California | At the Oceanside Pier: First Taste of America

Sunset at the Oceanside Pier
Sunset at the Oceanside Pier

The American Dream, as the Filipinos fondly call it. There was a time when a lot of Filipinos dream of a better life by migrating to the USA. I remember teens getting into college were coerced to enter nursing or get a course on caregiving just to have a better chance of getting into America. Our family was supposed to migrate to USA when I was still in grade school but the plan fell through due to an obstacle. I never bothered to think about it growing up, thinking it will still be a dream. The closest I got to USA was Guam. By a twist of fortunate events, August 2015, I found myself standing on of the longest wooden pier in America, the Oceanside Pier. Finally, I could feel the cool crisp air, see the surfing culture with my own eyes, walk the steps of the pier where some Hollywood movie actors walked (cue in Top Gun, Iwo Jima and American Sniper) and have a taste of the local eats. Yes, I’m in California and its just the beginning of my journey in the land of dollars. Fulfilling my own American Dream.

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Baguio City | Ili-likha Artist Village: A Creative Surreal Space and Hub for Healthy Dining

Sculpture and one of the dining area in Ili-likha
Sculpture and one of the dining area in Ili-likha

From the outside, it looks like a run down dilapidated structure with an overgrown tree intruding its space at the entrance. Once we got inside, it’s like going through a rabbit hole and we were transported into a surreal otherworld. Almost amorphous and continuing to evolve into who knows what, Ili-likha Artist Village is a patch of creative space in the heart of the highly urbanized Baguio City. They are just a few steps away from the infamous Session Road.

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Cagayan: Small Town Claveria and Beach Side Accommodations

A portion of the interiors of our room at Casa grand Inn
A portion of the interiors of our room at Casa grand Inn

We heard the weather up in these parts is usually gloomy with occasional showers but it was a bright and sunny welcome when we arrived at the town of Claveria. Immediately we went to Casa Grand Inn just beside the boulevard facing the sea. We already booked our accommodations here in advance and was pleasantly surprised how spacious and comfortable our room was. On the first part of the day we did some walking around to get familiar and orient ourselves with the place.

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Bacolod: A Balaring afternoon

Balaring Twilight Bamboo Ties

Balaring Twilight Bamboo Ties

Second day mid-morning found us in transit from Bacolod City proper to Silay City which is about 45minutes to an hour away from each other. After a hearty breakfast at Bacolod Pensione Plaza, we checked out not before asking for directions on where to find a ride. Though there were couple of directions given, they all end up on the main Lacson St highway. There were many jeeps plying the route costing us only 15 Pesos for the ride to Silay Town Proper.

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Vietnam: Hopping through Cat Cat and Ta Van villages

Hmong traversing the Terraces

Hmong traversing the Terraces

Driving around the Sapa Valley slopes at the back of a motorcycle is exhilarating as we cut through the cool mountain air. Aside from that, the view of the cloud shrouded mountains and the impressive terraces of the valley is astounding. We were headed to one of the first ethnic hill side villages in the valley, the Cat Cat Village.

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Tea tasting with tummy treats

Lemon Torte

Lemon Torte

You know what I else I like aside from shooting travel photos? It’s Food! Those baked goodies just melt in your eyes. I was recently able to try some cakes at Classic Confections in Greenbelt 5. Pastries is one of my food weaknesses, especially those colorful and mouth watering ones like from this cake shop. I try to stay away eating much of these, if fact I’m already contented eating bits of one of each since some I found really sweet. So let me just indulge a bit with some yummy photos instead. I really like the colors of these goodies.

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Iloilo: Tatoy’s Manokan and Seafoods

Our sumptous meal at Tatoy's Manokan and Seafoods

Our sumptous meal at Tatoy’s Manokan and Seafoods

When in Iloilo, and you are looking for a place to eat by the beach serving good ol’ Filipino comfort food, head down to Tatoy’s Manokan and Seafoods. Located at Villa Beach, West of Iloilo City, about 8 km from the city center, it is one of the old established restaurants that serve native food without the frills and won’t burn your pockets per meal.

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