The Month of the Heart of Winter

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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Hong Kong-Macau, Day Two

Feb 13 – Husband and I were supposed to be up and prepared by 7am because Joel N. and his wife would be meeting us for breakfast however, it was colder than the preceding day. Temperature had dropped down to 8 degrees C and it was cloudy with bits of light shower later on. We even didn’t make an attempt to turn on the ac as we sleep and yet it was freezing, and getting a bath is an ordeal. Since husband and I didn’t lug too much clothes I wore the Esprit pullover knit top I bought the night before. I need a thicker clothing this time.

We left Tin Hau area by Island Tram to Wanchai with Joel N. and his wife. We were supposed to dine at Rose Kitchen however, it was still closed for breakfast.

We end up at Café de Coral –the leading Chinese fast food chain in HK. Similar to McDonald’s and Jollibee, you can’t order anything that is not offered during breakfast. And most of their crew doesn’t speak English so if you know Cantonese that would be an advantage, otherwise you can always do the ordering by pointing at the picture 🙂 , hehehe…

Mapple Chicken Fillet, roasted chicken fillet with maple syrup, sausage, thick toast with butter and freshly brewed coffee. The three of them got this set. Roasted chicken is tasty 🙂 !

Hokkaido Milk, Hokkaido Milk scrambled egg with plus sausage, thick toast with butter and milk tea. This is my set, which I enjoyed with that silky smooth and aromatic milk tea without that bitter after-taste! Yum!

Café de Coral breakfast set cost around HDK20-30 only, good value for money!

Husband and I were Macau bound that day and since Joel N. and wife cannot join us Joel N. called a colleague in Macau to help us get around the countryside.

They went along with us at the HK-Macau Ferry Terminal in Shun Tak Centre, Sheung Wan. Since it was a Sunday, there were plenty of travelers and ticketing is a busy sight. Turbo Jet would transport us to Macau at 12:45pm, fare is HKD146.00 Economy Class.

We got a window aisle seat, which was good if there was no rain because we get to see the sea and its surroundings. Travel time is about an hour from HK to Macau. I’m used to riding ferries and small boats but this ride was different, my first time to feel seasickness 😦 . Maybe because the sea was rough, so, the rocking motion of the craft is still normal.

Arriving in Macau, you need to pass Immigration too so your passport will be required. Wesley met us at the Macau Ferry Terminal. He was our tour guide and official photographer to this Macau break.

Before we started our tour, I discussed with him the places I wanted to see, given that limited time I know we should make plans 🙂 .

I bumped with The Venetian mascot our way out…

From the ferry terminal there’s a free ride going to The Venetian, so we make use of it to save on. Btw, HKD is accepted in Macau so no need to change it to MOP.

The Venetian-Macao Resort Hotel was grand, no not just grand it was classy, every part is eye-catching. Wesley knew where and what to see inside the hotel so we let him do the job 🙂 .

The Grand Canal Shoppes, referred to as Asia’s most unique and opulent shopping destination surrounds most finest brands. It houses 330 stores, such a wow! However, it is because we have a very limited time I didn’t have the chance to peep to any of it…sigh!

Anyway, the best part of this experience is touring the interiors under a permanent blue sky.

Gondola Ride is one of The Venetian’s major amusement, Gondoliers will serenade you as you take a leisurely ride through, the San Luca, Marco Polo and Grand Canals, aboard a beautifully crafted Venetian gondolas. Husband and I settled of watching these things, I think MOP108 is a little lavish for us.

Every inch of this hotel is extravagance, its bright settings takes elegance to a new level.

Btw, we have a quick peek at the Casino, where picture taking is now allowed.

And before we left The Venetian, we gave Portuguese-Macanese cuisine a try. This eatery is Wesley’s recommendation.

I don’t exactly remember what we had but I kept photos of that irresistible special combinations.

This chicken dish is like curry with a different flavor-blending culture seasoned with spices and coconut milk and baked –I assume its Macanese. This spilling over serving cost HKD55.

Husband had pork rib, which was seasoned and baked too, served like rice toppings. Cost of this appetizing plate is around HKD50. You will find this affordable dining at the Festivita Food Court though you have the option to sample fine dining at the 30 stylish restaurants throughout the resort.

