San Francisco

After so many hours of travel, I finally reached San Francisco, California. I was so tired that I just have to sleep off the jetlag! But I got a wonderful treat when I finally got my body balanced on land again.

California is bustling with places to go. For my first stop, we went out to see the iconic and breathtaking San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. Almost 2 miles in length, this suspension bridge connects the city of San Francisco to Marin County. The bridge is an enduring legacy that has stood for over eighty years. It is one of the most photographed sites in the world. So thrilled to finally see it! I mean, I’ve only seen it in movies and TV for so long. I can’t help but remember this unforgettable scene in X-men: The Last Stand from 2006, where Magneto magnificently displayed his awesome power by moving the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz Island. Wasn’t that fantastic?

Next to the Golden Gate, I had the most fun riding the awesome cable cars. These are open-air cars resembling a train wagon that tours around the city’s historic neighborhoods. With a little research, I found out that these cable cars have been part of San Francisco since 1873. Andrew Hallidie invented it after he witnessed a tragic accident when a horse-drawn carriage slipped on a steep incline after a rainy day. He sought ways to help navigate the hilly city safely to avoid any more accidents like that. These cable cars are now so intrinsically connected to what makes San Francisco unique.

There are so many sites to see in San Francisco like Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz Island, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Twin Peaks, the San Francisco City Hall, and Chinatown. I can’t wait to experience the annual festivals like the Chinese New Year parade, the San Francisco International Film Festival, the San Diego Comic-con, and the most epic, Coachella Music Festival.

The best time to visit San Francisco is from April to November as the weather is fantastic. From June to September is the peak season for tourists so be prepared for higher rates in hotels and flights.

Los Angeles

Hollywood sign on top of the hill flanked by trees

Los Angeles! The city of angels where one’s dream of seeing yourself on the silver screen is almost at your fingertips. The iconic Hollywood sign draws everyone who wants to be a star someday. Touring this fabulous city is really so memorable!

First, a little trivia about Los Angeles or more commonly known for its initials – LA. This wonderful city in California is the second-most populous city in the whole of the United States. The first one is, of course, New York. LA boasts of a great climate, a vibrant multi-cultural diversity, and an economy that can rival a lot of the countries in the world! Add on the very glamourous image due to the prevalence of both the film and television industries plus being the home of the Lakers basketball team and you’ll have an idea of how awesome this mega-city is!

A visit to Los Angeles won’t be complete if you don’t get to go around two of the most famous parks in the world – Disneyland and Universal Studios Theme Park Hollywood. Both of them are family-friendly and a total destination by itself. They are huge!

Disneyland has 34 hectares filled with rides and stores. Universal Studios sits on 415 acres of movie theme rides and activities as well. Even with all the ways to go around them, the area is not for the health-challenged.  It would really take you a weekend to fully get around! Book the hotels within the theme parks to get the most out of the experience. That goes double if you’re traveling with your kids or when you’re in a large group.

Around Hollywood

Around Hollywood, you can tour the Chinese Theater, Hollywood Boulevard, and the Walk of Fame where you can take pictures of the bronze stars with the names of your favorite artists.  You should totally plan a whole weekend or more just to go around here.

Next to the Hollywood sign, what makes a girl’s heart thud happily? Shopping, of course! So off I go to one of the most famous shopping districts in the world — Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills! Do you remember that Julia Roberts’ movie “Pretty Woman“? There was a memorable scene there where she was walking around loaded with shopping bags in Rodeo Drive, right? Well, that was me for a day. I get to be Julia Roberts for a while and it was great!

Santa Monica Pier is another iconic California landmark. Blockbuster movies, such as the award-winning movie Forrest Gump from 1994, showed this famous pier. The Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant was established here after the movie’s release and they are serving food-related to all things Forrest Gump, of course.

Iron Man from 2008 had an unforgettable scene with the flyby on top of the Santa Monica Pier that Tony Stark did. It was the very first time that Iron Man tested the flying capabilities of the Mark II suit. He specifically zoomed in on the children eating ice cream while on the Ferris Wheel. Who knew Tony Stark lived in California?

