Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?
That was the year that I made a fool of myself. For the guy whose love I couldn’t get back. For the guy whose heart already belonged to someone else. For the first love that I thought to be the last. He was all I ever wanted, yet he wanted more and others. Pain and anger and resentment I felt. Until they faded when I started letting go.
That was the year that I graduated from high school. And entered the scary world of college. New environment, new people, new place to stay in. Lots of free time in between classes, which was later consumed of cramming for deadlines and exams. I was a loner then. Which was an advantage in itself because I didn’t have to regularly entertain people. Haha.
That was the year that I got my braces. It felt weird and painful. I looked weird, if I had to say so myself. Eating habits had to decline. Unfortunately. 😦
Seven years later. I am more in love than I used to be. Now on my third year of employment. And finally eating up to my whole potential (haha).
He hasn’t given up on you. He hasn’t turned away. He hasn’t walked out. He would have. Others would have. But he hasn’t. God believes in you. And, I wonder, could you take some of the belief that he has in you and share it with someone else? Could you believe in someone?
Hello dear readers! I am excited to share with you today DM’s (David and Maya ♥) adventure to Hong Kong last March 13-15, 2017. (It’s been almost two months now, I know. Apologies for taking this long.) The trip was intended for our anniversary (which was last February 25), but had the said travel dates instead because they’re the nearest dates with cheap flights that I could find.
Before I begin, I would like to note first that this is not a travel guide, but merely a documentation of our trip.
Happy reading! 🙂
BEFORE THE TRIP
D and I were both first timers not only in visiting HK, but also in travelling outside PH. Which meant there were a lot we didn’t know. So we searched online. We read about HK, its transport system, food price range, the March weather and the like. We also asked insights from people who we knew had already gone to HK or even just abroad.
Of course, most (if not all) planning of trips start with buying the plane tickets. We had ours bought around the time of Pres. Duterte’s inauguration last year (I remember this because while everyone in the office was busy watching his speech on TV, I was busy finalizing our ticket haha). That was June. That gave us nine months of saving and planning before the trip. Our accommodation was booked two months before the trip. Disneyland tickets were purchased a week before the trip. And the rest of the transactions were done in HK.
The trip was a short one. With us arriving at night in HK, we knew there wouldn’t be much time to sight-see on the first day. Which meant we only had two days to go around. At first, the plan was Disneyland on the second day and half-day tour on the third. Then we decided against the tour and just made our own itinerary — we both decided to go to places where we really wanted to go or do the activities we really wanted to do.
With our itinerary set, we had our budget allocated (train costs, meal allowance, etc.), screenshots of our would-be whereabouts saved in my phone (lots of walking were involved in this trip too, you know), tickets and vouchers ready, luggage packed, and our money exchanged from PHP to HKD. Then we’re set to go!
I don’t know if it’s due to excitement or we just had nothing else to do that we arrived at the airport early. As in four hours early. Check-in counters for our flight were even closed yet. Haha. So, for the first hour, we had our lunch. Then we went to the whole check-in process — travel tax payment, check-in and Immigration — before finally heading off to Departure Area.
We arrived in HK at around 6:30PM. Right then and there, I declared Hong Kong International Airport to be the best airport ever. Of course, it’s the first one I’ve been to outside PH, so I’m unsure if I can still say that after I visit some other country in the future. Anyway, what fascinated me the most was the train — the train inside the airport. We don’t see that in the PH, you know.
Also, in PH, you don’t see train doors like the one you see above. In PH, it’s you on the platform and the train tracks right in front of you — no (door) barriers or something.
Anyway, at the airport, we bought our Octopus cards (like the Beep card here in PH). Via HK’s MTR, we rode our way to Tsim Sha Tsui, where our accommodation was located. During the commute, we had to transfer lines twice. It should’ve been inconvenient because commuting with travel bags was usually difficult. But it wasn’t. In fact, the whole MTR system was very tourist-friendly. Directions were everywhere, precise and, of course, with English translations. Even if we didn’t do our research, we wouldn’t have gotten lost. Also, they didn’t do any baggage check.
Our accommodation was called Maple Leaf Guesthouse. It was located at Chung King Mansions where, apparently, many more guesthouses were located. The place was quite creepy because of the people trying to sell you things downstairs. Good thing we were able to read the reviews on TripAdvisor, so D and I had this expected before we got there. It was also because of the reviews that we easily found our way up to the guesthouse. Believe me, it was like a maze with obstacles down there.
