Friday, June 28, 2013

Outliers: a book review


This article is part of my final requirement for my subject in the MBA "Human Behavior in Organization"

Written by Malcolm Gladwell (author of Tipping Point and Blink), Outliers is a motivational book that narrates how exceptional people reaped extraordinary success despite unconventional circumstances. It also tells us how the influence of the environment, upbringing and generation contribute massively to the fate of an individual.

Outliers, according to the author, refer to the unusual or extraordinary circumstances of the lives of the people “where normal rules did not applyit refers to men and women who do things that are out of the ordinary”, people who have been given and lucky enough to be surrounded by opportunities, people who make good use of their passion, their skill and talent.

The book introduced the readers to the extraordinary circumstances that propelled Silicon Valley titans and Bill Gates to fame and wealth. Silicon Valley titans include the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, Dave Hewlitt and Will Packard, founders of HP. They lived in a California village known as Silicon Valley, where world billionaires had traditionally built their enormous wealth. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook and Lawrence Ellison (currently, the 6th richest man in the world), founder of Oracle, also operated their respective business empire around Silicon Valley.

The opportunities given to them were vast, they did not rise to greatness because of their intellect alone, but they did it through spending time honing their skills, experience and possessing a unique enthusiasm towards their passion. Success and achievement therefore have something to do with the environment we currently lived and understanding the trend and needs of the generation we belong. For instance, the fate of computer geniuses like Bill Gates, Bill Joy, Steve Jobs, and Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft), and their talents were intensified with the kind of environment they lived. They were born in the 1950s and when they were approaching their adulthood life, computer revolution was also unfolding, thus, having enormous opportunity to explore the skill and talent they already have.

In a world where society plays a major part in every person’s survival, success sometimes depends on what is necessary in the environment, society therefore influences the way we perceive life and the way we live and strive. For instance the tech wizards: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckeberg, both college drop-out but founded companies that would later left an astonishing mark in people’s consciousness due to its world-changing innovations, all because these world billionaires had seized the opportunities their generation had given (Jobs and Gates for computer revolution and Zuckerberg for Social Networking revolution).

 Gladwell pointed out the influence that we must remember through the 10,000 house-rule, based on a study conducted by Anders Ericsson, here, the author emphasized “vastness and magnitude do not simply happen, it requires huge time and opportunity to achieve what we are looking”.

The 10,000 house-rule refers to the time, period and circumstances that individual must endure in order to gain enough experience into the field they would be joining. Success sometimes depends not only on our roots, culture and influences but on how time would help us improve and develop our skills and talents, thus, more than 10,000 hours of spending in what we love doing will help a lot.

The book also emphasized that even if we’ve got all the talent and intellect in this world, without having given an opportunity to explore what we already have or without the support of the society we are living, we will ended up nothing, take for example the case of Chris Langan, who might be the smartest person in the world today and believed to have an IQ more than that of Albert Einstein, but life and circumstances deprived him with the kind of opportunities that would bring him to where he should be, so he ended up nothing.

Gladwell also illustrates how IQ and success are interrelated, but it doesn’t mean that people who have higher IQ are smarter than those who have an average IQ level. This concept also leads to the belief that not all college graduates are smarter than those who did not earn a diploma, remember that most of the world billionaires and computer geniuses like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg did not even finish college.

The true-to-life stories presented in Outliers book are immensely wonderful. It provides thought-provoking lessons and realizations that there’s an interconnection between culture, environment, success, joy and achievement in our fate. It’s not merely destiny or bad luck that undermines our chances to be successful or live in comfort, sometimes it is the product of effort and opportunity. There is important connections of the decade and generation we were born, the trend of that generation, the social position of our family and our roots, the relationships between intellect and perseverance, success and triumph, opportunities and chances and our determination and enthusiasm to pursue a certain goal. It is very difficult indeed to build a certain goal away from what the present world is asking.

People’s mindset has something to do with success too, if we are too focus on failures and weaknesses, if we refused to move on with our lives after misfortunes, chances are, fate would never cooperate to the kind of life we always wanted. We should constantly look around for opportunities and explore different possibilities of maximizing its advantages and believe in what we are doing. It is also a great advantage discovering what the present world needs so that we can fit our life’s goal in it.

            In order for us to become “Outliers”, we should do extraordinary things beyond imagination or beyond expectations, we should think differently because the world is changing, we should be crazy enough to think that we can change the world, we should try to be visionaries. Life itself is no magic. There are times that we are very passionate in doing things we thought would bring us to greatness but circumstances refused to cooperate, having  a burning passion to try again and avoid those things that won’t work would surely bring us to where we should be no matter how long it takes. Sometimes, it depends on ourselves how we view life and how we would spend every hour working on that dream.




Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Six Thinking Hats

Six thinking hats is a book written by Edward De Bono and very helpful in managing meetings and discussions in a group. It is an effective tool in parallel thinking processes and could help people express their opinion and views and to be more productive and systematic when it comes to decision-making.

It is an important tool also in a group discussion which enables full thinking potential of teams and help improved team productivity and communication, project management and creative training.

It is called Six Thinking Hats because it has six distinct directions to follow which means that everytime a team is in a discussion, members must learn to separate thinking into six clear functions which are identified with colors. Each color is called a “Thinking Hat”.

·        White – symbolizes information which considers pure information or facts available and needed, just pure and simple facts.
·         Yellow – symbolizes optimistic response and brightness exploring positive facts and seeking logical value and benefits.
·         Black – refers to discernment and judgment where members must start assessing and segregating reasons worthy to be applied and why something may not work.
·         Red – signifies feelings and intuition and members can express emotions and instinctive manners, their fears, likes and dislikes.
·     Green – signifies creativity, expressing concepts and perceptions that can benefit the organization or team. Statements of provocation and identifying where a thought goes.
·         Blue – Used to manage the thinking process, refers to the control mechanism ensuring that the six thinking hats guidelines are observed.

The main idea of these six thinking hats is that after identifying and thoroughly investigating the six modes of thinking, sensible and distinct programs can now be created and evaluated.

The color or “hat” is followed according to sequence when applied in a team discussion or meeting and always end in a blue hat. The group will then agree how they will think and evaluate the outcome.

This meeting management tool is a systematic process of parallel thinking where a person or a decision maker won’t leap to unstructured and unfocused thinking process. Using this tool, the team would be able to:
·         look at problems, strategies and opportunities
·         make meetings become shorter and more productive and focused
·         reduce conflicts among members
·         create dynamic and systematic result
·         see all sides of the situation and make thorough evaluation
·         generate more and better ideas and achieve and significant results


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Intersection of my Dreams


After so many years of making myself safe, refusing to take risks and just taking  slow steps of my journey, I finally reached to a point where I have to think hardly about where I should be heading to reach the intersection of my dreams.

