Having immediate family members living in the US has a lot of perks: free accommodation, free food, free tour and even sponsored plane tickets from one state to another. Hihihi.

From this post up to the 13th state, my posts will be about visiting my dad's siblings and of course, my father included. For my first stop is my dad's youngest brother - Tito Hilbert who lives in Rock Hill, South Carolina. I love how their house is situated along a street named Memory Lane. How nostalgic.

When I arrived at my uncle's house, this note from Julia (my younger cousin) welcomed me. (But she didn't wake up hahaha)

I was really touched when I saw this in her reminder board.

My uncle already gave me a heads up before that there's nothing much to see in their town and I'm fine with it as long as I'm with my family. But he still took me to Downtown Rock Hill just because.. hahaha

For dinner..

Half ribs + mashed sweet potatoes!

My other cousin Mikkel wasn't home in Rock Hill when I arrived because he's currently studying in Clemson University (he's taking up Chemical Engineering). So we visited him and he toured us around his campus.

I'm super duper proud of him because he's so hardworking and smart (like his ate ehemm hahaha jk)! I can't believe he's already in college. It seemed just a while ago when he was running around our house and playing with his toys. Haaaay. Since when did you grow up too fast????

Feeling Tiger for a day!

I couldn't get any more grateful to this family. Thank you Tito Hilbert, Tita Pam, Mikkel and Julia for a memorable stay in South Carolina.


Here's a super quick and funny story about my trip to Pennsylvania:

We drove to Pennsylvania from Delaware just to eat at a delicious Japanese restaurant. I looooooooooove Japanese cuisine so it was worth the drive!

sushi and maki overload!!!

Cutie Aki <3

Craving for Japanese food right now....

We didn't have much time to explore the state of Pennsylvania because 1) my Ninang needs to go to work the next day and 2) I'm going back to NYC to meet my Aunt.

Don't worry self, there will be a next time. I hope.


If my trip to New Jersey was about family time, then my quick trip to Delaware was about catching up with my godmother (it's actually her late husband who is my legit godfather but then I already consider her my "Ninang").

In my whole life, there were only two godparents that I really knew and met in person: my dad's brother and my mom's friend. *Quick side story why I'm not familiar with my other godparents: I was baptized in Rome, Italy and I was just a baby when my parents brought me home to the Philippines. So while growing up, I really didn't meet my other godparents since (I think) most of them are still in Italy. (I'm not so sure though hehe)

Going back.. Besides the two godparents that I know of, I had the chance to meet another godparent in US. She saw me on Facebook and knew I was in the States so she called me and invited me to visit her in Delaware. See how the power of social networking sites works!

When I got to Delaware, I didn't have the luxury of time to explore the state. My purpose of visit there was really to meet my godparent.

I arrived in Delaware late night because I came from New York to meet my college friend. It took me two hours to get to Wilmington, Delaware.

When we got home, I was surprised that my Ninang prepared a dinner feast for me. I felt shy because there was only one person to feed and I don't really eat a lot during dinner.

Tell me how am I going to finish all these???

After my late dinner, time to get some rest because it was a very exhausting day for me. I traveled to three states in one day. (Side story: I was in Boston, MA in the morning then New York in the afternoon then Delaware in the evening) It was so nice of my Ninang to prepare a whole room for me. Honestly, it's one of the best feelings ever whenever I sleep in a room of my own because in the Philippines I'm used to having my own room.

Next day, it was our godmother-goddaughter bonding. Our first stop was at a coffee shop. Then we had a bit of shopping and went to a park to see the sunset.

It was great catching up with my Ninang who I met after 25 years because I heard a lot of stories and I got to know more about my parents especially my late mom when they were working together in Italy.

