Surf and Sea: Elyu Day 2.

This post is definitely long overdue. The last post about this trip was posted months ago. If you want to check that out, it’s rightย here. This is day two of our trip to La Union, spent mostly on the beach, but with some gems found in the city. Read on to find out more.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

The day started with breakfast care of the place we were staying. It was simple–hotsilog and coffee–but very welcome, and the view we had while eating was amazing (we managed to score the window seat with the view of the beach). It was calming and serene, and was a great start to the day.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š20170827_071613

After breakfast, we chilled in our room to let the food settle, but didn’t wait too long before going down to the beach. It was a cloudy morning so it was a bit dim out, which just made it more relaxing. We spent some time wading around, playing in the waves, and sitting on the sand, and then back to the room we went to get ready for the day’s adventure.ย ๐Ÿ˜„

We didn’t have much planned this day, just lunch out and a visit to the nearby temple, but I have to say, it was fun but tiring. The first stop was a 10 minute drive away, and was a well known barbecue spot called L.U. BBQ. The interior was very modern with touches of brick, cement, and wood, and the minute we walked in we were engulfed with the enticing smell of the grill and barbecue.ย ๐Ÿ˜


When we got there, it was a bit empty–maybe like two or three tables other than us–so we wondered if the hype was just that–hype. But then as we waited for our food, the place started to fill up fast, and it turned out that we got there just barely before the lunch rush came. That was great.ย ๐Ÿ˜†20170827_11562020170827_115804

We took a long time looking at the menu and couldn’t decide what to get. In the end we settled for this sample platter thing (can’t quite remember what it’s called) that has some of their best sellers, with iced tea and rice. Now. This was a meal for 4. We were 2 people and we finished it. Uhm. Probably shouldn’t have but it was so good. I mean just look at that photo, doesn’t it make you hungry?ย ๐Ÿ˜†20170827_121241

That was an amazing meal. We were insanely full after it, but not in theย I never wanna go back here ever again, regretful kind of way. It was sooooo good and I wish it was closer to Manila so I could go back whenever I wanted to.ย ๐Ÿ˜…

We drove a little ways off after lunch, to the Ma-Cho Taoist Temple, and just spent some time looking around. It was cool seeing such a calm place amidst a busy city–it was like a different world. We were mostly quiet, with silent gasps here and there, as we took everything in.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š


The main entrance of the temple was located around back, and while you’re walking towards it, you pass by this wall of greenery, where some statues stood at every nook, each having some Chinese engraving on them. I tried to look them up when I got access to internet, and what I found said they were 18 saints, but I’m not sure about that. There’s also a statue in the garden above the temple that seems to be that ofย Guanshiyin — the Goddess of Mercy.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

There were so many statues of dragons–two large ones stood at the foot of both flights of stairs that led to the temple, and on the rails were tiny ones as well. In the center is also a dragon, with some Chinese engravings. When you get to the top of the stairs, you get to the main chamber of the temple, which is both simple and extravagant at the same time.ย ๐Ÿ˜„

It’s extravagant in the sense that there’s a lot happening in the altar area, but in front of that, all you have are several rows of kneelers where you can light up some incense and pray. There are instructions in the area where you get the incense that shows you how to pray to which god, as well as what they symbolize, and there are also people there at the temple that can help you if you wanted more about it.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

I’m not sure about other temples in the country, but this one is so open and welcoming that it fascinated me so much. I’m all for exploring other cultures and religions, and was very much happy for the chance to see this amazing place.ย ๐Ÿ˜„

With calm smiles on our faces, we headed back to the resort we were staying at and rested for a while before going back to the beach. For dinner that day, we decided to just get some snacks from the restaurant where we were staying, and enjoyed a night in.ย ๐Ÿ˜

The next morning was just breakfast, packing, and one last time in the beach. And then it was back to Manila and the reality of work and life. It was a short trip, but still very much worth while. We’ll definitely come back sometime, and hopefully actually get some surfing done.ย ๐Ÿ˜†

I know this took me a long time to post in relation the first part, I’m sorry about that. One of my goals in 2018 is to be more consistent about posting, so please do bear with me. Thanks so much for sticking around and reading, I am truly grateful.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

โ€™til next time,



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,


Surf and Sea: Elyu Day 1.

It’s been a while since I went on a road trip (Tagaytay doesn’t really count because it’s only about 2 to 2 and a half hours away), so when I knew that a long weekend was coming up, I decided it would be a good time to go somewhere and take a break. It’s also been quite some time since I’ve gone to the beach, so that’s where I decided to go.ย ๐Ÿ˜

We left at around 8:30 AM in order to arrive in time for check in atย Costa Villa Beach Resortย at 2:00 PM. Holy shiitake, that was an insanely long drive. Granted, I wasn’t driving, but I was already incredibly tired so I could only imagine how much more tried the driver was. It was about 3 and a half hours on the road, going through three different expressways.ย ๐Ÿ˜ต

One thing we forgot to do before leaving Manila was getting cash for the trip. So there was a point that we were getting quite frantic when we reached the La Union area because there were barely any banks. We ended up having to go on another hour driving in search of a bank after checking in just so we had funds. So that was crazy.ย ๐Ÿ˜…

The place we stayed at was simple and of a really good value. What could possibly be my favorite part about Costa Villa is the fact that it isn’t located right in the center of surf town. It’s located a little past it which gives them a separate strip of beach that isn’t as crowded and gives a bit more of a private feel. And if you wanted to check out the bars and food places in surf town, it’s just a few minutes walk away.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

When we got back, we didn’t waste any more time. We changed into our swim clothes and headed down to the beach to check it out–but couldn’t resist jumping into the water and playing in the waves. We were there for about an hour, and then we rinsed off and relaxed a bit before going out for dinner.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

We walked down the beach to get to our dinner destination. It was nice, walking by the waves as the sun started to set. In ten minutes, we arrived at Mad Monkeys, and tried their burgers with beer cheese sauce. I’ve got to say, the patties were perfectly cooked, and the cheese sauce just added to the rich flavor of the sandwich. It goes really well with the beverages we got them with (beer and orange soda), and was a really taste bud satisfying meal. I love love love burgers, and this has my two thumbs up.ย ๐Ÿ˜

After dinner, we started walking back to our room. This time we walked on the road–it was a bit too dark to walk by the sea. I knew we were going to pass by a well known coffee place called El Union on the way back, but I didn’t plan or expect to be dropping in that night. When we passed it by though, I was immediately pulled towards it.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

The place itself emits such a chill vibe, and the people there–from the staff to the patrons, were just as chill. We approached the counter and stared at the menu for a bit. They’re popular for their brews–the owner is the reigning World Barista Champion (So flippin cool)–but they’re also known for a drink called Horchata that’s made with rice milk, cinnamon, and vanilla.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

We were pretty full from dinner, so we decided not to get any particular food just then, but we decided to try the Dirty Horchata. This drink is their Horchata with a shot of espresso, and is a very interesting and delicious beverage. I, for one, am not a fan of cinnamon, but the espresso balances everything out and was just a delight. ๐Ÿ˜„

This drink pretty much ended our day. We went back to the resort, got some beers, and drank while munching on chips and watching a movie. It was a good day. Our short vacation has officially begun. 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,