Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The S Word

I mentioned in my first blog that one of my spice in life are my friends. Some friends come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. Thank God that my college friends does not only leave footprints but also make a marked on my heart. I had the opportunity to go on a trip with them to Hong Kong which has been planned since two years ago...due to our different schedule we were only able to fulfill the trip last May 24, 2010. I was so excited because it has been more than 12 years since I last visited Hong Kong.

Day 1

Our plane departed from Manila via PAL at around 8:20 am and landed at Hong Kong International Airport at around 10:20 am. Our itinerary for that day was to go to Ngong Ping 360 at Lantau Island then to Citygate Outlet right at the heart of Tung Chung but unfortunately we were not able to follow our schedule because we arrived at the Kimberly Hotel past 12:00 nn due to some unavoidable circumstances. Our room was not yet available so took our lunch and our first taste of Hong Kong food was at Macau Dynasty Restaurant just across our Hotel. I ordered for Portuguese Baked Chicken with Rice. Duh! Their servings was huge it was good for 2 to 3 persons.

Upper Right: Roasted Duck
Lower Photos: Portuguese Baked Chicken with Rice

After our heavy meal...burp...burp, we went to our hotel to check if our room was ready, sadly out of 3 rooms 1 room is not yet available (which is ours) we left our baggage in our friend's room and instead of wasting our time waiting we went around the city to walk and shop.

Shopping was a lot of fun but also tiring..I saw a line of mochi in one of the malls we went in, it was tempting....did not have the chance to savor it though because we were in a rush. I am sure my sister Divine would love to taste all of it!

We met our college friend who now work and reside in Hong Kong at the lobby of a hotel. She was with her daughter who happens to be my goddaughter and whom i haven't seen for a long time. She treated us for a Chinese dinner with some dimsum, vegetable dishes, eel and desserts.

We had a wonderful night reminiscing our college days like staying out late at night, sleeping overnight with one of our friends house, going to bar, and so on. Our day did not end with a dinner but with shopping!....Yes! more shopping!
Day 2

Our agenda for this day was to go to Ngong Ping 360, Citygate Outlet and Causeway Bay. We started it off with a breakfast not at our Hotel but Mcdo...Yup! you read it right Mcdo. We were given free coupon by the Hotel since we already paid for it why not use it even for 1 breakfast. My friend ordered something different Macaroni Soup with Sausage and Egg and I ordered for my usual Sausage and Egg Mc Muffin.

Getting around Hong Kong is easy if you know how to navigate the MTR or Mass Transit Railway Map. MTR is Hong Kong's sub way system, it has won a slew of awards and is one of the best subway system in the world. It covers anywhere you might want to go in Kowloon and on Hong Kong Island and also extends into the New Territories. Tickets can be bought from either automated, English language machines inside the station or from a manned desk. You feed the ticket into the turnstile to enter the platform and retain it, before entering it again at the destination stop. When going to the station you need to look for the MTR logo, most streets have this logo posted on a pole and gives you the direction on where the station is. Even though its easy I still get confused, thank God for Celene and Angela who has sense of direction and lead us to our destination.

Our first stop was at Ngong Ping 360, located in Lantau Island. It is the newest attraction in Hong Kong opened in 2006. One way of getting to that place is MTR it took us around 45 minutes to reach the site. There are two main attractions at Ngong Ping - the Tian Tan Buddha Statue and the Ngong Ping 360 cable Car. The Tian Tan Buddha (Big Buddha/Peaceful Buddha/Giant Buddha) is the largest outdoor bronze Buddha statue in the world. The Buddha is 112 ft tall, weighs 250 metric ton, and it reputedly can even be seen from as far away as Macau on a clear day. The second attraction is the Ngong Ping 360 cable car, it i s a visually spectacular 5.7 km bi-cable ropeway. We rode the Crystal Cabin cable car, it is equipped with a glass bottom which is designed to feast our eyes with an astonishing bird's eye view of the distant and vast South China Sea, the rolling grassland slopes of North Lantau Country Park, Hong Kong International Airport and the mountainous terrain of Lantau Island. It was a joyful 25 minute ride where we can't stop taking photos of different angles and scenes.

Adjacent to Ngong Ping Cable Car Terminal is an impressive cultural themed village, incorporating several major attractions, including Walking with Buddha, Monkey's Tale Theatre and the Ngong Ping Tea House. Along the villag
e you can find several souvenir shops and restaurants, so before heading to the Citygate Outlet we had our lunch at a restaurant which I forgot the name (always take a photo of the menu).

First Photo: Rice Noodle with Satay Beef
Second Photo: Ngong Ping Village
Third Photo: Roasted Duck & Roasted Pork

The next place we went to was Citygate Outlet. It is the first and only outlet mall in Hong Kong where more than 80 international brands offering yearly discounts of at least 30% to 70% discount on designer fashion, sports, beauty, accessories, children's wear and home items. There's also a spa, multi-screen cinema, cool restaurants, and Asia's largest outdoor kinetic fountain. It is 10 minutes away from Hong Kong International Airport. There items here are old designs so you might also want to go to the city (Kowloon or Hong Kong side) to check out their lastest's a bit pricey but buying one or two item won't hurt much la.

