Cali galleries: Mementos.

Throughout this trip, I collected some bits and pieces throughout the trip. As much as I love shirts and hoodies as souvenirs, I think that there’s something about small trinkets that just draws me to them. Looking at it now, I wasn’t able to get one from every stop, but regardless I think this collection is pretty cool. This is my trinket loot from California.ย ๐Ÿ˜ŠIMG_4975

From Old Town San Diego, I have this pressed penny, and this crystal necklace and a little sliver of stone (I forgot what it was exactly). I’m a fan of stones and crystals, so when my cousin I found the shop that sells many different kinds, I had to pick something up. From USS Midway, I got these two coins. They’re pretty heavy, which is cool, and came from a vending machine that gave four at a time (my cousin got the other two). I got two more pressed pennies along the way: one from SeaWorld, and the other from the San Diego Air & Space Museum atย Balboa Park.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

I have other souvenirs from this trip, clothing, plush toys, etc., but these mementos are easy to keep, and it’s really nice to think that I can look back so many memories by looking at small, simple things.ย ๐Ÿ˜„

So yeah. This is the last post for this series. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for sticking with this series. If you just got here and have no idea what this is about, check out the introduction and links to the other posts here. You’re awesome, thanks again!ย ๐Ÿ˜„

โ€™til next time,



Cali galleries: Balboa park.

Over a week later, and this adventure is coming to a close. If you want to check out the other installments of this series, you can check this post. We’re starting this off after lunch–with my stomach, heart, and soul being full with burger and fries. After we ate, we drove over toย  we went to Balboa Park, and this was where we spent much of our day.ย ๐Ÿ˜

It was pretty overwhelming when we arrived. There are so many things to check out in the area that I think you could even spend two days and not have checked everything out. We didn’t want to spend a lot though, so we checked out the free attractions (which did mean not going inside some interesting places).ย ๐Ÿ˜ž

The first thing I took a photo of was this vintage car that was just parked outside the San Diego Air & Space Museum. I’m a sucker for vintage things, and this beauty immediately caught my eye.ย ๐Ÿ˜

In Balboa park there is this place called the International Cottages, and each one shows the culture of a different country around the world. We didn’t go to all the cottages, but we did go to the following: Germany, Philippines/France, England, and China. Each cottage is manned by natives of that particular country, and some offer local snacks or experiences (the Chinese cottage had someone doing calligraphy for people–it was really cool.ย ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

After the cottages, we walked around until we encountered this museum–the Timken Museum of Art. It wasn’t too big a museum, but the photos below only represent a fraction of the pieces. As you can see, I gravitate toward the more scenic paintings, although all of them were quite beautiful. My phone memory was pretty small at the time so I had to be picky.ย ๐Ÿ˜…

After the museum, we went to this botanical garden, and I pretty much went wild. Throughout this trip, I’ve taken photographs of the different landscapes I’ve seen. Nature fascinates me, and this place made me so happy, I had to take a lot of pictures. I also saw a cute little bunny hopping about the plants and that added to my happiness.ย ๐Ÿ˜

After that, we just ended up walking around the whole park. The weather was great, and the structures and foliage were beautiful. I’m not quite sure how much time we spent just walking around, but I took quite a number of pictures. These are what I saw there, and the black little bunny there was the little cutie that I got to cuddle for a bit for a polaroid shot. It was a really nice day.ย ๐Ÿ˜„

So that was the end of my touristy trip. The next day was spent with family at the mall, watching Beauty and the Beast, and at home just chilling and packing to go back to Illinois. I had an incredible time in California, and I’m definitely going to go back someday–maybe even stay for a while. It was great meeting up with family (some I’ve never met before, others I haven’t seen in years), and getting to explore a new place.ย ๐Ÿ˜„

That’s it for this trip, but not this photo journal. There’s one more post–the one where I show you my mementos of this trip. Thank you for sticking by me this far. My most sincere apologies for the sporadic posts in this series.ย ๐Ÿ˜ž

โ€™til next time,


Cali galleries: In-N-Out.

