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Fighting Fears: Canyoneering, College and Conquests

You’re standing above a vast landscape of the sea. Clear skies. Cool breeze. Sparkling ocean. And you’re standing at the edge of a cliff. Do you think you could jump?

Have you ever felt so scared that the hairs all over your body stand, butterflies turn into vultures in your stomach, and you feel like you’re going to poop? That’s how I feel every time.

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Heights is one of my worst fears. I don’t know how I got my fear of heights as I don’t recall any traumatic experience. I just found myself one day, around the age of 5, riding Enchanted Kingdom’s Jungle Log Jam and crying my intestines out, begging my father to just throw me over to the crew on the side of the river before reaching the upward rail.

Ironically, 2016 had been full of heights and high jumps for me.

This same month last year, I went canyoneering in Cebu with good fellows. Canyoneering’s main feature is, apparently, the canyons–which are really high FYI. And yet, my super-beginner self did not get any hint that it also involved a lot of cliff jumping!

So, I was there, at the edge of the cliff, and my fellows were already in the water screaming weee!, while I was still up there screaming MOM!!!

After a while, I started to feel jittery. It wasn’t because I was scared to jump though. I was worried that my friends were leaving me behind. They all looked so happy, and I certainly didn’t want to miss whatever fun they were having down there.

I was more scared of not getting a taste of that special experience.

1… 2… 3…? Uhm, okay, threeee!!! Then I finally plunged into the water. I overcame my fear of heights because I was more afraid of getting left behind. I was more scared of not getting a taste of that special experience. I don’t always get to visit canyons, and it was scary to miss this chance.

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Looking back to the good ol’ college life…

When I was in college, I stopped schooling for a while and got a job. I was young and totally hooked on earning and spending. A year later, I knew I had to go back and finish what I had started in college.

I walked into my university with the intent of taking the first step of readmission. And that’s when I saw her. She was behind Window 5 (if I remember well) for readmission applications. I approached her and asked with a kitten smile, “Ma’am, may I know the process for reinstatement?”

She responded with stuff like “Did you fill out these forms already? Did you write a letter to the College Dean? Do you have these documents? What, why not?”

I kept getting peevish answers from her that made me feel stupid and so embarrassed, and I got scared of asking anymore questions. She, along with the tedious lot of requirements, made me feel like reinstatement was going to be hell and it scared me.

It took me another year to go back and try again. At first I was hesitant, but I thought, this was already way overdue. I looked back on my freshman year and remembered my dreams after graduation. I thought of my parents who were excited for me to graduate.

At that point, I found a greater fear. The fear of not realizing my dreams and disappointing my parents. I held on to this fear as I walked back to my college and faced the grumpy lady again. She was still as scary as ever, but I held my position, politely and patiently until it was all over. It wasn’t so bad. I got reinstated! And two years later, I finally graduated.

There is nothing scarier than hurting  the ones that we love and not living the life that we want just because we let irrational, counterproductive fears hold us back.

I conquered my irrational fear of jumping into a tedious process of college readmission with a better kind of fear. There is nothing scarier than hurting  the ones that we love and not living the life that we want just because we let irrational, counterproductive fears hold us back.

***

Life is a vast, intimidating sea but it is also the most beautiful thing. We should not miss the chance of experiencing life just because we’re too afraid to jump out of our comfort zone.

I jumped off terrifying cliffs. I got one of the best experiences that nature has to offer.

I jumped at the tiresome readmission process. I graduated!

And then, I jumped at my first Toastmasters International Speech Contest. I joined the contest with the fear of messing up and not winning. But I fought it with a greater and more meaningful fear.

I was more afraid of letting the chance pass–the chance of learning and the chance of sharing my message to others.

We all have different kinds of fears. Whatever your fear is right now, take the time to think: is it a good fear or a bad fear?

There are fears that hold us back, keep us confined in our little comfort zone. And there are fears that push us to our limits so we can become better, and stronger.

We should find the latter. When times get too difficult and too scary, let’s use the good fears to fight our bad fears away. Let’s fight fear with fear.

###

This was originally my contest piece for my first prepared speech contest. It was an opportunity for me to share a bit of my experience canyoneering in Badian, Cebu, and a bit of my struggles through college.

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2 Broke Girls: Sassy in Nagsasa

Exactly one year ago, in the same month of April, I was in probably the most stressful job I’ve ever been in – in the field that is in fact notorious for high demands and long hours of work. Sleeping in at the office was the norm. We often went home past midnight or past the hour that I should’ve been eating dinner at home.

