Ka musta ka from the Philippines!

How time flies. I went to the mission field in the Philippines and now I am back home again. “How does it feel to be on a mission for God for the very first time?” is the question that I receive from fellow friends and also the question that I reflect upon almost every single hour after I got back. Firstly, I do feel liberated and the whole mission experience was a humbling one. Though initially I wanted to call it quits even before I boarded the plane, but something made me changed my mind. If I had decided on not going for this trip, I somewhat knew that I will definitely regret making that decision. The trip was overall fulfilling, though we were all tired (some even falling sick – including myself) from the extensive traveling from the east to the west and then down south of Central Manila, and finally to the beautiful island of Palawan south of the Philippines. Why do I say fulfilling is because, God has certainly shown his power and mercy on me and the team throughout the whole trip. Remember my post about my second-guessing my purpose of going on this mission trip? About how I doubted my love for people. No words can every describe how amazed I was how God literally transformed me from someone who doubted about love, to someone who just wants to reach out to the destitute and love them immensely. That was what happened and I am truly grateful and thankful for His power that worked in me. Again, I try not to harp on my own success because none of these came from me but from the above. I was there not for my purpose/interest but for God’s and “May I not boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14). This is my struggle – that I always put myself first before God which has stumbled me throughout my walk with Him. But through this mission experience, I’ve learned to submit my all to Him, to allow Him to work in me and I was grateful … deeply grateful for that. We worked with the Kapatid Ministry in the Philippines to support their work in helping the needy and spreading the love of Christ to them. What I saw in the Philippines were many people living in destitute, all short of God’s love and , and that is the very reason why we were sent there in the first place. This reason was becoming visible to me every single day I was there. We were asked to jot our personal journal of our dailywalk with God in this mission trip. My handwriting is starting to wither so blogging is definitely a better option for me. Besides, I was too tired to jot down anything when I was there because we had our daily devotions every night after dinner which ended at around midnight or an hour pass midnight – something I cannot withstand because I am not a late night sleeper. Nevertheless, my memories of my trip are still fresh in my mind and I am more than glad to blog them here. Pray that this blog of mine will draw more people to mission trips to spread the love of God to those who are seeking Him.

Day 1 (24 Nov 2012) – Feeding Centre (Pullilan)

We arrived at Clark, Pampanga at almost 9:00am. It was a struggle for our conscious minds because we had to gather at the airport at 4:00am to board the 6:35am plane to the Philipplines. The journey took 3 hours 45 minutes. I literally had to pin my eye lids up just to stay awake most of the time, but thank God for the time on the plane where I managed to catch a short nap before we landed at Clark. From Clark, Pastor Titus and his lovely wife Beth and daughter Tin Tin greeted us with huge smiles on their faces. We were given name tags with the salutations of “Ate” (means Sister) and “Kuya” (means Brother) in the local Tagalog language. Attached with our tags is a list of local words which we can use when we interact with the locals during our mission work. As soon as we arrived at the airport, we made our way to the first feeding centre  which was the feeding centre at Pullilan (about an hour drive from Clark). On our way to the centre, I was still doubting myself – whether or not I could do a good job for God. But this is not what God wants – that we doubt ourselves. He just wants us to rely on Him to give us His strength and wisdom. I prayed along the way there. I just needed that peace of mind so that I can submit fully to God. When we reached the gate of the centre, it was locked and I saw a few kids walking towards the centre to receive their free lunches, their eyes hopeful and their smiles welcoming. After we entered the compound of the centre and unloaded our goodies from the van, more children came along with their mothers to the centre to greet us. As the children enter the compound of the centre, they began arranging the chairs that were stacked at one corner of the compound. I was totally amazed at how disciplined they were in arranging the chairs without being instructed to. We started interacting with them and their mothers. They were really warm and despite the conditions they live in, they could still offer us beautiful smiles on their faces to welcome us. Some of us began pumping and sculpting balloons into shapes of dogs, crowns, swords, guns etc. and the children got all excited looking at the different shapes of balloons they could hold in their possessions. There were about 100+ children who gathered at the feeding centre that day. After handing out the balloons, we sang children gospel songs with them, starting with the song of “Zaccheus”, followed up by “I Want to Be a Friend” and finally “I Love You Jesus”. The songs were accompanied with some actions and the children simply enjoyed them. We enjoyed singing with them as well. There were story-telling and coloring activities for little children and some activities for the youths. As for how God worked in me, my reliance on His strength has proven to be fruitful. I simply poured out my love for the children and I felt very  happy when I received the same response from the children as well. I’ve always wondered if there is anyone in this wretched world who can appreciate others or anything they have been blessed with, because whatever I good things I’ve done unto others in the past were recipocrated with bad (and hurtful) responses. But God has shown me otherwise that there are people out there who do appreciate what I do for them … and He has shown me through these lovely people that I’ve met on my very first day in the Philippines. The children also put up performances for us as a form of their appreciation to us for visiting and accompanying them. After their performances, the ministry workers gave out food and drinks and to the children, and we gave them candies and snacks which were luxurious treats for the children. The sun seems to set in the west very early in the Philippines for it was already getting dark by 5pm. We wrapped up for the day .. hugging and kissing the children goodbye. Some children still remained at the centre, not willing to part with us. I ended up hugging and kissing some children goodbye multiple times. Some even gave me Thank You cards – how very sweet and thoughtful of them. This shows that the children are really in need of God’s love which was poured out through us. I am glad to be His messenger of love. We left the centre at close to 6pm before it got really dark and headed for AMG in Bulacan – a vocational school run by Christians to help high school leavers obtain proper training and education to equip and prepare them for the working world.

children @ the feeding center
children @ the feeding center with their balloons
children’s performance – awesome!

Day 2 (25 Nov 2012) –  AMG Skilled Hands Technological College (Bulacan) & Feeding Center (Camarin, Caloocan City)

The journey to Bulacan was rather tiring because we were stucked in a bad traffic jam for almost 2 hours long! Couldn’t really sleep in the van for it was a bumpy ride and my head was swinging to and fro. There were times where I could almost feel my  head swinging off my neck due to nasty jerks. We reached AMG at around 8:00+ pm. We spent the night at the School. The girls were fortunate enough to be given the staff dormitory while the guys had to spend the night at the students’ dormitory. Of course, the girls had the luxury of hot water (which I didn’t realise there was until a dear sister discovered it the very next day) and air-conditioning for some of us, including myself (which I least expect to have as well) for there are only units in 2 individual rooms. I considered myself really blessed with all these luxuries which I totally did not expect to have! In fact, I was expecting to  be sleeping in student dormitories with shared toilets (and no hot bath) with a few ceiling fans. That’s it! But wow, God is good … I think he knows that there are some of us city folks who can’t really endure hardship. Thank you God! After settling down in our rooms, we proceeded to the dinner venue. The dinner that was prepared for us by the students themselves, were also beyond our expectations. It was yummy Filipino dinner with pork dipped in some special sauce, fried spring rolls, vegetables and desserts which are are considered luxurious food to the locals who can’t afford them. We felt really terrible for we were expecting to serve them, but instead we were served by them. The students were very helpful and grateful for our visit. They made really good pineapple shake drinks which sadly, I couldn’t partake on as it was icy cold. But I took a sip just to have a taste of it and it was really yummy. After dinner, two of our team members proceeded to prepare for their workshop on “Interview Skills” while the rest of us headed back to our rooms for quick showers. We went back to the hall to join the students in their workshop. The workshop conducted by the two were good and informative and I could see that the students enjoyed themselves tremendously. The workshop ended at around 10pm. After the students vacated the hall to head back to their dormitories for the night’s rest, the team had a devotional session and a short meeting to prepare for the next day’s activity – facilitation of another workshop on “Work Ethics” with the materials efficiently prepared by another team member. The very next day, the sun started to shine its face at us as early as 5:30am in the morning! I thought it was already 8am and I jumped out of the bed straightaway at the first sight of light through the window. After I found out that it was only a quarter to 6am, I slumped back to bed only to be awakened by my room mate who woke up at around 6am to take her shower. We headed back to the hall for breakfast at 7:30am and again, we were graciously served by the students with nice sumptuous Filipino breakfast which consisted of rice, fried vegetable, sausage and “Pandelsa” (a local Filipino bread made of wheat and cinnamon and it’s often eaten by the locals for breakfast). I don’t really fancy pastries but the “Pandelsa” is really soft and yummy. After breakfast, we attended the Sunday worship service with the students and their teachers. The students led the worship singing and they were good musicians – no doubt about it! Another team member gave the sermon for the day and after that, we were led to the front of the hall to introduce ourselves and to present a song “How Great is Our God”. The workshop took place after our introduction and song presentation. The students were split into groups for discussions which were facilitated by our team in pairs. The topic of discussion was about what we should do as Christians if we were asked to work 7 days a week by our employers and this includes Sundays – a day where Christians devote their time for God. During this time, I was grateful that God gave me the opportunity to share with the students on the challenges I faced with the University I worked in as a lecturer. If you have followed my blog, you will know what I am talking about here. As I shared, I almost cried … not because of the situation I was placed in, but because of the purpose I was placed in such a situation. It’s so that I share God’s love to the people – that His love and mercy is real and they are free for those who want to receive them. God was good to me at that point of time – He provided for my every need, financiall, mentally and spiritually and through this experience, I was able to grow in faith in Him more – which is His plan for us – to obediently seek, listen and follow Him. I have learned to feel for students who are worried about their financial needs when they graduate from the school – whether or not are they able to secure jobs out there and what would life be for them out there. I told them, citing from Mattew 6:25 – 34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ? …” and the message that was repeatedly sent to me by God from Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” which I’ve dwelled on to carry me through those days. God does provide for us. All we need to do is to look up to Him, pray, seek, cry, shout, … and ultimately follow. I am glad we had that session. It was also liberating for me too. It felt good to be sharing God’s message of love. One of the students presented me and my fellow partner a little sticker footprint with a little note of Thank You in her appreciation for our sharing. I was really touched and moved by her gesture and gratitude. Thank you Lord for this opportunity to share Your love with Your people. We left the centre after a sumptuous lunch – also prepared by the students. I felt sad parting with them – they have etched a very beautiful memory in my mind and heart.

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students listening attentively to the talk on Christian work ethics
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Group discussion

In the afternoon, we headed for another feeding centre in Camarin, Caloocan City. The journey took longer than expected due to the horrible jam along the way, and we arrived at our destination 2 hours late! The children were so courteous enough to wait for us to arrive before they were given their food. For the last few hours they have been singing worship songs with their teachers – in hunger. We felt so awful for being late … and worst, we didn’t know that we had been keeping them waiting for their food for so long. We departed for this feeding center in 2 vehicles. A few team members and I sat in the MPV and we arrived at the center first. Without waiting any further (since we were late), we proceeded with out planned activity beginning with worship songs. In an impromptu decision, I was made to lead the worship with the children (much to my surprise!). But it wasn’t really to my surprise either. Remember the post I’ve blogged about how God wanted me to move a step higher in faith and how He have always wanted me to take the lead in doing His work? Well, this was the chance that He shoved right into my path. I hesitated for a moment, but without thinking further, I took the lead and led the children into singing the songs we had prepared for them. After singing 2-3 songs with some actions (which they enjoyed), the Pastor on duty requested that we sing the children’s favourite song – “Praise Ye the Lord”. Thank God for my experience with the Sunday School that I could remember the lyrics and the tune of the song. In fact, this song was first introduced to me when I attended Sunday School as a kid … and I was glad that I could still remember it. It’s a really beautiful and cheerful song. The lyrics go something like “Praise Ye the Lord, Hallelujah”. It’s simple and easy to remember for life! The children love shouting the word “Hallelujah” at the end of every sentence and I enjoyed their enthusiasm and desires to just praise the Lord. This is what God wants from us. To have a child-like obedience and praise for Him.  The second van arrived just 10 minutes later and I had to pass the baton to another team member to take over the worship lead for I was running out of breath and gasping for air. This goes to show how unhealthy I have been – no exercise to build up the stamina I’ve lost over the years. After the worship, a fellow team mate told a story about Zaccheus to the children and immediately after that, we started distributing food to them. The ministry workers had prepared fried bee hoon and packed them in Styrofoam boxes. We on the other hand, gave out candies, pictures to colour, colour pencils and pencils. The children were asked to sit in a circle to partake on their food and to colour the pictures. Some children ate just a few spoons of their food and saved the rest to share with their family members back home. It pained our hearts to see that the children were so thoughtful of their family members despite being so hungry at the same time. It taught us one thing that we ought not to take our blessings for granted. As it was getting dark, we packed our belongings and bade the children and teachers goodbye. One of the teachers presented us with hand-made soap bars as a token of appreciation. We felt awful because they still appreciate us despite us being so late and not really helping the children much at the centre. Nevertheless, we received the gift with thankful hearts. The soaps smell lovely with natural aromatic scent like lavender, green apple, etc. We left the centre at around 5:00pm – 5:30pm for Pastor Tan’s mission home (also in Caloocan City) where we spent the next few days in. The mission home is well – far beyond our expectation of what is known as a “mission home”. Again, I was expecting to be bunking in dormitory-like rooms with double-decker beds and ceiling fans (or maybe not) and shared bathroom with no hot water. But NO – we all had the luxury of air-conditioned room with mattresses (well for some of us), minus the hot bath but that’s ok for all of us. Poor hubs and the guys had to sleep on thin mats at the 2nd living hall upstairs without air-conditioning.

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children @ the feeding center in Camarin
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thanksgiving and prayers for the teachers and the children at the feeding centre

We were invited to watch a musical presentation by the streets children at the Llano Christian Baptist Church which is about 10 minutes away from Pastor Tan’s mission home. We settled into our rooms at Pastor Tan’s home, and headed for the church just half an hour later.The performance started at around 6:00pm and ended at around 9:00pm. I enjoyed the performances put up by the youths and children very very very much. They were so talented and gifted with good voices, graceful dancing and creative hand movements using illuminated gloves. Some of the dancers were also the teachers we met at the first feeding centre we visited at Pullilan. We went back home to Pastor Tan’s mission home and were surprised to see that dinner had already been prepared for us – roast chicken, roast pork with rice. I did not eat much for I was  beginning to constipate – did not drink much water throughout the trip for fear of the inconvenience of stopping for toilet breaks. After dinner, we had our devotion and called it a night at almost 12:00am.

