How can anyone fly to Orlando, and not go to the happiest place on earth? After the red eye flight from San Francisco to Florida, we freshened up a little (Sleep? What is sleep? Kids don’t need sleep. And jetlag only happens to adults.), and headed straight to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.
It still holds the record for the most visited theme park in the world. And boy, was it cramped in there! I got used to the smaller HK and Tokyo Disneyland theme parks where the crowds are usually more manageable, lol. Didn’t stop us from enjoying the rides though!
Disney World, serving happiness for more than 40 years now. Thank God for bringing Walt Disney to the world!
As soon as we entered, there was a parade along the Main Street! Lucky, lucky!
Alternate outfits for Mickey and Minnie. Mickey, your sneaker game…
Little Princess Jasmine waiting for the parade to finish.
Had brunch at Tomorrowland. YAAAS to retro-futurism, but I couldn’t take good photos because THERE WERE STROLLERS PARKED EVERYWHERE. All the pathways were about 50% occupied by baby strollers!
What’s wrong, Aladdin?
I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE. Oops, wrong movie.
Disney couples dancing on stage! So cute.
While my parents and brothers were having coffee somewhere (We finally got to admit to ourselves that we are full-grown caffeine-dependent adults, not kids, lol), I managed to catch another parade!
Just in time for my favorite Disney movie - Beauty and the Beast!
SO MANY THINGS HAPPENING IN DISNEY WORLD, SO LITTLE TIME. One short toilet break, and you might just miss the important events. I’m so lucky I got to catch this particular parade, because the floats were beautiful! Also got to see the characters up close without having to line up for a photo.
First time to see Anna and Elsa (and Olaf)!
The Princess and the Frog. Tiana and Prince Naveen’s costumes <3
And at last I see the liiight~
Peter Pan and Wendy say hello!
Tink is not amused!
HIGHLIGHT OF THE PARADE. Ariel was everything. The float was perfect, and nothing hurt.
Our fate lives within us, you only have to be brave enough to see it.
The fairies from Sleeping Beauty!
Maleficent was showing back then, and with all the movie hype, it was only natural for the people to cheer when this badass steampunk dragon started breathing fire!
You don’t say!
Every little girl’s dream.
There was a store in Disney World just dedicated to these costumes! To be a young girl again…
Make your own lightsaber. More Star Wars photos in my next post!
HAGGARD. But wait, let me take an #ootd…
It was my mom’s birthday, so we went to a fancy place for dinner - Kouzzina by Cat Cora at Boardwalk. But I couldn’t remember most of it as I was pretty much dead from exhaustion/lack of sleep/jetlag, haha. This is what I get from not exercising!
Disney Hollywood Studios, Universal Studios, and a separate Wizarding World of Harry Potter post coming soon!
I can’t believe I’m down to my last San Francisco post! I was there for such a short time that my only sure way to go to all the touristy places was to go on a bus tour. Not complaining though, because the view was spectacular. Most of these earlier shots in this post were taken from a double decker bus with an open deck a.k.a. every travel blogger’s best friend.
The initial reasons why my family and I decided to visit San Francisco were for us to be able to rest after a long flight from Manila, as well as for us to meet up with my youngest brother Calel (who’s been working in the US this past year). Wish we could’ve stayed longer because I’ve always been in love with this place! It’s been 10+ years since my first visit to the Bay Area (I have some relatives in Vallejo!), and my feelings haven’t changed since then.
San Francisco was, and still is one of my favorite places to visit in the US. More than LA, for sure, lol. Though I think I’m good anywhere as long it’s chilly? 15C - 25C weather is perfect!
Street art can be found all over San Francisco. Definitely adds to the place’s hipster charm.
This one was by Australian artist REKA.
By twins How and Nosm.
Currently, the Tenderloin District is somehow infamous for its homeless population and crime rate, but it used to be home to theaters, hotels and restaurants during the 19th century, and famous jazz clubs during the ’50s and ’60s. Lots of unfortunate events happened along the way, and it eventually got a bad reputation for gambling and gangs, among other things.