I'd lived a life of a crap, you know that stuff when you seemed forever welded in one corner unable to figure out what to do with your boring existence, everyday really sucks, but now, yeah, I felt the momentum, the energy, the excitement and all those fascinating ideas of discoveries.

So far I had realized two of my earnest wishes in life. I'd finished my masters degree and traveled abroad for leisure! I felt lucky enough to accomplish those dreams without an anchor except prayers and strong determination.

Now, I will be taking another challenge, another risk for the sake of another dream---to join the corporate world. Yeah! Ever since I was a teenager I always wanted to work in the real world, real field. You maybe wondering why it took so long before I made up my mind?

Well, haven't I told you I am a bit of a crap?hehehe, I was not confident, I had full of doubts about myself, I was terrified to take risks, too scared to try anything and my self-esteem was totally messy so I let time passed by, allowed myself to mature and undergone so many struggles and mistakes and after reading numerous books about self-development, I finally got the courage to draft another life plan.

I am just very fortunate about my journey. You see, I did not take the short cut, instead I took the long route and endured many mishaps along the way, lots of emotional injuries and self-pity, but this long route provided me with tremendous realizations how to view life positively, how to handle troubles and how to take care of myself. I enjoyed the scenery of my journey and able to look back at my failures with profound gratitude because of so many lessons I learned.

Now, I will begin another journey, further from what I had took in, this time, it entails more risks, more challenges and a good amount of courage but I am ready emotionally and mentally to undergo a different level of inconvenience and discomfort just to reach another milestone, one thing I've been wishing since I was a teenager---finding a good career in the real world.

But life can be both mysterious and fascinating, it pushes people sometimes on the other side of the road so I will just be prepared for the consequences and troubles, it's not easy to reach the stars anyway and for you to travel to the sky you have to pass among the clouds, that's a reality.

I am a country girl by heart. I hate the crowd, the noises, dust, loud people, busy life in a densely populated surrounding, but days forward my countryside life will be effectively over.

I have to give up my comfortable life living in a peaceful environment to give way for my dreams, otherwise I will just continue watching myself rolled into despair and resentment, luckless and sedentary.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Goodbye Sir Rene Deypalubos, I'll be missing you so much :-(


How would you know when death is coming? When that day would be your final journey in this world?

No one knows. Not even the most gifted psychic we have around. For death comes like a thief in the night, most often without warnings. It never measures one’s physical strength and weakness. It has its own pace, own timetable. 


We can never tell what life awaits us in the future, even if we carefully plan it, who will come to us and gone from us but one thing is very certain, we all have to die. It's everyone's destiny, nobody can escape it. But why it comes as a surprise when it finally happens? The emotion that flows seems impossible to imagine. Sad. Remorseful. Tormenting. But do we have the right to ask God why?
My immediate boss in the university for six years
Engr. Reynaldo Deypalubos. A truly inspiring and amazing man.

Sir Rene was full of life, very vibrant, active, physically fit 
and with an incredible sense of humour.

Last Friday, June 14, I became a vivid witness how unpredictable life in the world is, how volatile our existence and how surprising death knocks people. It was more like a beautiful day that turned pretty bad, sort of stuff I wish never happened.

That day was just another ordinary day in the school campus, calm, peaceful, warm. I reported to work with an unruffled spirit, delighted with the fact it was already Friday. The little storm that was about to come did not squirt rain so I was  unprepared for its influx, it was like I went outside then suddenly the storm burst in and the fine weather turned horrible and ghastly.

I’ve been with UIC for 10 years now and able to serve the engineering program under three deans (Engr. Rene Deypalubos, Engr. Ben Yap and Engr. Emma Fuentes), but I spent the most number of years with Sir Rene (6 years), so I developed this very strong bond and easiness with him. I was able to know him better too. I admired him because of his ability to remain calm and level-headed during stressful days, he was a very positive person and would always look things on the brighter side of life.

In 2010, he retired from the service as associate dean, six months later he came back to work as a full time faculty so I saw him more often, almost everyday, spent hours talking and sharing stories. He was so generous with his knowledge, with his time, sharing whatever worthy and important information he got somewhere. He had this great wisdom I pondered on throughout the day.

But on June 14, 2013, I never thought everything would end so drastically. I never had any inkling it was the last day I would be sharing a little laugh and a little talk with him.

The day just started so good. We met at the quadrangle in the morning before the 7:30 am class, Sir Rene had a wide smile while calling my name (he fondly called me “ate”, that’s how he called us --- me, maam Emma Fuentes and Rose Alegada my former office mate), I smiled back and greeted him then went upstairs together. We talked about Philippine Standard Time and how it became an executive order then separated at the second floor, I entered the office. Later, I went to the faculty room to get hot water for my oatmeal, I asked Sir Deyps if it was already hot enough to be mixed in my oatmeal  and he nodded. Sir Noel Laud was already there too.

Nearly 10:00 in the morning, he went to the office and told me he won't be meeting his 10:30 class because he will go out for his massage appointment near San Pedro Hospital. He was complaining a back pain and that the discomfort already gone down to his left arm. I saw him gave an expression that looked like he was in great pain but I did not mind that much because when he was still the engineering dean, he would go out for a massage once a month due to his back pain, that day, it was more like a routine.

At 12:00 noon we went to the canteen for lunch, when I saw him at the faculty lounge section, I immediately came over bringing our food tray and asked him about the pain he complained. He told me it was okay, he was relieved with the massage, he also mentioned one thing --- he should not suppose to take it for granted because it was one of the symptoms of heart ailment, again, I let it passed because it never occurred in my mind, he was ill or something. Maam Emma and Cara Cabargada followed and we seated in the same table with Sir Rene.

We talked for almost one hour sharing so many things as usual, about his classes, his students, about the massage, about Singapore. I also asked him the manner of the body massage he undergone and we even laughed when I shared my own massage experience at the Metrolifestyle. He told us that massage is good because it helps the body released tension and stress.  

But during our conversation, I never saw any sign of bad things to come. He was on his normal shape, sprightly active, physically well, no panting of breath, no frailties, no sadness in his face and voice. Everything was normal. We stood up at nearly 1:00 o’clock and went upstairs, Sir Rene went to the faculty room to prepare for his 1:00 pm class.

At 1:05 pm, I passed by at the lobby to go to the guard house and saw Sir Rene standing outside the faculty room, staring at the upper floor. I was supposed to tell him for his room assignment of his next subject but decided to just wait for 10 minutes before approaching him. I went to the OSAD to get the Monde samples then came back to the office.

But before I could put down the monde samples in my table, Engr. Juvie Relacion dashed towards the door catching her breath telling me Sir Rene was unconscious at his classroom. I was very nervous and immediately concluded the incident had something to do with his complaint earlier that mid-morning. I immediately notified his sister-in-law, Anaflor Sacopayo, at the main campus. There was a gap of almost 15 minutes before I saw the 911 vehicle wheeled sir Rene out of the campus.