Day 3 (26 Nov 2012) – Brgy. Holy Spirit Child Care Centre (Quezon City)

On the 3rd day of our mission trip, the team was divided into 3 groups to be spread out to work at 3 different child care centres. We had our breakfast specially prepared by Pastor Tan’s wife. She was so nice and gracious to wake up so early in the morning to prepare for us a sumptuous Filipino breakfast. My group was assigned to the Brgy. Holy Spirit child care centre which is about 30 minutes drive from the Llano Christian Baptist Church. The child care centre houses children whose education is sponsored by Christians, some of whom are from our church in Malaysia. The sponsorship is given to the street children on a condition that the children and their parents attend bible study classes every week. This may sound like the church is forcing the people into believing in Christ, but in actual fact, it serves God’s purpose and not the Christians who are servants of God. The stories I hear from the ministry workers touched my heart. For one, the children learned to rejoice in the Lord, having hope in Him to bring them through the difficult times in their lives, and what they learned were also shared with their family members at home. The parents who attend bible study classes also learned to place their hope and trust in the Lord to provide for them in their times of need and trials. It is indeed very encouraging to hear that more and more people are turning their faith to Jesus for hope and salvation. When we arrived at the centre, the children were dressed in pretty white dresses waiting in line to greet us with a kiss on our hands. Some did not hesitate to give me a hug and their cheery smiles on their faces truly lighted my heart. I felt like a celebrity, but I am definitely no celebrity – what the children saw was God’s love in us. We led to a mini church within the centre’s compound and were seated at the front row of the church. Two volunteer teachers welcomed us with performances from the children of all ages. Those little girls who were clad in pretty white dresses gave the first dance performance. They looked so lovely. Kinda reminded me of the time when I was dressed in a pretty pink dress dancing to the tune “Chariots of Fire” when I was a little girl. The children performances lasted about an hour … much to our surprises because we did not expect to be serenaded with so many beautiful performances that lasted that long. Also, the parents of those children gave their testimonies of their heart-felt appreciation to the sponsors of their children. Their gratitude touched my heart. God truly work wonders in those who seek Him. We too had some activities in stored for the kids. Though the time was running out, I thank God that we still had time to run all the activites that were planned out for them – worships, story-telling and art & craft. For art & craft, the kids were given masks which were pre-prepared by the team before the trip and all they had to do was to dap the cotton wool in glue and stick them onto the masks. The whole idea was to create sheep masks for the children to put on their cute faces for the story-telling session on “The Lost Sheep”. The story is about a sheep who wandered off far in the wilderness only to be captured by evil wolves/thieves and was rescued by its beloved Shepherd. The sheep symbolizes us as Christians who eventhough had received salvation still remain disobedient to the Lord and are prone to wander due to their deceitful desires to want the things of the world. And when they wander far from the Lord, their hearts grow weary and heavy laden. But the Shepherd which depicts our Lord Jesus Christ, who never failed to love us despite our shortcomings, does not stop looking for us to save us into his loving arms again. Hence, the Psalmist put together in Psalm 23:1 – “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want“. Also noted in Psalm 37:4 is “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart“. Everything and everyone around us will fail us, but the Lord God will never leave our side nor forsake us. After the story-telling session, some of the group members started pumping balloons to make balloon sculptures for the kids and while they were doing so, I was tasked to play some games with them to distract them from the balloon for a while. I played the “Simon Says” and “Musical Statue” with them and the children enjoyed themselves tremendously. At the beginning I thought it would be difficult to convey the instructions of the games to the children, but you know what .. they learned really really fast. These are really bright children who were deprived of good childhood environment and for some, education. But I am glad that their education’s sponsored for I am a firm believer that all children should not be deprived of education for education is one of the ways out of poverty. The children were given their balloons and candies after the games. We headed for lunch at the Pastor’s office. The ministry workers were kind enough to cook for us. There was fried spring rolls, steamed fish and Chicken Adobo (I think). There was also a cup of soup cooked with pig’s innards which I had to pass. After lunch, we started our journey on visiting the residential homes of the children at the centre which was just within the vicinity. What I am about to describe about their homes is very saddening and it makes me reflect on how truly blessed I am back home in Malaysia to have a comfortable house to be called my home, education, a job and a loving family. The homes were made out of bricks with no additional cement layers and paints. Just bricks (which in my understanding is considered a luxury  for there are some in the outskirts of Manila, live in makeshift houses made out of plastic bags, scrap zinc roofs and cardboards) and one or two used plastic chairs. They all come in different sizes, but the worst one that we came across was just a small little tiny room with a bed that can fit 4 members of a family. The room, packed with belongings was dim with little electricity and air ventilation, and worst still, it is a rented room of about RM200-300 monthly rental fee (which is absurd!). The children that we saw clad in beautiful uniforms and dresses, looking all prim and proper back at the centre, were after that changed in worn-out clothings and were roaming the streets. One would never thought that they are street children living in such destitute condition. We visited another house of our of the girls who performed a dance for us. When we entered her house, we saw her elder sister whose body is deformed without legs sitting on the table reaching out her hands to greet us. She is a beautiful young teenage girl whose condition did not deter her to greet us with a warm smile. Sometimes I just wonder, why did God even allow this to happen to them. It is bad enough that they are living in extreme poverty, and now in need of funds to care for their paralyzed daughter/sister. But I guess, we can never understand God’s plans for us in our human understanding of the world. All I pray is that they have the support that they needed in this time of trial. We also visited a makeshift home right next to a pig sty. Though the stench of smell from the pig sty did not stink my nose at the time of our visit, but I could imagine how unhygienic it is for this family to be living just right beside it. We also passed some villagers squatting by the side of the alley gambling away their (or maybe their spouses’) hard-earned money which can be used to feed their children. I just pray that their children will not follow their footsteps  and I am grateful for the ministry who set up the child care centre to lead the children back to God’s path. As we were walking from houses to houses, some kids followed us all the way holding my hands requesting me to sing with them the worship songs we sang at the church earlier. It felt so warm holding their hands and singing along with them. I love the smiles in their lips and the sparkles in their eyes. How I miss all these. The weather was rather hot and humid, but it did not dampen my spirit to visit the homes of these children and to offer my prayers for them. However, because we had children in our group tagging along with us and they were growing very tired from all the visitations, we had to stop at 8 houses instead of the original plan of 10. I felt really bad not visiting  the remaining two houses for I reckoned that they were all eager to invite us to their homes. Nevertheless, I thank God for this blessed opportunity to show these people His love for them. After the visitations, all three groups gathered back together at the Llano Christian Baptist Church before heading back to the mission home for shower.We were also invited to Pastor Titus and Beth’s house for dinner that night itself. However, my tummy was feeling really uncomfortable due to 1) bad constipation and 2) the fried spring rolls I had earlier at the child care centre which were drenched in oil. I was contemplating not attending the dinner, but I knew I won’t be happy being left behind at home. So I tried taking medication, applying medicated oil on my tummy and getting some rest before the dinner. But it wasn’t getting any better. Thank God we still had some time to rest before the dinner. Shortly after the van arrived to pick us up to the dinner venue, I got slightly better and decided to join the rest for dinner. Dinner was great with the companies of the teachers we interacted at the child care centres. They sang songs together but sadly, I couldn’t join them because my tummy was starting to rumble again. I felt very agitated and angry at the condition I was in. To sum, I was getting really emotional over the next few days simply because of my irritating PMS problem! I started snapping at my sisters for no reasons and getting all regretful about it after that. But sigh, why am I engineered to be this way? I just cannot understand .. but God does. I believe I have not been standing on Christ’s cross all these while, allowing evil thoughts and principalities to turn my soul against God. I feel awful, but I am thankful that my sisters’ have forgiven me. At the same time I could feel the forgiveness of Christ in me again. I am such an undeserving soul but yet Christ still loves me just like how He has loved his lost sheep. As soon as I stepped into the mission home, the gas welled up so badly in my tummy that I had to dash for the toilet to throw them out. I was feeling so painful and uncomfortable and I hated that feeling. Thankfully, my sisters stayed by my side, rubbing more medicated oil on my tummy and accompanying me in our separate session of devotion while the rest of the members gathered at another room for devotion. My sisters did not leave me behind and I am so utterly grateful for that. Thank you God for bringing these sisters in my life. I don’t deserve them yet they still love me like You do. I just pray that I will be able to do the same for them – not leaving them behind when they need me most. I was also thankful to the team who prayed for my well-being during their devotion. They were all so caring, looking after me while I was sick. And their prayers turned out to be so powerful, that I was well again the very next day – except for some occassional pangs. I prayed fervently during that night for God to heal me so I could continue with His work in the mission field the very next day and all our prayers were answered – thank you God.

The Brgy. Holy Spirit Child Care Centre
The Brgy. Holy Spirit Child Care Centre
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dance performance by the sponsored children
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song performance by the nursery children
art & craft session
art & craft session
the sheep masks they made for the story-telling session
the sheep masks they made for the story-telling session
getting all excited over the balloons
getting all excited over the balloons
Offering prayers to the needy
Offering prayers to the needy

Day 4 (27 Nov 2012) – Aetas Community (Orang Asli) (Floridablanca, Pampanga) & the Community at the Lara Dump Site (Pampanga) 

On Day 4, I was feeling healthier and was all geared for the day’s event. Again, Pastor Tan’s wife prepared for us a lovely American breakfast with local corn beef (which is famous in the Philippines). Sadly, I couldn’t eat much of it as to save myself from more gas attacks. *sigh*. We visited the Aetas Community or in our local Malaysian dialect the Orang Asli (the Aborigines) of the Philippines in the morning and the community living at the Dumpsite at Lara, San Fernado in the evening. All these places are within the Pampanga area, where the Clark airport is located as well. The journey to Pampanga took almost 2 hours. When we arrived at Pampanga, we stopped for a short visit to the mushroom farm using organic fertilisation. As the van could not carry us up the hill that leads to the Community’s settlement, we had to do some walking while enjoying and appreciating God’s creation of beautiful mountains and river streams. We saw buffaloes taking their baths with the Aetas children. When we reached the settlement, we saw little huts built from hays and children running around on barefeet, tossing on a pile of sand that is used for building construction, oblivious to personal hygiene. We were welcomed by a local pastor who volunteered her service to the community at a local church. In fact, God is good for He has sent His workers from Korea beforehand to help build the church, clinic, library and school for the community and their children. We visited the children who were attending classes at that time, giving out colouring pictures, colour pencils, pencils, the masks and some candies. We also prayed with the children and it was lovely to watch the little ones bow their heads in prayer and thanksgiving. But sadly also, I did not really enjoy the ministry work at the Aetas community for my mood swing was pretty bad. I started snapping at my sisters for leaving me behind and feeling all agitated for nothing! I felt very awful and guilty and this guilt kinda killed all forms of joy that I’ve built from the 2nd day’s activity with the street children. How could I ever allow this to happen to me? How could I allow my worldly desires to stand in my way of connecting to God? I am trying very hard not to feel guilty so that I could carry on my works with the team. I managed to surpress my anger a bit and like I said before, thankfully my sisters understood me. After the visit, we headed to Lara, San Fernado to visit the community at the dumpsite. But before that, we stopped for lunch at a restaurant by the side of the highway. It was already 3:00pm (way behind our schedule due to the bad traffic along the way). The traffic in the Philippines is really bad compared to the ones we experience daily in Malaysia. There were practically zero ethics practiced on the road. Well, I can’t deny that Malaysian drivers as equally as bad (if not worse) sometimes. We had a quick lunch and made our way to the dumpsite. A few members who were also falling sick decided to not to visit the dumpsite and instead, was brought to the shopping mall to rest and relax. The van was packed with our singing and laughter and although the journey to the dumpsite was long, we enjoyed each other’s companionship. When we were about the reach the dumpsite, I saw makeshift huts being built along the piles of rubbish where the community makes their living out of scraps  collected for recycling from the rubbish dump. Apparently the place that we were about to visit is a much developed area with houses built from bricks and roofs from zincs – thanks to God’s servants from a Methodist church. Whenthe children saw us approaching the community, they started to gather at a makeshift tent with eager eyes to see what we had in store for them. The sky was getting dark when we reached the dumpsite at almost 5:00pm. Nevertheless, we went ahead with some of our plans – worship, story-telling and distribution of colour pencils and candies. It was unfortunate that we did not have time to make “origamis” with them nor did we have time to colour the pictures with them. But they looked happy to see us and likewise for us too. Mosquitoes started swirling around us and thanks to the repellant applied on my hands and feet, I escaped multiple mosquito bites which I am very proned to. We left the dumpsite at around 6:00pm when the sky was almost pitch dark. The stopped at the shopping mall to meet up with the rest of the other members for dinner. We had the local fast food chain of restaurant – Jollibee. The fried chicken is good – crispy to its bones but too bad, I can’t savour it. We took a walk around the shopping mall, looking at things that we might not get to see back in Malaysia. We bought some pastries for the pastries in the Philippines are undeniably good. We reached home at around almost 10:00pm, took our shower and headed for the night’s devotion at almost 11:30pm. My eyes could hardly open. The traveling was intensive and tiring. I could hardly stay awake throughout the devotion and nothing was entering my head. The devotion ended at almost 1:00am and right after prayer, I ran up stairs and fell flat on the bed and dozed off to sleep right away.

huts built out of bricks and hays
huts built from bricks and hays
local community church
local community church
elementary school
elementary school
The Aetas children giving thanks and prayer to God
giving thanks and prayer to God
children from the Aetas community attending classes
children attending classes
residents at the dumpsite
residents at the dump site
more residents at the dump site
more residents at the dump site

Day 5 (28 Nov 2012) – Visitation to the Living Waters Baptist Church child care centres, the flood evacuation centre (Laguna) & Tagaytay (volcano sight-seeing)

On Day 5, we were asked to wake up as early as 3:00am for the journey for the day was to Laguna which is a 3-hour ride from Caloocan City. The thought of riding in the van for 3 hours in a tiring condition sounds pretty dreadful for most of us, but we had to keep reminding ourselves that we were there for God’s cause and not ours. This seemed to be a motivating thought especially for me who had pretty bad mood swings for 2-3 days consecutively. Nevertheless, I lifted my head up high thinking that God will be proud of me if I do this for Him and I was determined to work for Him despite my tiredness. Laguna is located south of Central Manila. Though the journey was long and tiring, we did not stop a moment to bond with each other in the van through jokes and laughter. It was definitely a trip to remember. In Laguna, the team was again divided into groups but this time only in 2 groups to work in 2 different child care centres. The child care centres are run by the Living Waters Baptist Church catered for the community in the rural areas of Laguna. When we reached the village, we thought that the people in Laguna live better lives than those in the city. Their houses are bigger with lots of compound space and the air is definitely a lot fresher than the air in the city. When I asked why do the people choose to live in such destitute in the city when they can enjoy far better lives in the outskirts of city, the answer I got was that people often dream of the city as the land of opportunities, and that they do not want to live a hard life tending to flocks and farms in the village. Although this does not make sense, but I guess, it’s the same in most countries including Malaysia. The children were attending their classes when we interrupted their session with our visitation. There weren’t many children at the child care centre we visited but they were all very adorable looking children. Again, we were serenaded by a song performance that the children put up for us. We did the usual routine of doing worship songs with them and story-telling. This time we told the story of Noah’s Ark and sang the song “Noah’s Ark” as well. I love the song – the rhythm, the melody, the tune .. oh so lovely and lively. After the song, a team member shared the story of Noah’s Ark and also about the gospel using the “Good News Glove”. The rest of the team started pumping balloons, unpacking drinks and food and stacking up colour pencils for the children’s colouring activity later. While stacking the colour pencils, I saw two young women sitting outside the classroom looking at the activity that was conducted in the classroom. One was holding a child in her hand. It seems to me that they were deep in thoughts with no one to talk to. I took the opportunity to share the gospel with them using the “Bridge to Life” leaflet that a team member bought from Canaan Land back home in Malaysia. To be honest, it was the Holy Spirit who led me to share the gospel with them, not on my own accord. I was surprised by my own decision and action to share the gospel seeing that I am not a firm believer of evangelism, though as Christians, we were told to share the gospel and the good news of God’s hope to all who are yet to be saved. Frankly, I am very afraid of rejection especially when I am needy of human praises and acceptance. I guess these are no longer important to me. I just saw two young women in need of God which is more important to my needs, and that motivated me to lead them back to God’s loving arms. As I shared, there was a tinge of fear lingering in me, but I brushed it off and focused on my evangelism. Throughout the session, I just allowed God to lead me. I’ve totally abandoned myself, my fears, my worries and my principalities and let God take over. And at the end of my sharing, I felt nothing but total relief and joy for I’ve done the work of God. I could sense the girls were feeling uncomfortable with my sharing. Halfway through my sharing, I was requested by my team member to help out with the food and drinks again. As I was helping out, something sprung to my head – the need to pray for them. However, one of the girls had left the scene leaving the one with the baby behind. I did not hesitate much and proceeded to offer my prayer for the remaining girl there. As I prayed, she sobbed, and I was happy that she could feel the touch of the Holy Spirit in her. I just pray that my sharing will lead her back to the gospel and that my prayer will bring her peace in her heart from whatever challenges that she might be facing in her life. And I believe that God loves her and He will always be there for her. Thank you God once again, for this wonderful opportunity of sharing your gospel and love with others. It is truly indeed the desires of my heart which you have graciously given in my life. I would think that I am equally as destitute as these people in the Philippines – that is, I am in need of God in my life and because I’ve often wandered off into the “wilderness of deceit”, I’ve allowed myself to be living in destitute. The joy of giving is certainly something that is worth having in one’s life. As I give, I give thanks and as I give thanks, I bring about the joy of God in me again. Thank you Lord, thank you! After ministering to the children at the “kindie”, we went for a little tour around the village, stopping by a craft centre where women were trained to make little wedding door gifts out of scraps disposed by an electrical manufacturing company for a living. I thought that to be very creative of them. Someone’s thrash is somebody else’s treasure … hrmm .. interesting. After that, we proceeded to an Eco-farm for some light refreshment, feasting on coconuts and wild bananas. We re-grouped with the other team members and off we went to the flood evacuation centre to visit the victims affected by the floods August last year. When we reached the flood evacuation centre, we saw several makeshift tents set up along the road of the entire centre. All the tents were donated by organisations all over the world. I just wonder, have these people been living in the tents for over a year with just the tents and shabby looking public toilets? Some even dug holes in the ground next to their tents as toilet bowls and then bury their excrement after use. Don’t the government allocate funds to help its people rebuild homes after they were left damaged by floods and typhoons? All I could do was to offer my prayer to these people whose homes have been washed away by the floods and they were made to camp by the roadside for over a year now. We settled at a little community hut and as we alighted from our vehicles, we could see shores of children and their parents walking (some running) towards the hut to have a look at what was in store for them. Looks like we weren’t the only ones coming to visit them and offer them goodies/donations, and I am glad to know that. Without further a due, some started pumping up balloons and while that was happening, some of us gathered the children to sing worship songs and for a story-telling session. We all took turns to lead the worship and during my turn to lead, we sang “Praise Ye the Lord” again. This time I was truly astounded by the children’s enthusiasm to praise the Lord as they shout “Praise Ye the Lord” and “Hallelujah”. Their enthusiasm somewhat sparked mine and I felt very rejoiced as I led them through the worship song. We left the flood evacuation centre to a nearby SM Shopping Mall (one of Philippine’s largest shopping mall) for dinner. There we tried the local fast food chain “Jollibee”. I was dying to try the famous fried chicken but due to my tummy ache, I had to pass on that :(. I had the beef burger instead which to me, wasn’t as good as it claimed to be. Kinda ruined my dinner appetite, but thankfully, the pastries that we bought from the bakery shops were goo, though ultra-sweet for my tooth. We started out journey home to the Caloocan City at half past 8 and reachedthe mission home at almost half past 10.Everyone was sooooo tired from the trip but despite all that, we still had our devotion session. We retired to bed at almost 12:00am, and thankfully, there weren’t any activities planned for the next day. There was supposed to be another visit to a feeding centre but due to time constraint, we headed straigh to the airport in Manila for our trip to the Palawan Island.