Why “tenderloin”? A long time ago, a police captain was overheard saying that ever since he moved to this neighborhood, he was able to earn so much that he could finally afford tenderloin. This, versus the cheap chuck steak he was limited to in his previous neighborhood. Little did people know that it was all because of the bribes he did on the side! Yikes!
Clear skies. For once, I must’ve done something good for the weather gods not to curse me with impossible rain.
How pretty is San Francisco City Hall? JoeDiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe were married here!
This may look familiar if you were able to watch Milk, The Wedding Planner, Bedazzled, and Bicentennial Man (RIP Robin Williams).
Named after one of the city’s former mayors, but I’m pretty sure Vanness Wu’s face popped into your head just now.
Haight and Masonic. Didn’t have time to check out the Haight Ashbury District, but it seemed like a groovy place!
This district was the center of the summer of love! It was *the* place where all the hippies hung out during the ’60s.
Pacman! The one with the glasses is so cute!
Jimi Hendrix tribute on 1524 Haight Street, his home when he lived in San Francisco.
What do you hear?
The de Young fine arts museum.
Obligatory Golden Gate Bridge photo. I was so lucky the sky was so clear that day because San Francisco is usually foggy!
The most celebrated and photographed bridge in the world.
It’s always featured in pop culture, but the gate’s cameo (if you can call it that) in Rise of the Planet of the Apes is still super fresh in my mind.
Crossed the bridge twice to get back to the city.
Suddenly, Victorian-style buildings! I wasn’t able to take a proper photo of the “Painted Ladies” or the famous row of Victorian houses facing the park on Steiner St., huhu. Next time!
Downtown San Francisco / The Financial District.
"Hey, it’s Macklemore!" - my brother, lol
Telegraph Hill, with Coit Tower on top. They say that the tower was made to resemble a fire hose nozzle, because Lillie Hitchcock Coit, the wealthy socialite the tower was named after, loved to chase fires.
Besides the Golden Gate Bridge, this is probably the next most touristy area/place to go to in San Francisco.
Bread animals D:
Real animals :D
Balclutha, built in 1886.
Comfy wear! Top from Moussy, Jeans from Topshop, slip-ons from EMODA, jacket from MURUA.
Behind me is the Ghirardelli Square! Domingo Ghirardelli bought the entire area to make it into his chocolate company’s HQ. I used to think Ghirardelli chocolates came from Europe! It’s actually a proudly San Francisco brand.
Alcatraz Island from afar. Alcatraz prison used to be known as one of the most inescapable prisons in the world. It’s now a tourist destination!
Apparently, someone tried to escape by pouring grease over himself, slipping through the bars, and swimming to the shore, but the whole ordeal was so tedious that he fell asleep and eventually got caught.
Crazy for crabs.
Time for a magic show!
"Hey, it’s Colonel Sanders!" - my brother, huhu
Great food at Fisherman’s Wharf. Not much to do except take pictures and eat like there’s no tomorrow.
If I enter the house on the right, will I end up in Narnia?
Can’t get over San Francisco street art! I wish we had similar ones in Manila. I’m happy that there are some really tasteful ones at The Fort / Bonifacio High Street!
On our last day, and on the day we were leaving for Florida, my family and I decided to visit Sausalito as a last farewell.
Good thing we did, because I got a good photo of myself with the Golden Gate Bridge!
Sausalito is worth visiting for the quaint hillside and seashore view. Because of this, Sausalito real estate ranks among the most expensive in the US!
You can also find some really awesome burgers in Sausalito. Food is always relevant.
Nifty toys at a toy store beside the Starbucks there.
Probably the shadiest thing in Sausalito.
Speaking of butts, you need to watch this video. Laughed my ass off!
Hope you enjoyed my San Francisco travel diaries! The fun has only begun. I’m going to bombard everyone with Mickey Mouse and Harry Potter in the next few weeks.
I’ve actually drafted most of the entries already, and I took so many Wizarding World of Harry Potter photos that it merits its own post. It’s been 2 years since I shared my experiences during the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour in London (read here) so I’m really excited!