Even from outside The Venetian is picturesque, I wanted to be back and explore more of its attractions and amenities especially the shopping part Honey 🙂 .

From The Venetian, City of Dreams is a stone’s throw away. Wesley took us for a quick look around the casino.

The breathtaking show at The House of Dancing Water is a must see; I would add in this on my second visit perhaps.

We took the free ride going to our next destination, Mocha –this club features electronic gaming. Husband and I tried the video baccarat and lost some HKD20 after a few game. Ain’t bad for a little fun and leisure, right? I noticed that most Pinoy workers favored this place during time off. Like what we did at City of Dreams, Wesley asked over if we want to avail the membership and so we did! It’s free anyway 🙂 .

Next stop was Grand Emperor Hotel, I remember we went on foot from Mocha to this casino hotel, which is located at the heart of Macau’s entertainment and commercial district. Like many tourist who come and go at the hotel lobby, we went there to see the 78 pieces of gold bars under the floor surrounding the fountain, which was said to be owned by Jacky Chan.

And what amaze every guest is the two guards wearing red tunics and bearskins, photo op is welcome so don’t forget to steal the moment. Maybe because we exit on the other side of the hotel, we didn’t see the golden carriage.

Just a small tip, don’t have your photo taken at the middle part of the fountain facing the main entrance. You don’t want some officer call your attention at all 🙂 .

From Grand Emperor, Senado Square is a 15-minute leisurely walk. We have to cover from side streets because of light rains. It’s fun and at the same time we get to check some stores along our way.

It’s because Chinese New Year just ended a week ago during this visit, the square was decked with fragrant flowers, money tree, Chinese lanterns and glimmering lights.

Going to Ruins of St. Paul’s you wouldn’t missed Saint Dominic Church, which is located on a junction. We pay a visit and like we always do, wish the first time you step in.

I remember buying some Macau souvenir shirts, 5 pieces for HKD100.

Before hitting the main road again, Wesley warned us. I thought he was joking when he asked if we were ready for a food trip, which turned out to be more of a food-treat on the streets of Rua de Sao Paolo. Be ready to sample assortment of pork barbeque (bakk-wa in SG and HK) and almond cookies.

I remember having a mouthful of sample while store vendors keep on offering me more and more. I know husband enjoyed this experience very much, c’mon Honey I caught you seizing anything that pleases your eyes 🙂 .

We bought boxes of almond cookies, egg rolls and meat jerky all from Pastelaria Koi Kei, which is recognized as the most popular food souvenir in Macau. Almond Cookies priced at HKD35 per box.

The base of the most well-known historic monument in Macau is just a few steps away from this food stalls. Ruins of St. Paul’s (Pinoy call it Putol na Simbahan) refer to a façade of what was the originally the church of Mater Dei built in 1602-1640.

We explore the place and take photos like most tourists care for. Thanks to Wesley for those decent shots of us together on this wonderful place 🙂 .

And to our last stop –Macau Fisherman’s Wharf. From Senado Square we took bus 3A to Ferry Terminal and getting at the theme park would be a 10-minute walk. We actually have pictures only and a view of the complex. By this time, I was already so tired and all I wanted was to go back in our hostel. I would find time to explore this side next time (should fortune allow me to…). There’s more to see in Macau so husband says we need to make the most of our time on our next visit, I wonder when is this Honey? hehehe…

Wesley was with us until we checked in back to Hong Kong. He was one of the nicest Pinoy guys in Macau who does tour guide as part of their living, so, don’t forget to hand over some HKD before you depart. Thank you for the plenty of stories and for the friendliness, we would definitely see you soon Bro 🙂 !

Our sailing schedule back to HK was at 10:30pm however, you can take an earlier schedule provided that the seats are still available. We were lucky to get a slot via New World First Ferry this time; the route would be Macau to Kowloon for HKD175. Night sailing is expensive than day service.

Joel N. met us at Kowloon Ferry Terminal and walked with us from Canton Street to Nathan Street. Since the following day would be a work day, Joel N. had to retire early so we part directions at the MTR. He was so regretful that he wasn’t able to spend more time with us during this trip nevertheless, thank you for all the arrangements. Husband and I would be back soon 🙂 !

By the way, before we left TST we shopped at H&M –polo shirts for HKD79.90, oversized tee and leggings for SAM HKD129.00, basic tees for P HKD49.90 each, fancy make up starting from HKD29.90 to HKD49.90. I didn’t get anything for me 😦 .

