Photo CTO

I Travel With My Childhood Friends

I know this is a chestnut, but still my favorite quote on traveling: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

About 5 years ago, during the start-up period of this blog, I wrote about one of my life’s blessings which are my friends. For those who have read my blog 3 years ago, you might have remembered (or not!) one of the travel adventures I did with my childhood friends too. So basically, you have an idea that I maintain a 25-year-friendship with my solid core.

Okay, for new subs, to give you a little backgrounder, I grew up being friends with a lot of people – Yes, generally I am friendly but I think everybody will agree that amongst all your friends, you have a core group. The group that you could go silly with or serious with or sneak out at night with. The ones who are with you through ups and downs. Yes, I have a solid foundation. I have been friends with my 4 girls who I fondly call “bru” ( short for Bruha – a Tagalog for witch) for 25 years now. Needless to say, I met these girls in grade school (First Grade to be exact).

I love traveling a lot and some of you have seen that in my series of posts already. Indeed, traveling makes me discover the unknown, thus, changes my perspective as a human being. It makes me humble having to realize that my niche in this world is just a tiny spot in this vast universe.  I am glad that in the last 3 years, I get the privilege to explore the world with one of my best brus , Joan. We went to Bohol, to Singapore, Hong Kong , Macau and our supposed travel to Malaysia (please read my “Why Malaysia Made me Cry’ here.)  not to mention our local travels together. Amongst all the places we’ve been to, I love our recent travel to Hong Kong and Macau.

Why? Because we went along with another bru, Anna Marie – plus, they brought their kids (and husband). Yes, some of my friends have kids already and I am glad that we are turning the pages of the unknown world together. What makes me a little emotional is this: We were their age when their moms and I met. (oh boi, times do fly so fast).

Beholding the world in the eyes of my little God-children and looking at how happy they were in every Disneyland rides while, us, adults have gone crazy, in every expenses, responsibilities and “adulting” stuff that we talked about, I realize how lucky I am to have explored life with my childhood friends whom I consider my family ( by choice).  I wish and pray that these kids, 6-year old Liam and 7-year old Eanna, find a solid friendship as strong as their parents’ (and God-parents’).

I wish the same for my future little ones.

Soon, when they grow up, we will tell them how nice it is to turn pages of life, explore the world and rediscover oneself together with your solid friends. Just like their moms.

You may read my HK and MO travel thru the links below:

Four Days in Hong Kong
Day Tour in Macau

 

 

Mindanao is the 2nd largest Island of Philippines. ( Photo CTO)

A Girl From Mindanao

Before 2010 situation:

Hi, my name is Shiela, I’m from Maguindanao.

Where’s that?

It’s in Mindanao, I’m from ARMM region.

Are you a Muslim?

2010:

Hi, my name is Shiela, I’m from Maguindanao.

Oh are you related to the Ampatuans? Or the Magundadatos? (This is pertaining to the Maguindanao Massacre that put Maguindanao in International media.)

2017:

Hi, my name is Shiela, I’m from Mindanao.

Is it safe there? Are you not afraid of Maute? Do you still live there?….

Yes, I was born and raised in Maguindanao Province, the seemingly inconspicuous place down south until the 2010 massacre happened that involved two highly influential political families.

Maguindanao is a neighboring province and a sister province under Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao of Lanao Del Sur, in which, its Capital city, Marawi is currently under siege  because of Maute – Isis group’s penetration that caused the government to declare Martial Law.

Yes, sad to say, of the numerous achievements, positive contributions of these poor provinces, their claim to distinction was focused on war, crimes and all the negative things there are…

As a girl who was molded into a productive individual in the heart of Mindanao, my heart bleeds for my homeland.

Today, I want to make a point:

Yes, I am from Mindanao, I am from Maguindanao.

Am I Muslim? No I am not but I have a number of Muslim friends. And there is nothing wrong with being a Muslim.

They are Islams,yes! And NOT all Islams  are terrorists just as not all terrorists are Islams.

I pray that one day, when someone from down south is asked about his province, and someone heard Mindanao or Maguindanao, or Marawi ,  you will be able to recall our places with all the positive things that these have contributed to the society.  It’s beauty, It’s colorful culture…. Someday… someday, one day!

