Hudson Yards and Times Square

On my third day in New York City, my friend told me to explore Hudson Yards. From the green line in 103rd Street Station, I went to the Grand Central Terminal and went to the violent subway line going to Hudson Yards Station. I walked towards the Hudson Yards Public Square and the saw the great structure.

The Vessel

The Vessel is the latest attraction and destination in Manhattan. It is an extraordinary centerpiece built in Hudson Yards Public Square with a spiral staircase.

The honey-combed like structure which comprised of 154 interconnecting flight of stairs in a 16 stories structure which highlights the view of the city, river and skyscrapers. It was built to plan by Thomas Heatherwick which was opened on March 15, 2019.

To have free access you need to get an online ticket in which there were people who’d help with the process. The tickets are given every 30 minutes. After taking pictures and exploring the staircases of the Vessel, I went to The High Line.

The High Line

The High Line is a 1.45 mile-long elevated park and garden next to the Hudson Yards. It is built on an old freight rail line elevated above the streets of Manhattan’s West Side. It has become an icon for contemporary landscape architecture.

It was a long walk, I only reached halfway until the High Line Observation Deck. The end of the elevated park is in Gansevoort Street where you can see the Whitney Museum of American Art.

I went back and traversed until the Hudson Yards Vista Point where you can see the history of the former New York Railroad.

Times Square

After my trip to the High Line and the Vessel, I went to Times Square to explore the nearby attractions. I walked in 8th Avenue as far as Jollibee in Manhattan before going back to Times Square on 7th Avenue.

I also checked the store called Line in Times Square, in which another friend who I’d be visiting in Texas was asking for BT21 stuff. I also checked City Souvenirs for the famous souvenir in New York City. I went to the Hard Rock Café to buy pins.
The Starbucks in Time Square doesn’t have a place to sit so I decided to stay inside for a while to connect with the internet. I waited for my friend in Starbucks again since she will be coming from New Jersey, an hour away from New York City.
We looked for an Italian restaurant and while walking around we found Casa Barilla. We explored the 6th Avenue and had desserts in Grace Street Coffee & Desserts in Korean town.

For New York City tours click here

For Biking tour click here

First Tour in New York City

It was summer when I went to the United States of America. There was a strong heatwave when I arrived in New York. It was 101 deg Fahrenheit and it would last until Sunday night, based on the forecast.
On the Sunday of July 22, EDT, we went outside and started my first ever tour in New York City.

Central Park and Museum Mile

We went to Central Park past 4 in the afternoon. The apartment is along Museum Mile. Museum Mile is the stretch of museums and fine arts institutions in the 5th Avenue.  Because my friend lives in the Upper East Side of  Manhattan and along Museum Mile and with the lush green sceneries of Central Park, I really loved and enjoyed my stay in New York. And because I loved museums, it was really a bonus of staying near the famous Museum Mile.
The Vanderbilt Gate is a gateway for a beautiful garden called Conservatory Garden. Fountains, lush green sceneries and flowers are seen inside. The garden is also a gateway for lover’s having a date. There’s also a bus stop near the gate.

A block away, which is the 104th East Street is the Museum City of New York. It was the location of different American series and movies. While walking we also saw the other museums like Guggenheim and Cooper Hewitt.
We entered another gate in Central Park and had a view of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. Here, people were taking a walk, jogging and exercising. The walkway inside the park will also lead to the most famous museums in New York, The Metropolitan Museum.

There were lots of locals and tourists enjoying the street show at MET. It was already 5PM when we arrived at the museum and the people were already coming out because they were already closing. There was a gathering of people from the stairways of the museum and enjoying the street dance and exhibition.

From the museum, we went to Madison Avenue. Madison Avenue is parallel to the 5th Avenue, which is also known for the flagship stores of luxurious brands that were concentrated in the 57th to 88th streets. While walking we went inside La Maison de Chocolat Paris and bought chocolate truffles. The chocolate was really good.
We went to 77th Street Station on Lexington Avenue to try the subway train. I bought a one-week subway ticket which was good enough for my stay in New York City.

Famous Landmarks in Manhattan

From the station, we went to Grand Central Station on 42nd Street and Park Avenue. Grand Central Terminal is coterminous of different trains and buses. The iconic landmark is the transportation hub in Middle Manhattan.