We met one of the owners — the wife — right in the elevator on our way up. She was friendly, very accommodating and spoke good English. She charged us an extra 80 HKD, though. She said she had our room “upgraded” to deluxe. I didn’t want to believe her, but D seemed to be okay with it. So, okay.
Our room was small, as expected. But it was clean, which was an essential thing for me. The place was secure — we had to go through two doors before we could get inside our room. Upside? There was free unlimited drinking water. They even put up drinking glasses in our room. Downside? Just one electrical outlet (actually, there were two or three, but only one fitted our plugs). D and I had to take turns in charging our phones and the power banks that we brought with us. Overall, we were satisfied with our room. We wouldn’t be there for most of the day, anyway.
After everything was settled, we made our way to Temple Street Night Market. Going there, we walked the whole stretch of Kowloon Park plus a few more blocks — a long walk, to say the least. One of the things I noticed was how there were Rolex stores in almost every block. If it wasn’t in our side of the street, it was in the other. Also, did I mention that HK has opposite traffic directions (I’m not sure if this is the correct term) compared with ours in PH? If in PH cars always have to “keep right”, in HK cars have to “keep left”. A couple of times while walking, I wondered why the cars were moving in the opposite direction. Then I would remember why. And then later, I’d wonder again. Confusing, I know. Haha.
It was a chilly night out. At 9PM, many locals and tourists were still out. Oh, and there were lots of Filipinos too. You could hear people speaking in Tagalog or Bisaya (because those were the only dialects that I could speak, those were the only ones I recognized) almost everywhere. I almost thought I was still in PH. Almost.
The night market was also packed with tourists. Food stalls stood side by side. By the looks of it, the main menu of the place was sea foods. D wanted to try the street foods, so we chose a spot between a stall that served meals and another that served street foods.
First, we tried the street foods. D went to order while I waited at our table to contemplate which meal we could try. When he came back, he had in his hands more than enough food for the two of us! 😮 I kept forgetting how a hungry D always buys more food than he could ever eat. Haha. Anyway, the food was weird. Weird because I didn’t know what I was eating, though it was one heck of an experience. It was neither delicious nor unpleasant to my taste. Well, maybe except for the one that tasted like fish balls with an extra taste that made it different from the ones we have in PH.
Because D bought so much, there wasn’t enough space in our tummies anymore for a full meal. So I ordered a small viand. Funny how the snack became the meal and the meal became the snack. We had shrimps wrapped in potato strings. I love shrimps. It’s my favorite food of all. But this was the first time I heard and saw such dish. It didn’t taste great to me, though it was still okay. At least when I ate this, I knew what I was eating. 😉
Guess what we had for breakfast? Tada!
I’ve heard stories from others about when travelling and unsure of where to eat — particularly for breakfast — go to McDonald’s. That’s what D and I did. Still, even McDonald’s had to differ its menu relative to its location. And I like theirs better. 🙂 I never thought I’d see sopas in a McDonald’s menu, but there it was. They even served milk instead of creamer for the coffee (which I usually prefer).
We initially planned to visit Kowloon Park for a while after breakfast since it was so near. We had to skip it because, unfortunately, it rained. 😦 But that only took us a moment of sadness because our next destination was… Hong Kong Disneyland! 😀
Again, we took the MTR, where we had to change lines twice. At the last part of the journey, lo and behold, was the cutest train I’ve ever seen. The Disneyland Resort Line was, well, very Disney-looking. There were small statues of Disney characters inside train. The windows and the handrails were Mickey-shaped. And the ambiance inside was grand (for lack of better word).
For the pictures below, navigate through the picture to read its caption.
Cute Mickey handrails. 🙂
Behind us is a statue of Jiminy Cricket.
Mickey window. ❤
And here we are! 😀
I can’t go into details about the things we did in Disneyland, since it would take too long. Instead, I’ll just show you. 🙂
Oh, it was a fun day. And very cold too. “Para kang nag-shorts sa Baguio,” was how D described the cold. Though I checked the forecast early that day, I didn’t know it’d get that cold. The shivers were all worth it, though. 🙂 Brrr… It also rained. Twice. The first rain was our first welcome upon arrival in Disneyland. Hahahuhu. The second was right before the fireworks.
On the way back, we decided to head directly to the guesthouse. We were supposed to go to Temple Street Night Market again to eat dinner, but the cold got the better of us. We just bought food along the way instead.
Our last day in HK turned out to be an even colder one.
