Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hong Kong Day1: Strolling around Tsim Sha Tsui

Let’s now get back to my Hong Kong trip with family last April. We were there for 5 days and 4 nights, and we had so much fun! In my previous post, I shared with you guys the detailed itinerary I prepared before our trip. We weren’t able to follow it thoroughly though, as we did a ton of shopping. We’re four girls in the family, so go figure! LOL

Our flight was the first flight out for the day (5:40 AM). As eager beavers as we are for our first trip abroad as a family, we wanted to be there 3 hours before our flight (2:40 AM). But I guess my dad was more excited than we were (para daw may parking space pa or baka daw traffic haha!), we arrived at the airport a little past 1AM. True enough, there were a ton of people packed in the airport already, but the check-in counters won’t open until 3AM anyway.

I have a thing for skies whenever I’m flying. I just love staring at the magnificent sky. Makes me feel closer to God.
clouds, sky, plane, cebu pacific

clouds, sunrise, plane, hong kong, cebu pacific

We arrived at the Hong Kong International Airport just right on time. After going through the immigration (which was quite a snooze since the Immigration Officer moved like a snail), we grabbed our luggage and headed out. To be honest, I was quite shy to ask around for directions since they’re all Chinese. I was intimidated. Good thing that there were a lot of signs, so finding the bus terminal was quite a breeze.

family, hong kong, airport

family, hong kong, airport

I wore a very comfortable outfit for our first day. I didn’t want to be cold while on the plane, so I wore a knit shirt from WAGW, denim jeans from JAG (SM Dept Store), blazer and flats from Forever21. I also want a roomy bag that will fit all my essentials, so I brought my Longchamp Le Pliage.

Since Day 1 of our Hong Kong trip is strolling around the area, we took the bus instead of the Airport Express. We rode the A21 bus going to Hung Hom Station, and we got down at the Carnarvon Road (about 12 stops). What I like about their buses is the LED display that shows which station they arriving at. This is quite useful especially for travelers like us! Also, their bus is a double-decker (FIRST TIME!!!) so it was quite an experience for me and my sisters.

hong kong, double deck bus, family
My youngest sister, Erika
hong kong, bus, city

hong kong, bus, city

We checked in at Cosmic Guest House in Mirador Mansion, which is along Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui. Check-in time is at 2PM, but they were nice enough to allow us to check in earlier (we were there at around 11AM).  After which, HELLO HONG KOOOOOOONG <3

Nathan Road is FILLED to the brim with shops and malls; it’s definitely a shopper’s nirvana. Along Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui are malls like Mira Mall, Park Lane Shopper’s Boulevard, iSquare, and The One. Shops are a mix of high-end ones (like Coach, Hermes, etc) to the usual shops (like Giordano, G2000, The Body Shop, etc).

hong kong, family, nathan road, trip, tips

After Nathan Road, we headed to Granville Road. I heard there are tons of other shops here (especially shops of local designers), so we wanted to check it out. We were quite hungry since we didn’t have a real breakfast, so we were on the scout for a quick lunch place. Lo and behold, we ended up in Paisano’s Pizzeria.

Paisano’s is a local pizza place that features hand-tossed New York-style pizza, homemade Italian pasta, and other dishes. What draws you into this place is their MASSIVE pizza slices displayed on the counter. The entire pizza is 2 ft in diameter (24 inches), so boy were the pizza slices humongous, too! Pizza slices range from HK$25 (around Php130) to HK$45 (around Php230). Plus, if you come in between 11AM to 2PM, you get a free drink with your Cheese or Pepperoni slice!

hong kong, family, nathan road, trip, tips, pizza, paisanos, lunch

hong kong, family, granville road, trip, tips, pizza, paisanos, lunch

I looooove Paisano’s Pizzeria! We ended up buying midnight snacks for 2 more nights! Ugggh, just thinking about the meaty sauce and cheesy base of the pizza make me drool.

Moving on, we checked out a lot of shops along Granville Road. It was such an amazing experience to look through foreign designers’ works. Prices vary, actually. Some were quite expensive for me (like HK$100-200 for a top), and they’re not really “my style.” My favorite shops, though, were LUSH Cosmetics (I bought my liquid lipstick in Decisive and it’s my current favorite red lippie; they don’t carry it here in the Philippines), SASA, Lung Shing Dispensary, and Cotton On.

