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, sometimes intersecting here and there, and reconnecting again, this time in her own neck 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!

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!

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.



A celebration of shrinkage


San Francisco Polar Bear Swim, New Year’s Day, 2017

I thought I was going to miss my annual new year’s day polar bear plunge photoshoot which I have done for about 6 years in Chicago. But I learned that San Francisco has its own polar bear swim on the Pacific Ocean, so I went online, and voila. Found out that it was in Ocean Beach at noon, New Year’s Day. So I went.

It wasn’t as cold as the Chicago one, I am sure, but it was windy and the the surf was incredible. There were a few people who plunged naked … this is San Francisco after all.