Monthly Archives: April 2018

Days of Our Lives on Boracay Island

We had the days of our lives on Boracay Island in the Philippines and you can too. Finding your own tropical island paradise may not be on your bucket list just yet, not until you’ve done a bit of research at least. But we certainly did. After visiting the Philippines for over two decades we found Boracay one of the best places to have both relaxing and adventurous experiences. It may not be the place to be if you’re over 70 years old unless you like watching the tanned bodies and sexy women on the beaches. And Boracay is certainly value for money if you plan your holiday well. Finding someone who has experienced Boracay, and is happy to give recommendations like a friend are well worth listening to.

You have the money, you’re finally ready to book your plane ride and accommodations for a trip to one of the most beautiful Islands in the world. You’ll be totally excited to pack your swimsuits, hop on a plane, and finally experience the look and feel of one of Boracay’s thirteen powdery white sand beaches. There is not an over abundance of American travelers who have the courage to visit Boracay, but Americans do visit and don’t regret it. You won’t have any trouble finding information to plan a trip on the net with so many options available on the Island, especially when it comes to finding accommodation, food, and fun activities for everyone’s preference. So I see how you might get confused planning your itinerary with so many options. This Boracay first timer’s article will come in very handy when planning your trip for a perfect holiday in paradise.

Where is Boracay?

Where is the Philippines? From our American history you may recall the famous MacArthur departing the Philippines during the Second World War stating “I will return”. Which he did to liberate the Philippines from the Japanese during World War II. You can still dive on sunken Japanese wrecks in the Philippines. So America has a history with the Philippines. You’ll find the Philippines in Asia, south of China and east of Malaysia. It’s a country of thousands of tropical islands, the second-largest archipelago in the world and a dream to visit. The world media bombards us with images of Filipinos living in dire conditions on rubbish tips near Manila, of maritime and natural disasters. Unfortunately these exist there, as they do everywhere but especially in third world countries. So why not consider your money spent in Boracay as your donation to help build their country.

Boracay is less than an hour’s flying time south of Manila. It is just off the northwest tip of Panay Island in the Western Visayas region. The most convenient way to reach Boracay is via Manila International Airport (NAIA), with a domestic connecting flight to Caticlan Airport, followed by a short pleasant boat ride to Boracay Island. Daily flights link Manila to Caticlan, the gateway to Boracay Island. Alternatively, it would be more convenient if you can fly to the much larger Kalibo International Airport, then take a 90 minute bus ride to Caticlan.

A regular fleet of Banca (out-rigger style boats) service Boracay on the 15-minute trip from Caticlan jetty to White Beach. The Filipinos will help with your baggage and frail people if required. This may be their only source of income, so please have some change for tips. A 20 peso (half a dollar) would be sufficient, dependent on the amount of work they do for you.

Flights from the USA: Philippines Airlines (PAL) has consistently been the cheapest flights out of America, flying direct to Manila from New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Other airlines offer indirect flights to Manila costing more, such as Singapore Airlines, Asian Air, Eva Air and Cathy Pacific.

Flight time Los Angeles to Boracay Los Angeles to Boracay is 14 hours, with connecting flight and it can be as cheap as $1,100 return. Manila (Terminal 3) to Caticlan Airport in 1 hour, direct. Flying in to Boracay from manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport is situated just 7km south of Manila CBD and tends to be very busy and daunting. You will usually have to change terminals to get to your Domestic flight. There’s a free regular bus service to all the terminals, alternatively you may like to spend time in Manila which is an exciting city. Flying in to Kalibo Kalibo International Airport, around 68km from Caticlan, therefore you will require transport north to Caticlan. Bus services are available as well as Taxis. You can even arrange Boracay Helicopters to fly you to Boracay, baggage weight permitting.

Flying in to Caticlan airport (Godofredo P. Ramos Airport) Situated opposite Boracay Island, Caticlan would be your preferred destination. From Arrivals you can take a tricycle or Taxi to the ferry. Weather and other factors affect the ferry services departure location. However Caticlan is a small community and the local services will know which ferry services are available and where they depart.