I was just in Tokyo about 2 days before this trip, so you’d think that going Japantown would only be redundant. But as expected, my family couldn’t go to San Francisco and not make it the first stop in our itinerary. The level of our love for Japan is off the roof, lol.
We simply took a bus to Japantown from our hotel in Union Square. I was leaning on my mom’s shoulder, about to doze off (the jetlag was starting to kick in), when one of my readers recognized me! It was quite surreal because a) I was pretty much half-asleep, and b) I never expect anyone to recognize me, let alone in a foreign country. (Hi Denise! If you’re reading this, thank you for the quick chat! <3)
This is one of the 5 Peace Pagodas in North America. The rest are in Canada, Mexico, Massachusetts and New York.
It was presented to San Francisco by the people of Osaka, way back when they established a “sister city” relationship in the 50s/60s.
There are some areas in Japantown that are definitely worth checking out, especially if you’ve never been to Japan! There’s a Kinokuniya Book Store where you can buy the latest Japanese magazines, artbooks, etc. Just outside the bookstore are places that sell CD/DVDs of Japanese movies and dramas.
Great place to find figurines as well!
Heaven for otakus.
Random (not sad) Keanu. I never got to watch 47 Ronin because of mixed (mostly bad) reviews, but I’ll probably get to it soon. Will watch for Shibasaki Ko and Kikuchi Rinko, and maybe Akanashi? I’ve been so out of the KAT-TUN loop ever since he left the group, but yay for the prettiness of AkaKuro couple.
Purikura in the US - they exist! A lot of the machines are old and broken, and they’re all overpriced at $10 (It will only take you 400yen or $4 in Japan), but I guess they’re still better than nothing.
Sunny weather bird feeding.
Neko, inu, tsuru.
Sanko, for all your cooking supplies. Japantown is quite a small place, so it only took us about 2 hours to go around and check all the interesting places out.
We went back to the Union Square area again since everyone was starting to feel groggy from jet lag. Gotta save our energy for the city tour the next morning!
Westin Hotel along Powell St. on the left. First floor had Goyard and other luxury brands.
The glorious view from one of the restaurants in Macy’s along Geary St.
The Dewey Monument with the Goddess of Victory. It was named after Spanish-American war hero George Dewey. Sound familiar? I’m pretty sure we’ve all read about him in our history books back in high school. Back in the 19th century, his fleet won over the Spanish forces in Manila Bay.
When in America, stuff yourself with the most delicious burgers and fries.
Post St., with Designer Shoe Warehouse on the left. I never leave the US without any impulse shoe purchase, huhu. I’ll probably end up broke if I ever I get a chance to live in the US.
Since the shipping process is so easy over there, I’ll probably just lock myself in my room ala Shintaro in Mekakucity Actors/Kagerou Project and have all my food and toiletries shipped to me, lol.
Someone please bring Urban Outfitters to Manila please!
Because I matched the T-Mobile pink in the background. Hello to the iconic San Francisco cable car behind me. Didn’t get to ride one this time, but I remember trying it out during my first visit in San Francisco about 10 years ago.
Decided to wear a simple Korean-inspired outfit with pink color accent because SNSD! Tiffany and Jessica were both born in San Francisco. <3
Jack Skellington socks and Doc Martens. Tracy, I found your doppelganger.
I’m blue da ba dee da ba die~
Someone bring American Apparel to Manila please!
Japantown and Chinatown in one day! Someone obviously loves Asia too much.
The oldest Chinatown in North America is in San Francisco, and it also houses the biggest Chinese community outside Asia. Whoa!
My brother Juju and his pretty Herschel backpack with teal accents. Did I make a mistake when I didn’t include this in my first San Francisco post a.k.a. the ultimate hipster post?
Obligatory cute couple photo.
Stay tuned for my next post! My San Francisco adventure isn’t finished yet.
In the meantime, I hope everyone’s having a good holiday! So many people flew out of the country today (including my boyfriend who, as of this writing, is on a plane to Kuala Lumpur), and I’m definitely green with envy! I’m itching to travel again, and my Osaka trip in September somehow seems so far away.
