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Day 1 in Hong Kong - Davao to Manila to HK

January 23, 2011

So this was the trip that made me a travel enthusiast. Went out of the country with my good friend Essa without a tour guide. Yes, it was a big risk since the Quirino Grand Stand hostage crisis was fresh and the Chinese population were generally not happy about Filipinos that time.

So we carried on with the basic knowledge we got from the internet and random inputs from friends who were able to visit the peninsula. Positively, nothing can stop us from going there since we already paid the aircraft, arranged the meet up with our college friends currently living in Manila, and we just can't afford to disappoint ourselves from too much excitement for this trip. It was a 4 day getaway that I'll never ever forget...

1st day
6am - Davao To Manila
At Manila, we met our college friends Nina, Ruel, Princess and Lynette. We hanged-out at Mall Of Asia while waiting for our flight to Hongkong scheduled in the evening. It was fun because we rehashed good old college memories, mishaps and just laughed our ass out.

7pm - Manila To Hongkong
At NAIA, we paid a total of 1,700 pesos for the tax and terminal fee. While waiting, Me and Essa noticed that all of the people waiting for the aircraft were all wearing pants and jackets. We were obviously different from them because both of us are wearing short pants and sleeveless tops. Hmmm. Wondering***

At 10pm, we arrived in Hongkong! As we headed towards the immigration, all of the people are in winter clothes (pants, coats, boots!...). That awkward moment when all of the people you encounter are looking at you from head to toe, like something's wrong with you... and we moved on.

Tip: Before going to a trip, don't forget to check the weather and temperature of the place that you are going to visit even if it's a local trip. LOL

Octopus Card - A Must Have!
My friend suggested that when we get to HK's airport, we should buy an Octopus card. So we asked some Chinese along the way, talking in that awkward English that lacks linking verbs "excuse me, octopus card?? where???"; "oke oke oke"; "yes, yes, yes"; "no, no, no". Dang! It's hard to communicate to people there since learning English is never a priority to them.
Ohh.. sinong di lalamigin niyan?

Finally we got our octopus cards - it is a reloadable card that can be used on any public transport in HongKong and is worth 50HKD. You can get it at the airport, MTR stations and 7-eleven. When we went out of the airport.. BURRR it was freezing cold at 14 degrees C!!! So there's the reason why they are all covered up... never thought of changing clothes because we were too busy locating the octopus card booth and it would be too hassle if we open our luggages and dig out some clothes.

And so we just relied to our flimsy cardigans. LOL! We asked an old Chinese man on how to get into Yau Ma Tei, (it is where our hotel is located) and I'm glad that he's nice enough to explain to me what bus to look for.

10 pm - At The Bus
My friend entered the bus first and we saw that octopus card's scanning device. First mishap noted!!! My friend swiped the card in the wrong slot. A passenger next to me overtook and scanned his card which gave me the confidence to follow it. However, my friend's octopus card was sthere... stuck! (Tip: The card should be scanned like how the grocery cashiers' scan the product's bar code in a certain tool, never swipe it on that empty slot on the side)

We asked the driver how to remove the card but he just murmured something, shook his left hand, seems irritated, and focused on his driving. Screw you!!! The bus was moving and we keep losing our balance just to get that card removed (Kaskaserong driver!). We nearly destroy that tool but luckily we were able to remove it before we lose our temper. Lesson learned: Dili magpataka! LOL

So we climbed up the stairs to experience the seats on the 2nd-floor of the bus. From there, we seated and relaxed. Surprisingly, there's a medium-sized T.V showing what's happening on the entrance of the bus. Conclusively, we were viewed by the passengers there while we were slammed side to side just to recover that stuck octopus card. It was humiliating!

After 30 minutes, the bus stopped and almost all of the passengers went out. So we hurriedly get to our feet and went out of the bus. The people have their own directions and we're not sure who to follow. It was freezing cold with less clothes on, dark streets, less people in sight, and commercial establishments were under construction.

We saw a drum in the corner with a fire so we cling to it and warmed our hands. LOL! Exactly what you see in the movies on how people warm themselves while out on the street in a cold night. (Ghetto na ghetto!)

We asked Chinese people along the way, and most of them ignored us because they can't understand what we were saying. Then a Chinese woman with a little clue of what I'm saying told us that we should ride a bus no.147 to get into Yau Ma Tei. So the adventure continues. It was 11pm that time.

11pm - Yau Ma Tei Finally!

Finally! We are in Yau Ma Tei! Skyscrapers, lots of people, colorful lights, people that looks like celebrities in the Philippines, and fashionable people. The people we encounter along the way didn't fail to look at us from head to toe because we were the only ones wearing shorts and sandals. LOL! We've been walking around and asking people if they know where our Hotel is located (Wing Sing Hotel).

The residents there can't tell where it is because they don't know about Wing Sing! Luckily, we encountered Filipinos! The Filipinos we met haven't heard about the hotel but it has a map behind the calling card (given by my friend) so they instructed us where to go. By the way, seems like all of the streets in Yau Ma Tei are named Nathan Road. It was very confusing! All corners of the street has a Nathan Road signage. We followed the instruction of our co-Filipinos but that didn't help.

An Indian Guy's Help
Hongkong has a lot of Filipinos living there but there are more Indians! When we were walking, we asked an Indian about the Hotel. He was accommodating and nice. He accompanied us to locate that Hotel. Me and my friend look at each other in ambivalence because we don't know a thing about the guy. While following him, he met 2 of his Indian friends and they also accompanied us locating that hotel. Me and Vanessa were very anxious that time.

We told the guy that it's nice of him to help us but we can go on ourselves to avoid disturbance. But I think he didn't understand us, and he keeps on holding the calling card with the Hotel's direction. @_@ Few walks and his 2 friends bade goodbye. *Relieved* Few more walks, we're in the hotel. At last! The nice Indian guy was real nice, he even invited us to eat but we told him that we can't because we're already tired and need some sleep. So he left and we thanked him from the bottom of our hearts.

12am - At The Hotel
It was 12am at Wing Sing Hotel and we told the receptionist about our reservation. To our dismay, we were not reserved and the rooms are full! My friend made the reservation and told the receptionist about the booking. The receptionist asked back if we got any confirmation. Unfortunately, we didn't got one. Just our luck! Freezing cold outside, been walking for more than an hour in short pants and sandals, and it's 12 in the midnight. The temperature drops even more every hour.

We're doomed thinking where we should stay. In my mind, I don't care if we settle in an expensive hotel for one night as long as I can roll in a bed and escape the coldness of the night. When we went out of the hotel, an old Chinese man approached us and suggested the Hotel beside Wing Sing. The name of the hotel is Star King Hotel. Wing Sing is 420HKD per night while Star King is 380 HKD per night (1 HKD=6 pesos that time).

It is cheaper than Wing Sing but the room is small and has no WiFi. Just 3 steps from the bed and you're in the bathroom! However, it is good for backpackers because the needed ammenities are there such as free slippers, hygiene products, and hot shower. Plus, the receptionist is friendly and accommodating. I tried to search the hotel around the web but I found none. From a long, fun, frightening, and tiring day... we were finally able to go to sleep.


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Thank you explorer! --- Always challenge yourself to do something you have never done before. ♥