San Fran Swoopin’

By Reuben Dongalen Jr. 

Posing at Twin Peaks Summit.jpg

Courtesy of Jay Brian


Last year, around this time, I was in San Francisco for a dance competition called Bridge: NorCal. 

We won. 

Trophy with Jay Brian.jpg

Courtesy of Unity Dance Co.


So, it was safe to say that my first trip into Northern California was off to a good start.

As soon as we got there, the heat was killer, especially coming from Vancouver just on the tail end of its winter season. We stayed at a Travelodge, and it wasn’t the best of places to stay, but, it was an open motel, so we were loud, and we had a ton of practice space.

For the first days of our stay before the competition, a lot of the travel was to walk around and eat, with the rare taxi rides in and around town.

In-&-Out and Cheesecake Factory were the only prominent places that I sat down and had a bite. Otherwise, we were eating Jack in the Box, McDonalds, Denny’s (which was right outside of the motel lobby), etc. Safe to say I wasn’t there for the food, which was my mistake, because San Fran is known for some great eats. But, that’ll be another experience for the next time.

On our final night of preparation before the competition, we travelled downtown and rented out a studio for a practice and showcase. 

 Gift Shop in San Fran.jpg

The studio was dope, the travel was fun (however, fell asleep on the bus ride there), met some good people at the showcase, then ended off the night at Cheesecake Factory. 

Competition, we won, yes, all good, and more. 

The day after, I had the chance to spend time with my friends living in NorCal, including Kim Santos, the sister I never had who made the move from Vancouver down after marriage. Read up on her, here!

We had Shaking Crab for lunch; absolutely delicious. The seafood was rich, but the crab legs, to the shrimp to the garlic sausage was to die for. Squeeze the lemon over the rice, some fat globs of potatoes – my oh, my, it was great. 


Courtesy of Phantom Gourmet


Following the lunch, we ended up at Ketsourine, and the macaron ice-cream sandwich was… damn. good. 


Courtesy of Kimberly Santos


On our final day, we went through a crash course exploration of a city in a couple hours, which proved to be an incredible experience, thanks to our friend, Jenylyn. 

The City from Twin Peaks Summit.jpg

Twin Peaks Summit, In-&-Out, downtown whilst the sun was out; there was an incredible amount to see.

I was blown away by the aesthetics of San Fran, and the view of the city was beautiful. It’s a romantic city. If you’re looking to take someone on a date, there are a ton of places to go. 

Uniqlo at Night.jpgshopping-in-san-francisco

Nighttime in San Fran.jpg

Photos courtesy of Reuben Dongalen Jr.


Definitely looking at travelling down to NorCal with my girlfriend in the near future.

I can’t wait till the next time I’m in San Francisco. I wish I had more time to explore, but all I can say is, the food is great, the views and places to see are beautiful, the people are wonderful and there’s room to discover a little bit about yourself. 

All of that happened in a five day trip, technically two, considering the competition time frame. 

Go to San Francisco, get lost and find something new. 


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