Annual summer trip with the whole family! My brother had a year-long internship at Four Seasons Jackson Hole, so we didn’t really see him for a long time. Well, my mom and I visited him in Chicago last October 2013, but it was only this May that all six of us were complete again. It’s been 10 years since my last visit to San Francisco too!
On our first day in San Francisco, I met up with Kiks, one of my best friends in college. He’s been taking his master’s degree at an art school over there for about a year now, and is actually on a summer vacation here in Manila as of this writing! My brother’s flight from Wyoming got delayed so I had the whole morning free to do whatever I wanted!
Kiks brought me to Mission District, a rather hipster neighborhood which I instantly fell in love with.
Bright yellow pants! I belong here.
We didn’t expect the weather to be so warm and sunny that morning that we immediately had to take a break from all the walking within the first 30 minutes of our meeting.
Dandelion Chocolate along Valencia St. was our first stop! Kiks had an iced chocolate and I had some sort of chocolate-coffee hybrid drink which was absolutely glorious.
So many pretty, photogenic places in this area.
Taken at an overpriced barbershop. If I lived in the US, I’d probably just DIY everything! Don’t want to spend $50-100 for a simple haircut, lol.
Mission District is known to have the largest concentration of street art and building murals in the city. Can we have something like this place in Manila, please?
Día de los Muertos? San Francisco’s Hispanic neighborhood is also on Mission District.
Clarion Alley is a small street between Mission and Valencia Streets and 17th and 18th Streets. Here you can find immensely colorful murals…
And houndstooth patterns on the floor!
I am too pastel for this wall.
"These hearts are dedicated to some members of the SF community who died. If your name’s here, you’re dead. :)"
Voldemort, is that you?
Normally, I’d be grossed out with giant insects, but…
I found a rare flamingo!
The area is also notable for vintage-inspired furniture…
…and bikes, the hipsters’ vehicles of choice.
Ever since I got hooked on Yowamushi Pedal, the idea of biking appeals to me so much. I never learned how to properly bike as a kid, but I’m set on starting in the near future.
So pretty! I want to own one of these.
Density was one of the independent shops that caught my eye. Good grammar is indeed sexy!
This reminded me so much of my friends who never go out without lipstick on.
I bet you read the “shiiing” part out loud.
Sock it to me! Let me have it!
A trip to the most artsy neighborhood in San Francisco wouldn’t be complete without some third wave coffee.
Apparently, they have a rule sheet at their back alley which reads, “Please be respectful of our Caledonia neighbors by not talking about annoying hipster topics, or who you f*cked last night. You shouldn’t do that anyhow, but our neighbors actually can hear you.”
Not talking about annoying hipster topics… is so hipster!
I wonder if you’ll get checkered tan lines if you stay put in this area the whole day.
One of our last stops before I had to head back to my hotel was FLAX art and design.
Arts and crafts supplies heaven right here. The possibilities are endless if you have this many available materials!
Somehow, I wasn’t surprised to see pink hair, tattoos, and patterned tank tops after going to The Mission.
Our the way back to my hotel on Geary St., Kiks and I passed by Christopher Clark Fine Art since they had Mucha lithographs. Spazzed like crazy people because we (and our little college group) adore Art Nouveau!
Aaand that, my friends, was the most hipster morning that I’ve ever had in my life. Stay tuned for more San Francisco goodness in the next couple of weeks!
It was during this trip that I was so thankful for Hong Kong being so near Manila. Early this year, I booked this vacation for myself, only to change the schedule a week before the scheduled flight. I had to attend some important events for work, so I was only left about 24 hours in Hong Kong. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
My mom and brother left Manila on our original date of departure, so I met them around lunch time the next day. I missed going to Langham Place and iSQUARE with them when they arrived, huuu~
Dropped my luggage off at the hotel, and immediately went to Times Square to check out the Batman 75th anniversary exhibition! BATMAN IN HONG KONG. When will your faves?
