Last Sunday, we arrived from our two-week trip from the US.
Maka-the US ako, akala mo ang light noh. Parang taon-taon pumupunta don. But it’s actually both Kevin and my’s first time in the U.S.A. And it’s kind of a big deal for us.
As a kid, I think the only country I knew growing up was the USA. I’m not like my nephew Luis and niece Isa whose favourite countries as kids were either Portugal or Italy. Highschool na ata ako nung namulat ako sa mga bansang yan hahaha.
When our relatives came from “abroad” when I was young, in my mind it was automatically “USA”. I made a big deal out of US in my mind. Never in my wildest dreams as a kid that I will be able to go to the US. For me, mayayaman lang yung nakakapunta sa US.
Buti nalang times have changed. Mayaman na ako. HAHAHAHA CHAROT. Pero seriously, travelling has been more accessible to and affordable for the working and middle-class.
Ganon pala yung feeling pag lumapag na ang eroplano sa US noh? Parang wala lang. Hahahaha. I mean I was definitely excited, pero wala palang feeling na “OH MY GOSH THIS IS IT, NASA AMERIKA NA AKO!”. My thoughts when the plane landed was something like, “FINALLY, makakastretch at ligo na ako!”.
Dami ko nang sinabi, pero intro palang yon HAHAHA.
So anyway, our first stop was San Francisco. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt in Union Square. Maka-Grand Hyatt na naman eh noh? Casual na casual. Parang hindi nakaka-apak sa mumurs na hotel. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Pero first time din namin talaga sa any Hyatt hotels! And the only reason why we were booked there because my aunt’s (Dadi’s first cousin) husband (so basically my uncle), works for the Hyatt, so he has family discount. AT ANG LAKI NG DISCOUNT. Staying in Hyatt was less expensive than it would have been if we stayed at the original mumurs hotel we booked.
Btw, kwento ko lang din our flight. We flew 18 hours via Auckland. 3 hours from Sydney to Auckland, 2 hours layover in Auckland, and 13 hours from Auckland to San Francisco. It’s the longest flight I’ve ever experienced so far. Before this, my longest single-leg flight was 8 hours, and longest flight was 14 hours. We left Sydney at 11:55 AM on Oct 25, and arrived at San Francisco at 12:00 NN on Oct 25, too! Pretty cool huh? Ako cool na cool ako bilang Promdi. HAHAHAHA.
So mabalik na sa chronological order. We arrived at our hotel at around 3 PM. We took the BART train from SFO airport to Powell Street Station in Union Square, then walked 4 blocks with our luggage hahaha. We checked in, freshened up lang, then labas agad like real touristas na ayaw masayang ang oras.
AY, MAY KWENTO PALA AKO!!! (Kwento inside of a kwento. Kwento-ception.) ANYWAY, going down the elevator, we met a middle-aged guy who worked for the hotel. Alam niyo na how Americans are, very ma-chika. He asked us how we are and where we were from. Apparently, he was half Filipino pala (didn’t look like it at all). We said our goodbyes na after that. Later on (when we met our family the next day), we found out that the guy was my uncle’s (you remember? Discounted Hyatt stay…) brother, and that they guy was Dadi’s friend!!! He visited Tacloban twice na pala, and both times, he would hang out with Dadi. ANG GALING DIBA?! Nagagalingan ba kayo? As in goosebump moment siya for me!
Anyway, mabalik ulit sa kwento: We didn’t have any itinerary for that day, actually, but Kevin wanted to visit the Chase Centre (the new arena where the GSW play) agad agad. Wala namang laro. Pero bet niya lang, so we went. I’ll show you a pic kasi ang dami ko nang sinasabi, wala pang picture. BORING BA? HAHAHA.
AYAN. That’s Kevin kilig na kilig just being outside the Chase Centre.
The next day (DAY 2), another aunt (still Dadi’s cousin), Tita Ophie, showed us around San Francisco. We covered all the touristy spots na: Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, and Fisherman’s Wharf. We then went to tita Tess’ (the other aunt who’s husband is working at the Hyatt — madami bang characters? Hindi naman masyado diba? Kwento ko nga din who we met there as another side kwento) house to visit them and Grandpa Maning and Grandma Del. I’ll introduce them later, but let me entertain you with another set of pictures first.
Wala pala kaming picture sa Fisherman’s Wharf that day!!! ANO BA YAN. Oh well. Another reason to go back.
They are the family we met with in San Francisco (from left to right, standing): tita Ophie (Dadi’s cousin) and tito Tony (the husband), me and Kevin, tita Tess (Dadi’s cousin) and tito Tom (thanks to him we got discount), and Grandma Del and Grandpa Maning (Tita Tess’ parents, both seating).
I didn’t know I had family in San Francisco until a week before our flight. I mean I know my tita’s and grandparents, pero I just didn’t think about where in the US they live. I just assumed that they live far from where we’ll be visiting. But when tita Ophie learned we were visiting the US, she wanted to meet us daw; because, apparently, they lived an hour away from SF lang. I also learned from her that tita Tess and the grandparents live in SF! WHAT A PLEASANT SURPRISE FOR ME. I have met all of them na when I was young. Remember in the intro when I said that when family comes home from abroad (naaalala niyo pa ba sa dami ng sinabi ko na?! HAHA)? Sila-sila yung families ko na umuuwi from abroad (that time nasa Guam pa sila). Kaya I’m super excited to see them again after 20 years! The last time I saw Grandpa pa was when my Lolo (his brother) died in 1999. And I remember him vividly from my childhood. He was (and still is) funny, and all the Spam and imported chocolates I ate when I was a kid were all from him. Pati yung mga imported na lotion para kay Mami, sa kanya din galing. Sa kanya ko rin unang naamoy ang amoy-States! HAHAHA. Seeing and spending time with him made me really happy.
DAY 3. We arranged a Yosemite Day Tour for this day. The tour bus picked us up from the hotel at 6:20 AM (promise, saktong saktong 6:20 siya dumating!) (Ang dami kong side comments kaya ang haba na netooo. I can’t staahhppp!), and dropped us off at around 9PM na. Nakakapagod pero SUPER WORTH IT!
Ang daming puno, at ang lalaki!!!
Bet na bet ko yang talikod, random pictures. Buti alam ni Kebs. Kuha naman siya nang kuha.
DAY 4. Alcatraz Island Tour first thing in the morning. We finished around lunch time na, so we tried In-n-Out for the first time! Big deal din yan kasi ang hilig ni Kevin sa burger and fries! Spoiler alert: it tasted okay lang. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. Hindi ko siya i-ccrave ever. We then tried the famous cable car of SF. Then we visited tita Tess, tito Tom, Grandpa and Grandma again. Before we visited the grandparents, tito Tom met us near our hotel and bought us drinks. I thoroughly enjoyed that.
DAY 5. Flight to NYC na. We weren’t really able to explore San Francisco because half of our time there was spent with family. And that’s what we enjoyed most with our SF trip! San Francisco and its tourist spots will always be there — we can go back 10 years from now, and we’ll see it. But our loved ones won’t always be there waiting for us to visit them. Time spent with family is far more precious. 🙂
The other cities we visited were: New York, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. I promise you and myself that the other entries won’t be this long! HAHAHA.