We ate at Shake Shack in Grand Central Station. We tried the Whispering Gallery in which you can whisper and the sound travel from the other side of the acoustic arch.

From the Central Terminal, we walked to the corner of 42nd Ave and Vanderbilt Ave to have a view of the Grand Central Station, Grand Hyatt New York and the Chrysler Building.

We went to the New York Public Library in which I only saw during my Universal Studios Singapore Trip.

Then to the Bryant Park where we sat and rest for a while. Locals were enjoying the fresh air although it was humid because of the heatwave.

We walked to 5th avenue and went to the Museum of Sex. We went to 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar to drink and had a great view of the famous Empire State Building.

We walked to the Madison Square park to the Flat Iron Building.

We rode at 28th street station to the 8th street station. We went to New York University to the Washington Square Park.

There are so many tourists and students in the park. After exploring we went to where the university students hang out and ate pizza at Architoke Basille Pizza. Another famous for the students is the Bleecker Street area.

Staten Island and Statue of Liberty

From the Bleecker Street station, we went to the Bowling Green and walked going to the Staten Island Ferry. We waited for 10 minutes before the ferry arrived.

It was already dark while riding the ferry to Staten Island. We went outside to enjoy the cool breeze of the wind while on a ferry. The night view of New York City was also spectacular. The lights from the buildings brighten the sky. We could also see the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.

Halfway to the island, we were traversing the Governor’s island with the view of the famous Statue of Liberty until we reached Staten Island. We disembarked and then waited to go on board again, which was actually free.

Time Square

From Ferry Station, we went to Time Square Station in 42nd street. We took a picture of the famous drop in Time Square. It started to rain and we had to go to the station again to ride going home. We alighted at the 110 street and walked going back to the apartment. I will talk about Time Square more since I went here multiple times during my stay.

For New York City tours click here

For Biking tour click here

Manila to New York City: 16 Hours Flight

It was my first ever trip to the United States of America. I was early at the airport. I already checked in online. The checking of baggage was very meticulous and I had to open it again prior to baggage drop. After which I went inside the lounge area. And since it was still early, I went to Starbucks and ordered my favorite triple chocolate mocha. There were lots of people waiting for the coffee shop. After finishing my mocha, I went to the boarding gates and waited for the announcement to get on board. It was on the 21st of July in the year 2019.

I booked a 16-hours non-stop flight in Philippine Airlines from Manila to New York. I was seated at the last row from the left side of the plane in a window seat. The good thing was I didn’t have to bother anyone from behind since we were in the last row, but the problem was going to the washroom and there were two passengers on my left.

It was a comfortable flight, I watched two movies first, charged my phone in the charging USB from my personal space. But because of the busy schedule I had a month before my trip, I was exhausted and I slept the entire trip and whenever I woke up, it was already time to eat. I would wash up after every meal, then go to sleep after 30 minutes. I lost track of time but my belly was full after 5 meals, 3 meals with rice and 2 heavy snacks.

When I was awake, I would look from my window seat with the moon blazing into the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Or I would keep track of the plane’s navigation as it went to the sides of the North Pacific Ocean over the Vancouver skies and landed at New York JFK International Airport.  And I was really excited to see the New York skyline with all the night lights while the plane descended. I could finally say, Welcome to the United States of America.

It was past midnight when I arrived. It took time to get out of the plane. I talked to my seatmates and found out why they were traveling in the USA since it took time for us to get out of the plane as we were on the last row.

We headed to the electronic immigration to scan the passport and the visa. We went to another line to be interviewed by the immigration officer before being allowed to get our baggage. It took a little while to get the bags. It took an hour before I was finally getting out of the airport. Ms. Gwen, the person I was seated invited me to her sister’s house in Queens since it was already past 1 in the morning. I told her I would just take a yellow taxi and head to my friend’s house in Upper East Side Manhattan.

They looked out on me while I board the taxi and they told me to keep in touch once I got into my friend’s house. It was one-hour drive from JFK airport to the Museum Mile in the 105th street. The ride was okay, the driver was from Indian descent. He was not a safe driver since every traffic light that we stopped, he seemed anxious to drive. Until we hit the 106th street, he drove while the traffic light was red. I heard the wailing of the NYPD car from our back and we had to stop. Three policemen came to the yellow cab and talked to the driver. I was already scared as it was my first time in the USA and it happened in the wee hours of the morning. I called my friend and told him what happened and he told me that I was near the apartment already. After 15 minutes, the policemen let the driver go and we were heading to my friend’s apartment. And eventually, I saw my friend once I got out of the taxi.