Without the time for a refreshing sight of family and friends, having companionable colleagues was a great solace. One in particular was even game for a bit of spontaneity and self-indulgence.

With the hopes of temporarily escaping all the work and heart-related stress, two broke girls went on an unplanned escape trip to Zambales in April last year.

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The 2 broke (but sassy) girls in Nagsasa Cove

I won’t go into detail about the itinerary or the expenses as this is not what it’s all about. This is about the best memories of two sassy girls and a proof that sometimes unplanned trips have a greater chance of materializing. All I can say is that it was supposedly a really cheap, budget-friendly trip to Nagsasa Cove, which two splurging girls couldn’t manage.

I remember well that it was a Saturday, and it was a national holiday. And we refused to answer any work call or any “request” to come in for weekend work. It was crazy right from the start. Since the trip was mostly unplanned, we came to the bus station without reserved tickets. Many buses were fully booked, which we didn’t expect, and we had to wait for about two hours to board. What was expected to be a 9 AM trip turned into a sun-struck 12 noon trip.

Since we were unfamiliar with the route, there were moments of panic when, for instance, we found out we were in Bataan and doubted if we rode the right bus because we thought Bataan was a place on the other side of the world (it’s not!).

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Seeking shade in Pundaquit while waiting for boat-mates
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A bonus: met a handsome new friend!

When we arrived at Pundaquit port, we were clueless about how to find a boat after failing to get a hold of our contact person. In our attempt to save money by splitting the boat fee, we made two new friends. We practiced our social skills and said hello to two newcomers and asked if they’d like to share their boat. They agreed—how could they say no to cost-cutting?

We got to the beautiful innocent beach of Nagsasa Cove late in the afternoon and immediately got ourselves busy with setting up our tent before going for a swim. There are no hotels or fancy amenities in Nagsasa Cove. Everybody goes by with a tent and a bonfire at night.

The time was perfect to get soaked in the water because it was already late in the afternoon; there was still light from the sun yet it wasn’t scorching anymore. I lay on the fine volcanic sand of Nagsasa Cove, a by-product of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in the ‘90s, and relished the waves that rippled through my body.

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“Can’t believe someone left trash swimming around,” I uttered to my friend as we approached what looked like a plastic bag underwater. Another step closer and we shrieked and swam for our lives—it was a giant bluish jellyfish! And then we saw another one. Eeek! I was traumatized.

In the evening, we invited our boat-mates for a little drink and bonfire. A bonfire could be set up by the shore with a small fee, which again we divided among the four of us so it was much cheaper. Our two new friends, who were obviously awkward to us at first, got a bit more comfortable and spoke up more. I and my friend also learned more about each other. The night was lit up by bonfire and laughter.

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Resting on calm water

On the next day, I and my friend woke up early to catch the sunrise and take some pictures while the beach was still empty. It was also a perfect time to appreciate the place. It was a view surrounded by trees and mountains. The fine ashen sand sparkled as the first sunlight hit it. Fishing boats were resting on the shore while fish were wide awake.

We ate canned goods, which we bought prior to the trip, for breakfast. We packed them partly because we knew there were no restaurants in Nagsasa, partly because we didn’t want to carry a portable stove in our bags and partly because we were skimping. We were on a very tight budget that we seriously debated whether to buy two cups of halo-halo that only cost Php40 each. In the end, we thought screw this, it’s a hot day and we’re going to enjoy halo-halo by the beach.

There’s a small hill on one end of Nagsasa Cove where visitors could go on a hike to get a bigger view of the beach. I left my friend behind (she’s not in good terms with the sun) and went for a short hike with one of our boat-mates. It wasn’t really high; it was only steep and dusty on some parts. But once we got to the top, we could feel the wind and take panoramic photos of Nagsasa Cove. From above, the water looked perfectly blue, embraced by a crescent bay. This was not Boracay or Puerto Galera where people went for an exuberant vacation. This was a modest place, with scenery I could enjoy without it being tainted by banana boats and jet skis in the water or a bunch of people tanning on the sand.

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After we got down, it was very hot so we soaked in the clear and cold water near the hill. I told our boat-mates about our scary encounter with jellyfish and they, too, got caught in the paranoia. We were moving around in the water so it caused some air bubbles to rise, and seeing a bubble startled us every time because we mistook it for a jellyfish ambush!

