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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pacific Coast Highway

I went to the Pacific Coast Highway on the 27th day of June to explore some beach resorts which lie across the high way. Through the Orange County bus, the drop off place was Irvine Cove but I took a 15-20 minute walk to see the beaches in the coast line. It was quite dangerous because it is high way and the cars are in the fast driving mode. You can't definitely cross the road because that was risky. I took some shots and later on figure out to take the bus on its way to the center in Laguna Beach. I went to the park to take some photos as well.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Visiting Irvine Regional Park

Yesterday was a great day but exhausting one. I had the chance to go to Irvine, it took me several few days to go with my plan for Irvine. I took the bus from Chapman in Stanton for about more than an hour travel time to Irvine Regional Park.

This park was huge with some trails to walk when you want to see more about the park can offer. It has a lake, a horse ride and a train within the place. It has a zoo too but I didn't go there. Instead I went up to the trail.

Here are some of the photos that I took for Irvine Regional Park:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Mission San Gabriel Archangel in California

I had no idea about the missions and its historical relevance, prior to visiting San Juan Capistrano as I and my relative planned it for the purpose of taking some shots for my travel photography blog. My friend Malou, in one of our meet-ups introduced me to the missions, that Capistrano was one of the 21 missions in California. To those who have missed out reading my previous blog posts, I visited the San Juan Capistrano and San Buenaventura missions recently. My curiosity and interest about the missions expanded as soon as she brought me to Ventura, California to visit the “Things from Heaven” angel store.

 According to Wikipedia, a California Mission is a Spanish Mission in California comprise of religious and military outpost by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order between 1769 and 1833 to spread the Christian faith among local Native Americans. Today, the missions are among the state’s oldest structures and the most visited historic monuments, consisting 21 missions.

Last Saturday, June 15, Malou picked me up at Starbucks in Las Palmas, Buena Park for San Gabriel mission taking us about an hour drive to the South Mission Drive .

The third “California Mission” I visited is known as “Mission San Gabriel Archangel" and is founded in September 8, 1771. It became the wealthiest and most prosperous of all the missions.

The Gift Shop is the main entrance to the Gardens and once inside, the first thing that appears is the Fountain Plaza.

The Gift Shop serves as the main entrance to the Garden
We found also the open fireplaces were used for cooking. After the kitchen was destroyed by fire in 1812, open fire places were built. It was designed to hold iron kettles in which beef and corn were cooked to feed the Indians. The replicas are similar in size, shape and material, and are built directly over, the original fire places.
The Fountain Plaza

The Fireplace
Open Fireplace where beef and popcorn soup are cooked

The Quadrangle was erected 150 years after the Mission was founded and the statue of Father Junipera Serra was erected. The grapevine here was perhaps planted about 1775.

The Grapevine
The Quadrangle
Next up was the Museum built in 1812 originally was composed of weaving rooms, the granary, carpenter shops and sleeping quarters for the mission fathers. It houses some artifacts and collections of garments. Some books are date backs to the late 1489 and a Spanish bedroom set in 1623. We saw one section where they used to make wine and olive oil and said to be that in this time was the largest winery in the state of California.

Inside the museums are some artifacts
Old garments, musical instruments, etc can be found in one of the rooms
The sleeping quarter used for mission
some of the old paintings found in one of the rooms
pictures of the celebrities who visited San Gabriel with autographs
The guide explains some of the historical facts in the museum

Approaching the church is a grapevine that was planted in 1925 and it started to bear fruits. The church was built on cut stone, mortar and brick and it has been said as the oldest structure south of Monterey. Surprisingly a holding of wedding ceremony was about to end the moment we entered the church and we went to the main altar.

A section of the room where they used to make wines

The Grapevine planted in 1925

We passed through “Campo Santo Cemetery” first consecrated in 1778 and this is the oldest cemetery in Los Angeles County. The walls which surround this area were rebuilt in 1940 but the foundations are original. Interestingly to learn that priests who passed away were laid down to rest in this section.

