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April 17, 2013

The Manila - Hong Kong - Shenzhen - Macau Escapade Part I


This is it! A retell of the best tour I've had yet. I'm sorry if it's delayed. This could be really long. I don't know how to summarize this one since I can be a very detailed person sometimes (especially at times were everything just matters). This was meant to be posted sometime in November, but look at the date!  I failed to take a lot of photos so let the words compensate for it. Anyways, happy reading! :)


DAY 1. ILOILO - MANILA

The day has arrived. We spent the night before at my friends house which is a convenient 15 - minute ride to the airport. We have already finished packing our tour kits the evening before the big day. We didn't have that much sleep since we have spent the night talking about random things, and laughing in the middle of the night.  :) Though we were still sleepy early that morning (at three), we managed to get ourselves up and not be late.
Almost everyone was already there when we arrived. Everyone seemed excited! Flashes of light flooded the waiting area outside of the airport. It was a cold morning. At about half past six, we were bound for Manila. 

We arrived at NAIA thirty minutes after seven. There we met out tour guide Tony and another one (whose name I don't know) who was the assigned tour guide for bus number 2. So there were two big buses. By the way, there were a hundred ten of us! That's indeed a lot to handle. First stop is the ABS-CBN Studio. It was my first time and I'd have to say that I'm so lucky to have finally got there! Before the studio tour proper, we were first held in an audio-visual room and made to watch a short film about the humble beginnings of ABS-CBN (Alto Broadcasting System - Chronicle Broadcasting Network). Did I mention that the ABS guys were cute? I even talked with one of them. OMG :)

   
Wrong date! LOL. The photo isn't from my camera though. Were looking too haggard and were not even abroad yet!

Baahh. Look at that. It's just the first day and I already don't look good.That's about my favorite photo (1st one) from the Studio Tour (because that's perhaps the only decent photo I have) and it's garnered about a dozen likes on facebook which is pretty awesome. Lol!  I thought I should have opened the doors and took a peek to see what's inside and if Anne was there. Haha. But I wouldn't dare do it. There weren't a lot of security people inside though. I've only seen about less than ten of them inside, or perhaps I was just blind.

I look like a puffer fish! Lol! Here we are at the mini park outside within the ABS Studio Compound.

After touring around some parts of the building and seeing the Studios of ASAP, TV Patrol and several others, we went to Showtime Studio which is by that time, already packed with a hundred of viewers. Unfortunately, we lost the chance of watching it since the reservations were already full by the time our travel agent planned to book us. *sad face* No worries though! It was okay since we were able to see some of the hosts in flesh as they enter the studio as the hit noontime show started. We saw Dumbo (am I right?), Coleen, Vhong, Ryan Bang, Jhong, Juggs and Teddy except Kuya Kim, Anne Curtis and Vice Ganda. :( Next stop was the PBB house just outside the studio. We had a quick picture taking at the gate (the GATE only) because it was closed and we weren't allowed to go in. I had this one classmate saying that he'll be auditioning for the next PBB season. I guess he's serious about it. Haha. He's a big PBB fan and you won't believe it but he can recite the whole conversation of PBB housemates with matching expressions and hand gestures!

After the cool tour at the Studio, we headed to Tramway at Timog for Lunch. They had a nice setting. They had yellow lights and a neat reception. The food was at the center and arranged in an oblong - typical buffet setting. The food was heavenly - a selection of Asian cuisine. We had Yangchow Fried Rice, Bihon Guisado and a lot more! At about 1:00, we headed to Trinoma for some shopping (mostly of things that we forgot to bring). We had about two hours spent in window shopping!

We then headed to Clark Pampanga at Tune Hotels which is an International Budget Hotel. We ate at a restaurant that's just a few walks away and slept in the comforts of our little hotel room. 

DAY 2. MANILA - HONGKONG

We were awake at about two or three in  the morning. We didn't sleep in that much, especially because today is the day that we'll be going out of the country. I brought only a backpack with things enough for three days, which was quite odd because when I travel, I usually bring a big luggage. I kept myself asking 'Are my things complete? Did I forget something?'. We were advised to travel light (for easy check-in and hauling) and leave our big luggage at the hotel where we'll be coming back on the last day. So, it was just me and my backpack plus all the others.

  

We checked in DMIA (Diosdado Macapagal Int'l Airport) at  about 4AM -  two hours before our flight. We filled up an arrival and departure card and prepared our passports for our first immigration process. It took each of us about five to ten minutes to finally pass immigration and proceed to the departure area. There, breakfast was served in a styro container. We waited for our flight to be announced and was surprised when it we were called to the gate at 6:30. Wow, this is new. Cebu Pacific finally got here way ahead of departure which is 7:05. We gathered our bags and breathed in and out as we prepare ourselves.

