Royal View Hotel – Hong Kong

One crucial aspect of travelling is your hotel. Or wherever you are staying. Although you would only be there for a couple of nights, it is necessary to choose one of your liking. Proximity, cost, convenience, and access to train/bus stations are just some of the considerations. For us, the cost takes the highest spot.

After reading all of the reviews online, we have decided to choose one of the cheapest there is: ROYAL VIEW HOTEL. Main reason it’s cheap is because it is located far away from the city, although it is near Disneyland and the airport. We don’t have a problem with that anyway. There are no big hotels nearby, just the usual residential apartments and small buildings. There was a beach too, but we didn’t bother going.

We were given the mountain view room. I initially wondered if we can actually see the mountains from there. Not much, actually. It was mostly the beach I told you about. Still nice, though.

The size of the room was pretty good, well enough for us. There was one additional bed in place, too.

1.jpg

The bed sheet and linens were clean and smelled good. The room was clean, and there were two bottles water (replenished thrice), several coffee sachets, tea bags and creamer.

2.jpg

In the shower room and toilet, there was free shampoo, hand & body soap, toothbrush and toothpaste. There were only two sets of those, so one of us in the group had to use her own stuff.

4.jpg

3.jpg

Fresh towels were also provided. All three clean fabrics. They all smelled good to me. Good thing it was replenished at least twice.

The verdict? I would recommend it to anyone who’s on a budget. The rooms were clean and amenities were complete. There were several restaurants and stores inside. However, if you’d like to explore the city further, it would be best to keep searching. I am sure you could also find a similar hotel, albeit a tad costly.

Here are other points to consider:

  • The staff were all welcoming, friendly, accommodating, and speaks good English (especially the receptionists). There was one point when we had to borrow an adapter and they quickly obliged.
  • The general ambiance, vibe, and entrance lobby looks refreshing.
  • There are sofas in the lobby, near the elevators, that serves as a waiting lounge as well.
  • There was a spot for the luggages in case you cannot check-in yet. It is for free and is guarded by one of the staff.
  • They have a service bus that connects the hotel’s clients to the nearest train station. Round-trip fare costs $5. It used to be free of charge, though. You basically have no choice because it is  impossible to walk. The ride takes roughly 5-10 minutes. There is short waiting time, as there are many buses available.
  • The buffet restaurant was epic! For an additional $120, we got a two-day unlimited buffet (included in our tour package). The array of food was a feast to the eyes. There were so  much to choose from, and I believe it’s good until lunch. We maximized the one-hour limit (7-9AM) and were really full when we finished. There is a restroom on the same floor, so no need to worry.
  • You will be given two keycards. One is for the door; one is for the light and facilities inside the room. You can request for two more for free, if necessary.
  • The deposited cash upon checking-in was returned on time.
  • The staff were prompt and quick to respond to inquiries.

 

So there. Hope the pointers here will be helpful. 🙂

 

Macau side trip

As I have mentioned on my previous post, we decided to do a side trip to Macau. I am not that interested in Shenzhen…so maybe in another time.

We boarded the ferry a little after 12 lunch time. We just bought some food at 7-11 and off we went. We all ate it once inside the ferry. It’s a one-hour ride. Upon finishing immigration, we were given a slip of paper as proof of our stay. We were told to keep it for use later. We were greeted by a representative of the tour services we availed.

First on the the list was The Fisherman’s Wharf.

6.jpg

11.jpg

12.jpg

The Macau Fisherman’s Wharf is a waterfront integrated, hotel, convention, dining, retail and entertainment complex. It is located at Freguesia da Sé in Macau Peninsula, near the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Pier. There was no entrance fee when we went there and all the stores were closed. I heard it opens during early night time until dawn.

Next, of course is probably one of the most popular spots in Macau. And most photographed, too! No less than St. Paul Ruins.

7.jpg

There were so many people that day, locals and tourists alike it seemed.

8.jpg

Can we miss the infamous egg tarts? Of course, not. And yeah, it was sooo good!! 🙂

Egg Tart.jpg

I wish I could’ve brought home more of these. Yum! 🙂

There were also several temples nearby, so we opted to take a look. Here’s one of them. It’s called the Na-cha temple.

