Jay Menes 

Filipino Storyteller, Actor, Facilitator, Adventurer

Life is Simple; Live Simple Life


From Manila Bay to California Bay

Posted by Jay Menes on May 13, 2015 at 12:35 AM


By: Jay Menes

I arrived at San Francisco International Airport around 10:45am, after I got my check-in luggage I proceed to the money exchange counter to have some US dollars to use in buying the train ticket. The organizer told me to take the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and alight at the Rockridge Station then Vicky Reed will pick me up there. At 2:00pm, finally we’ve met at the station. She let me drop-off my things at 2635 Etna St. Berkeley, California. We stayed for a while at the residence of Diane Ferlatte – an Award Winning International Storyteller.


In the evening, we made an ocular visit to the venue, which is Orinda Community Center at #28 Orinda Way, Orinda, California. This is the Festival’s first time to use their facilities. The Festival Committees were there and I was introduced that I am from the Philippines. They prepared an acquaintance dinner for everybody. We went to dine at Siam Orchid Thai Restaurant and the rest of the group was already seated. I sat beside with the three featured Storytellers namely: Kealoha (Hawaii), Clare Murphy (London), and Kate Campbell (Nashville). Gay Ducey – Artistic Director, made an announcement and welcome us all.


April 24th

The Festival Staffs call time is at 2:00pm, but I went there early because I have to commute and take the train to Orinda Station. I walked from my place to Rockridge Station for about 25mins, got out to the next stop and walk for 10mins to the venue. The Chairpersons are Michael Baefsky and Steven Henegar, who designated us for the work to be done before the show begins at 6:00pm. I am in-charge of helping out for everyone. There are four rooms that we have to set-up, monitor and to standby for the duration of the Festival. We also prepared one room for the dinner that day.


The Pinole Valley High School Jazz Band performed as the audiences are filling up the chairs of the Main Auditorium. At 7:00pm the Opening Concert started, the Master of Ceremony welcomes and introduces the featured Storytellers they are Tim Tingle (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), Clare Murphy (London, England) Kate Campbell (Nashville, Tennessee)


After the show Vicky Reed together with Kate and Sara drove us to our place, that’s the start of us being together in the car, as she picks us up and drops us off in our designated house.


April 25th

The second day of the Festival begins at 9:00am, so all of us were there earlier to prepare the rooms. We designated one room for us to eat, serves as a stockroom and for safe keeping of our bags. The vendors are already in place.


Patrice Haan – Harper/Singer/Songwriter played some music before the crowd gets inside. All of the Storytellers performed at the Main Auditorium. There are break-out performances for the four of them in the different rooms throughout the day.


In the afternoon, I performed at the Open Mic Story Swaps and told them the story “La-on and the Seven Headed Dragon” by Gabby Lee and Marcy Dans Lee. It’s about the legend of Mount Kanlaon, an active volcano in Negros.

The evening concert featured the performances of the four Storytellers.


The rooms are all in full house attendance.


April 26th

The third day of the Festival is almost the same as the second day.


Peter Kasin – Irish Fiddle, serenade some music together with other two members. The morning concert performance was delightfully done by the four Storytellers.


This time in their break-out sessions they will be joined by a Mystery Guest/Storyteller from California. It is a privilege that I met one of them and had a good chit-chat; he is Joel ben Izzy – Author/Storyteller. I attended the Kid’s Concert, but there are only few seats occupied. They also have Kid’s Workshop: Stories and Crafts in one small room. We prep up the Main Auditorium for the final concert. Éclair de Lune sets the tone as she performs some music. The Master of Ceremony was Linda Yemoto, she called the Storyteller one at a time to perform. At the end of the concert they acknowledge all of the volunteers/staffs including me; it is their first experience to have a participant from the Philippines in their Storytelling Festival. They finish the Festival with their theme song and Kate Campbell plays her guitar as she always does in her performances.


Now it’s time to clear out the area, remove all the banners/signages, take down decorations, and pack-up our things.


The Committee organized a dinner party at the house of Linda Yemoto – Co-chair of the Festival. I took the time to thank them for the opportunity to be part of the event to learn, to perform and to enjoy their company. This is the only time that we have our photo op.



Let me express my heartfelt thanks to National Commission for Culture and the Arts for allowing me to take part of this momentous event.


Thank you to Bay Area Storytelling Festival and the Storytelling Association of California for the chance to witness how they are doing this wonderful festival of stories year after year.


I am grateful to Tina Bonanciar for trusting me her treasure to ensure that I will make it to the Festival in Orinda, California, USA.


My foster family in Berkeley, California namely: Maryclare McCauley, Guillermo Maturana, Bridget Moriarty, Olivia Maturana, and Stella (dog).


I appreciate you all of my sponsors, supporters, and friends.


To my family, thank you so much for your love and understanding.


Mabuhay Pilipinas!



I made a rebooking of my flight from May 10th to May 1st because the plan of visiting some Filipino groups / organizations in Los Angeles through the Cultural Affairs of the Philippine Embassy didn’t push through. As a result it made me homeless for the time after I left the house on April 30th at six in the morning.


So, I decided to do three things:

1. Go to the Philippine Embassy in San Francisco.

2. Ask the airline if I can rebook the flight back earlier.

3. Contact some friends in the Philippines and in California using Facebook messaging.


I went to the Philippine Embassy and talked to the receiving counter officer at the 6th floor that I will be asking for assistance regarding housing, the lady asked me to wait at the library. After an hour, Rey S. Sambitan approached me and made some suggestions. He left for attending some work, returns after 30 minutes with the decision. The Vice Consul – Carlyn Monastrial and Rey can help me to arrange to stay in the shelter (place for the homeless), but with the big luggage in me I think it is not a good idea. We went downstairs at the 5th floor to the travel agency to know if I can make the flight-out cut short. They decided that I should go to the airport to inquire.


I took the train from Powell Station to San Francisco International Airport and reached it at 2:00pm. At the airport I manage to find the aisle for Asiana Airlines, however it is already closed, for they only have one flight per day. I grab the phone and called up; fortunately I was able to talk to the personnel and was given a booking on the next day at 1:25pm departure.


With this in mind, I decided to stay in the airport until I can check-in my luggage and wait for the flight. This is like in the movie “Terminal” starred by Tom Hanks.


I notify the Philippine Embassy through text and email that I will sleep in the airport - with the permission of the police. That night Rey drop by and we had dinner. That moment I shared to him why I am in California, what I am doing and the future of my mission/advocacy. He also opens up his plan of what he wants to do in Legaspi City, Albay.


The last option is not a success either.


Being a (Travelling) Storyteller is indeed a journey that is full of stories. Till next time.


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