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Sometimes we grow up with images of a place thinking we’ll never see them in real life.  But when you finally get there, those images are just as magnificent as you expected.  The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Francisco CA is one of those places.

i love this shot

majestic!

overwhelming!

There has been voluminous magazines, journals and publications in my younger years that this popular tourist attraction has been featured.  There are even lots of foreign movies wherein this place is the location shoot.  One in particular is a 1995 Filipino movie starring Lea Salonga and Aga Mulach entitled Sana Maulit Muli.  (Hahaha! Of course I remember that!)

And when I finally and personally got to see and feel the whole majestic beauty of the Palace of Fine Arts, the feeling is just but surreal.  I can’t actually remember how many times I sat on various locations of benches scattered around the park.  I even sat under a tree!  Maybe it is because I was too overwhelmed by the experience, I had to stop and breathe so as to sink all the prodigious feelings in.

smile!

pikchur muna

A visit to this gorgeous piece of architecture is one memorable highlight of my SF adventure.

Akalain mong makaraing ako dun?!

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I did not miss the Philippines when I was in San Francisco CA.  Aside from the copious presence of Filipinos everywhere in SF, there are bounteous existence of Filipino dishes around.  The mere fact that at the back of my mind there is a Filipino whom I can easily approach while in SF and there are Pinoy dishes around, I never have to suffer the looney craving for my home country.

During my early stay in San Francisco I had an unfaltering decision of not eating any Filipino dish during the whole length of my stay in the City by the Bay.  And at the same time will munch on a big and heavy burrito, a seem-to-be-staple for the locals.  This decision however was easily modified when I saw a food truck named Señor Sisig parked along the corner streets of Powell and Ellis at downtown San Francisco.

it must be the filipino in me that i just have to fall in line

pabili!

popular choices…

sisig burrito

gone in a couple of minutes

Since there is a queue of people on the said food truck, out of curiosity, I quietly fall in line and looked unto the menu board that the food truck offers.  To my surprise, Señor Sisig offers a variety of Filipino fusion dishes.  This therefore made me decide to violate what I have earlier promised yet will achieve what I intend to eat at the same time.

I ordered the surprisingly large and heavy “Señor Sisig Burrito” – a Filipino-cum-San Franciscan dish because it is a fusion of Sisig (a Kapampangan dish) presented in a San Francisco burrito way.  And what’s my verdict as to how this dish faired? Let me just say I gasped on my first bite and the large burrito was gone in a matter of minutes!

My experience of chomping on Senor Sisig Burrito can therefore be summarized as a promise that was broken yet a fantasy that came true wrapped into one.

Sarap!

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What’s the worst and stupidest thing a first time tourist in San Francisco USA would do?  That would be… not seeing the Golden Gate Bridge and shoot photos of it.  I apparently is not that person.  I saw, I touched, I smelled (and even tasted it) and had uncountable selfies!

daytime

yey!

kamangha!

view from the top

one lucky dude

I actually went and see the Golden Gate Bridge twice.  One during a sunny afternoon and second was at an early evening when the sun is about to set.  I went twice just to confirm and re-assure myself that the first red orange bridge I saw was indeed the freaking Golden Gate Bridge! Hahaha!

I love the bridge.  It’s elegant and mild from afar but absolutely robust and mighty when you got to step on it.  And as I was walking along the sidewalk, I kept on pinching myself to validate that I am not dreaming and that I really am stepping on one of the Wonders of Modern World.

nightime

happy!

And when I reached the mid-part of the bridge, I tried looking down at the frigid water of the San Francisco Bay.  All I can utter was, “This freakin’ b!@#ch is high!”  After seeing the bridge twice and marvel at the beauty and strength it possesses, I smiled and proudly told myself that I indeed is one lucky dude!

Ang taas ng pota!

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I am in San Francisco.  And in keeping with my personal tradition of visiting a museum every time I travel abroad, I went to SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts).  Like what I personally do in the past inside a museum, I let those pieces of art feed the cultural facet of my soul.  And the one that most moved me will be featured in the Nengkoy blog.

one of the iconic works of andy warhol

I thought that it would be the works of Andy Warhol that will most fascinate me.  Though seeing his works is one of the highlights of my San Francisco adventure, it was actually this that nudged a silvery spur into my little brain:

traveling in strange circles by william allan

great shot by the equally entranced lady

I was easily entranced by the work of William Allan.  This big piece of acrylic painting on canvass is entitled Traveling in Strange Circles done in 1973.

An old lady who was with me inside the gallery, I guess saw some glow spilling out from my body, she involuntarily volunteered and asked if I would want a photo with the piece of beautiful art.  I of course obliged.  She too was so impressed by the works of William Allan it took quite a lot of time before both of us left that specific section in SFMOMA.

Before I left the William Allan gallery, I told the old lady, “I want that piece in my room!” while pointing to the great piece of art.  The lady then smiled and told me,”You then need quite a lot of fortune before you can own such an excellent piece of work”.  Both of us laughed and bid each other goodbye.

Traveling in Strange Circles though made in 1973 is very modern and is very on with the times.  It is a happy painting.  I never imagined liking a piece of painting that centers a pair of sneakers in it.  Or maybe the painting in a way represents me, a person who loves to travel.