Our boat came back for us in the afternoon to take us back to Pundaquit. The sail back was another unforgettable memory for me. The waves were a bit fiercer now than it was the previous day. And one thing I realized was that it’s scary for the boat motor to die down and the boat to stop parallel with the waves because it felt like the water was going to knock us over. I love swimming but am not enthusiastic about swimming with big waves, so I didn’t want us to get knocked over.

I was thankful for reaching land alive, but the predicament didn’t end there. I and my friend were then confronted by the possibility of not getting home because we didn’t have enough money. At this point, we regretted buying that halo-halo at Nagsasa Cove. We failed to properly keep track of our spending.

We checked every corner of our wallets to no avail. Pant pockets—nope. Backpack compartments—nil. Kitty coin purse—nada. We looked at each other with awkward, panicked laugh. “You must be playing a joke.” “No, but you are. Take the money out now.” It was a few seconds later that nobody moved to take out money that we started freaking out.

So, we found an ATM to check each of our cards, knowing damn well they were empty. But who knows? She inserted her card—empty. I checked one of mine—hopeless. I desperately tried another card and, lo and behold, we squealed and jumped and it had money in it!

Two broke girls could miraculously go home.

Elbi: Food, Coffee and Nostalgic Walks

Seeing men swinging small boards that said “Private Pool” on the side of the road made me feel restless because I knew we were close. A couple more minutes and we would arrive at the place I had been yearning for. The place that served as a true home during the days I was struggling with college and independence.

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The green road to my beloved Elbi (pardon the reflection of the tissue!)

IRRI-sistible!

We arrived in IRRI at 10 AM and grabbed breakfast at the cafeteria – a place I often came to as a student for cheap good food, with a view of the rice fields and the mountainous horizon. I ate a big serving of saucy roast chicken with rice, plus brewed coffee and a slice of cassava cake for dessert for only Php105.

The weather was a bit gloomy at noon and it rained a little, but it didn’t stop me from touring my friends and us from taking crazy photos. Actually, the bit of rain helped refresh the surroundings from the summer heat and the air became a bit cooler for a while.

I visited the pond at the back of the IRRI’s coffee shop, Bean Hub, which was closed at the time, and searched for the lone resident turtle to say hi. Unfortunately, I didn’t find it. Prolly it was sleeping in a corner covered by plants. I hope so.

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Man waiting for an Uber in IRRI?

Dairy-cious…

We left IRRI a little after lunchtime and drove to Animal Science, UPLB (University of the Philippines, Los Baños). We went to PCC’s (Philippine Carabao Center) Dairy Corner, where I used to buy fresh dairy products for a sweet treat after my PE or An Sci classes. My favorite has always been Milk-O-Jel (Php15, then and now❤️) – a small cup of soft carabao milk pudding with sweet syrup on top, sort of like leche flan. At this time, I also got Carakafe – coffee❤️ with carabao milk for only Php35. My other favorite items from Dairy Corner are their yogurts of different flavors and chocomilk. Obviously, all of their dairy products are made from carabao’s milk. They also have meat products. All so natural, so fresh, so delish.

After IRRI, we drove around the campus before heading out. I got off the car and bid goodbye to my friends who were returning to Manila. I, on the other hand, was staying for the rest of the day.

***

I checked in at One Providence, a dormitory near the campus that also rents out transient rooms. I walked along F.O. Santos street going to One Providence and discovered a few changes. Some old establishments I used to go to have been replaced by new ones. Most notably, Sizzlers, a restaurant located on the third floor/rooftop of a building, has been replaced by “Siblings.” I used to love going to Sizzlers for dinner because of the view from the balcony dining setup. It was quite a romantic setting. I bet Siblings retained that setup, although I’m not sure yet if they measure up to Sizzlers’ sizzling dishes (my personal favorite was sisig with egg).

Old street snacks

After resting for a bit in my dormitory room, I went out again for a walk, carrying my backpack with my notebook, pens and laptop. At 4 PM, my first stop was the small kwek-kwek (fried orange quail eggs) cart in front of Vega Arcade, right outside the UPLB gate. I bought a stick of four pieces (Php15) and resumed walking while dipping my kwek-kwek in my cup o’ spicy vinegar.

