My first Singapore trip was in 2003. I had a training for one of the scientific products I was handling. It was a week before Christmas day, and the plane ticket was very expensive and the flights were fully booked. This was my first time going abroad alone. It was also my first time sitting in a business class.
I arrived at Changi Airport and took a cab going to the Orchard Hotel Singapore. The Orchard Hotel Singapore is a 4-star hotel located at Orchard Road. It is near the city centers, where there are restaurants and malls. The nearest public transport is the subway at Orchard MRT Station.
The trip was a 3-days training to Agilent. The Agilent office is located at Yishun Avenue in the northern center if the North Region of Singapore. I tried the MRT going to Yishun.
On my second day after the training, I went outside and walked into the Orchard Road. There are so many malls along Orchard like Since it was only a few days before Christmas, there were so many Christmas decorations along the road outside and inside the mall.
Since I had a limited time, I went to my cousin’s house in Singapore on the third day after my training in Agilent.
On my 4th day, I once again walked to Orchard road which was actually my favorite spot and the following day I went to the airport.
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Fifteen years later, I was blessed to be back in Hong Kong. It would be my first Disneyland adventure. When I went to Hong Kong in 2000, the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort was not open yet.
Disneyland Hong Kong is located in the reclaimed area of Penny’s Bay, Lantau Island. The theme park opened in September of 2005. It became the largest theme park in Hong Kong after Ocean Park.
Our buses were first to arrive in the Disneyland car park. We waited in line once we got our tickets.
There are themed areas in Disneyland Hong Kong.
Main Street, USA
Jungled theme park
Big Grizzly Gulch Mountain Runaway Mine Cars
Toy Story Land
The castle of Sleeping was under renovation at that time.
What I loved the most was the parade. We patiently waited near the gate where the parade would begin.
And there was the parade of lights in the evening. Right after the parade was the fireworks shown in the castle.
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Here are beautiful places to see in Hong Kong Island in Hong Kong.
Fifteen years after my first visit to Hong Kong, I went back to Victoria’s Peak and it was different from what I remembered. Since we were on a group tour, we were on a bus going to Victoria’s peak. We used the Cross Harbor Tunnel to get to Victoria’s Peak. The bus ride going up the peak was spectacular because of the amazing view on the road.
The Peak Tower
The Peak Tower is one of the famous destinations for stylish architectural icons in Hong Kong. The Peak Tower has different shops, restaurants and entertainment venues. The highlight of The Peak Tower is the Sky Terrace 428 which has the highest 360 deg viewing platform to enjoy the skyline and lush green landscape of Hong Kong.
Adjacent to the Peak Tower is the Peak Galleria. It has a wide variety of restaurants and shops to enjoy inside the mall.
Victoria’s Peak is famous for the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. It is located at Peak Tower in The Peak, Hong Kong Island. It is the first Madame Tussauds in Asia that opened in 2000.
The Famous wax figures in Madame Tussauds are Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie, Princess Diana, Prince Charles, Barrack Obama and many others.
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Here are some places to see in Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Nan Lian Garden
The Nan Lian Garden is one of the famous Tang-Dynasty style garden in the busy streets of Hong Kong. Located at Fung Tak Road in Diamond Hill in Kowloon and it has an area of 3.5 hectares. It is one of the Chinese Classical Garden opened in 2006 in collaboration with the Chi Lin Nunnery and Hong Kong Government.
One of the famous landmark inside is the Pavilion of Absolute Perfection and Zi Wu Bridge.
You can also see pagodas, temples and bridges, most especially the Blue Pond. There’s an exhibition for potted plants in the rockery and in the Rockery and Chinese Timber Architecture Gallery.
Chi Lin Nunnery
Chi Lin Nunnery is adjacent to Nan Lian Garden and one of the famous Buddhist attraction in Hong Kong. It is a place for stunning bonsai and different flower plants like bougainvillea and the large Blue Pond. It is also one of the Tang-Dynasty style attraction built in 1930’s as a retreat house for Buddhist nuns.
