image

I was inspired by one of my favorite blogger’s recent post dunksrnice to write back in this blog so here I am. 

Recently I just came back from a Disneyland trip with Anna and her sister, cousin, and her cousin’s roommate. With a constant work flow of 20+ hours a week and a recently acquired internship, it was a much needed vacation. LA always treats me well with the good eats and spontaneous adventures. It’s been awhile since I went to Disneyland, though. To be honest my expectations were pretty low as my experience from the last time I went was pretty boring.

But this year it was very different. I think it had to do with the fact that I went with my family last time, and this time around I went with a spontaneous group that are of my age. There’s something about family trips and trips with friends that just have a different feel to them, although I know many groups that have fun with family vacations as much as road trips with friends. 

Disneyland was more “thrilly” then I remembered, with rides such as California Screaming and Tower of Terror being my favorites. Everything about the trip seemed right; the home we stayed at was amazing, I met Drake Bell randomly in a roller costar line, and delays were very minimal. Can’t wait to go back.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Oh hey it’s Drake Bell

image

image

image

4 notes • 1:45 PM

image

1/14/14

I decided to visit one of my good friends Rod in the city of San Mateo. He’s always coming down to San Jose to hang out, so I decided that it was my turn to check out his neck of the woods. I never really got a chance to explore the area, so it was a good opportunity to do so. San Mateo is like a suburban San Francisco; it has a growing downtown but has a homey feel to it. One of Rod’s passions is boxing so we decided to go to a gym he trains at. We were lucky to catch a boxer who was a champion for a women’s league. it’s always great seeing passionate people craft their art live, from the boxers’ fighting technique to teh way they maintain focus. 

Afterwards we went to get good eats at a premier ramen shop called Himawari. The place is not your ordinary ramen shop: when you walk in you are greeted with a decoration of jazz records on the wall. It gave the place a coffee shop feel, which I can dig. The ramen is delicious, with its rich broth flavors. If you’re craving ramen and are in the area, definitely check it out. 

Afterwards, we went to go explore the city some more, going to a small skate boutique, going to the famous Tpumps and checking out the Youtube Headquarters, although it was closedwhen we got there. I’ll be back in the city real soon just to get that tour. 

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

1/11/14

I was looking for the perfect time to write this, which is why it is a couple weeks late.  Last year it was in the Philippines, this year it is in the living room of my parent’s house on a Friday night. It’s that time of year again, to reflect on the year. The good and the bad, the dope and the nope, the cool and the ugly. 2013 was a year that I decided to take a weeklong trip to SoCal just because. It was a year when hiking became a passion. It was a year that I decided to hang on a leash that was tied on a bike, while I rode at least 20 miles per hour on my skateboard. I had a lot of time to think about how my year was due to long car trips to Reno and plenty of time for myself. At first I felt like my year wasn’t as fulfilling as I wanted it to be. I felt like more could’ve been done. But looking back at the pictures, I was wrong. 2013 was a year of “new”: new relationships, new adventures, and new outlooks.

Some Favorites of the Year:

Words to describe the year would be Bananna, Adventures, Hiking, San Francisco, and Food. 

My favorite album this year would have to be Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City. While I didn’t get to listen to the whole album in depth, there were a handful of songs from the album that were on repeat the whole year. The album brings a classical approach, with a modern twist; sounds range from grand pianos to electric synths. Rather than the album itself, I would say that Vampire Weekend was my favorite artist of the year. I found myself listening to Contra on repeat during the school year, and it has become one of my study albums.

Phrase of the year would be “Aiiiiiight”. I use it when I see something cool or when I see a familiar face. Find me using it even more often in 2014.

My favorite restaurant would be Mana Korean BBQ in San Diego. Yelp reviews speak for themselves.

My favorite quotes of the year:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes”

“Eat well, travel often.”