Akong ako ang peynting na ‘to. Kalyehero!  

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The expensive Coldplay concert was recently concluded in Manila.  It was not surprising that it was jam packed and very successful.  It was Coldplay!  But I did not watch.  The reason is because I would rather see and listen to Elbow than Coldplay.  And like Coldplay, Elbow is a British band.

elbow (filipino translation: siko)

Elbow is one of the most underrated bands on the planet.  The difference between Coldplay songs and Elbow songs is that in the former, the songs would have to grow in you before you start liking it. But for the latter, while listening to their songs, you would instantly fall in love and instantaneously adore their music.

Elbow is the kind of band that sings lyrics and utter phrases that I thought would never be though abd uttered.  The notions of their songs are the type of thoughts that I would like to express that I can’t seem to construct inside my crazy and inadequate brain.  And because Elbow seem to possess such an amazing talent, I therefore like them.

Here’s a couple of songs of Elbow which for sure you would instantly fall in love with…

And while in the middle of the “famousity” of cloudfront.net in Facebook (which everyone seem to have downloaded so as to check who’s their celebrity look-a-like), here’s a hypnotic music video for the song Gentle Storm.  I was entranced watching the video, I thought I saw my face in it!  Hahaha!  And by the way, I so loved the lyrics especially the line,

Gentle Storm,

Range away

And fall in love with me.

Fall in love with me,

Every day

The song is so me!

I hope one day Elbow would be as successful as Coldplay because they indeed deserve it.  And I hope and pray that one day they would perform in Manila.  That would be one show that I would definitely gonna pay for.

Ito ang sikong gusto ko!

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It’s been 5 long years after my return to Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar.  Five years ago the resort located at the edge of the Philippines radiates a feeling of how majestic and magical Filipino culture is.  And with my recent visit, five years later, the beautiful resort in Bagac Bataan has massively expanded offering more Filipino architectural wonders of the past.

In my second visit (this time with Beth, Wlillie and JB), I was again at awe on the richness and beauty of the Filipino culture and architecture.

beautiful

the building where we were billeted

my personal favorite… casa la drillo

the bagac gang selfie

still majestic… the former hotel where i and travel buddy karen was billeted 5 years ago

serene…

There has been some arguments on whether Filipinos are Pacific Islanders or South East Asians, but when one visits Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar, one would realize that Philippines has a different character that is unique and of its own.  The architectural wonders along with the culture and customs linked to it as featured in Las Casas Filipinas are uniquely Filipino and could not be found anywhere in the Pacific Islands neither in the neighboring countries of south east Asia.

The best thing I like about Las Casas De Acuzar is that there is no ugly photo that we have shot.  One need not be a professional photographer to obtain an excellent photo.  Because of the beauty and stylishness of the place, every photo is Instagram worthy!

sunset… one of my instagram entries

a new thing near the lobby

strike a pose muna

magical! (with beth and willie)

will be back…

I don’t know if Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar is a popular foreign tourist destination.  I have yet to realize that because when we were there, all I could see are domestic tourists or Filipinos living abroad doing a short vacay in the Philippines.  This place has yet to be tapped by the foreigners.  And in case I would have a foreign visitor, Las Casas De Acuzar would be one awesome option for a destination!

Grabe! Ang ganda!

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Craving for a Jollibee meal as my dinner, I proceeded to the nearest Jollibee branch, which luckily is just a walking distance from my flat.  Well, with the humongous number of Jollibee branches here in Manila, Jollibee is basically walking distance from where ever you may be in the metro.

While enjoying my burger steak with fries, rice and fried egg, a young, mild and reticent lady approached me and handed me a note.  Written on it says that she is selling Otap (a native flat sugary biscuit) amounting to 150 pesos per pack and pastillas (a Filipino-Spanish soft milk candy) which she sells at 50 pesos a pack. The note further states that she is selling these snacks to help support her studies.  Because the last statement written on the small piece of paper melted my heart, I immediately pulled out my wallet and purchased 2 packs of the Pastillas.

precious pastillas: a damn good buy!

precious pastillas: a damn good buy!

i craved for jollbee, i am so pinoy!

i craved for jollbee, i am so pinoy!

Why am I writing this when according to the Holy Bible under Matthew 6:2: “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, so as to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” This means my act of simple charity was not impressive to the heavens because I disclosed it through this blog.  It’s even-steven in other words as far as the heavenly saints and divine deities are concerned!

If my writing this simple charity would make me less of a person, then so be it.  I am writing one modest charitable act because I would like to spread love, kindness and benevolence.  And I hope that through my simple act of charity others would somehow be inspired and follow.

I want to let people know that there are still plain and compassionate breathing human beings in public who are willing to help others.  Besides, that young lady was not difficult to be charitable with.  It is because she, in her own little way, is trying and striving to decently finish her studies.  And her impressive diligence and superb ingenuity on how to support her studies is something to be inspired about!

Oh, and by the way, that Jollibee meal was super good!

Dahil sinulat ko, okey lang kung kwits lang sa Langit ang pagtulong kong ‘to!

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Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.

Nengkoy

Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.