Flight Special 2016 LAX to Cebu

As of November 2015, PAL are advertising $780 LAX to Cebu. Unfortunately PAL do not fly to Boracay direct from Cebu, requiring you to book with an alternate airline. The good news is you can book a return airfare Cebu to Caticlan (Boracay) for around $130 with Cebu Pacific, however you may need to stay at least a night in Cebu or Lapulapu Island due to the connection times, which isn’t all that bad. In fact, I would stay at least two days to explore Cebu or Bohol Island as there are some really nice places to visit such as Chocolate Hills or the Tarsier animal reserve in Loboc.

The other advantage of flying to Cebu is that the airport is very easy to navigate, unlike NAIA Manila airport that can be quite challenging.

Check the Specials on their website for details. Entry requirements to Philippines These are the requirements Visa and entry into the Philippines requirements: You passport must be valid for at least Six months beyond intended period of stay, A return/onward ticket Proof of sufficient funds. No visa is required for a stay of up to 30 days;

The Philippines officials will stamp your passport for a 30 days upon arrival. A visa can be issued on or after arrival for up to 59 days, however there is a cost for the extension.

Getting the Best Accommodation

One of the great things about Boracay is the number of accommodations that entertain different types of guests. It doesn’t matter if you’re a backpacker or the tourist who wants luxurious accommodations, you can easily find an Inn, hotel or resort that will cater to your needs. For those who prefer less-frills, the island offers hostels, inns, and B&Bs that will provide safe, clean, and affordable rooms for the budget-conscious traveler.

White Beach located on Boracay’s west coast is the largest beach stretching almost the length of the island. White Beach is divided into three sections: Boat Station 1, Boat Station 2, and Boat Station 3. The upper market and expensive hotels are mostly located north of Station 1, while the budget accommodations are mostly near Station 3. Station 2 is known as the center of nightlife on the island. There is also lower end accommodation on the eastern side of the island near Bulabog Beach where an almost consistent breeze allows for windsurfing and Kiteboarding.

To Get a Guide or To Explore Boracay

For your first holiday in Boracay it may be best to get a guided tour. A whole day on a tricycle may cost you as little as $20, but don’t hand over the cash until you are finished for the day. Some tourists like to explore the island on your their own since it’s pretty small island. Either way, getting to know the place personally makes it a more monumental and story-worth trip.

Great Adventures on Land and Sea

A good part of your vacation will be spent sprawled out on the white sand and catching some glorious sun rays. In order to make the most out of your stay sign up for some of the exciting adventures that the island has to offer.

Visiting Bulabog Beach to try kiteboarding and windsurfing, great spot for adrenalin junkies. A day trip to Ariel’s Point for a spot of cliff diving and a BBQ is an adventure not to be missed. This can be booked through the Boracay Beach Club, where you get a discount if you stay there. Enjoy wildlife? Dream time theme park near mount Luho was damaged in a typhoon several years ago, but I understand the Go Karts and All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are still available to tourists, which is great fund.

If you enjoy being close to animals there is a small wild life sanctuary near Dreamtime theme park.

Eating Your Heart Out While Enjoying the Magnificent View

Nothing boosts one’s appetite than chilling at the most beautiful beach in the world. Fortunately, Boracay has lots of options for travelers of every kind. Cheap dining are a plenty for the budget-conscious beach bum. If you’re at Bulabog Beach, why not try the local and international dishes at Happy Home, which serves huge portions that go for around 150 Peso each, which is about $3. I love the Filipino BBQ Chicken with rice and soy from San Pedro.

All About Washington, DC Restaurants

Welcome to the Nation’s capitol! Yes, folks talk politics in this town like the rest of us talk about our sport’s teams. But they aren’t really that bad – the D.C. folk really do know how to loosen up those ties. D.C. is a town that loves its Happy Hour – a time when you can catch up with friends or meet new ones.

