It all started when I thought on what to give Mom and Dad on their 40th wedding anniversary. Thought of throwing in another party for them or something else but I thought, I will get really tired for the preparation. The suddenly, 5J website cleared my mind, it’s a web sale!Poof! I then purchased over the nett round trip tickets to Hong Kong as my treat for 40 years of happiness and togetherness…Been many times to Hong Kong but this is the first time I will travel with Mom and Dad there and that gave me a different feeling of excitement.
June 21- woke up at around 1am as we have to prepare, drive for less than 2 hours on a rainy early dawn and to catch a 5:40AM first flight to Hong Kong. We arrived safely at NAIA Terminal 3, a handful of people are there already, either waiting for check in or getting a chance to get in a flight. Parked at the overnight parking, then brought our stuff inside the terminal building. Mom and I paid our travel taxes (wonder why Senior Citizens has no discounts on it?!?) then proceeded to the check in counter and left our bags there. The 3 of us then went to pay the terminal fees then immediately approached the immigration to have our passport stamped.
Immigration – Mom and Dad’s passports are stamped without hesitation and were returned. Then she (Immigration Officer – a certain Gemma Driz) started browsing the pages of my old and new passport together. She questioned why my ticket is separated from Mom and Dad. I said because the booking via website when I purchased the tickets says so, as I bought a round-trip with check in bags tickets and bought mom and dad a one way check in bag allowance only. Then she asked when I arrived from being an OFW in the middle east, I said Sept 2010. She started frowning and murmured, “May Egypt Visa pa” (There is an Egyptian Visa stamped), I am starting to freak out. I said, is it not allowed to travel to places I wanna see?, she ignored me! So I said, can you just put the exit stamp on my passport?I am not in the Hold Departure Order nor watch list and according to the constitutional rights that I am enjoying 9233, to be specific, I have the right to travel anywhere I want as long as I have a valid visa to the country I am going to, in this case, Hong Kong has a bilateral agreement regarding entry visa on arrival, Filipinos can stay up to a maximum of 14 days from the date of entry. She still frowns, and then I said, “You know that I can file and sue you of an administrative case under the Human Rights for depriving me to travel and causing me all these hassles and waiting? She looked at me with amazement and shock, maybe she did not expect that I can say that!(I have printed copies of travel rules and regulations plus the Rights 9233 By the way-hehehehe). She then stamped my passport but she wrote my return date on the embarkation card together with my flight details.
We then waited for a little over an hour then we get boarded. As I requested for a special assistance to my mom, we were the first to board the aircraft and our seats changed to the row 3 (D,E,F). Flight 5J 108 bound for Hong Kong took off at the exact time. The flight was so empty, nearly less than half of the total capacity. We landed 25 minutes ahead of time. A wheelchair is waiting for my mom right at the air bridge. We were assisted gracefully until the passport control by a local Hong Kong lady. She took our passports and brought it to the immigration, it was stamped and off we went out. Saw our bags already coming out of the conveyor belt and was tagged, “PRIORITY”…awesome initiative of Cebu Pacific Ground Crew in Manila for anticipating our needs.
Carrying our trolley and hand carry bags, I approached the Airport Express Train Counter and redeemed my 2 round trip KOWLOON Train tickets via my Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, then purchased an extra one. We took the train to Kowloon and after 20 minutes, we arrived there with Mr. Khan (Ate Gloria’s friend) who patiently waited for us and brought us to the hotel we have booked.
As we arrived Chungking Mansions, I laughed silently and thought I am back to the Middle East. The ground level was occupied by Indians, Pakistanis, Africans which are all very common in Dubai. Then we took the lift to the 15th Floor (Carlton Hostel). At 9.45am, Samson, the receptionist (Native from Nigeria) was very friendly and accommodated that he has given us the room ready!Amazing! We then went to the room, I laughed again seeing the beds inside and the walls of tiles that it looked more of a laboratory to me that when we lie, scientist will do an experiment on us, LOLZ!-my bad!But it was crystal-clean even the washroom…
We just settled for half an hour then off we go. We do not wanna waste time. We walked through Nathan Road. Followed the Pink and Blue signs in the streets and went to Star Ferry terminal to cross the Victoria Harbour to Hong Kong Island. We got off near the IFC Mall then proceeded to the walk way leading to World Wide along Des Voux Road. Found one McDonalds and had our brunch there. Afterwards, we took the Island Line MTR to Causeway bay and see what we can buy from there. We then went back to the hotel and took a nap and rest. At 3pm, a relative came and picked us up. We went to Kowloon Park, (about 5-10 minutes walk from the hotel along Nathan Road) then took a double decker bus to Mongkok-the night market for shopping! Mom surely enjoyed this place as she has a fantastic bargaining prowess! Then we went back to the hotel, had dinner then sleep.