We went back to our Hotel to leave our things and rest for a few minutes then off to Causeway Bay to shop again and meet our friend. With a tiring day one needs to re-energize to keep you going and going and going...All of us were hungry and without noticing the signage we were eating at a resto where we also have here in the Philippines...guess what?!

Rejuvenate and refresh from our dinner, we walk around Causeway Bay and Time Square Mall, in less than 15 minutes we are done with the mall. There's nothing you can buy because all are high-end shops but one thing that made my head turn...

Before heading back to our Hotel...we went...nope not shopping but a late snack at a Toi Hokkaido Rice Pizza. After having all our lunches and dinners with Asian food I was glad to have tasted something different and unique. Instead of using crust they use rice and you can choose a wide variety of toppings. That cap the night for us...a scrumptious meal and good bonding time with friends.

Day 3

Its Macau day! After a tiring night we woke up late..had a fast forward breakfast across our Hotel, name of the resto was so gusto..."Relax for a While". We tried their Sliced Pork with Century Egg Congee and Roasted Pork Rice Roll. Their rice roll not only include roasted pork but also vegetables and cilantro which my friend and i really really like, unlike here in the Philippines when you order Roasted Pork Rice Roll its only Roasted Pork and Rice Roll nothing else.

The reason we stayed at Kimberly Hotel is because it is at Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon where the Hong Kong China Ferry Terminal is located, it's a walking distance from our Hotel and it will only take you around 10 to 15 minutes to get there. The Hong Kong China Ferry Terminal is one of the three cross-boarder ferry terminals in Hong Kong. The pier has operated since 1988 and it provides ferry services to Macau and mainland China . The ride took us 1 hr and 10 minutes, by the way, you need to bring your passport to enter Macau.The first thing that will greet you when you enter the arrival area are the traveler's guide who will offer you a package site seeing tour, since we don't want to waste our time going around the city by ourselves we accepted his offer worth HK$800.00 for 3 hours (don't know if that was a cheap offer or not). The first site he took us was a resto which is not a pleasing site because of the not so pleasing looking guys, in short they look like "goons". We ordered and eat hurriedly to escape from their looks but how can we eat fast when we have a delectable meal....Broccoli with Squid, Roasted Duck (again), Roasted Pork (again) and Sweet and Sour Spareribs.

The weather in Macau is almost the same in the and humid. Our first visit was at the Statue of Kun Iam and Ecumenical Center it stands majestically at an altitude of 20 meters. Next stop was at Our Lady of Penha Church built on top of Colina da Penha or Penha Hill which was first built in 1622. The bell tower of the church is very distinctive and can be seen anywhere from the harbor. On a clear day the panoramic view from the church includes not only but across Macau the Pearl River into China. One can see the whole harbor and the great collection of old and modern architecture such as the Chief Executive's Palace, other colonial residences, the Macau Tower and the man-made lakes. Another beautiful place we went to was at Wynn Hotel not because of the gaming area or casino but a carved ceiling representing signs of the zodiac and a 7 minute Tree light performance. Next stop the Ruins of St. Paul's refer to the facade of what was originally the Cathedral of St. Paul it is one of the famous attractions in Macau today. Last stop the Venetian, is a hotel and casino resort owned by Las Vegas Sands Corporation. The resort has 3,000 suites, 1,200,000 sq. ft of convention space, 1,600,000 sq. ft. of retail, 550,000 sq. ft of casino space with 3400 slot machines, 800 gaming tables and a 15,000 seat arena for entertainment and sports events.

For our final night of our Hong Kong-Macau trip our friend who will be celebrating her birthday this June treated us with a delightful dinner, and before taking the night off our host friend took us out for a shot of vodka at Balalaika Russian Restaurant...aahh the good old days...Cheers!!!

Day 4

It was just shopping and eating...

This is one trip that I will treasure and cherish..Will definitely miss the S word: Shopping, Scrumptious food, Sight-Seeing, and the Spice Girls.

By His Grace,


sheenaong said...

you're consistent, still pictures of foods flourished your blogs. u just made me salivate again and for that im tempted not to attend ypf but go to wai ying, what a ban influence u are.;) i can see from those pictures that u really had a great time, so did u bring something for me? ;)yes hk is very accessible to all, the moment your plane lands the runway,u can ask the person from the front desk anything u would want to know, sky's the limit and of course their sumptuous foods. friends are for keeps, if u find one, that makes u the richest man alive. friends come in different sizes and forms, so know who are worth keeping and who are worth letting go.. be inspired always

Wen said...

Thanks Sheena...i think you're the only one whose reading my blog...thank you friend for adding a spice into my life

Nicole Anne said...

i wolfed down 2 packed pandesals but seeing your pictures made me hungry again! nice shots and blog tsi wen =)

Wen said...

Thanks Nicole! Nice of you to drop by my blog..come back anytime i'll be posting some recipes.

cherry said...

hi achi wen! love your blog :) which restaurant did you and your friends went that is also here in the Philippines?

Wen said...

Thanks Che! You were not able to guess it? It's Ajisen...their sliced pork are thicker but our soup base here are more tastier. I like our noodles because we use spaghetti while their noodles are the typical Chinese thin noodles.