9.jpg

After taking tons of pictures, off we went to a local souvenir shop. Our guide was really helpful along the way, as she was sharing stuff and some history while on the road. You may check it out here.We all bought T-shirts (I ❤ Macau!), keychains, and some local delicacies. My buddies bought some lucky charms. Good thing they brought their credit cards. Our saving grace!

Last dropping point was in The Venetian. We were instructed to take the free buses to go to other casinos around the area. Cool! But the downside? At this time, all our camera’s batteries were very low. I guess we were too preoccupied taking too many pictures from earlier. Can’t blame. There were too many scenic spots. Anyhow, we resorted to our phones. My friend’s iPhone got the best resolution, although it’s almost dying as well. Duh.

Well, oh well, we managed to snap a few photos. Like, really few. .

10.jpg

11807094_10152982795953639_1858685236354637961_o.jpg

11834682_10152982797033639_6461209006820230459_o.jpg

We also went to the Grand Lisboa, V Aquarium in City of Dreams, Galaxy, and Sands. There was so much more, but it’s practically the same inside, so we went back to Hong Kong at around 9PM. Whew. That was a long day.

 

Hong Kong Disneyland

Right after dropping our bags at the hotel, we headed straight to the MTR, off to the final station, which was especially customized for Disneyland.

3.jpg

I was excited to be there, because Mickey Mouse (my favorite character) is literally everywhere. It was super cute!

2.jpg

1

We waited for a few minutes to board the train. And I was surprised to see that there were a lot of people. It was a Monday. Aren’t they supposed to be at work? I was wishing there would be a few of us there, so we wouldn’t waste time queuing.  But I was wrong.

Anyhow, few minutes passed. And we finally arrived! I can see it even from the inside. As we approached, several people, mostly children, crowded in the exits eager to go out of the train. We let them out first, and we followed through. And the feeling was unexplainable. Sorry if I felt like a child back then. I can’t help it.

And yes, I finally was able to take a photo in this famous backdrop, albeit many photo-bombers. I am quite sure I became a photo-bomber in their photos, too.

4.jpg

Long story short, we had lots of fun. It was scorchingly hot, but the fun outweighed it. We managed to ride at least eight (if my mind serves me correctly) in total, not including the street shows and theater performances. I specifically enjoyed the Lilo & Stitch Encounter, Jungle Cruise, and Grizzly Cars. There must be more but I can’t recall all of it now. The worst parts? First, I lost my camera somewhere in Mystic Land. I reported it to the City Hall-Lost & Found counter, while I asked my friends to roam around. They obliged at first, but came back to me right away as they were worried we’d not locate each other later on when it’s already dark. Since no one has returned any camera that matches my description yet, I was asked to leave my contact number (I gave our hotel’s local landline). Around half past nine I think when I received the call that someone returned a camera matching my description. I was sooooo relieved! Thank God again, for this miracle. Finally, we didn’t catch the Fantasy Parade and fireworks! We were already so tired so we opted to go home at around 7pm. I know, I know. We must have missed a lot. But all of us agreed that it’s already time to go. And oh, should I say that the only thing we ate the entire day was a hotdog sandwich, ice cream, and loads of water. I cannot count how many times we refilled our plastic bottles in the drinking station. I told you it was really hot.

6.jpgWe frequented this place a lot. Haha ^^

 

We arrived at around 9PM in the hotel, dead-tired and starved. We heated some water and prepared cup noodles. We also ate some left over sandwiches and biscuits. I remembered I ate two cups of noodles and two bowls of fruit cereals. We chatted and prepared our things for the next day as we have an early call time. We have to be at the buffet restaurant at 7AM. That means waking up around 6 or 7AM. After watching some TV shows (which we cannot understand), we all drifted to sleep. Well, I was the first one to.

All in all, it was a fruitful and enjoyable day. Off to our next itinerary!

 

Hong Kong anniv thoughts

I can’t believe it’s been a year now. Time flies fast. Or was I just too busy?