These next 2 posts happened in the same day–my last tourist day in San Diego. If you want to check out the rest of this series, go ahead and click here. I spent two weeks in California meeting with family and friends, and being a tourist. This series documents this trip. Go ahead and check it out! ๐Ÿ˜„

This day’s adventure started with lunch at no other place than In-N-Out. I’ve heard so many things about this place, and have been told that it’s something that must be tried when in California. I was really excited to finally be trying such a popular thing. I nearly jumped out of the car when we parked. BURGEEEER YAAAAAASS.ย ๐Ÿ˜†

In all the time that I’ve seen and heard people talk about In-N-Out, I heard hype around pretty much the same thing–Animal Style. It’s an item on their not-so-secret secret menu, and means the addition of grilled onions, cheese, and extra sauce. Given its popularity, it was clear what my order was going to be–a double double and fries, both Animal Style.ย ๐Ÿ˜IMG_4895

Look at that beaut. It took a lot of restraint to not chow down as soon as the food arrived, but Iย had to take a photo first–if not for the blog, then for my own memory bank. I took this and another one and then,ย finally, FINALLY,ย ate my lunch.ย ๐Ÿคค

The burger was really good and I’d definitely have it again, but it wasn’t as amazing to me as the hype made it out to be. Maybe it was just the fact that I heard too much hype about it, or maybe I just eat too many burgers. Again though, it was super good and filling, and I’ll definitely be going back when I can.ย ๐Ÿ˜

So yeah, just a short post to start off the last tourist day. I’ve gotta say, it was a great start–stomach, heart, and soul full (burgers really make me happyย ๐Ÿ˜†). What followed is a very tiring and fun day–but that’s for the next post. Thanks for sticking with me!ย ๐Ÿ˜„

โ€™til next time,


Cali galleries: SeaWorld.

The reunion is finished, and my relatives have gone back to their home states, but like I said–my adventure isn’t over just yet. If you wanna catch up on the other posts in this series, go ahead and click here. In late March, my family and I spent about a week in California reuniting with friends and family, and taking a break from Illinois life–these are my travel diaries.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

This day started in a bittersweet manner. The flight of the last of my uncles that visited was this morning, so I, along with some of my relatives who live in CA, brought him to the airport first thing. After we said goodbye, and my uncle went inside the airport, we drove off to the adventure of the day–SeaWorld.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

Earlier that week, my aunt let me know that they were going and asked if I wanted to come along. After some time, I thought that it was a place I haven’t been to and it would at least be a fascinating experience. That was a good choice, it turns out. I saw so many amusing things–so many cute animals and cool presentations.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

We got on the SeaWorld SkyTower, where we got the chance to see the whole of SeaWorld and beyond it. It was pretty scary considering how high we were going, but it was also a very magnificent view of everything.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

There were also two rides–both of which looked very fascinating and at the same time very scary. My cousin and myself got to ride one, The Manta, and it is possibly one of the scariest experiences of my life thus far.ย ๐Ÿ˜ณ

And of course, I couldn’t resist taking photos of at least some of the greenery.ย ๐Ÿ˜†

I know there’s some controversy with how these creatures are treated but, at least from what I observed, I’m hopeful that that isn’t the case.ย This was a really fun and exhausting day that ended with dinner at my other tita’sย house where I ended up playing card games with my younger cousins.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

This trip is coming to a close. Just one more day touristing, and then it’s back to Illinois. I thank you so much for keeping up with me and this series. I’m very very grateful.ย ๐Ÿ˜„

โ€™til next time,


Cali galleries: Boodle fight!

