Blog Archive

November 29, 2016

Franciscos in San Francisco

Mr. Francisco made the itinerary and he did a very good job at it. I should let him do this more often.:)) Thank you, Tatay! As with any itinerary, things may not go as planned but it was better than expected. Itinerary, collages and videos powered by Google.

Day 1: Saturday, November 19, 2016
Arrived in SFO past 3:30 pm via American Airlines. Parental note to self: there is no priority on boarding for passengers with child/ren. We were shock since we thought that all airlines offer this for efficiency. 

After riding the BART train from the airport, we arrived and checked in Hyatt Regency Hotel in Embarcadero. They already have holiday decorations which was very nice and our room had an awesome view of the Ferry Building Marketplace clock tower and Bay Bridge.

Since it was raining, we weren't able to go where it was planned for the day. We just headed to the Gotts Roadside inside the Ferry Building Marketplace to get a burger dinner.

Day 2: Sunday, November 20, 2016
It was a cold and rainy morning. Good thing that the bus stop was just infront of the hotel. We attended worship at First Baptist Church which was one bus ride away from the hotel. We learned during the service that it was indeed the first Baptist church in San Francisco and it was just newly renovated. Lily spent the service in the nursery which required registration.

After which, we walked to Proposition Chicken. Tatay and Kallai ate the fried chicken and slaw while I had the grilled chicken salad. We also tried the brussels sprouts for the side. They were very tasty. Yum!

We rode the F train again to go to Exploratorium where we got our City Pass which includes admission to the following:
  1. 7-day Cable Car and Muni Bus Passport
  2. California Academy of Sciences
  3. Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure
  4. Exploratorium   OR   de Young Museum
  5. Aquarium of the Bay   OR   Monterey Bay Aquarium
Sulit na sulit yung $94 each adult! Considering that we will be using the Muni going around the city and we were planning to visit those places. Lily was free since she is less than 5 years old.

The Exploratorium was really neat for kids of all ages. Almost all if not all of the displays were hands-on and includes explanation on the science behind the display. Too bad though that Lily was asleep half of the time we were there so Tatay had most of the fun.

After Exploratorium, we walked to Coqueta but realized that it was a bar so we walked further to Ferry Building Marketplace but found out that restaurants close early on Sundays! We ended up getting some takeout from Oasis Grill and headed back to the hotel for the day.

Day 3: Monday, November 21, 2016
The day was mostly spent in Pier 39 where we first visited the Aquarium By The Bay. It was a lot smaller than I was expecting but nonetheless Kallai had fun shouting, Nemo, Dory, fishes and sharks! One cool thing they also had was that the basement was submerged in the pier. 

Pier 39 is famous for their sea lion hauling place. The city was kind enough to allocate and build some sea ports (get it?) for migrating sea lions and use Pier 39 as a layover to wherever it is they are going. We arrived just in time for a sea lion conservationist doing some talk about sea lions.

Since it was already lunch time, we walked a few blocks to Boudin and had some light clam chowder bread bowl lunch.

Since we are already at Pier 39, next in the itinerary was the Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure ferry which is part of the City pass attractions. If we haven't gotten the City Pass, we had an alternative of riding the commuter ferry from Sausalito to the Ferry Building. Only difference that I can think of between the two is that this one goes under the Golden Gate bridge.

Afterwards, we walked around Fisherman's Wharf where we checked out Musee Mechanique where we played some old arcade games. 

Since we got so used to using google maps to go from point A to point B, we walked a bit and took a bus to Ghirardelli Square. We later realized that it would have been faster to just walk from Fisherman's Wharf. 

The place was nice but we did not go to the main restaurant as the line is always full. There was another shop in the inner area where we tried the banana split ice cream (Nauna yung dessert kesa dinner).

For dinner, we decided to hold off on the crab and got food from the Rubio's near the hotel to save a little.

Day 4: Tuesday, November 22, 2016
A San Francisco trip would be incomplete without crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. We crossed it by foot with Lily on the stroller. There is also an option to rent bikes but Lily is too old to keep steady on the sidecar but too young to reach the pedals of a bike. 

We should have started earlier because by the time we reached the other side it was already lunchtime and already hungry to walk around Vista Point or go to Bay Area Discovery Museum. 

The original plan was to walk all the way to Sausalito, but after Vista Point, the side walk was gone as well. The bus driver going to the Golden Gate bridge mentioned that there was a public bus that goes down to Sausalito but it never arrived, so we decided to just ride an Uber down to Sausalito.