Along the way, I also stopped by Micha’s, a pastry and cake shop near Demarses Subdivision where I used to live. Whenever I was stressed out with acads (academic stuff), I would stop by and take out either blueberry cheesecake (I remember it’s less than Php100), cream puffs (Php12 for caramel-glazed, Php15 for vanilla-glazed) or chocolate chip cookies. Cream puffs were my favorite, so I decided to buy them this time. Prices didn’t change! I ate my caramel and vanilla cream puffs as I wandered on.

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There’s nothing like Micha’s cream puffs.

New food places

After a couple of minutes of walking along Lopez Avenue (Grove), I was kicking around whether I was going to eat at an old favorite or try a new restaurant. I decided to do…both! At 5 PM, I went to Bibap Korean Restaurant, which was a new find for me. I gave my order at the counter and went up to the second floor to find a low dining table setup. I sat on my floor cushion as I ate my jajangmyeon with delicious side dishes (Php135), while watching some Korean music videos on their TV. At this time on a Saturday, there are not many people at Bibap—in fact, I was the only one enjoying the solitude of the restaurant. On the other hand, perhaps it was too early for a heavy meal…

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Picture-perfect vanilla ice cream coffee at Productivity Cafe

Meanwhile, Productivity Cafe just on the other side of the street had a lot of occupied tables. Since my old favorite, Coffee Blends, was for some reason closed on that day, I decided to try a new coffee shop. Productivity Cafe was a small coffee place on the second floor of a new commercial building along Lopez Ave. that offered a special space for students to concentrate on their acads and for alumni like me to just blend in. When I entered the cafe, I almost thought I walked into a class. On one side, there were four long tables occupied by two young people each, who were perfectly lined up with their laptops set on the table. I occupied a small square table in another corner overlooking the road and set my laptop, notebook and pens on the little surface, with a smaller space for my vanilla ice cream coffee (Php99). Productivity Cafe encourages silence as respect for students who’re trying to work and plays soothing music that makes you feel more like you’re in a spa. It’s a good thing they had bright lighting, else I would have dozed off on my table.❤️

Eatsumo, always

I stayed at Productivity Café until around 8:30 PM. I crossed the street again to transfer to Eatsumo, an old favorite Japanese restaurant, for a second fill. I admit it’s not authentic Japanese, but I still love their donburi and california maki. Their meals were tasty and cheap—served justice to my scanty college budget. Whenever I craved for some Japanese meals, this was where I ran to. This time, I ordered the usual—”toridon,” chicken and egg donburi (Php70), which I found weird at first because I knew it was “oyakodon.” Anyway, tori meant bird or chicken in Japanese, so technically it’s not wrong to call it toridon!

I sat alone on a table while watching other students enjoying their meals and chatting with each other. I used to be like them—dining with a friend and ranting lightheartedly on after a stressful day of boring classes and demanding professors. Although, sometimes, I would just enjoy a meal alone and just be thankful for having the time to run away from papers, go out and chill.

Old nightly habits, nostalgia

After my dinner, at around 9:30, I walked around a little more. I passed by CDC (College of Development Communication) and remembered the nights I used to walk by this place filled with students chattering among themselves or practicing a class presentation or just waiting for friends they were meeting up with. I remembered the nights I used to walk by this place to meet my Dev Com friends. Strangely, as a Com Arts student, I used to have more close friends from CDC and other colleges. If I could be honest, I’d say I didn’t really match the wavelengths of my Com Arts batchmates. I saw them as loud, dynamic and high-maintenance. Their sassiness was a bit intimidating for me. I found it easier to get along with peeps from CDC and Engineering, who were more easygoing and scruffy (in a cute way!). But later on, I also got to meet good friends in my own college who made me comfortable and happy.

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My beloved college, CAS

Past CDC, I walked by the old CAS (College of Arts and Sciences) building with so much nostalgia. At the start of every semester, this was where I fell in line for several minutes to claim the most coveted Form 5 (Certificate if Registration). (And then, I would fall in line again for hours at the Admin office for payment of matriculation and at the University Registrar for stamping of Form 5 and class cards.) This was also where I endured classes with wall fans blowing warm air on our faces in summertime.

It was certainly not easy in college, but it will always be something I’d be willing to relive over and over because every end of the day was rewarding after you finished all of the day’s tasks. At the end of the day, there would always be friends, good food and fine coffee that would ease all the stress. I love you, UPLB.