We saw you smuggle your after-work change of clothes into your cubicle so that you’re ready for the 5 o’clock bell. Go ahead, leave your car in the office garage – you can always cab it home or Metro it back to work the next morning.

Like most cities, Washington, D.C. is a collection of smaller neighborhoods (there are 14 of them), each having its own flavor and charm. Architecture and attitude changes from one block to the other, creating a cultural patchwork that can be fascinating for locals and tourists alike. The city has plenty of energy from all the politics, government, and colleges in town. From the Vietnamese places in Arlington, V.A. to the charming brownstones of Georgetown; from the urban feel of the Connecticut Corridor near Woodley Park and Cleveland Park to the alternative minded Dupont Circle, each area in this city offers up something unique.

One of our favorite things to do in D.C. is to just waste the day or night away on the Mall. But remember, this is not the shopping type. It’s the Quad or grassy park in between all the cool national monuments and museums in the heart of the city. The Smithsonian museums are free and allow you to explore art, history, space, and much more. You also feel the National pride as you stroll through the Mall. So, even if you hated science class, you’ll still have fun whispering inside the Capitol rotunda. While in the area, you must stop by the Spy Museum – with all its interesting tidbits about the real James Bonds. Just try to remember your alias as you navigate through the interactive maze of espionage. And, make a reservation since the lines are known to get a bit out of hand.

Worked up an appetite seeing all those landmarks in our nation’s capitol? When you’ve had your fill of historical lessons and facts that you’ve forgotten since the 6th grade, it’s time to get your groove on. Here then are our journeyPod Picks for wining and dining your own party (political or not), while in D.C.:

Restaurants

CityZen (Downtown) – Located at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel (1330 Maryland Avenue SW, at 12th St.), CityZen’s chef extraordinaire, Eric Ziebold was voted as one of ‘America’s Best New Chef’s’ – and the restaurant one of the ‘Hottest Restaurants in the World.” This American-French restaurant (with Asian roots) boasts soaring ceilings and an exhibition kitchen – where you can watch your scrumptious dishes like foie gras risotto, chicken and dumplings or proscuitto with melon get prepared. Three and five-course tasting menus are also available and will not disappoint. With an 800-bottle wine cellar, a sophisticated lounge, dining area, and a signature martini or champagne cocktail – CityZen will allow you to indulge in a fine culinary journey.

Mate (Georgetown) – An upscale Latin-sushi lounge, this place is simply… hip. Another jewel in the crown of bar guru Mauricio Fraga-Rosenfeld (creator of Chi-Cha Lounge and Gua-Rapo), this fusion retreat takes over prime corner real estate in one of the last remaining retail spaces at the Ritz-Carlton complex. Known for its verba-mate teas, the restaurant also features imported blends from Argentina mixed with rum and fresh fruit, mojitos and even verba-mate-infused soup. Don’t miss out on the maki-like rolls with zesty Latin ingredients, along with the traditional dishes like platonas. While there’s no dance floor here, Mate turns into a sexy night spot when DJ’s spin. Mate can be found at 3101 K St NW (at 31st St. NW).

Zola (Downtown) – An elegant contemporary place serving American fare, Zola is set amongst restored classic architecture (located in the historic Le Droit Building) and offers an interestingly eclectic wine list. With a little pinch of espionage, patrons can peer through a small spy hole into an adjacent booth and glimpse others feasting on smoked beer and cheddar fondue, roasted lamb tabouleh or potato gnocchi (that’s pronounced enyaw-kees). Though desserts range from simple to sweet, make room for the peanut butter trifle and the chocolate bomb. Zola can be found below the radar at the International Spy museum building at 800 F Street NW (at 8th).

