In the PHILA

Two weeks ago, I went on a weekend getaway to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


The main reason I was there was to attend a leadership conference at UPenn with the various Filipino Intercollegiate organizations that I’ve grown to know over the past year.

In brief, the conference was poorly organized and not ideal in terms of overall experience, but I will say that my first time in Philly was a memorable one.


Day One:

We arrived at our hotel in the Downtown area in the early afternoon. It was super humid at 70 degrees compared to the 40 degrees we had just come from! Dropped our stuff and explored the South Streets for food and entertainment.

We opted for a non-touristy, lowkey version of the infamous Philly Cheesesteak and were extremely happy with the results.

This “Prov, Widdout” cheesesteak is from Jim’s, where you oughtta order like a local lest you risk being charged more, or ridiculed for your foolishness. How I wish I could get another one of these tonight! Provolone cheese melted right on the bun, no onions, and juicy juicy meat.

We kept walking towards the water, and stopped by Rita’s for Italian ices on the way.

Walked all the way back to the hotel, stopping at Villa Sneakers, and killing time, admiring the Magical Gardens and  street art before it began to rain.

One of my younger friends from high school, Gabby, had just started college this past year at Swarthmore and we were delighted to see her for dinner at a hand-pulled noodle shop in Chinatown nearby.


After, we walked past the Independence Hall area (snuck a peek at the closed-off Liberty Bell), all the way to Penn’s Landing, where we got ice cream from the Franklin Fountain.

 The Franklin Fountain was a cute little spot, where every flavor of soda and ice cream is homemade and handmade. Gabby and I shared the creamy Pistachio ice cream and a Root Beer. The Root Beer was extremely tangy, almost medicinal and too strong to drink whole, but it was definitely authentic flavor.

Finally, we walked back Downtown (a whole 2 miles) and split up.


Day Two:

Conference Day at UPenn! I had to dress up in professional attire, but the rain from the previous night had caused a severe 20 degree drop in temperatures that eventually sent me back to change my clothes later in the afternoon (lol).

Ran into some of my friends from Stachehaus Apparel during Workshop One. They always brighten my day with their humor and taste for adventure.

Speaking of adventure, R and I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the Rocky Statue and Steps during lunch break. Then we ate at Shake Shack on Drexel University’s campus, though I definitely think the ones here in NY are more flavorful for some reason.

 Got back to Conference in time for more workshops though I did end up wandering quite a bit.
Eventually found time to get Cold Brew, Cinnamon Vanilla and Strawberry Doughnuts from Federal Donuts nearby with Stachehaus, R, and J. Definitely needed the midday sugar boost.

Conference ended around 6PM and everyone went home to prepare for post-conference festivities.

Day Three:

Woke up early to pack everything up and check out of the hotel.

Back to Penn’s Landing/Old City for brunch at Amada, a somewhat fancy Spanish-food place recommended by previous visitors on Yelp.


We started with some Cadi Urgelia cheese and Nutella, and moved onto entrees quickly after.

Amada’s Omelette: Serrano ham, Manchego cheese, and potato hash

Eggs Benedict (not pictured): Poached Egg, Chorizo Pamplona, Brioche, Black Truffle Hollandaise

The food was good but not the best of either dish that we’ve ever had. Also, the staff wasn’t particularly friendly, and the service was bare minimum respectable; in fact they seemed stand-offish because we were dressed as traveling college students, not an upscale resident couple with too much time on their hands. So definitely going to scout for less stuffy places next time we want breakfast in Philly.


Philly’s best coffee is also considerably far from the downtown/college areas we were in, so I only got to really buy good beans from a cafe near Amada called Customs House. They weren’t exactly professional baristas, but were nice and the effort was noticed. I was pretty happy to know they sold Ceremony Roasters, and bought a bag of their Destroyer espresso blend for home.


Bought some all-white Nike Air Huaraches I’d been eyeing from Villa, and got to the bus loading zone.

We arrived back at my house in NY around 9:30PM. What a journey.



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