Friday, January 16, 2015


Luau in December
4th Year Anniversary & Christmas Party
By Heinz Lopez Alvarez, Jr.

The BP Turns FOUR

The BACKPACKERS, a Manila-based mountaineering and travel group composed of young professionals, celebrated its fourth year anniversary on December 27 and 28, 2014, in Garden Hideaway, a private pool in Antipolo City.

With the theme, Luau in December, it was also the Group's Christmas Party.

A meaningful prayer, which was led by BP Chons, started the program acknowledging all the blessings that the Group had received over the years, all the situations that taught its members to be strong, and all the opportunities that brought the Group together.

BP Chons in Luau

In the opening message that I gave, as the current president, I was grateful to all the members and regular guests who have shown commitment and total support to The BACKPACKERS' vision and dreams.

BP Heinz officially opening the program

Recognizing members who have significant contributions and who have served as inspiration to the rest, and presenting the Group's 2015 Calendar of Activities were the highlights of the event.

BP Nickson received two major awards namely BP of the Year for his valued contributions and commitment to the growth of The BACKPACKERS,  and Blogger of the Year for having the most number of stories published and read by the Group's followers online in 2014.

The BP of the Year, Nickson

As expected, Nick has joined the ranks of Ivan (BP of the Year 2011), Liz (BP of the Year 2012) and yours truly (BP of the Year 2013).

Ivan, Liz, Nick, and Heinz - BP of the Year Award recipients

BP Ghei was awarded as the Profile of the Year for being the most visited online, while BP Mau and BP Marion bagged the Male and Female Star of the Night awards respectively for their efforts in completely embracing the night's theme.

Finally, Ghei got an award! She is no longer just a resident host. :) 

Marion and Mau - Stars of the Night

BP PRO Nickson presented the Group's 2015 Calendar of Activities, and everyone got excited. As a group of adventurous and travel addict individuals, mountain climbing and travels always make us feel inspired and alive!

The BP 2015 Calendar of Activities

January 17 & 18 Mt. Talamitan in Nasugbu, Batangas
February 21 & 22  Quirino Province Tour
March 14 & 15 Mt. Mag-asawang bato in Tingloy, Batangas
April 8 to 12 Palaui Island in Cagayan Valley
May 1 to 3 Apuao Grande Island in Mercedes, Camarines Norte
May 29 to 31 Caramoan, Camarines Sur
June 12 & 13 Basic Mountaineering Course in Tanay, Rizal
June 20 & 21 Mt. Kalisungan in Calauan, Laguna
July 18 & 19 Antong Falls in Pangasinan
August 28 to 31 Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur Tour
September 19 & 20 Mt. Tibig in Lobo, Batangas
October 15 to 18 GiveLove 2015 in Ifugao
November 27 to 30 Siquijor Island Tour
December 13 & 14 The BACKPACKERS 5th Anniversary and Christmas Party 

At the end of each year, we roll out a survey to identify the members whose experience, story, or even language did create a huge impact to the Group. They can be dramatic, tragic, or funny circumstances. But, one thing is for sure - we would just laugh at them at the awarding ceremony, an indication that at the end of each day, The BACKPACKERS are all positive people. The minor awards and winners were:

Milestone of the Year
Presented to a BP who made the Group proud because of his/ her achievement
Winner: Desiree Eve Maaño for being able to finish her Masters in Japan

Wally Bayola Award
Presented to a BP who surprised the Group with his/ her earth-shaking news, which taught the each BP to be stronger individually and as a Group
Winner: Ivan Laurence Ignacio for vacating the position as the Lead of TheBP to give way for potential leaders 

Away Urian
Presented to BPs who had unforgettable fight that showed we, in the Group, are just like brothers and sisters
Winners: Leah Nogoy and Wilson Galapon for an online war

Aray Aray Naku Award
Presented to a BP who had a accident, which reminded everyone about "safety first"
Winner: Liezl Keith Honrade for surviving a fall by a waterfalls when we were descending Mt. Damas in January 2014

Melanie Marquez Award
Presented to a BP for a hilarious moment she/he had in the presence of her/his fellow BP, which shows BPs are fun loving people
Winner: Annalyn Aujero for her unlimited hilarious comments

Tulfo Brothers Award
Presented to a BP who was proven to be the most capable of catching the eyes  of our guests during climbs and trips, material in making them feel comfortable and welcomed
Winner: Ghei Agoncillo for being the most admired BP

Because that night was also the Group's celebration of Christmas, a special dinner was served and party games were played. Nickson and Ghei never fails to ignite fun during occasions like this. 

All of us were happy and grateful that a couple of our regular guests were able to grace this occasion - Sheryl and Alvin-and-son-Aldrei. And of course, Survivor ORG Players were present that evening!

Regular guests - Sheryl and Alvin; Baby Aldrei; and Survivor ORG Players Nick, She, Heinz, and Ivan

And of course, what is party without the drinks and videoke? 

We were actually advised that videoke should be up until 12 midnight only. But because of extreme fun and happiness felt because of this gathering, the party happened overnight and the singing continued 'til morning!

Who reigned as the Videoke King? No other than The BP Founder himself, Ivan Laurence Ignacio!


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