Sunday morning

In the morning, before heading back to Manila, I decided to grab breakfast and coffee and chill a little more at Cafe Ella, probably the only cafe in Elbi that’s open at 8 AM on Sunday. Cafe Ella is also a nice place to hang around, with its cozy interior and free Wi-Fi. I tried for the first time their classic meaty red sauced pasta (Php175) and brewed coffee (Php65). When I was in college, I usually ordered fish and chips and caramel macchiato. I only went here when I was feeling lavish (when I had extra after paying rent!) because Cafe Ella was a little too expensive for me.

Sundays and holidays will make you realize that the students are the life of Elbi. When there are no classes, there are not many establishments to go to. Most restaurants and cafes are either closed or open late, and it’s hard to find a nice place to hang out especially in the morning. Without the young people, Elbi is like a ghost town.

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I’ll keep coming back to you, Elbi! Love you.

 

Deeper Discoveries, Best(?) of Hong Kong

[DAY 2]

Gooood morning! Despite sleeping late after Day 1, I got up the next day at 6 AM ahead of my friend who was still sleeping soundly. I fought my grogginess, washed my face and grabbed my jacket.

Kwun Tong

I walked out to a quiet, dusky street, a speck of moon above me. The sun hadn’t taken over the morning sky.

I walked the empty streets until I found Kwun Tong Promenade not far from our hotel. I hung around and took in the freshness of the morning, with only a few joggers that went by. This is what I like about waking up and going out early – it feels like I have the world to myself.

A piece of gem on the corner of the street

Near Newton Place Hotel, I discovered a little gem called 41 Cafe. It was small and not especially striking, but this was exactly what I was looking for. A modest place that offers a genuine experience that represents Hong Kong living.

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First customer at 41 Cafe! (click for more pictures)

The menu was in Chinese, but after realizing I was a foreigner, the kind waitress offered to translate them. I ordered spicy meat noodle with toast, ham and egg, and of course a hot cup of coffee (36 HKD for the set). The coffee was smooth, not sweet, with enough milkiness. Having a sweet tooth, I added a packet of sugar, then it was perfect! I ate up my meal as I watched the waitress casually attend to local customers who came after me.

I enjoyed walking around for a few more minutes until I came back to my still sleeping friend.

Breaking: Babyccinos are cream-based! (at Cafeholic, at least)

We checked out of the hotel around lunchtime and stopped over for lunch at a cafe beside Newton Place Hotel before setting off for Hong Kong Disneyland. Cafeholic apparently had a lot of patrons, even if the headwaiter seemed a bit grumpy. I, being a coffeeholic, ordered a caramel babyccino (38 HKD), and immediately after it was served, I regretted it. Most of the menu was in Chinese and I could only read “babyccino,” not knowing it was actually cream-based instead of coffee-based. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of cream-based drinks. I enjoyed Cafeholic’s prawns and scallops spaghetti with porcini sauce (92 HKD), though. Looking around, it seemed that their pasta dishes are the best sellers.

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Menu of Cafeholic, mostly in Chinese (photo from Cafeholic’s Facebook Page)
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My caramel babyccino (click for more pictures)

Googling and mingling the way

Getting around Hong Kong is not so hard after all, as long as your mobile is connected to the Internet, that is. We used Google Maps to find our way and get directions here and there, although of course mingling with locals is a whole different human experience. Asking for directions was sometimes even more efficient.

Going to Hong Kong Disneyland, we opted to take a bus first (Kwun Tong to Mong Kok) instead of the MTR. While the trains are faster, a bus ride lets us enjoy sightseeing while getting to our destination.

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Afternoon snack c/o a beautiful lady seller (click for more pictures)

Although it was already afternoon, we were not in a rush to go to Disneyland. We even stopped over in Mong Kok to do a bit of shopping; there are lots of fashion stores on every street! Even if it was against my will, I bought a cute dress (50 HKD) and a coat (80 HKD, too cute, couldn’t help it!). It was my friend who did most of the shopping while I was also eyeing some street food. We found a snack store along the way and again bought my favorite egg puff (11 HKD), plus iced milk tea (11 HKD). We stopped by our second hotel in Mong Kok to drop off the stuff we bought before finally heading to Disneyland.

Fantasy in real life: Hong Kong Disneyland

We reached Disneyland at around 5 PM. We spent 20 minutes taking photos at the entrance and the park promenade before we actually entered the theme park. The park was pretty, giving off a vibe that’s just like in most Disney movies – dreamy and fantastical, perfect for kids and kids at heart. We only got to try two attractions – Iron Man Experience and Toy Story Land. Iron Man was great. It reminded me of Universal Studios’ (Singapore) Transformers 4D ride, although personally I was more thrilled with Transformers. Toy Story was enjoyable for kids, letting them shoot enemies with light guns.