We checked out first before heading to our first destination. That’s when we met the husband owner of the guesthouse. He didn’t speak much English, but he was as accommodating as his wife. He even allowed us to leave our luggage until we return later in the afternoon to get them. We didn’t eat breakfast, but just rode the MTR and went straight to Central District.
Okay, I knew we had our maps (the screenshots), but we forgot to consider how one station had many exits. And, apparently, we made the wrong exit at Central station. So there we were, strolling around Central District, getting ourselves lost. Haha. Good thing our destination was a tourist spot. We found street signs that directed us there, although we still had a few wrong turns along the way.
We arrived at Peak Tram Lower Terminus just in time for the Peak Tram’sarrival. Because we had our Octopus cards, we didn’t have to line up to buy tickets for the tram — we just tapped our cards and went in. We rode the tram, and then we were on our way to The Peak!It was a steep way up. It felt like we were riding up in a roller coaster and anticipating for the the extreme slide down. It was also getting colder and colder. Brrr…
Photo taken at Peak Tram Lower Terminus, Hong Kong.
Photo taken while riding the tram going to The Peak
We arrived at The Peak quite early. Most of the stores inside were still closed. Even the Sky Terrace 428 was still closed. When we did get up to Sky Terrace 428, I wanted to get back inside because, woah, it was freezing cold! Plus, it was also windy. Brrr… The view was wonderful, though. ❤ We could see the whole of Hong Kong. We also spotted a bird just gliding through the wind. The bird looked powerful. It was a majestic sight. 🙂
After that, we had our brunch in one of the restaurants inside: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Not only was the food great, but also the view — our table was situated beside the beautiful view of Hong Kong. 🙂 From there, we got another sight of the bird that we saw from Sky Terrace 428.
Nice decors on the wall.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant & Bar
Beside the beautiful view of Hong Kong. 🙂
Due to the cold weather, I craved for something hot. We hung out at Pacific Coffee for a while and had coffee. Then we bought some pasalubong at a small bazaar. After, we rode the Peak Tram backwards (literally — imagine riding a roller backwards) down and got ourselves lost in Central District again. Haha.
Photo taken at HSBC Main Building, Central, Hong Kong.
Photo taken at Statue Square, Central, Hong Kong.
When we arrived at Tsim Sha Tsui, we didn’t immediately return to the guesthouse. Instead, we took our extra time to stroll around Kowloon Park. Finally! Haha. Different statues stood in different areas of the park. There were people jogging, while some were just strolling around, like us. There was also a group of kids on what seemed to be a field trip. They were engaged in an activity of molding clay into a pieces of art. And, I tell you, they were pretty creative. 🙂
Then again, the cold got the better of us. We went back to the guesthouse, got our luggage, then rode the MTR to the airport. Like the first day, we were early. Like the first day, because we were so early and our flight’s check-in counters were still closed, we had to eat our lunch first before heading to the Departure Area. And like the first day, I was mesmerized by the airport. This time, it wasn’t about the train. The airport looked like a mall inside. I used to think that of NAIA 3 too. But this was like comparing the “mall-ness” of SM Masinag (I have to use this because this is close to where I live haha)to the “mall-ness” of SM Mall of Asia.
Anyway, we were back in PH at around 10PM and was already tucked in bed at past midnight (typical Manila traffic) — a little later for D since he lives farther.
Well, that’s it, dear readers! 😀 I hope you enjoyed reading. Writing these down still makes me want to return to HK. Got a little separation anxiety after the trip. Huhu.
I got my blog revamped again. I was looking at some themes and was just trying them out when I accidentally clicked the “Activate this design” button instead of “Open Live Demo”. And so, I lost my previous design. I tried to turn back to the old template, but I cannot recover all the customization that I did. Unfortunately.
So I renewed everything. I looked for another template — a simpler and more reading-friendly one, this time. I did some customization for my personal touch. And, voila!
Okay. I know it’s April 14 today. But what you’re about to read is an answer to a prompt that’s actually intended for tomorrow, April 15. I guess I got the dates mixed up — I’m usually like that during long vacations haha. Anyway, it was already too late to turn back. By the time I realized my mistake, I was already halfway through my writing. Oops. Hahahuhu.
April 15 The satisfaction of a list Who doesn’t love a list? So write one! Top five slices of pizza in your town, ten reasons disco will never die, the three secrets to happiness — go silly or go deep, just go list-y.
I won’t be giving you the three lists mentioned above. Or even the “silly” or “deep” ones. But I’ll definitely give you something list-y.
