in Cubao Expo. The first triptych post for that month featured meals I tried out during errand runs. I then capped off the month with a triptych featuring my three most recommended fried chicken joints in Manila.

In spite of these wins, the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war finally made it to the Philippines. Gas prices hit peak highs and shortages for certain food items occurred. On the personal side of things, one of my uncles died in May and younger brother got bit by a dog in the same month. June turned out for the better, however, after Mom was recognized for her more than 40 years of service in government and younger brother celebrated his 24th birthday.

Q3 2022

I began July with two recipe posts (here and here) and kept my entries in August to a minimum of two. My posts for August consisted of a full review of Nanyang Asian Kopitiam – published in time for Singapore’s National Day last Aug. 9 – and another post about the iconic Cajun favorite jambalaya. I took August as a short break period in preparation for the “Ber” months, which mark the beginning of the Christmas season in the Philippines.

I was firing on all cylinders when September came, with a total of five posts being published. Four were about food, while the last one featured familiar tunes from Philippine television. I reviewed Tenya at Tiendesitas and Nono’s at UP Town Center, followed by a triptych on cafes I visited. A late lunch at Locavore in Eastwood City capped off my food-related entries for the quarter.

July did not have much activity, but August was rather packed. We celebrated the first year of Mom’s passing, traditionally the end of the mourning period in Filipino culture. I also met up with my work colleagues that month – two years after I first joined this company. Government transactions became the focus in September as I had my driver’s license renewed for a 10-year period.

Q4 2022

October began with two posts – a triptych about alcoholic beverages and a special Halloween entry about Tomas Morato Avenue, a restaurant strip in Manila’s Quezon City suburb. I then started off November with a post to mark my nine years on WordPress. This was then followed by multiple restaurant reviews – Wangfu Chinese Café and Bistro, Stockwell Café and Lounge, and Hawker Chan. I also published one non-food post that month, an updated version of an entry I originally posted in 2017.

I managed to publish five posts in all come December. Two of them centered on reviews – Sourdough Café + Lounge and Craft Coffee Revolution, the latter located near me. I also wrote a triptych about the days before my birthday and a sort of farewell post for The Brewman Coffee, which I incidentally featured earlier in the year. The only non-food post that I published was another re-blog; I was interviewed by Breanna of Powders and Palettes for her 12 Days of Blogmas series.

Renovation work at our house kicked off in October, with an awning already built over our front yard by that month’s end. I also celebrated my 32nd birthday in November, and went out to buy stuff during the Thanksgiving and Black Friday holidays. December was marked by visits to various relatives from both Dad’s and Mom’s side, and with some stopping by at home.

I’ll wrap up the first part of my 2022 recap here. Stay tuned as I’ll be looking at the numbers for the past year in next week’s entry.

Until the next post!

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: The featured image for this post is from cottonbro studio on the free stock image site Pexels.)


24 thoughts on “364 – On Recapping 2022, Part 1: Posts

  1. So glad to hear that you are getting back into life outside home – it is taking us a while as well to get used to the new normal. Baby steps. We enjoy what we can within our comfort levels.

    It is so true though, that Covid is not the only thing the world is trying to recover from. If it’s not one thing, it’s another; it never seems to end. So I guess like you, we do what we can. Keep well!

  2. So it’s still mandatory to wear mask indoors and outdoors in the Philippines? Since Covid isn’t over yet, I think that’s a very wise decision. Europe has abolished most mask rules although they still have many Covid cases. Almost all of my friends in Europe have caught covid at least once. And, many of them now have an immune system that is at the level which people usually have when they are in their 80s. But still, they don’t want to wear masks. A decision I absolutely cannot understand. 😞

    And you’re right, the Ukrainian war is the next big problem the world is facing. I really hope that the governments of the world will soon come to their senses, and finally try to end this stupid war, instead of fueling it even further. 😞

    I’m looking forward to your next Recap and wishing you all the best. 🤗

    • Nope, masks are no longer required here in the Philippines for indoor and outdoor settings since October of last year. However, according to the official edict released by current Philippine President Marcos, they remain mandatory for healthcare settings (e.g. inside hospitals and ambulances) and on public transportation.

      I do understand the pivot toward health freedom, however. The Philippines has paid a heavy toll due to the lockdowns, but unlike Europe — it doesn’t have huge coffers to tide people over in the case of continued closures. Sooner or later, life will have to continue.

      If anything, the pandemic taught Filipinos the value of health. Many started to introduce exercise regimens in their schedules, take supplements and be careful with what they eat. Even I myself am learning the value of keeping my immune system strong enough to fight COVID — with regular exercise, vitamin C, and vitamin D3.