We had a dungeness crab and prime rib lunch at Salito's and since it was already late, we just walked along the Sausalito and finished the tour with a Philippine mango ice cream and sugarless vanilla ice cream at Lappert's.

We took the ferry back to Ferry Building Marketplace and since Lily was hungry again we ate some Vietnamese Pho for dinner prior to end the day.

Day 5: Wednesday, November 23, 2016
This day was spent in Golden Gate Park where we visited the California Academy of Sciences, passed by Japanese Tea Garden and rested at Stow Lake. I misjudged how huge Golden Gate Park is, while walking from the Academy of Sciences to the Japanese Tea garden, Lily decided to take a lengthy nap and since there was an entrance fee to go inside, we just decided to vow to go back again here someday.

Afterwards, we took a bus and had a Korean barbecue dinner at Jang Soo BBQ.

At the hotel, we had our family pictures with the holiday decorations at the atrium where Lily also enjoyed some snowflake lights and fake snow at the lobby.

Day 6: Thursday, November 24, 2016
It is Thanksgiving day so we planned to eat all day in Chinatown. We just walked from our hotel and passed by Omni Hotel #OTLOL. Funny story: Topeng was planning to bump me on that corner like in OTWOL but when I stopped and raised by head up to look at the building, an old man bumped on me instead. Nopes!

Anyhoo, back to Chinatown track... First stop was the Dragon's Gate which is like the entrance of Chinatown (see nabulag sa araw shot). We then spent the morning at the St Mary's Square playground were Lily enjoyed playing train engineer.

After getting hungry from all the playing around, we headed to Oriental Pearl Restaurant for some dimsum lunch. The food is yummy and Pop ordered some items a bit different from our usual dimsum in Tucson. The green tea and water I did not like as much. We were too busy eating too, to take picture of the food.

Then we went to Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory where we can watch how they make the fortune cookies. They even gave out free samples 

Afterwards, we went to Good Mongkok Bakery which has a long line but is not much of a bakery as I expected. It is more of a dimsum take out place.  I ordered sesame balls and chinese donut though the latter was not available.

Our Chinatown itinerary ended sooner than we expected so we decided to check out the Cable Car Museum but it was closed due to the holiday. We then just rode the cable car to Union Square to check out the stores and ended up shopping at Old Navy. And yes, Lily fell asleep holding some sesame seed buns.

It was already late when we realized that restaurants would close early due to the holiday so we just got takeout from a Ziggy's burger joint near the hotel.

Day 7: Friday, November 25, 2016
It is Black Friday so the day was planned for shopping but since we already did some from yesterday, we decided to catch up on our itinerary for the first day which is Pier 14 and Rincon Park. Note to self: Taking pictures with a toddler requires a lot of patience. :))

Afterwards, we had pho and lemongrass pork lunch at Out the Door inside the Ferry Building Marketplace. We took the Muni back to Union Square area then headed to the Children's Creativity Museum. It was different from the other children's museums we had been in. They have an music video maker, craft area and lots of building instead of the usual pretend playing type of toys. It was so cute that Lily was so excited to sing in front of the green screen but once her time came, she suddenly got camera shy.

The museum closed by 4pm so we checked out the nearby play area then some shopping at Ross and Old Navy (again! because we planned to use the "store cash" but cashier later informed us how it really works).  Afterwards, we jut got another rice and noodle soup meal at a food court inside the Metreon for dinner.

Day 8: Saturday, November 26, 2016
We have foregone our itinerary for the day to visit the Chong family (Jason, Joyce and baby Chantry) in Santa Clara/San Jose. Pop woke up with a headache so it was a good time not to "adult" for the day but the travel was not as mindless as expected. We rode the wrong line on the Muni train so we missed our next train ride. We ended up getting an Uber after alighting the train since it will take a while to travel via next train and Pop was afraid that the Chickenjoy waiting for us will get cold. So we just took Uber to take us the rest of the way. Good thing Lily was sleeping the entire time so she was not malikot during the ride. 
Unfortunately the misfortune did not end there. We were dropped in the wrong location because we did not realize that there was more than one city in California with that address. While waiting for Jason to pick us up from the wrong location, we ordered from Bon Chon nearby. At the Chong's accommodation, we met Baby Chantry for the first time, ate a feast (aside from the Chicken Joy and Bon Chon chicken, there were Jolly spaghetti, burger steak, peach mango pie and Red Ribbon sansrival for lunch and BBQ for dinner) and did our laundry. I'm not sure if there were places to see in San Jose but we decided to stay to catch up and considering Topeng's headache. Jason drove us back to the hotel afterwards.  Thanks!