Day 6 (29 Nov 2012) – Getting ready to go to the Palawan Island (south Philippines)

We woke up later than usual (thank God we needn’t rush through time), had our hearty breakfast of fried noodles and dim sum, all awesomely prepared by Pastor Tan’s wife and his lovely maids. According to Aunty Beth, the journey from Caloocan City to the airport in Manila takes around 3 hours during peak hours and hence, we were asked to depart and bade our goodbyes to the Tan family and their lovely mission home as early as 8:30am. The traffic authority in the Philippines set up a rule to eliminate traffic congestion on the roads in which each household cars are given specific car plate numbers. The car plate number is identified by its first alphabet (for example Z). Hence, a car with the car plate number starting with Z is only allowed to travel on specific days of the week . Unfortunately for us all that day, we had to take the van with no air-conditioning because only this van was allowed to travel on the road. Our 2-3 hours ride to the airport was pretty unpleasant as we had no choice but to open the windows for ventilation and talk about ventilation, we inhaled so much carbon monoxide while getting caught in traffic jams with the sun penetrating through our skin into our bodies from windows. But fortunately, we arrived at the airport safe and sound – maybe smelling of carbon monoxide all over. It was hot that day. We had our lunch at Shakey’s (yummy food) with air-conditioning (thank God!). Then we headed to the departure hall to board our plane to Palawan on Airphil Express. And guess what? My stupid mood swing decide to kick the bucket again that day spoiling the entire time I had at the airport. But I am also very thankful to God because He had given me the opportunity to express my heart felt disappointment and anger with my sisters. We had a good fulfilling sharing moment on the plane as well, thrashing out our disappointment for each other so that all honest comments about one another are vented out. I treasure my friendship with my sisters very much that I do not want to harbour any hard feelings against them, especially when I myself had my fair share of problems that I needed to deal with God. God is forgiving and hence, we also ought to be forgiving each other for their misdeeds whether intentionally or not. Nobody is perfect in this world. If someone as God is willing to forgive us, why can’t we towards those who wronged us? It’s so easy for me to say this but I’ve been through bouts of unforgiveness towards those who wronged me, demanding my every right to myself thinking that I am such a perfect person that I’ve never wronged anyone in my life before. I was being selfish and immatured in this sense. God has brought about this situation at the airport so that I could come face to face with my sins and individuality so that I could rely on Him to correct what is wrong. God is good … all the time. Our chat session lasted throughout the duration of our flight and before we knew it, we’ve arrived at Puerto Princessa, Palawan Island (south Philippines). Yes, it was the same island that was hit by the mega typhoon just a week after we got back to Malaysia. However, the weather was really hot and burning while we were there. We were ferried to our hotel (Go Hotel) which is right next to another mega shopping centre (Robinsons). The hotel looks pretty new and the rooms were clean and comfy. My hubby was so happy that he finally got to sleep soundly after so many sleepless nights at the mission home (enduring loud snores and a hard piece of sleeping mat). We settled down at the hotel room before getting ready for dinner at Robinsons. After that, we got back to our hotel rooms and started the devotion session as early as we could. But even then, the devotion ended at around 12 midnight. I could hardly keep my eyes opened during the devotion – don’t know why I was exceptionally tired that day. So I sneaked out of the room and into my hotel room and dozed off to sleep straight away oblivious to the fact that I’ve left the door unlocked. Hubby gave me some thrashing on that the next day 😛 I felt bad for leaving the session but I just could not focus on the discussion any much longer.

Day 7 (30 Nov 2012) – Island Hopping at the Palawan Island (south Philippines)

The very next morning, we headed out for a fellowship time on an island hopping spree. We were supposed to go for an Underground River trip but it was fully booked that day as it was a public holiday at the Philippines. But island hopping was good for us too. The sea was lovely with the lovely blue sky on top of us. God was so good – he protected us throughout the trip. We stopped at th Cowrie Island for a relaxing time of massage, saving starfishes from dying off the shore 🙂 and sumptuous lunch. The wind was so breezy that I dozed off for a short nap by the beach. After lunch, we headed back to the jetty and then to the hotel to prepare ourselves for dinner. We had our dinner at a bistro and restaurant just 10 minutes drive from our hotel.  Everyone thought that place was so dim and it shocked them to see scantily clad girls singing on stage. Well, it’s a bistro after all. But food was good. They ordered croc meat which I passed. Everyone thought it tasted like chicken. After dinner we had our devotion like the usual and thank God this time, it did not last that long. Most would have thought that we were on a vacation more than a missionary trip but at the end of the day, our outing at the islands God created made us appreciate the wonderful creations of God all the more. And the fellowship with one another was good – we got to know one another more and understand each other’s shortcomings more as well. It taught me one thing for sure that I ought not to judge others just like how I dislike others judging me. Overall, the trip was enjoyable yet beneficial for all of us.

shady huts at one of the islands
shady huts at one of the islands
picked up a live starfish!
picked up a live starfish!
beautiful sandy beach at Palawan
beautiful sandy beach at Palawan Island

Day 8 (1 December 2012) – Prison Ministry at the Iwahig Prison, Palawan Island

To be honest, the visit to the Iwahig Prison on the mission trip itinerary was one of the reason why I hesitated on going to this mission trip in the first place. It scared me to think that I was about to walk into a prison coming face to face with criminals of all kinds. Worse still, the visit to the Iwahig Prison hospital on the next item literally freaked me out. But as I come before God, pouring out my fear and submitting my will to Him, I found that the thought of visiting the prison was not as scary as it seemed. Having read a message recently which brought back memories of my rejection of the trip due to the prison ministry, I figured that all I needed to do was to settle whatever issues I have with God before I could move forward in the works that He has set for me to do, with certainty that He will bless the path that I walk in and that He will look after me throughout – “If you Israel will return, then return to me,” declares the Lord. “If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray” (Jeremiah 4:1). There are basically three types of prisons within the Iwahig Prison – one with the minimum security level, one with the medium security level and one with high security level – all based on the levels of severity of the crimes committed by the inmates. We visited the minimum and medium security level prisons. When we entered the medium level security prison first, we saw a few inmates with their heads shaved clean standing there waiting to greet us. They don’t look like a criminal at all. All of them were humbled by our visit and they were more than happy to have us there with them. There was a prison pastor who led us to our seats and the worships began, led by the inmates themselves. What amazed me most was the drum set that they have made of plastic bottles, tin cans (that sound like cymbals) and empty oil barrels, and they really sounded like drums. How creative is that! This goes to show that everything is possible through God. As they sang, they sang with their hearts filled with the joy of God in them. It’s amazing to see how God transforms a criminal to someone who is humbled and obedient to His calling to be transformed. I would reckoned that they needn’t say in prison for long seeing how God has changed them. Everything is indeed possible through God! Amen! After worship, our cell group leader gave a sermon and after the sermon, we distributed vitamins to all who were present. The inmates were generous enough to present us with hand-made souvenirs, although we also visited a souvenir shop (within the vicinity of the prison) and got ourselves a handful of souvenirs for our friends and families back home in Malaysia. But before that, we visited the prison hospital where we got to meet 9 patients sitting on mattress-less beds and some linens as a divider between the patients’ beds. Prior to our visit, we received news that there was an outbreak of tuberculosis among the patients and the 9 we visited were the ones saved from the outbreak. When I heard of the outbreak, my heart literally sank to the bottom of my stomach and fear started sipping its way to my mind. As I said earlier, the prison hospital was one of the reason why I hesitated going on this mission trip in the first place and I was about to face my worst fear. It was like walking into a landmine when you know it’s right there. But God was good! He knows our fears. As I prayed, I did not only pray for my well-being, I prayed for those who were stricken with illnesses at the hospital. The TB patients were transferred out and quarantined at another location. While we doubted if the hospital was thoroughly cleanse with disinfectant, but we did not doubt God. I cannot deny that I prayed profusedly about my safety at the hospital, it was like as though I did not trust God. But somewhere along the lines of my prayer, I just surrendered to God to allow HIm to take charge …. and He did! All of us were safe! Praise the Lord!

From the middle security level prison, we moved on to visit the low security level prison set right in the middle of the wide plains surrounded by majestic mountains. It was a very beaufitul sight and it made me stared in awe of the many wonders of God’s creations here on earth. I don’t know what crimes are categorised as low security level but the inmates here were just the same as the inmates we met at the middle security level prison – humbled by our Lord. We visited the church tat is located within the prison and to get into the church, you need to go through a little mini door that is fit for a child, not an adult, which got me really curious of who on earth would want to build such a small door for adults. But there were women and children living in this prison who where families of the inmates. The low level security prison is like no ordinary prison with bars and locks. Everyone moves freely within the compound of the prison. Their families live with them on one corner of the prison. The prisoners were made to work in the fields. For some, they chose to remain there even after they have been released from prison for several reasons. One them being loneliness. Their families have apparently abandoned them ever since they were imprisoned and second, living in the prison manning the fields sounds a lot better than living in the streets in poverty. At the church, the inmates also presented us with songs and we too the same, and after that, we distributed the vitamins to everyone. The visit the the prison truly opened my eyes to see that magnificent power of God’s forgiveness unto sinners – regardless of the sins they committed. No sin is too big for God to forgive, so long as the sinners accept this forgiveness. I always wonder if God really does forgive me for my disobedience, ignorance and oblivion, but after what I saw, I shall never condemn myself again before God. No problem is too big for God to handle. I am truly blessed with the opportunity to visit the wonderful works of the Potter – who moulds us to His perfect will and plan. When we arrived on the mainland of the Philippines from the Palawan Island, we headed off to Pampanga where we stayed at the Tune Hotel at Angeles City  for our final night at the Philippines.

Day 9 (2 December 2012) – Our final day at the Philippines

It was day 9 of our trip there. Feels like it was never going to end and some part of me did not want it to either. Somehow, I’ve grown quite fond of the Philippines and the people there. I found there really welcoming, friendly and always cheerful despite the living conditions they are in.They are always willing to give their all, although what they have is very little. We felt truly blessed by their hospitality and warm friendship. On Day 9, we did not anything but visit a nearby church for the usual Sunday worship and service. We arrived at the church in Balibago, Angeles City at close to 10:00am. The church is housed in a single storey bungalow which looks really under-maintained for years. Its members were few, but this did not deter them from pouring out their heart to worship the Lord. The sermon was profound – literally spoke to me about how the evil ones tend to upset and attack us at our weakest moments, especially the moments that I had in the Philippines. How close was I to moving myself from the plan that God has put up for me in the Philippines and how gracious God has been to me throughout those moments. The pastor and his family has been living in the bungalow for years and from what I heard, they have not been able to pay for the rental ever since a sponsor from the USA withdrew their sponsorships for a reason that I am not t0o convenient to disclose here in my blog. But thankfully, God has been providing for this church but now their greatest challenge is to look for a new sponsor who could pay for the rent and other daily expenses of the workers in this church, or otherwise, they will be forced to move out as the house owner is planning to sell the bungalow for millions of pesos. My heart just sank to know of their plight. This is God’s sanctuary for the weak and poor and His people are doing His works in this sanctuary itself. My memory is not serving me well lately for I forgot the name of the church, but do help me to pray for Pastor Felix Ada and his family that they can continue to spread the God’s gospel and love to the people in the vicinity through his service and through this church. Pray that God will be able to provide for their needs in this time of trial. Thank you. After the service, we were treated to a sumptuous lunch of pork, chicken, rice and vege – specially prepared by the pastor’s wife. It was something really luxurious and although with their present struggles to maintain the church, they did not fail to give it all that they have to welcome us with such a nice lunch. All these taught me one thing that, we are to give our all to God – no matter how small or big. It was like the story of the poor maiden who gave her very last piece of bread to Jesus and how Jesus blessed her in return with even more that she could ever imagine. I believe and trust that God will look after the pastor and his family and to maintain his Church in their continuous effort to serve Him. After lunch, we headed to the airport to board our flight back home. On our way home, I just reflected on the moments I had with God – those sweet, powerful revelations of who God really is – a loving, faithful and gracious God. No matter what our circumstances may be in life – God will never change who He is. I just thank you God for your faithfulness and your love. I praise your Holy name and may the people of the Philippines experience your love for them. Sanctify them O Lord and keep them safe I pray. Amen.