 

 

 

 

 

Photo CTO grabbed from Google

Day Tour in Macau

7am –  We went to China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Shah Tsui HK ( 15-min walk from the hotel)

  • Bought a ticket for 1 way ( we got s discounted ticket for 1 way to Macau – $160)
  • 45mins to 1 hour ferry Travel to Macau ( Ferry is Wifi- zone, yey!)

8AM – we reached the Macau Outer Harbor Ferry Terminal

  • Our initial plan was to hop in a free shuttle that would take us to any hotels near the Senado Square but our biggest consideration is the kids. As you know, Macau is known for casinos and kids are not allowed in casinos – which mean hotel free shuttle won’t allow us to hop in.
  • Good thing we went on a Sunday. Sunday means day – off for a lot of Filipino workers in Macau. It is amazing how hard-working our country men abroad. We met a lot of Filipinos waiting at the harbor, offering tour-guiding services. We are a group of 6 people, 4 adults, 2 kids. We were lucky to have spoken to an Ilonggo speaking Pinoy tour guide. I used my Ilonggo expertise to negotiate. What used to be 300HKD per head went down to 200HKD/head for adults and kids were free of charge. ( don’t get me wrong, hiring a guide was out of our budget that’s why we had to haggle. We would have been willing to pay if we had a lot of extra money).
  • The 200HKD/head that we paid already covered the guide, bus fare and of course complimentary access to hotel / casino amenities.

9AM – We reached the Senado Square. This was where we commenced our Macau Peninsula escapade with our guide.

  • Senado Square ( spent 15 minutes for picture-taking)
  • Walked all the way to Ruins of St. Paul
  • Along the way, we passed by a souvenir shop – Beautiful Souvenir accepts Philippine peso as payment ( yey)
  • Passed by street food stores wherein we , especially the kids enjoyed free tastes a lot ( Meat Jerky are the top sellers)
  • It rained when we were there ( May 7), good thing we had umbrellas. The tour must go one. Lol!
  • We spent another 15 mins taking pictures at the Ruins
  • From the ruins, we went up to the Macau National Museum – at the view deck of the museum, you will see the entire view of Macau peninsula.

11Am – we were done with this side of  Macau. We stopped  to buy some meat jerky (kids and kids at heart love jerky).

  • We decided to have an early lunch – asked our tour guide to take us to local restaurant as we want to try out local dishes.
  • We came to a local restaurant with really good and affordable food. I will post the pic of the restaurant (sorry, I can’t read its Chinese name). Kids enjoyed mimicking my usage of chopsticks which I found really cute. As Filipino kids, this was something unusual to them.

12 noon – we were done with lunch, we bid goodbye to Macau Peninsula. This side of Macau has so much history to tell as apparent in old churches and old buildings everywhere.

  • On our way to the bus that would take us to Cotai Strips of Macau, we passed by the Emperor Hotel. Aside from the fact that it’s allegedly owned by famous actor Jackie Chan, it was well- visited because of its grand stature.
  • We went inside the hotel which was decorated with gold bar ornaments. One bar though stood up as it was well kept and closely guarded, positioned in one pillar of the hotel lobby. Our guide spilled the secret- it was a genuine gold bar. ( Whoah!!)
  • On our way to Emperor Hotel, we also passed by a hotel that was said to be owned by a famous Filipino singer- composer Jose Mari Chan. Chan apparently was a Macau resident. (If I was not mistaken it was a Crimson Hotel.)

12:30 pm –  We reached the Cotai Strips – this part of Macau is the Las Vegas of China. Here dwell Casinos and Grand hotels.

