Letters to Blumentritt: Week Three

Posted in Family, Photography, Travel by J.R. Bumanglag on May 6, 2009

And on the third week, we stayed more at home than outside. Sunday was an emotional day for my mom. I woke up a little too late than expected because I was up all night reading the manga Cased Closed (Detective Conan). It’s interesting to know that the Bayquen side of the family love reading books and Manung Ricky’s kids are no different. Len-Len borrows manga from the library and is already reading Ranma 1/2 and Cased Close. Brandon reads action-adventure books. I guess I’m a little more Bayquen on the inside and Bumanglag on the outside.

My cousins had planned to take us to the Fisherman’s Wharf while we were in San Francisco. Fisherman’s Wharf is a well-known tourist spot in San Francisco where Pier 39, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Cannery Shopping Center, Ghirardelli Square, a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum to name a few are found. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go because time was against the tide. I’m going to miss the clam chowder Manang Jaz keeps telling me about and the cable cars I’ve always wanted to ride.


Instead, we went off to Ceres, California where Lolo Vicente, my grandmother’s brother, was waiting for us. I slept almost half-way the 2 hour trip after devouring a chicken fillet burger from McDonalds. We arrived in a typical American neighbourhood. When we found grandpa’s house, it was a tad bigger than usual – almost like a mansion. The garage was open and messy and turned out that Lolo was in the process of moving into a smaller house right across the street. We were all eagerly waiting for him to answer the door. A few minutes later, Lolo arrived. For a 93 year-old man, he was still headstrong and able to drive a car. Mom introduced all of us and we all went inside the house.


After a long talk between family members, we all bade our goodbyes. Mom couldn’t help but cry because she missed her mom and the only living connection to her was Lolo Vicente. She asked for his blessings. We also said goodbye to our cousin Manung Ricky and his family. I wish I could spend more time with them to get to know them more. I do hope to meet them again someday.



It’s Monday again and I am tired from the trip we had last night. Today I planned to finish Week Two of my Letters to Blumentritt, upload more photos and just hang out in the house all day. I shuffled my time uploading and writing everything I can. Good thing the house was wifi enabled. It made me work in my room while I watched TV.


That afternoon, our cousin took us to Pala Hotel for an overnight stay. I’m sure Manang Jaz was excited because she loved hitting the slots and testing her luck. We arrived just in time to meet with Tito Hip and his family who were staying at the hotel as well.

Mexican Resto

My mom and I stayed in a room with 2 queen size beds. The view from the window was incredible, over-viewing the hotel pool below. At dinner, they offered me to eat the authentic Mexican cuisine or plain old American hotdogs. Seriously, I was going for hotdogs because I already ate at Taco Bell. But they said it was going to be a different experience and advised me to try the authentic Mexican food. So I did. All us guys went over at a nearby Mexican restaurant to order some Super Nachos and Burritos. The setup of the resto reminded me of the carinderias back in the Philippines. The burritos were bigger and stuffier than Taco Bell. I could only eat half of it but it tasted great.

The rest of the night was a bore. I stayed with the kids as the grownups went to the casino. It wasn’t long until Mom came up and we retired into our beds.


The following five days, we just spent most of our time at home. Manung Totit was busy with his work and Manang Jaz was taking care of Joshua. I usually just watched a movie or a show on TV. I began reading the graphic novels I bought – Kingdom Come, Understanding Comics, Making Comics and Batman: The Killing Joke. Mom had already arranged for my extended stay, an extra three more weeks. I keep thinking about the art training and thesis I should be doing. The frustration is beginning to build up and just like my friend Isaiah used to say, “Nangangati na ang mga kamay ko.”

The dreams I’ve been having lately seems to touch subjects such as my high school friends, a sort-of class reunion and my hometown. In a way, I am subconsciously missing all of them. Thankfully, the internet exists in this time of age where the world is getting smaller and smaller. I sent a ping to some of my closest friends, wondering how they’ve been doing. It’s good to know that they still remember me and they miss me too. Sometimes the simplest things make you the happiest man in the world.


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