Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Anniversary Party 2013

Third Year Anniversary Party:
Elegance in Paradise

2013 is a year worth remembering for The BACKPACKERS. We maneuvered through several obstacles and overcame challenges as a group, and we made it through. We traveled to many places, conquered many summits and held memorable events all year round. Our anniversary is on December 11, 2013; but because of the pre-booked Bohol adventure, we had to move the celebration during the yuletide week. And on December 28, 2013, the paradise of Park, Rest and Dine Restaurant in Baras, Rizal witnessed the elegant transformation of The BACKPACKERS without our hiking apparels and backpacks in a night of fun, excitement and bonding.

The Dinner
Gathering in one of the most formal table setting we had so far, we feasted on a sumptuous feast that the restaurant prepared for us. From the mouth watering Crispy Pata, the tasty angus beef up to my favorite of the night, diced chicken with vegetables, we filled our stomachs with the treats on the table. 

Dedication for Baby Eithena
The BACKPACKERS' godmother, mommy Ems celebrated with us (for three consecutive years now). And this one's much more special because she brought her newest angel, cute baby Eithena Daenerys! Six of the BACKPACKERS were chosen to be the godparents for baby Eithena. And after the delicious dinner, we started off with the dedication for baby Eithena.

Mommy Ems' wish is for baby Eithena to acquire the traits and features of her BP godparents: the flawless skin of Ninang Jovy, the sassy and sexiness of Ninang Angel, the amazing confidence of Ninang Marion, the leadership skills of Ninong Ivan, the purity of the heart of Ninong Heinz and the awesome talent of Ninong Ralph.

BPs Angel, Marion, Jovy, Mommy Ems and baby Eithena, Ralph, Heinz and Ivan

The Program
BPs Ghei and Nick were once again, the masters of ceremonies for the anniversary program. It started with a prayer led by BP Liz, the Backpacker of the Year 2012. It was followed by a welcome message from BP Lead Ivan Ignacio, "an elegant way of thanking the fruitful year of 2013, as we reminisce the good that we harvested from this challenging year. Welcome to the BACKPACKERS' Third Year Anniversary Party, welcome to Elegance in Paradise!"

While the whole country was waiting for who will be crowned the best actor and best actress in the annual film festivity, we had our own award ceremony where we recognized the BPs who made a mark in 2013. Aside from the giving of the awards, several people were chosen to represent their batches and gave a meaningful message and delivered a speech. Games were also prepared by the hosts which the BPs enjoyed. Gracing us in the occasion were BP Weng and BP DeePee with their rendition of A Thousand Years.

The Jack en Poy Game with a Twist!
BPs Chons and Marion in the finals, with Marion winning the game and the pot prize
Shooting Game with a Stik-O and Cheese Ring Twist!
The winners were BPs Chons, Weng, Anna, April and Des
Talented BPs DeePee and Weng graced us with A Thousand Years
The Pinaka-Challenging Game

The Minor Awards
The best way to reminisce the year, and the most awaited section of the anniversary celebration was the giving of awards to the BACKPACKERS who made a mark in 2013. From the wackiest moments, most dramatic moments up to the most memorable fights among others, everyone enjoyed listening to the narration of the nominees and cheered for whoever won the awards.

And the winners of the minor awards:

Other minor awards:
Marinduque Award for the Most Dramatic Moment of a BP (male category) - Mon Sarmiento
Mt. Tangisan Award for the Most Controversial BP in 2013 - Mon Sarmiento

The Speeches
Chosen BPs took the center stage for the annual speeches. Representatives of each batch discussed their experiences in the group this year. This year, the speeches were amazing and beautiful. 

The pioneer's representative BP Heinz delivered a creative speech on counting the years and incorporating it with the interests and experiences of the group. 
BP Angel took the stage for the second batch and gave her sincere thanks to the people behind the Bangon Albuera program and what her family had to say about the fellowship of the group. 
BP Chons, who got married and gave birth to a healthy baby Aldrei represented her batch and wished the group to be blessed with more inspiring and memorable trips next year. 
BP Des, who came home for the Christmas vacation narrated her climb expeditions in Japan and how she is proud of the feats and successes of the group this year.
BP Ghei of Batch 5 expressed how she admires the group and all its accomplishments and how the group has made a difference in the community.
BP Kenji, part of the newest batch, surprised everyone with his humorous and interesting speech on how being part of the Backpackers unleashed the traveler in him. And probably the best and most touching line of the night, "This is the best year of my life, thanks to you guys."

