Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The April 2015 Horoscope

11:45 in the evening and I am on my way home from my friend's send off party. I was looking out the window of the cab I was riding, while Taylor Swift's Blank Space is playing in the background. I then realized, what did just happened? Then I peeked out and looked up, and the stars shone at me when I realized I can tell what they are speaking of even without reading my horoscope for this month. 

ARIES - This month, you will get your heart broken, but you will realize the abundance of friends you have. Depression is lurking but your dear friends will save you from all the misery caused by another heartache and disappointment. Things might seem lamented, but angels will spare you from that misery. 

Yes, yes! Thank You God for sending me my friends. I was cognizant on how well my friends played their part in making my lamented heartbreak easy to get over with. Most of them would say that I have the smartest brain but the stupidest heart. I do agree, and I know that God placed these people at the right place, and at the right time,  to make me carry the heavy load with ease. I mean some of these people, I haven't seen for years! Some of them surprised me, coming home to Manila from the US, and surprisingly came and show themselves out of the blue! Talk about perfect timing. :) 

April 3, 2015 - At the Beach with the Childhood Borongan Friends

My Borongan cousins and friends whom I haven't seen for about a year were very welcoming and fun when I went home to mom's hometown during holy week this year. I had the sunniest days of my 2015 so far! I never felt so loved and important! 


April 3, 2015 - The Runway Jumpshot 

April 4, 2015 - The Roadtrip

April 4, 2015 - Moonbathing

April 5, 2015 - The Easter Party

April 7, 2015 - The Send Off Dinner

And while I try to fix what this stupid heart of mine did once again. Another set of surprise came along the way. My bestest friends from my previous work showed up with a great surprise! My friend Tara came home from the US!
 

April 17, 2015 - The Surprise Kidnap Dinner / Planning

April 18, 2015 - Sunset with the Kidnappers

April 18, 2015 - Dinner with the Kidnappers and the Youngsters

April 19, 2015 - The "I wanna grow old with you" Type of Friendship

These friends knew my past and the deepest desires of my heart. They knew the challenges and the difficulties I have faced, and they certainly know what I deserve. They lovingly assured me that things will go according to God's plan and that I should be patient and humble. I thank them for guiding me with my decisions in life. I thank them for the affirmation that I am loved and that I am important, and that I am worthy.

Lastly, my work best friends whom I constantly bother whenever I need the urge to spill the beans and rant. Sorry for all the drama, and thank you for always being there for me when I need someone to talk to. 


March 30, 2015 - The Prettiest Souls in the World

To my Borongan childhood friends, my former YBM besties, and to my present work best friends, THANK YOU SO MUCH for making me sane. I love you all to bits, and I thank God for having you in my life. Stay with me, for I need you all badly. Take care of my heart for it has been shattered into pieces for so many times. I am a broken soul, an annoying bitch at times, a moody beast, a stubborn one, an insecure, mad woman, and yet you all still accept me for who I am. Thank you. Damo nga salamat. Hinihigugma ko kamo nga tanan. :) 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Cafe Matchbox - Causeway Bay (Hong Kong)



Chaa Chan Tengs or Tea Houses are famous in Hong Kong and one can find it in almost every corner. I was lucky enough to stay in a hotel near this pretty little Cha Chaan Teng called Cafe Matchbox in Sun Wui Road, Causeway Bay. 

Before heading to Lantau Island on my second day, I decided to get a hearty breakfast in this quaint little cafe that serves Hong Kong- style Western cuisine. I was curious and at the same tine excited about this East meets West fusion. 



I was surprised to enter the cafe in full house. People stopping by to get breakfast before heading to the office or school filled the place. Since it is a normal custom in Hong Kong to share tables with other customers, I was seated with a young lady who is equally busy talking on the phone and didn't bother sharing her space. I was handed a Chinese menu and for a second tried to figure out which to order, only to realize that I can actually ask for an English menu, which I did eventually. 

They offer all day breakfast like toast and eggs, different noodle soup dish, baked rice and other Chaa Chan Teng staples such as French Toasts and Pineapple Buns. I was confused and hungry so I just picked a set meal which consists of a noodle dish, toast and eggs, and milk tea or coffee which costs around HKD 45 / PHP 260


BBQ Pork Noodle Soup

Toast and Scrambled Egg with Ham

Coffee

The noodle soup dish was okay. The BBQ Pork is flavorful but the soup is flat. Good thing is that chili paste is available on the table and made the dish I've ordered a little tasty. I love the toast and the scrambled egg, and the coffee is good too. I wished I order something else though. They offer a wide variety of all day breakfast items and I'm sure I will find something better than what I have ordered. I saw Pineapple Buns, French Toasts, different kinds of sandwiches and noodle soup dishes were brought to the other tables around. I wish I'd still be able to try those when I go back.

Cafe Matchbox
2 Sun Wui Road
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Contact number:  +852 2868 0363
Website: www.cafematchbox.com.hk

Map of The Match Box

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ho Hung Kee - Causeway Bay (Hong Kong)



Congee and Wonton noodles? Geez, I can eat those two every single day, and while I was in Hong Kong a few weeks back, I never missed the chance to get some good tasting Wonton Noodles. 

Ho Hung Kee was awarded one star by the Michelin Guide from 2009-2015. They are famous for their Congee and Wonton noodles and I knew that I have to try their prized dishes. 

