Summer Travels

Preston and family on the Sigatoka River Safari
Riyana Padillo

Riyana Padillo

This summer I went to the Philippines for a month with my family. In past summers spending quality time with both of my parents on vacation was not possible because they both work long hours to provide for me and my siblings. My cousins joined us and we sat next to each other on the plane for 14 hours on the way to the Philippines. Upon arrival, the heat and humidity was overwhelming and this was just not for me. After a three hour delay in Manila, we reached Mindanao and went directly to my childhood home which was filled with many photos of my mom and my aunt as children. We enjoyed the lovely beaches of Samal Island and stayed at my great grandmother’s home for several days and celebrated my cousin’s 18th birthday. Later on in the trip we visited Eden Nature Park and went to SM Lanang to watch Thor: Love & Thunder. After that, I reunited with my childhood best friend. We also stayed at a hotel called the Japanese Gardens and enjoyed the swimming pool all to ourselves.

The day before we returned to America, my siblings and I joined our uncle at a local arcade and we ate waffle tacos. My summer vacation to the Philippines was a trip I will never forget. It brought my family closer than ever before and strengthened our bond. I was able to see new places and enjoy new experiences unlike anything I’ve experienced in America. 


Danny Farias

I spent three weeks in a rural part of Zihuatanejo, Mexico as per my yearly tradition of visiting relatives  both there and in Morelia. It’s my Dad’s hometown. We go there to visit my Grandma and for the sentimental value of the town. This summer I reunited with my cousin, my best friend in Mexico. I attended my baby niece’s christening, wearing a special dress I bought just for the occasion. Spending 21 days in scorching 100-degree weather with no A/C and bug bites all over my legs built my character, and for that, I couldn’t be more grateful.  One thing I will always enjoy about visiting Zihuatanejo are the miles and miles of beaches and lovely lakes. Despite my swimming abilities – or lack thereof – jumping into a cool body of water is one of my favorite pastimes. It’s a cathartic sort of activity; I’m never quite myself as when I’m in a nice pool. Especially in the summer.

My parents immigrated from Mexico to America, but sadly, like many second generation Mexican-Americans, I was never properly connected to my cultural background. These summer trips to Mexico make me feel more, well, “me.” It doesn’t matter what others think, I’m proud of my identity as a Mexican-American and I’ve learned to cherish every second I spend in my motherland during the summer.


Lahra Reyes

This is one of the best summer breaks I’ve ever had. My family and I went on a week- long trip to Maui, Hawaii in July. This was the first time my family visited Hawaii and it was also my first time flying on a plane. As the plane left the ground at take off I was terrified, but after being in the air for a few minutes I felt better. Once we landed in Hawaii, we drove our rental car to the hotel, which had its own private beach. While in Hawaii, we visited different beaches, went on hikes, attended a luau, and tried local food. Out of all the things we did, my favorite activity had to be hiking and experiencing the natural surroundings in Hawaii. Exploring the mountains and waterfalls felt so surreal because you can barely see such sights here in California. This trip also helped a lot with family bonding since we barely ever have time to vacation together.