I have this planner called the 2017 Belle de Jour Power Planner (BDJ). It’s girly. It’s colorful. It’s exactly right for me — the layout, the contents and so on. It also contains a “2017 Checklist”. It’s a pretty long list, so I never planned in fulfilling them all. Surprisingly, I have actually done some of them without knowing it.
Here is a list of the things I have crossed off (so far) from BDJ’s 2017 Checklist:
Call your loved ones more often. I’m not much of a caller. I usually prefer text or chat or even email. In fact, calling may be one of the reasons why I can’t get a decent raise this year (this is not a complaint, but merely a statement that I’ll embrace what I get because I know it’s what I deserve). Anyway, I acquired a phone postpaid plan late last year. This plan includes unlimited calls to subscribers of the same network. And because of that, I’ve made more phone calls to my family and friends and even boyfie this year (and it’s still the fourth month) than the whole of 2016 combined. Yeah, that’s how much of an anti-caller I am.
Throw out old and expired make-up junk! Throwing them out was easy. Acquiring new and good ones is not. I’m not much of a make-up person, so it’s kind of a dilemma in my world.
Read a book 30 minutes before you sleep. I like to read, so this task is a no-brainer for me. In fact, I do this almost every night and even exceed up to three hours. Haha. 😉
Read a book and chill at a cafe by yourself. As I’ve mentioned, I like to read. I like “chilling” at cafes. And I’m comfortable with hanging out by myself. To combine all three is definitely something I have already done.
Plan your school or office attire for the upcoming week. We wear uniforms from Mondays to Thursdays at the office, except when there’s an out-of-the-office thing — meeting, event or activity — within those days. For Fridays, it’s smart casual day. Every once in a while, we have a “Fashown Friday” — a themed thing. So my planning is usually just for Fridays.
Watch a musical play aimed for kids. Last month, D and I went to Hong Kong Disneyland. They have this production called Mickey and the Wondrous Book. I watched lots of my favorite Disney characters come to life and sing. The musical was definitely one of the highlights of my Disneyland experience. 🙂
Doodle to your heart’s content! This one I usually do when I’m bored and when I have pen and paper by my side at the time of boredom.
Scour the Internet for new business ideas. I actually did this before I decided to apply for Graduate School. I was thinking that maybe I could get extra income from my writing. Maybe I’ll get back to this if I failed to get in.
Search online for great discount deals. As I have travels planned this year, searching for discounts for accommodation and tours is something I do during my free time.
Set up various funds (e.g. savings, travel, emergencies, etc.). As I’ve mentioned, I have travels planned this year. D and I are working on these travel funds. Our travel fund for last March’s HK trip worked so well that we even had extras when we returned back to PH.
Write a travel essay and have it published online or in a magazine. I actually have posted some here. And I have an upcoming one. Which is pretty long, I tell you. So watch out for it! 😉
Attend trade fairs and check out new products. I went to an Auto Show last April 02 with my family. Lots of cars — old and new — and anything related to them. I don’t know much about cars, but I was fascinated by them.
Shop for new exercise clothes. This year, my colleagues and I have been playing badminton almost every Friday after work. Because this is the most “sporty” I have done since elementary, I started buying some clothes for the games. Right now, I’m looking into buying a pair of running shoes.
Treat your best friend to a free lunch or dinner meal. My boyfriend is my best friend. I’ve done a share of free lunch and/or dinner meals for him. And he has also done his share of free meals for me. 🙂 Note: picture below was a KKB deal. I just can’t find a picture of us dining out where I paid for the meal.
Due to the hot weather, I’ve been craving for anything cold lately — cold drink, cold dessert, cold food. Then just last weekend, I craved for mango float. And I thought, why not make it myself? So that’s what I did today.
I’m not a cook. I don’t know much about cooking. In fact, I got brothers who can cook and I just let them do the cooking. Yes, I know, I know. A girl should know how to cook. My family has forever been teasing me about it. And who cold blame them? It’s essential.
I’m learning little by little, though. I know how to fry eggs the way I like them — sunny side up, a bit overcooked on the side and yolk still runny. And some other fried cooking.
But what really interests me are cold desserts. In family gatherings, making them is the only chore I confidently volunteer to — and I seldom volunteer. They’re not only easy, but they’re also specific to measurements and proportions. I’m a Math major graduate. Where else would I be comfortable but with things that involve numbers? I think I would have done well with baking too, but that’s my brother’s forte. So I’ll stick with the cold ones.
I haven’t tasted the mango float yet. Tonight, maybe. Still, I could say I’m pleased with what I’ve done. If it turns out well, I may even share my recipe later. 🙂