Hong Kong, here we come!!!

Spotted this wonderful scene in here upon arriving at HK. Epic shot! Haha

     

We arrived Hong Kong before 8AM and got out of the airport at almost nine or ten. The immigration process took way too long and we've had too much of the other people's distinctive aroma. But we don't want something to happen, so we just had to deal with it until it was over. One by one, we passed the yellow line and went through the immigration personnel who took several looks from the passport to the actual face. We then went waited for the others to finish and went down the escalator by groups. We then took the train from one side of the airport to another. Yes, the airport has a train inside it. And did I mention that the floor was carpeted right from the spot we first stepped when we got off the plane? How cool is that? It was a pretty fast ride. We then went to get the baggage that our classmates who took Air Asia checked-in. Their baggage pick-up area was the size of a football field! Twice even. A minute later, we were out to where our guide would meet us. There were three buses waiting for us outside the humongous airport. After a few arrangements, we finally pulled out.

Hong Kong Streets. Thank you Lord for a sunny weather!

    
I just can't believe it that I even asked myself, am I really in Hong Kong right now? It felt like a dream. I felt like I was floating, not knowing where I am. It still felt like the Philippines, only with cleaner and more organized streets. And no, you can't see passenger jeepneys in there (because it's only in the Philippines). 
Hong Kong has the abundance of single and double-decker buses, taxi's painted in silver and red and lot's of cars (car's that only rich men here in our country can afford). You can't see any houses by the streets. If there were even houses, there would only be a few because you have to be really rich to afford to own a land and build a house in the Region. Most people can only afford to live in condominiums that are more or less thirty stories high. You can distinguish the kind of people who live in those condo's. Old condo's mean that people with the lesser profile live there, and so on. You can also see their laundry hang outside their mini houses. Beggars? Negative. Or I just didn't notice?
Foggy HongKong Skyline.
 
 First stop was the Avenue of the Stars where you can find celebrity hand and foot prints such as Bruce Lee's. He's even got a statue in there. We didn't get to see it though. It was far from where the bus dropped us and we were under time constraint to even go there. Hong Kong skyline is more beautiful at night because of the lights. You can't see it clearly in the morning because of the fog and the bright sunlight. And yes, Hong Kong has mountains too- like our own Cebu. It's still cold in there even if the sun is up, hence, us wearing our jackets. We just took a quick view of the place, snapped some photos and went back to the bus to proceed to another destination.  

It was too foggy to capture the skyline.

I was at Starbucks Hong Kong! Well at least in front of it. :D I love the greenery in there!

     We then went to the factory outlet for shopping. The outlet was at the seventh floor of the building and we had to ride an elevator. It had lots of dresses and shirts that cost three for 149HKD and so on.


They also sold goodies and chinese delicacies that I didn't bother to buy because who knows what they taste like. I scanned through the shirts but I didn't feel like buying at that time because I thought they were expensive and nothing was in my size. I only bought this chocolate cake priced 55HKD for three, since anything chocolate tastes good. Hehe.



Next on the itinerary was the TSL Jewelry shop where you can see, of course a lot of jewelry  Each jewelry was more than thousands of HKD and I could only stare at it. There was even this saleslady who kept following me, hoping that I would buy something. Of course I didn't act interested at all because she might get pissed oFf if I didn't buy anything. I just smiled at her and went out. Funny. There was another salesgirl who followed one of my friends until outside holding the piece of gold necklace. She said she bargained it for a thousand pesos, but they won't give it so she walked away. That's how it goes. You act really interested at the product, bargain at your price, and walk away when they won't give it your price. Once they follow you all the way, it means they're ready to bargain. There's no turning back at that point because once they chase you, you'll have to buy it because if you don't, you're going to hear a lot from them. :)

In front of the TSL Jewelry shop, waiting for our bus. It was pretty cold thought the sun was bright.

It was almost 1PM when our bus arrived. The next stop was the most exciting, because finally we were going to have lunch! 

The little guy is so cute! He was shy to join us at first but we pulled him in. Lol. So cute making that peace sign! And Marlin's hand gesture makes me remember someone. haha.

WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND!
The Happiest Place on Earth!

I never get decent looking photos!



The walk towards the actual entrance almost took forever! Gladly, it didn't. Hahah. We got a map and a few of each brochure (well actually I took a handfull. hahah) and looked for a place where we could eat lunch. We have three choices imprinted at the meal ticket - Starliner, River View and Clopins. 

  
Starliner Restaurant Counter. Busy Busy.

