Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Family First: Hong Kong

One of my long-kept dreams is to bring my immediate family to family-friendly destinations, outside the Philippines, like Hong Kong. Year 2017 was the milestone year for me to realize this dream.

August 5-8 was the final dates for my mother, Mama Dulcing, and my sister, En's family, with Jun her husband, and Bella their daughter.

On August 5, we departed Manila early in the morning, checked in successfully, went through the Immigration counter smoothly. When we were about to land at Hong Kong, we noticed that there was discrepancy in our mother's documentation. For so long we knew that her name is spelled Dulcesima, however, the passport bio page we realized contains a different spelling, Delcesima. The boarding pass and the plane ticket spelled Dulcesima. As per my experience at the arrival of any country, the officer would look into the boarding pass and the passport. This scared me; she may be held at immigration and worse be sent back to Manila. I initially thought that today was not really making my dreams come true... but it was! We went through Hong Kong's immigration without problem.

"Welcome to Hong Kong, mother!" I shouted.

Ngong Ping Village

It was too early to check in our room accommodation, booked through Airbnb. So we have to lay by anywhere.

Straight from the airport, we roamed around the Lantau Island. I let them ride the double-decker bus, on the second level we sat, on our way to Citygate Mall at Tung Chung Terminal. Then we took the Cable Car to reach the Ngong Ping Village.

Then after lunchtime, having exhausted from the heat of the sun, we found our way back to Tung Chung Terminal, via the local bus. And then rode the MRT to Mongkok area where our room is located. We found out that our accommodation was close to Mongkok Night Market, Chinese restaurants, street food shops, and bakeries.

Ocean Park

Our family is not stranger to Ocean Park; Philippines in fact has its own Manila Ocean Park and another Sea Adventure Park in Subic, Zambales. But Hong Kong has a massive place for an Ocean Park within the Hong Kong island and occupying a mountainous area. This was a different experience that my family enjoyed. En and Jun has been to Hong Kong during their honeymoon but this was their first time in Hong Kong Ocean Park.

Spending a day in this huge park is never enough. So we were selective in which sites, shows, and rides we enjoyed. The whole family enjoyed the Aquarium, Jelly Fish, Dolphin Show, Polar Adventure, Cable ride, and the Train ride.


Since this was a dream come true, it was fitting to spend one full day in the land of dreams; and it would be a waste if we cannot visit the Hong Kong Disneyland. And it was our little Bella who enjoyed all of it.

Victoria Harbor

Our 4-day tour came to an end and that last day we spent at the memorable Victoria Harbor. It was good to know that Cebu Pacific Airline had an office near the harbor because we were able to secure correction of Mama Dulcing's misspelled name, at the same time made a tour at the harbor. Fortunately, the airline made a note about the correction of the letter U to E, following her name as spelled in the passport.

Since we were tugging along our luggages, I was left at one corner under the shade of Space and Arts Museum while my company walked along the harbor towards the Avenue of the Stars. Afterwards, we lunched at KFC within the Harbor City Mall before heading towards the airport.

It was such a short but sweet family trip! We will definitely make another one in other destinations.

We praise God for this opportunity while Mama Dulcing is alive and can still travel.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Go Summer Trips

It has now become a tradition that I shall accompany Go Family in this overseas tours. This year alone, when summer break kicked in when the school kids were free to go anywhere, I have shared two major, week-long yours with them: one in Hong Kong on April 27-May 1 and another in Bangkok on May 23-28.

Booked at Marco Polo Hotel at Harbour City, we stayed close to Victoria Harbour, Avenue of the Stars, and Tsim Sha Tsui Shopping Centers

The happiest place on earth could never be missed, Hong Kong Disneyland was the first stop

A glamorous birthday celebration for Shiloh to hold it outside the Philippines, no less the Chinese district appropriate for her family name Go!

Few years ago, the couple Jun and Ruth tugged along 2 boys, now they have 4: Marti, Tristan, Josh and Shiloh

The large family included Rose and Diane, sibling and cousin of Ruth, respectively

Roaming around the park, everybody in tow

The boys with the chaperones, Diane and Rose

One full day in this place, where adventures and fantasies are squeezed together, is always never enough. From my last visit in 2012, there has been several new additions to the park, such as the Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point, and some sections of Tomorrowland for Marvel and Star Wars. One particular event that I enjoyed this time was the Disney Paint the Night Parade where neon-light floats and Disney costumes are shining through the night right before the closing fireworks.

One more happy place in Hong Kong that cannot be missed is the Ocean Park

Spending the whole day in the park is also not enough to experience the whole of its fun rides, activities, and amenities

The rest of the days were spent in swimming for the kids and shopping for the adults

I was fortunate that there was suspension of work on April 27 and 28, due to ASEAN Summit, that I need not file a vacation leave for this trip to Hong Kong.

Then another tour happened for the Go Family to Bangkok on May 23-28. Jun's aunts and uncle joined them here and so I met Auntie China, her husband Uncle Ronie, and their colleague Ian. I knew very well, Auntie Myrna, who I shared with in some of my overseas trips.

Queuing for check in, immigration clearance, and boarding at NAIA Terminal 2

Picture-taking upon arrival at Bangkok International Airport

A rich accommodation at Marriot Executive Apartments in Mayfair Bangkok

Enjoying one of the buffet breakfasts

All set for the first day of adventure to experience Thailand

Jetting around the Damnoen Floating Market

Lunch at the floating market

The water taxis

An interesting European theme park

Witnessing tricks and exhibition in the Crocodile Farm and Theater

The elephant ride

Photo op with elephants

Tour around River Kwai

Theme park day at Dream World

One of the fun rides in Dream World

A humid afternoon in Ayutthaya Historical Park

Go for Bangkok's ancient temples

A day in Pattaya's Nong Nooch Garden

Witnessing tricks and exhibitions by Elephants

A night of Tiffany's performance with ladyboys

Even just a photo op with Tuk tuk is already a tick off the bucket list

It was a solid one-week tour of Bangkok and nearby cities to experience authentic Thailand in the eyes of foreigners like us.