Everything went hazy. I could not concentrate entertaining the students anymore, I went back and forth in the lobby and felt the raging of my heartbeat. But during those times, I did not entertain any vicious thoughts of death because I made myself believed it was not fatal but just another story of someone who had just fallen from his knees and became unconscious. I was confident sir Rene would wake up and would be back to the school and just be advised to take a rest or something. I had no reasons to entertain sinister stuff after all. He was in good shape and followed a very healthy lifestyle, I never heard him got sick and just this morning he was very active and lively.

For the next 40 minutes, my mind was anxiously craving for an update, the sensor of my brain became so absolutely sensitive that I bounced immediately every time I hear the door opens or if the telephone rings. I felt like holding my breath every time Maam Emma would talk to someone over her cellphone.

Towards 2:30pm, Sir Noel called up and Maam Emma’s face went pale. I got the message right away and broke in tears. For the first time since my paternal grandmother died in 2005, I felt the pain of losing someone so close to me, someone I admired enormously, someone who had been a great inspiration. It was incredibly shocking. The news of his death seemed like the most depressing information I ever heard in recent years, more like a damaging catastrophe. It came without warnings, without any cautions. It was so traumatic because we still had this beautiful conversation over lunch and earlier that morning but why I was not able to notice any hint of huge trouble underneath? Why it happened that way?

Until now, it's just too blurry to understand the whole thing and it's too disconcerting to refer him in the past tense. His death came as a huge surprise. I'd known him for 15 years and was my immediate head for 6 years, for all those times that we were in the same office, I never heard him complained about health, I never witnessed him taking a leave because of illness or something. I knew him as a healthy buff, physically fit and very bubbly, full of laughter and with an incredible sense of humor, very generous with his time and attention. But why so suddenly, those laughter and generosity were taken abruptly? He was only 52 and had very young kids.

With Sir Rene I came to believe that God played favoritism in me, providing me with someone as a head whose kindness was legendary. He was a type of a boss you only read in a fairytale book--- humorous, fun to be with, had a tremendous wisdom, generous in all aspects, down-to-earth, level-headed, very considerate to subordinates and never scared employees to death, because, you know, the reality is, most bosses are really terrifying, rude, scary, inconsiderate who almost made their subordinates’ lives miserable and mentally agonizing.  So I had this very relaxed feeling, no pressure, no tension in the working place, I could not relate to the whining of other employees against their bosses.

He never even pile me with paperworks. He just allowed me to work at my own pace. He was very concerned with my well-being providing me valuable tips about health, like a father who is very protective of his children. There were times that I got to volunteer to do stuff because it was so shameful to notice he did some of the workload. But he never complained nor stuck me with too much burden. He always made sure I observed the proper lunch break or the end of office hours, he kept reminding me that stress and pressure are the culprits of chronic illnesses. He was deeply religious, he never missed special masses at school and never failed to pass by at the chapel before going upstairs. He had a great passion to serve God and the community.

I never witnessed him thundered in anger or yelled at anyone. He never reprimanded the engineering faculty. I did not even hear him affronting me even if some things got on the wrong track, he just offered solutions what to do with it, how to reconcile the lapses. He was not pushy, he just gave everyone their complete freedom to exercise their sense of responsibility. He had this very big heart that glowed in all corners of the room.

When he retired in 2010 and became a full time faculty, my admiration to him did not diminish, I still considered him as my boss and would often ask important matters related to office works. He would talk endlessly about life, about health. He had full of wisdom. He was very down-to-earth and no insecurities in life. 

He abided all the rules implemented by the program, he  had faithfully practice all the responsibilities expected from a faculty. Sometimes I felt a bit embarrass approaching him to submit this, submit that because I was used to the idea of treating him as a boss. But it was not an issue to him, he complied everything and even submitted documents ahead of others. He was very punctual, he never came late. He was a great model to newcomers.

Last June 6, when I reported to the office after our Hongkong trip, he came over and lamented my resignation. For the first time since working in the engineering program, I heard him uttered words that sounded like he would miss me and would never see me again, you know the thing when you will be leaving and has no chance to say goodbye then suddenly you see each other in the corridor again? That was exactly what I felt with that encounter. I told him I would not leave the office until the 28th of June. He even threw a joke telling me that I must also train the one who will replace me to take good care of the faculty.

Almost everyday since June 6, he would repeat the same sentiments that I’ll be leaving the program soon but I was not paying attention to it as a sign of an impending doom, I thought it was just normal expressing some degree of yearning because we have been in the same office for  many years and he already felt very comfortable asking some assistance from me. Sir Rene was a type of person who was a bit shy asking favour from acquaintances. It  will take years before easiness sets in.

But on that fateful afternoon of June 14, I never thought he was the one who would leave first. It was so hard to understand. Until now, his death did not sink in my mind. It felt like I was trapped inside this bad dream. But this is now the reality. Sir is already gone and no matter how I  deny it to myself, the painful truth is quivering before my eyes that he is already gone. 

My regrets triggered my angst that I never stopped crying since we were informed of his passing.  I had so many regrets, why I was not able to ask him about the degree of pain he was feeling that day? Or maybe I could have suggested he would go for a check-up instead of having a massage.

But what am I holding on?

Everything happens for a purpose. Maybe God has His own reasons why He took Sir Rene very early. Dr. Leo Buscaglia, an Italian born American psychologist. once said "Death is a friendly word because it reminds us that we don't last forever".

So maybe, I will just look on the positive aspect of life, like what he had taught me down through all these years. I will just be very grateful with the fact that he chose to spend the last two hours of his life with us, talking, sharing and laughing. It was a beautiful memory seeing his face in a very happy state while preparing for his eternal journey. All I left now is just a memory of sir Rene, all the good times, all the laughter, the humor and the sharing. 

Just a while ago, I went to visit his wake, it was a sad feeling seeing his name on the flowers. I hugged his wife, Maam Rose, I cried again, then she ushered me to his coffin to see his face. 

For the last 30 years of my life, I never got a nerve to see a dead person inside the coffin. I did not view the faces of my maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother on the glass of the casket, not even my friend Grace Rosello who died in 2011, I easily chicken out with the notion of glancing a dead person's face, it terrifies me to the bones. But when I visited his wake, I wanted to see his face, I wanted to have one last memory of him. When I moved closer, I saw an almost smiling face, felt like he was just sleeping there. He was lying peacefully as if someone had lifted the burden of pain from his face. He looked so calm.

But no matter what he looked like in that casket, I am still in great shock, the reality still cannot be drilled in my mind, I still refused to believe that it was all true that Sir Rene already gone. His smiling face was still very fresh to me, I could still hear the tone of his voice when we had our last conversation 2 hours before he passed away.

