I kept it super low key with my son today and took him to Easter Mass at our local church. The building was filled with people with some left standing the whole time.
During the homily, a short Filipino woman in her 70s, walked towards our bench and sat next to me. She was a cute little old lady. Her energy was so strong, I couldn’t help but turn to look at her from time to time just to smile at her. She would smile at me back then we’d return our focus on the Priest. As we read the scriptures out loud from the big projector screen, her voice lit up the room. She prayed loud and she sang her heart out. She had the lyrics memorized while I was over in my holy space mumbling the verse Lol. Playing it off by tapping my son on the head and pulling on his arm just to get his attention. Attendees even turned around to look at her as if they were bothered. I personally had no issue with it. Her voice was beautiful. Then suddenly the vibe changed.
In the Catholic Church, some of us receive Communion. In 2007, I attended RCIA classes at Christ the King church on Thursday nights. Then in 2008, I completed the III and IV Sacrament. I received the Eucharist for the first time, which is a thin, round, tasteless wafer given by the Priest (Body of Christ)
It was time to receive the Eucharist during Mass. We stood up and waited in line. I normally tell my son to walk in front of me since he hasn’t been through Communion yet. But I tell him to walk up to the Priest with his arms crossed against his chest so he can be blessed by him. Then I follow behind and receive the bread. After receiving the bread we both walked back to the bench and got on our knees and prayed. While I was praying on my knees, I looked to my right at the lady and she was in tears. I was in shock. I couldn’t understand why this happy little old lady was singing joyously one moment and then crying the next. I overheard her praying hard and fast in Tagalog and she was in tears! And that’s when I realized that she was really hurting inside. I slowly understood why she prayed and sang so loudly – she wanted God to hear her.
A huge part of me wanted to stop praying and give a hug but instead, I shifted my focus and prayed for her healing. She was obviously hurting inside and all I wanted to do is pray to God that she will be okay. I’m not a super religious woman, but I believe in the power of prayer and I continue to pray for those who yearn to be healed – I am one of those people.
Amongst all the places I love to visit in San Francisco, it’s Clarion Alley. This alley lies between 17th and 18th Street in San Francisco’s Mission District and is known for its murals by the Clarion Alley Mural Project. I try to come here every few months because the artwork changes every so often. But I noticed that some murals have remained on some buildings for more than a year.
I stopped by the alley yesterday since I had some time to kill. After my short walk on Valencia Street, I decided to grab a prawn burrito and my favorite, horchata, at Pancho Villa Taqueria on 16th St.
Here are some photos that I captured during my walk. Some were taken from my Canon and the couple were taken with my iPhone.
The mural above happens to be one of my favorites! 😍
Hella Hella. ✊🏽
I have more photos but these are currently on my Top list of murals on Clarion Alley. Except for the exquisite painting of the woman below. I captured this while I was walking on Valencia Street. How beautiful is this? 😍
As I prepare for my trip to Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for other places to check out locally. After doing some research, I found a park not too far from me called, “Albany Bulb” which is located in the Albany Waterfront next to the Golden Gate Fields race track. The Bulb was known to be a landfill for construction materials until 1987, when it went through a series of legal issues. The park later became a homeless encampment, a place for teenagers to wild out, and a perfect place for dog owners to let their pets run about. So I bet you’re wondering why a woman like me with no dogs would be interested in seeing this piece of land, let alone an old construction dump!
Even though I consider myself a newbie when it comes to travel and photography, I always tend to find beauty in almost everything, including landfills. 😂 Albany Bulb just isn’t a place for hikers and dog walkers, this oasis is surrounded by sculptures and graffiti art painted on concrete slabs. It’s an art lovers haven. The further you hike, the more you see.
I took my son with me to check this out. I made a huge mistake by pulling up directions from my Yelp App (travelers beware! Do not use Yelp to navigate. It gave me the wrong directions.) I ended up parking my car at Point Isabel, which is a huge dog park next to the water. There were dogs everywhere!
TIP: Point Isabel is a Dog Park. 🐶 And parking is very limited, especially on a weekend. On a happier note, they have restrooms 😂
Anyway, my son and I took the San Francisco Bay Trail from Point Isabel which is a mile away from Albany Bulb. The trail’s path ran parallel between Interstate 80 and the water. The walk wasn’t pleasant since the freeway is literally next to the trail. We arrived about 45 minutes later. And yes, it took us 45 minutes to walk a mile and a half. Mind you, my son is 6 and gets easily distracted.
Another TIP: If you’re with little ones, unless you own a bicycle with multiple seats, do NOT park at Point Isabel if you don’t want to walk a mile and a half!
We walked towards the sandy area where we came across more dogs running about. From that area, you can either hang out on the beach (watch out for poop) or catch a distant glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. There wasn’t much to see. After that, we took another trail towards the south end of the Bulb where we came across a castle made out of scavenged rebar, plaster, and concrete.
“Mad Mark’s Castle” was completed in 2000 however, it deteriorated through the years. This is a before and after pic of the castle.
The before pic was taken by a photographer named Peter Merts. The second photo was captured from my camera.
My son and I hung out at the castle for the most part. The castle offers a panoramic view of the ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge. We didn’t get to explore the rest of the Bulb since we had a long walk back to Point Isabel, however, I do plan on returning so I can check out the sculptures and the rest of the art work.
Here is a video from our short visit to the Bulb.
Discover the Bay | Albany Bulb
Balmy Alley is a block long alley filled with a collection of colorful murals located in the Mission District between 24th street and Garfield Square. The alley includes a current painting of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, a mural describing gentrification in the Mission, and human rights. The earliest mural in the alley date to 1972 painted by a woman named Maria Galivez and children in a local child care center.
TIP: Balmy Alley is best viewed by foot or on a guided tour through Precita Eyes Muralists.
Here is a video from my recent visit to Balmy Alley (dated March 2017). Please note that if you plan on visiting the alley in the future, the murals constantly change so some of the artwork that you see in my video may not be there when you do decide to go.
This photo was taken from one of the alleyways off 24th Street. Throughout the Mission, you will find murals and graffiti art painted on walls and fences.
I grew up down the street near Dolores Park. My family rented an an apartment off 16th and Dolores. In the early 1970’s to early 80’s, my family paid roughly around $300 a month for rent. But since the tech boom in the 90’s and recent years, young professionals moved into the neighborhood initiating gentrification, raising rent and housing prices. I was browsing on YouTube and found this video describing gentrification in the Mission District. The neighborhood has changed a lot since I moved out of San Francisco. Check it out!
PLACES TO VISIT
- Mission San Francisco de Asis (Mission Dolores Church), the oldest standing building in San Francisco, located on 16th and Dolores
- Dolores Park (located near the Mission Dolores Church) I will cover more about Dolores Park another day
- Precita Eyes Muralists
- Alley Cat Books, 24th Street and Treat
- Dianda’s Italian Pastry (My personal recommendation), 2883 Mission Street
- Clarion Alley and Balmy Alley for the street art enthusiasts
- “I hate food.” said no one ever! Dozens of taquerias are located throughout the neighborhood. If you’re craving tacos, the Mission District is the epicenter of authentic Mexican Food. It is also know to have a high concentration of Guatemalan, Salvadorean, and Nicaraguan restaurants. If you want to try a really good burrito, I highly recommend Papalote SF off 24th and Mission – don’t leave the restaurant without taking home a jar of their Roasted Tomato Salsa!
- Public Transportation is highly recommended to avoid spending countless minutes looking for a parking spot. If you plan to travel by BART, you can either get off at the 16th Street Bart Station or 24th Street Bart Station. By bus, you can take the 14 MISSION.