Binondo (Chinese: 岷倫洛區; pinyin: Mínlúnluò Qū; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Bîn-lûn-lo̍h-khi) is a district in Manila and is referred to as the city’s Chinatown. Its influence extends beyond to the places of Quiapo, Santa Cruz, San Nicolas and Tondo. It is the oldest Chinatown in the world, established in 1594 by the Spaniards as a settlement near Intramuros but across the Pasig River for Catholic Chinese, it was positioned so that colonial rulers could keep a close eye on their migrant subjects. It was already a hub of Chinese commerce even before the Spanish colonial period. Binondo is the center of commerce and trade of Manila, where all types of business run by Filipino-Chinese thrive.
Established in by the Spaniards as a settlement near Intramuros but across the Pasig River for Catholic Chinese, it was positioned so that colonial rulers could keep a close eye on their migrant subjects. It was already a hub of Chinese commerce even before the Spanish colonial period. Binondo is the center of commerce and trade of Manila, where all types of business run by Filipino-Chinese thrive. Wikipedia
My friends and I went there for the Lunar New year Celebration in 2018. It was very festive with the traditional dragon dance in the streets and inside establishments like malls .
Food , fruits and plants considered lucky for the year were sold everywhere, in stores and on the streets.
We tried a few restaurants from the list of Binondo’s Great Food Crawl for that year.
There were guided Food Tours (and there still are) which are probably helpful to foreign tourists but we did it on our own as we’re all locals.
We visited a few temples and old Catholic churches.
For this year all activities for the celebration of the Chinese New Year in Manila, home to the famous Chinatown district Binondo, are canceled due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Executive Order No. 4 series of 2021 from the city government of Manila states that no dragon dance, street party, stage show, parade or any other similar activity will be held for the celebration of Chinese New Year from February 11 to 12.
Still, hotels and restaurants have prepared for the Chinese New year celebration and have special packages.
Mayon Volcano, also known as Mount Mayon, is a sacred and active stratovolcano in the province of Albay in Bicol Region, on the large island of Luzon in the Philippines. A popular tourist spot, it is renowned for its “perfect cone” because of its symmetric conical shape. Wikipedia
Day after the devastating storm Ulysses (international name Vamco) – it’s beauty lifting people’s spirits
Hearst Castle, San Simeon, is a National Historic Landmark and California Historical Landmark located on the Central Coast of California in the United States. Conceived by William Randolph Hearst, the publishing tycoon, and his architect Julia Morgan, it was built between 1919 and 1947.
The place is Solvang , a city in Santa Barbara County, California. It is located in southern California’s Santa Ynez valley. Solvang is the Danish word for Sunny field. It’s known for its Danish-style architecture and many wineries. The Elverhøj Museum of History & Art explores the city’s Danish heritage. The Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum exhibits dozens of classic American, Japanese and European motorbikes. The Old Mission Santa Inés is an early-1800s Franciscan church.
When we went there the Vintage Motorcycle Museum was closed but we got a glimpse of some of the displays through the windows. Likewise, we did not get to see the church. But we enjoyed the place with its European ambience .
It wasn’t part of our itinerary, but we ended up in Oakland when we couldn’t find a hotel that we liked in San Francisco, either too expensive or reasonably priced but not to our liking, the downside of “unpackaged” tour or road trip where we just looked for hotels in the area we visited. But that’s part of the excitement. Our experience in Oakland the first time we set foot on it wasn’t pleasant. We stopped to have dinner at a fastfood restaurant before heading to the hotel . A man near the entrance waved at us and we wondered what it was all about. I told my brother he must be a “greeter” or “welcomer” But when we got near, he asked for a few dollars, he had some friends nearby. We were not familiar with the place and it was late, so we were scared. We just left and went to a bigger restaurant.
The next morning, we opted to have breakfast at the hotel. Then we searched for nearby parks to see in Oakland. We were lucky Lake Merritt is near. As described :
Lake Merritt, considered the “jewel” of Oakland, California, is a large 155 acre lake located east of Downtown Oakland. Technically a tidal lagoon, it connects to the bay via a channel and the estuary. It is the nation’s largest body of salt water within city limits. Lake Merritt is named for Samuel B. Merritt, who was influential in its creation.
From Oakland Local wiki
Lake Merritt also holds the distinction of being designated, in 1870, as America’s very first National Wildlife Refuge, and it still provides important habitat, particularly for migratory birds in fall
From Visit California
We did see Lake Merritt which left us with beautiful memories of Oakland.
I say discover because when we were planning our trip to California, it wasn’t one of the prompted places to see. But we discovered it when we crossed the Golden Gate. We were charmed by the genteel and quiet city by the bay.
As described in Wikitravel which we searched after finding Sausalito ,
Sausalito is in California, across the Golden Gate bridge from San Francisco. Sausalito is a unique and picturesque community, perched on a hillside between the San Francisco Bay and the Marin Headlands.