Roughly  a year ago, we experienced our first-ever trip abroad. In Hong Kong, no less. I can still remember it. Almost every detail. To say that I was excited would be an understatement. I slept over at one of my friend’s house nearby the airport since my flight is at 5 AM the next day. I had work on a Sunday and my flight was on Monday. Yep, I barely had sleep..only two to three hours only. Half-asleep, yes. I had too many things to think of, and dream of.

2AM. My alarm woke me up, and had me jolting upwards. It’s time to shower. I slowly and quietly got out of bed (my friend was still snoring beside me) and grabbed the towel. After shower, I saw my friend preparing his bags (just now) and was asking me what else should she bring. I was prepared for this, of course. I gave her my to-bring list and she told me to go downstairs to have my breakfast. Oh, so thoughtful. She followed soon after and we had almond cornflakes and cold milk. Nice. I felt good. I am all set now. We packed some pancakes (her mom was so sweet to cook for us ahead of time), hotdog sandwiches and biscuits (which we bought the other day), too. We didn’t bring bottled water because it’s not allowed. And off we went back upstairs and got dressed. We discussed a little and finally brought our bags downstairs. We don’t have luggages, by the way. I only had a backpack (your average Jansport size) and a small carry-on body bag. She brought two big bags, way heavier than what I had. We went inside the car and bid goodbye to her family. I will say goodbyes to my mother later, when I’m on the plane.

Off we drove. It’s a half past 3AM when we arrived at the airport, I think. We called our other friend and said we are already at the terminal and asked her whereabouts. She’s on the way! After a few minutes, we saw her getting off the taxi. So we continued our way inside.

Everything went smoothly, good thing there were just a few people on queue. We are lucky. Or so we thought.

Immigration. The most dreaded part. I didn’t expect to be deferred. I honestly and simply answered all questions, showed my IDs, and filled out forms correctly. I am not exactly sure why. My other friend also had the same problem. We were instructed to another area where other people were also waiting. Daaaamn! Do we really have to do this?!? My mind was running wild again. Yes, the pessimistic me is resurfacing. Whew. I told myself to relax and focus. After what seemed like eternity, me and my friend were called at the same time, and was asked random questions. This time, we both told the IOs that we ARE friends, and as a proof, showed previous pictures of us together. We showed our company and health provider IDs to prove we won’t look for work in HK. And we got our stamp.

I almost lost my patience and composure there. But thank God we survived. Now I know what to do next. While waiting for our plane, we ate some snacks, and bought water inside. We discussed about what happened and felt great. We moved on from the incident and excitedly took pictures. I excused myself and called my mother. I was so relieved from what happened, and I told her everything. I thought of all the money, time, everything that could have been wasted if we weren’t allowed to get in just because of some random IOs attitude.

And then we were called to move to another area. As usual, there was a delay. This airline is popular for having regular delayed flights every now and then. But after ten minutes or so, we boarded the plane. And my heart was jumping for joy.

Our itinerary was quite simple. I made Day 1 and Day 3’s schedule. We followed the tour package’s itinerary on Day 2.

  • Day 1 — Disneyland (oh, was that difficult?)
  • Day 2 — HK: Avenue of Stars, Chocolate shop, Jewelry shop, T Galleria, city tour; Macau : Fisherman’s Wharf, Ruins of St Paul, Na-cha temple, The Venetian
  • Day 3 —The Peak Tram, Sky Terrace, Madame Tussauds, Ladies Market 

11811521_1198848063474341_4354787323556956234_n

Looking back at all the pictures makes me feel accomplished. We were able to do all that I planned in our itinerary. I can say our first trip was successful. Except maybe when I lost my camera in Disneyland. But thankfully, the locals are friendly enough to return it to the City Hall Lost and Found counter. And it was returned to me in less than 24 hours. Again, another miracle! To think that that camera is not mine, and that tons of pictures are in stored there. Aside from that, everything went smoothly. We had fun.

Fast-forward to present. Year 2016, month of July.

Me and my  travel buddies met two Saturdays ago, and had buffet at one of the nearby restaurants in the office. We talked about travel plans, and was choosing from different options. There were some considerations this time, since it’s our third time already.

