Falling for San Francisco!

If I could go on and on about London and how it’s one of my ultimate favorite places in the world, Ken has the same thing about San Francisco, his favorite city. He loves the weather, the vibe, the tech culture, the food and everything else. He’s always told me he can’t wait to bring me there. He even jokes to me before even before we got married, that he’ll name our son, Francis, so that he can say “San Francis Co?” hehehe! He claims I’ll love it too most especially the houses, it’s old world style and Victorian architecture. So I was pretty much looking forward to our US trip there last year. It’s exactly a year ago since our trip and it’s been so much fun and memorable that I had a hard time putting all our photos and experiences together into a blog entry. But today, I’ll do my best to put it into words. Beware for a lengthy post with a gazillion photos! 😀

Last year, we went to the U.S. for the Surf Expo that Lagu joined. We were the only Filipino company that was part of last year’s event in Orlando, Florida. It gave us a chance to finally do a short side trip and explore San Francisco together. We flew via Eva Air from Taipei and after a 12-hour flight, we finally landed but only had a short stopover there before catching the flight straight to Atlanta for another stopover before finally reaching our main destination, Orlando, Florida.

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Our happy faces once we landed in SFO after a 12-hour flight from Taipei.

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Hello San Fo!

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Went out for a quick drive to grab lunch and some fresh air before going back to the airport to catch our flight to Atlanta going to Florida.

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When we returned to the airport to catch our domestic flight, these booths welcomed us. One of my favorite SFO chocolates! ❤

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Boxes of See’s candies in the airport! ❤

After a week in Orlando which I shared in my previous posts, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, we finally went back to San Francisco to enjoy our remaining time in the U.S.

The first thing I adored about this city the moment we arrived, are the quaint and charming houses! I absolutely loved everything in our neighborhood! I felt right at home especially in the cozy little house we rented for our stay. We got a 1-bedroom flat in Masonic Avenue in Haight Ashbury via Air BNB and our host’s name is Sara. It was our first time to try Air BNB and when we booked Sara’s place she was also new in the site. Her place is newly renovated and I loved the classic design. I also loved how clean and well put together her place is. It’s packed with all the essentials — really good toiletries, tissue, linens, blankets, maps, books, drinks, etc. etc. It’s so cozy and lovely and I just wanted to stay there longer! Saying that was music to Ken’s ears as he always wanted to live in San Francisco too.

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A glimpse of the houses on our drive to Masonic Avenue.

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Different colors but all has the same charming design.

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This lovely gray and white home is what we called home during our stay in San Francisco.

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And that’s Sara, our host. She occupies the 2-level front house and she rents out the 1-bedroom house in the back where we stayed. Here she is coming down to the backyard where the 2 houses are connected. That lovely white door is the main door to our cozy little home.

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Welcome home!

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This is simply gorgeous isn’t it?

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The living room has a sofa bed that’s just perfect for my brother in law. It also has a mini kitchen and bar which Sara filled with coffee, milk and juice from Trader Joe’s and some beer. It all came with renting the place.

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The flat is filled with books and maps about California to help tourists like us.

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Our cozy little bedroom!

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Our bedside table came with some Trader Joe’s chocolates to welcome us when we arrived. Our window looks out to the garden.

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I love love love our SFO home! White interiors, double doors, flowers on the windowsill. Everything is just my kind of style!

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The place comes with this little backyard garden.

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View from the garden of the stairs that leads the main house of Sara on the 2nd floor to the flat we rented below. So lovely!

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After we left our things in the house, my Tito Jaime took us out for a hearty late lunch where we enjoyed yummy Thai food and rice! Our first filling Asian meal after a long flight!

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Another shot of the elegant facade of this beautiful home. My brother in law, Nar, is excited to go out and explore our neighborhood.

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Pretending this is our own home here, we take a shot before we walk around the neighborhood. This house sort of became our peg and inspiration when we built and designed our own home a few months after.

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Haight Street Market at dusk.

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Our view of the different kinds of lovely houses walking home.

The next day was our one and only day of exploring downtown SF with my uncle. The rest of the days we’ll be driving to Silicon Valley, Napa Valley, meetings, shopping, etc. So we went to bed early the night before as we were tired from the Surf Expo in Orlando plus all the traveling. We wanted to have enough energy to last us as we excitedly do a whole day tour of San Francisco. It’s my first time in this city while Ken and Nar have both been here before with their family when they were kids. Since it’s been a long time, we were all pretty excited to explore.

We got out of the house early in the morning at 730am to catch the bus to meet my uncle. But we just couldn’t leave without taking pictures again. I simply couldn’t get enough of the pretty houses! It’s also nice to walk around in the morning with the fresh air while nobody’s around hehehe.

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We took the bus from Masonic Avenue to Powell street where we met my uncle and we all had quick breakfast at Peerless Coffee & Tea. Their pastries are good and we quickly finished as we were all excited to get the sightseeing started. We crossed to where the line for the cable starts right across Forever 21, Sephora, etc. There was a singer who’d serenade tourists while waiting for the line. It was so much fun riding the cable car and seeing the main streets and sights of the city! For a first-timer like me, it’s really the best way to get around for the best experience! I wanted to keep riding it again and again haha. Too bad it was just a short ride to Lombard street where we walked up going the crookedest street of the world.

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Breakfast stop

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Cookie bagel

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Ham & cheese croissant

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Hello there, cable car! We finally meet! Yay!

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Nar, me and Tito Meme our tour buddy!

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Happy smile!

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Told Ken to get a nice pic of me with a whole view of the cable car and this is what he got. The cable car is barely seen and I was smizing lol!

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And off we go!

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Sights around the city center

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Hope to get to ride you again soon!

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Hello Lombard street!

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Here I stand by the crookedest street in the world!

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View of Alcatraz from Lombard St.

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View of the city below from Lombard St. The Golden Gate bridge is seen faintly from afar.

My Tito Jaime who’s like my 2nd father, has been living in San Francisco for as long as I can remember. He became our designated tour buddy and caretaker. He met us in the airport during our layover, kept some luggages for us so we don’t have to bring it anymore to Orlando, picked us up again in the airport when we arrived, brought us to Sara’s place, and toured us around all over the city. Thank you for everything Tito!

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After Lombard, we walked all the way to the bay area going to the Palace of Fine Arts. That stretch along the bay is a good spot for biking and jogging. The air is so fresh, cold and crisp that we really didn’t feel tired at all from all the walking that morning. I also particularly enjoyed the sights of nature around — the beach, greenery, sky, nicely designed low rise homes and buildings, parks, etc.

Seeing the Palace of Fine Arts is also a feast for the eyes. I’ve always loved old world architecture so I really appreciated the dome, the structures and the intricate designs of the pillars there. It’s all so beautiful!

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My first time to see huge succulents growing randomly on the streets of SFO!

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Literally bushes of the biggest, most beautiful succulents I’ve ever seen.

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Pretty buildings and houses adorn the streets.

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Boats by the bay.

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From Palace of Fine Arts, we crossed to the bay and went down the beach to see the Golden Gate Bridge. That morning was very foggy so it was partly hidden but the view is nonetheless beautiful. We walked all the way from the bay going to Ghirardelli Square (where I went mad with all the chocolates!) to Fisherman’s Wharf (where we had the best seafood lunch) at Crab House! Oh, thinking about this is making me want to go back right now! Reminiscing (while currently 6 months pregnant) about 2 of my favorite food — chocolates and crab, in what became one of my favorite cities in the world — San Francisco, is quite challenging!

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My Tito likes taking our pics by the signages of places we pass by lol. Here’s one in Crissy Field.

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I finally get to meet the iconic bridge of SFO

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Breezy selfie by the beach!

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Our first time together in San Francisco. ❤

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Co brothers!

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Let’s go back to this happy place hun!

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The Co trio 🙂

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Wheeee! I can already see you!

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Ghirardelli Factory!!

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Ohhhhh yum yum yum yum! I wish I got to try all the chocolate drinks here in Ghirardelli Cafe! My kind of heaven! ❤

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After visiting this shop, we lugged around 2 big bags of chocolates to hand carry home lol!

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After lunch we continued our tour and went to Moma but it was closed for construction so we just took pictures around and headed to Union Square and then ended our day in Westfield for dinner. I love the buildings we saw especially the mint green vintage looking one where Palomar Hotel and Old Navy is. And I also loved the intricate colonial design of Westfield’s dome ceiling. So chic for a mall! 🙂

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On our last day, we were set to explore some more and do last minute shopping the whole day. We checked out early in Sara’s guesthouse and since our flight was still at night she so kindly and graciously offered to keep our luggages for us in her own house until we need to get it at night. We were really impressed with her hospitality. She won’t be home that night but she gave us a key to her main house so we can get our luggages even when she wasn’t there. Imagine being so trusting to strangers! We really enjoyed our stay with Sara that I gave her a 5-star review on Air BnB. We’d love to stay with her again for every visit we’d make!

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Saying thanks and goodbye to our gracious Air BnB host. Here’s Ken and Nar with Boo by the front porch. That’s Sara in the background.

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More lovely colonial houses!

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Masonic Avenue corner Haight Ashbury. This is the neighborhood where we stayed in. It’s known for the hippies, graffitis, vintage shops and quirky cafes.

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Waiting for the bus going downtown. We’ll miss your colorful graffitis, San Francisco!

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I’d want lush blooms to spring out of our balcony like this one.

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A full shot of my favorite mint green building.

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I like how some of the buildings here have an old world charm to it.

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This gold vintage clock post is love!

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Artworks being sold in the plaza.

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Oh this is the ice cream dream! ❤

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Cheesecake Factory! ❤

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I could only choose one and this is what I got — Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake. So rich and yummy! I wish I tried more! If only we had more days!

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When nighttime fell and it was time to go, we just grabbed our bags at Sara’s and took Uber to the airport. It was our first time to try Uber then and it was so convenient! Now, a year later, Uber is a big thing here in Manila.

Overall, our 6 days in San Francisco was just not enough time to explore more of the city and try out all the food we wanted to eat but it was enough to make me see that this goes on the list of my happy places, my favorite cities in the world. But I’m glad we were able to maximize this weeklong stay. We were able to visit Silicon Valley, celebrate my birthday in Napa Valley, visit all the must-see places in our itinerary and a lot more. I told Ken that what I love about SFO is there’s a comforting familiarity to it that just makes you feel at home so easily. It’s so chill and beautiful. It’s charm sort of reminds me of my other favorite city that I also want to live in someday, which is Melbourne. It’s laid back, the architecture and culture is a mix of old and new and everything is just lovely. (Yes, my top three cities are London, SanFo and Melbourne). Someday soon with our little one, we’ll come back here! Ken was right, I’ve fallen for you, SFO! ❤

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Til the next ride!

Up next on my blog — Napa Valley! ❤

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