I’ve always dreamt of traveling out of the country and the first thing that would always come to my mind was Disneyland. That was my wish ever since I was a kid. The first time I was denied for a visa, it broke my heart to pieces. So, I promised myself that one day I will travel overseas.
My friends and I booked our return tickets months ago, which happened last year. I was
actually hesitant at first because I was worried I might not have enought time to save
up for the trip and I was pretty aware that it needed a lot of money, because of course,
it would be my first time and I was thinking that I had to splurge. Plus, the holidays were approaching that time. But thank God, I did. Frances (my friend) thought it would be timely to fly to Hong Kong in January since it’s their winter season. The cold weather would be perfect for strolling, sightseeing, etc. and also, it was my birth-month! We booked our tickets, hostel, and she arranged the itinerary. Everything was set! We took time researching about HK, and to our surprise, Chinese New Year fell on the same exact date as my birthday, which was January 28th. Ahhhhh! It was super unbelievable. I couldn’t be more happier and thrilled. I imagined the dragon dance and the extravagant fireworks at the harbour, and of course, my Disneyland!
Okay, but what I was really worried about was the immigration officers at the airport- the requirements, documents, the out-of this world questions. I’ve heard a lot of scary stories about them. But of course I made sure I prepared the necessary documents ahead of time to avoid problems at the immigration.
Our flight was at 6 AM and our shift ends at 12 midnight. So from the office, we headed straight to Mactan International Airport right after we changed our clothes and freshened up a bit. We got there at around 2 AM and waited for about an hour for our other friend to arrive.
We checked in early, paid the travel tax (Php 1,620) and the terminal fee (Php 750), then waited for the immigration counters to open. Honestly, I was already anxious thinking about the immigration officers asking me scary questions, but I made sure that my documents were complete and ready. When the immigration counters opened, there were a lot of Chinese travelers lining up and they were really loud and sometimes they would cut the queue. So what we did was we blocked the way. Hehehe. But really, I was already nervous. When it was my turn, I made sure to remember what my friends told me about confidence eventhough I was already shaking inside. Hahaha. So, I handed all my documents- my return tickets, hostel voucher, ID and HR documents. The officer who interviewed me was really intimidating and scary. She asked me a lot of questions such as, “How did you book the ticket?” “Is your hotel confirmed and how was it paid?” “Who are you going with?” What kind of company do you work for?””Whats’s your major and which school did you graduate?” blah-blah-blah. I tried my very best to answer in my sweetest voice, but my legs were already a bit wobbly. Finally, she stamped my passport and I was good to go. Yey! I was relieved. Hahaha. We waited for about an hour or so for the boarding time, then off we went!
Day 1, Arrival:
When we got off the plane, I was so excited and still couldn’t believe I was already in a different country. Their airport was so BIG and was adorned with Chinese New Year decorations. We took the train inside the airport (What?! A train inside an airport?!) going to the immigration, then after that, Frances claimed her luggage. However we couldn’t leave yet because we still had to wait for our other friend to arrive from Japan. We haven’t seen her for 10 months because she was sent there to work. Sweet reunion! So we waited several hours for her. Pwew! You could just imagine how dramatic her grand arrival was. Hahaha. But we missed her though.
We were really hungry because we did not eat anything before we left the Philippines, so we looked for a place to eat, then we found McDonald’s. Since it was my first time to be in a new country, I was quite nervous about how I should talk to the crew. I didn’t expect how fast the service was that I gave the crew the wrong bill. Hahaha. After brunch, we headed to customer’s service to purchase Octopus card for HKD 150, which was already preloaded with HKD 100 each card. It’s really convenient because you can use it to pay for the bus, MTR, 7-Eleven, etc. and you can just reload it when you run out of credit at a minimum of HKD 50.
We took the A11 bus from the airport going to our hostel at Causeway Bay which took about 45 minutes. From the window, we could see a lot of high buildings and factories.
We got off the bus and looked for the street where our hostel was. It took us almost 20 minutes to finally find the building, but we later found out that we were at the wrong building so we were directed to another one. When we arrived at the reception area, fortunately they spoke good English, we were able to check in and they gave us our keys. BUT…they said we had to go down and go to ANOTHER BUILDING because our hostel’s there (it was just their reception area). Hay!!! So we had to walk for about 10 minutes…and we were already dead tired from walking.
When we arrived at our room, uhmmm it was a bit smaller than we thought. But it’s got a good view of the neighborhood right outside the window.We rested for a while, changed our clothes, and retouched (of course!). In the evening, we met up with MM’s mom, who happened to work in Hong Kong. She showed us around a bit and treated us a delectable dinner. Hehehehe. I was excited to try authentic Chinese food.
I actually ate a lot that night because I was totally hungry although the foods were bland to my taste, but I enjoyed eating them especially the siopao and wanton. Their service was pretty fast and we were not even allowed to help them arrange the plates on our table. Okay.
After dinner, our friend’s mom told us if we wanted to take the tram and we excitedly said YES! We took the tram and got off at a pier to take the ferry going to Tsim Sha Tsui. It was already too crowded when we got there since it was the day before the Chinese New Year, so tourists flocked in to check what was going on, participants for the parade were there, too, to practice, and they were also busy preparing for the next day’s big event. We left the place after an hour. We went inside a shopping mall when we returned to Causeway Bay where our friend’s mom bought us a box of cheese tarts and soft matcha ice creams, which I think was the best matcha ice cream I have ever tasted in my life!
After that, we parted ways with her mom because she had to go back to the place where she’s working. We decided to stay nearby 7 Eleven to wait until 12 midnight for my birthday.
We went back to our hostel past 12 midnight, drank beer and ate the cheese tarts inside our room (so yummy!) since it was too cold to drink outside and we also thought it wasn’t allowed. Hehe. We went to bed at around 1:30 AM and we had to get up early for Disneyland to celebrate my birthday! Weeeeee. Honestly, this was the only reason I wanted to go to Hong Kong. Haha. However, I wasn’t able to sleep at all (probably just an hour or less) because I was really excited and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Hahaha.