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Waverly Place, North Beach, Chinatown … the heart of San Francisco! – January 3, 2018

Had to visit the International Hotel and City Lights Bookstore before I went back to Chicago.


The International Hotel, often referred to locally as the I-Hotel was a low-income single-room-occupancy residential hotel in San Francisco, California’s Manilatown. It was home to many Asian Americans, specifically a large Filipino American population (the Manongs) who came to the US to work in agriculture and fisheries. Because of a scarcity of the Filipino women and American laws that prevented interracial marriage, most of the men were lifelong bachelors.

It is now converted into a retirement home.

City Lights on the other hand, is a landmark independent bookstore and publisher that specializes in world literature, the arts, and progressive politics.

I had most of the day free on January 3 before I flew back to Chicago in the evening, so I spent most of the day re-acquainting (?) with former Chicago-resident and University of the Philippines classmate, Lorna Lardizabal-Dietz, who lives right in the edge of Chinatown. I have known Lorns since 1974 when we were with the Freshman Orientation Program Committee welcoming new new students enrolling for the first time. So were practically the first people the new students were meeting to pick up their registration materials at the admin building. We kept in touch throughout the years – living parallel lives intersecting here and there, and reconnecting again this time in her own back of the woods.



We were just going to go around Waverly Place to see the murals, but our walk meandered around the area that included other parts of Chinatown, North Beach, Little Italy and back to Chinatown with lunch at an incredible vegan restaurant called Enjoy.

Grand time reuniting!

Whihala Beach, Whiting, IN – January 18, 2018


Chicago skyline as seen over an icy fence in Whihala Beach, Whiting, IN

Checked out what the buzz is all about in neighboring Whiting, IN.


It is out of this world! Whihala Beach is frozen!

New Year’s Day Walk – Mission District, San Francisco, January 1, 2018



I had the privilege to shadow a San Francisco-based friend who took me around to photograph the murals at San Francisco’s Mission District around Valencia St. We basically walked around the neighborhoods surrounding Hayes Valley where he does his daily walks. Valencia St. is quite interesting – lots of gentrification (or more appropriately, hipsterification), old art deco buildings transformed into something else, cafes, dive bars, thrift stores, the famous Roxie theater (which I forgot to take a photo of) and murals … lots of legit and guerilla murals. I only had my iPhone with me, so I didn’t get to photograph much details. But I was happy. I certainly have to go back there and photograph some more.

Have a look!

Fullerton Esplanade – January 5, 2018



Nothing new here. Just the standard Chicago winter sunrise. But this was the first photowalk in Chicago of the year, so it must mean something. Done on January 5, 2018, the day after I arrived from San Francisco.

It was too frigid out there that day, I could only stand 30 minutes of the cold.

Short Visit to Stanford University Main Quad – December 27, 2017

Can I say now in my resume that I went to Stanford!? LOL.



San Francisco Day Trip – December 27, 2017

Near epic day trip to San Francisco – from Chinatown to the Crooked Street to the Presidio, Baker Beach, Fine Arts Palace to Twin Peaks. For some reason, i didn’t take any pictures at the Presidio nor at the Fine Arts Palace. Shame on me.



Matthiessen State Park … and then Starved Rock State Park! – October 26, 2017


Totally forgot about this walk – at Matthiessen State Park in LaSalle County northwest of Chicago, early fall. We just wanted to see some water falls after a significant rain in the area. The Cascade Falls in the Lower Dells didn’t disappoint. It was quite pretty, with ample amount of water. It was a fairly good hike too reaching the falls and the swimming hole – amid lush vegetation (too bad the fall colors hadn’t arrived yet) in the canyon, along streams, of the prairie and the forest. There were also other minor falls along rock faces that were painted by oozing minerals.



Frequent photo buddy Mark Marshall and I were there quite early in the morning so we had the place to ourselves, except for another photographer who came a few minutes after us. After about an hour and a half hike around the area, we decided to have lunch at Starved Rock State Park, a few miles north. Starved Rock is the more popular park in LaSalle County and has amenities for outdoor dining in a restaurant overlooking the Illinois River gorge.

And a turkey vulture flew over while we were having lunch!

The main falls at Starved Rock didn’t have much water though.



Northerly Island – December 16, 2017


Beautiful balmy December weather last Saturday, December 16. The walk (with walk buddy Mark Marshall) started innocuously from Michigan and 9th St. to the museum campus. It was in fact, a blah walk and we almost didn’t continue because the breakwater at the Field Museum was covered with thin ice and was slippery. But we trudged along, reaching the Adler and took the requisite skyline shots. Then we just sort of meandered around, to the back of the Adler, then to the 18th St. Beach where things got interesting, photographically. There was first, a lone ice formation on a structure on the beach … then toward the Northerly Island end of the beach, some more ice-covered vegetation on a short stretch of the lakeshore. It was strange, in this short stretch of the steep(er) shore, the plants and rocks were covered with ice, but that’s it, the rest of the area wasn’t.



Then we saw some commotion toward the middle of Northerly Island just west of the Daphne Garden – we went to investigate. There was a Husky Dog Sled demonstration! And they let the audience pet the dogs (don’t just have your face at the level of the dogs’ faces). This is what I like doing walks around Chicago. You just don’t know what to expect.

We ended the walk at Northerly with shots of the Daphne Garden and then the skyline from the empty marina.

I had my money shot:

So I was satisfied.

Walking back to 9th Street where Mark parked his truck, more money shots:

A merganser playing with its food!



I <3 Chicago!

Sunrise, November 26, 2017

I didn’t have much chance to do photography the last couple of weeks because of illness. Hopefully, I will bounce back soon.

But the sunrise yesterday as seen from my balcony was just gorgeous. I had to rise from my bedrest and endure the pain just to take these pictures.



Veterans Day – November 11, 2017

A member of the Drink and Click Chicago group flew in from Monroe, LA (she flies in to see the opera) last Veterans Day weekend – perfect timing for the November themed photowalk, the theme of which I totally forgot. Hah!

But it was Veterans Day, so it was fitting to photograph the Vietnam Memorial on the Riverwalk after which we walked south to see the autumn colors which finally arrived at Millennium Park.

Sweet but short.