Monday, August 4, 2014

Touching moments in Hong Kong and Macau

Scene: During the pre-pageant activities, two Boholana beauties have done well in the 2014 Mutya ng Pilipinas.  Candidate # 20 Candy Cumayas is Miss Fishers Mall, while candidate #2 Dorina Loseñada Doerr (half German half Filipina) is Miss Photogenic. The grand coronation night on August 8 will have the theme, “Mutya ng Pilipinas, Where Beauty Begins…” The top 3 most coveted titles are Mutya ng Pilipinas-Asia Pacific, Mutya ng Pilipinas - Overseas Communities and Mutya ng Pilipinas-Tourism International. To vote for Candy and Dorina, visit

Mrs. Aumentado
Seen: Vanessa Cadorna-Aumentado, wife of Bohol 2nd district Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado, was wearing a black Filipiniana accentuated with white fern and gumamela flower (the provincial flower of Bohol) created by fashion icon EJ Relampagos during the President’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA). Someone requested a solo pic with Mrs. Aumentado who looked gorgeous on the red carpet.

Scene: The memorable church wedding of Abdul Wallace and Chandrina Elluiska Schreurs at St. Augustine Church in Panglao. “To our families of both sides thank you for knowing us deeply.. to our friends who came: thank you for witnessing and for sparing some time on our day..” said Chandrina.

Pardon my ignorance (blush, blush, blush!) but I didn’t know that Hong Kong was the shopping capital of world and Macau was world’s gambling capital until last week my cousin Eva Aquino-Idon with her daughter Shiela Mae, my nephew Jerwin Jala and I came here for a vacy on such a hot summer weekdays arranged by IJEA Travel and Tours (31-A Airport Road, fronting DILG, Tagbilaran City, Tel No:   038-412-3885/09182610130).

During the four-day tour, we explored and loved Hong Kong’s and Macau’s vibrant and cosmopolitan lifestyle, it’s cultural fusion and diversity, as evident in everything from its shopping, dining, arts, history, entertainment, nightlife, festivals and events. 

Your VRS at the St. Paul Ruins, arguably Macau’s most famous landmark.
We used our first day in Hong Kong as a walking day. We roamed around the city’s Central watching the dramatic skyline with 1,251 skyscrapers and high-rises, the most in the world.

“HK has amazing skyscrapers!” exclaimed Shiela Mae.

On the second day, we visited the Avenue of Stars (modelled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame which pays tribute to Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Chow Yun Fat, Maggie Cheung, John Woo, Wong Kar-wai and Hong Kong's rich cinematic tradition), Aberdeen Fishing Village, Mid-Level of Victoria Peak, Jewelry Shop and Chocolate Shop.

After the city tour, we went to Disneyland until fireworks displayed at 9 p.m. The smallest in the world, Disneyland Hong Kong has a legendary fairy tale kingdom which celebrates the spirit of fantasy and an amazing world of tomorrow with a forever-young sense of adventure.

Hong Kong offers travelers the opportunity to experience a vibrant living culture featuring a unique blend of East and West.
Shiela Mae and Jerwin did enjoy the seven theme parks (The Main Street of USA, Adventure land, Fantasy land, Tomorrow Land, Toy Story Land, Grizzly Gulch and the Mystic Point) in Disneyland. However, they confessed that they liked the It’s a Small World, a musical boat ride located in the Fantasyland which features over 300 brightly costumed audio-animatronic dolls in the style of children of the world, frolicking in a spirit of international unity, and singing the attraction's title song, which has a theme of global peace.

“Look, there’s a tarsier!” said Jerwin while we’re approaching Asia. The Philippines spot has two dolls wearing Filipiniana inside a bahay kubo, tarsier and chocolate hills.

Inside Venetian Hotel
People go shopping in Hong Kong, by day or night. They have many night markets (Mong Kok, Stanley and Temple Street) where you can bargain certain products at the lowest price. Your shopping in Hong Kong would not be complete if you would not try their street foods.

