December 31, 2022

Top 22 for 2022

A lot of things have happened in 2022. Here are the 22 highlights of the year for me.

App Development

* My new book Simplifying Android Development with Coroutines and Flows has been published this year. You can check out the book on Packt and on Amazon.

* We have updated Boto Ko for the 2022 Philippine National and Local Elections and we have started an unofficial survey called Boto Ko Polls for the national positions based on anonymous user inputs. Boto Ko is an application for Philippine elections where you can list, update, and share the candidates you want to vote for.

* Boto Ko was featured in Youth for Truth, a youth-oriented program of the Presidential Communications Operations Office. You can watch the interview which aired live on May 7 on Facebook and on YouTube.

* We have updated Sweldong Pinoy and Budget Pinoy for 2023. The tax deductions will decrease but the contibutions for PhilHealth, SSS, and Pag-IBIG Fund will be higher. Sweldong Pinoy is a salary calculator for Filipinos in computing net pay, withholding taxes and contributions to SSS/GSIS, PhilHealth and PAG-IBIG. Budget Pinoy is a tool for Filipinos in finding out how much their asking salary should be based on their budget.

* I worked on a simple Android app for a client who will be using the app as a demo/prototype for presenting to their potential partners and investors. Most of the things I did involved adding animations and I used MotionLayout for them.

* I developed a simple Exchange Gift Generator using Google Forms/Google Spreadsheets and Apps Script.


* I ran my first half marathon at the BMO Vancouver Marathon 2022. It was the 50th anniversary of the Vancouver Marathon. I ran the 21.1 km run in 2:27:11.

* I ran my second Half Marathon at Great Trek 2022, the 100th anniversary of the event. It took me 2:27:55 to finish the 21.1 km run.

* I ran at least once a month this year with a total distance of 356 km based on Strava, more than a half marathon's distance compared to last year's 327 km.

Travel and Tours

* This year, we visited the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, and BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. We also went out of town to Tsawwassen Mills to visit the Stargazer Exhibit.

* Celine's family (and I) went to Squamish (with a day trip to Whistler).

* for the first time, we went outside the province! We went to Ontario and had a tour in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls. The highlight of the trip was the Hornblower Boat Cruise.

* We stayed in Toronto for a few days of vacation and went to CN Tower, Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, Distillery District, Casa Loma, Royal Ontario Museum, and St. Lawrence Market.


* This year, we watched more games of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. We watched 12 MLS games in BC Place.

* We watched the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in their Canadian Championship Preliminary Round game vs Valour FC (they won 2-0) and in the Canadian Championship Finals vs Toronto FC. They won 5-3 on penalty shootout (after a 1-1 90 minute game) and got their second Voyageurs Cup.

* We also watched a Vancouver Canucks game for the first time. It was our first time to watch an NHL game in person and was also our first time at Rogers Arena.

* We watched the Canada Women Football Team's National Team Celebration Tour, a friendly game vs Nigeria. They won 2-0!

* We watched the Canadian Mens Football Team during their CONCACAF Nations League match vs CuraƧao. There were two other games which we paid for and could have also watched if they had not been cancelled.


* I continued to use Duolingo to learn French. My stats for 2022 says I'm a top 1% French learner on Duolingo: 66611 total XP, 16993 minutes spent, 3896 words learned, 1989 longest streak. Here is the full year in review (video):

* After a very long time, I finished first in a Diamond League in Duolingo . The Diamond League is the "highest" league and it was always hard to even stay on it. It was also the first time I topped a Duolingo leaderboard so I got both the Winner and Legendary achievements.

* We were invited to the St. Paul's Lights of Hope Donor Celebration before the lighting ceremony. After the program, we went outside for the lighting ceremony.

* I donated blood twice in 2022: first in June and the second in December.

October 22, 2022

Half Marathon at Great Trek 2022

After my first half marathon at BMO Vancouver Marathon 2022, I was looking for another run for the year. I was originally looking for only 10k but then I found out that the Great Trek will have its 100th anniversary. Since I ran in the Vancouver Marathon's 50th, I decided to run another half marathon instead in the Great Trek.

