From New York City, I went off to Maryland to meet our “egso” (Gubatnon dialect). I do not know if there is an English translation for the word. However, it’s like you become “egso” to another person when their parents are your godparents or your parents’ godparents on their wedding, which in our case is the latter. To make things easy, let’s settle for family friend. 🙂

After three and a half-hour train ride to Washington, D.C., Kuya Raul and his son, Chandler, picked me up at the Union Station. Then, we take a look at the National Harbor for just a few minutes and proceeded to Maryland to meet the rest of the relatives and kababayans. I am so happy to meet everyone again after more than a decade or two. Get together lasted until three o’clock in the morning, and the best part of it was reminiscing the sweet and glorious memories of our childhood days.

Baragat sa Maryland

A warm welcome from Gubatnons of Maryland! (Castillo and Rocha Family)

Division of labor among Castillo brothers made my stay fully booked! Before going to Maryland, they asked me what were my plans but I didn’t give any itinerary as I do not want to disturb them in their work routines. I actually just want to spend time with old friends, and I also learned from my travels (and in life), activity will depend on the weather and availability…less expectation, less disappointment. Moreover, US weather for a tropical lady like me is either cold or colder! Anyway, to my surprise, Kuya Reiner took a day off so that I could visit Annapolis, the state capital Maryland. It is situated in Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River. It is one of the principal city of the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.

Along with different time zones and coast-to-coast adventures…seeing some of the world famous landmarks in the United States capital should not be missed. Washington, D.C. is the center of all three branches of the federal government of the United States, including the Congress, President, and Supreme Court. The District is also home to many national monuments and museums, which are located on or around the National Mall. And the sweetest thing is that most of the museums are free admission! I went with Roy, the youngest of Castillo’s brothers, going to his office. After an hour drive from Maryland, we arrived at the Lincoln Memorial half past six in the morning. We were early to avoid the terrible traffic during the rush hour. I still had a nice timing for the sunrise even for a cloudy day.

After the early morning shoot, I just stayed inside the building until the temperature is warm enough for me. Then, I went out for a walk at the National Mall. Aside from the nice architecture of the buildings, there were garden sculptures around it as well. And as always, I am fascinated with the collection of amazing photos and paintings in the museums. Below are some of the images from a renowned National Geographic’ Photographer, Frans Lanting, that take me to Africa for a few minutes. The photo exhibit of Iceland landscapes strengthen my dream to do a photo tour (someday!). Lastly, my favorite, the National Art Gallery collections never ceases to impress me.

So, there you go, same with NYC…DC is also a test of endurance of graceful walk-type of trip. If you are interested on the past and present of the Unites States, National Mall and Memorial Parks have it all.