After visiting Temple Street, my VRS (noted for dishing out, ehem, hard to guess blind items) were sending some “goodies” straight from Bohol:

1) This “center of the class (COC)” likes to grab the responsibilities from his co-COC. Flashing a Garfield smile, this COC is close to the controversial head of all COC. This psychopant Garfield has been known for his character of humiliating their heavenly leader and creating faction within the community. “Careful, this Garfield is cunning,” warned VRS.

2) This businessman envisioned to earn millions outside the south pearl. He became successful only to find out his girlfriend spent all his cash and pawned his jewelries. “He is back in Bohol,” VRS said, “empty-handed. No money. No girlfriend.”

3) “Since you’re there in Hong Kong maybe you’ll bump into this son of a wealthy family who is doing a miracle while far away from home,” texted VRS. “Last month, he was spotted at Kow Loon in HK holding hands with a young gentleman while giggling and whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears.” Confirmed!

I just smiled...

On the third day, we went to Macau, Asia’s Sin City. It is just an hour by ferry (TurboJet) from Hong Kong.

Tourism is a major industry in Macau. It is famous for the blend of Portuguese and Chinese cultures and its gambling industry and entertainment.  

Most come to Macau for the casinos, but it has a wealth of activity to offer for those who want to enjoy a non-gaming environment, such as a UNESCO world heritage site, museums, historic buildings and areas.

Macau is a small place just like Panglao Island but it has striking architecture and ambitious new developments.

The best part for visitors is that the city is compact, making the best of Macau simple to explore. We visited the Kuan Iam statue considered as one of Macau’s finest Buddhist temples, and the Ama Temple, a destination offering silence and spectacular views, has a classical Chinese architectural treasures.

We also visited the Macau Tower, a new tourist spot with cinema, cafes and restaurants, shopping mall, 360° Cafe, 180° Lounge, conference centre, theatre and exhibition hall and a local cake shop for some delicious treat found only in Macau.

Of course, we went to St. Paul Ruins (also known as Sam Ba Sing Tzik), the most famous sight in Macau. The front façade and the grand stone stairs are the only remains of the greatest church in Macau. It is said the original church was probably designed by an Italian Jesuit in the early 17th century. It reflects great Catholic history of this former Portuguese colony.

Our guide Ken laughed when I told him about lutong Macau in Philippines. "Lutong Macau" is coined from the way the Chinese (Macau) prepared their food in advance.  When Pinoy says "lutong Macau," it means that there is something wrong or unscrupulous with the transaction from the beginning. It also means the transaction was "fixed" already before it was started to give way to a "favored" party just like in beauty pageants or singing contests.

Harbor in Hong Kong
The remaining hours in Macau were spent at the Venetian Hotel to experience a lavish full-service haven featuring sophisticated accommodations and numerous dining establishments and entertainment facilities.  The Venetian Macau has fake perfect skies.

Eva and Shiela Mae insisted that we should have an authentic gondola ride down the canals of the Shoppes at the Venetian.

Our gondolier was a Filipino who is working in Macau for four years. He was singing Italian opera melodies during our ride. He engaged us in a breezy, free-wheeling and delightful conversation, calling us by names and making us feel we’re in the Philippines.

“You will love my next song,” he said.

Surprisingly, he was singing “Usahay” ala Luciano Pavarotti. Before he was able to finish the song, people were clapping and saying bravo! He captured the attention and affection of the tourists with his heart-rending rendition of the Visayan love song.

We took home a souvenir photograph to remember our wonderful experience.

How can you not love Hong Kong and Macau? I asked my co-turistas.

“What a beautiful experience!” gushed Eva.

Night market in Hong Kong
Said Shiela Mae: “I want to come back!”

Jerwin commented, “I love Disneyland!”

It’s only a quick three hour flight away to see you again Hong Kong and Macau!

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