Lung Shing is considered as one of the must-sees in Tsim Sha Tsui. It sells cheap cosmetics, skin care products, perfumes, and lots more! They carry a lot of international brands, too, so do check it out if you visit Hong Kong. I was able to buy Skin Food nail polish at HK$25 each, Etude House mascara (forgot how much) and BB cream (HK$78), Revlon hair color (HK$35), and a few make-up brushes. It seems legit to me, since the place was SWARMING with people. That’s the downside, though. Many locals shop here since it’s the only outlet in Hong Kong. Oh, they only accept cash.

I enjoyed my stay at the Cotton On outlet in Granville Road. Everything’s cheaper compared here in Manila! I especially love their sales rack! We were able to buy dresses at HK$39 to HK$59 (around Php206 to Php312) each! It’s really a steal since dresses on sale here are at Php800 each. I also  bought tops (starting at HK$25 each |around Php130), shoes (HK$150 for 2 pairs | around Php390 per pair), undies (HK$80 for 5pcs | around Php400), and, my favorite, a bag that cost me HK$10 (barely Php60)!!! My sister and I were eyeing on this particular bag, which was priced at around Php400 to Php600 here. Good thing we didn’t buy it here in Manila ;)

We finished the whole stretch of Granville Road, and we wanted to explore the other streets. I forgot the exact streets we went to, but we ended up at K11 mall. It’s such a pretty mall; reminiscent of Podium’s coziness and Greenbelt’s lushery. We bought a few grocery items, like water and chips, to bring back to the hotel.

Oh, another tip! My family exchanged our PHP to USD first, so we were carrying USD and a few HKD when we got to Hong Kong. It was more convenient for us since HKD is pegged to the USD. If you’re planning to bring USD, too, make sure to bring enough HKD to last you until you reach your hotel. At Tsim Sha Tsui, there are tons of Forex stores that have better rates than the ones at the airport. The rates range from HK$7.70 to HK$7.74 for US$1. Lots of Pinays were manning these stores, too. They’re quite friendly and helpful!

After a few minutes of rest, we headed down to the Avenue of Stars for the Symphony of Lights Show. What I like about staying in Tsim Sha Tsui is that almost everything is walking distance. No need to ride a train or a cab! Avenue of Stars is about 5 to 10 minutes walk from the hostel. When we got there, there were a lot of other spectators as well. Good thing we were able to squeeze ourselves near the harbor.

It was spring time, so it was still chilly, especially at night. Don’t forget to bring a jacket or a cardigan or a scarf to keep you warm.

hong kong, family, avenue of stars, trip, tips, symphony of lights

hong kong, family, avenue of stars, trip, tips, symphony of lights

The Symphony of Lights is the longest running lights and sounds show. It’s also one of the biggest shows as it covers both sides of Victoria Harbour. Be amazed at those wonderful colored lights, laser beams, and search lights “dance” to the music and narration about Hong Kong. You can watch this spectacular show on either side of Victoria Harbour: Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront or the promenade outside the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai. You can catch it every night at 8PM.

hong kong, family, avenue of stars, trip, tips, symphony of lights

hong kong, family, avenue of stars, trip, tips, symphony of lights, victoria harbour

After watching (and taking pictures) the show, we headed back to Nathan Road to do more “window shopping.” We visited Park Lane Shoppers’ Boulevard and MiraMall.

My family and I aren’t really “adventurous” in trying out “other food.” HAHA. So yeah, you won’t be able to see any Chinese food review here. For dinner, we headed to McDonald’s and chowed down on some burgers. I love their McDonald’s!!! Aside from the bigger servings, I love their Strawberry Shake. I wish we have it here.

That’s it for now, loves! Days 2 ‘till 5 in my upcoming posts!




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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Beauty Blogger Wannabe

Sunday is family day in our household. We usually spend Sundays hearing mass and a family lunch at the mall. Today, we weren’t able to hear mass. We fetched a few groceries for New Year’s Eve, and boy were the lines craaaaazy! How about you? How do you spend your Sundays?

Anyway! I’m a big fan of beauty bloggers and other “lifestyle bloggers,” like Divine Lee, Vern and Verniece Enciso, and, of course, Temptalia! I’m always amazed with the things they do and what-nots. I love reading their reviews on make-up and make-up tutorials. I find ‘em quite interesting since I’m a make-up junkie-wannabe. Hihi.