      For the war in Ukraine, I just hope level-headed parties take center stage. Everyone’s escalating the war — with the US and Germany sending tanks, France and Italy sending air defense systems, and even China insinuating potential aid to Russia.

      • Oh, I’m sorry, I misunderstood, and thought you still had the mask mandate in place everywhere. 😣

        Ya, the whole lockdown placement was somehow done wrong from the beginning. Maybe if all countries had closed everything immediately and at the same time, it would have worked out, but the way it was done, the virus couldn’t be eradicated, and people paid a heavy toll during the lockdowns in most countries. 😖

        We also saw the trend of taking more care of ones health here in Indonesia, too. Where before the lockdown, we were alone on the beach on early weekend mornings, nowadays, almost everybody goes there for a morning walk, before the sun is scorchingly hot. 👍

        I absolutely agree with you about the war in Ukraine. 👍

      • No worries, not an issue at all. On a personal level, I do wear a mask in certain settings 🙂 While I go maskless outside — where social distancing is possible — I wear a face covering indoors. That means whenever I visit a shopping mall, supermarket, barber shop, or a bank.

        The words of American infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci definitely come to mind: “It’s going to be a person’s decision about the individual risks they’re going to take. So you’re going to make a question and an answer for yourself, for me as an individual, for you as an individual.”

        I sincerely hope that the war in Ukraine doesn’t escalate, and another one closer to home — China starting a war over the Spratlys — doesn’t begin. 😩

  3. I’m glad things are getting back to normal in your part of the world! I feel like here in Europe it has been like this for some months already, and summer 2022 was pretty much restriction-free. It’s amazing that you managed to post so much here on your blog, and I wish I was as consistent as you were ahah!

  4. Hi Monch,

    Because of my busy schedule I usually only publish 1 blog post a month.
    My online cookery courses, writing recipes and coursework and keeping up with my social media accounts takes a big commitment but I do enjoy it. I usually create 2 recipes for each of my cooking lessons, one of which will be filmed beforehand and edited by my wife. I have posted a few of them on my Youtube channel but intend to publish more when we get time.
    I hope 2023 is going well for you.

    • It’s not an issue at all; we all have our own paces when it comes to creating content. Making cooking videos does take time, with a huge chunk of it going to editing. I’m actually subscribed to your channel; loved watching the Lamb Tagine recipe video!

      Wishing you the same, Chef!

  5. A jam-packed 2022 for The Monching’s Guide. I admire that you never give up the blogging routine in lieu of a vlogger career. 😃 For an old school like me I still prefer reading personal written experiences, don’t get me wrong I don’t have issue with the vlog industry. ✌

    My silent take on the voluntary facemasks —we should know our own risks.

    • Thank you! 😄 Well, my day job involves a lot of writing — and thankfully, maganda naman ang sahod — so I still blog to keep my skills sharp. Not to mention that the WFH setup ruins your mental health in the long run, so an alternative is ideal. Hindi yung work-home-work-home lang magro-rotate ang routine.

  6. Interesting idea to write a synopsis of your work throughout the year. Sometimes I find myself cheered to find I’ve achieved a certain volume when I thought I was unproductive. I’m still a regular fortnightly poster though, must speed it up. The easing of lockdown has been most energising, I really missed street life. Glad you’ve opened up in the Philippines. Real life lives!

    • Thank you, Shane! Just like you, these recaps serve as a reminder for me of how much I’ve done over the past year — much like a pick-me-up on days when I feel like I’ve barely done anything.

      But yeah, as they say — you ought to do things at your own pace.

      Indeed! Time does fly fast; just last year, most establishments here in the Philippines required vaccine passports. Now, they’re not even demanding it at restaurants. Also, many more Filipinos are eschewing the mask when outdoors.

  7. Keep up the amazing work, Monch! I didn’t know you were reviewing food as well. Let me know if you ever find “vegan/vegetarian” chicharron. I have found some here in the US (Seafood City) and I’m wondering if they have a version in the Philippines.

    • Thank you! I’ve been writing about food since 2013, and I’m hitting ten years this September.

      Regarding your concern, there are several versions of chicharon (Filipinos spell it with one “r”) here in the Philippines. I’ve tried out a version made with oyster mushrooms, and that one pairs well with rice.

      There are commercial versions too, under the Oishi brand. Marty’s Cracklin (Salt and Vinegar, Spicy Vinegar, and Plain Salted) uses peas as a main ingredient, while Marty’s Cracklin Baconette Strips uses potatoes. (Though, as with most snack foods – there are food additives to watch out for in these.)

      Hope this helps!

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