Hong Kong – Macau 2012

 

My first trip to Hong Kong was a huge disappointment.  There were a lot of places we did not get to see and things we did not get to do and enjoy.  Thank goodness that when my Ninang said she’s taking a trip to Hong Kong when she arrives from Italy, she’s taking me along as well.

Finally, I would not have any regrets.   I made sure to include all that I missed in our itinerary.  There is no more time for regrets because I don’t know if I would be able to visit Hong Kong again.

Hong Kong – Day 1

We woke up around 1AM.  Due to my previous experience where our flight was delayed for almost 3 hours, I booked our flights at 5:40AM.  I thought I would never hear the end of their complaints for having to wake up so early and almost without sleep.   But I don’t care.  I wanted to make sure that we maximize the four days that we have.  I think we all slept through the flight.

Upon arriving in Hong Kong International Airport, we had some coffee from Starbucks before heading to our destination – Tita Precy and Tito Obet’s place.  They are my Ninang’s best friends that she hasn’t seen for about 20 years, more or less.

We took the E23 bus from the airport which took us directly to their apartment in Hung Hom.  Then Tito Obet escorted us to Ocean Park.  My previous regret from my last visit is that I did not insist on seeing the panda.  I just love pandas! Firstly, because of my fondness with the movie Kung Fu Panda and second and more importantly, because of baby Seungri.  I even got to buy a panda stuff toy!

This time, I also get to enjoy the aquarium.  Previously, it was just too crowded and it was so hard to take pictures.  Thank goodness that this time, I got to have company who loves taking pictures.  And though there are still a lot of people, it wasn’t too crowded that we had to keep holding on to one another in case lost someone from the group.

Of course, the Dolphin Show! I finally get to watch it this time! My original bias. It was so cool! I wish I could become a mermaid and swim with them.

Lastly, Ocean Park would not be complete without the cable car ride.  It’s still the best experience ever – even if my stomach flips every now and then. We also tried the Ocean Express.  This is the mode of transportation to take if one is scared of heights and could not take the cable car.  However, it’s not as exciting and there is no thrill.  It was still quite fun as it is shaped like a submarine and there’s a screen that makes you feel like you’re underwater.

We left Ocean Park past 7pm and since we were all tired from the flight, we decided to go home and pursue Victoria’s Peak another day.

Hong Kong – Day 2

Our itinerary for this day?  Lantau Island and Victoria’s Peak.  We took two ferry rides – from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island and from Hong Kong Island to Lantau.  The ferry ride to Lantau took almost 2 hours then a bus ride to Lantau Peak.  The view was spectacular especially the Shek Pik Reservoir.  You’ll see the huge reservoir and have a double take because it looked like a giant lake on top of the mountain and then down below, you’ll see the ocean.  It was breathtaking! We went to the Po Lin Monastery and climbed the 240 steps to see the 85-foot tall Tian Tan Buddha.  There was a museum inside and in one of the inscriptions, it explained how they were able to construct the giant Buddha.  It was ingenious!

 

We also walked around the Ngong Ping Village which looked so charming.  We decided not to take the Ngong Ping 360 Cable because we wanted to go to Victoria’s Peak after.  If we’re to go back to Tung Chung and take the bus to Kowloon, we would be so tired to visit there.  Besides, we already rode the cable car in Ocean Park so it was not a big deal anymore.  We went back to the Ferry and ended back in Hong Kong Island.  We left around 4PM so the sunset was so beautiful upon reaching Hong Kong Island.

We almost did not want to go to Victoria’s Peak upon seeing the long queue on the Peak Tram.  Thankfully, we did.  It was quite an experience riding the Tram.  It went up the mountain peak and a vertical position that people standing would have to have a tight grip or else you’ll fall.

 

Our first stop upon reaching Victoria’s Peak was Madame Tussauds.  One word – Johnny Depp!  Although there were a lot of celebrities and other famous personalities in entertainment, politics, sports and music, my only motivation was Johnny Depp!  I got to hug him!!! It was pure bliss.

 

Then, we went to the Sky Terrace and finally saw with my two eyes the Hong Kong skyline.  I was breathless! During my last visit, we went to the Avenue of Stars to see the Symphony of Lights.  I must say, the view from the top is 10 times better – despite the long queue that doesn’t seem to have an end.

Finally, I have no regrets.  I wanted to go to these two places the last time and I am more than contented that we finally get to do them.  We got home quite late, tired and exhausted.  But I swear, I slept soundly with a huge smile on my face.

Hong Kong – Macau – Day 3

 

I don’t know if it’s just me but I feel that Macau is overrated.  It was nice but I didn’t enjoy it that much.  Maybe because we only went to The Venetian and we didn’t go elsewhere.

I did enjoy taking pictures and being able to relive Boys Over Flowers.  I saw the bridge where Jan Di saw Jun Pyo after being separated for awhile. The gondola, which is of course a replica of Venice and where Jan Di and Ji Hoo rode. I kept looking for the store where Jan Di saw a shoes she could not afford and Jun Pyo tried to buy for her but alas, I was not able to because I can’t even remember which store it was. Harhar!

