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Saturday, August 25, 2012

California Revisited, part 2

Man, how do I start with my narration, my part 2 of California Revisited, when I got so engrossed listening/watching American Idol 2012 Tour of different cities, especially in their latest concert, like in Toronto, Canada; Philadelphia, New York, etc., from YouTube? Mind you, I have a list of the venues that the Idols would be performing. I know where they had the last show and where will they be performing next. I don't know about you, folks, but I've been kinda "Idolized?" or hooked up on American idol 2012, especially Season 11. Frankly speaking, AI 2012 season 11 was the only season that captured my musical senses. I don't know why. But, wait a minute, I need to stick to the title of this blog post; otherwise, I'd be carried away by the American Idols,  especially the current AI 2012 winner, Phillip Phillips and his runner-up Jessica Sanchez.

Well, I'm glad and thankful that, on the day after our arrival here in The Old Dominion from The Golden State, Wednesday, 22 August 2012, I was able to note down on my Composition Book sort of an outline of topics that I have to cover on this blog post.
First of all, I thank you, Almighty God, for my faith, and family, folks, and friends everywhere around the globe. Many thanks to my caring siblings here in the States (Betty, Edna, Zaldy, and their spouses and families) for all their love and generosity. Thank you to our Aunt Emiliana (my late Dad's only sister) in San Francisco. Thank you to our uncles and aunties and their families. Thanks so much to all my cousins and their families, to my nephews and nieces and their families, and to all our friends like Belen and Boy and their family in Stockton and Daly City (thanks so much, guys, for your warm hospitality, Nathan, Jr. for giving us a brief tour of your and your sister Nikki's alma mater, University of the Pacific in Stockton. I'm quite impressed by the whole campus buildings and their architecture!), Roger and his family, Demetrio and his family, Gloria and Rey and family, etc.Thank you, Lord, for all the wonderful people who made our Summer 2012 Get-away to California possible and successful.
Prior to going to California on 14 August 2012, my family have made reservations: reservation for car rental, reservation for lodging at Navy Lodge. Except for 16 August and 18-21 August 2012, we couldn't have 14-15 August 2012 reservation at Navy Lodge because they're fully booked. We didn't book ourselves for the 17th August because we're already scheduled to spend the night at Belen and Boy (Nathan, Sr.)'s other house in Stockton. (Belen is my wife Freny's best friend, and former classmate in grade school 47 years ago! That's why they and two of their other classmates who are in California, Roger and Demetrio, have planned to have sort of a small reunion at Belen's ). So, for 14-15 August2012, we stayed at my sister Betty and bro-in-law Dennis's house in San Jose, CA.

Past 1:00 pm, Wednesday, 15 August 2012, from sis Betty's where we spent the night after our arrival at the Silicon Valley, we went to San Francisco to revisit the Golden Gate Bridge and The Fisherman's Wharf. (I've seen them before, in late 1983 or 1984.) But before that we attended Mass at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 756 Mission St. (between 3rd and 4th Streets), because the day is considered a holiday for Catholics. Its the feast of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Established or founded in 1815, St. Patrick Catholic Church is San Francisco's Historic Landmark #4 (according to its church bulletin and Website:  After Mass, we had lunch at a Japanese restaurant.
Then, out we roamed around the streets of San Francisco, and eventually found our way to see the famous Golden Gate Bridge. It was foggy and cold, not much sunshine at that time. Nevertheless, we took pictures, had coffee and cookies at Cafe and Restaurant, enjoyed the scenery, sea breeze and sea shore.

Afterwards, we went to The Fisherman's Wharf. I bet, there are always lots of people, tourists there, everyday. After parking our rental car in a parking garage nearby, we strolled around. Took a lot of pictures, did some shopping, visited a museum, had dinner at Seafood Restaurant. From there we could see the infamous Alcatraz, so-called The Rock, an island surrounded by water somewhere in the middle of San Francisco Bay that was once a prison and now a historical site managed by National Park Service. (Videos embedded here in this post are from YouTube. No copyright infringement intended. Thanks to the video uploaders and to YouTube.)

From our vantage point while revisiting the glorious Golden Gate Bridge, we could also see the Alcatraz Island where we learned that so much stuff had happened there and that some of its mysterious stories still remain unsolved or a mystery.

It was past 11:00 pm when we got back to my sis Betty's house in San Jose, CA. I had bro-in-law Dennis's glutinous rice cake for my dessert. Nimbled some fruits, i.e., melon and watermelon, too, while engaging in spirited conversation with my relatives and other members of family. Then, off to bed tired but happy and contented.

Thursday, 16 August 2012, after breakfast at sis Betty's, we went to The Flea Market at the Capitol Expressway exit where we bought some fruits, shirts, hats, etc. There was a band playing there entertaining market shoppers. They were playing some Mexican music. Pretty cool! Enjoyed the walking/roaming around the market.