To my Ninang Joyce, thank you so much for your kindness and hospitality when I was in Delaware. I know you're busy at work yet you gave some of your time to meet me, get to know me, tell stories and say nice things about my mom. I hope to see you again:)


My short visit to New Jersey wasn't about exploring, it was mainly for family time. When I arrived in the US in May, I wasn't able to see my relatives immediately. It took me almost two months to see my family due to summer camp work. So when I had a chance to have a long break from summer camp work, I immediately booked my bus ticket to New York so my Uncle could pick me up there. Imagine how comforting it was for me to finally see familiar faces and be with people dear to me. Even if I didn't get to explore different places in New Jersey, spending time with my family was more than enough already.

I wasn't able to take much photos so I will just share here some of my snaps. Good thing I was able to save my snaps from Snapchat. :)

Here's a short clip of my first night in New Jersey. I slept at my Uncle's house in Bergenfield.

In the morning, I had the staple Filipino breakfast. This was the first Filipino breakfast I had since my arrival in the US.

Then we watched Spiderman movie.

 After the movie, we headed for a lunch buffet to meet my grandparents.

Then, we drove to NYC for some sightseeing (see previous post about my New York trip). I love how my Uncle's house is just 15-20 minutes drive to NYC.

Tke kids ran out of energy from our NYC tour so we capped off the day by having our dinner at their favorite Thai restaurant.

And on my second/last night in New Jersey, I spent it at my grandparents' place.

Thank you Tito Kelvin and family, Lola Zeny and Lolo Dan for your hospitality during my short stay in New Jersey. 'Til next time! :)


4/13: NEW YORK

Lauv would sing at the start of the song I Like Me Better: "To be young and in love in New York City..", but as for me I'd change it into: "To be young and in love with New York City". Yes, I definitely fell in love with New York. And I was 5 years early from my deadline of visiting and exploring NY because it's in my bucket list to see NY before I turn 30. At 25, I scrapped off this item in my bucket list so yeeeeeeyyyyyyy!!!

New York is the same as what I imagined and saw from different movies and tv series I watched like New Year's Eve and Gossip Girl - the hustle and bustle of the city, cool apartments, bright lights at night, the skyscrapers and everything I thought of about New York. Now I fully understand why it's called the "city that never sleeps" and it's "where concrete jungle dreams are made of".

Allow me to share with you the places I went to when I was in New York (the city in particular). Well at least once in my life and for a short time, I experienced being a "New York girl". Hahahaha.


Times Square during the day

Times Square during the night

I took this photo almost midnight and look how still busy the city is


Some said that if you touch the bull's balls it's for good luck and fertility. Being the gullible (and desperate hahaha) me, I touched the bull's balls. What's there to lose, right? HAHAHA




Washington Square Park
High Line (an elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail)





This is probably one of my most favorite parts of my NYC trip because I was able to visit two of my must see museums - MET and MOMA. Back in college, I only saw artworks of renowned artists via photos, video clips or PowerPoint presentations. But when I saw the different artworks right in front of my eyes, it felt so soooooooo surreal!!! The art studies major in me is shakingggggg!!!

1) National Museum of the American Indian

2) Metropolitan Museum (MET)

3) Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)


Besides NYC proper, I was also able to explore some places in Brooklyn (which I think for me the less busier side of New York) because I stayed at my aunt's apartment in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Bridge

Another thing I love about New York is that places are easily accessible either via subway/train or even via walking. But for someone like me who loves to walk around when traveling, New York is a perfect place because wherever you turn while walking, there are sights worthy of a picture. See what I'm talking about below. :)

Subway stories

Wishin' I own an apartment in New York

To end my post about New York, let me thank some of the people who toured me around and gave me a warm welcome during my stay in New York:

1) Tito Kelvin and his family who toured me around during my first visit in NYC (July 2017)

2) Tita Jen who allowed me to stay in her apartment for few days during my second visit in New York (August 2017)

Photo grabbed from Lola Bea's fb

3) My college orgmate and friend Gelo who treated me to one of the best cheesecake shops in NYC and spared me some time in spite his very busy schedule in law school

4) Miguel my former student from my first ever moderating class in Ateneo High School  who took me to various places around NYC and for teaching me how to use the subway hehe

I know there are still places I haven't seen yet in NY and this gives me more reason to come back next time. I will surely come back for you, New York!