IndeBleu (Downtown) – The motto for this place is: “Mingle below, sup above, seduce throughout.” Combining the intrigue of the Near East, the sophistication and class of Europe, and the style and energy of the capitol of the world, IndeBleu temps you with an experience like no other. Offering a contemporary fusion of French/Indian fare in the main dining room, street foods and world rhythms in the sensual lounge, and playful assortments of cocktail options in the bar -what else do you need? The pillows, sunken nooks and floor-to-ceiling couches do indeed help. This place is especially busy Wednesdays through Saturdays when DJ’s spin international tunes. IndeBleu can be found at 707 G. St., NW (at 7th St.).

Filomena Ristorante (Georgetown) – One of Washington’s most celebrated authentic Italian restaurants, Filomena is a landmark that has endured the test of time for nearly 25 years. Located in the heart of historic Georgetown (1063 Wisconsin Ave NW, at M St.), “pasta mamas” are known for whipping up enticing homemade pastas in the restaurant’s storefront window. Inside, you’ll be blown away by the lavish portions and the bargain basement (no pun intended – the restaurants is located below street level) $10 lunch buffets. Filomena’s menu takes you on a tour of Italy with its culinary delights, like the pasta mama’s tender ravioli stuffed with Italian cheeses and spinach and gnocchi della. As for a sweet ending of your tour, you won’t miss out by choosing any of the awesome cakes baked daily in Filomena’s own bakery.

Mie N Yu (Georgetown) – This place is so exotic, you’ll be fooled into thinking you’re in a completely different country. Formerly the space of Georgetown Station, everything about this place is a feast for the senses. Nearly every inch of the 7,000-square foot restaurant/bar is adorned with red and fuchsia silks, brocade and velvet, antiques, relics and other colorful trinkets reminiscent of a Moroccan bazaar. A Silk Road theme throughout, Mie N Yu gives anyone and everyone license to recline in the Dragon Lounge, sip cocktails in the Red Baroque dining room and order food and specialty drinks in the Turkish Tent or Tibetan harem room (keep on the lookout for the wrought-iron bird cage). An English-inspired bar, complete with DJs spinning eclectic grooves from across the globe, rounds out this unique dining destination. At 3125 M St. NW (at Wisconsin Ave.).

Local 16 (U Street Corridor) – This place may sound like a place for union workers, but the name really just refers to its location. A dinner-only destination for grown-ups, Local 16 is notches above its neighbors and wonderfully below the radar screen of the “bridge and tunnel crowd.” Eating here means eating with the locals. A split between a hip bar/lounge and a cozy dining room, Local 16 serves amazing dishes like the fried oyster po’ boy and coleslaw and the salmon with haricot verts. After 11 p.m., you’ll notice most of the diners piling out and the locals piling in. Checkout two indoor bars, an outdoor terrace bar, DJ’s and a mixed crowd of folk who just want a pint. Local 16 is located at 1602 U St. NW (at New Hampshire Ave. NW).

LIMA (Downtown) – This resto-lounge on K Street offers strong Latin influences on its menu – with a few international-fusion curveballs to keep things interesting. With a dining room above and a lounge in the basement, LIMA is dark, sultry and sexy. Just be careful of indulging to the point of losing your footing on the “invisible staircase”! Representing a winning combination of cuisine, design and ambiance, LIMA will have your palette tantalized with sensual and savory dishes that include ceviche, salad, steaks and seafood. At 1401 K Street NW (at 14th and K Sts.).

Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar (Capitol Hill) – A new wine bar and restaurant in – of all places – Capital Hill. Though it sounds an odd place to open such a trendy, hip restaurant/bar, success speaks for itself. Their menu bears a southern European influence, and it offers the best cheeses and meats of the Italian, French, & Spanish variety – all served in various combinations with olives and other treats on a wood cutting board. Sonoma also has, arguably, the largest collection of wines by the glass or by the flight. Sonoma is located at 223 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE (2nd Street S.E.).