He said that the apartment was small. It was located on the first floor at the end of the hallway before the stairs and emergency exit on the right side. It was a two-bedroom apartment and I would say it was still big compared to a small apartment in the Philippines. I settled inside and it was at 5 in the morning when we decided to sleep after catching up.

You can also check my post last year after my trip to New York City with the title A Summer in the United States of America

For New York City tours click here

For Biking tour click here

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

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

Mystic Manor

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.

For Hong Kong Disneyland Ticket click here

A Summer in the United States of America

The United States of America was not part of my bucket list. I only wanted to go there because of studying. In 2004, I was admitted to a university to pursue a Master’s Degree and the second time was in 2017 when I applied for EMBA with a scholarship. I did not pursue both. Maybe studying there was not really for me.
Last year I joined being a mentor for the New York Academy of Sciences in New York City. Somehow, I knew I would be going to the USA for the GSA Summit, an event for mentees and mentors every summer. I asked for assistance with an invitation letter last March and interviewed on the last 7th of May. After 3 days, my passport arrived with a multiple 10 years entry visa to the US of A.

I started planning for the trip to where I should go first. My initial plan was to stay on the East Coast. I was only planning to meet my friends from New York and New Jersey. I asked a friend to help me find a hotel there but he offered his place for me to stay during my New York trip. He started planning for us to go to Washington D.C. and to stay for one night in Virginia. He also told me to visit our friend in Dallas.
So I contemplated on where to go and then after a week, I asked some friends and they offered their place for me to stay. I chose to stay longer with my long lost closest friend from my F days, and then meet other friends separately. I filed a leave from work, finalized the days where I would be staying and when to meet friends and bought my ticket. The flights were Manila – New York – Dallas Fort Worth – Los Angeles – Manila from July 20 to Aug 5.

I arrived at my first destination at the wee hours of the morning at John F. Kennedy Airport. I took a cab and the taxi was caught by NYPD because of beating the red light. It was scorching hot when I arrived because of the heatwave and my friend Chester toured me to the City on a 94 Fahrenheit weather. I would give the details of the places I went to in another post and when I was alone. I also met Karen, my favorite client from UPMSI and Patriz’s family, one of our classmates in the UST Chem.

I attended the GSA Summit and met those people who organized the event, the different STEM mentees and their parents. I attended a seminar with Josh Henkins. I met so many wonderful people like Ann, Adrienne and many others.
I got lost while traveling alone, but it was easy to find my way in Manhattan. I saw so many different places in New York, enjoyed my time and the city. Enjoyed walking, the subway and the bus. I love the Museum Mile and Central Park where the apartment was located.

On the following weekend, we went to Washington D.C. to explore. Going to Washington D.C., the bus needed to go through the highways of New Jersey and Maryland. We spent the night in Virginia and went back again to New York the following day.
When I was having fun being a New Yorker for almost 8 days, and I had to leave the city already. On July 29th, it was time for me to go to Dallas Fort Worth Airport.

Texas is like a laid-back place that is a part of the Midwest. It has a different vibe from New York City. Well, Texas is so huge that I feel I could be lost and I could not find my way back home. Every city and town I saw had their distinct beauty. What I love most in Texas was the old and historical McKinney and the museums.
I reconnected with my old friends Beah, Louvette and Robert and meet different people like May, Ted, Marissa and Mitchell and the whole family of Beah.

My friends decided where we should go. The best plan is when you have no plans at all and everything turned out well. Although there were some bumps in the road or should I say expected things that didn’t happen. It was a summer worth remembering.

I would like to thank all of my wonderful friends who managed their precious time to be with me, for letting me crashed their homes for a while, for those who had to take their days off and had to travel 1 to 3 hours to join me with my trip. Thanks to all the friends who sent me messages to meet them, I’d like to travel to different states but there will be next time. And just in case I decided not to come back. I already went to the East Coast and Midwest.  I had a glimpsed of West Coast thru Lax Airport. I went to 4 States and the District of Columbia. I fell in love with America with its chaos and silence. I fell in love with the United States of America.

For the USA tours click here