And before we went back to Tin Hau, husband and I alight at Causeway Bay for a very late supper. We pick out this hole-in-the-wall eatery at the back alleys of Causeway Bay, which is very much like Estero in Binondo, I don’t even get the name because it was written in Chinese.

The super later dinner with no captions,

Braised Beef brisket and tendon

Barbeque Pork Roast

That’s how we ended our second day in Hong Kong, cheap eats!

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Hong Kong, Day One

After the Manila hostage-taking incident of Hong Kong nationals last September, husband and I concede with our plans of visiting Hong Kong. Even my family especially my Tatay didn’t approve us getting to that foreign ground. It is because everyone we knew feared that the relationship between the two countries (PI and HK) wasn’t all right and that security would be a question too. 

It is also because our ticket was expiring soon, we find the schedule a little too tight for us last year, and so, we totally scratch the trip from our calendar. But really I have that slight regret about us not taking the FREE tickets 😦 .

Dear Elna, 

I’m writing you to follow up with your target date for the trip for two to Hong Kong that you won last August. You may avail the prize until March 2011. Do let me know until December 21 if you already have a specific date in mind. Please provide name in your passport and the plus one that you are taking with you during the trip. 

Regards,
 AJ
 

I was still probably blessed 🙂 when the organizers emailed me last December 16, repeating to me the freebie and it’s not that, they told me that they extended the tickets until March 2011. I was like jumping in happiness and excitement, who wouldn’t be? Without further ado, I started reading reviews and forums; I need a crystal-clear guide to this trip.

HK visit in 2008

 

My previous visits to Hong Kong were different from this upcoming one. Before, everything was provided from accommodation, transfers, tour, meals, etc. –all you need is to make yourself ready for the adventure. And this time, it would be like Hongkong 101. I would be like a first time HK tourist like my husband, should learn the basics, the do’s and don’ts.

I picked the date; our travel was scheduled on February 12-14 – why not? I would love to celebrate Heart’s Day away from Manila this time. And that would be my idea of getting a vacay, there should be a justifiable occasion so to give good reason for the expense, hehehe…

I have been reading a lot of forums three weeks prior to our departure. There were plenty of things to complete like we need to book a hostel, plan the places to go, check fares and fees, bus routes and so on and so forth. Coincidentally during my planning husband was able to make contact with his HK based colleague. To make the story fast forward, the friend arrange our accommodation 🙂 .

Feb 12 – we reached NAIA Terminal 2 at 8am; our flight was scheduled at 10am. We ensure we don’t get late this time, our Boracay flight last month was a big lesson for us, right Honey? 🙂 After we checked in our luggage and finished the immigration we spent our time at the departure lounge. The first thing we did was to grab something to eat; I don’t remember us having breakfast that morning back home. We had coffee and pastry from Café France; I remember it was still Delifrance the last time I boarded at Terminal 2. We even get by to check Duty Free shops and compare prices outside. 

It was already 9:30am, (boarding time on boarding pass says 9:15am) when boarding was announced and gate was opened.

Yes, this is it! We’re flying via PR0318/Airbus 320. The airliner left Manila on time and I was happy that for the first time I am flying with husband out of the country.

 

I always love airline meals especially of PAL because they served rice meals 🙂 . The last time I boarded Cathay Pacific we were given a sandwich only, so, most of the passengers asked for an extra sandwich. The common Economy Class service meal of PAL composed of a rice meal (pork or chicken), fruit juice or cola and pastry (Red Ribbon). Husband and I was so satisfied, we were thinking at least, we saved spending hard cash for lunch 🙂 .

We arrived in Hong Kong on time, 12:15pm via HKIA Terminal 1. It was freezing cold when we first stepped outside the aircraft going to Immigration. It was so different from Manila’s average temperature. Husband and I didn’t wait long for our luggage to arrive, and our way out. That was our first challenge –to look for the bus stops and board the correct bus going to the city. We were told to ride Bus E11 going to Tin Hau, where our hostel is located. And btw, I slide a Hong Kong Map on my bag before we went out of the airport. It was our handbook during this entire DIY flight.

