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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Nikon Shot | Waiting for the Bite

On a small damaged pier in Tacloban
On a small damaged pier in Tacloban

“A day is not always bright, and nights are not always dark. All that matters is what’s inside, because day and night are a reflection of you.” -Avantika

Tacloban was my last work assignment and it was a time when Typhoon Ruby was coming. Glad there were no major damages though this time. This was shot a few days before that storm. A small pier by Balyuan where people hang out in the afternoon. The breeze was pleasant, the waters still. Some students enjoy having a splash while the others take time to be still waiting for a fish to bite. Yes there are still edible fish there. Me, I just enjoyed people watching. Just sitting by the locals even if I don’t understand most of their conversations. This was shot with a Nikon D750.

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Nikon Shot | Afternoon Plunge in Tacloban City

After school plunge at Balyuan pier
After school plunge at Balyuan pier

Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting.

~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

I spent almost a week in Tacloban City recently for one of my commissioned assignments. It was my first time in the area and I was able to see how the city is recovering from last year’s Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) devastation. I talked to people, explored the city and observed how many foreign nationals are there for volunteerism projects and aids. While I liked the idea, it has also spiked the prices of establishments as they catering to these foreigners. Some families displaced by the typhoon are still living along the “No Build” zones. Even after a year their promised houses aren’t built yet but they noticed some local officials already have 3 brand new cars post-Yolanda. It is interesting to actually see and hear what’s really happening in the city. While I applaud how the city is picking up and is looking more promising in developments with better choices for hotels and restaurants, its sad that recovery is still in a very slow pace. I get the same sentiments from most people I’ve talked to that help comes directly from foreign and local NGOs than where it should be, the local government. Yes they get help, but not enough, not as promised.

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