We had lunch at Starliner, perhaps the only fastfood restaurant I've been to that has a huge rocket hanging above right in the middle of the ceiling. The cashiers and waiters wore orange uniforms and hats and the counter was about twice the length of Jollibee's or McDonalds'. The counter personnel were in a rush, attending to customer's orders. 

  

We had a Bucket Chicken Meal that has two pieces of huge chicken. They have plastic gloves for the chicken and free corn cob too! Cool. It comes with either rice of fries. I opted for the rice since I kind of miss it already, but it was pretty disappointing because it had too much salt or flavoring in it. We should have chosen fries instead of rice in the first place. Anyway, it was a fun and fulfilling lunch. I didn't even finish half of the second chicken because it was really big. 

  
And they come with plastic gloves too! Sweet! After lunch, we paid a visit to their comfort room which is neat. Everything is just automatic, even the soap dispenser and the flush. One thing that surprises me is that they actually have Antipolo style toilets in there. I asked my teacher why and here's the explanation: Chinese people are afraid of spreading bacteria and contaminating other people. Imagine how many people of different races go to Disneyland every day.
By three, we were all out to watch the Parade of Disney Characters. It was a one-time opportunity to see all my favorite Disney Characters in flesh! There were a lot people from all walks of life. Everyone deserves a piece of their childhood, right? As all of them passed by, I felt a surge of happiness inside me and felt like crying. Oh my goodness! It was such a good feeling to be there! The Disney music playing in the background just adds to the magic. It was just so beautiful! :)

Can't get a decent shot of the Parade. There's just so many people and I'm not really that tall. If only somebody cared to give me a chair that time... -_-

 After the parade, we decided to try the rides because this could be now or never! 
First stop: Ghost Galaxy. Just seeing the word ghost made me shiver a bit. The warning sign told us what to expect - sudden turns and  twists. OMG. The worst thing that could happen is that I'd throw up. So there we were, lining up, about to take the most adrenaline pumping ride we've ever taken. I still grin upon recalling the moment. Our turn came, we fastened our seatbelts. The machine we were sitting in started to move and I held the one beside me as we loomed into the darkness. That was the first time I've ever shouted my heart out in public - at least outside my house. I was covering my eyes with my hood the whole time because I was afraid of what I might see. Just great -_-. 

After the hip-breaking ride at the Galaxy, we went to Fantasy Land and opted for some 30 HKD Ice cream.



  


Next, It's a Small World! 


Going solo!


a smooth mini river cruise inside "It's A Small World" where medium sized dolls were dressed in different costumes of different countries around the world. The song Small World also plays in the background in the country's language. 

    
We've also tried several other rides such as the Grizzly Gulch Mine Cars, the Toy Soldier Parachute Drops, and passed by the Geyser Gulch. We also watched the Festival of the Lion King which is a colorful and exciting mini musical that tells the story of Simba. That was just about it. Haha. We wanted to try several other and more extreme rides but time just won't permit us. Falling in line already takes time. Too.Many.People.
Another solo. My eyes are getting smaller! O_o
By Tarzan's Territory
You recognize Tarzan's tree house ayt?

Medusaaaaaaa! It's awesome how they're in character the whole time! 
Looking happily-haggard after the Mine Cars Ride!
Falling in line at the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop.
So we spent most of the time walking and taking pictures and just walking. Looking at the map we had with us, it seemed like we've walked all around Disneyland! My feet were sad, but I was very happy!
And photo-ops are allowed inside the stores! Weee!
Next came dinner. The most exciting part was using the chopsticks. Lol!
Look at our faces! Lol! I was glad I was able to do some practice at a Korean Restaurant my friends and I used to dine at. Anyway, I still have the spoon and chopsticks set wrapped in a plastic labeled Disneyland and still unopened. Souvenir! After dinner, we went to take some rest from all that walking and waited for the fireworks scheduled at 9PM. It was funny how my friends kept coming back and forth the cast members who were giving out early Halloween treats to people. Don't they notice that the same faces come to them over and over again?  


 The blinding carousel lights. To the fireworks, I can only say 'Oh.My.Gosh.Awesome!'. I don't even know if these words fit (they don't even describe half of what I saw. I was just there, looking at it from afar, like a little kid. I was there, making quick glances at people who had someone to hug while watching the fireworks. Ahhh, made me wish I had one to hug, too. Kidding! It felt wonderful to see those colorful fireworks give life to the skies and the background music making it even more wonderful. I miss it already.

We arrived at the Shenzhen immigration at about half past ten due to the delays of boarding the bus. Nevertheless, we made it just in time. 

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