Finally, here are some of my favorite photos that highlight my year.  I tried my best putting them in chronological order. Of course this isn’t everything. Some moments weren’t caught on camera, which happened to be some of my best moments. Enjoy. 

image

image

image

image

image

imageimage

image

imageimage

image

image

imageimage

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

imageimage

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

(Photo By: David Nguyen)

image

(Photo By: David Nguyen)

image

(Photo By: David Nguyen)

image

image

image

image

imageimage

Until next year,

Mark

image

1/4/14 

I decided to start the new year with great company and one hell of a workout. The PG&E Trail is one of the hiking trails of the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve. Hiking has quickly become a passion over the past year, starting with my first hike of Mission Peak in Fremont, CA. You could almost say I’m on a journey to find the best hiking trails. The PG&E combines scenic routes of in-forest inclines and declines, while maintaining a comfortable hike due to many shaded areas. The whole trail top to bottom was eight miles, four getting to the top and four going back. While the PG&E trail itself was a moderate challenge, it was the trail that followed that made it the most difficult hike I’ve done so far. We had a choice of either continuing up a trail known as the Black Mountain, or making it back down to the parking lot. We decided that since a majority of us didn’t feel too much of a burn, we were up for the challenge. 

The Black Mountain trail consisted of dead trees on a single person trail. It made for a somewhat spooky hike in the daytime. The inclines were much steeper and there were less amounts of shade, which made it much more difficult. On top of that, it took us two miles to get to the top, adding to the four we took from PG&E. The end wasn’t as impressive, in which we were greeted with a radio tower of some sort and a flat land that was hard to see that views around us. But one of my friends found a trail that had great views of the other side of the hill, with rocks that reminded me of Lord of the Rings.

One of my friends had to go back to work for the evening so we decided to head back down. I wasn’t able to take much pictures the second half of the hike because I didn’t want my friend to be late for work. In the second half of our hike, we were greeted with a small farm with farm animals.

By the time we were close to the bottom, everyone was too tired to stop and roam around; we just wanted to get to the bottom and grab the grub. The overall distance of our hike was 15 miles. To put into perspective, Mission Peak is 4 miles, top to bottom. This makes PG&E + Block Mountain trail the longest and most difficult hike I’ve done so far, but has also become one of my favorites. 

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

I was hoping to get to this recap sooner or later, so here it is.  It’s a month late, but better late than never, I guess. 

Last month I went on a SoCal trip with Anna. We have always wanted to do this trip, so we decided to save up for a couple months and plan for it. We stayed in the SoCal area for 4 nights and 5 days.

Day 1

The first few days we stayed in San Diego. We were fortunate to have one of Anna’s close friends house us for our time being there. The first day consisted of the long road down to San Diego. We decided to make a pit stop and check out the musical road in Lancaster, CA. If you’re ever in the area, check it out, it’s worth the time. After a long 8 hour trip, we finally made it to La Jolla. The night consisted of delicious Korean Barbeque from Manna, and adventures around the downtown area. 

image

image

image

image

image

Day 2

We decided to check out the beaches in San Diego. We first had breakfast at Hash House A Go Go. Check out the yelp reviews, it speaks for itself. Afterwards We ended up checking out Cornada beach. There’s a reason why San Diego is known for their beaches, and I got to experience it first hand, from the soft, white sand to the perfect beach temperature. It was so relaxing that we ended up taking a nap on the beach for a good hour. Towards the end of the evening we had dinner at Phil’s Bbq. The BBQ itself was delicious, but where the place really shines is it’s customer service.  If you’re short on time, it’s a place I wouldn’t recommend dude to long lines (although to-go is the perfect solution) but if you have all day, go ahead and check it out. After dinner we went to the Del Mar Fair. This fair had a much more warmer and playful vibe to it than the ones back home in the Bay Area. After the fair we went to go check out UCSD’s landmark Graffiti Hall. It is a small shack with a few levels, where artists of all kind are allowed to decorate the walls. 

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Day 3 

We left SD and made our way to Los Angeles. Anna had some friends back in Davis that lived in the LA area, so we decided to go visit them. For the evening, we made our way to the famous LACMA. We were hoping to check out the museum itself, but we ended up running out of time and made our way to the LACMA lights. I already had an idea of what it looked like due to photos on Facebook and Instagram, but it was much more larger and beautiful than I expected. Unfortunately, I only brought a prime lens with me so I wasn’t able to take wide shots of the place. We were hoping to catch more sight seeing, but the long drive to LA and the cold weather wore us out, so we decided to catch up on some rest so that we could make use of our full day tomorrow. 

image

image

image

image

image

Day 4


Day 4 I would say was the most eventful. The morning started off with red velvet pancakes at The Griddle Cafe in Hollywood. A definite must for breakfast if you’re ever in the area.