Galileo’s (Foggy Bottom) – Renowned for its Italian and innovative cuisine, Galileo himself would have been proud of this place. It has been recognized by food critics as one of the best Italian restaurants in the country and Roberto Donna as one of the nation’s best chefs. The restaurant’s daily-changing menu offers numerous dining options: a casual meal at the bar, an elegant meal in the main dining room; and a culinary crème-de-la crème experience in a private dining area and kitchen, where Donna prepares the 12-14-course tasting menu and entertains you. FYI: Donna makes his own ham for salami and proscuitto, and his sausages, pastas, mozzarella, marmalades and breads are all made in-house. Galileo’s is located at 1110 21st St. NW (between L & M Streets).

Zengo (Downtown) – A Latin-Asian hotspot, Zengo (which translates to “give n’ take) merges Chef Richard Sandoval’s heritage with his love of Asian fare. Located in the restaurant hot zone near the MCI Center, Zengo is part serious and sophisticated restaurant, part sleek and sexy lounge. With intriguing shareable dishes like tacos filled with pickled ginger and empanadas laden with Thai chicken – this place is definitely worth checking out! The cocktail menu is one place at Zengo where its Latin and Asian interest don’t mix – so stick with the classic caipirinha’s, martinis or sake. Zengo is located at 781 7th St. NW (bet. 7th & H Sts.).

Tapaq Bistro (U Street Corridor) – One of the hottest new places in DC, this five-story Bistro boasts a restaurant, lounge space with multiple bars and a killer roof-top terrace (for all-season use and a 360 degree panoramic view of the city). Embracing the flavors of the Mediterranean from Turkey to Morocco, Tapaq’s tapas-style fare offers an exquisite and elegant blend of taste and presentation. Be forewarned: You may experience a bit of an “attitude” at the door, because Tapaq really does enforce a strict no-jeans, no-sneakers dress code that has been known to ruffle a few feathers. Found at 1336 U St NW (Bet. 14 & U).

Cabanas (Georgetown) – Offering upscale authentic Latin-American fare, coupled with the option to dine indoors or out, Cabanas is another choice in the heart of Georgetown. A place to see-and-be-seen spot, the outdoor patio seating is flanked by palm trees and overlooks the harbor fountains. The menu offers delicious options that range from chili-dusted calamari and shrimp/scallop ceviche to fish tacos and corn/crab fritters. Don’t miss the frozen Mango Margaritas! When weather permits, try to catch an outside table. Found at 3050 K Street NW (at Thomas Jefferson).

Café La Ruche (Georgetown) – This French-inspired old favorite (open since 1979), features contemporary artwork, flags and old photos scattered across the walls in this 19th century building. Known for having some of the best quiche you’ve ever tasted, the menu also showcases traditional French favorites such as potato and leek soup and croquet monsiers. Café La Ruche also offers good wine and superb desserts – all of which can be consumed in the adorable garden-like outdoor seating area that overlooks cobbled streets of Georgetown. Café La Ruche is located at 1039 31st Street NW (at M St. NW).

Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place (Georgetown) – An establishment as old as the waterfront itself, it’s hard to imagine a better view in all of D.C. Resting on the Banks of the Potomac River, this Harbor spot (with views of the Kennedy Center, the Key Bridge and Roosevelt Island) is usually packed with everyone who goes to the waterfront in G-town by boat or otherwise. And, it seems as if every young Washingtonian finds their way here for after-work drinks and seafood. Try the hot crab dip, which always makes for a good start. Tony and Joe’s can be found at 3000 K St NW (at 30th).

Ceiba (Downtown) – Latin inspiration guides the menu and décor at Ceiba. The cuisine bounces through Brazil, the Yucatan, the Caribbean and Cuba – while the décor boasts Mexican tiled floors and tropical murals. Located in the historic Colorado Building (at 701 14th St. NW, at G St.), Ceiba features a multi-leveled dimly-lit dining area filled with patrons chowing down on traditional Latin American dishes of ceviche. Appetizers like the Jamaican crab fritters and foie gras served with corn cake are not to be missed! Adding authentic caipirinhas & mojitos – how can you go wrong?

