California Girls: Then and Now

There’s nothing much here. There’s no travel guide to the best places to eat. There’s no Top 10 Theme Park list in California. There’s just me, pulling out some travel photos of me when I was a kid in California and some photos of Tonie when she visited California and semi-traced my own steps.

Being back in Southern California, I got to re-experience a bunch of childhood memories as well as experience some new ones. And although the American work ethic still appalls me, I wouldn’t be opposed to moving back there to work, live and play.

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When we first moved to California, we called Cerritos home. It was half a block away from a really large and awesome park, it was walking/biking distance from schools and some convenience stores. “Bloomfield,” is what we called it, being along Bloomfield Avenue. It was always me and at least 2 more cousins. During the weekends, 3 more boy cousins would show up and it was just a mess of kids playing in the park or in that home.

When we went to Cerritos to meet up with one of my uncles for lunch, we decided to drive by that old home and then through the park. Tonie saw the playgrounds and couldn’t help but ask for a few minutes of playing time. The pond, the ducks, it all felt the same as before – it felt safe, it felt fun and it felt like a close knit community.


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The top photo is actually when I was already 6 or 7 years old. We went to San Diego to visit an aunt who lived there and then go hit up Sea World. both photos are before/during the Shamu show.


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The older photo of having a dolphin right in front of my face may seem like a better picture but actually, the one with Tonie is a better one. They don’t let the dolphins out all the time anymore, nor do they allow feeding the dolphins. They also make sure that the dolphins are safe at all times and that there isn’t too much people clamoring to get hold of them.

I am aware of the whole Blackfish documentary and the fact that these animals are better off in the wild than on their own, but I’d like to believe that at least the animals in Sea World are treated so much better than the animals in other parks, such as the Philippines’ own Ocean Adventure. At least they have better, bigger facilities and just has more to offer the animals.

I was really torn about going to Sea World but then, I guess, the opportunity to expose Tonie to something like might inspire her to be a marine biologist or something along those lines, you never know. I mean, I watched Flipper (the series) and wanted to become a marine biologist at one time.


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This was at my Aunt’s house. It’s the same pool, renovated but with a huge difference – the water heater isn’t working anymore. So, actually, what you’re seeing is Tonie jumping around in waist-high water because it’s too cold to go all-in.

Despite how inviting Californian beaches are, they don’t really get tropics-warm, even in the dead of summer. To be fair, it’s the Pacific Ocean, but still, that’s one thing that being a Filipino has done – ruined all other beaches in the world for me.

If the water’s not warm or clear, doesn’t count. 


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First Californian Beach: Mine was a beach, my Mom said, in San Pedro and Tonie’s in the dog beach along Huntington Beach. Both are equally awesome beaches but being able to bask in the sun and get in the water a little bit (rather than being bundled up and can’t even touch the water) is a better experience.


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IN LINE FOR AUTOPIA: The first one is of me and my cousin, in line to get on the Autopia cars with my Aunt. The next one may not be the most nostalgia-inducing photo, especially with Mr. Whatshisface getting out of the car, but it’s all we could manage with the chilly night and rushing one more ride before the other Kuya cousins finished with the Matterhorn ride (Tonie’s tall enough to ride but I just thought that she’s filled her quota of “big kid” rides for the day – I want her LOVING her experience not despising it).


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Disneyland Entrance: The first was my VERY first trip to Disneyland with Aunts and my Lola with cousins. Down below is Tonie’s first trip to Disneyland in Anaheim but technically her 4th visit to a Disneyland (2 in Hong Kong and 1 in Japan). There is no other magic than Disneyland, it’s just indescribable. It’s hard to explain and hard to paint to someone who just doesn’t get it- because Disney magic, you either get it or you don’t. It’s just that.

I believe in the magic and believe so do most of the employees, if not all of them. 




So that was my little trip down memory lane. It’s all cute and cuddly and fuzzy but coming up next – real travel guides for everything you want to know about traveling in Southern California – well, the parts that we went to, anyway.

We will be back, CA





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Eileen Campos loves cheese and The Walking Dead. Currently doing a great job in post grad studies but awful with regards to ruling the universe. She also thinks that she is married to Robert Downey Jr.