Great Treak (formerly The Fall Classic) pays homage to the Great Trek of 1922 in the University of British Columbia. It is a jaunt through Musqueam Territory.

Great Trek was was my first run in the UBC Campus.I woke up early on October 22 to go there for the event. It wasn't raining (the day before and the next few days have rain in the forecasts) but it's still a little cold. The first few kilometers of the run was fine but I started feeling tired after the 16th/17th kilometer so I was mostly walking. Near the finish line, however, I did find some more strength to run towards it.

I finished the 21.1 km run in 2:27:25 (21.59 km in 2:27:30 on Strava). It was a few seconds slower than my finish at the Vancouver Marathon last May but I was a bit surprised because I thought it would take me longer.

Overall, Great Trek 2022 was a good experience for me. I am not sure though if I can do it again soon. October is a little too cold for me and the chance of rain is high.

July 30, 2022

New Book: Simplifying Android Development with Coroutines and Flows

The new book I have written, Simplifying Android Development with Coroutines and Flows, has now been published. This is my first book after last year's How to Build Android Apps with Kotlin that I co-authored.

The book begins by showing you how to create and handle Kotlin Coroutines on Android. You'll explore asynchronous programming in Kotlin, and understand how to test Kotlin Coroutines. Next, you'll learn about Kotlin Flows on Android, and have a closer look at using Kotlin Flows by getting to grips with handling Flow cancellations and exceptions and testing the Flows.

You can check out the book on Packt and on Amazon.

May 7, 2022

Boto Ko at Youth for Truth

Boto Ko was featured in Youth for Truth, a youth-oriented program of the Presidential Communications Operations Office which airs on Radyo Pilipinas 738 AM and the Facebook Pages of PCOO, Youth for Truth, and National Youth Commission every Friday. Replays are aired Saturdays on IBC TV.

The interview was part of their election episode for May 6 and 7. Because of a breaking news, the episode did not air on May 6. It was aired live on May 07 on IBC and on their Facebook page.

You can also watch the video from their YouTube channel:

Boto Ko is an application for Philippine elections where you can list, update, and share the candidates you want to vote for. With Boto Ko, you can input your vote from President to City/Municipal Councilor. You can also choose the candidate for the President, Vice-President, Senators, and Party-List Representatives from the official list of candidates.

May 3, 2022

Half Marathon at BMO Vancouver Marathon 2022

It has been three years since the last time I ran. I did virtual runs but it's really not the same as an in-person event. Finishing a half marathon has been one of my goals and I was planning to do my first last year (21k on 2021!). Because of the pandemic, last year's event was virtual but I still did the virtual half marathon to see if I would be able to do it. I was praying things will be better for 2022, which is the 50th anniversary of the Vancouver Marathon.

Before the Event

The Vancouver Marathon is scheduled on May 1, 2022. As soon as the registration opened, I immediately registered for an in-person run. I opted for a combo run (In-Person Half Marathon + Virtual 8KM + Virtual 5KM) which costs a few more bucks but includes a "free" singlet.

To prepare myself for the half marathon, I ran a few times a month. I also searched for leg exercises to strengthen them for the long run. As I also plan to use a wireless earbuds on the run, I was experimenting on the playlists to listen to. I went to the Race Expo on Friday to pickup my bib, tech shirt, and a transit pass. The next day, I just rested and slept early.

Event Day

On the race day, I woke up early so I can have breakfast and some coffee. It has been raining the fast few days and the weather forecast for the day is cloudy. I walked to the train station and used the free transit ticket to go to King Edward Station. From there, I walked to the end of the line towards the Pink Corral, the last corral. I didn't have anything with me that will need to be checked in at the Gear Check as I don't want the extra hassle of getting them back after the run. My wife is meeting me near the finish line so I asked her to bring for me some stuff I might need later.

There were enough hydration station and an energy bar station along the route. I was drinking a cup of the electrolyte drink and most of the time, another cup of water. I hate seeing all those cups on the road. Even if the volunteers will be cleaning them up later, it is still not a good idea for me. I had to hold on to my cups until I can throw them to a trash bin. Fortunately, some of the hydration stations have trash bins a few meters from them so runners can dispose their cups properly.