I still need enormous amount of convincing that he was not here anymore. It was just so sudden and unexpected. He will be laid to rest on the 19th of June and I want to be there, I want to witness the beginning of his journey to another dimension of life, to a place where happiness and peace reign forever, to a place where there’s no more complication, no more pain, no more sufferings. Someday, everyone of us will be in that beautiful place too.

Sir Rene wherever you are, your memories will live forever, I will never forget you. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Delta Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon Hongkong

Two months ago when I was looking for a hotel to stay in Hongkong for our leisure trip, I first made a thorough research about the most affordable tourist inns in Hongkong that have high customer’s satisfaction rating/review. I’d got several suggestions in the net but the one that really caught my attention was Delta Hotel because aside from its very affordable rate per night, it earned a very good rating from satisfied customers, so I went on to book our 3 night stay there.

 Bedroom at Delta Hotel

Delta hotel is more like a transient inn where travellers can just spend the night with a bed to sleep on, it is far from the traditional hotel that everyone is thinking, it is like you are just renting a room in a small apartment. But its services and basic amenities are very good. This is ideal for people who are embarking into a short vacation trip abroad under a tight budget and for backpackers.

Delta hotel is located on the 16thfloor of Chungking Mansion, Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hongkong, just across the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station. The rooms are clean and conducive for sleeping and resting. Each room has a private bathroom with shower. The room provides telephone and free wifi with a choice of electric fan or aircon, there's a refrigerator and water dispenser posted outside the rooms.

Each guest is provided with bath towel, freebies like shampoo, bath soap and toothbrush kit. Guests are safe because the main door of the hotel has an electronic automatic lock and outsiders cannot easily enter the vicinity. It is equipped with a 24-hour security camera.

Comfort Room 
Freebies

When we arrived at Chungking Mansion, I was worried and anxious because the ground floor was full of vendors and the elevator was packed with people of different nationalities, at first I thought it was not a safe place, I was also concerned with the mansion’s appearance, but the moment we got there and entered the room my apprehension was replaced with contentment. It was worth the money.

The rate is per room. We chose the room with four occupants which has a rate of Php630.00 per night or HK$119. Please be aware that all the rooms have no extra bed.

Chungking Mansion is located at the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui just beside CKE department store, the location is just a walking distance from Victoria Harbour and Avenue of Stars. It is also closer to China Ferry Terminal where Cotai Jet travelling to Macau is located.

From the airport, you can get a ride via A21 bus of City Flier, then disembark at bus stop no.14. From there, you have to turn left and walk just few steps to arrive at Chungking Mansion. There are two elevators serving the building, you may ask for assistance from the security guard on duty if you are not sure what elevator to take.

Here’s how I rate Delta Hotel:

Scale:
                1              -              Very Poor
                2              -              Poor
                3              -              Average
                4              -              Satisfactory
                5              -              Excellent

Cleanliness                -              4
Friendly Staff            -              5
Safety                      -               4

Value of money         -              5
Location                   -               4

Saturday, June 8, 2013

My First Travel Abroad!


Got a taste of real life adventure outside the country! :-D

Back in my high school years, I often wondered what's on the other side of the continent, how people lived, what the environment looks like, the culture, the food, the lifestyle and the feeling of being in a completely different place. So I dreamed of going to another land, not necessarily to work, but to satisfy my curiosity and explore new learnings and experiences.

Then one day, a good friend, Maribeth Galindo, coordinator of the social science division at UIC, told me to join their group for a leisure trip to Hongkong and Macau after summer break and because my passport will about to expire early next year with no single stamp yet from the immigration, I wasted no time and agreed.

For the next three months, I became preoccupied with our itinerary plan, listing down everything I could think for this trip, I also did some research on different tourist spots around Hongkong and Macau and what public transport facility to ride.


Then it was! The most awaited moment had finally arrived!

  
But oooops! Few days before our flight to Clark, Pampanga, I was in near panic, I could not seem concentrate what to do, what to prepare, what things to pack so as a consequence, I forgot to print the itinerary list I prepared for the past three months for this trip. Oh my gossssh!!!

I wanted to travel lightly to avoid incurring additional expenses for baggage so I just gathered important things like toiletries, personal items and clothes in one pack bag. 

HERE ARE THE DETAILS OF THIS VERY MEMORABLE TRIP ABROAD

May 30, 2013, Thursday

After fixing files at the office, cleaning the mess due to repainting, I went back to my boarding house and picked up my things then travelled to Panacan with Bechay (I spent the night before our flight at their house).

May 31, 2013, Friday

At 10:00 in the morning, I met Junna, my former board mate who is also residing in Panacan, to get the digital camera I borrowed. When I got back to Bechay’s house and checked my pack bag, I realized I forgot to bring packs of battery for the camera, my eyeglass also seemed misplaced and I forgot to withdraw additional cash for our Clark expenses so I decided to travel back to down town. Gosh! What happened to me? Why suddenly I became so disorganized and clumsy?

The clock was ticking fast, moving forward to one o’clock, yeah I knew it, but I had to go back to the down town to get everything. While riding the PUJ, my heart pounded fast, afraid we might miss the flight for Clark, my system was shrouded with whatever stress and tension present in the atmosphere at that time and all the anxieties I could possibly imagine popped up, I became so edgy with the driver, for stopping off frequently, with the traffic, with the dust, with the passengers who moved slowly! I arrived at Panacan at 2:30 pm.

We rushed to the airport and arrived at 3:15 in the afternoon. I did not eat lunch even though the mother of Bechay badgered me to eat, she was so generous enough to pack us meals for dinner, she cooked rice and steak and put it in a small plastic container. At the boarding area, I ate one hard-boiled egg to fill my stomach with a little food.

With Sir Dante Calamba, Bechay and Maam Emma Ramos at the boarding area of Davao International Airport. I just carried one pack bag for this trip.

The last time I traveled via air was last April 2008 during our Baguio retreat so I was so anxious to board a plane, the fact that I was not really familiar with Airasia and its reputation I became so restless. When we got there and took off I forced my mind to come down and eradicate those bad thoughts. One hour and 40 minutes later we touched down at Diosdado Macapagal International airport in Clark.

We (I and Bechay) were separated from the rest of the group because we’d a different flight schedule for Hongkong, so we travelled to Angeles City to stay in the hotel. I was horrified with the manner of transportation at Clark, the taxi fare was sooooo expensive. Unlike in Davao City, taxi vehicles at the Clark airport never use a meter, they collected a fix rate depending on the distance. I was unsure where the heck in the universe is Blue Fields Hotel, I just booked it online, so we had no idea how to get there and to our horror the taxi fare was Php500!!!