A Retreat to Janda Baik (30 April – 1 May 2011)

A day after the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, me and hubs joined our group of bible study friends on a short getaway to Janda Baik – a less than an hour’s drive from our place. Janda Baik is situated in the lowland areas of the Titiwangsa Range (Banjaran Titiwangsa) in the Pahang state of Malaysia. Most of the resorts at Janda Baik were fully booked due to the long weekend holidays in Malaysia and we had to settle for a resort called “Teratak Malaya” which was totally vacant. This place is not publicly advertised or promoted in any websites and I think my blog will be the first blog that features this place (if at all there were no other blogs that wrote about this place). What I can comment about this resort is that it is fairly new and it was not so well maintained for a new property. Secondly, signboards leading to this resort were minimal … almost invisible. Thanks to the GPS, we managed to find our ways to this resort which was hidden behind a Klinik Desa in a small village of Janda Baik. This place was literally secluded with no proper access road or car parks to cater for guests. It was rather inconvenient for us for we had to climb the stairs down to our rooms from where we parked our cars. There were many types of accommodations at this resort namely chalets and dormitories (which are catered for company team-building activities). Oh by the way, we did not stay in any fancy chalet rooms, but a common room filled with double-decker beds (like a dormitory). Yes, we all slept together in one room – just like those good old days at school camps .. but it was good fun. At least it wasn’t so scary at night, though I had trouble sleeping throughout the night – wasn’t used to the place and was awakened by squeaking beds (whenever someone moves) and floors (whenever someone walks on it to the toilets) in the middle of the night. Plus, it was a totally foreign place to me and I often have trouble sleeping at foreign places on the first nights of all my trips to foreign places. We started our journey from my house at 11:30am and had lunch at a famous restaurant at Batu Caves called “Pan Heong” before heading to Janda Baik. A friend of ours recommended Pan Heong for its famous dishes such as the “Sang Har Wa Tan Hor” (fresh water prawns cantonese fried noodle), “Kau Yuk Mai Fuan” (vermicelli with stewed pork), “Pei Tan Zhuk” (Century Egg Porridge), mee goreng mamak and the fried chicken marinated in fermented taufu (drool with the photos below):

Sang Har Hor Fun (Cantonese Fried Noodle with Fresh Water Prawns)
Mee Goreng Mamak
Pei Tan Zhuk (Century Egg Porridge)
Kau Yuk Mai Fun (Fried vermicelli with stewed pork)
Deep Fried Chicken Wings
Restoran Pan Heong @ Batu Caves

The journey to Janda Baik from KL takes less than an hour to travel. It was a gloomy day as rain clouds hovered over us most of the time during our first day at Janda Baik. Nevertheless, that did not deter our spirit and determination to enjoy our vacation and we headed down to the stream to play with the cool river water. The cooling effect on our feet as we step into the water coupled with the pebbles beneath the water has proven to be great reflexology sessions for us. After spending 30 minutes or so at the stream, it started to rain heavily again. We ran to the nearest shelter which was a hall for meetings, presentations and other activities. There, we played some games, did some sharing and laughed at each others sharing and jokes, which was great fun. We also had tea and snacks at the mini cafe area to pass the time. After tea, we headed to another stream with stronger currents and deeper waters and this time, my friends and hubs literally soaked themselves into the water and enjoyed the cool running streams in the water. Hubs was quite afraid to enter the water at first, but after much courage (and temptations), he caved in and have not regretted ever since. We spent almost close to an hour playing and enjoying ourselves at this stream and after that, we headed back to our dorm for showers and to prepare ourselves for dinner. Lo and behold, it started to rain again and this time it was pretty heavy. We ran back from the car park to our dorms soaking wet in rain and river water (some of us). The next challenge we had to face was to take our showers in cold water after getting soaked in rain water! But surprisingly, it was manageable .. in fact, it wasn’t as cold as we thought it would be and it was really refreshing bathing in those water (felt like they were taken from the water of a nearby mountain).  I tell ya .. time passes really slowly without the TV or the internet … it was a total opposite of our hasty lifestyles back in the city. But nevertheless, this place has poised itself as a short getaway from the city (though, after a night spent there, we have already started to feel bored of the place).

Teratak Malaya @ Janda Baik, Bentong, Pahang
the steep staircase down to our dorm from the carpark
the kampung style toilets and bathrooms
A view of a chalet from our dorm
A view of the mini cafe and common area from our dorm
a nicely decorated dining area under a hut
the stream where we soaked our feet and relaxed ourselves
a view from the hall where we took shelter from the rain
visited another stream with stronger currents and deeper waters
rain rain go away ...
Look who came to visit?

An hour or so later, we headed out to Bkt Tinggi where a row of Chinese restaurants are located for dinner. The restaurants were located at the foot of Bukit Tinggie and we picked “Restoran 126” based on high recommendations from a blogger. We placed orders for (1) nonya steamed fish, (2) ginger steamed fish, (3) fried kangkung (without the belacan – Malay prawn paste), (4) fried long beans, (5) marmite fried chicken, (6) fried sotong (squid), (7) claypot taufu and (8) kau yuk (stewed pork) …. all for just RM191.00  for 15 pax! Now isn’t that worth the monies spent?? Drool again with the pictures of our orders taken below:

Restoran 126 @ Bkt Tinggi, Pahang
Fried French Beans
Marmite Chicken
Fried KangKung (from Bentong)
Claypot Taufu
Nonya Steamed Fish
Fried Sotong
Ginger Steamed Fish
Kau Yuk (Stewed Pork)
Burrppp!

 After dinner, we headed back to our dormitory, rested, chatted and joked the entire night and we finally retired to bed at 11:30am. Did we sleep well? Well, most of us didn’t .. haha .. especially me. I was wide awake the entire night and I could literally see who went in and out of the toilets in the middle of the night 😛 All in all, I only managed to sleep at 5am for less than an hour! But surprisingly, I was wide awake the next morning. We had our fellowship, worship and bible study the next morning before heading out for breakfast. We left the resort at around 11+ and was hoping to visit an organic farm nearby but turned out to be a great big disappointment for us. So without even stepping out of our cars, we made a u-turn and headed straight back to KL for lunch. Hubs made an appointment for us at New Heong Kee Beggar’s Chicken restaurant which is famous for their Beggar’s Chicken, Fried Fish fritters, Pei Pa Taufu and Winter Melon soup (see photos and start drooling again):

Beggar's Chicken
Pei Pa Taufu
Fried Fish Fritters
Wintermelon soup

Overall, the trip was truly enjoyable and the fellowship with our bible study group members was great! Looking forward to another trip of eating and “fellowshiping” again 🙂

Krabi, Thailand (7 March ~ 9 March 2011)

In conjunction with our 2nd wedding anniversary, hubs decided to surprise me with a trip to Krabi, Thailand by inserting a piece of our flight reservation details into an envelope and placing it under our Christmas tree as my Christmas present last year. Three months later, we were off to our trip (how time flies) and we had a fantastic and relaxing time of our lives there. This is what I call a holiday! Compared to our trip to HK, I would definitely opt for more of this kind of relaxation anytime! Our flight to Krabi was pleasant despite the minor delay in the take off. It took us 2 hours to reach Krabi international airport and there, hubs booked us cab which took us to our hotel which was a 25 minutes road trip from the airport. It was raining when we arrived at Krabi .. somewhat spoiled the excitement a little, but fortunately it stopped when we reached our hotel – White Sand Krabi Resort which hubs booked for RM220 per night with breakfast. We checked in to the hotel and minutes later, we headed out to Krabi’s small serene town. We took a stroll along the beach and I just found out that the rows of shops at Krabi town are all lined up in a “U” shape. The distance from one end of the town to the other is walkable, but going on a bike would be more convenient. We made our way to the hawkers area in front of the Krabi Resort Hotel, where local street food and delicacies can be found. Thai food has always been my favourite and I was very excited to see so many tempting food before my eyes. We sat down at one of the stalls that sell yummy grilled chicken drumsticks and fish and order ourselves 2 plates of each of those. They were just yummy beyond words – juicy, tender, hot… even the word delicious is an understatement … oooo how I crave for them now.  I bought myself a packet of pineapples which I thought were very sweet and juicy – so it is true what they say about Thai pineapples. Half way through our meals it started to pour again and we had to devour our food as quickly as we can for I was already getting wet and cold. We headed towards a nearby tourist information center for shelter and sat there for a few minutes while waiting for the rain to simmer down. Oh, before that I managed to grab a packet of Krabi’s famous banana pancake (with chocolate topping as my preference). Hubs said it was just like any ordinary roti pisang we can find at mamak places, but I found it very unique – the crust was crispy and the bananas were sweet – goes very well with the chocolate topping I picked. The rain simmered down 5 minutes later and in the rain, we headed to a nearby massage parlour for a nice session of body massage. We bumped into “Sunset Massage” just 2 minutes walk from the tourist information center which we took shelter from. The prices were reasonable. We opted for the full aromatherapy body massage which costs only RM35 per hour. The session was heavenly .. I fell asleep right away during the massage.

cloudy day on our first day at Krabi
Street food at Krabi
choices of pancakes
finger lickin' good grilled chicken
Our order - grilled chicken
Our order - grilled fish (also very yummy)
Our banana pancake with choco coating
as the signboard has said it, it was the "best massage in town" we had

After the massage, we headed back to our hotel for a shower and to wash away the aromatherapy oil used on our bodies during the massage. After shower we headed to the restaurants opposite our hotel in search for a nice restaurant to have our anniversary dinner. Hubs thought we splurge on food on our first night there and subsequently devour on street food the next day. Sounds good to me. We went through a few menus before deciding on Dean’s Restaurant – International and Thai Food. Without any clue on whether the food’s good, we placed our orders on the popular dishes they serve and we ordered ourselves a plate of  grilled fish with sweet and sour  hot Thai sauce, a pot of hot steamy Thai soup (also known as Tom Yum) and a plate of fried Malay spinach (a.k.a “kang kung”). As starters, hubs treated himself to a plate of fresh oysters which he claimed was very yummy and juicy. I ain’t a big fan of oysters, so I skipped that and waited for our main course meals instead. As for drinks, hubs had the local Thai fragrant coconut water and I had a glass of fresh orange juice. There was indeed no denying that Thai coconuts were the best we ever had – its water is naturally sweet and fragrant. As for my orange juice, I found that they had added some lime zest into the juice which gave it a sweet and sour taste – lovely!

Our hotel room
choked electrical post
Krabi town during the day
another sight of Krabi town
anjing jaga pintu
doomsday for billy the goat
Dean's Restaurant
Hub's coconut water
fresh oysters as starters
Thai hot soup (aka tom yummmmmz)
grilled fish in sweet and sour hot Thai sauce
Fried Kangkung
Krabi town @ night
taking a stroll at the night market @ Krabi town
alarm clocks made out of tin cans for sale @ the night market

 

Day 2: Island hopping @ Krabi

On Day 2 of our trip to Krabi, hubs booked us a boat trip to 5 amazing islands at Krabi for a reasonable price of RM150 which was inclusive of pick up transfers from our hotel to the jetty and lunch at Koh Phi Phi. Here is the itinerary given to us by the tour agency:

Tour Agency: asiareservations.net

Registered office: 290/35 Moo 2, Tambon Aonang, Amphur Muang, Krabi, 81000, Thailand

Phone: (+66) 75 637 437 (during office hours)

Phone: (+66) 81 0 775 698 (outside office hours)

Pick up from hotel @ 08:30 – 08:45am

  • Maya Bay – Location of Hollywood famous film – “The Beach” which starred Leonardo Decarprio
  • Monkey Bay exploring deserted beach and fascinating coral reefs
  • Lohsamah Bay colourful corals and fishes in shallow water (snorkeling)
  • Pileh Bay awesome and fantastic lagoon
  • Viking cave photography and sightseeing
  • Phi Phi Don for lunch at a beach restaurant
  • Hin Klarng – experience the fantastic open sea (snorkeling)
  • Bamboo island fabulous and gorgeous beach with coral reefs

Our first stop was a Bamboo island with wider open beaches for everyone to enjoy. However, most of the coral reefs disappeared / damaged during the Sumatra earthquake that caused a huge wave of tsunami that swept through the island in 2004. The sea water was amazingly clear at most of the designated places we visited on our boat trip – it just proves to us how magnificent and amazing God’s creations are. It was really something and the beautiful sights of the sea water, lagoons, limestone mountains, were exactly like were seen in postcards – only to experience it live before our very eyes. Here are some photos we took on our boat trip and the photos just made you feel like diving into those crystal clear waters again to swim with the sea creatures beneath the waters 😉

 

Our hotel - White Sand Krabi
A view from the pool area at the 5th floor of our hotel
The hotel's pool area on the 5th floor
tour speed boats at the parking bay
Krabi limestone mountains by the sea
The beach at Bamboo Island
Pileh Bay
More of Pileh Bay
Lohsamah Bay

Stopping at Lohsamah Bay for a time of snorkeling

The Viking Cave which used to be one of the tourists attraction at Krabi has closed its access to the public by a bird’s nest conservatory company for fear that tourists may disturb the peace of the swallow birds that build their nests in these caves. Bird’s nests are Asian’s popular delicacies with ingredients that help preserve youth and vitality, which comes with an exorbitant price to purchase them. In this cave, you will find bamboos that were set up for climbers to climb right up to the top of the cave at great heights to retrieve the nests that are left abandoned by the birds after their young have spread their own wings.

Viking Cave

Maya Bay is made popular by DeCarprio’s fim, “The Beach”, which is famous for its white fine sands and beautiful crystal blue waters surrounded by limestone mountains. However, the limited space at the beach is often overcrowded with speed boats that took up half the beach and packed with tourists who swamped the beach for a nice time of fun and sun-bathing. After Maya Bay, we headed to Phi Phi Don for lunch and toured Koh Phi Phi for an hour before heading out to the open sea Hin Klarng, for another time of snorkeling. The seawater at Hin Klarng were deeper compared to Lohsamah Bay which was a small enclosed lagoon. Swimming was hard as the waves kept sweeping us off further from the boat and we had to use a lot of energy to swim back and forth in order to stay afloat. However, here in the deeper open sea, many tourists get to experience the sight of small baby sharks and other colourful fishes that swam by. I had the chance of feeding the fishes but they scared me at some point when they started fighting with each other for food right and their slimy bodies started tickling my hands in front of me. But it was an awesome experience. Which I had gone down to the water at Lohsamah Bay where it wasn’t so deep and swimming was easier without the waves.

The crowded Maya Bay
Tour boats parked at Maya Bay
Lunch at Phi Phi Don
Koh Phi Phi
fetch doggie fetch
beach resorts overlooking Hin Klarng
stopping at Hing Klarng for snorkeling

Day 2: During the night

On Day 2, we have decided to try out street food that were found a few meters away from our hotel. It wasn’t very difficult to find them as the food stalls are usually set up in one spot. It rained that evening and thankfully after our boat trip. We quickly made our way to the food stalls to pack some food back to the hotel instead to beat the rain. We ordered ourselves a packet of Phad Thai, a bowl of sweet, spicy and sour Mango Salad, a nice yummy bowl of Tom Yam and a piece of grilled chicken and fish (they were not as good as the one we tried on our first day though).

Mango Salad
Tom Yum
Phad Thai

 

Day 3: Last day at Krabi

The next morning after breakfast, we rented a scooter to tour around the town for RM20 per day (but we only used it for 2 hours). We rode all the way to the beach where the tour boats were parked. It was a gloomy morning that day and the tide was low. We passed a wedding couple (probably a Malaysian couple) who were getting ready for a day of wedding photo shoot. The low tide has made a lot of crab holes visible and we managed to catch glimpses of crabs traveling towards the sea in groups. We also managed to snap one or two who did not escape to their holes, but instead, preferred to pose for our photo shoots 🙂 It was a lovely and fresh morning and there were many tourists who got up early to jog along the beach.