How to get to Nan Lian Garden and Chi Line Nunnery, alight at MTR Diamond Hill Station Exit 2. Follow the signs and walk for around 5 minutes.
The Avenue of Stars
The Avenue of Stars is Hong Kong’s Hollywood Walk of Fame. The avenue is located along the Victoria Harbor waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui. Opened in 2004 it is to highlight the Hong Kong artists.
Aqua Luna known as Cheung Po Tsai in Cantonese is a Chinese Junk or Chinese Sailing ship. It is operating in Victoria Harbor and also docks at Tsim Sha Tsui in Pier 1. It is a cruise ship with two decks and has a restaurant inside.
A Symphony of Lights
To enjoy the view of Hong Kong at night, a spectacular show of sounds and lights staged every night at 8 PM. The Symphony of Lights is also called Victoria Harbor Light Show. The best place to enjoy the show is in the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, the promenade and the avenue of stars.
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On our third day in Hong Kong, we went to Shenzhen City, Guangdong, China.
It was a busy December 28th in Hong Kong. Getting to Shenzhen, China should only take an hour. From our hotel, we rode a bus going to the immigration border. I don’t remember much about the place. We spent our time in immigration to get a visa to enter China. We obtained a 5-day Visa, but it took the whole morning for the visa processing. There was so many tourists group like us in the border and everyone was waiting for their visa.
When we crossed the border it was already past lunchtime and the whole group from our tour were very hungry. We went to a Chinese restaurant which I don’t remember where except that it served Peking duck. It was my first time eating a Peking duck. Shenzhen has the best Peking duck restaurants.
It was already late and the only tour we got was the Windows of the World or Shi Jie Zhi Chuang. It is a theme park in the western part of Shenzhen City. It has vivid replicas of the famous attractions of the world. There are different miniature landmarks around the world from different continents.
Windows of the World is located at Overseas Chinese Town overlooking the beautiful Shenzhen Bay and covers 480,000 square meters. There are 130 landmarks and it was divided into 8 areas: World Square, the Area of Asia, Oceanic, Europe, Africa and America, the World Sculpture Park and the International Street.
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My first ever out of the country trip was in Hong Kong. It was also the first time my family went abroad without my brother in 2000.
We boarded the plane, a day after Christmas for the 3 nights and 4 days trip to Hong Kong. It was a guided tour. Upon reaching the Hong Kong International Airport we were welcomed by our tour guide. From the airport, we went to the Panda Hotel in Tsuen Wan, Kowloon.
We had a one-room in the hotel. We arrived in the afternoon and on our first day, it was our free time. From our hotel, we walked in the street nearby to look for a place to eat. After which we went back to the hotel and we availed of the free shuttle service of our hotel going to our destination. We were required to go back to the meeting place at 5 in the afternoon.
Tsim Sha Tsui
My family went to East Tsim Sha Tsui. My sister and I went to the Hong Kong Cultural Center. The Hong Kong Cultural Center has the following: Concert Hall, Grand Theatre and Studio Theatre. Different cultural performances are held. Our favorite was the exhibition gallery. We also tour the harbor along the center.
We also enjoyed the promenade along the waterfront around the New World Centre and the Tower Clock.
Ocean Park Hong Kong
On our first day, the tour was going to Ocean Park. Ocean Park is a marine mammal oceanarium and was the largest theme park in Hong Kong in 2000. We enjoyed the cable car. We toured the marine world indoor aquariums and watched the show. It was our first encounter with dolphins and seagull during the show. We also saw the panda.
Jumbo Floating Restaurant
After the amazing adventure in Ocean Park, our group had our lunch at the Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Ferry Pier. The Jumbo Floating Restaurant is one of the famous restaurants and tourist attractions in Hong Kong’s Aberdeen Harbor. They serve Cantonese cuisine and mostly seafood dishes.
After lunch, we went to a jewelry store. Most of the tour had this kind of itinerary. I forgot where we went but I remember buying a white gold necklace for myself at that time. I still have the necklace with me after 20 years.
