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!

READ MY TRAVEL BLOG HERE


7 comments:

randell racaza said...

hai naaliw aq sa post mo.ask q lng sana plan q rn kasi magtravel don ano b mga requirements pra makapunta don.anong mga papers hnahanap ng immigration.

Joyce Lamela said...

Hi Randell,

Thanks for appreciating my post!Just bring your passport and valid ID, yun lang kelangan ng immigration officers, then print a copy of your hotel booking. If you are a government employee don't forget to ask a permit to travel from your head.

randell racaza said...

thanks joyce.first time q rin kasing magtravel kaya gather ako ng mga info.kailangan b talaga magbook ng hotel?basi kasi sa ibang nabasa ko need dw show money?san u b nabook yung hotel na pnuntahan nyo?cncya na ha daming qng tanung need q lng talaga ng info aq lng kasi mag isa.

randell racaza said...

plan q nga moad2 unsay paagi sa payments through internet booking?ok lng b wlang credit card ok lng b sa regular na bank account.frst time mn gud naq wla qy credit card.

randell racaza said...

ano paraan sa pagbayad ng pagbook?kailangan b credit card?hnd b pwd kung regular bank account lng?wla kasi aqng credit card.salamat.

randell racaza said...

thanks so much joyce.sana pag may tanong uli aq handa mo aqng tulungan.ah pwd pla lbc or bank.slamat talaga sa info.bka kasi yang hotel na lng na knuha nyo dyan na din aq.118 hk dollar lng db kahit b dalawa kau sa room?

Joyce Lamela said...

Hi Randell,

You're very much welcome!Yes, don't hesitate to ask me if you've more questions gusto ko rin makatulong sayo hehe..actually sa cebu pacific lang yata ang LBC puedi magbayad if wla ka credit card sa Airasia Cebuana Lluillier, 7 Eleven stores and Bayad Center accept sila payments for booking...bale after you made your booking with Airasia and even Cebu Pacific, bayad ka within 24 hrs otherwise icancel nila booking reservation mo. Puedi din pag may debit card ka.

Ang Delta hotel sa Hongkong may good for two rooms good for three and good for four..mas mura ang good for 4..yung good for two iba rate nila parang HK$130.00 yata per head pero mura pa rin compare sa iba..nasa 16th floor ang delta hotel sa chungking mansion along nathan road sa tsim sha tsui malapit lang sya sa avenue of stars and victoria harbour..