So now, I’ll be sharing with you the contents of my make-up kit!


Finess Shine-Free Pearlized Oil Control Sheet | Watson’s
Revlon Photoready Powder | Target 
Agraria Hand & Body Lotion (Lemon Verbena)
Marionnaud N32 Blush Brush | Watson’s 
Etude House Lash Perm Eye-long Mascara | Etude House 
Love & Beauty Brow Kit | Forever21 
The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Stain | The Body Shop 
Heroine Make Impact Liquid Eyeliner | Sasa in Hong Kong 
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream (Milan) | Target 
Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet (L’Exuberante) | Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong 
The Body Shop Born Lippy (Strawberry) | The Body Shop 
Maybelline Cheeky Glow | BDJ Box 
LUSH Liquid Lipstick (Decisive) | Lush Cosmetics

You’d probably notice that I carry a lot of lip products! Lip products are my downfall, I must say. I cannot live without a lip balm in my purse! Also, I carry at least 3 colors of lipstick: red, pink, and nude. This way, I can update my look anytime.  As of the moment, my favorites are LUSH’s liquid lipstick (red), Chanel’s (pink), and NYX’s (nude). I “rotate” my lippies, so I get to use all of them.

I’m in love with my *new* sparkly make-up kit!! It’s actually a bag which I got together with my POSH Pocket Shoes. Since I don’t really “fold” my foldable shoes, I’m using the bag as my make-up kit.

How about you? What’s in your make-up kit? What are you favorite products?

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Family in Hong Kong (5d 4n itinerary)

Dianne's Little Adventures

For my first travel-related entry, I’ll be sharing my trip to Hong Kong, which I took together with my family last April. ‘Twas definitely memorable because it was a series of “firsts” for us: first family trip abroad, my sisters and I’s first trip abroad, and Mik and Kai’s first time to ride a plane.

Dianne's Little AdventuresIMG_1488

To grab discounted seats, make sure to register to the mailing list of different airlines. This way, they’d be able to send you notifications of  upcoming seat sales. We booked the tickets in December, so we were able to avail of the 75% off base fare via Cebu Pacific. Each person’s ticket cost Php3630.25, so Php21k++ in total. A tad bit hefty price compared to my HongKong tickets for October 2013, which I booked last October 2013. More on this later on.

Also, we booked the first flight for MLA to HKG and the last flight for HKG to MLA. This way, we’d be able to maximize our time there.

For several months, I tried scouring for cheap places to stay. Helpful sites were Agoda and AirBNB. In choosing for a place to stay, consider the area you’ll be staying in, the availability of establishments, price (of course!), and reviews of other travelers. I read up loads of websites about Hong Kong, and my family and I decided to stay at the Tsim Sha Tsui area.

Moving on, I was able to come across Cosmic Guesthouse, one of the hostels in the Mirador Mansion in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. I sent them an e-mail, and after a few hours, they replied. I’d recommend staying in Cosmic Guesthouse because they’re easy to talk to, plus the rooms are quite cheap. The receptionist, Jeremy, agreed that we pay the whole amount when we get there. It saved me the hassle of using PayPal to deposit the down payment.

We stayed in the largest room available, a “suite” that could fit 6 people. It cost us HK$645/night (around Php3000+/night) or HK$2580 for 4 nights. The room had a double bed, a double-deck, and two single beds. Overall, the room was pretty decent. The shower area (which fits only one person) is clean and the heater was functioning. The room also had air-conditioning. Water is also available 24/7, which is a good thing.

So, to the fun part now: the itinerary! My sisters and I were quite ecstatic since it’s spring time in Hong Kong during our stay. We loaded up on tights, leggings, cardigans, and other clothing that is neither too warm nor too cold. Basically, for the trip, we wanted to experience the must-see sights of Hong Kong.