Our rented scooter
Gloomy morning at the beach
Crab holes
a crab posing for a photo shoot

Before we know it, it was already noon. We packed ourselves a packet of economy rice sold at one of the street food stalls. There weren’t much variety of dishes to choose from, but every dished picked were yummy especially the beef and fish curry sauce. Oh, not to mention the fried fish (ikan kembung) was so crispy you could literally eat the whole fish up including the bones (minus the head of course). Our coach picked us up to the airport at approx. 11:30am  (Thai) and the journey to the airport took us 25 minutes. We boarded the plane at 1:45pm (Thai) and arrived at KL LCCT at 4:00pm (MY time).  The whole trip was a relaxing one and for once, I did not feel the stress of not being able to cover most famous tourist spots. I would love to go back there again when I have the chance just to relax and enjoy the magnificent views of Krabi beaches and islands.

 

Hong Kong Reviews – Day 5 (Sai Kung)

Sai Kung is one of Hong Kong’s fishing village apart from Cheung Chau Island and Lamma Island and it is a paradise for seafood lovers, both locals and foreign tourists alike. To get to Sai Kung, you need to take a bus from the Kowloon Bay MTR station or Choi Hung MTR station. We have planned to visit Sai Kung on the 5th day of our trip at Hong Kong and by that 5th day, the joints in my body started to twitch that caused a wave of heat throughout my entire body. I could not wake up that morning for I was feeling tired beyond tired and I felt soooo sickly that I just wanted to lie down on my bead and not move and inch. But it would be a terrible waste if I did not go out as it was already our 5th day there (final 2 days at HK) and hubs was already ready to visit go out. Although I have visited Sai Kung in my previous trip with my good friend, I would have felt even more terrible if I did not bring hubs to this place. As reluctant as I was, I dragged myself up from my bed, headed for a quick shower, shook off the chill after shower and put on some thick warm clothing before heading out to the cold weather again. Weather on that day was even more hazy than what we had experienced the day before. Apparently news broke out that there was a sandstorm (more like dust storm) that hit northern China and the dusts traveled  down south to most parts of HK, that caused the API index (measurement for haze in the air) to surge up to a critical level. Yesterday night’s API was the highest and it was no wonder that I fell sick after watching the Symphony of Lights at the Promenade. My eyes and skin were so dry that the amount of lotion I applied did not really help either. As we were traveling on the MTR to Choi Hung MTR station to take the bus towards Sai Kung, we caught glimpses of passengers putting on face masks to protect themselves from the polluted air and any possible influenza that might potentially crop up again following the SARS pandemic in 2004. HK authorities were taking up as many measures as they could to prevent this from happening for the SARS  pandemic that hit HK in 2004, has caused the country’s economy to plummet to the grounds which rendered many people  jobless. I felt bad for not wearing a mask as I was sneezing really badly on that day as well. Instead of using a face mask, I used tissues to cover myself as I sneezed and wheezed throughout my journey. We reached the Choi Hung MTR station and my memories brought me back to the small little cafe by the bus stand which I had breakfast at the previous time I visited HK. I went ahead and check if the cafe was still in business and it was! The cafe serves economical breakfast at a minimal price (though it is still considered costly compared with the real economical breakfast we have back home in Malaysia). The breakfast menu came in sets and we ordered Nisin and macaroni noodle soup with ham which comes with a plate of toasts, fried ham and eggs (no sunny side up though) and two cups of Nai Cha (HK tea) to go with our breakfast sets.

Our breakfast sets

We left for Sai Kung at 9:30am by KMB Bus No.92 and arrived at the designated place 30 – 35 minutes later. Sai Kung was exceptionally quiet on that day for it was a Monday and everyone was already at work. Fishing boats were seen parked at the jetty and it looked rather obvious that fishermen in HK take their day off on Mondays. It was a quiet hazy sight at Sai Kung and I was feeling really woozy from the medication taken last night after a cold breezy trip to the promenade. I felt sicker than before on that day and my favorite seafood cuisine did not look appetizing to me at all. Nevertheless, I accompanied hubs through our trip at Sai Kung. We intended to have our lunch there, but because of my sickly condition, we passed on a sumptuous seafood lunch by the pier- such a waste isn’t it? We passed by several seafood restaurants with aquariums containing fresh seafood nicely placed outside the restaurants to attract passers-by to their delicious servings. Too bad for them, I was not the least attracted to their seafood with at that point of time, though I can’t deny they look rather tempting 😛 Also, we wanted to visit a famous dessert stall by the name of Honeymoon at Sai Kung, but unfortunately for us, it was closed on that day of our visit. No biggie. We already had a taste of HK’s sweet tooth delights at Hui Lau San. I am not entirely a big fan of desserts but to miss out on something so famous in HK will be another total waste. We hung around Sai Kung town for the first half of the day, snapping whatever photos we could snap, before making our way back to the city.

Sai Kung Waterfront Park
A lonely man fishing by the pier
Fresh seafood sold by the pier
More seafood...
Dried seafood sold as well
Locals getting their hands on some fresh seafood for dinner

We also visited a temple at Sai Kung. Temples are everywhere in HK just like mosques are everywhere in Malaysia. It’s a small little dingy temple at the heart of the town. Nothing spectacular. A walk in the we market at the heart of Sai Kung opens up our views of how HK’s fresh market is like – everything sold on the table are FRESH and appetizing, especially the live seafood that are seen displayed all over the market. This is probably the type of market where you would love to shop for fresh seafood. I know I would, but too bad it’s just so far away from home 😛

Temple at Sai Kung
Mini bus stop at Sai Kung
Fresh and live "Balitong"
Fresh and live razor clams
Fresh seafood displayed in aquariums at seafood restaurants

 

strange looking squids

Although our trip to Sai Kung was not entirely enjoyable as we did not get to enjoy local food at this place, we managed to salvage our satisfaction by shopping .. an all time Malaysian favorite trip agenda .. not so much for me though. I just thought since we have gone all the way to this remote part of the country, thought we could spend some time hanging around the small little town of Sai Kung and see what we could grab on our way back to the city. Hubs got himself a nice cheap winter clothing for RM50 – now isn’t that worth the trip? I got myself a pair of over-sized shoes which I thought fit perfectly when I tried it on there. Now the shoe’s just sitting comfortably in my shoe rack not being worn so much for like I said, it’s darn over-sized! Think I will just give it away to whoever needs a pair of shoes. We also noticed several rooms or apartments for rent and sale posted on all the windows of shops around the corner. A closer look at the prices really sent a shocking “WOW” in our eyes. It is so darn expensive in HK to own a less than 600 sq ft apartment (it’s a whopping RM4000 – RM6000 per month!) Maybe the apartment has a spectacular seaside view that’s why. It pays to appreciate mother nature. How sad! I think rental in this area is equivalent to that of Bangsar and Mont Kiara in Kuala Lumpur, but we have much more space compared to HK. Gees … this tells me that it is not worth living in HK as living expenses here are so darn high.

Apartments for rent in Sai Kung at exorbitant prices

Instead of having lunch at Sai Kung (such a pity for us), we headed downtown towards the city to have our lunch. I can tell ya, we did not have any clue where we were heading to for lunch. So we bumped around a shopping complex at Diamond Hill, where the bus stopped and alight its passengers . While walking around the  shopping complex, we discovered a big food court area that sells all kinds of HK delicacies which you might or might not find in Malaysian food courts. Without thinking much, we headed for the food court in search for a meal at almost 2pm! We settled for hot wok plates and so, we ordered sweet and sour pork (which was urgh, so fattening …), claypot aubergine fried with mince pork, and a plate of yong chow fried rice (yes again! hehe). For desserts (surprising with my sickly condition, I still have some space left in my tummy for desserts. I tell ya desserts in HK are fab! simply fab and not to mention attractive too with so many varieties to choose from!

Queueing for Bus 92 to town
Red bean soup with mango
kuih coated with coconut shreads with mango filling
Yong Chow fried rice
Sweet & Sour Pork
Claypot aubergine with minced pork

We ordered just too much and had to waste some of it for the sake of some food adventure. So after lunch, we decided to hang around the shopping complex for a little while longer to digest our stuffed tummies, before heading to our next destination – The Golden Bauhinia Square (another popular site for HK TVB drama shooting). The Golden Bauhinia Square is located outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on the Wan Chai waterfront, which marks the most significant occasion in Hong Kong history – the return of the former British colony to the People’s Republic of China and the establishment of Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) in 1997. One of the major tourist attraction at this place is the flag raising ceremony that takes place between 7:50 am to 8:30 am (too bad, we missed this one as well as we spent the morning at Sai Kung earlier). To get the Golden Bauhinia Square, take the MTR to Wan Chai Station and exit at Exit A5. Walk across the footbridge, head right and through the lobby of Central Plaza, continue on walking across the connecting overheard walkway, then descend to ground level. Head towards the waterfront ahead and the statue and monument is on the left. Looks easy? NOT! It’s a bloody 15-minutes walk and on top of that, the weather was getting really bad on that day. I could hardly breathe as I took this 15 minutes walk towards the square and I nearly fainted halfway. Thank God hubby was there to help me through the journey. I have nowhere to go at that point of time, but to just continue on towards our destination – that my friend, requires some determination – heck!

The Golden Bauhina Square

During the night …

A visit to the Golden Bauhinia square ended our trip for the day. When I reached the hotel after that, I just dropped dead on the hotel bed and just could not move an inch. My body was aching all over and panadol did not help much to reduce the pain. I was sneezing and wheezing like a sick goat and all the tissues supplied for the day was nearly finished! I popped another two more pills and lied down to sleep. Hubs couldn’t sleep as he was still very energetic even after 5 days of non-stop walking with his heavy camera strapped around his neck! He decided to visit Apliu Street and he had to go without me. I just couldn’t wake up anymore. Apliu Street is located at Sham Sui Po, Kowloon and it can be reached  directly by MTR to the Sham Sui Po MTR station (Exit A2 or C2). It is a huge flea market with cheap electronic products and electrical components sold at this place. According to wikipedia, Apliu Street is well known for geek shopping (hehe). Does this mean my hubby is a geek too? Looks like it .. hehe. He bought some batteries for his camera flash that is cheaper than what he could find back here in Malaysia. Oh well, that made his trip to this place worthwhile.

Apliu Street signage

It was a short trip for hubby. He got back to the hotel 45 minutes later only to find me sleeping like an unmovable log. It was already 5:30pm and almost time for dinner – but I didn’t feel like getting up for dinner! So I continued on sleeping until 7:30pm and hub’s tummy was already growling for food. I didn’t feel a thing! 10 minutes later, he woke me up and I think at that time, he was really hungry and desperate for food. I forced myself off the bed, washed my face and got dressed for dinner. And boy did I look like a zombie in the mirror. I put on some make up before I left so I wouldn’t freak anyone out there. We headed back to Jordan Street as planned to try out the seafood “mamak” stalls at that area. There were just too many shops to choose from and we just went into one without thinking much also. There we ordered a plate of HK choy sum (mustard leaves), fried clams with sweet sauce and deep fried mantis prawn. Were they good? I would rate it as 7 out of 10. Nothing to shout about, but it was worth a try:

HK choy sum
stir fried clams with sweet sauce
deep fried mantis prawn

The weather was the worst that night and I was practically sneezing every 3-5 seconds. I could not take it anymore and so we headed back to the hotel right after dinner. There was no mood left in me to hang around the city further- darn! So this ended the second last day of our trip as we head back to KL the following day – I could not wait to get out of the polluted environment in HK!

Hong Kong reviews – Day 4 (Fung Ying Seen Koon temple, Lam Tsuen wishing tree, Avenue of Stars, Sympohny of Lights and Miu Kai)

We started out journey in a search for some HK dim sum breakfast around Mong Kok area and by following the trails left behind by a blogger (gee, never knew blogs can be useful promotional tools for the tourism industry) who had also visited HK, we managed to find the restaurant, which is on the 2nd floor of a shabby looking building that is located right next to the Prince Edward station entrance. In fact, the search for a dim sum restaurant within the vicinity of Mong Kok was a last minute one. We managed to locate the place through hub’s blackberry on the way to Disneyland! And we were fortunate enough to find one … phew! The dim sum restaurant we visited was called (see below – don’t know what is it called in Chinese *blek* can someone enlighten me please):

Dim Sum Restaurant at HK

This is the exterior designs of the restaurant which happens to be one of a Chinese wedding restaurants in HK. Check out the big aquarium with those large fishes swimming around looking rather glum and lost!

Dim Sum Restaurant with a giant fish tank

And this is the interior design of the restaurant which to me, looks like a typical Chinese restaurant – packed and noisy:

Dim Sum Restaurant

As we set down to take our orders, we couldn’t help but stared blankly at the menu which was all in Chinese and therefore, we had no choice but to depend on some pictures to guide us through the menus. We did a couple of guessing games and it wasn’t too bad as the food served were all edible, mainly steamed ones. My favourite were the char siew paos. The dough of the pao’s so tender that it melted right through every bite. The char siew was delicious, not too fat and not too salty, just nice. The Chinese tea has an exquisite taste with strong tea leaves aroma that sips right through my nose, telling me that it was definitely brewed to perfection. It was invigorating and I felt alert and rejuvenated after a few cups of the Chinese tea, although I was dead tired the night before after walking around the city and two hills!

Siew Mai
a puzzling menu
Steamed dim sum dishes .. mainly prawn and meat dumplings
Siew Mai
Jasmine & Chrysanthemum Chinese Tea ("Kuk Pou")

With our tummies filled with a satisfying and sumptuous dim sum breakfast, we headed straight down the MTR station, board the next train (Fanling MTR) to our next stop – the Fung Ying Seen Koon temple at Fanling. The Fung Ying Seen Koon temple is quite a distance by MTR ride from Mong Kok , which at the outskirts of the main city area, about 20 minutes from Hong Kong’s top university (also Asia’s top university) – the University of Hong Kong. I wanted to alight from at the MTR station that leads to the university, but on second thought, I passed the idea. Never knew Fung Ying Seen Koon is one of the many famous temples in HK for it was used as a shooting scene for many of  HK TVB dramas. What makes it so famous is the memorial garden  (known as “Wo Hap Shek”) that was built right next to it. We happened to visit HK during the “cheng beng” month, which is a month to pray and give offerings to loved ones who have departed into the other “world”. The memorial garden was packed with people offering food and delicacies to both the gods and their loved ones. Part of the temple was under construction and therefore, we had only the other part of it to visit. The temple, well, is like any other temples we see back here in Malaysia, but the architecture of the entrance doors with emblems of the yin and yang symbols, and the many flights of steps leading to the altars and temple gods, offer a unique sight of the temple which you may never find back here in Malaysia.

this way to the temple
Entrance to the temple
yin & yang symbols at the temple's doors and walls

We spent quite some time at this place before heading to the next place – Fong Ma Po Village in Lam Tsuen to visit the Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree, a popular shrine in Hong Kong. Unfortunately for us, we had to take a cab to the wishing tree for there is no MTR station within the vicinity, which is located along Lam Kam Road. The map says that we had to take alight at Taipo MTR station and hop on the KMB bus 64k or 65k to that place. So we alighted at Taipo MTR tation as instructed but somehow, we got lost along the way and ended up at the Tai Wo housing estate. Using the maps that were sprawled all over our arms, we went around looking for  the two buses that could take us there. We even looked at the Tai Wo estate map to see if there are any indication of bus stands around the corner – but too bad, there were none. As we were walking around the housing estate of Tai Wo, we heard singing voices ahead of us and we decided to check them out. As we approached the singing voices, we saw into a group of senior citizens happily dancing to the beat of drums and hums. The ladies were chanting, humming  and dancing according to the beat of the drums while rowing on a piece of stick decorated with ribbons.  They also wore traditional costumes with traditional hairdo and makeup during the dance. It was really a unique sight for us. Sometimes getting lost on a tour can be advantageous 🙂 If it wasn’t for our lost journey, we wouldn’t had the chance to watch this cultural performance by the local folks.