The Palm (Dupont Circle) – Some institutions never change. If you can’t find your Senator on Capitol Hill, you better check The Palm. This is where the city’s most powerful have long been its most loyal patrons. A spot for negotiating and deal-making over a juicy (huge) steak is as infamous as the restaurant’s signature martini! But you don’t need to be a politician to enjoy the great food, white-jacketed waiters, dark suits and high heels here. Keep an eye out for Larry King and Tim Russert as both have been known to pop in. The Palm is located at 1225 19th Street NW (Bet. N & M Sts. NW).

Taste of Carolina (Shaw District) – Feel like Dixie-style dishes, but can’t make your way down to the South? Experience southern food and hospitality at its best at a Taste of Carolina. This restaurant serves up the South in high-style in a two-story townhouse turned restaurant and bar. Representing some good ol’ food, the menu offers a variety of choices, from fried fish sandwiches and BBQ chicken, to Homemade Pound Cake. The bar at Taste of Carolina definitely buzzes at happy hour, but the best seats in the house are at the bay window nook. Keep in mind: you can also find karaoke, poetry reading and live jazz on weekends. A Taste of Carolina is located at 1930 9th Street SW (near T St. NW).

Sequoia Restaurant (Georgetown) – Walk through the doors at Sequoia, and you walk into the land of beauty – beautiful décor (high ceilings, warm lighting and cherry wood), beautiful people (the city’s well-healed elite can be found here) and beautiful views (located right on the Potomac’s Waterfront). Offering indoor and outdoor seating, the restaurants boasts three dining levels and a gorgeous patio area – where the sexy singles swarm to sip their cocktails under the white lights. The restaurant serves everything from fancy burgers to pan-seared Chilean sea bass. You must must try the duck dumplings and crab cakes. Jacket and tie are required. Sequoia is located at 3000 K St. NW (at 30th St. NW).

Old Ebbitt Grille (Downtown) – Established in 1856, Old Ebbitt Grill is the oldest dining saloon in the city. Located across from the White House (and steps away from the museums in downtown Washington), Old Ebbitt serves American Traditional Cuisine, offering the largest selection of oysters in the area. A favorite of Presidents Grant, Cleveland, Harding and Roosevelt, Old Ebbitt offers casual dining with service to locals and visitors alike – always a popular meeting spot for political insiders, journalists, celebrities and theater-goers. Old Ebbitt Grille is at 675 15th Street, NW (between F and G).

Shoestring Guide to Hong Kong

If there is one thing I am good at it is living beyond my means.

Though not necessarily a commendable trait, it has made me a hardcore bargain hunter for everything – from food, to sleeping quarters, to clothes, to transportation.

I may not be rich, I must admit, but street smart– yes I am!

Based on my recent budget trip to Hong Kong, I have crafted a scheme so frugal it will make any Pinoy proud.

This is for all the wanderlusts, who are short on cash.
Transportation

BUS = US$1.00 and up (depending on destination)

You will be amazed how cheap, well organized and safe it is to ride a bus in Hong Kong. There will always be a bus stop near you so spot that. DO NOT flag a bus in the middle of the road, it will squash you mercilessly! Always opt for the second deck seating for the best view.

DOUBLE DECKER TRAMWAY = US$.50 (flat rate)

Hong Kong’s cheapest mode of transportation!

Unfortunately the TRAM’s route only covers the Hong Kong Island side. But if you’re in the area you can go from Causeway Bay, to the Shark’s Fin City to Louis Vuitton in Central with just 12 bucks! Everyone MUST ride the TRAM, at least once, for the whole old school HK experience.

STAR FERRY = US$2.00

This the cheapest and most scenic way to traverse Kowloon and Hong Kong island.

MASS TRANSIT RAILWAY (MTR) = US$1.00 – US$15.00 (depending on the destination)

Not necessarily cheap, the MTR is the most convenient and my favorite way to go around the city. As they say, once you go MTR you can never go back to our local MRT.