From the Flea Market, we ate lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant. We all had Vietnamese noodle soup, with different kinds of flavor (meat and/or seafood)  in a big bowl. I couldn't finish the whole thing so I saved half of it for dinnertime. Then, back to my sis Betty and bro-in-law Dennis's house where we continued our bonding with other relatives there in San Jose, CA. Before eleven that night, we left them for our lodging at Navy Lodge.

My family and I spent the night at Navy Lodge, in Moffett Field, Mountain View, CA. Had free complimentary breakfast (bagel, granola bars, and coffee) there, too, in the morning of Friday, 17 August 2012.

Before noontime, we checked out at Navy Lodge because we're scheduled to spend the night at our friends Belen and her husband Boy's house in Stockton which is more than an hour drive from Mountain View/San Jose area. Took a lot of photos along the way, long and winding interstate highway, mountain views, valleys, hills, plains, fields.
At Belen and Boy's in Stockton, we were warmly welcomed by our friends/hosts. My wife Freny and Belen and their two other Santanians (former residents of Santa, Ilocos Sur, Philippines) had sort of a reunion because they haven't had seen each other for over 45 years. They're all classmates when they were in grade school back in their native town in the Philippines. Lots of food, over there prepared by Belen and Boy, and some brought by their other relatives/friends. Boy did some grilling of chicken and pork. Of course, there were glutinous rice cakes and fruits, too, for dessert. We even went to one of my wife's Aunt Bessie's, upon her insistent invitation, just to see her house that night. The latter encouraged us to take souvenir pictures. Then, we went back to Belen and Boy's where we spent the night there. They have a big stucco house with five bedrooms, three full baths. We learned that Belen and her young adult son Nathan, Jr. (a University of the Pacific alum and currently working as a physical therapist) live there most of the time while her husband Boy and their daughter Nikki (also a University of the Pacific graduate with Doctor of Pharmacy), live in their other house in Daly City near San Francisco. Although Boy works in Daly City, he has been there in Stockton for the weekend, for us all.
Saturday, 18 August 2012, after breakfast, prepared by our friends Belen and Boy, we got ready for that Picnic/Party for all Santanians. The venue requires us to drive for at least 25-30 minutes. As usual, my wife Freny did the driving. We agreed to follow Belen and Boy's young adult son Nathan, Jr. who was designated as their driver. Now, on our way to the picnic, Belen phoned us, informing us that we're passing by Nathan, Jr.'s alma mater, The University of the Pacific at Stockton. The latter graciously gave us a quick tour of the campus. We had picture-taking there. My impression: The campus is huge and the buildings are strategically built within the whole campus. Impressive, indeed, the buildings and their architecture! I could sense that it's so conducive to learning over there. If I remember right, Nathan, Jr. once mentioned to me that the school has over 7,000 students including graduate students, when I asked him about the university's population.
From there, we dropped by a few minutes to an area near downtown Stockton where there's this Filipino Plaza/Hotel and the Filipino Center Plaza buildings. (I overheard that the Filipino Plaza/Hotel  is quite historical, if you're talking about early Filipinos in California.) My young adult daughter and I took a few photographs of the buildings.

Back now to the Interstate freeway, while we were following Nathan, Jr. For whatever reason, my wife missed the exit and we sort of followed another route. It's good that we have GPS, thanks to God! We just communicated with Belen and told her we'd just see each other at the picnic. My wife Freny was confident enough and told us not to worry. We continued rolling down the road. We decided to drop by a gas station on our way and filled up our rental car's tank. Then,resumed our journey. Finally, we found the venue where there were already so many people having fun, food, sort of fiesta. The place is Fremont Community Center. It's like a public park with a lake, man-made I think. There, people of different groups gathered together to have fun and enjoyment. There were people on the lake, boating and having fun, too. The place is so orderly; no loud music or cacophony heard. The different groups of people just gathered together among themselves and were enjoying with food, families, friends, acquaintances, etc. Quite a good, healthy place to have picnics/parties, and to socialize and interact with other people, too. Engaged we were in conversations, here and there, with new-found friends and distant relatives of my wife. While there at the picnic/party, I  missed seeing or meeting my Aunt Emiliana who, I learned from my sister Betty, drove all the way from San Francisco to see us all there at sis Betty's in San Jose. And I also learned that our brother Zaldy and his wife Necie already arrived there from Washington State.

