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Monday, April 29, 2013

Typical Pinoy Hong Kong holiday






By Michael G. Yu - When Filipinos make trips to Hong Kong, they normally spend just 3 to 5 days in the city. That really isn’t much time to see everything that the city has to offer.

The question, though, is whether most Pinoys want to see everything in the first place, because I’ve noticed that Pinoys’ itineraries to Asia’s World City are pretty homogenous.

You can almost say that the classic Hong Kong trip is as Pinoy as Last Supper tapestries hanging on dining room walls and giving directions by pointing with the lips.

Tell me whether you agree that this captures what a typical Pinoy vacation to Hong Kong is like:

1. Makes plans to take the earliest morning flight possible. Otherwise, the first night paid for at the hotel is considered a waste (or as the common saying goes, “Para hindi sayang ang araw!”).

2. Pieces of luggage are transformed into Russian Matryoshka dolls. Suitcases are stuffed with smaller suitcases and bags, all of which will eventually be filled with purchased goodies upon return to the Philippines.

3. The only clothes packed from the Philippines are the clothes worn to the airport on the first day, just enough underwear, and whatever is required for sleep. Everything else will just be bought from Giordano, Bossini, Cotton On, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Uniqlo, Pull & Bear, Baleno, Zara…(“Sayang kasi ang space!”)

4. Upon arrival, suitcases are promptly dropped off at the hotel concierge (usually one of the Marco Polo hotels located in Tsimshatsui) because the hotel room isn’t ready yet at 9 in the morning. Everyone then immediately heads off for some hole in the wall restaurant for dimsum breakfast.

5. Breakfast is finished just as shopping malls open their doors for the day.

6. The rest of the day is dedicated to shopping; the only breaks taken are either to go to the bathroom (if at all) or to have quick meals of more dimsum, ramen noodles, or the evidently non-Chinese – but surprisingly delicious – Middle Eastern fare of Ebeneezer’s.

7. Return to the hotel when the rooms are finally ready for occupancy, drop off all shopping bags, and then promptly head out again for more shopping and eating.

8. Return to hotel close to midnight after ending the day at the night markets of Mong Kok.

9. Bright and early the next morning, repeat steps above for most days spent in Hong Kong.

10. Head home to the Philippines with bags bursting with purchases; each bag is meticulously and carefully weighed to meet the kilogram limits allowed by airlines. Sometimes, new pieces of luggage need to be bought to bring everything back home.

11. When tired of shopping (which is a rare occurrence), head off to Hong Kong’s many tourist attractions. Depending on the demographic of those traveling (group of friends, family with young kids, etc.), the most popular ones are HK Disneyland, The Peak, Ocean Park, Avenue of the Stars, and the Big Buddha.

12. Quickly lose interest in said attractions and head back to the shopping districts for more retail therapy.

13. Typically the most popular travel dates to Hong Kong, not in any particular order, are as follows: Christmas, Holy Week, July summer sale season, and any date when one is lucky enough to purchase seats on sale by budget airlines.

Many years ago, it used to be more of a thrill (a status symbol, even) to make a trip to Hong Kong. Many store chains in Hong Kong weren’t present yet in the Philippines, so it was always a big thing to come home wearing a Benetton shirt or a pair of Giordano Blues denims (Okay, I just aged myself big time).

But today, even if most of the popular chains are available in the Philippines, the travel habits of Pinoys flying off to Hong Kong haven’t changed much. I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise because after so many years, Hong Kong has maintained its allure as a shopping and food haven for Pinoys of all ages. – via Rappler.com