 

Map of Tai Wo Estate
A cultural show at the estate
Dancing ladies dressed in traditional costumes

After the short cultural show experience, we continued on our journey on a lookout for transportation. We can across a row of taxis parked by the side waiting for passengers and without thinking much (we were exhausted from our hunt for buses), we hopped onto a taxi and off we went to the wishing tree. The taxi fare came up to about HKD40.00++ (which is about the same cost as the ride we took to the Wong Tai Sin temple). The wishing tree is located near the Tin Hou temple in Lam Tsuen which is one of Hong Kong’s famous tourist attraction (that’s why we were there too :p). Some history and facts lessons here. The temple was built around 1768 or 1771, during the Qing Dynasty (wow, more than two centuries old). The wishing tree is usually frequented by both local worshipers and tourists during the Lunar New Year. They worshipers burn joss sticks, write their wishes onto the joss papers for good health, wealth, love and luck, tied the joss papers onto an orange and throw them onto the tree branches to hang them there. It is believed that if the paper is successfully hung onto one of the tree branches when they throw them up there, they wishes will come true. However, the practice was discouraged by the local authorities after a mishap occurred where one of the ailing tree branches gave way, fell onto two worshipers injuring them badly. So, instead of throwing their wishes up on the tree, wooden racks are not installed near the tree for worshipers to hang their joss papers up during the period of conservation to restore the tree into shape again.  This explains the racks that were put in place when we visited the tree. The restoration process was still in place as well and we could only get a glimpse of the tree outside the gate that encircled the tree. Being a curious “cat”, I took a peep at one of the wishes, but sad to say, I couldn’t understand it as it was written in Chinese – geh!

Fong Ma Po Village

 

An incense burner outside Tin Hou temple
joss papers hung on the wishing rack
Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree
An old lady burning joss sticks as offerings
A couple putting down their wishes on joss papers
Lam Kam Road signage
Bus Stand along Lam Kam Road
The KMB bus

There was really nothing interesting to visit (at least for me) at the village but this wishing tree and being tired of walking and hunting around for transportation earlier, I just sat down at one of the benches while hubs went around snapping photos of the tree, the wishing racks and the temple. The air was cooling which was not too bad, but my legs were already killing me from all the walking in the city the past few days! After our sight-seeing, we could not afford to take another cab ride back, so we hunted down a bus stand for  the KMB bus 64K and 65K and thank God we found one along Lam Kam Road, and thankfully this time not too far from the tree. But the wait was exhausting. We managed to hop onto KMB bus 64K to Taipo Market where the  MTR East Rail Station is located.It was nearly lunch time and my tummy started to growl. But I insisted on going back to Mong Kok for lunch instead, which is another 30 minutes of train ride back to Mong Kong, plus, another 30 minutes of walking along the busy streets of Mong Kok in search for the restaurant that was recommended on a blog I visited in my research for famous food in HK. Why did I say 30 minutes? Because we practically walked the entire town in search for this restaurant  (wish I could remember its name in English) and it took us almost 30 minutes before reaching this place. I nearly fainted halfway for my tired body could no longer carry me on for another minute! Thank God hubs found the place. The restaurant’s located on the 3rd floor of a building and it was like any other ordinary dim sum restaurant. We reached this place at around 1pm (just in time for lunch) and it was full. We had to share a table with a family. Because I was so hungry .. I couldn’t care less about the sharing part. Same goes for hubs. We just sat down, make our orders and woah lah! We ordered what we need to order as everything was in Chinese, we couldn’t try anything else. Hubs were trying to remember the Chinese words he learned before and by making sense of some words he could recognize, we managed to order ourselves a plate of roast goose, roast pork, siew long pao, Chinese fried rice and fried choy sum .. DELICIOUS! Though I find the fried rice and choy sum were a little too oily. We couldn’t finish the plate of fried rice either for the portion was huge!  However, we just felt so darn satisfied with our meals – burp (excuse me!).

The name of the restaurant in Chinese
Fried Choy Sum
Roast goose and char siew (pork)
Yong Chow Fried Rice
Siew Long Pao

Not far from the restaurant where we had our sumptuous lunch, a troupe of Taoist monks, lion, dragon and tiger  dancers (as it was the year of the Tiger when we visited HK) were getting ready for a grand procession that covered the long stretch of streets at Mong Kok. Police motorcycles and cars were visible as the local authorities of HK marked the official opening of the procession. It was a marvelous sight and we were fortunate to witness this special local celebration. I reckoned this special occasion is held once a year during Cheng Meng festival (you can look this up for more details on google). The event drew a large crowd but we managed to squeeze our way to the front. Hubs managed to snap few photos pretty up close as well. He literally braved himself by approaching the official photography session for they thought he was one of the photographers as well – ngiek ngiek ngiek:

Official group photo
Taoist monk troupe
Tiger dance
Dragon dance
HK Police force on the watch

The crowd dispersed when the procession was far from sight, and so did we. As we made our way back to the hotel, we thought it would be nice to have a bowl or a cup of HK dessert (though our tummies were filled to the brim). We came across one of HK’s chained dessert stores called Hui Lau Shan several times the past few days and thought we leave this to last 2 days of our trip to try them out. There were many types of desserts to choose from their menu, hot, cold and icey cold. We picked the ice-blended drinks as we were so thirsty and my throat was beginning to hurt from the lack of sleep and tiredness. Not to mention we have been drinking several bowls of Ya Sei Mei at HK to keep ourselves healthy throughout the trip. We both ordered a cup of Pamelo with Mango drink and a Aloe Vera with Watermelon drink – sounds refreshing huh? It sure was.

Hui Lau Shan (Mong Kok branch)
Our refreshing drinks

During the night ….

We finally got to rest in our hotel without anymore agenda planned for the day. We slept like a log in the late afternoon and before we knew it, it was time for us to wake up and head on for the next agenda of our trip at night. We have planned to visit the Avenue of Stars at the Tsim Tsa Chui Promenade during the night and the Symphony of Lights at the same place as well. To get to this place, take the MTR towards Central and hop off at Tsim Tsa Chui MTR station. Follow directions towards East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR East Rail and take the exit J4 about 15 minutes walk. Then, here you go, the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade and Avenue of Stars.

The wind was super chilly and the weather was really bad during the night on this day of our trip. It was really unfortunate for us for it would have been a beautiful sight at the promenade if it wasn’t ruined by the thick blanket of haze the covered most parts of HK. The haze has also disrupted most of our photo shoots, but nevertheless, we still managed to snap some that turned out alright. That was the 2nd time I’ve encountered bad weathers in HK. First time on my trip to HK I too encountered lousy weather and it was the same weather that caused the severity of the SARS pandemic in HK back in the year 2004 (I think). Anyhow, we continued on with our journey as planned. The Avenue of Stars is a place that pays tribute to HK’s outstanding professionals of HK’s film industry for their devoted contribution to both local and international films and theaters, such as Bruce Lee, Stephen Chow, Jackie Chan, James Wong, Leon Lai to name a few. Along the promenade, you will find plaques of hand prints and autographs of the stars set in cement, but most of the plaques only contained the celebrities’ names as most of them are now deceased.

The Avenue of Stars
A statue of Bruce Lee
Leung Ka Fai's hand print and autograph
Sylvia Chang's hand print and autograph
Jacky Cheung's hand print and autograph

The strolled along the promenade (about a stretch of 440 meters) till we reached Salisbury Garden where we greeted by a replica of the statuette given to winners at the Hong Kong film awards. There, we waited for the Symphony of Lights performance which takes place at 8:00pm daily. I started sneezing as I was freezing from inside out with the thin jacket that I wore that night and I could feel that I was about to fall sick within split seconds. Hubs gave me warm hugs on and off so I could stay warm in his fat body (hehe). At 8:00pm (HK time) sharp, lights began sprouting from behind the buildings, dancing gaily in the night. It was just too bad that the haze has ruined the show, but heck, that was the only chance (probably the last chance) we were going to watch this show. We stayed on until the show completed 15 minutes later.What do I think of the show? To me, it was nothing spectacular, to the extent I thought it was a waste of my time watching it in the first place 😛

Replica of the statuette presented to winners
Symphony of Lights in a hazy condition

Ok, that was it for the show. Our tummies began to growl, time for dinner! After the show, we quickly made our way down to Miu Kai (Temple Street) for dinner and shopping after that. Heard women fashion wear at this area is dirt cheap and I could not wait to check them out. Temple Street is located in the areas of Jordan and Yau Ma Tei in the Kowloon district. To get to Miu Kai, take the MTR and hop off at the Jordan MTR station. After alighting at the Jordan MTR station, we walked down the streets of Jordan before we came to Tsui Wah restaurant that serves a variety of food to choose from. Without thinking much (more of like we were thinking with our tummies then), we made our way to the corner of the restaurant with a really small table (just nice for 2 persons). HK’s cafes and restaurants are really small and tight squeeze. Customers will have to share the table with strangers in packed cafes/restaurants. Fortunately for us, the table we had was small enough for the both of us and we needn’t share it with others 😛 Fortunately for us as well, the menu had English translation of the types of food served and we had no problems ordering our food right away. I  had a bowl of koay teow fishball soup and hubs had a plate of fried yee mee. My bowl of koay teow soup tasted quite alright, though I still prefer the ones back in KL. Hub’s fried yee mee was tasty though and the portion was pretty huge. Just nice to fill up our empty tummies. We didn’t want to eat too much though as we had planned to snack on some of HK’s delicacies at Miu Kai later. For drinks, I ordered a cup of hot honey lemon tea and hubs with a cup of HK’s ice lemon tea. The joints in my body were beginning to ache and my throat started to itch and hurt as well. The hot honey lemon tea would be just nice for me.

Tsui Wah Restaurant
Our drinks
my fishball koay teow soup
Hub's fried yee mee

Miu Kai is a very busy street and one of HK’s tourist attractions as well. You could see the night market almost immediately with the sights of stalls and lights set up along the street. Things sold at this night market were inexpensive and they all looked really attractive as well. Along the market you will find seafood restaurants with many foreign tourists patronizing them at all corners of the street. Hubs and I thought we could try them out tomorrow instead. There were so many things to see, so many things to buy. Looks like one night alone is not enough to walk the entire street and shop till you drop. We took a slow brisk walk in the market to see what we can buy the next day, because before dinner, I came across a designer’s shop selling women fashion wear that were really really dirt cheap and I could not wait to get my hands on them after taking a brisk walk at Miu Kai. So we made our way to In Fashion house. Shopping has never been so relaxed without needing to think about the $$ part as I went around picking up dressed, blouse, scarf, etc. Fitting was however not allowed for blouses and dresses unless you wish to try on their collection of ladies pants. It was so cheap that I decided to grab some for my sisters and sisters in laws as well. Altogether, I spent about RM200 for 7 pieces of nice, inexpensive, affordable clothing. Isn’t that GREAT! My headache and body pain immediately wore off after shopping at this place. I could prove that shopping is a good remedy for women who are in sickly condition – Excellent!

Jordan Street
Jordan Road signage - you will see this from the MTR station exit/entrance
In Fashion shopping house - rated EXCELLENT
Porcelains sold at Miu Kai
Imitations of watches sold at miu kai

On our way back to the hotel, we bought some really nice looking cakes back to the hotel. Look out for a chain of cake shop called MAXIM which is located practically at most of the MTR stations in HK. I cannot deny that they sell the best cakes I have ever tasted (though I am not a cake fan) and not to mention, they were really really cheap – RM2 per piece. You can never get that kind of price back here in Malaysia in cake shops like RT Pastry, Secret Recipe and Cake Sense. Worth a try when you are in HK. I can guarantee you will love it – unless of course you are not a cake lover.

That was it for Day 4 of our trip at Hong Kong – looks pretty packed isn’t it? It was and I practically dropped dead on my hotel bed immediately upon reaching the hotel. Overall, it was a tiring, but satisfying trip for the day, though I still find it was a waste of my time watching the Symphony of Lights – Hrmp! They could have done much  better than that …. Stay tuned for my Day 5 reviews of Sai Kung fishing village … Au Revoir folks.

 

Hong Kong reviews – Day 3 (Ngong Ping 360 and The Peak)

20 March 2010

The plan for the 3rd day of our trip at HK got a little messed up but it turned out well in the end. I forgot the itinerary and thought that we will be visiting two peaks on the same day. And to add to my forgetfulness, I did not bring the trip plan along with us as we headed out of the hotel hunting for more of HK’s delicacies. Looks like my plans (as I tried to remember it) churned  out from my tummy instead of my memory *blek*. We woke up at 8:30am on the 3rd day as my body was literally aching from head to toe. I couldn’t lift my head up at first and my throat was a little dry and sore at the same time. I thought I was going to fall sick and crap, that was going to ruin my holiday plans. But I thank God that He has granted me good health and energy to explore HK again on the 3rd day. And that’s where I garnered enough energy that is left in my body to start the day off. We went for breakfast as usual, but this time, we have decided to try another type of HK breakfast at a cafe nearby. For this breakfast, I’ve ordered nissin noodle with pork ham and egg  set while hubs ordered himself a plate of  egg and ham sandwich set. Our breakfast wasn’t particularly interesting, but at least it stuffed our tummies really nicely. The best part of the breakfast was the HK ice milk tea which comes with the breakfast set and in which the ice was placed in a bowl and they fit the cup of tea nicely in between the ice. Here’s how our breakfast looks like overall:

Egg and ham sandwich
nissin noodle with egg and ham
tung nai cha
the cafe where we had our bfast

Feeling all stuffed, we headed for our first stop of our journey – Ngong Ping 360 (NP360). NP360 is one of Hong Kong’s must-see, must-visit destination which is located at the heard of Lantau Island. One of the main attraction of this place is the giant Buddha that can be seen from afar when you are on board the cable car that takes on you a 25 minute  adventure ride to NP360. There are two ways to get to NP360 – by bus or by the cable car.  The NP cable car is a 5.7km long traveling between the Tung Chung town and Ngong Ping Lantau Island. There are two types of cable cars namely the Crystal Cabin and the Cable Car (which is the normal one). The only difference between the two is that, the Crystal Cabin is covered with just transparent glass all over including the bottom of the cabin and if you have a brave soul, this would be a great adventure / experience for you. And, it comes with a price too. As I was saying, I am acrophobia-c and therefore, I made hubs opt for the normal one which is covered at the bottom of the cable car. Saved us some buckaroos too.  When I visited this place 5 years ago, there was only one mode of transport and that was the bus as the cable car was under construction then. So I got to experience both modes of transportation and if you ask me, I would prefer to take the bus as I am acrophobia-c. I was practically strapped to my seat and not moving much in the cable car for each move that I make spells disaster for me. Hubs practically stood up on the cable car to snap the views but unfortunately, the views weren’t so spectacular as the entire scenery were covered with dust storm. We could only see shapes of mountains. However, as the cable car moves along nearer to the mountain, there were visibility of jungle trekking tracks along the contours of the mountains. There are some crazy people who would trek themselves up to NP360 all for the sake of adventure.

 

Directions to Ngong Ping 360

To get to Ngong Ping 360, hop on the Tung Chung line MTR where you will reach the Tung Chung station. Take the Exit B from the station and walk 5 minutes to the Tung Chung Cable Car terminal. There is also a bus terminal nearby if you are planning to take the bus up instead. But my suggestion would be, try the cable car, it’s worth the experience!

