No Need My Dear HK Legislators

a photo from discoverhongkong.com

a photo from discoverhongkong.com

Legislators in Hong Kong need not put into law their impeding plans of withdrawing the visa-free access of Filipinos in their territory.  It is because I no longer intend to go there anymore.  Yeah, I have been to Hong Kong a couple of times but there seem to be no reason anymore to visit again.

With all the news of HK government being so “asar” (pissed off) with the Manila City government, the Manila police and the Philippine government as a whole due to the unfortunate Luneta shooting incident that killed a number of HK citizens, no Filipino in his right set of mind would want to tour HK.  People would have to slip me in a straight jacket, place me in a box and send me through door to door courier if you would want me to go there.

Last year, I actually declined an offer to go there for free, as in an all expenses-paid travel.  From airline ticket, to land transfers, to food, to hotel accommodation.  I chose to stay in lively Manila, be busy with my job and do something more productive instead.

I do not have the eloquence of an angel when I speak so let me be blunt when I say that Hong Kong lawmakers can keep their Pinoy-visa-free access to themselves.  To prove this further, even my nieces who will be gifted by my elder sister next year with a trip abroad after they have finished their respective college degrees will instead go to Singapore.  They initially planned to go to HK, but upon learning those distressing news, they themselves decided that it would no longer be smart for a Pinoy to go there.  This is apart from the fact that my elder sister no longer wants to spend her hard earned money to any business in HK.  That’s three less tourists for you next year…

People reading this may suppose that I am insensitive to the more than 160,000 Filipino workers in HK.  I guess, they need not worry because if their respective employers truly need them because of their efficiency, diligence, politeness and reliability at work (the typical Overseas Filipino Workers’ traits), these HK employers themselves would of course process and shoulder the expense in the application for Filipino workers’ visa. Besides, initial news points out that the visa-free access withdrawal plans would only be applied to Filipino visitors, meaning tourists (like me), not overseas Filipino workers.  Because if they would include our laudable overseas workers, their houses would turn filthy, their kids would have difficulty learning English and Disney in HK won’t be as lively and fun as it is.

I just hope that lawmakers in the Philippines would not reciprocate by requiring Hong Kong citizens to secure their respective visas prior to enter the Philippines.  That would be such an undiplomatic and childish move.  HK legislators can sulk in hatred and abhorrence all they want but we should let HK citizens enter and be made to realize that Philippines is actually a safe haven for them.  They need to understand that the people of the Philippines have not done wrong to the people of Hong Kong.  What they need is a paradigm shift and that the Luneta incident is a mishap that even Filipinos themselves would not want to happen.

Finally, I’d rather process a visa application going to other more interesting state or country than spend the same precious time, effort and money applying for a visa going to irate and fuming Hong Kong.

Inyo na. As in.

Visa-Free Quests for Ref Magnets

gmanetwork.com recently issued a news and clarification that Filipinos can visit 25 countries around the world without the need for a tourist visa.  This is in clarification to the starting-to-get viral Facebook post that Filipinos can go to 60 countries visa-free.  Press Link here for the clarification and list of visa-free countries which if you will actually count is 26.

I have been a believer of my country’s awesomeness but I love being a tourist and I fancy travelling out of the country.  Nengkoy (my mom) in her exasperated demeanor would often tell me that I don’t have kayamanan (investments, wealth and assets) because according to her my kayamanan are the experiences I gained out from my travels out of the country. So when I checked on the list, there have been six countries that I have already personally visited out of the 26 countries listed.

In each of the destinations I go to, may it be out of the country or within, I always make it a point to bring home with me a memento.  A “delicious” budget traveler like me cannot afford to buy exorbitant souvenirs like paintings, crystals or even silver spoons so I would settle for the cheapest.  That would be a ref magnet!  So, without further pomp and circumstance, here’s a look at the treasures of my adventures:

malaysia "truly asia"

morocco "land of the setting sun"

"amazing" thailand

vietnam "timeless charm"

"your" singapore

hongkong "best place, best taste"

Availability of ref magnets in tourist destinations bearing the name of the city or country as a simple memento is an indication that such place or destination is a tourist hub.

Anyway, referring back to the list, I still have a long way to go in covering all these countries.  I still have 20 more countries to go to visa-free.  However, I noticed that Macau is not included in the list.  It’s also visa-free…

macau "a world of difference"

I do not have investments and Nengkoy is correct. I may have zero assets, humongous liabilities and mediocre net worth but the experiences and wisdoms I gained out from these travels are priceless.