Another movie that featured Santa Monica is so close to every girl’s heart: Father of the Bride from 1991. This heart-tugging romantic comedy movie featured the Trinity Church of Santa Monica on the wedding scene. George Banks’ internal monologue in that wedding ranks as one of the best scenes ever made. And that wonderful song, “The Way You Look Tonight” sang by Steve Tyrell is so memorable!  The movie makes me laugh and cry buckets of tears every time.

Here’s a bit of a souvenir. I love how picture-perfect my pose here is! That hand sign is just perfect, right.

Lady making the letters L and A with her fingers with the Santa Monica Pier in the background
Santa Monica Pier

Go to Los Angeles between March to May and between September and November. The temperature will be from the 50s to 80s and will make walking around the different attractions easier.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe view of the lake and trees
Lake Tahoe

Visiting Lake Tahoe was another fun trip for this newly-planted Californian. This lake is inarguably one of the most beautiful places in the world. Just imagine the pristine crisp air and that gorgeous scenery! I can’t wait to experience all of them here!


Lake Tahoe is an outdoor destination place year-round. During the summer months, kayaking, swimming, hiking, biking, and whitewater rafting are some of the activities that everyone enjoys. There’s also water-skiing, para-sailing. boating, and rafting for all the water babies as well. Tour around the towns and enjoy the local culture when you want to relax. They have art festivals and theaters and even a golf course! You will never run out of things to do here.

June to August is the best time to visit Lake Tahoe to get your summer vacation fun. But be ready for the mass of people converging there as it really is one of California’s go-to spot for summer.


The cold paints a glorious picture in this magnificent place. The snow alone comes straight out of a greeting card and the whole place becomes a winter wonderland. Winter activities include Skiing, snowboarding, sledding and so many more! The different resorts offer lessons in everything here if you’re a beginner so no need to get worried if you’ve never skied before. The ski hills are also catering to everyone — from beginners to Olympian-level competitors.

Having lived most of my life in a tropical country, this would be a totally different experience for me. I can’t wait to experience my first ever winter in the US!

If you want to see Lake Tahoe in winter, come here at the end of November. The months of December to February is the height of winter. You can expect lots of tourists around this time as well. I was told that the snow will be packed nicely and the place will be perfect. I’ll be sure to blog about my experience soon.

My hope

Living in a new place is a major adjustment for anyone. But transferring to such a multi-cultural city such as California made it easier. I immediately felt at home seeing people of varied nationalities living nearby. It is true what they say – the world is getting smaller every day.

Here’s hoping that Covid-19 will get a vaccine soon so that the world will go back to normal. We’ll all get to enjoy not only group activities again but traveling to different parts of the world will be easier once again.

Stay safe and happy travels everyone!

Travel to Hong Kong

What makes Hong Kong so popular?


Without question, Hong Kong is the ultimate shopping destination in Asia. This city state is small but packs a really big punch with its fast-faced economy co-existing with its ancient Chinese culture. International labels can be found in its famous shopping district in Nathan Street. Trust me, you can shop American and European brands here with ease.

If you’re looking for bargains, Hong Kong has night markets that sell everything from souvenirs to bags to clothes to decorations to scarves to calligraphy tools and tons more than you can possibly think of. There are more than a dozen night markets in Hong Kong but the ones I liked best are the Ladies Market in Mong Kok and the Temple Street Night Market in Yau Ma Tei. What’s more, the sellers expect you to haggle prices so be prepared to charm them if you really want something.

Travel tip:

The night markets start at around 7PM so be sure to come early to get good bargains. Better bring your own big shopping bag as its super hassle to carry small bags of things you bought.

World class

Hong Kong’s famous skyline boasts really tall buildings in the business district. This tiny city state is home to all the industries in the world. Their economy is stable enough to make them one of the world’s first class cosmopolitan centers.