The run was delayed because of a police incident but as we were in the back, I didn't really know what's happening. Maybe they announced something but it wasn't heard by everyone at the back. When it was our turn to start, I turned on the Strava app and started running. It was my first time to run on most of the route and I was enjoying the nice view while running.

Around the 19km mark, I started to feel tired and the legs are starting to ache. I was running slowly and walking. When I saw the Finish line, I was hoping I could run faster to finish strong. I was unable to do so. While others were sprinting to the Finish Line, I was almost walking towards it. I was so happy to finish my first half marathon. The official time was 2:27:11. I felt I was too slow but it was faster than when I tried the virtual version last year (which was at 2:45:26). Maybe it was because of the drinks at the hydration stations, cheers on the route (and by my wife's text messages), or the music on my ears.

Finisher Certificate for Half Marathon at BMO Vancouver Marathon 2022

After the Run

After the run, I received my finisher medal. I also got some snacks and drinks then walked towards the exit to meet my wife. There were some runners blocking the exit. I was left wondering why they chose to stop and chat there, instead of continuing to walk and doing their business elsewhere.

There is a Street Festival near the Finish line for runners and their friends and family. We were planning to spend time there to eat food from the food trucks and look around at the different vendors/booths. However, we had to rush back home as FedEx left a very expensive package (that's supposed to require signature and is scheduled to be delivered next day) in an unsecure area in front of the apartment building. We'll definitely try the Street Festival next year.

From my Strava activity, I ran a total of 21.64 km in 2:26:32. I also had a few accomplishments such as longest run and best 5k, 10k, 15k, 20k, and half-marathon.

It was a great first half marathon for me. I am hoping I can run another half marathon at the Vancouver Marathon next year. The volunteers were friendly and nice. There were cheerers on the road although there were areas where there are none. I think there would have been more if there was no pandemic.

April 30, 2022

BMO Vancouver Marathon: Health, Sports & Lifestyle Expo

I registered for a half marathon at the Vancouver Marathon 2022. To pickup the run package (shirt, bib, and more), runners would need to go to the Health, Sports & Lifestyle Expo held at the Vancouver Convention Centre on April 29 (Friday) and 30 (Saturday). The Expo is open to everyone, not just registered runners. As I thought more people would be going on a weekend, I planned to go on a Friday afternoon. I also need to go to the nearby consulate so I decided to do both on the same day.

The first section is the package pickup. You would need to know your bib number (which can be searched on the website but is also emailed to you) and have your ID to get your package. There is also a bib lookup table if you don't have your bib number. I went straight to the half marathon section for my package and the volunteer couldn't find mine. Apparently, I should have went straight to the combo booth as I have registered for a combo package. I thought I would need to get my bib first and then go to the combo booth to get the extra singlet. I also got one of those commerative keepsake (near the pins for the bib):

The next section is the chip check where you can scan your bib and verify the details from the timing chip are correct. It feels like a toll gate where you must scan your bib to enter. The process was quick and it was nice seeing my details on the screen.

After that is the Running Room/Brooks booth where you can buy the souvenir shirts, hoodies, and other items. I was checking out running socks but the ones I want is not available or is not of the color I prefer. Most of the products for sale are the souvenir shirts. There were only two racks for men's shirt and there's only a few of the smaller sizes. I talked to someone and she said everything on the inventory is already there and that there were more items earlier. I think a lot of people who went in the morning have already bought these smaller sizes. In the future, I should also go earlier if I am planning to buy some shirts.

There were some other vendors as well for running gears, food, hydration, and more. A few booth are for future marathons or running clubs and some are not related to running. I mostly ignored the others as I need to go back to work. There are also a lot of spots where you can take a photo. I also saw a wall where you can find your name and take a photo. Next time, I can bring my wife with me so she can take photos of me and we can also look into buying fitness gears for her.

Towards the exit, you will find the shirt booth and the transit ticket booth. You would need to show your bib to get both. For the tech shirt, the sizes are not guaranteed. There are still a lot of shirts available and I think they try to match what you ordered. This is another reason why one should go to the Expo early, unless you want to exchange sizes (which is only possible on Saturday, subject to available shirts). There is also a BMO booth but as I am not a client, I went straight to the exit.