I detested the waiting area of the Clark airport, so messy, scruffy and uncomfortable to travellers, very undesirable! There were yucky insects hovering around, the passengers disembarking and boarding the plane will have to pass through a ladder, what happened to the airport tax, terminal fees they collected from travellers? Where did those fees go? No improvements visible in the area.

Anyway, let's move on with our proper tour hehe!


June 1, 2013, Saturday

We left Bluefields Hotel very early even though our check out time was 12:00 noon, I could not bear another hour staying at this crappy haunted house-looking hotel, gosh! So smelly and poorly managed, the staff members were not properly dressed, they looked like goons haha! We hastily showered, ate biscuits and left the place. 

We were already traumatized with the horrible taxi fare so we decided to take a jeep or bus instead, but the funny thing we did not know where to ride a jeep. I'll still have to withdraw cash from BPI atm and Maam Liezl Loguinsa called up to help her book two air tickets back to Davao so we decided to walk and look around. But after walking the long street of Malabanias for almost  45 minutes reaching Dau, Mabalacat, we did not see any ATM or internet cafe in the area! All we saw were bars and KTV lounges and all sorts of entertainment houses, Ngork!

The sun started spreading its harshest rays and we had no umbrella or anything to protect us from the summer heat. We were sweating hard and my back was aching due to my heavy pack bag. Still we could not find anything, so we kept on walking. Finally, after releasing tons of sweat, hurting our ankles and exhausting our muscles, we finally reached a lone BPI atm in the street, the next problem was how to get to the airport.


After minutes of waiting for someone to help us point the exact location of the jeepney stop, one lady, about 50 years of age, alighted from her innova red car to withdraw from BPI. Bechay decided to ask her for the direction. She told us the jeepney stop going to the airport was at the opposite side of the road, she generously offered to take us to the area where we can take a taxi ( I did not complain anyway because the fact that we already walked miles away farther from the hotel I assumed the taxi fare would never that expensive), but before she let us in at her car, she made sure we were not holdapers hehehe, she asked so many questions assuring we never carried any drugs or whatever illegal stuff, my God! I laughed and told her we’re from Davao. Few minutes later, we reached the intersection. We arrived at the airport within 20 minutes and we paid for Php300.00 even though the airport was just across the intersection! 

The atmosphere was very fine when we left Clark at 6:25 in the evening. I was just a little surprise that the environment was still bright when it was already beyond 6:00 o’clock. I had a very good experience flying with Airasia, up in the air there was no weather disturbance, One hour and forty minutes later, we reached Hongkong International Airport. I felt so calm and relax, it was a very peaceful air travel, the pilot must have been well-trained because we had a very smooth landing, felt like we just glided in the runway with no clanging of metals, the pilot of that flight was Captain Kintanar, thanks to his expertise we landed safely.


And now the real adventure of travelling abroad for the first time with no tour guide has just began :-) 


Boarding Airasia from Clark airport to Hongkong, June 1, 2013 6:25 pm, despite worries of failing to pay for our travel tax(by this time I was really nervous)we still find time to pose before stepping on board
After presenting our passport at the immigration, we started looking where to exit but the numerous exit doors gave us a hard time what direction to follow to find the City Flier bus station for A21 so we went back inside, laughed together and enjoyed our bloopers haha! We posed at every corner for picture taking before proceeding to the ground floor to get serious with our search hehe!

As for the rest of first timers, we had this very funny and hilarious experience upon our arrival. You know the feeling when you’re unsure where to go, what to do, how to bang the door, who to approach because you’re completely clueless? It really makes your heartbeat pounds faster and wilder. But we did not mind the slip-ups, we just enjoyed the moment, we just laughed and marvelled at the sprawling area of the airport and posed for pictures hehe!

Hongkong International Airport is really huge and very spacious, you would really lost if you are not attentive and particular with the signs, arrows and all those symbols pointing here and there, since we really did not know what direction to take, we just followed the throng of people walking to wherever their feet carried them, we just walked behind them haha!

But our great concern at the moment was where to locate the immigration, the arrow seemed pointing us outside the building with a waiting train, we hesitated to go outside because it might take us elsewhere. Unsure what direction to follow, we finally decided to ask an officer who pointed a specific door and the funny thing was, the waiting train was really the one that would take us to the immigration!

Okay, so when we arrived there, we keenly observed how everything would be done, the process , the system and all and just followed what other travellers were doing. We filled in the form and proceeded to the line.

While at the queue and getting closer at Bechay’s back, the immigration officer was frantically pointing at my direction, made a sign language that was so totally incomprehensible and raised Bechay’s passport that sounded like he wanted me to give my passport too, so I moved closer and handed it to him but he looked pissed off and blurted a strange word, oh gosh what was he saying???


So I stood there like a complete idiot unable to get what he meant hahaha! So funny because I was very nervous, very confused what to do until Bechay got the officer’s point---he wanted me to step back and plant my feet at that ridiculous black mark. Oh my God! Why he could not explain it clearly? After giving my passport and had it stamp, no, just a piece of paper stapled in the visa page, we left the area and rolled in laughter while recalling the expression of that Chinese hahaha!

After one hour of walking back and forth, riding the escalator, wandering at the huge area, reading every direction we could find, we knew we're in trouble, we could not locate the exit door, so we made another brave effort to ask an officer, the broken English exasperated us, we felt we even lost! Finally, after exploring the area, we found the exit door leading to the bus station of A21, glad I printed the direction provided by Delta Hotel so we knew we would disembark at bus stop 14 at Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.

We also met a couple with two sons from Davao City while on the bus and they’re also travelling to the same hotel so everything became easy for us and we just enjoyed the ride going to Kowloon, passing the Lantau link toll, the Tsi Ma bridge and different bus stops.

Hongkong is simply amazing at night! The magical lights, the high rising buildings, the sparkling streets and all those stunning landmarks I only saw in the magazines. One hour later, we reached Chungking Mansion where Delta Hotel is located. We stopped first at the 13th floor but was told to proceed to the 16th floor.

We shared the room with Maam Thelma Alderite and Maam Tess Adriano. We went to the other room occupied by Sir Dante, Sir Rene, Maam Maureen and Maam Gelsa to share some funny stories about our trip. Sir Rene gave us food for dinner. Maam Emma Ramos, her husband Sir Arnie and their son were billeted on a different floor so we're not able to visit their room.

June 2, 2013, Sunday

The first day of our DIY (do-it-yourself) Tour.

I got up early (I felt very uneasy sleeping long hours when I am in a different place) and prepared for our trip. The rest of the group arrived ahead of us and went directly to Ocean Park, so we’d a different itinerary of the day. I waited for my kababayan, Jennifer Arguelles Chapman, to accompany us to Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery at Diamond Hill within Kowloon.