The Major Awards
The last awards given were for the Male and Female Stars of the Night and the biggest award: The BACKPACKER of the Year 2013. The elegant ladies and gentlemen worked up the runway and they modeled (the girls for the boys and vice versa) to help in determining who will win the Stars of the Night award.

The Male Star of the Night is...

The Female Star of the Night is...

The BACKPACKER of the Year 2013

The BACKPACKER of the Year is the biggest recognition given to the BPs who gave a significant contribution all year round. The award is already high even with just a nomination. The BACKPACKER of the Year 2013 nominees are:

The BACKPACKER of the Year 2013 nominees
Kenji, Ghei, Angel and Heinz

The BP of the Year 2013 is...
Heinz Alvarez is the BP of the Year 2013
Awarding him is BP of the Year 2012, Liz Honrade

The Toast
BP Wilson who couldn't be there, prepared a surprise for everybody. He produced wines for the formal wine toast, and a special message for the group. BP of the Year 2013 Heinz finished it off with the third and final toast of the night. Three Cheers for The BACKPACKERS' Three Years of Existence!

The First Toast: Bahalina and Tapuy:

"The two bottles represent what we have shared the past year. Two activities where we reached out and fortunately gave us something we could remember. A taste of wine that we shared during socials. The taste maybe a little off from the original that we have tasted. But what matters is that we could also share the experience to those who could not be present in the two activities. I have prepared the wine to the best of my abilities to improve its clarity and some taste. But taste is relative, hope you could enjoy them even if they are dry." ~ BP Wilson

The Second Toast: Strawberry and Pineapple wine:

"The next two wines represent what we would enjoy and look forward to for the next year for The BACKPACKERS. Hoping it would yield a sweeter year for us. Not only for our group but also for us, individually." ~ BP Wilson

The Third Toast from The BP of the Year 2013

"Three years of The BACKPACKERS would not be possible if not for the efforts of our BP Lead. I propose a toast for the first BP of the Year awardee, Ivan Ignacio and for the success and continued growth of the group. May we continue counting, 4, 5, 6 and so on..." ~ BP Heinz

After the program was the party which was one of the most memorable party that we held in three years. It was pure fun, fun, fun which lasted until morning.

A big thanks to Ms. Ruth and Meludy, the owners of Park, Rest and Dine restaurant which truly stayed true to the concept of the party: a PARADISE!

We would also like to thank the bloggers who judged for the Bloggers Choice for the best online write up in 2013: 

Mervin of Pinoy Adventurista

Melo of Out of Town Blog

Josh Chavez of Kulapitot

In behalf of all The BACKPACKERS, to everyone we met this year, A BIG THANK YOU and more summits and travels this 2014!

The boys - during the party
The girls - during the party

The BP of the Year 2013
Heinz Alvarez' Speech:

Friendship. Nature. Travel. People.

Click here to view the
BP First Anniversary: 
United As One Masquerade Ball
We started out as friends; parang love story lang. But indeed, it is the love of friendship why we counted 1, 2, 3. That no matter what happened, we prefered to understand and embraced each other again after fights and challenges, which proved how solid we are as a group and as a family.

Nature has been, and for as long as we are together, will always be our witness as we grow and as we count 4, 5, 6.

Traveling gives us the opportunity to strengthen the bond and to know each other more. We climb mountains, chase waterfalls, and explore new places as we continue to count 7, 8, 9.

Click here to view the
People have been one of our inspirations. We are grateful that we were able to touch lives through our outreach programs, where the recent relief operations in the Visayas can be ranked as the most significant. It is our hope that we continue to care for other people as we count 10, 11, 12.

Personally, i am proud of this Group.

For as long as friendship, nature, travel, and people are important to us, we will continue to count years, decades... it will be infinite.

Happy happy 3rd BPs!

Speech from BP of the Year 2013, Heinz Alvarez

Looking forward to a more awesome 2014!

Photo credits to Liz and King

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