*Taxis are the most expensive way to get around HK, so if you want to be a smart travel just say no and walk to where you’re going.

Sleep

CHUNKING MANSION = US$15 PER PERSON

Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

Do not be scared of the ghetto façade, the Mansion is safe and dirt cheap (no pun intended). The place has relatively clean beds and each room has its own bathroom with hot water.

Recently featured in Time Magazine, Chunking Mansion is said to be the melting pot of races in Hong Kong with Indians, Middle Eastern people, Nepalese, Sri Lakans, Bangladeshins and Nigerians calling this their turf.

Entertainment

SYMPHONY OF LIGHTS = FREE!!

Star Ferry Terminal, Kowloon

Every night at exactly 8 pm there will be a laser light show. You will hear a musical accompaniment to the laser light, which includes thousands and thousands of lights on various Hong Kong buildings bouncing off each other. Green and white lasers will shoot out from the top of the sky scrappers. It’s an amazing opulent experience that is, best of all, free!

VICTORIA PEAK = US$20.00 ++ (WITH FOOD)

Hong Kong Island

The Peak is an SOP destination. Its open rooftop platform offers the best 360-degree view of HK!

Go there around sunset so you see HK’s skyline at night. The cheapest way to get there is via open-top bus.

The restaurants and bistros are steep on price so opt for good ol’ McDonalds on the second floor. Take out your food and eat it al fresco on the roof deck.

OCEAN PARK = US$30

This is a happier place than Disneyland, especially if your 13 years old and up!

The latest attraction is the SkyFair, here you ride a helium balloon to get a spectacular view of the coastline and South China Sea.

LAN KWAI FONG = US$10

Central District, Hong Kong

The L-shaped cobble stone lane has trendiest pubs, bistros, restos and clubs. This place is an expat magnet so if you’re into white boy yuppies you may find your match here.

However alcoholic beverages sold at the bar are worth gold. The solution is to load up on the nearest 711 (a 6pack Tiger beer cost about P300), get bubbly with booze then head to Lan Kwai Fong and just go people oogling.

Shopping

MONGKOK STREET MARKET

Kowloon

ongkok street is ‘The shopping tourist mecca’. There are rows of shops that sell sports goods, branded clothes, computer items, comics, collectible toys, cellphones etc.

The most famous area is the Ladies Market. It is 3 blocks of tent domes that sell stuff you can see in Greenhills. However there are nice items to purchase like cute tote bags, hardcore rocker belts, bling quality fake watches and the ubiquitous pasalubong keychains, ballpens, wallets, t-shirts etc.

If you decide to buy something here YOU MUST HAGGLE like your life depended on it.

Haggling in this area is like a metaphor to a girl’s love life. Never show them (boys/hawkers) that you’re into them (boys/items). Always bargain for the best deal which is a 75 percent discount. And if they don’t give you what they want… WALK AWAY. There will be an 80 percent chance the boy/hawker will give in to what you want.

Another tip if your gonna buy the Hong Kong printed T-shirts the good price is 6 shirts for HK$100 (or P100 each)

LAI CHI KOK

Kowloon

This is fashion wholesale paradise!

To get here ride the MTR, go down the Lai Chi Kok station. Take Exit C.

Cheap bags, t-shirts, jeans, belts, accessories, you name it’s here. Haggling is a must. The US$30 leather bags you see in the US as expensive stores are just worth US$15 here.

H&M

Causeway Bay??? Hong Kong

For me this is the better than Mango, Sarah, Dorthy Perkin or Top Shop combined. This Swedish brand has the cheapest yet trendiest goods. Lucky for me and my friends we came in during sale season and we bought kick ass shirts for as low as P300 and patent leather bags for as cheap as P600! The accessories are lovely!

H and M caters to all kinds of taste whether you’re a wannabe hipster like Lindsay Lohan or a polished trendsetter ala Ashley Olsen.