  • We reached Wynn Palace just in time for another run of Fountain Dance Show. This show runs every 15 minutes.
  • Right after the fountain show, we headed to the first highlight of our hotel – hopping – the Cable car!!  And as I have mentioned earlier, we got complimentary cable ride as part of the package. Yes, we didn’t have to wait in queue. We took the cable car at the Hotel Official Guest Entrance – express way, baby!
  • We also went to the famous Venetian Macau where Venice Canal could be found. We got to compare this with what we have in Mckinely Hill , Taguig. The advantage of the one in Macau –  it is indoor. ( the one in PH is open – air, which means more init – {heat}!!)
  • The kids enjoyed the circus show and other performances at The Venetian.
  • Venetian stands beside Parisian Hotel where a famous replica of the Eiffel tower welcomes its guests. Not to mention the very eye- catching Galaxy hotel and Studio City.
  • This side of Macau requires a lot of $$$$.
  • From Venetian, our guide has secured us a much cheaper ferry ticket going back to HK, took us to the shuttle bus that would take us back to the Ferry station. And that ends our Macau day tour.
  • We are glad to have found Filipino guides in Macau, they help us and we were able to help them too.

** I will update this post with the contact numbers and FB names of our contacts.

** Macau accepts HKD but make sure you have spent/converted your Macanese Pataca because HK does that accept it.

Meanwhile, please enjoy our photos in Macau.

Senado Square

Senado Square

St. Paul's Ruins

St. Paul’s Ruins

Meat Jerky

Meat Jerky

This is the restaurant in Macau

This is the restaurant in Macau

Inside Wyn Palace

Inside Wynn Palace

20170507_124232

Inside the cable car

Inside the cable car

Next Post :

Four Days in Hong Kong

Trip Hobo (https://www.triphobo.com/)  has once again done a great job!!

So we went to Hong Kong – Macau  for 4 days. It was a seamless vacation with my friends and their kids. Thank you to Triphobo for helping me organize this trip again.

Click here  for the Actual itinerary.

Day 1- Travelling From Hong Kong

Las Vegas Guest House 07:30 pm

  • Stay for 01:00 hrs
( Distance : 0.5 km Duration : 7 mins)

Avenue Of Stars 07:37 pm

  • Stay for 04:00 hrs

Notes: Clock tower

0.5 km | 8 mins
Las Vegas Guest House 11:45 pm
Day 2 Travelling From Hong Kong

Las Vegas Guest House07:59 am

  • Stay for 01:00 hrs

NotesEat at KFC Cameron road ( 1 hour)

( Distance : 22.32 km Duration : 34 mins)

Disneyland09:33 am

  • Stay for 08:00 hrs
( Distance : 20.7 km Duration : 25 mins)

Ladies Market05:57 pm

  • Duration 04:00 hrs
  • $79.59
3.5 km | 18 mins

Las Vegas Guest House10:15 pm

  • Stay for 00:00 hrs

NotesEat at KFC Cameron road ( 1 hour)

Day 3 Travelling From Hong Kong

Las Vegas Guest House06:00 am

  • Stay for 00:45 hrs
( Distance : 0.7 km Duration : 11 mins)

Star Ferry Pier Tsim Sha Tsui06:56 am

  • Stay for 09:30 hrs

NotesMacau Day tour

( Distance : 11.3 km Duration : 22 mins)

Ocean Park04:48 pm

  • Duration 05:00 hrs
  • $55.86
9.2 km | 22 mins

Las Vegas Guest House10:10 pm

  • Stay for 00:00 hrs

Day 4 Travelling From Hong Kong

Las Vegas Guest House07:00 am

  • Stay for 00:45 hrs
( Distance : 3.03 km Duration : 6 mins)

Victoria Peak07:51 am

  • Duration 05:00 hrs
  • $41.42
3.03 km | 6 mins

Las Vegas Guest House12:57 pm

  • Stay for 00:30 hrs
( Distance : 35.7 km Duration : 36 mins)

Airport Passenger Terminal 102:02 pm

  • Stay for 00:45 hrs

I will post my Macau Itinerary in a separate Blog. Watch out for it. Of course I made it through trip Hobo too. 🙂

For now, Allow me to share some pics from Hong Kong.

Peak Tram - from this point, you have a purchase a train ticket that will take you to the peak

Hong Kong – Peak Tram – from this point, you have a purchase a train ticket that will take you to the peak

View from the Peak

Hong Kong – View from the Peak

Bruce Lee at the Garden of Stars

Hong Kong – Bruce Lee at the Garden of Stars

The gang at Disney land - we queued up for 1 hour to have this photo op with Mickey and Minie

Hong Kong – The gang at Disney land – we queued up for 1 hour to have this photo op with Mickey and Minnie

To sum it all up, It was a smooth, seamless travel. Trip hobo was my partner.

