10 Observations About Los Angeles

Thats me with Tish, Alex and Erika- just hangin out after I flew back from LA.
That's me with Tish, Alex and Erika- just hangin' out after I flew back from LA.

I flew in from Los Angeles just last week, and I gotta say- there’s really no place like home, no matter how crappy home is.

Needless to say, my friends took me out so we could swap stories- they would update me on what’s been going on in the Philippines, and I could tell them about my observations on life in LA. For the most part, they’re very curious on how things are in Los Angeles and the United States. In fact, they’re quite open with the idea of checking it out themselves and come over for a visit some time soon as well.

So we hooked up the weekend after my arrival at one of our favorite spots- Banapple in Katipunan– for stories over coffee and cake.

This is what I had to share about Los Angeles:

1. Despite being such a large city, Los Angeles is so much cleaner than the Philippines- better city-wide sanitation programs, much more trees in and around the city, and everyone doing their part in keeping the environement clean.

This photo of the Americana at Brand was taken at around 7pm.
This photo of the Americana at Brand was taken at around 7pm.

2. At the time I was in LA, the sun sets at around 8pm. Now, ain’t that something?

3. Los Angeles weather is generally agreeable with Pinoys- it’s generally cooler, but the temperature can get warm as much as it does here in the Philippines. Though my sister says that it can get even warmer. Warm enough to start brushfires up in the mountains and the other dryer spots. Yikes!

4. Los Angeles is all freeway. You gotta drive from place to place for the most part- which means having a car (and subsequently, driving it around) is definitely a necessity.

5. Traffic violations are stiff: swerving from a car pool lane for example can get you fined US$500, and another US$500 swerving back in. Just before I left, a new law was being enforced: all mobile phones must be hands-free when you’re driving in LA.

6. Speaking of traffic: a traffic jam in LA is like 2pm or 3pm traffic down in EDSA- cars slowing down to 10 or 15mph, so you’re still moving considerably, but definitely nothing compared to standstill jams we have in the Philippines during rush hour.

7. Services as generally expensive: cabs, salons, spas, repairs, plumbing, carpentry, etc. Some of the few things I actually miss from the Philippines- cheap laundry services, cabs whenever I want to take em, a massage every couple weeks, and a haircut every few.

8. Lots of great food places- in fact, Los Angeles is the kind of place that makes you want to start a food blog. You get massive food servings for your money. And there’s a great mix of familiar restaurant chains and local food spots.

The Veal Parmigiana at Fratellis in Montrose
The Veal Parmigiana at Fratelli's in Montrose

You also got a good variety of groceries, supermarkets, local farmers’ markets and specialty stores that carry just about any ingredient you need to cook that recipe you may have seen on The Food Network or Top Chef.

Inside the Whole Foods in Pasadena, as seen in Top Chef Season 4
Inside the Whole Foods in Pasadena, as seen in Top Chef Season 4

You won’t miss Filipino food since there are also a lot of Pinoy and Asian stores in the general vicinity of Los Angeles- which means you have access at least to the ingredients you’d need for Filipino home cooking. A lot of neighborhoods are even a lot more Pinoy-friendly, with a variety of Asian restaurants and stores- including Philippine fast food outlets

9. Also a real big deal: ever-rising gas prices. A lot of people have also opted to commute more, ride bikes more, and even work from home more.

10. Los Angeles has great opportunities for making cash. Forget about the recession- it’s still economically better than the Philippines by a wide margin. With good enough timing, you can find just about any job you want, or land a series of part-time gigs, or even go completely entrepreneurial if you feel like you can meet the needs of a specific niche.

At the Silver Saddle Ranch, June 2008
Renzie in LA: At the Silver Saddle Ranch, June 2008

Bottom Line: Los Angeles California is a great place for Filipinos visiting the United States for the first time. They will find the weather generally to their liking, and the proximity to other Pinoys- particularly family and friends already in the US very appealing.

Also, with the opportunity to make a lot more cash whether through employment, part-time work or business, anyone with the right skill sets and a passion to make money will find it very fulfilling.

Cheers, everyone!

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8 thoughts on “10 Observations About Los Angeles

  1. yeah its really nice in L.A., visited couple of times and thinking of relocating there..as much as they say that nothing feels like home…whats happening in the philippines now is really depressing

  2. nicolle: yeah i thought the same way too several years back. needless to say, i changed my mind- i hope to relocate to LA before the year ends. look me up when you’re in town- it’s gonna be fun.

    thanks for dropping by!

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  4. LA, clean??? I don’t think so.. It’s one of the dirtiest city I’ve been to. Crime rate is high too. Not to mention it’s so congested.

  5. Lol

    Nancy, you have to understand where I’m coming from.

    Have you ever been to Metro Manila lately? I can name you at least ten other cities elsewhere in the world that are much dirtier than Los Angeles.

    Of course, Los Angeles is not the cleanest city in America by far- I’ve had recommendations to check out Portland, San Jose, Buffalo and Columbus, among others. But coming from Metro Manila, Los Angeles is definitely several steps up on many levels, including cleanliness, crime rate, population density.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Renzie! My main mahn! You, sir, have one of the most wicked gigs goin! You are Master Blogger extraordinaire! I actually caught whiff of you while trollin for 80s music (you brought back Atlantic Starr’s “Secret Lovers” and SOS Band’s “Take your time” back to my bellum; & reference to 99.5RT? CLASSIC.), but then I got suckered (luckily) into clicking on your other sites. But good reads ALL!

    On Los Angeles, it was a city designed for the car commuter, if you notice, the freeways/highways are raised from the city sprawl, so when you are driving in your car, you do not see the towns around you, primarily just the exit signs so you could get from here to there. But you are right, a car is an absolute necessity to live in LA.

    Contrast that with Nor Cal, if you drive from San Francisco to Palo Alto where Stanford is, the freeways are low to the ground, so you experience the towns that you are driving by.

    You could either blame or thank the city planners who designed the freeway systems in these cities if you prefer one or other. You either get where you want to go quicker or you get to experience the city along the way.

    Anyway, I think in any city, you could pick a pocket which is pleasant (in LA, Beverly Hills, Westwood, Montana Street), and one that is not (East LA, Watts, Compton). I think the same is true for all cities. There are pockets of good and bad. You can choose to hang out in the good parts, then perhaps help make the bad parts a little better.


  7. TAEX: hey thanks for sharing all that, man. it’s my intention to do some traveling around the US when i get back to LA later this year.

    Also, great to see an old RT listener around here. Maybe I should write about the SOS Band in my music blog. Great to know you also dig “Take Your Time”.

    Cheers, man!

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