Since the friend was not available to pick us at the airport he gave us a detailed direction on how and where to descend. It was our first time to ride a double-decker bus; we chose to stay at the upper level so we can enjoy the scenery as we head for Hong Kong Island.

Bus E11 last stop was Tin Hau Station, which is located at 1 King’s Road inside Park Tower, so, it was very convenient for us. This leading also to the MTR Station and right next to it was Golden Court, which was our HK address for the time being. I had very little idea of what awaits us; Google wasn’t able to show me enough info on my searches for “Golden Court”. Anyway, we asked the lobby guard for Jimmy whom husband had speak before leaving Manila. I swear, I didn’t understand any from that guard and the only lucid word I heard was 11th Floor.

Our coming was expected and we were welcomed by Doray, who by the way is a Filipina. She directed us immediately to our room and there goes me, examining the basic room facilities.

 

The space can fit in two/three people, equipped with twin bed and a single bed, which we used as station for our luggage.

There’s television with TFC channel, ac, private bathroom with water heater, two pairs of slippers, towels, wardrobe cabinet and wifi (specified spot is on that single bed only). Just don’t expect anything posh because for HKD300/day only, this one is value for your money.

Soon as we get settled, we went out to see husband’s friend. After a few turns and wrong ways, we met up Joel N. He and husband met three years ago and became associates because of their former boss, S. And even after Joel’s departure in Manila they speak to once in a while. I didn’t have the chance to meet him in Manila, so, it’s my first time to meet him in HK. It was a short meet because Joel was still at work. He let us use one of his mobile phone so calls and sms would be cheaper.

And our adventure begins, from a corner store that sells street food husband and I get hold of something to eat.

Fish Balls and Egg Puffs cost us HKD28

It is because we were not yet accustomed to riding buses, trams and MTR we wander Causeway Road by foot. We passed by Hong Kong Central Library our way to Causeway Bay.

And Sogo was having Clearance Sale so imagine the people that flocked the district that day. We went to Sogo for a quick look around but bought nothing despite my almost liking to buy a Le Pliage bag.

We went from corner to corner until we get to Times Square. This is one of HK’s mega-malls, flagship stores are Marks & Spencer and Lane Crawford. We were partly looking for a place to dine in however, we didn’t find any that would fit our budget (should be HKD30/meal only Honey 🙂 ), hehehe…as this writing progress, I learned that there’s a City Super at the basement of Times Square and one of the famous stop is Curry in a Hurry.

McDonald’s was just across Times Square so we settle down and ordered extra value meals. We had EVM Quarter Pounder HKD30.80, Quarter Pounder with Cheese (Ala Carte) HKD19.20 and McWings Platter HKD26.  We both love this entrée!

Afterwards, we went to TST (Tsim Sha Tsui) by MTR. From Causeway Bay we took the Sheung Wan direction to Admiralty, then, took the interchange line going to Tsue Wan.

I suggest you get an Octopus Card, an electronic fare card that is accepted by almost all forms of public transport, convenience store and restaurants. It’s easy and convenient to use and saves time especially for people on the go. Adult cost HKD150.00

Nathan Road wasn’t new to me, and TST side is still recognizable despite my shadowy eyes. Hello Shopping District!

During those two occasions that I luckily joined the company-sponsored pleasure trip, TST is our HK address, Marco Polo to be exact. I’ve been to Gateway and Prince both. This side of HK offers non-stop shopping opportunities and I can’t help but step in to outlet stores located along Peking Road and Canton Road. T’is is Hongkong, shopping is all ye round 🙂 !

Getting around this side of the city is easy however, I warn you –a comfy shoe is a must because walking would be non-stop too.

We head home around 11pm as we need to catch the MTR or else we would be compelled to take an expensive cab to Tin Hau.

I went home with an Esprit purchase, while husband bought a bonnet from H&M for HKD69.90

 

Back to Tin Hau, we realized that we skipped dinner and it’s because the vicinity is classified as residential most eatery were already closed. By chance, we discover that a 7-11 store was located at the other side of Golden Court so we immediately grab hold of Carbonara for HKD13.90 and Steamed Rice with Beef Brisket and Tendon for HKD20.50; Coke in can sold for HKD6. It was so cold outside; the temperature had dropped down so after reheating our food, we went back to our room.