Welcome back! In the last post, we started with the second day of my family reunion. If you want to check that out, or any other post in this series, go ahead and click here. We’ve taken in the view and the air in Mt. Helix, and we’ve gone home to take some time to relax as we waited for the next event.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

The Filipino culture is one of community–even to the point of some opening their homes during fiestas and inviting strangers to grab a bite. Also exemplifying this is something called a boodle fight–a giant spread of food on top of banana leaves. The idea is that everyone stands around the table, and everyone, at the same time, eats off of the spread with their hands. This was the next event of our day.ย ๐Ÿ˜„

While most of us were lounging around, some of the tita‘s and tito‘s fired up the grill to start cooking the seafood and meat for the boodle. The comment later that night was that something that took hours to prepare was devoured in minutes. It was such a fun dinner, and the time-lapse that was taken was funny to watch. This was the aftermath (about 10-15 minutes later).ย ๐Ÿ˜†IMG_4783

It was a pretty quick dinner, filled with laughter and good food. The night wasn’t over though–the family decided to make more out of the day and go bowling. That was the end of the family reunion. When we got home that night, most of our relatives started packing their things, readying them for their departure the next day. It was a pretty short reunion, but it was very very sweet.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

This wasn’t the end of my adventure tho.ย ๐Ÿ˜‰

โ€™til next time,


Cali galleries: Mt. Helix.

Day 2 of the family reunion! If you want to catch up on day one, or the entirety of this series, go ahead and check it out here. Now, the day before was pretty hectic and crazy, and was mostly geared towards touring the area. This day was really when the bulk of the family bonding happened.ย ๐Ÿ˜„

The morning was spent watching TV in my tita‘s living room, as we waited for those in the house to get ready. We packed the car up with the food for lunch, and then we headed to Mt. Helix. Everyone met up, the food was set up on one of the tables, and we had lunch atop this mountain.ย ๐Ÿ˜„

My cousin and I finished before everyone else (they probably got caught up in theirย kwentuhan) so we went a little higher and decided to take some shots. It’s honestly just a lot of the view from different angles and different spots, but it was just so mesmerizing. I also really liked the plants and rocks that ended up being in the foreground.ย I’m not sure how long we spent just taking in the view and taking photos (I was my cousin’s photographer this whole trip), maybe around 30 minutes.ย ๐Ÿ˜†

At some point, we all gathered at the pavilion type place and took our family picture–kind of like a class photo. We all wore our custom family shirt, sat on the steps window style to ensure that everyone would be seen, and the friend of one of my tita‘s took the photos. We did this at several spots in Mt. Helix.ย ๐Ÿ˜†

After the shoot, everything was packed up, my cousin and I got a few more shots in, and we headed home and pretty much just chilled until the next plan of the day.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

โ€™til next time,


Cali galleries: Coronado.

I thought about whether or not to just add this on to the USS Midway post, but then I figured it’s beauty would be looked over. This post might be short, and it may have only a few photos, but I think this place deserves a post of its own. If you’re new here or want to catch up, the introduction to this post and the links to the other parts are here. Here we go.ย ๐Ÿ˜„IMG_4733

After the Midway Museum, before heading home, we stopped over at Coronado to check out their pier and get some fresh air. My cousin and I walked off onto the pier, while the rest of our family took jump shots on the beachfront.ย ๐Ÿ˜†


At the pier, we saw someone having a photoshoot. She was beautiful, and the photoshoot itself was very fascinating to me. I managed to snag a photo of her while taking a pose, although I’m very sure the photographer’s captures were much much better than this.ย ๐Ÿ˜„

This was a great way to end a tiring day of touring. Just a moment to take a deep breath and just stare into the beauty of the sea and the cityscape beyond it. The setting sun just added to the picturesque view.ย ๐Ÿ˜„



After this, we headed home. Day 1 of our family reunion and San Diego tour was done. It was a pretty jam packed day, and was both super tiring and fulfilling at the same time. We just chilled in the evening, and then got a bit of rest. That’s it for now!ย ๐Ÿ˜„

โ€™til next time,