Ngong Ping cable car
Ticketing counters
our tickets
view from cable car
the giant buddha view

We departed from Tung Chung Cable Car Terminal at 11am and arrived at NP360 approx. 25 minutes later (that’s the beauty of HK – they are always punctual!). The first destination we stopped at was the Ngong Ping village which to me, is another commercialised part of this tourist attraction with souvenir shops and expensive eateries all lined up in two rows of the village. The visibility of the giant buddha became more prominent as we walked along the rows of shops at the village. It took us a nice and breezy 5-minutes walk from the village to the giant buddha.  On our way there, we came across the bodhi wishing shrine. But when we reached the buddha we were welcomed with 100 flights of stairs and according to the custom/beliefs of Buddhism, devotees show their sincerity by “brutally” climbing up flights after flights of stairs to the place of worship. But dang … climbing up those flights of stairs towards the giant buddha statue does take a whole lot of discipline and not to mention, stamina.

wishing plates hung on the Bodhi Wishing Shrine
stairway to the giant buddha
almost there to the top
the giant buddha
statue of a deity

Inside the giant buddha is a gallery of artwork displays that depict the life of buddha  and another stairway that spirals up to the top and out of the statue. There was also a small enclosed area that exhibits the “relics” of the buddha inside the giant buddha statue. It is believed that after buddha’s death, his remains were divided into eight portions (also known as the relics). These relics where enshrined in stupas (buildings created specially for the relics) wherever Buddhism is taught and spread, despite buddha’s instructions that relics were not to be collected or venerated (Wikipedia). After spending some time at the vicinity of the giant buddha and snapping as many pictures as we can, we made our way downwards to the Po Lin Monastery which is adjacent to the giant buddha.

 

Po Lin Monastery
the interiors of the monastery
a devotee worshipping outside the monastery

After a visit to the monastery, we proceeded to lunch at a vegetarian restaurant which is next to the monastery itself. Oh I forgot to mention that, to access the gallery inside the statue, you will need to purchase a ticket and the lunch meal comes along with this entrance ticket. The lunch meal comes in  sets with prices ranging between – HKD60 or HKD120. We settled for the HKD60 set meal which is  like RM30 per person and it was a fulfilling and sumptuous meal  indeed (though oily) and it is worth the monies paid. The lunch set was so much we couldn’t bring ourselves to finish every dish served before us. We were also so thirsty that we drank 2 pots of  Chinese tea that was also served along with the set meal. Somehow I felt that Chinese tea in HK (even the lowest grade of tea) tastes better than the ones we have in Msia (what a shame).

the vegetarian restaurant
vegetarian restaurant entrance
we’re on table No.15
our set vegetarian lunch

We were so stuffed that we had to walk for a while around this area to digest the food that were swimming in our tummies. We made our way to the Wisdom Path which is located in the woods of the mountains that we saw from the cable car.  The Wisdom Path is an outdoor replica of the centuries old Heart Sutra, one of the world’s best known prayers that is revered by Confucians, Buddhists and Taoists alike. The sutra is displayed on wooden pillars placed in the form of a figure “∞” to symbolise the idea of immeasurable splendour and infinity. It took us 5 minutes to walk in the wilderness before we reached the Heart Sutras. Though it was a pleasant walk in the wilderness, it was  also rather silent at some point as we couldn’t see anybody else walking on this path with us. Looks like this place wasn’t much of an attraction to anyone, but it works for the both of us! I was so worried that we might have lost out way somewhere in the wilderness with no point of return but phew, thank goodness as we reached nearer to the sutras, we saw a couple of tourists making their way back to the giant buddha.

this way to the Wisdom Path
the Heart Sutras at the Wisdom Path
prayers carved onto a heart sutra
The air in the wilderness was chilly and relaxing and I hesitated to leave the place at first. Plus, there were two very lovely dogs with lotsa fur coated on their bodies. I love dogs with lots of fur! But I dared not go near time for I didn’t know how friendly they can get. After spending some time at the Wisdom Path, we headed back to the Ngong Ping village and explore that area. We bought two tickets to the “Walking with Buddha” exhibition and while waiting for the show begin, we hung around the area looking for some nice souvenir we can take home with us. The only thing that was affordable there was a fridge magnet which we got it for RM10. The rest of the souvenirs were expensive and not worth the money spent, especially the t-shirts which are of not high quality standards. How disappointing. “The Walking with Buddha”  exhibition is an immersive, multimedia attraction allowing visitors to follow the life of Siddhartha Gautama – the man who became Buddha – and his path to enlightenment. If you ask me, they merely played cartoon clips that show the life of Buddha at different stages and in different stages, we were led to different sections of the exhibition hall just to watch these stages. It wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be, but heck, for the sake of experience, I thought it was something new to me though.
Walking with Buddha
We left Ngong Ping at around 4:00pm and this time, we took the bus down town where we hopped onto the MTR towards Central and made our way to The Peak, which is like 10 minutes walk from the  Central MTR station. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I didn’t plan to visit The Peak on the same day as Ngong Ping but because I got the itinerary mixed up, we ended up rushing our way to The Peak where we encountered a massive crowd of visitors queuing for tram tickets to The Peak! In a way, I was glad I made this blunder in our travel plans because there isn’t much to visit up there at The Peak and moreover, the trip will only be more worthwhile if we spent the evening at The Peak Tram which overlooks the whole of Hong Kong in a spectacular night view. We were queuing up for tickets midway when a lady offered a shortcut to the ticketing counter with packaged tickets that include entrance tickets to Madamme Tassaud and The Peak Tram. The ticket prices were a rip-off but to beat the queue? anything works for us. Of course, my impatience has conned us into this and when I checked out the real price of a ticket, it’s actually 70% cheaper than the ticket we bought for tram ride only. What a bummer! That’s how they make the buckaroos. We bought the package for HKD200 which is equiv. to about RM88++ and the price for the tram ride in the package was HKD50 – RM25 whereas the normal one way ticket up to The Peak for the tram ride only, is HKD7 – RM3.50++ -> That’s like almost 80% more of what we paid for – dang! The tram station was so crowded with people I could hardly breathe. It was already 5:30pm and my leg started to give way. I couldn’t stand any longer and there was no way I could get a seat to rest my legs. There wasn’t much of a space to move one inch, let alone sit and rest. When the gate opens to board the tram, everyone was rushing towards the opening gate and with just a little bit more gush of people, it would have turned into a human stampede. Thank God me and hubs managed to make it across safely. There is only one tram that brings passengers up to The Peak to and you can imagine the number of rounds we have to wait for before we could hop onto the tram. By the time we boarded the tram, it was already 10 minutes to 6pm. It was a 10 minute ride up to the tram and at some point of the journey, we could feel the intensity of the law of gravity so much that I nearly lost my grip from the pole I was holding on to. I felt like my hands were going to be ripped off my body soon too! It was that bad. When we alight from the tram, we made our way to Madame Tassauds – Hong Kong’s celebrity wax museum. It was of course a smaller scale of the one  in Hollywood but it does has its own uniqueness in which you will find some of HK’s celebrities exhibited here instead and of course, HK’s icon Jackie Chan was their main highlight at Madame Tassauds here (sorrie mate, not a big fan of Jackie Chan). The wax figures look so real that you almost thought you are standing next to a live celebrity 😛 My all time fav – Johnny Depp in his pirate suit – though I found his wax doesn’t really look at all like him as I imagined he would be in the movie.
Directions to The Peak
Take the MTR to the MTR Central Station and Exit J2. As you exit you will see a central park and there will be signs to lead you on a 10 minute walk to The Peak Tram terminus.
The Peak tram
Madame Tassauds
Brangelina
Paris Hilton
Leslie Cheung
Queen Elizabeth
Siew Fong Fong
The Beatles
Joey Yong (she looks damn scary here)
Mariam Yeung (another scary looking figure)
We spent 20-30 minutes at Madame Tassauds and by the time we came out of the hall, it was already 7:00pm. Time to make our way up to The Peak Tram for some nice night view of Hong Kong. When we went up there, another queue was already in place before us to enter The Peak Tram. But thank goodness, it was a shorter one compared to the queue that waits for the tram ride. However, when we got up there, there was already a huge crowd of observers hounding the railings to catch the breathtaking night view. A group of photographers were hired to take pictures for anyone who wants to have a picture with the Hong Kong night view and not to mention, it comes with a price too! I remembered 5 years ago when I visited The Peak, I paid HKD25 per picture taken and it was pretty nice indeed. But I was shocked to know that the price has gone up to HK120 5 years down the road! Thank God I’ve had one picture of that already, but poor hubs, he had to make do with the makeshift photo I’ve taken for him with his Canon 450D 😛 Oh well, better than nothing I supposed. The hazy sky distorted the view a little, but nevertheless, it’s still a breathtaking view which overlooks the city of Hong Kong with the sky-rocketed buildings being colourfully lighted up all over. It’s like watching the sky with stars below. It was beginning to feel really chilly and in order to beat the long queue to get back home, we quickly scramble away from the crowd and to the tram station. And MY … lo and behold, another lonnnngggg queue awaits us! When I saw the queue, I nearly fainted and told hubs that this time, I gotta look for a place to sit! But unfortunately, there wasn’t any place I could sit and wait and so, I continued on with standing until the bones in my legs were about fall apart. Just like Macao, we saw another bridal couple having their wedding photos taken at The Peak … quite a lot of people got married when were in Hong Kong actually .. even at our very own hotel!
to the Peak Tram
A view of HK at 7:00PM
A view of HK at 8:00pm
When we reached the bottom of The Peak, my legs were already feeling so wobbly I could not bring myself to stand any further. Thank goodness, we got ourselves a seat on the tram on our way back and this time, the attendants did not allow over-crowding of people on the tram for the sake of the safety, as opposed to the trip up to the Peak. We quickly made our way to the MTR station which is another 10 minutes walk away!  I was so tired I got to give myself a rest. So we stopped at the central park and looked upwards at the mega buildings that were so tall, we felt like miniatures below them. As we looked up, the Symphony of Lights show (will tell you about this in my next post)  has already started at 8:00PM and all the buildings were lighted up with colourful “dancing” lights.
Undeniably, this trip was all about walking endlessly and yet, I have not lost a pound on my weight! How freaking sad!  When we reached Mong Kok, the tiredness from walking has totally drained out all hunger from my tummy. I felt like eating something, but not something heavy like a heavy dinner meal. So we decided to walk along Bute Street / Tung Choi street which we usually take on our way back to our hotel and see if we could grab a quick bite. I couldn’t want to get back to our hotel room and throw myself on the bed straightaway. Then, we came across this stall that sells all sorts of fried junk yet yummy food. There was squid, cuttlefish, meatballs, fish balls, pork intestines, etc all nicely pinned to a stick in which they will either be dipped in hot boiling water or deep friend and later dipped with spicy or sweet sauce. There this particular junk food that I spotted which looked to me like the HK’s famous “chow tau fu” (smelly tauhu for translation). And it certainly was! I told hubs to grab one of it since I have not tried this before. I have only heard of its strong pungent smell from hearsay and although it smells awful, it tastes really good (so to speak). So being the curious me, we ordered one smelly tauhu and fried cuttlefish. We reached our hotel at around 9:00pm. It was too late for dinner and too early for supper. I threw myself on the carpeted floor, took off my shows and just slumped on the floor leaning against the bed, motionless. Hubs still had the energy to walk around and tidy up some stuff and helped himself to the smelly tauhu. He got me tempted to try and reluctantly, I gathered all energy I had left in my body to sit up straight and taste the smelly tauhu. OH MY!!! It tastes like shit! Real piece of shit….. I wanted to puke at the first bite and I just spitted out the first bite that I took into the garbage bin! It sucks I tell you and nothing at all like what I’ve heard about its not-so-good-smell-but-damn-good-taste comments. No No NO. I just ate the cuttlefish and because it was put together with the tauhu, the cuttlefish has contracted some of its taste too. The sweet and spicy sauce was good though and it goes well with the cuttlefish. Hubs love the smelly tauhu … urgghh! I will never touch it again ever! After some adventure with the smelly tauhu, I took a quick shower and the minute I stepped out from the bathroom, my tummy started to growl and I know … it’s time for late supper. Hong Kong prides itself for its variety of supper menu and it was not a problem for us to scout for food from 10:00pm onwards. We walked around and couldn’t decide what to eat. I wanted to have the Hong Kong chicken/duck/goose meat rice but I couldn’t find it anywhere at Mong Kok. Then we saw a restaurant with chicken hanging outside the restaurant and we thought we have a look at it. It wasn’t chicken rice we saw, it was claypot chicken rice! Well, since we were neither very hungry nor full, we thought of just giving it a try. The claypot chicken rice in Hong Kong ( well, at least from this restaurant) tastes nothing like the ones we have back here in Msia and I must admit, I preferred the Msian claypot chicken rice big time! There are many types of claypot rice in HK. The signature claypot rice in this restaurant was the “lap mei fan” (a combination of the Chinese sausage, salted duck and pork intestines). We have decided with the conventional claypot chicken rice with hub having additional prawns in his portion. Also, our claypot chicken rice were served with a separate bowl of chilies and black sauce.
Chow Tau Fu
HK's claypot chicken rice
Tung Ling Cha (ice lemon tea)
My verdict for this dish? Not so nice and not so recommended! Though the chicken meat were tender, I didn’t enjoy any special taste that was added to this dish. I thought the taste of it was pretty blend and because of that, I could not bring myself to finish the rice. I only ate the chicken and the vegetable. Because the taste of it was too blend, I literally poured the entire chili and black sauce to my rice in order to add some flavouring to it, but still, it didn’t work too well either. Because I did not enjoy the food I had, I still feel hungry and started our walk again in search for something that could feel my tummy better. We bumped into this shop that sells noodles in a cup and there was a long queue of people waiting to get themselves a bowl each. At first, I did not know what the noodle was like and when I took a closer look at it, it looks like the asam laksa we have back here in Malaysia. So I nicknamed this dish – “HK asam laksa” – something that is easy to remember .. hehe. Instead of the usual fish and prawn paste we have in our local asam laksa, the HK version comes with preserved vege, peanuts, mint sauce (lots of them) and other spicy paste ingredients that tasted like szechuan chili paste. The only similarity between the two versions is the smooth glass noodle that is used in this dish.
the "HK Asam Laksa" stall
our "HK asam laksa"
slurpy glass noodle in the "HK Asam Laksa"
HK is one place that is full of junk food shops and the famous one being the Japanese junk store called “AJI ICHIBAN”. It is a chain store with lots of goodies to feast your eyes if you are a “junkie” yourself. Also very ideal for souvenir shopping for colleagues or friends as you won’t be able to find this back here in Malaysia. So what we did? at this shop We shopped till we dropped and spent close to RM200 on junk good 😛  That was it for Day 3 of our trip. Will keep you posted on Day 4 of our HK trip … adios amigos!