Victoria’s Peak and Peak Tram
We went to Victoria Harbor after going to the jewelry store. We went to the Garden Road Admiralty to Victoria Peak riding the Peak Tram at the Lower Terminus. The Tram is a Victorian-era train running in the railway in Hong Kong to go to the highlands of Hong Kong Island. The Tram is also one of the world’s oldest and most famous funicular railways. The peak rise to 1300 feet above sea level. Upon reaching Victoria’s Peak, the highest peak in Hong Kong, the view of the skyline will be seen.
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Bangui Windmill or Bangui Wind Farm is the first power-generating wind farm is the Philippines and is located at Bangui, Ilocos Norte. It is one of the itineraries of travelers having their great northern adventure.
The windmill was inaugurated in 2005 for phase 1 of the Northwind project with 15 turbines. Phase 2 of the project was completed in 2008 adding 5 more turbines. The 20 turbines are facing the West Philippine Sea and lined up gracefully along the shoreline of Bangui Bay. They were built by the Northwind Power Development Corporation as a source of renewable energy.
It is an hour and a half drive from Laoag City and is very near the boundaries of Pagudpud. You will be able to see the towering windmill from afar and you’ll know you’re on the right track. It is also just before Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. Kapurpurawan Rock Formation is a hidden gem in the town of Burgos.
Pagudpud’s coastal area is wide and one of the notable areas is Saud Beach. Saud Beach is part of the coastal area of Bangui Bay.
A long stretch of the sand bar, which is almost 3 kilometers is seen along the Bangui Bay and you can also see on the right side the famous Bangui Windmill.
Saud Beach has many different resorts along the beachfront like Blue Lagoon, Sunset View Beach Resort and including Saud Beach Resort and Hotel. Saud Beach Resort and Hotel is a resort and a restaurant overlooking the beach.
When we were there we saw fishermen helping each other with their nets of freshly caught fishes.
The fishermen were helping each other thru their Bayanihan helped each other to pull the tent in the shore from the boat.
Another coastline is the Maira-ira Beach via the Patapat Viaduct.
Pagudpud is a town in the upper left tip of the Philippines. Pagudpud is a huge municipality in Ilocos Norte. Pagudpud has a coastal area and the shores are between Bangui Bay and Paselang Bay.
My first time in Pagudpud was a decade ago. I was traveling with three colleagues and it was the last stop of our destination. It was already late at night when we reached the town and we were advised to stay with the locals since we found resorts were all fully booked.
We stayed in an old house and it was near the town and the main road. In the morning, we went to Maira-ira Beach. The Maira-ira beach is seen from the Patapat Viaduct. The beach was crowded but we went to a place where we rented a nipa hut. The beach is overlooking the Dos Hermanos Island.
The Dos Hermanos Islands are two rock formations on the northern coast of Maira-ira Beach which are visited by tourists. It is also a highlighted landmark in Pagudpud. There are so many resorts along Maira-ira Beach and going up near Dos Hermanos Island. The famous resorts in this area are Hannah’s Beach, Punta Azul Beach Resort, Kapuluan Vista Resort, etc.
Paoay Church or Iglesia de San Agustin de Paoay is located at Paoay, Ilocos Norte. It is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines which was completed in 1710. The baroque architecture church is declared a National Cultural Treasure in 1973 by the Philippine Government and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 along with the other baroque churches in the Philippines.
The church is made up of coral stone and bricks. There are 24 massive buttresses on the side of the church and at the back making the structure an earthquake baroque design.
The bell tower on the right side of the church is a three-story coral stone tower. It was said the bell tower played a major part during the Katipuneros revolution serving as an observation post.
Paoay Lake National Park
Paoay Lake is the largest lake in the province of Ilocos Norte. It is a freshwater lake with different resorts around the area.
The lake was called Lago de Nanguyudan was supposed to be a barangay. The barangay was called San Juan de Sahagun that sank after an earthquake.
Another place to see in Paoay is the Malacanang of the North, a presidential museum and the residence of the family of President Ferdinand Marcos during his term. The museum is around Paoay Lake.