This section serves as the cemetery for the priests

Inside the church after the wedding ceremony
approaching the main alter
The altar
The garden where you can see the big cross

We decided to go back to the Gift Shop and saw some miniatures of 21 missions sold for around $25.
Outside the garden where the Gift Shop serves as the main entrance, you can see the modern church located on the other side of the mission.
The Gift Shop where you can see the 21 missions miniature is sold

The modern church outside the mission garden
View of the modern church outside
A woman praying and in the left is the statue of San Lorenzo Ruiz

The day temperature continues to soar that we decided to leave the mission going to the Valley road where we had our late lunch at China Bistro.
China Bistro where we had lunch
Lunch for $30

The vicinity serves as the trade center where Chinese grocery stores, shops, restaurants, etc. can be found.

Chinese shopping place found at the Valley Rd in San Gabriel

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Photography Workshop: Winged Things

Last Saturday, June 8, I had this opportunity to attend the workshop conducted by Fred Blood of the Southern California Photographers Association. Themed as "Winged Things" in Wonderland Studio Series, the workshop was more about photo shooting fun assisted by the staffs. I learned so much, from the proper setting of camera, correct lighting, shooting a model with their costume and more. Shots that I did last Saturday strengthens my experience as a photographer and it allows me to build my own portfolio.

So here are the results of the fun shoots I did last Saturday. There were about 8 models, but only two photos that I wanted to  post in my blog.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Things From Heaven

The main purpose of our trip last June 2 was to see the angel store in Ventura, California. The "Things From Heaven" is the biggest angel store in the world. It is owned by Rev. Keith Richardson and his wife Francesca and it opened in 1995. Originally operating as angel gifts and gourmet foods, after a few months, they learned that customers wanted the angels while the food sat on the shelves.
Angel store owner Rev Keith and wife Francesca

Upper sign of the store at the Main St.

Malou and Elvene

 According to Rev. Keith, this storefront in Main St. used to be the worst part of downtown Ventura where some street people in the recessed entrance to the small shop were begging for money. It had most recently used as a drug rehabilitation recreation center, had been fumigated, and dead rats and cockroaches were spread among the cigarettes. As the place was hopeless mess, Francesca announced as "perfect" for angel store and that's what her dream was all about.
Elven showing the item to Irene as Malou take a look
Some visitors writing the message on a note and post in a wall

Prior to opening the store, Francesca had a recurring dreams where she would find herself walking outside and looking skyward and that the clouds would open to reveal hundreds of beautiful angels as she smiled at them, and they would smile back at her.

Me, making my own request to the angels
Some of the angel items in the store
Entrance to the art gallery of Andy Lakey

Andy Lakey, a prolific angel artist passed away in Oct. 4, 2012

Author of Doors In Heaven Keith Richardson explains the artwork of Andy Lakey

On the other hand, Rev. Keith published a book "Doorsways to Heaven" traces how he and his wife Francesca start an unlikely angel gift store and go on to sell art by the world famous angel artist Andy Lakey. It shows how people lives are touched by this art and describes angelic encounters, miraculos healings and communication with lost loved ones.
Some discussion with Rev. Keith Richardson inside the art gallery
Feeling the spiritual energy of the art.
Some of the angels display

Andy Lakey, a self taught artist became comatose, woke up and proceeded to make a prolific angel paintings and wood carvings but he passed away on October 4, 2012 with his spiritual energy paintings displayed at "Things From Heaven" angel store.
Irene, Elven with angel store owner Francesca and Rev. Keith
Rev. Keith showing us around the store explaining where they get the angels
Malou making her own wishes

On the rear side of the store you can find the Andy Lakey Art Gallery and in the walls before the entrance door are the letters to the angels posted in a wall that visitors hoping that their wishes are granted and according to my friend several prayer requests of the visitors who come miles away, miraculously happened when they go to the store to write messages on a little piece of paper and pray.
Elven and Irene's writing down their wishes
The front of the store at the Main St.

We went inside the gallery where we had some great discussions with Rev Keith about the angel store and Andy Lakey's paintings. We've also seen the video featured on CBS about Andy Lakey's experience when he woke up from being a comatose, that doctors said he may not wake up but he had 20 plus more years since the incident happened.

As soon as we touch his paintings in a wall, we felt there was a spiritual energy running to our hands and face. We bought some angel key chains, angel protection pocket items and I bought Archangel Michael's deck card by Doreen Virtue.

 Visiting the angel store "Things From Heaven" was our last stop in Ventura, and also we went to former U.S. President Ronald Reagan Museum and Library before my friends dropped me off in Anaheim.

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