I also signed up for membership in the casino and I have an ID with my picture on it.  I also played once, just so I could experience.  I lost HK$18 and won HK$2.  It was fun even if I lost.  Now, at least, I could say I played in the casino at least once in my lifetime.

We went back to Hong Kong just before 5PM and we decided to give ourselves a break.  We went home to Hung Hom and decided to go to the night market in Jordan around 10PM.  I was able to buy 10 “I Love HK” tee-shirts as a gift to my best friends for only HK$200. It was indeed a bargain!

By the way, did I mention that as we were walking in Harbour City, we saw Senator Tito Sotto and his wife Helen Gamboa? Senator Sotto was so guwapo! Even at his age, he looked so handsome still.  He smiled and waved back at us.  We were too star struck that we didn’t even get to ask for a picture with them or at least an autograph. Oh well.

Hong Kong – Day 4

Our last day! We stayed home packing – Tita Precy gave us a lot of jeans, shirts and sweat shirts we didn’t even have to shop except for personal pasalubongs.  Then, we went out for lunch and had some authentic Chinese dishes – we had a food galore of dumplings, siomai, lotus rice cakes, congee and tons of other delicacies.  They called it Yum Cha – a Cantonese style of dining.  The restaurant was amazing! The chandeliers and everything – it looked like we were eating in a hotel.  And also, I get to finally taste that elusive egg tart that I didn’t get to try the last time.  Then, I read somewhere that Lord Stowe’s sells those egg tarts! When I visit MOA next time, I’ll make sure to drop by for some of that.   They did not like it but I do.

Finally, it was time to bid our farewells.  Soon, we were on our way back to the airport.

I hope to visit Korea next time! *cross fingers*

 

 

 

 

Trip to Hong Kong

I have always wanted to go to Hong Kong since I was a little girl.  My Ninang has promised me the trip for what seemed like forever.

Finally, on November 26, 2011, that promise had finally come to fruition.  Together with my Mom, Aunt and Uncle, we flew to Hong Kong for a 3-Day trip.  There were ups and downs along the way but ultimately I enjoyed everything.  Unfortunately, there were still a lot of things I missed since the 3-days weren’t enough.  But, soon I’ll return for sure.

At the airport

my mom, uncle and aunt

View from the Avenue of the Stars

Team Building

A weekend getaway is a great way to start off the last quarter of the year 2011.  On October 15, 2011, our team held our Team Building Activities at SunsetView Beach Resort in Morong, Bataan.  After weeks of nonstop rainstorms, the skies finally cleared off on Saturday morning as they made their way to the venue.

Though the travel was long and tiring, we were fortunate that we had the place all to ourselves.  It was surprisingly a very relaxing place to stay and we enjoyed every minute of it.  Although, I did not appreciate the beach so much as it was stony and hurts our feet but the pool area was more than enough for us.  I would highly recommend this place to anyone who would want to hold a team building or a family outing.  The people were accommodating.  The place was clean and comfortable.  I also love the rooftop area where you can see through the horizon.

After a hearty lunch and some rest, Team 4, now otherwise known as Team Ravenclaw, started the activities with a Team Challenge Kick Off.  Usually done at the end of the quarter, Team Ravenclaw breaks the year-long tradition by starting this quarter’s team challenges with a Scavenger Hunt/Amazing Race competition.

The three teams are composed of: Team Hufflepuff, Team Gryffindor and Team Slytherin.

The challenge started off with an egg relay.  The teams formed a line and the egg that contained the clue must be passed from the first member to the last.  Once it reaches the last member, they can start reading the clue.  The 1st clue led them to the 1st pit stop which is the pool area.  A member of Team Ravenclaw is waiting with a riddle.  The answer must be spelled out using letters submerged under the swimming pool which is 4 ft deep.  Once they gathered the letters, they must spell out the word “mermaid” to receive the next clue.  They will be led to the 3rd pit stop in the beach area.  Flags were strewn as markers.  The members must dig through the sand and locate the egg buried deep within.  Once they have their eggs, they will be instructed to go to the 4th pit stop which is in the waters.  Submerged in the water is another Team Ravenclaw member who is holding the flags that contain the next task that they must accomplish in order to move to the next pit stop.  The task is that they have to bury one of their team members in the sand from neck to toe and submit photographic evidence.  Once this has been fulfilled, they will receive the next clue which will lead them to the 5th pit stop located at the rooftop of SunsetView.  Once there, they must solve a match puzzle.  Once this task is done, they must now make their way towards the last pit stop, which is at the deck and answer a final question.  The 1st team to give the correct answer wins the game.  The winner for the 1st Team Challenge was Team Slytherin.

Aside from the team challenge kick off the Team Leaders, JL and KB, prepared special team activities as well.  The first activity was “Three Things,” that is done by pairs.  Earlier in the week, the individual members of our team were assigned in pairs.  Three questions were posted at random times throughout the day and the pairs can search for the answers at any time.  However, the answers must be conveyed only at specific intervals – 8pm, 10pm and 12mn.