I think it ended last week, so here are some photos in case you missed it—
Retro Batman and Robin!
Straight from the airport, living on an hour’s sleep kind of face.
Blazer from EMODA!
The 2008 Tumbler.
(I had to do a double take while typing the word tumbler because it looks so wrong with an e…)
Old school Batman!
This was the highlight of the exhibit! It’s always double the fun when exhibits are interactive.
People can take pictures from certain photo spots (there are instructions on the floor) to get that 3D illusion that you’re caught by Joker, etc. Cool beans!
Saw these cute notepads at a bookstore in Times Square.
World Cup x MCM. I was thisclose to getting my first MCM bag (it was black/white/yellow with snakeskin) but figured I should just visit the flagship store in Korea when I go in October! I heard MCM is cheaper in Korea by 10-20%, plus the fact that EXO went there so… *fangirl feels*
Quick macaron and coffee run at Laduree.
I got my energy back when I visited my favorite Aland store! BUY ALL THE KOREAN GOODIES!
Can’t miss out on flat-brimmed hats if you’re into K-style.
Black and white, camo and stripes. I felt like I belong already.
I can’t with the glitter sandals though…
iPhone cases that come with the most adorable toy charms!
Sunglasses! I’ve been wearing them more often since I went to the US last May. Can’t believe I only just started to appreciate them now! I NEED MORE SUNGLASSES IN MY LIFE.
There’s Laforet in Harajuku… and there’s Laforet in Hong Kong! I don’t know if it’s owned by the same company though!
Lots of quirky stuff that you can’t really find in malls. There are also a number of stores that sell clothes imported from Korea, if you’re into that kind of fashion. It’s just near the giant SOGO in Causeway Bay.
A store dedicated to our furry feline friends!
Huu, so cute. I die.
Fashion for the boys.
Laforet x KOBITOS! Do not know if cute or creepy!
My brother made a dinner reservation at a restaurant in Central, so we went there early to check the place out because I haven’t really had the chance to do so in the past.
In a nutshell, Central is a high-end business district with lots of designer brands and luxurious hotels in the area. I loved people-watching here because everyone was dressed so well! I got posh, sophisticated vibes from every single person I passed.
L’ATELIER de Joël Robuchon! THE DREAM! I only eat fancy stuff when I’m with my family, and I have my younger brother to thank for all the good food that I’ve eaten so far. Ever since he got back from his internship in the US, his restaurant standards have never been higher! On the contrary, I’m such a kitchen noob. I can’t even cook rice or fry an egg.
Believe it or not, I usually just settle for fast food when traveling alone. I spend all my money on clothes and make-up, if not gadgets lololol I hate spending more than 30 minutes eating at a restaurant when there are other things that I can do instead #travelpriorities
BEST BURGER EVER. The three of us got a sampler each, and it was pure bliss.
Didn’t bother taking photos of all the things we ordered because we were too excited to eat! I swear I’d make a horrible food blogger.
It was during this dinner that I came to the conclusion that this 24-hour trip was worth it. My tummy was very happy!
Welcome to Saint Laurent Paris, my future home. </3
Time to call it a night. At this point, I was a walking zombie.
Woke up the next day, and realized that I was going home already. WHAT THE! I just arrived! *cry*
So I went on hyperdrive, and started going to the nearest malls for some last minute shopping. Went to Miramar Shopping Center for Liz Lisa, Lip Service, SLY, Noela, moussy, snidel, etc.
Went to The One Mall for EMODA, MURUA, and the new STYLENANDA! Park Sora brings all the girls to the yard.
Got the shirt in the middle for my boyfriend. I feel like my greatest contribution to his life is fashion, lol. I get him clothes every time I travel, and I’m so happy that he always wears them!
Last but not the least - collect point at Mira Mall.
Went on a shopping spree at JEANASIS. Lots of discounted items at LOWRYS FARM too. It was a good thing I didn’t splurge on these brands when I was in Tokyo last May! Patience is a virtue. Every sale is worth waiting for, lol.
Before heading to the airport, we had coffee and dessert at Wired Cafe! An invisible ball of energy draws me closer to anything Japan-related, wherever in the world I am. They have cafes in Shibuya, Shinjuku and Shinagawa, so this may seem familiar!
Caramel potato chips! The caramel ice cream was glorious, but I wish the chips were more salted.
You know how McDonalds McFlurry and fries make the most wonderful combination? I need more of that sweet and salty contrast!
Chocolate parfait as a last farewell.
This trip went by too fast. Someone bring me back to Hong Kong. I haven’t finished shopping and eating yet!
(It was such a short trip that I only brought my small a5000 with me. Not bad for a tiny camera, eh?)
On my last day in Tokyo, before I headed to the airport, I decided to follow Gervin's suggestion of going to Aoyama. Aoyama is known for a lot of things, but among fashionistas, this is *the* place to go to if you're in the mood for some high-end local and international designer shopping.
It’s not too far from Harajuku and Omotesando, but I came from Shibuya so I took the Ginza line from Shibuya Station to get to Aoyama-Itchome Station.
Also, there are no photos of me in this post because no one was around to take my photo. #foreveralone Maybe you can spot my reflection, at least.
Balenciaga. I covet.
Issey Miyake Men.
Suddenly, it’s so peaceful and quiet. Nothing like Harajuku and Shibuya!
You can’t skip the Comme store in Aoyama. They have most of the Comme des Garcons lines, including some of their collaborations with other brands.
People sometimes just come to Aoyama for the famous Prada store! I won’t spoil how the building looks like (but you can spoil yourself by searching on Google, I guess) but it was designed by Swiss duo Herzog & de Meuron. If you don’t know who they are, they were the ones who were responsible the Beijing National Stadium / Bird’s Nest.
Chloé flagship store in Japan.
Trivia: Did you know that Steve Jobs’ signature black turtle necks were all by Issey Miyake?
Tsumori Chisato. Bohemian style meets kawaii!
The main store of Yoku Moku is also in Aoyama! You can spot their blue brick lounge from a mile away.
I randomly chanced upon Blue Moon The Natural Bar while walking along one of Aoyama’s big streets! It’s a popular outdoor bar slash organic market that has a quirky, hipster vibe to it. I’ve only seen photos of it during nighttime so I didn’t expect that it looked like this in the morning!
Handmade wood collectibles. TAKAIIIIIIIIIII
Beautiful temple in the middle of Aoyama.
The FURLA Aoyama boutique is one interesting place. They have “FURLA yoga” on the 4th floor!
SARARIMAN x STARBUCKS.
Also, reflection #5.
Okamoto Taro Memorial Museum. His work reminds me of the angels in Evangelion.
Red Valentino. Can I live here? Their Aoyama store looks like some sort of futuristic castle!
The lantern-shaped Marc Jacobs flagship store. At night, the top part is supposed to light up like a lantern too!
Jil Sander Navy!
Undercover. Couldn’t sneak a photo of the interiors, but on the ceiling are thousands of lightbulbs that move with the wind and make sounds!
I was too early for Acne! The store was still closed when I went to visit. Some of the Aoyama stores open early, while some open after lunch or early afternoon.
Like the Alexander Wang store. I’ve been eyeing a particular Wang bag recently, and just when I was so ready to go shopping, the store was still closed! I just took it as some sort of divine intervention. Japan, why must you always drain all my fundsss
Oh well. Settled for pictures instead! I’d wear this outfit in a heartbeat!
Yohji Yamamato! THE MASTER. I was so shocked when the Yohji Yamamoto display at Shibuya all contained super bright colors! I’ve always been so used to seeing just black and white from him, lol.
Trivia: Did you know that Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo (of Commes des Garcons fame) were once rumored to be in a relationship back in the ’70s or ’80s? TOO MUCH PERFECTION~
Last shot before I got on the train back to Shibuya to catch a bus to the airport. I have no idea if I missed anything important in Aoyama, but I’m determined to come back again one day! I’m so in love!
Early that morning, I passed by a school in Aoyama and they were dancing to Arashi. Enough said.