 

 

 

 

Hong Kong reviews – Day 2 (Wong Tai Sin and Disneyland)

19 March 2010

We had planned to go to Disneyland on the second day of our trip to HK and it was our first experience to the magical world of Disney. The Disneyland at HK may not be as extravagant as the ones in Tokyo and LA, but I must say that it has its own attractions that are able to draw crowds of visitors from all over Asia. It was initially planned for a day trip there, but after much survey and read-ups, we have decided to settle with just half a day at Disney’s – first half Wong Tai Sin temple and the other half Disney so that we are able to catch the fireworks show at Disney by nightfall. The entrance fee was undoubtedly expensive being priced at HKD350 (equiv. to RM175) per adult and we were prepared to pay the price for our first time experience 🙂 We started off the day with a sumptuous breakfast at a cafe along Bute Street. I have also planned to introduce hubs to HK’s famous breakfast meal – “Char Leong” with Cantonese porridge which I had tried during my first trip to HK five years ago. But that was at Tsuen Wan (west of HK) and since we were in Mong Kok (Kowloon district), we had to find my way to the nearest cafe that sells similar breakfast meal. We tried to search the Internet for blogs that recommend places eateries for postings on Char Leong and porridge, but to our dismay, none of the blogs we visited written anything about this famous breakfast at HK (maybe we weren’t looking hard enough, or maybe my blog may be the first to blog about it *wink wink*). So we have decided to be a bit more adventurous by asking the locals for the whereabouts of cafes that serve this kind of breakfast. I was fortunate enough to bump into the hotel cleaning service lady the minute I stepped out of the hotel room. Without any hesitation, I popped the question of “Where can we find Char Leong and porridge around this place?” (in Cantonese of course). And lucky for us, the lady was really glad to help us and told us of a cafe along Fa Yuen Street – which is also within the vicinity of our hotel and Prince Edward MTR station. As instructed, we walked on the pedestrian bridge that led to Fa Yuen street. We walked along that road looking high and low for a cafe that serves this breakfast for about 10 minutes but there didn’t seem to be any cafes that serve Char Leong and Cantonese porridge. We looked at the map, turned it round and round and in the end, we just bet our luck by turning to one of the streets that was adjacent to Fa Yuen street and whaddya know, we ended up at Bute Street again … ha ha .. talk about being in a maze! The cafe the hotel lady mentioned was just a few shops from our left. The first thing that caught my attention were the  severalYaw Char Guai being  “displayed”  for sale outside the cafe and I recognised it the very instant that that is the cafe that will serve us our Char Leong and porridge. The funny thing about this cafe is that, it does not serve hot drinks like coffee and tea. But anyway, finding this place is already a miracle to us and drink was not so important to us after all. Here’s what we had at the cafe:

Cantonese porridge with sliced pork and peanuts

Cheong Fun
Cheong Fun with added chili and sweet sauce
Char Leong
Yaw Char Guai and Chin Dui
the most-wanted cafe on our list for HK breakfast

After breakfast, we headed towards the Prince Edwards MTR station and hopped on the next train to the Wong Tai Sin temple. We thought we would cover the temple in the morning first before making our way to Disneyland. We estimated that half a day spent at Disneyland would be sufficient for the both of us. Before our trip to the temple, hubs thought we stop at the Shek Kip Mei Police Station after hearing about it so much on TVB series, but when we got to the place, we could only find the Shek Kip Mei Reporting Centre and PTU KW Operation Base. The police station he imagined could have been a makeshift studio at TVB 😛 So much for the excitement. Anyway, Shek Kip Mei looks to me like a more pleasant sight of Hong Kong though with high rise buildings and condominiums, and there were less traffic and less people crowding the walkway. I came across an Assembly of God at Shek Kip Mei and within the same building, a school. Wish I had the chance of attending a sermon at HK for the experience.

Assembly of God Shek Kip Mei Church
the "police station" we imagined ..

I was too tired to walk back to the Shek Kip Mei MTR station to our next destination which was the Wong Tai Sin temple that I pestered my hubs into taking a taxi. We hopped on to a local HK taxi that we usually see on TVB series at a taxi station nearby. The taxi fare was well, expensive (the meter starts ticking at HKD21.00 per trip) for a just a short distance away but on our way to the temple, I got to see the Hong Kong University which is one of the best university in Asia and a whole other scenes of  Hong Kong that we never got to see from the MTR cause it runs mostly in underground railways.We reached the temple after a short detour around HK that lasted 15 minutes only. We had to take a stroll to the temple as taxis were not allowed entry to the main gate of the temple. The Wong Tai Sin temple was built to worship an ancient Chinese medical sifu who believed to have miraculously healed the people of a small village that was stricken with  a grave disease. He was believed to possess a healing touch, the touch of a deity or god and because of that, he was praised and worshiped by the villagers and this custom has been brought down till today’s generation (both young and old) where large crowds thronged the temple in hopes and search of miracle from the god. Rows of stalls selling jossticks and paper effigies can be found at the entrance of the temple. The one thing you won’t miss in Wong Tai Sin is the choking amount of smoke from the jossticks and scenes of people bowing on their knees shaking the fortune sticks while chanting prayers to the god either for good luck, miracles and good fortune to be bestowed upon their lives.

HK Taxi
our taxi fare to Wong Tai Sin from Shek Kip Mei - HKD40.50
HK's high rise (from taxi view)
Entrance to Wong Tai Sin
Wong Tai Sin arch
the "smokey" scence of the temple

praying for good luck and good fortune
Worshipers at the temple

Behind temple lies a beautiful park that embraced the Oriental taste of typcial Chinese landscaping- with a small pond full of tortoises swimming around gayly and a bridge that connects to a residential area behind the garden. Entrance to the garden requires a small donation at a minimum rate of HKD2. We sat at the park bench appreciating the beautiful landscaping before making our way to the Wong Tai Sin MTR enroute to Disneyland.

entrance to the temple park
Wong Tai Sin temple park
Yin & Yang symbol at the park

Next stop => The magical world of DISNEYLAND. We hopped onto the MTR that is specially designed with  unique interior and Mickey Mouse figurines at the window panes and handrails.

MTR to Disneyland
view from the MTR
Disneyland MTR handrail
the interiors of the Disneyland MTR
dedicated MTR to Disneyland

******************* WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND  FOLKS *************

The first few pictures taken when we entered Disneyland. The entire Disneyland park is segregated into 4 main areas – 1) Fantasyland, 2) Adventureland, 3) Tomorrowland and the 4) Main Street, USA. The Main Street USA is where the journey to the magical world of Disney begins featuring rows of “Disney-designed” souvenir shops of Disney products and restaurants. From afar, we could see the magical castle of Disney which was the highlight of the park. Disney orchestra music was blasting from speakers of every corner of the park which gives you the Disney feel and imagination of being in a dreamworld that never exist where story endings are always happy ever after. I could imagine myself being in this fantasy and having a happy life moments thereafter and then *SNAP*, I am back in the real world … shucks!

band troop playing High School Musical song

Our first stop at Disney was the Cinderella carousel which was located at the Main Street USA. You will be surprised that both of us have not been on a carousel before, well, not that I can remember. We queued up for at least 15 minutes just to get on a 2 minute merry-go-round ride. Wasn’t so interesting, but like I said, it was for the experience of it 😉 After the carousel ride, we went to a 3-D animation theatre which was also at the Main Street USA, right next to the carousel. I never know what to expect from a 3-D animation Theatre for the one that I’ve experienced on Genting wasn’t much of an interest to me. I was expecting somewhat the same from Disneyland but hey, whaddya know, I totally enjoyed the entire show. It was a 10 minutes long show but I could feel like I’ve touched Donald and Mickey and the rest of the other Disney cartoons shown at the theatre. This is a must try for you who have not experienced watching a 3-D animation show. It’s worth the experience, trust me.

3-D Animation theatre

After the carousel ride, we got a little hungry as it was way past lunch time. So we hung out at a cafe nearby with HK fast food. I got myself a bowl of beef noodle and hubs with his char siew rice again. Gosh, they were EXPENSIVE. Both meals cost us RM 50 altogether. My hubs thought that we refill our water bottles with the water from the water dispenser and save on drinks – good idea! The beef noodle was not so fantastic and so was the rice. We thought we had tasted better ones at Macau and HK city at half it’s price. So folks, if you are planning to go to Disney, make sure you have your tummies filled with food before entering the park.

my beef noodle that cost RM22.50++
hub's RM30 char siew rice

After lunch break, we went on the Rivers of Adventure which is located at the Adventureland. I’ve always love boat rides and I will never miss out on this one. The river was really muddy and overly polluted with gas released from the engines of the boats. It was a short ride, would say less than 15 minutes, but it was pretty interesting though we saw a lot of fake robotic animals on display by the side of the river. What made me interested was the volcano and underwater current eruption that caught us by surprise. It was just so real that we thought we would be splashed with muddy water at the very instant – Eww! Gross! The volcanic scene was interesting – fires bursting and smoke bellowing out from a what was known as the sacrifice volcano. You see, we passed through many interesting, real-looking “creatures” along our journey. The tour guide was trying her wits to make the journey exciting and adventurous for us by putting on those cartoonist gimmicks and jokes but that didn’t really worked out for the crew we were with 🙂 Anyway, she has done her best and it was pretty well trained in it. Some of the jungle creatures that we came across were the elephants and their babies, piranhas, (the piranhas were the only ones that looked really fake), crocs, rhinoes chasing after hunters with their horns and monkeys. The final stage of our boat ride journey was about the tribes of the jungle. There was a boat of skulls from their sacrificed victims and hooligans shooting needles at us from behind their barricades and the scene was pretty real. For a moment I thought I was going to be shot and scenes of CSI crimes sprung to my head at how these kinda adventures would end up in murder – so much for imagination. Then there was the volcano I talked about earlier where the tribes sacrifice their victims or even members of their own tribes to the gods that they believe would bring them peace and protection from further attacks by other tribes. Here are some photos to show how “real” those creatures are 😛

Rivers of Adventure
real looking ellies
thought this was cute
boat of hell
the volcano eruption

After the boat ride, we met this cute little fella dressed up as a pirate (too bad he’s not as good looking and tall as Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Carribbean)

Aye aye captain hook

Along the same river where we had our boat ride there stood the Tarzan tree house (also at Adventureland) of which, we had to take another raft to cross the same river to. The Tarzan tree house exhibition depicts the story of Tarzan from the cartoon movie that we’ve watched beginning with his life as an orphan to the scene where he grew up  among the gorillas and met his true love in the end (typical Walt Disney’s cartoons with happy ever after endings).I wasn’t a big fan of Tarzan the cartoon but I thought what the heck, since we were there, we might as well just visit this place for the sake of experiencing it with our very own eyes:

rafts to Tarzan's treehouse
the Tarzan tree house
welcoming you to Tarzan's tree house

the gorrilla that saved and took care of Tarzan
Tarzan and his human lover

From a jungle scene back in the 17th century, we fast-forwarded our journey to “Tomorrowland“. This corner of the park features futuristic cartoons like Lilo and Stitch, Toy Story, Astro Boy etc. I didn’t really liked this part of the park, but then again, it’s for the experience and fun of it. We got ourselves into a mini futuristic car ride  (the Autopia)which lasted for only 5 minutes and which had us queued up for for at 30 minutes! My leg nearly gave up on me then. The car ride was well… boring coz it’s for kids (blek). We went to “Stitch’s world” and actually “communicated with him live! in a mini theatre It’s such a cute little alien. Kids loved him so much. The entire communication was in Cantonese and lucky for us, we understood his jokes which was pretty funny. It was a really LOOONNNGGGGGG queue to the theatre which had us standing and whining and feeling like we were about to give up on this show … for 45 minutes! And darn, we missed the live performance of High School Musical at the Main Street USA – darn darn darn! But we managed to catch a glimpse of it and some of the “We’re all in this together” song that was made popular by High School Musical. I thought the main singer was pretty cute looking and they had cheerleaders and basketball players like the ones you see on the show itself – just need to imagine them as the cutie Zac Efron and Vanessa Hugdens.Also, we managed to get ourselves into a “space game” helping Buzz Lightyear kill bad aliens that so-called “attacked” us .. haha, I beat my hubs in this game … it was super fun!

the Orbitron
the Orbitron ... again
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
Buzz Lightyear
the Autopia car ride
Stitch Encounter
High School musical performance
the Vanessa Hugdens lookalike

It was getting dark in the evening and we just thought we visit one more attraction at the park before we saw the fireworks display at the magical castle. I got a little hungry and because food were expensive and not worth every penny of my pocket there, I thought I get ourselves and ice-cream to fill our tummies temporarily before we had our dinner back in HK city. The HK version of Nestle choco ice-cream that we had was pretty unique inside out.

HK's Nestle choco ice cream

As we walked towards the Golden Mickey’s show theatre we bumped into two lovely ladies called Belle (from Beauty & the Beast) and Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty). I tell you I was pretty disappointed with my trip to Disneyland as I did not get the chance to snap any photos with neither Mickey, Donald, Daisy, Minnie, Goofy nor Pluto. How disappointing. But we did get a chance to snap photos with these two pretty ladies and that was because I happened to be sitting around the corner where they stopped for photoshoots. I was lucky to hop at that chance fast because before long, there was a long queue of Disney fans begin to show up after me (phew). It was also pretty nice to see little girls all dressed up in the cartoon characters they adored. Some dressed as Ariel (the Little Mermaid), some with Snow White’s custome on and some in Cinderella’s too. I wonder how much they spent on these costumes.However, hubs thought that Belle was a really lovely girl – matches the character very well and I thought so too .. 😛

Sleeping Beauty
Belle from Beauty & the Beast

Well, even though we did not get the chance to snap some photos with Mickey or Minnie, I was glad I got the chance to shoot photos with both these princesses! After the photoshoot, we happily proceeded to the theatre for the Golden Mickeys show. I did not know what did they mean by Golden Mickey. I thought Mickey was all painted up in gold and put on display or something, but I must say, it was totally better than what I expected or imagined. It was actually a live performance with songs and dances with really nice costumes put together. Songs of Disney cartoons were played as the performers danced along with them. My all time favourite was the Mulan performance. Thought it was really unique as it depicts the Chinese culture that blends well with the culture in Hong Kong and China as a whole. We managed to record some of the shows (though it was prohibited .. but we who cared – nobody .. everybody were holding up their video cameras oblivious to the rules that were flashed before them) .. hehe.

the Golden Mickeys theatre
no wonder it's called the Golden Mickeys - all in Gold
Toy Story
Mulan
Lilo & Stitch
Beauty & the Beast

The grand finale for the day was the fireworks display at the Disney castle. The show started at 7:30pm which was half an hour earlier than the schedule that was published on the website. But it was good for us too. We were getting so hungry we could eat a cow at that time. Couldn’t wait to get ourselves back to our hotel area Mong Kok and into the steamboat restaurant that I’ve targeted to visit at Sai Yeung Choi street (will feature this later in this post). The fireworks display and the Golden Mickey were the best entertainment we had at Disneyland. Other than these two, we found nothing that interest or excite us and thought that it would have been a better deal at other Disneylands or perhaps the Universal Studio at Singapore. Here are some of the fireworks displays that were put up at 7:30pm which lasted 15 minutes:

Fireworks display 1
Fireworks display 2
Fireworks display 3

The fireworks display received a satisfying applause from the crowd and when it was over, we had to squeeze our way through the crowd to the MTR. I had the crunch that the MTR was going to be packed with people but to my surprise, the crowd at the MTR was manageable. We managed to get seats for ourselves back at the MTR. Seems to me that most of the crowd came in tour groups … phew .. what a relief .. otherwise, we may have to wait for at least 3 stops before we can hop onto the MTR. We reached Mong Kok at 8:30pm and I was just so tired beyond tired … and hungry too. Without thinking much, we headed to a steamboat restaurant that I’ve been keeping an eye on at Sai Yeung Choi Street. I don’t know what’s the name of the restaurant in English but here’s a picture of it … go figure! The food’s absolutely yummy and I can tell ya, the service we received from the restaurant staff, was the best I’ve ever experienced from Hongkies – knowing that they can be so vulgar and outspoken … might just scare you off anytime. What I found most unique about this restaurant was the array of desserts that you can never find back here in Msia steamboat restaurants (e.g. fried fish skin, duck feet, pork intestines, etc). It’s actually buffet dinner/supper with a minimum of a set meal (pork/beef/chicken) each before you can proceed with other side dishes (unlimited add-on) around you. The meal cost us HKD365 which was equiv. to RM180++ each. Not too bad for good service and good food that filled our tummies to the brim. Oh, and not forgetting the free flow of herbal tea which was really good and that could cost us RM1.20 easily for a glass of it back here in Msia (with no refills):

the steamboat restaurant on the 2nd floor
herbal steamboat soup with a grill pan in the middle
our set dinner - pork & beef
side dishes
more side dishes
desserts

We were so filled to the brim with such sumptuous meal that we had to walk for a while around that area before heading back to our hotel room. By the time we reached our hotel room, I could not wait any longer for a nice hot shower before going to bed. My body was already breaking down and I was so afraid I will fall sick half way through our trip. Thank God for His protection that I made it through the day. Will continue on with my posting on our 3rd day trip at Hong Kong … stay tuned!

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