Sa Mars at Jupiter kaya may rep-magnet? 

The Tragic Sales of Nail Cutters and Key Chains

nail cutter-cum-key chain-cum-bottle opener coutesy of edwin santos

While cutting my fingernails I suddenly realized that sales of key chain and nail cutters are most probably on its peak here in the Philippines and may be at its lowest ever in Hong Kong history.  This is maybe because there are few Pinoys who would dare visit and go to Hong Kong now since the wounds from the recent Manila August 23 hostage tragedy has yet to fully heal.

Very few Pinoys would have the courage to tour Hong Kong now, thus, there are few Pinoy tourists who would buy the two of the cheapest yet most popular souvenir trinkets available in the streets of Hong Kong.  These are either the key chain or the nail cutter or the two-in-one nail-cutter-key-chain kind.  I have been a usual recipient of these pasalubong-s (presents) from friends who had short visit to Hong Kong an astonishing reason why I don’t need to buy it here in the Philippines.

O sha na.  Mahaba na ang kuko ko.

A Lan Kwai Fong Episode

One of the highlights of my recent Hong Kong trip was the Saturday night clubbing at Lan Kwai Fong.  Though it has been a couple of weeks already, I admit that I totally enjoyed that night in that part of Hong Kong in which it would be a sin not to write about it.

Lan Kwai Fong is Hong Kong’s most popular nightlife entertainment district.  People from all walks of life enjoy a drink with friends and even strangers both local and foreign.  It’s one cool jam-packed party place!

You can never get hungry in this dynamic district.  The diversity of cuisines has equated into dozens of food establishments in the area from make shift food stalls to sophisticated dining joints.   We actually just had hotdog sandwich right on the street for dinner.  Thanks to the heavy pouring of rain that we need to get cover because we accidentally intrude an overcrowded bar called Insomnia where a live high-spirited Filipino band plays.  Inside Insomnia we did nothing but have fun!

We couldn’t get over Lan Kwai Fong we actually came back the following day and broke-in at Balalaika.  With the huge bust of Lenin at the entrance door, this Russian bar is still closed when we invaded.  Thanks to the nonchalant and friendly bartender who is still doing a pre-operating stuff inside the establishment for he let us in and even allowed us to wear fake fur coats and enter the coldest place in Hong Kong, the negative 20 degrees Siberian Vodka Room.  It’s so bitterly cold I thought my fingers have fallen off.

Lan Kwai Fong’s buzz is so contagious that is why when I will get the chance to visit Hong Kong again, clubbing at Lan Kwai Fong will definitely be part of it!

Nag-endyoy talaga ako dun! Ang tsalap tsalap…

A Retail Therapy in Hong Kong

Shopping in Hong Kong is a must!  This is especially true this particular season because it is a screaming half-the-price season now.  Armed with my stupendous haggling powers, I personally got the chance to do a little retail therapy (shopping) in this former English territory last weekend.

 My personal experience can be considered an epiphany since it confirmed that Hong Kong is one of the best shopping Mecca in the planet.   In Hong Kong, you will be besieged with signs saying “50% off”;  “Sale Only for Today”;  “Sale Happens Only Once A Year!” or “Removal Sale”.  This is not only because of the unpretentious prices but also of the efficient sales crews of the various shops.

 In Hong Kong the sales crew would delightfully encourage a buyer to offer me to bring two different sizes of the same design of clothes that I would like to fit inside the fitting room.  A sales lady actually chased me and insisted to fit a smaller size.  Unlike in Manila, sales lady would never offer such and I would usually ask permission to bring 2 sizes for me to try on.

 In Hong Kong the sales crew never forgot the moment to greet me as soon as I entered their store and never miss the chance to say thank you even if I did not purchase any item at all when I leave.  Unlike here in Manila the sales crew would give you a rude bad look if you fit on certain merchandise but leave the store without buying a single item making yourself so guilty for messing up their merchandise.

 In Hong Kong the sales crew would automatically call another branch if the item you wish to have is of different color or if the size you want is either smaller or bigger.  Unlike here in Manila, the sales lady would automatically say “wala” (“none”) even without lifting a finger or checking their storeroom or asking a colleague.

 Yun nga lang di ko maintindihan ang sinasabi ng mga Chekwa.