We bought an Octopus Card worth HK$150.00 at Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station just a short distance from Chungking Mansion. Octopus Card is a must when you are in Hongkong because MTR stations and buses used it as the easiest way to pay for the transportation. It is a lot cheaper and more practical than paying with cash. Public Utility Bus drivers never give a change! So better buy an Octopus Card.

The Card is also accepted at McDonalds and other food outlets in Hongkong. The consumable amount in the card is HK$100 because there’s a deposit of HK$50. The moment you leave Hongkong, just surrender the Octopus card to any customer service outlet and they will return the remaining amount in the card including the deposit.

 ITINERARY FOR THE DAY

We had three destinations for the day: Nan Lian Garden/Chi Lin Nunnery, Ocean Park and The Peak. Months before our departure, I already listed these destinations for June 2 so I asked my friend, Epil (Jennifer) to take us to Diamond hill first.

NAN LIAN GARDEN and CHI LIN NUNNERY

Pond area of Nan Lian Garden
After more than 30 minutes travelling with MTR, we reached Diamond hill, we walked across the street to visit Nan Lian Garden. No entrance fee at this landmark so we felt so relax upon entering the place. But the intense summer heat made this trip almost like hell! The temperature was very punishing so we scrambled to find a shed to rest.


 Chi Lin Nunnery

We walked around the area and so amazed with the beautiful garden, magnificent landscape of bonsai trees and other oriental plants. There was a huge temple at the middle of the garden leading to the pavilion just above the pond but visitors were not allowed to enter so we just posed outside the gate :-P

Nan Lian is an elegant, classical Chinese garden characterized by the four elements of Tang-style gardens with artificial hillocks, rocks, running waters, winding paths, waterfalls and old trees. There was an architecture museum inside but visitors were not allowed to take pictures so we just stared  at the wood display and left the place.


Due to extreme hot condition, we got easily tired walking so we decided to climb upstairs to visit the Lotus Garden where Chi Lin Nunnery is also located. Chi Lin is a large monastic complex composed of beautiful clusters of buildings with three courtyards. We did not visit those buildings inside we just moved back and took pictures. I think the best time to visit this place is in the afternoon and at night when the temperature is no longer sizzling. 

OCEAN PARK

We left Diamond Hill at 11:30 and went to Admiralty Centre via MTR again. We took lunch at Queensway which looked like a shopping mall with a huge food court. After taking lunch, Epil accompanied us to the bus station and let us hopped in at a double decker bus 629 travelling to Ocean Park after that we separated.

So we're on our own but I did not feel nervous, I just relished every freedom I had while travelling to Ocean Park and became very observant during our journey. We chose to sit at the top deck of the bus so that we could see the beauty of Hongkong thoroughfares and its impressive buildings.


More than 40 minutes later, we arrived at Ocean Park. I already booked our ticket online so we just proceeded to the ticket booth at the main entrance and presented our voucher.

It was soooooo hot! I did not know what to do to relax my skin from the sweltering heat of the summer sun. We kept on releasing a deep sigh of annoyance hehe! So we decided to sit for a while. I walked ahead to the Waterfront Souvenir’s shop and just look around, the items were overtly expensive I did not even buy something for myself. I went back to Bechay and we proceeded to the Planet Aquarium.

I did not enjoy the aquarium anyway, it was all natural, the marine creatures, live animals and all those moving fishes I saw at the Surigao sea, so minutes later we decided to go out.


Entrance area
Near planet Aquarium
Cable car ride from the ground of Ocean park to the summit. I am a certified acrophobic, I am terrified with heights, climbing up the stairs with a full view of the ground scared me to death. I could not stand longer than 30 minutes in a tall building with a transparent wall. 

I wanted to ride in a carousel hahaha! But bechay discouraged me because it was so kiddy hehehe! So we proceeded to the cable car station. Okay so this was the most thrilling part of visiting Ocean Park Hongkong. The cable car will take visitors to the summit on top of the mountain where nerve racking rides await.

So that was it. We had this real adventure of woozing up to the scallop mountain, passing through the park's landscape and  dangling on the cable above the ground for 20 minutes. I am a certified acrophobic that is, I am terrified with heights and all sorts of vertical structures. I could not bear climbing an open staircase with a full view of the ground, it scared me to death and felt like someone is pulling me down, that’s why I don't have a nerve to go zip line or mountain climbing, but during this trip, I wanted to combat this phobia so despite the danger of collapsing hehe I dared to ride the cable car.

Once we’re in the open atmosphere my courage started to sink and I could not look at the ground, I just looked upward and threw small glimpses behind my back and when we reached the rugged cliff and beyond the massive terrain, I knew I had to pull enough courage to endure the journey. I slowly looked beneath and saw the calm sea dividing Hongkong and the mainland China, the sight was so gorgeous that I began to take pictures but still my right hand gripped hardly on the handle of the cable car hehe!

Finally we reached the summit. But we felt discouraged to hop in at those thrilling rides due to the harsh heat of the sun, my head felt like exploding, I was afraid of getting sick so I did not dare to climb at the thrill mountain area. We also hesitated to go water rafting because we will be soaked in the water and we're already exposed to intense hot temperature, we felt it was a little bit daring for our health :-)


We tried this ride, it was incredibly great! The cabin-like box can accommodate 30 people. It carries passengers to the top of the tower which is more or less 10,000 feet from the ground and will be whirled around the post so everyone can see the spectacular and breathtaking beauty of Hongkong atop the tower, I was not afraid to look around, I even took pictures while the cabin was moving. The ride only took 4 minutes.

We chose the safest but one of the most thrilling rides instead, the Ocean Park Tower. At first, I dithered because, imagine, we would be riding in a cabin-style box and would be slowly whirled on top of the tower which appeared like 10,000 feet below the ground then travelled down in a circling motion. So it was a bit scary, nevertheless, we decided to go ahead yeeeh! The queue was quite long but we waited patiently, all of us were soaked in sweat and different smell started flying around yaaay!

The old-fashioned amusement park ride we tried, Ferris Wheel haha!

While up there at the tower, I slowly glanced outside and beyond, yeah it was terrific! Watching the panoramic view of Hongkong skyline through this ride was one of the most fascinating experiences I had on this trip. There was no anxiety, no apprehension or nervousness, it was normal, as if I was just resting in the balcony of a 40thstory building. The ride took only 4 minutes but the experience was truly magnificent!

We moved to the other areas of the park, Bechay convinced me to try The Abyss, the height of this ride is quite similar to the Ocean Park Tower, the only difference, you have to sit in an open bench with harness and lock and will be carried on top slowly but will be pulled down abruptly about three times. Upon seeing how the thing goes there, I decided to back out, I could not really take it, I might collapse hehehe! Bechay decided to back out at the last minute so we ended up riding this old-fashioned stuff which is already gone with the ages---Ferris Wheel hahaha!