Day 9: Sunday, November 27, 2016
After attending mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, we spent the day getting spoiled and toured around by the Baterinas. They treated us to brunch at Elena Una, "a Filipino pop-up restaurant that aims to serve modern and refined Filipino-Asian cuisine reminiscent of its classic and traditional flavors". We had pandesal with coco jam, oyster sisig and bagnet sisig for apetizers. I ordered milkfish tinapa (since I haven't had one for a while) and Pop had longganisa. Busog! 
Afterwards, we walked to and around Palace of Fine Arts

Then, we walked along the dock/beach for another angle of the Golden Gate Bridge. Next, we headed towards Lombard Street since we weren't able to go the other day. 

We passed by Fort Mason Center and Ghirardelli Square (for a bathroom and ice cream break) on the way. 

I guess the chocolate treats and ice cream paid off as Lily was surprisingly walking (as opposed to being carried or in the stroller) during the "hike" with Tita Line and Tito Jun. Nanay and Tatay are relieved and thankful as we couldn't have done the trail by ourselves.:)) 
After Lombard Street, we were already hungry so walked further to Stinking Rose where we were treated to dungeonness crab, prime rib and garlic ice cream. An employee (possibly one of the owners) was amused with Lily that he gave away a toy from the souvenirs which we now dub as Boy Bawang.:)) We walked back to the hotel afterwards where we hung out at the atrium and the Baterinas were not done spoiling us because they left us a bottle of wine.

Day 10: Monday, November 28, 2016
On our last full day in SF, we went to San Francisco Zoo. It was already around noon when we arrived via Muni train so we got lunch of chicken adobo (yes, the Philippine kind) and chicken teriyaki at their Leaping Lemurs Cafe. Around the zoo, Lily especially liked the farm animals and was singing Old McDonald along the way. We weren't able to maximize the $19/adult admission ticket as they closed by 4pm.

Afterwards, we took a train and cable car to Japantown. There we had all-you-can-eat beef shabu shabu at Mifune Don (Note this is different from Mifune which was recommended on one of the travel books I borrowed from the library but no regrets here...the four plate of beef was worth it) and looked around the shops including Daiso.

We took a bus back to the hotel where we documented our last night with a picture with the window view.

Day 11: Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Our trip back home was not uneventful. First, while one station away from the airport, the train got delayed due to scheduling conflicts and technical repair so we had to wait on the train for about 20 minutes. Next, the train smelled like pee. There was a homeless man on a wheelchair inside the train that seemed to be the reason. Worse, he fell over and someone had to help him up.  Being the good man that he is, my husband stepped up to do it much to his horror. The homeless man eventually left the train after the incident but the train still was not moving. An announcement was made that we had to switch trains. 

Upon arriving at the airport, Lily fell asleep in the stroller while we were checking in and during the security check. I had to carry her so we couldn't pass through the scanner separately as usually done so they had to do a strip test of my hands instead which I obliged to. For some reason, I failed the strip test so they had to do additional checks like opening and strip-testing the contents of our bags and a female security officer patting me thoroughly. As expected, they did not find anything threatening so they eventually let us through though it still puzzles me what "chemical" was detected in my hands that caused the test to beep. I even used wipes beforehand. Anyhoo, we had to run to our boarding gate. Fortunately, our flight was also delayed so we made it.

By the time we arrived in Phoenix, it was already way past lunchtime but we were determined to eat at MyPlace Cafe for some Filipino food. After more than 30 mins in traffic, we finally had our "linner" of dinuguan, sisig and lomi. To anticipate our meals for the remainder of the week, we got pinakbet, kare kare, bicol express, more dinuguan and more sisig for takeout.


  1. Thanks for this post. Feels like I was there, too. given the very crisp photo/videos and the vivid captioning by Nina. Happy holidays-- Merry Christmas ! Let the Lord Jeus, the reason for the season's rejoicing be at the center of your celebration this season!!!. Love and miss you much Topeng, Nina and Kallai. God bless - Tita Mina. See you sometinme, here or there, whenever the Lord permits, hahaha!

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