Ho Hung Kee found on the 12th floor of Hysan Place in Causeway Bay


Look at Sir Michelin right there, giving a thumbs up

One of the challenge that I faced during my trip alone is how much I can eat and how many dishes I should order. This was my first meal in Hong Kong and it was a test on how much food I can consume alone. I ordered their Wonton Noodles and the Rice Rolls with BBQ Pork. I was hoping I could eat more after that and was planning to order a Congee dish but to my dismay, my tummy did not cooperate with me that time. 


Wonton Noodles (Small) - HKD 39 / PHP 225



My order came in a small bowl with 3 pieces of Wonton, springy noodles, and a pretty bland soup. The Wontons were nothing extraordinary, the noodles were springy and chewy, and the soup is bland and tasteless. I then questioned my palate and wondered if it is just me who cannot appreciate a one Michelin starred dish or is it really a thing of mediocrity? 

Unsatisfied with the first order, I then wished that the rice rolls would bring sunshine in my table. But lo and behold, it was another disappointment. 

Rice Rolls with BBQ Pork - HKD 42 / PHP 245



I was expecting bits and pieces of BBQ Pork rolled inside, but failed to find any after taking a couple of bites. I then realized that the special sauce that came with it was the "BBQ Pork" of this dish. It was alright but I was not really impressed. 

It could be that I just ordered the wrong dish, I thought. But after my visit to Ho Hung Kee and after comparing it to the other Wonton Noodle places I have tried in Hong Kong, I would say that it is a mystery for me why the place was awarded one Michelin star. Maybe I needed to give it another shot next time I'm in Hong Kong. 

Ho Hung Kee
1204 - 1205 Hysan Place
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Store Hours:  11:30 am - 11:00 pm
Contact number:  +852 2577 6060

Map of Ho Hung Kee Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop

Mini Hotel - Causeway Bay (Hong Kong)



For my first solo travel out of the country, I opted for a hotel that is first, easy to locate, secondly, comfortable and cozy, and third, affordable. Mini Hotel in Causeway Bay fit into those three major considerations I have. 

I have been eyeing on this boutique hotel from the moment I have decided that I will go visit Hong Kong. After seeing that it'll only cost me a 4,000 Php a night via Agoda.com, plus the lovely photos they have there as well, I never hesitated and booked a room for three nights right away. 

In retrospect, I honestly didn't know why I chose to stay in their Causeway Bay over their Central branch, but I never really regretted my decision. I fell in love with Causeway Bay, mainly because everything seems to be accessible from the MTR station, to restaurants, to shopping centers. 


Mini Hotel Causeway Bay with Bus Stop #28 right in front

Mini Hotel Causeway Bay is quite a challenge to find at first. From the airport,  I rode the Airport Express going to Hong Kong Station, took a long walk towards the Island Line and alighted at Causeway Bay Station. From Causeway Bay station, I went out on exit F where a huge Forever 21 store is located. Took a right turn where Hysan Place is situated and walked until I saw a Swatch store. I took a left on that street and walked further until I saw a small Cath Kidston store. Turned left again and turned right on the first street which is Sun Wui Road. The hotel is right across the Bentley dealership and just right in front of bus stop #28. 





If you have huge bags or luggage with you, you may take the elevators going to the hotel lobby, so you must go straight to the guest elevators, or feel free to take the stairs going down. 

Prior to my trip, I emailed them asking if they require a security deposit. I was informed that I need to make a 500 Hkd deposit but was never asked for it when I checked in that afternoon. I arrived in the hotel at around 10:00 in the morning. I asked if the room is available for early check in and was told that I have to pay for an extra 200 Hkd (around 1200 Php) if I wanted to check in early. Since I am a cheapskate, I decided to just leave my bags and wait for 2:00 pm, which is the check in time. But first, I rested a bit and took photos of their super bango and ultra hip lobby. 









I booked a Mini Double room that costs around 4000 Php per night. I was given a room on the 10th floor which was pleasant since it was already high enough to still hear the street noise.


This is how it looks upon entering the room.
It is a bit small but it was just enough for me since I was traveling alone.


Ze Bathroom

My refuge after looooong Hong Kong walks! 

I read horror stories like poor service and malfunctioning water heater  from both Agoda.com and Tripadvisor.com about this hotel but never encountered any of those during my stay. The bed is comfortable and the pillows are soft. The linen used was crisp and clean. Hair dryer is provided. Water heater worked perfectly. Good air-conditioning. Prompt room service, and great customer service. I misplaced my adaptor for electrical outlets and borrowed from one of the staff, and was also greeted by one Filipina staff and wondered why I am traveling alone. Very accomodating. :) 

Overall, I felt that I have totally made the right decision in booking this hotel. It is situated in the quiet area of Causeway Bay, it is very near Hysan Place, Times Square, Lee Gardens, MTR station Causeway Bay, Starbucks, and many restaurants and shops. The hotel staff speaks good English and were very helpful with directions and whatever assistance you will need. They even called a cab for me going to the Hong Kong ferry terminal instead of me going to Lee Gardens where the taxi bay is located. Would recommend this hotel to my friends and family, or anyone going to Hong Kong. :) 


Mini Hotel Causeway Bay 
8 Sun Wui Road, Hong Kong
Phone number:  +852 2537 4941
Facebook:  Mini Hotel Hong Kong 
Website:  http://www.minihotel.hk/

Map of mini hotel Causeway Bay