At 5:30 we decided to go down riding the train which I find less thrilling because it was heavily tainted. I did not see anything not even a single trace of the rugged cliff, the only entertainment we had inside was the aquarium at the ceiling of the train with live marine animals. Minutes later we’re back at the entrance area then left Ocean Park and went back to Admiralty to meet Epil again.

THE PEAK

Peak Tram terminus is just a walking distance from Admiralty. I enjoyed the scenery anyway, gazed around and looked up at the massive buildings which made my neck sore as I stretched my stare further up to the top of the buildings!
While walking from Admiralty to the Peak Tram Terminus, we made many stopovers to pose for pictures :-D

We passed along St. John’s Cathedral and City Government Offices then crossed the street to join throngs of people queuing at the Peak Tram terminus. It was here that I felt the numbness of my feet went too far, it was so painful! The long line was so exhausting there were about hundreds of people fidgeting in the line and I wanted to back out. I did not like the smell of other travellers :-( After two hours finally we were able to ride the Tram.

At the long queue of Peak Tram. The surrounding was still bright but did you know that it was almost 7:00 in the evening? Got to learn another thing at HK, during summer, it takes longer for the night to come.
The Peak Tower and Sky Terrace

Well, if you have this fear of passing and seeing the dangerous cliff and slope in a slanting position, Tram is not for you. Why? Because the tram seemed running the road vertically, just imagined the 180 degrees position of the tram climbing the Peak overseeing the scenic Victoria harbour! When I saw the building appeared like slanting towers beneath the window of the Tram it felt like my nervous system was about to capitulate, good it was night time so I was not able to see clearly how the tram reclined in the slanting road. Oh my God! That was extreme!

We reached the Peak at 8:00 in the evening and we climbed the tower again for, well, like, 10 escalators! Before we proceeded to the Sky Terrace, we dropped by at the entrance area of Madame Tussaud’s and had a picture with a celebrity wax figure.

Actually I did not enjoy the Sky Terrace, it was freezing and very cold and I was not able to see the sparkling skyline of Hongkong, sooooo many people lined up at the lobby taking pictures, posing at every corner that there were no rooms left for us to take photos of ourselves. We’re super hungry so we decided to go downstairs and rested at the bench outside 7 Eleven, I ate Sandwich cucumber with bacon, cheese and shrimps. We talked for a while then got up to join the multitude queuing again catching the Tram back to downtown, haaaay so tiring! We reached Delta Hotel at 10:30 in the evening. By the time we arrived, my feet were aching badly and my toes seemed twisted :-(

JUNE 3, 2013, Monday

 Our visit to the gambling mecca in Asia, Macau, a former Portuguese colony now part of the special administrative region of China.

We left Delta at 9:30 am and went to the street to explore how we could get to Hongkong China Ferry Terminal. After crossing two streets we turned to the subway and spent walking, reading directions posted on the wall, following the arrows but after walking back and forth with no sign of Ferry Terminal, we knew we're heading the wrong way. So our group decided to go back to where we started and traversed the opposite road, finally, after asking some people on the street, we located the precious China Ferry Terminal.

We sailed to Macau at 11:00 in the morning via Cotai Jet and arrived at the Taipa Ferry Terminal  at 12:00 noon. We passed at the immigration to present our passport and had it stamp. We never book a  tour guide here (because it's too expensive :-D) so we're on our own.

Luckily in Macau, instant tour guides are available. As soon as visitors arrive at the terminal, there are Filipinos willing to accompany travellers for a city sightseeing. Usually, they charged HK$50 for each visitor.


We found one Filipino guide, someone named Delfin. We did not bother to spend for transportation because in Macau you can go to a specific destination for free through riding the shuttle buses provided by the operators of Casino Resorts in Cotai Strip.



At Venetian Sands near the grand staircase. Visiting the gambling mecca of Asia (also known as the Las Vegas in the pacific) is one of my best travel experiences so far! Wheew life is absolutely fantastic!

At the lobby of the Venetian sands near the grand canal where Gondola passes. We did not dare to ride because it's a bit expensive.

There are three big casino resorts along Cotai Strip (a reclamation area between two islands, Coloane and Taipa) that offer free shuttle buses for guests: The Venetian, Galaxy and City of Dreams. The shuttle buses never discriminate passengers so whether you booked at any of these casino resorts or just adventurers who want to visit Macau and Casinos, shuttle buses are available.

At the Terminal, we rode the shuttle bus of City of Dreams and reached the resort at 1:30 pm, we entered the place and had a picture taking at the 3D screen, and by this time we’re very hungry so we asked Delfin to take us to a cheap food court, he ushered us outside and waited for another free shuttle bus of City of Dreams that travels to Macau City Proper.

We passed at the huge bridge linking Macau and Cotai Strip, we also saw the Macau Tower but did not have time to drop by. Minutes later, we arrived at the city proper and visited the Grand Emperor Hotel that has a British royalty theme. Outside, the guards dressed and looked like the Household Cavalry Guards assigned at Buckingham Palace in full royal livery --- red scarlet uniform and bearskin hat. Just like British royal guards, they were also stoic and never move you could guess they were statues hehehe!

At this time, I was ready to yield with extreme hunger, we went to the food court building where we dined. After taking lunch, we’re off to the busy landmarks of Macau, the city is not huge so we just walked passing many traffic lights then we arrived at one of the most popular landmarks in Macau, the Senado Square.

Oh my God! I just could not believe it, I finally visited the landmark I only saw on travel magazines and internet! The influence of Portuguese is still very strong in Macau, you could still see the traces of European designs among its buildings and landmarks.



Senado Square - one of Macau's popular landmarks. Macau had been a Portuguese colony for several decades until 1999 (two years after Britain turned over Hongkong to China) when it was turned over to China but the European influence is still very much alive in every corner of the city.

Group picture at the Senado Square

We began our sightseeing, posing at the Senado Square and closely observing the environment. I noticed the area was full of tourists not really residents of Macau. Then we moved forward visiting the St. Dominic Church, we passed along the narrow street and entered a small souvenir's shop.

Near the Senado Square is another popular landmark in Macau, the Ruins of St. Paul Cathedral. But before reaching the ruins, we dropped by at the St. Dominic Church, another famous site, then visited the tiny food street where food tasting at its local delicacies was available. I got to taste different delicacies but I did not buy anything hehe!


Macanese delicacies. Passing through the busy street of Leal Senado, we encountered local vendors who offered food tasting for their products, we tried some.


In front of the ruins of St. Paul Cathedral, one of the popular tourist attractions in Macau. St. Paul Cathedral was built around 16th century, it was destroyed by fire and the only part of the church that was preserved was the entrance area

The Ruins of St. Paul Cathedral attracted many visitors because of its amazing front wall structure that was saved from fire in the 19th century, this relic was preserved for many years and the ground was improved and developed to attract tourists. Most of us were extremely tired so some decided to rest at the foot of the ruins, but I, Rene Babiera and Maam Emma Ramos decided to enter the museum of St. Paul to see the historical relics and sculptors preserved down the centuries.