June 22 – Woke up around 6am. Prepared ourselves. It was windy and raining as Hong Kong hoisted a typhoon signal no. 3 (that’s just a rainshower in Manila, their typhoon is up to Signal no. 9-FYI). We took the MTR from Tsim Sha Tsui station to Central Station, got off and took the interchange Island Line to Sheung Wan. We went up to Shun Tak Centre and purchased our Macau Return Ferry tickets. A good deal of HKD $ 158 per person (Normaly it costs a little over HKD$ 300 per person for return tickets). Typhoon never stopped us. We sailed on and reached Taipa Ferry Terminal.
We took the free shuttle bus to Venetian Hotel. It was awesome!The hotel is so detailed and the designs are fabulous. It gives you a feeling of Venice in Italy and the grandeur of the Casinos in Vegas! Took some pics then we went to meet a relative in Ilhas. We took a cab to Grand Lisboa Casino Hotel. Met tito Ven and treated us to a Chinese Restaurant inside the hotel. The fried lumpia dumpling and the cashewed chicken is something I cannot still move on up to now. We had a little chat. Then we walked through the busy streets of Macau to reach the St. Paul Ruins, a must in Macau! The we headed to Grand Hyatt and met my former colleague in Dubai, then to City of Dreams mall. Then took again the free shuttle back to Taipa Terminal. It made me fell in love with Macau, and look forward to find a job there!hahahha…I requested for a window seat via Macao Dragon only to sleep the whole voyage! Woke up and we are almost docking at the berth.
We went back to the hotel to have a rest. Mom and dad decided not to go out anymore. So I went out to find a place to buy our dinner. Had a KFC then ate our dinner together inside the hotel room. We slept a bit early as we are sooooo tired.
June 23 – Woke up early again as Century Holidays will pick us up at 9am. We were graciously met by Peter (tour guide). This is a complimentary city tour being a travel agent parner. We took the bus and there were 4 others together with us (malaysian tourists). We headed to the Exhibition Center and had some souvenir photos in front of the Golden Bauhinia-national flower of Hong Kong. We then proceeded to the Mid-level Victoria Peak and had a fascinating view of it. Then went back down to see the Aberdeen Fishing Village. Sampan boat rides are available at HKD $50 each (not too practical). We went to the HK Jewellery Factory, this is a must-to-see. So happy to see Pacman’s poster with wife Jinky as they went to buy jeweleries from there. There was a small briefing and a question and answer portion too, like a game, and I won a small garnet stone when I answered the question correctly, talking about HKD 300 for that garnet stone!!!! Mom and Dad failed to resist the temptation of buying. They got this white gold anti-rheumatism bangles-not costly huh! Then off we went to Repulse Bay to see the Chinese dragons, Buddhas etc. Then Peter brought us to the office to meet the Executive Director. We had a great business talk. Declined the lunch invitation as we are to meet some more friends before our flight back to Manila. We went directly to Central taking again the MTR from Jordan Station. Met Ate Aida and Ate Glen at Jollibee. Had a little chat and got a pack of my favorite Schweppe’s Cream Soda (only available in Hong Kong). Ate Glen brought us to the Peak Tram for Mom and Dad to experience the same. After the some photo ops, we headed back to the hotel. We packed some additional stuffs to our bags and immediately went down to take a taxi to bring us to Kowloon Station of the Airport Express. We headed back to the Airport.
Checked in and paid HKD $ 150 for our 5 kilos of excess bag allowance. Not to mention that we bought a new trolley bag-hehehehe…after some airport procedures, we stopped at the food court to have our dinner. We then went to the boarding gates. As Cebu Pacific has no assigned gate yet, we stayed near Gate 15. At around 2050H, saw from the flight monitor that we are supposed to board at gate 50, pwew!too far for mom to walk but she is able to manage, that’s approximately 2 kms! We waited to be boarded but the flight is delayed from Manila due to bad weather. We boarded around 2130H and took off 15 minutes after 10pm, about 20-25 minutes delayed. We arrived Manila. The air bridge is not working (F*ck!) so we have to take the stairs, with umbrellas provided due to heavy rain, then again, climbed the stairs of the air bridge (this started to fume me up). Luckily, a ground crew with a wheelchair offered help to mom. Then there was a long queue at the passport control. We were prioritized for I am with 2 senior citizens (that’s the advantage!) Headed to get our luggage, went to the carpark, got out and drove home. Arrived home around 3am-June 24.
The experience is fantastic. The happiness is paramount and had not money worth!We care less about how much we have spent, but we certainly treasure the quality time together. I am so delighted to know that mom and dad both enjoyed the trip. We are now looking at our next stop-soon!
Till our family travels again…thank you or reading!God bless!