Afterwords we made our way to the landmark Hollywood sign. I know to get to the actual sign itself there is a hiking trail you have to take. but the hot weather made that a less viable option. Instead we found an area where people take pictures in front of it. The sign itself was still a good 300 feet away, but it was close enough.

After seeing the landmark, made our way to the Griffith Observatory. A friend of mine that goes to school in the area recommended me this place for the ultimate views of Los Angeles, and it did not disappoint. If you’re looking for a breathtaking view of all of LA, this is the place to be. I was hoping to make this place the last stop for the day, our day was just packed with so many things to do. 

We left the observatory and made our way to Angels Knoll, aka the “500 Days of Summer” park. It is a small park located in the corner of downtown. The park itself was ok; spots of grass and dirt show its wear and tear over the years. But what I really liked was the contrast between nature and the city. The park is located on a hill that overlooks a smal part of downtown. I was sad to find out that the placard that trademarked the bench as the “500 Days of Summer” bench was stolen. Nevertheless, it was pretty much what I pictured. We even saw the parking garage that Tom Hansen was talking about. 

We ended the day by checking out the Santa Monica pier. Anna was telling me how beautiful it was, pretty much like an “upgraded” Santa Cruz Beach Board Walk. Unfortunately we went on a day where the fog covered most of it. Still, the pier was open so we decided to check it out. 

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Overall, the SoCal trip was a success. Although it was a pricey trip, especially with the gourmet eats, it was all worth it. It’s one of the reasons why we took the trip, for the food. I’ll definitely have another SoCal trip in the works. 

"Our destination is never place, but a new way of seeing things." 
-Henry Miller

image

It’s been awhile since I’ve done any sort of update with this blog, I apologize. Summer has been way too adventurous  But I’ve been trying to find time to recap my eventful summer, and today was one of them.

It’s been 2 years since I was down in “The Biggest Little City”. One of my friends in the city told me about a bboy jam coming up, so my crew mate and I decided to spontaneously have a trip to Reno just for it. We figured since it’s summer, why the hell not? I have family down in the area, but none of their places were available to stay for the weekend. Luckily, because my dad is a regular over at Circus Circus, we were able to snag 2 nights for free. 

I forgot how scary it is driving to Reno at night. I found myself struggling to stay awake. It’s kind of like taking highway 17 to Santa Cruz, with the windy roads, but on a large mountain. On top of that, it was at night. It came down to the point where I got in an accident that could’ve been fatal. I’m just thankful to make it down. This is the third farthest place I’ve driven to, besides LA and San Diego (I recently took a SoCal trip this summer, a recap for that trip will be up soon). 

The second day of the trip consisted mainly of the bboy jam. It was one of the smaller jams that I’ve been to, as Reno’s bboy scene is small. But what was great was that the host did a great job of inviting out-of- state folk. And majority of the time, when a bboy here’s about a jam, they will go. Especially if it’s just a drive away. My crew mate and I made sure we repped while we were down there, so we initiated the cyphers, talked to all the bboys there, and threw down in the battles. Although I was disappointed with my performance in the actually battles, I made sure that I had fun at the end of the day, and my family helped with that.

I was super excited to see all my aunts, uncles, and cousins from my mom’s side. They were the family that I grew with. Like I said, it’s been 2 years since I was in the area, so there was a lot to catch up on. After a couple years of rare contact, you’d think that there would at least be a little bit of awkwardness. But I felt like I’ve matured since college, so I made sure that wasn’t the case. As a result, I got to catch up with everybody in a fun and comfortable manner. 

While driving back home, my crew mate and I talked about the idea of traveling. He showed me a quote on tumblr that got me thinking about the seriousness of it (you could find the quote here). There were a few lines that stuck out to me: 

"…you can travel. You just don’t want it enough. You want a degree or a well-paying job or to stay in your comfort zone more. This is fine, if it’s what your heart desires most, but please don’t envy me and tell me you can’t travel. "

"Only people who have grown old and regretted never traveling, who have regretted focusing too much on money and superficial success, who have realized too late that there is so much more to living than this."

And so it is with me. This trip has reminded me about why I started this blog. I could talk all day about how much I want to travel, but that means nothing if I don’t have anything to show for it. I hope you stay with me and this blog, and watch me grow. I will make sure not to disappoint. 

Here are pictures from my trip. Enjoy. 

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image