Next Articles:

** I was not paid by Trip Hobo for this blog***

SADDEST Story Ever Told in Hollywood!

This is one of the SADDEST stories ever told in Hollywood. His name is Sylvester Stallone. One of the BIGGEST and most famous American movie superstars. Back in the day, Stallone was a struggling actor in every definition. At some point, he got so broke that he stole his wife’s jewelry and sold it. Things got so bad that he even ended up homeless. Yes, he slept at the New York bus station for 3 days, unable to pay rent or afford food. His lowest point came when he tried to sell his dog at the liquor store to any stranger. He didn’t have money to feed the dog anymore. He sold it for only $25. He says he walked away crying.

Two weeks later, he saw a boxing match between Mohammed Ali and Chuck Wepner and that match gave him the inspiration to write the script for the famous movie, ROCKY. He wrote the script for 20 hours! He tried to sell it and got an offer for $125,000 for the script. But he had just ONE REQUEST, he wanted to STAR in the movie, he wanted to be the MAIN ACTOR…Rocky himself. But the studio said NO! They wanted a REAL STAR.

They said he “looked funny and talked funny”. He left with his script. A few weeks later, the studio offered him $250,000 for the script and he refused. They even offered $350,000, but he still refused. They wanted his movie, but NOT him. He said NO. He had to be IN THAT MOVIE.

After a while, the studio agreed, gave him $35,000 for the script and let him star in it! The rest is history! The movie won Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Film Editing at the prestigious Oscar Awards. He was even nominated for BEST ACTOR! The Movie ROCKY was even inducted into the American National Film Registry as one of the greatest movies ever!

And do you know the first thing he bought with the $35,000? THE DOG HE SOLD. Yes, Stallone LOVED HIS DOG SO MUCH that he stood at the liquor store for 3 days waiting for the man he sold his dog to. And on the 3rd day, he saw the man coming with the dog. Stallone explained why he sold the dog and begged for the dog back. The man refused. Stallone offered him $100. The man refused. He offered him $500. And the guy refused. Yes, he refused even $1000. And, Believe it or Not, Stallone had to pay $15,000 for the same dog he sold for only $25! And he finally got his dog back!

And today, the same Stallone who slept in the streets and sold his dog JUST BECAUSE he couldn’t even feed it anymore, is one of the GREATEST movie stars who ever walked the Earth!

Being broke is BAD, really BAD. Have you ever had a dream? A wonderful dream? But you are too broke to implement it? Too tiny to do it? Too small to accomplish it? Damn! I’ve been there too many times!

Life is tough. Opportunities will pass you by, just because you are a NOBODY. People will want your products but NOT YOU. It’s a tough world. If you aren’t already famous, or rich or “connected”, you will find it rough. Doors will be shut on you. People will steal your glory and crush your hopes. You will push and push. And yet NOTHING WILL HAPPEN. And then your hopes will be crushed. You will be broke. Damn broke. You will do odd jobs for survival. You will be unable to feed yourself. And Yes, you may end up sleeping in the streets.

It happens. Yes, it does.

BUT NEVER LET THEM CRUSH THAT DREAM. Whatever happens to you, keep dreaming. Even when they crush your hopes, keep dreaming. Even when they turn you away, keep dreaming. Even when they shut you down, keep dreaming.

NO ONE KNOWS WHAT YOU ARE CAPABLE OF EXCEPT YOURSELF! People will judge you by HOW you look and by WHAT you have. But please, fight on! Fight for your place in history. Fight for your glory. NEVER EVER GIVE UP!

Even if it means selling all your clothes and sleeping with the dogs, IT’S OKAY! But AS LONG AS YOU ARE STILL ALIVE, your STORY IS NOT OVER. TRUST ME.

Keep up the fight. Keep your dreams and hope alive. Go great.

 

Original Article was written by Nunzio Presta on this LINK: