Carmel Mission


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Some facts about The Basilica of Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo…or Carmel Mission:

Pope John II in 1987, as part of his visit in the US, visited Mission Carmel. Founder, Father Serra was beatified in 1988 by Pope John II “in recognition of his heroic virtues”.

Designated as a Minor Basilica in 1961 by Pope John XXII.

The reredos was hand carved to replicate the original that once stood until 1849 by Harry Downie. Thanks to Mr. Downie for dedicating his life in restoring most of what we see in Mission Carmel and Mission San Juan Buatista today.

In 1784, Father Serra was laid to rest in his beloved Carmel Mission. Padre Crespi, Padre Lopez, and Padre Lausen, founders and co-founders of the missions, friends and colleagues are buried alongside Father Serra.

There were thirty books resting on the shelves here by 1771.

The original site of Carmel Mission was at the Presidio of Monterey. Father Serra moved Mission Carmel to its present site from lack of good soil and it was too close to the barracks. Carmel Mission was founded on June 3, 1770 and named after Saint Charles Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan.The towers hold 8 bells, most of which are original. Statue of Father Serra. My husband and I said our vows in Mission Carmel 11 years ago this coming August; so of course this is my favorite mission.




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Mission San Juan Bautista, California, May 2012

Cannery Row, Monterey, California, November 2011

Church pond, May 2011Snoqualmie Falls, Washington state, August 2011Filoli, Woodside, California, April 2010

South Lake Tahoe, California, April 2010

June 2010

Crater Lake, Oregon, August 2009Vikingsholm Mansion, South Lake Tahoe, California, June 2010Along a local country road. 2010

Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California, June 2011

Road to Hana, Maui, August 2010

Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver, Canada, August 2009

Locks of Love


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Today, my daughter Morgan, 8 years old, stood up to cancer by donating her hair to Locks of Love. We went to Tutta Bella Salon, where for the past 15 years, have participated in Locks of Love.

Anh undoing Morgan’s braid.

Morgan’s been reluctant in getting her hair cut; not even a trim! This time, her motivation and inspiration is her dad who is loosing his hair from a 4-week radiation treatment. She also thought it would be a great early birthday present.

Later, she told me she was very nervous. She did look nervous, tearful, too. But she did not back down. I wonder now if she had her daddy in mind as Anh was cutting off her hair? My husband and I are so proud of her! We are so proud that she stood up to cancer, however small her contribution. This is another example of her contribution in helping those who are in need. She is unofficially a Vincentian (St. Vincent de Paul Society). She helps me beg for money after mass (scheduled 4 times a year), and she helps sort clothes by size, sort books, and shoes during the Clothes Closet Program. She’s all smiles as she gets salon treatment, however after we came home and surprising her dad with her new ‘do, I found her in her tub crying. She said she was sad because her hair was too short. I reminded her that what she did was a cool thing and besides, with summer approaching, it’s better to have shorter hair anyway!

When her hair becomes a wig for a girl or boy, I hope it puts a smile on his or her face. I hope it helps to lighten the load they carry each and everyday.

Ocean Avenue, Carmel-by-the-Sea


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Over the weekend, M and I spent the day in Carmel. It was an unbelievably gorgeous day–it was cold, but gorgeous! After our walk on the white, sandy beach, we walked up the hill on Ocean Avenue to find food.

I was channeling my inner Andrew Zimmern and opted for something different for lunch. M and I chose Dametra Cafe, serving Mediterranean food. Encouraged that we made a good choice from the plaques of recognition on the wall, however, the food I must say, was not to my liking. I ordered a Jerusalem Kabob wrapped in pita-like bread, loads of meat with loads of yogurt mixed in, tomatoes and lettuce. It didn’t have the flavor I was looking lacked spices, I think. But I must add the servers were very attentive to us. I will definitely come back next time to try Gyros.

But the decor was really cool. I love the ceiling!

The lady who works at Jane Austen at Home store said the owner lived in England for 25 years, and is a HUGE Jane Austen fan! I added I’ve read every single Jane Austen book, what I didn’t say was I’ve seen ‘Pride and Prejudice’ over a million times.

Courtyard leading to different shops.My husband proposed to me in this Inn 10 1/2 years ago.

Ocean Avenue is a very popular place especially for tourists. Each time I’ve gone, I hear a different language spoken from patrons in restaurants or just by walking on the street. Each street has something fabulous for everyone to discover from art galleries, to restaurants, and one of a kind shops. And if you are tired of shopping, go to the beach and just relax.

San Juan Bautista


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San Juan Bautista is a small agricultural town in the San Benito County in California. According to the 2010 census 1,862 souls call Juan Bautista home on an area of 0.7 square miles. It’s a small town!

San Juan Bautista’s history began with the Mutsune natives. Before the arrival of the Europeans and Mexicans, the Mutsune natives, a branch of the Ohlones, populated the area that would later be called San Juan Bautista, named after the mission’s patron saint, St. John the Baptist. The Mutsunes lived simple lives. They were hunters who happily gathered their family in thatched homes made from surrounding plants and trees. After the arrival of the Spaniards, Fr. Fermin de Lausen, the Franciscan priest who succeeded Fr. Serra, claimed the unknown land on behalf of the Spanish king changing the lives of the natives.

A town then grew around Mission San Juan Bautista.

When M and I decided to have lunch in San Juan Bautista this past weekend, we were treated to a vintage car show of which we had no idea was going on.

Back passengers of this sinister car!


Rusted bike.

M and I stopped at this Guatemalan Boutique. I have never been to one, and I am only too glad that this store caught my eye. The store was vibrant with colors from drawstring purses, clothing for kids and women, skeleton figurines, beads, earrings, wall decor, and other artsy stuff.

Everything in the store are hand-made in Guatemala or Mexico.

Guatemalan legend says that if you have a problem, tell it to a worry doll. Tuck the worry doll under your pillow and it will take your problem away while you sleep.

After our stroll looking at vintage cars, the warm and sunny day was just perfect for a scoop of ice cream. Then we walked to the Settler’s Cabin to eat our ice cream where I admired this beautiful tree full of white flowers. I am determined to find out what type of plant it is so I can grow one in my garden. Does anyone have any idea what this plant may be?

Someone’s pretty front yard.

On a scale of 1 to 5, based on this visit, I would give Dona Esther a 3. Because it was a Sunday, which they serve a buffet on Sundays, coupled with the car show, which drew in a lot of hungry people into the restaurant, service was a bit slow. I ordered a chicken quesadilla and it was not the best chicken quesadilla. I’ve had better chicken quesadilla from Jesus Restaurant in Morgan Hill, boasting authentic Mexican food; but the servers were at least friendly.

What did you do over the weekend? I hope it was relaxing and adventurous!

photographing in the rain!


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Thanks to, we didn’t have to stay home for part of my daughter’s spring break. The amazing deal we bought months ago was a stay at Portola Hotel and Spa in Monterey. Though was not able to make a deal with Mother Nature for a sun shiny day, nevertheless, the rain provided for a different vacation experience. We’ve been used to blue sky on our visits in the past to Carmel, Pacific Grove, and Monterey; yet, the rain did not dampen our spirit. In fact, when I found out the weather called for 5-days of rain, I was excited for I have never photo-documented our travel on a rainy day or days. Here, thought I, is a superb opportunity to take pictures in the rain; and to prove my excitement, I brought our rainboots and umbrellas.

I was faced with many challenges while taking pictures in the rain. My foremost concern was getting my camera wet. Next, deftly holding an umbrella with one hand while taking pictures; it is doable but was a frustrating experience. Lastly, the wind was an added factor to my concern swaying the limbs of my subject, blurring my shots.

The next day, no rain but sun.

We loved staying in Portola Hotel and Spa for many reasons. 1) Walking distance to the Old Fisherman’s Wharf 2) A trail that leads to Cannery Row with the ocean in view 3) Within walking distance to restaurants, banks, Walgreens (we all got sick–having Walgreens nearby was a blessing!), Starbucks, and 4) Surrounded by historic buildings.

In 1602, Sebastian Vizcaino, a Spanish explorer named “Monterey”, after Spain’s Count of Monte Rey, after arriving in what would (much-much) later become California. Museum of Monterey displaying the 1960s. This VW is parked outside of the museum, while……this one is inside. That kid there in the picture is a hippie-wanna-be.This is Linda. She is the Omelet Chef at Jack’s in Portola Hotel. I asked if I could take a picture of her. She obliged. I told Linda I blog about my travels and would like to include her in it. She’s been with the company for 17 years. Linda was full of smiles; I was very much impressed by how jolly she was, greeting everyone with an enthusiastic welcome. She engaged everyone in conversation while making omelets. She makes excellent omelets, by the way. Jack’s restaurant in Portola Hotel.

Just a few steps from Jack’s is Peter B’s Brew Pub. We didn’t want to walk to the wharf since it was raining pretty hard.

Peter B’s Brew Pub is a laid back restaurant and a great place for avid sports fan. Flat screen TV’s covered the walls tuned in to various sport channels. The meal was good, although my family thought otherwise. If you are ever in the Central Coast, come on visit Monterey. There are so much to see and do here.

Do you have a favorite place to visit that you and your family frequent? I’d love to hear about your story. And thanks for stopping by!