November 26, 2020

25th at San Francisco - Timeless Thursdays 26

My 25th Birthday at San Francisco, California, USA

It was a beautiful Northern California morning when I woke up for my 25th year as a human being more than five years ago. I arrived at the United States last June 1, 2015 and three days after, it was time for me to add up another year to my life, another number as my age. I have not been to America for almost 18 years and it was really thrilling for me to finally be back. I still have both vague and clear memories of my childhood in America but of course, things have changed, a lot of things have changed.

Hayward BART Station

Hayward, California is a quiet city along the bay area where my brother lives, a city I learned to love and call home. A train ride away to San Francisco, I left at around 8:30 am through the BART together with my brother Kuya Jon. BART stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit which services all the major cities across the Bay Area including Downtown San Francisco, the Peninsula Area, and the Cities across the East Bay. 

We got off at Montgomery Station, which was the first BART Station on downtown San Francisco crossing the transbay area coming from the Oakland and the East Bay. Kuya Jon and I parted for he has work for the day and then I started my birthday trip all around the foggy city.

San Francisco Contemporary Art Museum

I took some pictures at the San Francisco Contemporary Art Museum that has this giant Cube Building and just in front of it is the Saint Patrick's Catholic Church. There I prayed for thanksgiving for the gift of Travel that I received and am enjoying at that very moment. 

The Main Altar at Saint Patric's Church

Right after, I went and walked more up towards San Francisco Centre near Powell Street, which was still closed during that time. Passing through the Yahoo! Office, Union Square, until I found this giant weird looking tunnel that has a hanging street above it which was part of Stockton Street. Walking inside it led me to it, Chinatown!

The Street above a Street, Stockton Street

It was the second time I was there since my brother Erson toured me around the city on my second day so I am a bit familiar of the place already. I can easily get familiar through places especially if there are landmarks that I can follow throughout the streets. And also, I don't have a map or any mapping device at hand that time. Well, I do have my phone with GPS with me but I just don't want to use it the whole time since I'm in it for the adventure. 

San Francisco Yahoo! Office

I walked through Chinatown sightseeing all the shops and stores that were so busy during that time. it was a couple of hours before lunch time and food houses are packed with people waiting for their orders to be taken and served. I passed the bakery where me and my Kuya had lunch the time we were there and then went straight to one of the places I would really like to visit over and over again, the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi. I was the only one inside and since the lunch mass was just abut an hour away, I decided I'll join the mass after I get myself some drinks and use the restroom.

National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi

I walked out of the church and look for the nearest Starbucks. I walked downhill towards the Transamerica Pyramid which is one of the famous landmarks of the San Francisco together with the Golden Gate Bridge. Went inside Starbucks and got myself a Venti Peach Green Tea Lemonade and used their restroom. I brought my drink with me and walked all the way up back to the church. 

Transamerica Pyramid

Peach Green Tea Lemonade

Still it was barren and quiet and very peaceful, when the clock struck 12:15, the priest came out and fixed the things needed for the mass and it started. It was a very solemn. I feel so blessed being on that very place, at that very moment. It really is a different way of celebrating my birthday with so much serenity and blessing. 

Inside Saint Francis Church

We were just about 5 or 6 inside the church throughout the mass and when it was done, I walked up in front to greet the priest. His name is Fr. John De La Riva and he is probably the nicest and the sweetest priest I have ever known. I introduced myself and I told him it was my birthday and when he knew, he prayed a special prayer just for me. It was a very beautiful prayer. After that, I asked him for a picture and he agreed and we even did a selfie with Saint Anthony of Padua. I will never forget Father John, ever!

Me, Father John, Saint Anthony and Jesus

I continued walking after I got out of Little Italy, all the way back to Chinatown, and said a prayer at Saint Mary's Church and then back to San Francisco Centre. There I went down to the lower ground floor and to this sport's apparel shop called CHAMPS. There I got this very pricey Golden State Warriors Finals shirt which I decided to give to my cousin. 

Just near the Centre was Yerba Buena Gardens which I would really like to visit next but then it happened, I got lost! I was walking around in circles and weirdly, I was still enjoying the fact that I was lost, I then saw something!

STEVENSON STREET! Now I knew why God made me lost for a few minutes so that I will see this street, it was my street! I took a few selfies and finally I found my way to Yerba Buena Gardens. I spent all the remaining time there and at St. Patrick's church which was just across the park. St. Patrick's is the church of most Filipino Catholics in the San Francisco Area. I lit a candle for San Lorenzo Ruiz. 

This is my Street, Stevenson Street

When Kuya Jon got out of work, we met up again at Montgomery and rode the train back home to Hayward. Kuya Erson was waiting for us and we continued the celebration at the Kokyo Buffet in Downtown Hayward. 