It was past past 5:00 pm when we left our friends and other Santanians and their families at the picnic for San Jose where our brother Zaldy and Necie from Washington State were waiting for us. And so was sis Edna and her family. Seeing them, I anxiously hugged my brother and my sis-in-law Necie, and sis Edna and sis Betty, my cousins Cita and Marilyn, nephews and nieces, etc. I was so happy and overwhelmed to see them all my folks. I was told that Aunt Emiliana left for San Francisco already that's why I didn't see her. I felt bad, sorry that I didn't catch up with her. Anyway, we've made plans to see her on Monday after our visit/paying respect to our late Grandpa Isabelo's. At sis Betty and bro-in-law Dennis's, we're all gathered together, celebrating our 'reunion' and oneness or unity as one big family, with lots of food to partake and share with everyone there. Back to Navy Lodge for the night, after we all had a great time together at sis Betty's place, and with an agreement to be back there the following day, Sunday, possibly after lunch or in the afternoon for another get-together and that a day-early celebration of my young adult daughter Christine's birthday.

I felt so tired and sleepy that I didn't bother to go with my wife that night to visit one of her friends in another part of San Jose? I didn't have any idea when she and her sister (who accompanied her, and the kids didn't go with them because they probably were so tired, too) came back to the Navy Lodge.
Sunday, 19 August 2012, after breakfast, we attended Mass at St. Joseph Parish/Catholic Church in Mountain View, a few minutes away from Moffett Field. Then, we went to visit a couple of my wife's relatives in San Jose, CA where we had lunch and lively conversations with them. We had picture-taking, too. I don't know but  we may have spent five-six hours with them there at Freny's Aunts Ester and Betty and families. I had the opportunity to meet for the second time (first time at the picnic at Fremont) Uncle Cezar and his wife, meet and talk for the first time Uncle Lito and Aunt Yolly who both came from Chicago, Uncles Reny and Delfin, and Aunt Elaine, Lola Mary, etc.

From there, we went to my sis Betty's where we had another get together plus the celebration of Christine's birthday there. Lots of food, as expected. There was "lechon," too. Lots of picture-taking again. And, we got the chance to see/meet my former high school classmate Gloria who, along with her husband Rey, and a couple of her relatives, too, came all the way to Stockton. At first, I thought they live in Salinas. That day, Sunday, was another fun-filled day for us all.

Monday, 20 August 2012, after breakfast, we attended the daily Mass at 8:30 a.m. at St. Joseph Parish/Catholic Church, for Christine's birthday. Afterwards, we went back to the Navy Lodge to get something before going to my sister Betty's in San Jose. From there we had sort of a convoy in going to San Francisco to visit our late Grandpa Isabelo's at Cypress Lawn Cemetery, and to see Aunt Emilia.

At the cemetery, my sis Betty offered flowers to the grave of our Grandpa Isabelo. We  paid our respects to "Amang" and did offer our silent prayer for all of the departed who'd been resting there peacefully. Of course, we had picture-taking. I had the opportunity to recall/remember and share with my siblings and folks about my young life with our late Grandpa Isabelo, that I was with him in going to the farm/fields where I learned life at a young age, with responsibility.

From Cypress Lawn Cemetery, we went to see Aunt Emiliana who was as eager and happy to see us all as we were with her. I hugged Aunt Emiliana and told her how much I've missed her. She was surprised to see how big our kids are. (Andrew and Christine were little when she saw them for the first time, in 1994.)

Aunt Emiliana didn't go with us when we went to have lunch at Jollibee's Restaurant in Daly City. She's now 87 and doing fine, but signs of aging are very evident in her having gray or white hair and slender physique. I didn get to see my cousin Rudy, her only son, now already in his mid 50s, I believe.

After lunch, we decided to go to Half Moon Bay, like Monterrey. We took a lot of pictures, too, on our way there. As soon as we arrived there, we went to the public restroom. What a relief! We, men,  had coffee and cookies, afterwards, while the women went around, shopping or window-shopping. With a marina, that place is cool. So ideal for strolling around and killing time. It was cool air and breezy, while we were there. It looks like that even if it's summertime, I believe.

Back to San Jose, we had dinner at TOMI (Sushi and Buffet) Restaurant at Eastridge Shopping Mall with my siblings and their families. Then, back to my sis Betty and bro-in-law Dennis's house where we continued our get together and bonding. We had a fun-filled evening that night, with plenty of hugs and kisses because we'd be leaving the Silicon Valley the following day, Tuesday. Hence, that night at sister Betty's culminated our week's Summer 2012 Getaway with them all.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012, after early breakfast, we checked out at Navy Lodge. And, off we went to San Jose Int'l Airport, CA, where we boarded a Southwest 737 plane bound for Las Vegas, our stopover, and then eventually to Norfolk Int'l Airport, VA. Yes, Virginia, we're coming back...again to The Old Dominion!

Thank you, Almighty God, for your all your goodness and blessings!-chris a. quilpa, 24August2012

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