The 2nd team activity was “Make a Basket.”  Straws were provided to each team and they have to make a basket out of them to fit a raw egg.  15 minutes were given to each team for the task.  Once the baskets are made, all four teams must now drop the basket containing the egg from the 2nd floor.  The team with the least damage to the egg wins the competition.  Team Ravenclaw emerged as the winner for this pursuit.

The culminating activity for the night was the Talent Showcase.  The teams were advised beforehand to prepare a 3-5 minute group performance.  Team Hufflepuff started the event with excitement by performing a fire dance – some doing a baton twirling while another danced to the rhythm using poi.  We were all amazed and breathless.  Next in line was Team Slytherin who showcased their hidden talents with different dance moves.  The biggest surprise of the night, however, was Team Gryffindor with a dance number that would rival that of the recently concluded cheering competition.  They were definitely the clear winners for this activity.  Even after the team building has concluded, we still kept on badgering DP to rehash his dance number and there is a tall order for a “Baby D” teddy bear.  Lastly, Team Ravenclaw closed the Talent Showcase with a magic show.  Dressed in costumes – a witch, a clown, and a fairy – each performed their own magic tricks with their assistant dressed as a drag queen.  And for the effort, they bagged the 2nd Place.

The second day was dedicated to some fun and relaxation.  Some enjoyed the pool and the beach while others sit back, relaxed and enjoyed the scenery.  It was time for bonding.  Before leaving, the Graduation Ceremony for the new hires was held.  A certificate of Completion was handed out to the fresh graduates.  Another hearty meal was prepared to acknowledge their transition from training to production.

Alas, all good things must come to an end.  At 2pm on October 16, the teams left SunsetView Beach Resort and headed back to Manila bringing some wonderful memories, refreshed spirits, rejuvenated state of mind and lessons learned from the activities performed in this 2-day Team Building event.  This author greatly hopes that one of those lessons is team work because our Team Ravenclaw has some team challenges lined up for them that were nine-months in the making.

Teamwork = A Team That Works

Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. – Vince  Lombardi

Our Team Building was held on May 28-29, 2011 at Munting Buhangin Beach Camp in Nasugbu, Batangas.  The objectives of this team building are to ensure that teamwork and cooperation is established, create a good and harmonious relationship, get to know one another and have that sense of belonging in a team, to create work-life balance and lastly, have a little fun together.

The Quarterly Team Challenge was the highlight of this activity.  Teams were grouped into four:  Purple Team, Green Team, Red Team and Yellow Team.

Green Team

The Team Challenge is a cross between Scavenger Hunt and Amazing Race.  There were six pit stops.  The starting point is at the beach and everyone has to be in the water.  They will to run to the 1st pit stop and search for the 1st instruction contained in a red envelope hidden in the sand.  The instruction will lead them to the 2nd pit stop in the person of SD and complete a puzzle.  The first to complete the puzzle and return to the 2nd pit stop will be given the instruction to run to the 3rd pit stop in the person of SP.  She will also decide who among the last 2 teams to arrive will receive a 2-minute penalty.  Ms P will also provide the 4th instruction wherein the teams have to carry two members and the last member has to answer a riddle.  Once done, they will race to the 5th pit stop in the person of DV and be instructed to obtain a group picture with two foreigner guests in the beach camp and obtain their names as well.  Once this is completed, they are to return to the pit stop and get the last instruction to go to the 6th pit stop.  In the last pit stop, there is a picture of the group and they will be provided with every individual member’s names.  They have to paste the names on the pictures correctly.  The first team to complete that wins the Challenge.  Despite the rain and the hardships, everyone exerted their best efforts.  The overall Champion for this activity is the Yellow Team.

A trivia challenge was also posed amongst the four teams officiated by JL and KB.  They were given a situation and a set of instructions.  The situation is that they were the South Pacific Ocean aboard a private yacht and due to a fire of unknown origin; they were set adrift in a raft with only 15 items recovered from the fire.  The teams have to rank these items according to importance and validate their answers.  The instructions are to avoid arguing for their individual judgments and approach the task with logic, avoid changing their minds if only to reach agreement but to support only which they agree or somewhat agree, avoid conflict-reducing techniques such as majority votes and lastly, view their differences of opinion as a help rather than a hindrance in their decision-making.  There were conflicting ideas and the time pressure was a challenge to each member as they battle to voice their opinions.  Overall, the teams did their best to achieve a common ground on how to best resolve the problem at hand.

Aside from these challenges, the teams get to bond and get to know one another better.  Each team was given group assignments as to who is in charge with Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.   And in the team sharing activity held on the night of May 28th, everyone was provided with a dedication book.  Each member was able to write their personal messages for their teammates and friends.

Lastly, the team building will not be complete without some fun activities.  Everyone was able to enjoy and relax on the beach for some sun (and some rain), sand, a lot of swimming and a friendly competition of volleyball.  Not even the threat of a possible thunderstorm was able to put a stop into this team activity and even shifted its direction for our sake.