Check out the breathtaking view from our hotel room in the luxurious Intercontinental Hotel where we stayed for three days.

As in any small state, housing seems to be answered by the tall condominiums that I saw everywhere. Some of them are as tall as 40 stories high from what I can estimate and the towers are so closely built together. You can imagine the amount of people inside this compound!

Travel tip:

Always check a guide or a map wherever you visit especially in Hong Kong where the buildings are all tall in most places and the sidewalks are really crowded and narrow. You can easily get turned around and get lost in the side streets. Although English is fluently spoken in the business district and the high end shops, some of the smaller stores and restaurants as well as taxi drivers are still predominantly Chinese speaking so be sure to travel with a local for those out of the way areas or get your translations written by and ready.

Ancient Culture

One of the best things to do when visiting a country is to learn about its culture. Reading about it is good and being able to see it for yourself is even better. I make it a point to visit a temple or a church whenever I visit a new place to get a small glimpse of their history. In Hong Kong, I had the chance to visit the Big Buddha Statue or Tian Tan Buddha in Lantau Island. This is the view from the cable car ride in Ngong Ping that I took going there. From HK$135 to HK$213 round trip, you can experience a very scenic view for about 30 minutes till you get there.


 The Big Buddha is really amazing! It’s almost 35 meters tall and it sits on a very green forest so walking up the stairs to see it up close is worth it. I took this perfect chance to pose in this circular stage/entry when no other tourists were around. I love that the statue is directly above me making it a perfect shot.



The long walk upwards is worth it to be able to see the ancient houses, the temple and light incense sticks for your wishes in the altars around the base. The Po Lin Monastery sits on the base of the enormous statue and its monks preserve the sanctity of the temple. I was fortunate enough to see the monks around and observed their activities while going through their prayer rituals.

Travel tip:

Going up to the statue is free. Check the weather forecast even before going to Hong Kong. When it’s foggy and raining, going up to the Big Buddha is not worth it as you won’t be able to see the magnificent views going there and even the Buddha itself will be covered in fog. The best time to go to Hong Kong is from November to February when the sun is shining but the cold winds from China travels down to its small sister state. You can check accuweather’s website for this valuable info.

Hiking in Hong Kong

Hiking is a popular sport here in Hong Kong. Dragon’s Back Hike is one of the most famous trails here. It has one of the most scenic views around the island. Then you can swim or sunbathe in Big Wave Bay after a long mostly downhill trek afterwards. I hiked in Lantau Island and the trek and view was breathtaking in a really nice way.

Travel tip:

Check the weather before going out hiking to avoid any accidents. Water bottles, towels and snacks are necessary for these treks so bring as much as you can. Insect repellents are also a good thing to have at all times just to be sure.

Disneyland Hong Kong

A visit to Hong Kong is not complete without visiting Disneyland. Smaller than its sibling in Tokyo, Hong Kong’s Disneyland is still a paradise to indulge the Disney princess in me. Walk around the park and join the various theme rides and booths. The theater shows are really at world class levels with professional performers on stage. I love the music and the songs, of course, are very nostalgic.

Disney shopping is a must

If you want to get gifts to take home, get it all inside Disneyland. The shops are all full of very nice high quality products for kids and also for adults. You can find not only souvenirs here but also really nice toys, clothes, household things and even jewelry to remember your stay. I love my Minnie Mouse ears and I’ve just got to pose in Main Street here!

Travel tip:

Hong Kong Disneyland is a very popular tourist destination specially on weekends and holidays. Check their website for day passes you can purchase online to avoid the long que for tickets going into the theme park. Each day pass costs about HK$630 inclusive of a meal ticket. You can also get lots of savings if you stay in the Disney hotels of course. There’s Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, Disney Explorer’s Lodge and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel and all of them will steep you in all things magically Disney.

Hong Kong is a very memorable destination and really worth going to.

From Manila, there are around six airlines going to and from Hong Kong everyday. Philippine airlines has the most number of direct flights everyday followed by Cathay Pacific with three direct flights daily.

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