We had a good conversation and I think we’re on our way to our next destination, wherever it may be. That is, before I head to Japan, God-willing.

13754110_10153673917638639_733695743158968152_n.jpg

Hong Kong preps

And it’s finally happening! We are all having our first trip abroad. Yes, it is our first time – all three of us. That’s me and my two other colleagues, to which I consider now my official travel buddies.

We have been choosing whether to go to Hong Kong or Singapore first, but after much research, I decided to choose Hong Kong. Two basic reasons are: cost and proximity. But of course, Singapore would follow next. Soon enough!

Anyhow, I spotted a good seat sale online.I made a few calls. After getting their details and approval, I immediately booked flights and voila. It’s a done deal.

confirm 2

 

Next, I called my friend who works in a travel agency. Me and my friends have long decided that, since this is our first trip overseas, we’d be getting a tour package. But since it’s hard to trust nowadays, I have chosen a credible agency I knew about. We were given an array of choices (whether to go to Macau or Shenzhen, China as a side trip), several hotels, with or without breakfast (buffet, nonetheless!), etc. I made the final arrangements, deposited the payment, and received the voucher the next day.

Untitled.png

Everything’s settled! Yay! Now off to packing our bags..And oh, let me show you a preview of our first few minutes in Hong Kong. Enjoy!

Application Process: [4] Class Demonstration

Okay, first thing. Let’s breakdown the class demo in four parts: [1] Introduction [2] Passage Reading [3] Warm-up Activity, and [4] Mini Lesson.

The first two parts were easy for me. Although for the remaining two parts, I had to dig deeper and think carefully of how best to execute it. I searched and searched. Sure there are many options available, but I tried to find the easiest, cheapest (less materials needed) and one that is doable in one minute and 30 seconds. Impossible? At first, yes. But then as I was practicing, it became manageable. I started off with three minutes, then gradually decreased as  I kept on practicing. And then I reached my goal. Same thing I did for the mini-lesson. It took me longer to plan the lesson through and manage the time, as compared to the warm-up.

Anyhow, I have chosen Simon Says for my warm-up. I tweaked a little, and replaced Simon with Teacher. I focused on body parts, and used only 4-6 throughout the activity. Again, this is only for a minute and a half. I started with a genki (energetic) greeting and asked the students to stand up, sit down and stand up again. I asked several body parts including the most popular ones such as head, knees, nose, and ears. As for the shoulders, I added some movement and instructed the students to shake their shoulders, slowly and then faster. And that was it.

SS-2013-10-22_16.41.27.png

For the mini-lesson, we had to select either of the two topics presented: shopping or directions. It didn’t took me long to choose shopping. I love it! And of course, it deemed easier to plan a lesson around it. I had to buy some paper materials and was required to bring at least one or two pieces of realia (real objects or pieces of writing, used to help teach students in a class). I knew the backdrop is all-white, so I decided to buy colorful materials, my favorites blue and pink. There was a dialogue to begin with, and I wrote it in the materials, along with vocabularies and other relevant phrases. I rehearsed for many, many times in front of a camera. I watched it, took notes of what needed to be changed, and recorded again. After the nth time, at least a few days before the demo, I believe I almost perfected it. And I was satisfied with the result.

I should also mention that the first two parts were a walk in the park. I just had to include some Nihonggo words/sentences in my introduction. And it goes something like this:

Hi, my name is …. And I am interviewing in  ….. Makati City, Philippines. Today is the 22nd of June, 2016. Part 1. Minna-san konnichiwa. Watashi wa …. desu. …to yonde kudasai. Hajimemashite.

It roughly translates to: Hello everyone, my name is.. You can call me … It’s nice to meet you. And then off to the English introduction. You just have to mention your educational  background, family (optional), age, hobbies, or anything interesting and relevant. And then another Nihonggo phrase, domo arigatou gozaimasu. Yoroshiku onegai shimasu. (Thank you very much. Let’s have good working relationship together.)