We stayed underneath the blankets while watching Pinoy shows via TFC, I was so tired, my legs were in pain. I cannot recall who dozed up first between husband and me. All I remember was we had a grand time 🙂 !

cute…

This is SAM’s, which my sister bought yesterday from Bayo. I am thinking of getting one for me 🙂 .

Doggie Run 2011

We have been preparing for this event for a month now and Bea and Dadi had take Sunday morning to work out. We were even one of the first registrants and last Saturday the race kit was handed to us. Bea was raring to go, Dadi was even more, geared up and all that and Momi look forward on documenting this occasion.

Last Monday we decided to withdraw. Bea would no longer be running the 3km run course at SM MOA on 26-Mar and that she cannot even attend the fun fur-stival happening. I feel sad for Bea but Dadi and Momi thinks this would be best for her. Okay, our baby is not sick 🙂 . She’s too healthy in fact and that for the next 15 days she should stay indoors. Bea is presently in heat folks! That’s the very reason why we could not consent her to join this furry event.

There would still be next year and I hope Bea would be beefy by then! 🙂

_____________________________________________________________________________

The Doggie Run Features
March 26, 2011 @ 5:30AM
SM Mall of Asia

Registration Fee:
• P350
• P300* (no dog bandana/dog race bib)
*Limited to 2 non-dog race kits per regular race kit (non-dog race kits cannot be purchased on its own)


Pet Express Doggie Run 2011 features:
• 1.5K/3K/5K Run
• Fun Run Fur-stival Game Booths
• Souvenir Photo Booth

Pet Express Doggie Run 2011 Race Kit (P350) includes:
• Event Dri-fit Running Shirt
• Event Dog Bandana
• Race Bib (for master)
• Race Bib (for dog)
• Paw-ket Dog Running Manual
• Pet Express Doggie Dollar
• Insurance Coverage
• Donation to SAWS (The Strike Animal Welfare Society)

For Registered Doggie Finishers:
• Finisher’s Doggie Loot Bag (first 500 dogs only)

Dog Runner Prizes:
• 1.5K- 1st, 2nd, 3rd Place (only toy/small dogs are eligible to win in this category)
• 3K- 1st, 2nd, 3rd Place (all breeds/sizes)
• 5K- 1st, 2nd, 3rd Place (all breeds/sizes)
1st Prize- Gold Digger Medal + Doggie Loot Bag
2nd Prize- Silver Sniffer Medal + Doggie Loot Bag
3rd Prize- Bronze Barker Medal + Doggie Loot Bag

Registration:
1. Register at any Pet Express branch. (SM Cubao 912-5924, SM Hypermarket Makati 843-7174, SM Mall of Asia 836-8955)
2. Fill out the registration.
3. Choose your shirt size.
4. Upon payment, Pet Express will be giving you an acknowledgement receipt for claiming of race kits.
5. Race kits will be available for claiming in Pet Express stores by March 19, 2011 onwards.

Guidelines:
1. All participating dogs must be properly vaccinated.
2. Bitches must not be in heat.
3. Please keep your dogs in a leash.
4. Please provide a muzzle for unfriendly dogs.
5. Please be considerate and pick up after your dog’s waste.
6. Never leave your dog unattended. Pet Express will not be liable for dogs that are lost
or missing during the event.
7. The organizers reserve the right to reject the participation of a dog that might cause disruption or disturbance in the event (i.e. dogs with aggressive behavior, bitches inheat, etc.)

daybed for Bea

Bea shares the same bed with us most of the time especially during the cold months however, husband and I had been squeezing ourselves on a sturdy sofa bed for a year now, so, it gets a little crammed full for the three of us.

Note: photos from Ikea 

She used to have a sleep mat but she tear down it into pieces. The other night husband suggested that we should buy her a bed, and I am thinking about the ottoman I saw at Homeworld. It would be just perfect for her and would be a space saver too 🙂 .

I am planning to check other furniture shops or even Paco for that perfect piece! For now, we no option but to permit her going in and out of our bed when she feel like.

comfort and style

I got this sandal from Fashion Forum of SM Makati last Friday night, I didn’t plan of buying one but when husband ask me to fit it I know I’m going home with this pair 🙂 . It cost Php1, 495.00, which is 70% off from its original price tag. I won’t say it’s cheap but with its impeccable detail I won’t say more. I am beginning to love the Corso Como philosophy 🙂