After the shopping activities of our companions, we travelled back to Cotai Strip via Galaxy shuttle bus, we reached the Galaxy Casino Resorts at around 4:00 in the afternoon and the moment we entered the place, we instantly felt the glamour and elegance of this expensive resort. My God! The place smells like Victoria Secrets or Chanel or whatever expensive perfume splashed in the vicinity, sooooo fragrant and sweet-scented even their rest rooms! Galaxy is so gorgeous and classy, crystals, diamonds and expensive chandeliers dominated the lobby, you could easily guess that it is  the place for the rich and the famous.

Across the street, we moved to another glamorous casino resort, the Venetian, an Italian themed resort partly owned by the Las Vegas Sands, the second largest casino operator (after Caesar Entertainment) in the world! We were in great awe at this landmark, wheew! Luxury at its finest! The structure, the design, the lobby and everything were truly Italian, there was part of the ceiling patterned after the Last Judgment of Michaelangelo at Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. We were almost deceived by the large ceiling at the lobby, we thought it was the true blue sky with clouds but it was not, it was only a design!

Like Venice, Italy, the Venetian has a grand canal and a romantic Gondola, we did not ride anyway hehe! Gondola ride costs HK$110. Unfortunately, well due to limited time, we were not able to take pictures at the front area of the Venetian and failed to visit the free shows at Wynn Casino Resort. But visiting the facade of these elegant casinos was already a terrific experience and I am very lucky to be one of the few ordinary folks in the Philippines who got to visit these stunning landmarks so I have no complain.

True enough, Cotai Strip is very lively and vibrant at night time, the vivacious lights, the energy, the sophistication, the beautiful atmosphere, the gorgeous surroundings, everything was so enchanting but we have to leave early to catch a Cotai Jet ride back to Hongkong before 9:00 in the evening.

Macau is truly amazing! So astounding that I did not notice I already lost my eyeglass huhu! Until now I cannot figure out where the poor thing went, whether it fell to the ground while on our way to the Venetian shuttle bus or I left it at the bus, I really don’t know.


At the Venetian Sands, the last time I saw and wore my eyeglass :-( don't be deceived with the blue sky you saw at the top, it was only a delicate design of the ceiling!

Anyway I did not count that bad incident as repugnant, I just remember the beautiful memories of my travel in Macau. I can still buy another eyeglass, but the opportunity of visiting Macau is so rare!

JUNE 4, 2013, Tuesday

The rest of the group left Hongkong Tuesday morning so it was only me and Bechay who would take another adventure around Tsim Sha Tsui :-)

We woke up quite late, around 9:00 in the morning, so after taking breakfast, we started our little adventure exploring Tsim Sha Tsui. Still, it was very hot outside and this time my eyeglass is no longer with me so I had to endure the bad effect of the striking sunlight to my eyes hahay!

We decided to visit the Hongkong Museum of Art located just across the street of our hotel, we traversed the subway so that we can save time crossing the street and save our skin from being roasted under the sun.
Avenue of Stars. A famous Hongkong tourist attraction patterned after Hollywood's Walk of Fame. This section at Victoria Harbour was constructed to honour Hongkong celebrities so they have plaques and handprints featured on the floor of the harbour.

At Victoria Harbour with a panoramic view of the business district of Hongkong. Located at Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon just across Hongkong Museum of Art and Space Museum

At the plaque and handprint of famous Hongkong superstar Jackie Chan. I was looking for the handprints of Jet Li and Chow Yun Fat but could not locate it until I felt my head twisted into knots due to extreme hot condition so we moved to Bruce Lee's statue.

Since there was an entrance fee at the Museum of Art and nearby Space Museum, we just posed for pictures outside hehe! Then oh then, the height of our adventure, unexpectedly, when we were walking forward curious what we could find at the opposite side of the building, we reached the Victoria Harbour and Avenue of Stars! Nyaaah, what a discovery! We had no idea this landmark is just a walking distance from our hotel.

So for one hour, we strolled around the harbour like carefree teenagers, posed here and there, walked back and forth, took pictures at every corner of the place, read the names of the stars who had hand prints on the floor and went to Bruce Lee's statue.


Okay here. After several minutes of waiting to clear the area (this is the most visited area in Avenue of Stars, tourists fidget to take pictures with Bruce Lee's statue), I and Bechay finally got a chance to have our own pose hehe!

We left Victoria Harbour and went back to the subway to find something to eat, after hopping from one food stall to another I settled for Japanese food hehe! Then crossed the street again and went mall hopping. We planned to go back to the harbour at night to take more pictures because the place is more stunning and glamorous at night when lights of several buildings start to surface but it rained at 6:00 and did not subside until 10:00 in the evening so we had no choice but to get back to the hotel and started packing our things.

We spent lunch at the subway after our fun stroll at Victoria Harbour. I chose this Japanese food consisting of noodles, fresh shrimps, cucumber and the other two that I did not know, I just ate it anyway haha!

Around 3:30 pm, we went back to the hotel to get some sleep and woke up at 5:30 and started looking for cheap stalls for pasalubong, we did not go to the night market because it's too far from the hotel and we already surrender our octopus card. I had no enough budget for the pasalubong sort of thing, the fact that I lost my eyeglass in Macau made me to think twice in spending money so I just made sure I bought T-Shirts for my parents and siblings, keychains, biscuits and something for my godchildren.

JUNE 5, 2013, Wednesday

Our final day in Hongkong.

We’re supposed to wake up at 5:00 in the morning to prepare for our trip back home but unfortunately my alarm did not ring and I woke up at 6:18! My God we were in great panic because we still have to ride via bus to the airport and we still have to locate the check in counter of Airasia! We quickly showered, got dressed and ate noodles. It was 7:00 o’clock when we left the hotel, we waited for A21 bus then hopped in. I took off my watch because I did not want to get stress glancing the time.


Our travel from Tsim Sha Tsui to airport took almost one hour. I just prayed silently to God to help us board a plane or else we will be ended up like beggars in Hongkong with no enough money to spend. Luckily, we reached the check-in area exactly 40 minutes before closing time and hurried to locate the boarding area, it was our first time to enter here so we just followed the sign and arrow pointing where to go to our gate number. See, after this trip, I become an expert explorer hehehe!


When we arrived at the boarding area Airasia passengers were already queuing on the line. Yes! We made it, thanked God!!!

One hour and 40 minutes later we reached Clark airport, we proceeded to Mini Stop convenience store and had our lunch by 1:00 pm we entered the departure area again and checked in for our flight back to Davao. And well, back to reality hehehe!

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