The second part was the reading passage. And if you’ve read my previous posts, you’d already know it. I just have to have eye contact with the camera, deliver with the correct projection, diction, voice modulation, etc. And it’s done.

After the recording, I was told to wait for the supervisor’s approval. After several minutes, I was called to the office once again. The boss congratulated me and told me that I did an excellent job. I was overfilled with joy. Thank God. I was told to wait for the call. We’ll just have to wait for the Board of Education’s approval.

Application Process: [3] The Interview

I thought it would never come. But it did… after three months!

I must admit I was really waiting during the month after my accent test. But as the days drag by, I lost interest and enthusiasm. I just thought that if it will come, it will come. Come what may. There were some instances I thought they may have forgotten me, or that they lost my resume or application forms. I even applied in two other eikaiwas my friends were currently working in. But heck, there was no response from them.

I forgot to mention  that I got a call two weeks after my accent test. The boss told me I passed mainly because of my accent. I told you it’s my saving grace. But there were some points for improvement that he mentioned: [1] I need to be more charming on screen. If you remember the part where we had to read a passage, that would be it. I wasn’t looking at the camera, and was focused intently on the paper in my hand. I only glanced at the camera during the first part where I had to introduce my name and interviewing city. And that was it. I could understand where he is coming from. He had the impression that I was nervous and shy. Nervous – a little, but shy? No. [2] My essay was too short. Now this I have to blame myself. I was looking at my seatmate’s write ups and I saw them doing the same thing, so I copied. Not their text, but the length. I thought, why make it long when I could it sum it up in just a few words. This ain’t an essay writing contest anyway. And yes, I admit I’m afraid I might make grammatical mistakes along the way. The less words, the safer. It’s a shame, considering I am a journalism major. (Yeah, I know, you might have spotted some errors in this blog as well.) My apologies for that. [3] Finally, my spelling and grammar test had really good results. I even got a perfect score in the spelling test. To this, I expected of course. My grammar test was 8/10, if I remember correctly. I was really happy with that outcome. [4] The personality thing wasn’t mentioned at all, so I didn’t bother asking. Or should I?

So there, I was told to wait for another call regarding the schedule of the interview. To which I waited for three months. No big deal.

Screen-Shot-2014-04-07-at-10.28.26-AM

Fast forward to the day of interview. I arrived one hour earlier and took the chance to prepare. I jotted notes on my pad beforehand so I used my spare time to review. I was then asked to complete some form and that was it. I was called upon the interview room and it started.

I won’t dwell into every detail anymore, as it would be too long. The entire interview took more than an hour, as far as I can recall. I had a good view of the cars (and traffic!) outside as I was seated facing the window. I think it somehow helped me think easier. The expected questions were asked and of course, I used my rehearsed answers. I tried not to appear as if I memorized them. Well, I didn’t really. I simply got the gist and stated it in the most simple way possible. I kept the accent (my strongest point I believe) but didn’t overdo. There were several instances, however, that the interviewer would ask me to louder my voice. I was unconscious of this. My current job requires me to speak lowly, almost to a whisper, and so it didn’t occur to me that this job is different. I will be speaking in front of a class so my voice should be at its highest manageable tone. I was reprimanded more than twice about this. Goodness! I kept going down. And up. And down again.

Anyhow, time passed. And the interviewer offered his hand and congratulated me. He told me right then and there that I passed. Whew! Wasn’t that fast? Or were they making up for the three months that went away? I don’t know. But one thing is for sure: I am going to the next and LAST stage, the dreaded class demonstration.

I don’t know what to feel afterwards. The interviewer kept saying that he actually sees me going to Japan. He reminded me again of my voice and charm (especially in front of a camera). As you might not know, the demo would be recorded. He shook my hand once again and congratulated me for a job well done. He said I seemed to be really comfortable speaking in the English language. That felt good.

I was  told the demo is scheduled after a month, and so I have roughly 30 days to prepare. Boy, was that long! I mentally sketched a rough draft on what I should do. I will let you know the specifics on this on my next post. But let’s call it a day for now. Ganbatte!!! … And oh, thank you for reading this far. Cheers!