Hong Kong 2012
Hong Kong with 1,104 square km is almost double the size of the City of Manila and the 14 cities of Metro Manila at 638.55 square km. However, in terms of population though Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated city in the world, its 7 million population is still no match to Mega Manila’s 11 million people.
We are a family of six — myself, wife and two kids plus my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law — who visited Hong Kong for 4 days, and this is my blog to capture the experience.
Science Museum (Day 1 – August 5)
We arrived at Hotel Benito past 1:00 PM which is at the Tsim Sha Tsui area. Check in is supposed to be at 2:00 PM, however we were told the room is not yet ready (we suspect there is a late check-in at the room) and may be available at 3:00 PM. We decided to just leave our luggage at the lobby and start our tour, starting with having our lunch at KFC.
Our original plan is to have Disneyland on the first day (the kids are anticipating it even before we board the plane from Manila). However, we find the time very limited. We convinced the kids to have it the following day and proceed instead to the Science Museum. The museum is great, the kids enjoyed it much. I left the Science Museum earlier hoping I can sneak-in at the History Museum at the opposite building, but a sign greeted me that it is fully booked for the day. I just decided to roam around within the premises wasting time until the group exits the Science Museum and back to the hotel. In the evening we went to Victoria Harbour to watch the symphony of lights show.
After the show, we headed back to the hotel with bread and pastries for dinner. I know everyone is already tired, yet I asked my wife to join me outside. I am craving for an authentic Hong Kong noodle. We roam around and found a noodle house. I ordered something I found interesting at the menu, while my wife had her choice. When our order arrived, we immediately noticed their serving is huge, each enough to fill 2 to 3 hungry Filipino stomach. I am so full, I declared I wont crave for a Hong Kong noodle for a year.
Disneyland (Day 2 – August 6)
We arrived at Disneyland at around lunchtime. As usual the queue is long. I was spared from lining up buying the ticket as I purchased our tickets online while at the hotel (in order to collect the ticket from an automated kiosk I have to insert the credit card I used in purchasing the ticket online). The entrance itself is another long line.
As soon as we pass the gate, we took maps and schedule of shows then we headed to a bakeshop to have our lunch while planning what we will do for the day, which started with a street entertainment “Flights of Fantasy”. Then we went to watch the “Festival of the Lion King”, then went to Adventure Land and the River Cruise. I am too tired I did not even bother to climb Tarzan’s Treehouse, while the kids, my wife and her sister eagerly went.
We decided to split so that the girls can have their choice rides and us boys can have ours. Rinojo’s attention is with Autopia. We waited for almost 1 and a half hour just to have our turn and have his 5 minutes of fun on the steering wheel.
After Autopia, he is pointing at the Buzz Lightyear ride. The queue is again very long (the sign says 80 minutes) so I bribed him instead with a Lego Starwars and a Mickey watch (later late afternoon, he would still insist on the Buzz Lightyear ride but I asked his mother to accompany him instead). As Rinojo’s chaperon, I have to accompany him at Space Mountain also and the train circling the park. The girls on the other hand continued queuing rides after rides, attractions after attractions.
We met in the late afternoon to watch another scheduled street performance and then to have a picture with Disney characters. Rinojo wants to have a picture with Goofy. I hurried to the line where I thought Goofy was, only to be told by Rinojo that it was Pluto.
Disneyland closed with the usual fireworks display. Really spectacular seeing by own eyes (can not say for the others as ironically they are busy filming, lol). Then we headed home.
Ocean Park (Day 3 – August 7)
I am a little biased here. I am not a fan of caged animals or fishes on an aquarium, thus I find the display of aquatic animals and the panda boring. Neither I am thrilled with rides. I have to remind myself however that we are in Ocean Park for the kids.
Just like Disneyland people queue on rides and attractions eagerly like a first graders. It is humid and hot yet people seems to enjoy the place (including myself this I have to say). I would not mind buying a snow cone for HK$ 32 or a bottle of water for HK$ 25. The park is huge (even bigger than Disneyland) so we again decided to split so we can queue on the rides and attractions of interest. This time I am with the two kids — lucky me the kids opted for the “Polar Adventure”.
We are supposed to go to Victoria’s Peak in the afternoon, where my mother-in-law (together with her Hong Kong-based relative whom we met earlier) went, but due to the huge crowd and the queues at the attractions, the kids are not yet satisfied and are still wanting more. We decided instead to stay at the Park. And stayed we did up to closing hours.
Oh, I almost forgot, on this day we are celebrating our 2nd Church wedding anniversary (last year we were in Zamboanga #justsaying).
Ngong Ping 360 (Day 4 – August 8)
Our trip to Manila is scheduled at 6:00 PM. In the morning we went to Ngong Ping. The cable ride is 5.7 km and a good 25-minute ride on an opted Crystal Cabin. The ride itself is quite an experience, seeing trees like broccoli, and having a spectacular view of the mountains and its shores without illegal settlers and of Hong Kong devoid of the ubiquitous Manny Villar-like low cost housing projects, lol.
Of all the places we visited in Hong Kong, this is the place that I can say I liked the best. Nothing is spectacular there (well, except the giant Buddha). I also noticed that the prices posted at the restaurants there are similar to the that in the city (at least not jacked-up as in Disneyland and Ocean Park).
What I enjoyed the most are the stores selling good souvenir items. I feel like I am on a museum yet I have the power to acquire/purchase what I want. I bought a replica of Tian Tan Buddha, a fighting/shaolin Buddha, all the twelve Chinese Zodiac animals. I even found (and bought) “The Little Red Book” of Chairman Mao along with a rectangular canister with hammer and sickle print. I also bought some key chains, charms and bracelets, and even a monopoly board game that Rinojo was insisting, just before we ride back the cable ride.
The giant Tian Tan Buddha is elevated with 268 steps. The visit will not be complete without conquering these steps. Earlier, I asked them to go ahead while I feasted on the souvenir shop, thus I have my loot while climbing the stairs. When I reached the top, we had our souvenir photos and descended after few more moments.
We went back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and rushed to the airport. We had our light snack while at the bus (though we know it is not supposed to be allowed). While still at the hotel, I volunteered to pack our luggage with while my wife and my sister-in-law have the last minute shopping for give-away.
At the airport our flight was delayed for several hours. Our plane coming from Manila was delayed due to a freak heavy rain shower.
When we arrived in Manila, we were further stranded. The van scheduled to pick up us can not wade the flooded highway. We decided to literally sleep at the airport — that is after getting tired playing monopoly. It is about day break that I was able to convince an airport taxi to try transport us to Antipolo.
Unfortunately as we reached just before Kingsville Subdivision in Marcos Highway, the floodwater has not subsided yet and the road is still not passable to light vehicles. Just about time, a DTI bus came (momentarily stopped by some vehicles in front), I practically knocked at the window and asked (read: begged) to take us in past the submerged road. We were able to hitch a ride until Masinag, where we had our breakfast at Mc Donald’s while waiting for the van to fetch us.
Happy with the wonderful experience.