Here’s the DETAILED itinerary I made for the trip, which we weren’t able to strictly follow anyway:
  1. Day 1
    • 0240 → check in at airport
    • 0540 → MLA to HK
    • 0740 → HK
    • 0900 → Walk to Airport Bus Terminus
      • Ride A21 bus towards Hung Hom Station (1 hr & 10 mins, 12 stops)
      • Carnarvon Road, TSIM SHA TSUI
    • 1030 → Arrive at COSMIC GUEST HOUSE
      • 12/F Block F1 (Reception), Mirador Mansion, 54-64 Nathan Road, TST
    • MONG KOK
  2. Day 2
    • 0900 → Go to Ocean Park
      • Walk to TST Station (1 min, 37m; take entrance TST Station Exit D1)
      • TSUEN WAN LINE → Subway towards Central; 1 stop
      • Admiralty Station → Walk to Admiralty West Bus Terminus; Exit B
        • Service runs every 15 mins; 9:24 - 9:49 am
      • 629 Bus towards Ocean Park Main Entrance (25 mins, 1 stop)
      • Travel time: about 49 mins
    • 1000 → Ocean Park
    • 1800 → Go back to Tsim Sha Tsui
  3. Day 3
  • 0830 → Go to Hong Kong Island (Causeway)
    • TSUEN WAN LINE → Subway towards Central (4 mins, 1 stop)
    • Walk to Admiralty Station
    • ISLAND LINE → Subway towards Chai Wan (5 mins, 2 stops)
  • 1430 → Leave for Central
    • Causeway Bay Station
    • ISLAND LINE → Subway towards Central Station
      • Exit J2; from Bank of China, follow Garden Road uphill to the terminus
    • Walk to Victoria Peak
  • 1500 → CENTRAL
  • 1700 → Leave for IFC Mall
  • 1915 → Board Star Ferry for Lights Show from Central → HKD170
  • 1930 → Go to Avenue of Stars
    • Walk to Central Station
    • TSUEN WAN LINE → Subway towards Tsuen Wan (6 mins, 2 stops)
    • Tsim Sha Tsui Station → Walk to Avenue of Stars
  • 2000 → Avenue of Stars (Light show!)
  • 2100 → Go to Temple Street Night Market
    • TSUEN WAN LINE → Subway towards Tsuen Wan (1 min, 1 stop)
    • Jordan Station → Exit A. Turn right onto Jordan Road. Take another right onto Temple Street.
  1. Day 4
    • 0900 → Go to Hong Kong Disneyland
      • Walk to Tsim Sha Tsui Station
      • TSUEN WAN LINE →Subway towards Tsuen Wan (17 mins, 9 stops)
      • Walk to Lai King Station
      • TUNG CHUNG LINE → Subway towards Tung Chung (11 mins, 2 stops)
      • Walk to SUNNY BAY STATION
      • DISNEYLAND RESORT LINE → Subway towards Disneyland Resort (6 mins, 1 stop)
      • Walk to Hong Kong Disneyland
      • Travel time: about 59 mins
    • 1000 → Hong Kong Disneyland
    • 2000 → Go back to Tsim Sha Tsui
    • 2100 → TSIM SHA TSUI
  2. Day 5
    • 1100 →Leave Tsim Sha Tsui
      • TSUEN WAN LINE → Subway towards Tsuen Wan (17mins, 9 stops)
      • Walk to Lai King Station
      • TUNG CHUNG LINE → Subway towards Tung Chung (21 mins, 3 stops)
      • Walk to Citygate Outlets
      • Walk to Ngong Ping Cable Car Tung Chung Station
        • Cable car
      • Walk to Ngong Ping 360
    • 1300 → Ngong Ping Village → 1hr
    • Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery → 1hr
    • Wisdom Path → 30 mins [3PM]
    • 1500 → Go to Citygate Outlets
      • Walk to Ngong Ping Cable Car Ngong Ping Station
      • Cable Car towards Tung Chung (25 mins, 1 stop)
      • Walk to Citygate Outlets
    • 1600 → Citygate Oulets
    • 1830 → Leave Citygate Outlets
      • Walk to Tung Chung Bus Terminus
      • Ride S1 bus (14 mins, 4 stops)
      • Walk to HKIA
    • 1855 → Check in at airport
    • 2155 → HK to MLA
    • 2355 → MLA

That’s it! Those were the “basics” of my trip to Hong Kong last April 15 to 19, 2013. More stories to follow! Red heart

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hello, Blogosphere!

So yeah, hello! Welcome to my (new) blog, wherein I’ll try to detail my travels. I’ve been to a few places here and there, but I just want to document my travels. Teehee.

I’m a travel-noob, but I really wanna explore different places here in the Philippines. I’m a big fan of seat sales (who isn’t, right?) and traveling on a budget. Sometimes, I’d splurge, but those are RARE times, I tell you.

Here’s a picture of me and my puppy, Princess Kate, wishing you a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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