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Ready to enter Hong Kong Disneyland! (click for more pictures)

For me, the three highlights of our visit in Hong Kong Disneyland were the shopping, the parade and the fireworks. I enjoyed looking around the Center Street Boutique on Main Street USA. There were a lot of cute Mickey Mouse items from key chains to watches to apparel and kitchenware. Of course, there were other Disney character items, such as Monsters Inc., Lilo & Stitch and Disney princesses. There were also Avengers merchandise.

We took a break from shopping when the parade started. Everyone else went out of the gift shop to watch. Different Disney character mascots, floats and performers took over Main Street USA. I especially cheered for Slinky Dog (Toy Story) and Lightning McQueen (Cars). Mickey Mouse and his gang were the finale of the parade.

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Sleeping Beauty Castle highlighted by fireworks (click for more pictures)

The pyromusical show was perhaps the best part. I enjoy fireworks in general. Fireworks bursted and flickered in the sky in tune with famous Disney theme songs. Although I was recording the show with an iPhone, I made sure I was holding it aside so that I could watch the show instead of staring at the recording. Because what’s the point of being there if I was just watching through the screen?

Local eats, old streets and kung fu hustlers

We left Hong Kong Disneyland at 9 PM. Our flight was in the morning the next day, so we wanted to make the most out of our final night. We stopped by a local restaurant near Mong Kok MTR Station, the name I couldn’t read. Again, I was impressed by how quick a local restaurant’s service was. A few minutes, maybe less than five, after we gave our orders, I got my “special sauce handmade noodle” (34 HKD) and iced milk tea. The noodle was like a Chinese version of spaghetti, with a taste of peanut butter or something. And then, just as how I loved the local coffee, I enjoyed my milk tea! It was milky and not too sweet. I was heartily satisfied.

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A simple yet nice place to eat (click for more pictures)

We left the restaurant at half past 10 but we refused to go back to our hotel. We walked around aimlessly while hoping to find a late night cafe to pass time and chill. Walking around Hong Kong’s older streets at night, in Mong Kok at least, greatly reminded me of Jackie Chan movies. The kind of neighborhood in most of his films. Looking at the residential buildings with laundry hanging outside the windows, I imagined kung fu hustlers would burst out of the windows in combat. I was really amused by my surroundings. This was exactly the experience I wanted. I didn’t want to just go to theme parks or casinos or museums; I wanted to experience the streets, talk to locals, and get lost.

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Hong Kong street at daytime (click for more pictures)

The hotel we transferred to in Mong Kok was not as classy as Newton Place Hotel in Kowloon, but it was also a good experience. Geo-Home Holiday Hotel is one among many other hotels that share Kingland Apartment Building. This was another interesting discovery for me as I would expect a hotel to have its own building. Our “hotel” was on the 9th floor, and there were at least two other “hotels” that occupied the floor. Our room was small, with only one bed for us to share. At least, it had a shower and a heater, although the heater only worked for a few minutes after turning it on. But the temperature was tolerable. The man at the front desk, who looked like the owner, was hospitable.

We concluded the night with coffee at Mcdonald’s at 1 AM. Even Mcdonald’s coffee amazed me as it was slightly different than what we have back in Manila. The roast was different and coffee came with milk instead of powdered creamer.

A strange thing we noticed at that particular Mcdonald’s branch was that a couple of people were sleeping on some tables. One was even wrapped in a blanket, and we found a pair of shoes under our table. We’re not sure if they’re homeless or just burned-out overtime workers. They didn’t seem to be part of the crew nor students (there were older men). Anyway, it didn’t bother me that much, just got me curious if this was a common thing? Edit: Apparently, this has been an ongoing issue in the recent years and a side of Hong Kong that is not so pleasant but is all too real. These people have been dubbed McRefugees – homeless people who seek shelter at 24-hour McDonald’s, who can sometimes only afford to ask for a cup of water. More recently, Hong Kong also hit the headlines for the growing trend of so-called coffin homes, where people squeeze in because they can’t afford the increasing cost of housing. I hope for the best for these people and that someday Hong Kong will just be full of awesome discoveries.

I think we went back to our hotel at 2 or 3 AM. Once again, we lay on the bed with some Chinese TV show on, fiddling with our phones until we finally dozed off.

The next morning was going to be full of sepanx. ✈️