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My Year in Review: Moments in Music I’m Grateful For

My Year in Review

The start of a year always comes with a hopeful outlook, a new slate, another chance to be a better you. While I’m all for self-improvement, it’s also important to recognize the moments you’re grateful for. Welcome the year with not just hope and goals, but gratitude.

The last week of December, the days leading up to the culmination of another year, and the time to embrace a New Year signal a time to hit pause and do a bit of self-reflection. I’ve done just that: look back at 2017 in hopes of appreciating the moments and be grateful for them. I often forget all the amazing moments that transpired in a year because it can feel like those moments happened more than a year ago. I didn’t get to attend as many shows as I would like to, and I missed out on artists I absolutely love. But some darn amazing things have happened.

In less than a month this blog is turning three. Can you believe it?! Of course I want to celebrate this milestone with a giveaway, so be sure you’re subscribed to the mailing list to be the first to know about that.

This year was about narrowing the focus for this blog, and being more consistent with posts. One of the biggest learnings I’ve had the past two years is about consistency. It’s one of the things I struggle with, which spill out to this blog: consistency in posting once a week. There are times my schedule gets so jam-packed that there’s no time to blog, and if you’re a blogger you know how much work it takes to produce one blog post. With the help of Arriane Serafico’s “Theme of the Year” worksheet, I’ve decided 2018 is a year dedicated to consistency and resilience. You can check out her blog post about preparing for the New Year here.

As I listed down which moments in music I was grateful for this 2017, I realised that I watched more local shows than international concerts in 2017. I’m so happy and proud that I’m able to say that. Back in High School, I supported both local and international bands, but the number of international concerts I’d attend would outweigh local ones. My music preference then was all about those pop punk/alternative bands like Simple Plan and Good Charlotte. I would spend my allowance on buying the tickets that I could afford that were nearest to the stage whenever international bands came to Manila.

For me, 2017 was about appreciating and exploring the local music scene. Here are some of the many moments in music of 2017 that I’m grateful for:


My first gig of 2017 was Reese Lansangan’s Domo Arigato merchandise launch. I’ll say this time and time again: Reese Lansangan is one of my favorite local musicians and all-around creative. I’m inspired with how she has many passions and is still able to execute them remarkably. She’s a well-known artist in the Philippine music industry, is a published author of two books, and has even represented the Philippines on an international stage.

I’m so glad that Bratpack invited me to that Sofar Sounds Manila show back in 2014. At that time, she was still performing as Reese & Vica. That Sofar Sounds show was where I first discovered her music.

Attending gigs like these always remind me about why I love music, and how many amazing Filipino musicians are out there.


I still get that butterflies-in-my-stomach feeling whenever I think about this. After all those “almost there” moments of meeting my favorite bands, my stars have finally aligned. If you ask my close friends, I have many tales of how I almost met so-and-so artist, but one way or another something always got in the way. I feel so lucky with this little band who isn’t so little anymore. 2017 was a huge year for them, and 2018 is going to be even better. As my friend pointed out, it’s their first headliner in the Philippines and in a sold-out arena no less..and they just announced a second day. With LANY, everything clicks into place one way or another. Of course, I am forever grateful to the people who have helped made these moments possible. You know who you are, and I can’t thank you enough.



The first collaboration of 2017 was with the brand Traveloka, an online Southeast Asian platform that helps people book flights and hotels. I wrote a post about how music lovers can find a hotel when they’re traveling for a music festival. If you want to collaborate, shoot me an e-mail at isabel[at]daysinwonderland.com



Would you believe that this year was the first time I set foot inside saGuijo? I still have a long way to go in terms of exploring  the Philippine music scene, and this 2018 I plan to continue doing so. It was so fun singing and dancing inside that small venue, the energy palpable. It was another night that reminded me how much fun going to gigs was and why I loved the music scene. It was also during that night that I thought about crafting gig venue guides, and eventually wrote an e-book about navigating the Philippine indie music scene.



It’s been a long time dream of mine to become a published author. In 2016, I started working with an editor who really helped me transform my  novel into what it is today. I’m so, so grateful to have worked with her. I learned a lot about not just the revision process, but writing a novel. I started writing my first draft over a decade ago, and it’s gone through many start-from-scratch rewrites. My novel is about Cameron, an aspiring musician who joins an underground music tour, and must face his biggest hater–himself–or else risk giving up his dream for good. This 2018, I’m going to jump back into the querying process, and hopefully find a British beta reader, too.



Meeting David Archuleta was such a good surprise. It had been a stressful week, and I was also preparing myself for a hectic day, but little did I know I’d be bumping into him. I’d been waiting for someone at the hallway when I noticed a silhouette emerging from the right side of the hallway. The silhouette started walking toward me. When I realised who it was I couldn’t believe it. He was still walking toward me and alarm bells were going off in my head. He finally stopped in front of me to ask me where the bathroom was, and all I could say was, “Here,” and pointed to the bathroom door on my left. After he went to the bathroom, I was able to ask for photos and David even did a wacky pose. That was a great start to my morning. I was groggy from waking up at 5AM that day, but after that experience, who wouldn’t be wide awake?


A post shared by Izzy Matias (@izzmatias) on


I only got to watch three international acts this year, but I’m so happy that Lucy Rose was one of them. It was such a pleasure to watch her and with an intimate crowd at that. She’s such a lovely, down-to-earth human being. After her set at 19 East, she took the time to meet her fans. It’s so heartwarming when artists really show how much their fans mean to them.



music attic subscription box

This idea took a while to see fruition, but I am so glad it finally did. Music Attic brings the music scene straight to your doorstep by sending you different music-themed merchandise in each box.



Who doesn’t love a good mall show? I know I do! In 2017 I finally got a chance to see Apartel live, and even wrote feature about their performance. What I didn’t expect was for Ely Buendia to share my feature. It was such surreal moment.


concert journal

2017 felt like a somewhat stagnant year, but looking back on these moments, there were signs of progress. There’s that gap of where I am and where I want to be, and often times I feel like progress is too slow. But that’s the thing, progress does take time. When I want to do something, I want to do it as soon as I can, and in that sense, I want to see progress quick. At times I forget that it took me more than a decade to get to where I am today with my novel. Take this as a reminder to take a moment to appreciate where you are and that you’ve made progress no matter how far you’ve come from last year.


Happy New Year!!

What are you grateful for during 2017? Are they specific moments in music and/or while traveling? I’d love to know.


If you need help navigating the Philippine indie music scene, grab a copy of the Beginner’s Guide to the Philippine Indie Music Scene e-book. It lists down the bands you should know, ways to find gigs, as well as tips for when you explore the indie music scene. You can get a FREE preview of the e-book below:


Download a FREE preview of the e-book:

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About the author

Izzy launched Days in Wonderland as an avenue for avid music fans and travel bugs to find inspiration. Days in Wonderland features concert photos and write-ups, song suggestions, interviews and travel guides.
5 Responses
  1. This is such a lovely post. I’m new to your site and already feel connected to you because of your fierce passion and self-awareness.

    As a music junkie, far too many internationals, myself. I found this quite inspiring. I too subscribe to a monthly box, Flying Vinyl, and yours sounds awesome.

    Lucy Rose is so sweet too! I’m going to frantically google some of the other acts RIGHT NOW!

    1. Thank you so much! I’m so glad to hear that 🙂

      Did you attend music festivals last year? If yes, which ones were your favourites?

      Thank you! I’ll definitely check out that subscription box, too.

      She is! Let me know how it goes and if you like the other artists

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