Another year has gone by and with only a few days left we’re ringing in the New Year once again. 2016 has been an amazing year for us. It was an epic year in the rightest sense of the word. While our travels were relatively few, looking back on 2016 has brought back nothing but incredible travel memories. We ticked off some from our bucket list this year, accomplished things we had been working on and gained new friends here in Dubai and social media (we hope to meet you guys somewhere in the world!). Take a look at what we got up this year and let us hear what you think in the comments section below.

1. First Real Winter in Istanbul

For someone who lives in the sandpit in a long time where the coldest weather is 20-22 degrees only, to see a real snow and be frozen by a weather of -2 degrees was certainly a wonderful experience. We spent the first day of the year in a truly visual wonderland of Istanbul. The city covered in snow makes a perfect spot for any travel photographer. It has more jaw dropping sights you could ever imagine. We wrote here the Top 10 Sights in Istanbul (for first time visitors).

2. Our 2nd Wedding Anniversary in New York

Every month of May (our wedding anniversary month), we vowed to celebrate it somewhere special but never had we imagined ourselves to be in New York! Reasons such as acquiring a US visa, travel time of 18 hours from the UAE and NYC as one of the expensive cities in the world are things that give us second thoughts of going in here. But with so much courage, right saving up and our wanderlust disturbing us – we found ourselves searching on steps to apply the visa. Besides, getting romantic in Central park is part of our ultimate bucket list and there are so much free things to do in NYC that cuts the costs.

Sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold 💕#FlatIronBuilding #themomentkeepers #TmkNYCseries #NYC

A photo posted by 🇵🇭 Joanna & Jeremiah (@themomentkeepers) on

3. Family Trip in Kuala Lumpur

It was last May when our family of six decided to explore Kuala Lumpur for 3 days. This trip was our 4th time to go on a travel together. Sure there are disadvantages when traveling as a family like you can’t go to far places by foot as the parents will surely complain (haha!) or you can’t have a DIY tour as convenience comes first before anything else. But traveling with our family was also a fun experience. Seeing their happiness and to feel their enjoyment is certainly a priceless feeling.

My kind of squad💕 #Malaysia2016 #malaysiatrulyasia #kualalumpur #familytravel

A photo posted by 🇵🇭 Joanna Villanueva (@mrsjoannavillanueva) on

Check out: 15 Photos of Kuala Lumpur to Make you Book that Ticket

4. When TMK ( was Born

Believe it or not, it was only last July 31 when we launched this blog. I started blogging in 2013 with my first blog (my real name was the old domain before this) – a personal blog where I simply write anything under the sun – my designs, celebrations and more descriptive stories about my photos in Facebook. In short, it’s not for public viewing! Haha.  Later on when we decided to visit more countries and when a lot of my friends asked about our travel itineraries, tips, expenses and experiences we decided to create a professional platform – one that is worth sharing, easy to navigate, detailed and clear. Read here on how you can start your own too.

5. First Hotel Review & Some Features

Never in our wildest dream that we’ll get our first success story (wow! BIG word, haha), I mean our first sponsored hotel stay after nearly 3 months of having TMK. Our hard work pays off that early and we couldn’t be more than grateful for! And if you’ll ask how we did it, it’s a matter of being real to ourselves and to our followers. We will not lie – our followers/readers and blog views are very few compared to other bloggers but we made sure that we engage and connect with those few. My husband’s work @mrjeremiahvillanueva was featured on Matador Network, Huffington Post and Time Out New York magazine! 🙂

6. Blogger Feels

November has been a good one and I must say that this month had made us feel what it’s really like to be in this world. There are times that we declined invitations as being a full time OFW while doing all these was never easy, will never be. Nevertheless, we are really thankful to the hotels that trusted us to make a review of their properties and let us feel to be royals because of the kind and warm treatment (Park Regis, Millenium Plaza and Amwaj Rotana). For the 11 restaurants who let us taste their offerings (that’s a lot of food guys!) thank you for adding heaps of kilograms haha! It really means a lot as we’re not food bloggers but you still choose to invite us.

To Privilee who let us enjoy the inaccessible luxury beach resorts in town. And of course to Tajawal and Rent a Guide. You guys are awesome!  Now you know why are we posting a lot of photos in our social media pages, not to brag, but to share you the experiences in the hotel, restaurant or service that we’ve tried. Trust that we’ll only share our sincerest opinions and thoughts.

7. Unforgettable India Trip

December would always be my second favorite month after our anniversary month. Aside from the reason that the UAE is getting more holidays this month, it’s my husband’s birth month and Christmas – the most wonderful time of the year!  It was also this month when we had our unforgettable and most fascinating trip in India. I wrote our first impressions of the country here. As we’ve chosen to skip most of the touristy places and visit the public areas instead, blend with locals, we ended up learning so much from this trip.

Our 2017 Plan

Undeniably our 2016 created a lot of learning for us, about the world, the people around us, and what we really want for our future. Now, with 2017 speedily approaching, what’s our plan? I can only say that we have BIG plans for 2017. Two words – massive and unexpected. But for now, we want to say thank you to those who supported us – family and friends. To our few followers and readers – for every like, comment here and in our social media pages, messages, tips and suggestions, to some incredible new friends here in Dubai – THANK YOU for being a part of our 2016 🙂

Thanks for reading!  Here’s to a great 2017 for all of us!

This blog post is our entry to Pinoy Travel Bloggers PTB Blog Carnival 2016 Read all our entries in the same link after January 1, 2017.