Me and my dear brothers Erson and Jonathan

It was truly one of the best Birthdays I ever had since my Mother threw me a surprise party when I was 16! This Birthday spent alone gave me a sense of independence, liberation and solitude and I thank God for this blessing. I will forever remember those momentsspent at San Francisco and will never get tired of going back to this city, my favorite city ever! Now the question for me that time was,"Where will I be on my 26th Birthday?". The world's answer 4 years ago was four letters, HOME :)

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  1. ...a little over 20 years ago I visited SF for a few days, it was enough time! Thanks my friend for hosting, take care.

    1. Thank you so much Tom for joining and please continue to stay safe and take care :)

  2. In general, I am not a big fan of cities, but I have spent many happy days in San Francisco. It is without question an interesting city and has something for everyone. Thanks for some pictures that bring back memories.

    1. I am very happy that this somehow brought you back your beautiful memories of San Francisco David, and you are right, it really is a very interesting and highly cultured city. Very embracing and peaceful at the same time. All my pleasure David and have a great weekend ahead!

  3. I have a niece that lives in San Francisco but I've never visited. What a great way to commemorate your birthday Stevenson :)

    1. Oh I hope you can visit her and the city one of these days when it all gets better dear Sami! Oh Sami Porto is amazing, I really have to thank you for it! Thank you so much for giving me an amazing tour!

  4. Wow, you look so much different with longer hair and no glasses!
    And you made me laugh. When I was in Sydney by myself, as Ingo was trying to sell our car, I had a (paper-)map with me.
    In the pocket of my jeans - I just asked people for the way, much nicer way to discover a city!

    Oh. I expected way more traffic!

    Love your Birthday-selfie and wow! YOUR Street, what a birthday-pressie!

    And yes, like you I enjoy time by myself at times, stopping for a pic without bothering someone else to wait till I´m done, take the time I want and go where I want - we must be thankful we can do this!

    Dearest Stevenson, thanks for taking us along, big Sis-hugs from here :-)

    1. Hahaha you are right Iris! I very much miss my long locks as well! but since it grows rather different now because of my age I think haha, I had to keep it short.

      Oh I looove talking to people just like you! Especially in San Francisco where almost everyone was very warm and kind, thats where I started to kind of talk with strangers for directions. Of course we know how to gauge whther a person will be helpful enough before we even ask them for directions right haha.

      Ughhh the joys of travelling alone right! I know it's hard to get a nice picture (you know I love photographs haha) but still the peace is just priceless that you don;t have to worry about another body :)

      Sending you back big big hugs big sis Iris!!!

  5. Dear Stevenson, I am having trouble with your blog at the moment (perhaps it is Blogger being funny?) I really wanted to comment here this morning, but there wasn't any place to do so - and now I find my side bar only shows your previous posting. Very annoying but no matter.
    I wanted to say how much I enjoyed your post today. What a wonderful birthday you had and what precious memories you have shared with us. I have transited through SFO airport but never looked around the city - maybe next time I get over that way as you make it sound great.
    Take care, Mxx

    1. Hello dearest Margaret! Oh, I very much apologize for having the comment off earlier, I was not aware that I clicked on it on the right hand menu to disable comments. Thanks to Lydia who shot me a tweet on twitter that I realize it is off Waaaaa

      Oh thank you so so much dear Margaret and I am so happy that you enjoyed my birthday from 5 years ago. The memories are still so vivid to me :) Next time please do have a quick look outside the city if you can :) There is a direct service of the BART from SFO to the downtown :)

  6. Oh, wouw ...
    i was amazed to read your story as if deliberately misled. circled around by God so that you find .... the exact street name with your name.
    It was a very memorable experience, Brother Stevenson !.

    Sometimes i think, how lucky people like you are to have the opportunity to see first hand the beauty of the cities in the American continent ..., I also want this hope but it seems impossible for me to do because of the high cost.
    You are lucky to have been there.

    1. Oh brother Himawan thank you so so much I am so happy with your comment! I am glad you enjoyed my misadventure but finding that street in my name, I really found that super cool haha

      Oh I hope that you can see more of the world on other continents. It is not impossible and I pray that there will be an opportunity for you to see it too someday :)

  7. It's been a long time since I was in SF. Another place I;d like to revisit if we can ever travel again.

    1. Same here dear Jackie! I am now a different kind of traveler since I went there last time so I really want to see it again soon :)

  8. What a rich and rewarding way to spend your birthday! I loved visiting San Francisco but would not want to live there. Give me the wide open spaces!

    1. Thank you so much brother Kenneth and a big yes to you on that, it would always be so much better to have nature and open spaces near one's home :)

  9. I spent some time in SF back in the 90s and had a great time. It's one of my favorite cities. Lots to do and see. Went to Alcatraz when I was there in 92. Interesting place to visit. Glad you had family there which makes the visit special. Have a great day, Stevenson.

    1. Oh brother Bill! I have never been to Alcatraz and I would so want to visit, hopefully when I visit my brother again next time :) Have a great rest of the week and weekend ahead my friend Bill!

  10. I can't think of a better place to spend my birthday than the Bay Area. There is so much to see and do there. I was there about three years ago. One of the highlights was seeing The Summer of Love Exhibit. How cool to stumble upon Stevenson Street!


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