You cant go wrong with a store that has acquired the talents of such bigwigs as Karl Lagerfeld, Viktor and Rolf, and yes… Maddona and Kyle Minogue!

BOSSINI

Dowdy as the brand may seem this clothing store is practical and if you look close enough you can find decent casual, office wear. Check out their SIMPSON tees sold for a steal.

Giordano

Gone are the cheesy Giordano plain tees with Frog logos, remember the 90s? In Hong Kong, Giordano has put up a Concept Store that has become classy and trendy. Check out their print ad which models Korean Superstars including Rain!

The Concept Stores have quality goods and the designs are minimalist but well structured. As expected the stuff is more expensive than your regular goods. A collared polo shirt can cost US$20, but it’s worth it!

The question now is what happened to Giordano Philippines?

HMV

CD heaven, enough said.

DOG FRIENDS FASHION STORE

Kowloon

Hipster clothing that street fashonistas will relish. I bought a trench patch jacket at a sale price of US$20.00 from US$100

Eats

STREET FOOD AT MONGKOK AREA = US$2.00

The way the Chinese cook their hawker food maybe gross but boy is it yummy. Get authentic dim sum, pork buns, prawn dumpling and Chinese tea here!

POPEYE’S CHICKEN = US$12.00

Order the chicken and the bread. Super worth it!

EGG TART = US$.40

This is Macau’s dessert speciality but HK version is also great. Buy at any local bakery

DAN RYANS’ CHICAGO GRILL US$25

Best clam chowder, hands.

How Restaurants Are Rated

Mobil’s rating system of restaurant consists of five different grades or ratings, each one which has its own set of criteria and expectations. A Mobil One-Star restaurant, for example, is a restaurant which provides an experience which is distinct through local flair, individual atmosphere or culinary specialty. A Mobil Two-Star restaurant is a restaurant which using a clean setting and efficient service to serve fresh food. Both value and family friendliness are considered in this category. A Mobil Three Star Restaurant is a restaurant which has good food, an enjoyable décor, and service which is both warm and skillful. A Mobil Four-Star restaurant is a restaurant which provides the most professional service, along with wonderful food and presentations which are distinctive in some way. Finally, a Mobil Five-Star restaurant is a restaurant which offers a flawless dining experience by providing service which is superlative, décor which is elegant, presentations which are detailed and exquisite, and food which is exceptional.

These criteria and expectations are meant to be a suggestion of what guests can expect to experience when visiting a restaurant of each caliber level. These recommendations are not the only limits set forth by each level, and they are not mandated individually. A restaurant establishment has to either meet or exceed all of the requirements for the previous star rating in order to advance to the next star rating. So for example, a Mobil Five-Star restaurant has to meet the expectations and criteria for a Four-Star restaurant, a Three-Star restaurant, a Two-Star restaurant and a One-Star restaurant before it can be a Five-Star restaurant.

One-star restaurants provide an experience which is distinctive either through individual atmosphere, local flair or culinary specialty. A one star restaurant’s service is both efficient and cordial with servers who are attired neatly. The products that are offered by a one star restaurant are fresh and appetizing when displayed.

Two star restaurants serve food that is fresh in a setting which is clean. Service offered by a two-star restaurant is efficient and family friendly. Two-star restaurant guests will be able to find all of the characteristics of a one-star restaurant, in addition to some improved features and more professional décor.

Three-stair restaurants offer great food, service that is both warm and skillful, and décor which is enjoyable and family friendly. Guests at three-star restaurants can expect to find all of the characteristics of both a two-star restaurant and a one-star restaurant, in addition to more specific criteria for a much more professional restaurant.

Four-star restaurants provide service which is professional, presentations which are distinctive, and food which is delicious and wonderful. Guests in four-star restaurants can expect to find all of the criteria and characteristics of a three-star, two-star and one-star restaurant, with some improvements.