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When Selene, my daughter, turned 1 year old – I didn’t plan a grand birthday celebration that’s almost expected of every parent nowadays. I just found it to be impractical for something a 1-year-old wouldn’t even remember. “What kind of parent are you?!” were things I’d jokingly hear from my sister but I was resolute that we could throw a simple birthday celebration, just not the “debut-level” birthday considered normal these days. I maintained though that when Selene is old enough, then I’d even let her choose what kind of birthday celebration she would want and we’d plan it together.
4 years later, that time has come. She was planning her own birthday celebration down to the cupcakes, invitations (she and I would hand-write ourselves) and her costume. A Little Mermaid-themed swimming party where all the girls would be mermaids and the boys will be mermen. I was in the middle of scouting venues when she came up to me and said, “Mom, I want to go to Disneyland. Can we go to Disneyland for my birthday?” To which I replied, “But what about your birthday party? How about this – which one do you like better – Disneyland or birthday party?” “Ummm… BOTH!” Feeling that I was about to insist on choosing just one, she went ahead and continued, “But what about I just have my party when I’m 6 so we can go to Disneyland first?“
Which brings us here, my friends!
If you’ve seen my nagmamakaawa post on Facebook addressing the thief who stole my sister’s laptop in the basement parking of SM Aura, you’d know my memory card containing ALL the videos of our trip was there. The finished vlogs, the raw clips, everything. I initially planned on having these blogs accompanied with a short vlog as well. I honestly didn’t take as much photos because I was more committed to vlogging the trip. You can just imagine my heart slowly breaking into tiny little shards of glass that kept on piercing when I found out the laptop was stolen. I can still hear the little pieces breaking now and then whenever I remember the trip.
Initially, it was supposedly just Selene and I going on the trip but my Ate and her son, Jacob (Selene’s cousin) wanted to come with since it was also Jacob’s birthday a week prior. Our youngest sister, Trish, tagged along as well since she hasn’t stepped foot in Hong Kong yet. Thank God! I can’t imagine now doing the trip alone with Selene (we have done it before though for a press trip so while it’s doable, it’s so exhausting).
We chose an afternoon flight as we already anticipated we’d be cram-packing some last-minute items that morning. When you’re travelling with kids, you just want to bring the whole house. We still arrived early in the airport, afraid of the long check-in and immigration queues. Had our crappy breakfast (why is there no good place to eat in the International section of NAIA3) and boarded around 4PM. Airport traffic was the worst so we waited a good 30 minutes in the plane before lift-off.
Arrived in Hongkong around 730PM, I think. My epidural mom-brain can’t remember the details. Immigration and luggage took almost an hour. We boarded the Airport Express train which takes you from the airport straight to the cities – in our case, Kowloon – which took around 30 minutes. What a world of difference pre-booking everything online makes, especially when you’re travelling with kids. I booked all our transfers and tickets online at KKDay – from the Airport Express/MTR card (which Selene is holding above) to the Disneyland tickets.
The Airport Express/MTR card includes a roundtrip-transfer from airport to city as well as an unlimited number of rides for MTR and buses for three days. The One card to rule them all. The Disneyland pass is a 1-day entry but they also have 2-day passes in the website. With booking ahead, we were able to skip the long queues and the hassle of figuring out what to do and where to go next. A must when travelling with kids!
After arriving in the Kowloon station, we took the free bus to our hotel located in Tsim Sha Tsui. We had our first meal in HK a quarter past 9. Goodness – so thankful the kids were very patient and didn’t throw any tantrums out of hunger or tiredness. Although Selene had two bowls of noodles she slurped down so quickly, I was afraid she was going to have a heartburn. It was also freezing because of the winds so we hurriedly walked back to our hotel right after dinner to rest for the following day.
While on the way to our first meal which is a hole-in-the-wall diner that locals flocked to. Don’t even know the name of the restaurant but it was amazing… or we were just so hungry at that time!
Their first reaction when we asked them how they find Hong Kong, they both replied “It looks like Manila!“. With conviction. “Where are the castles?!” And by that Selene meant the Disneyland castles.
She picked out these boots specifically for the trip – mas prepared pa siya sa akin, TBH.
Dabbing everywhere. I swear, these two together make for the most challenging workout. The people beside them couldn’t contain their laughter.
Selene wearing Tristan’s jacket which is still too big for him, hahaha. She has her own – the pink one – gifted by her ninangs and ninong. Thanks guys, super useful! Also pictured – my Ate and her water bottle. Always with a water bottle.. or two. Or four.
Galit sa tubig. Akala mo mauubusan. Selene: “Ninang, let me hold your bottles. Hindi pang-OOTD yan.”
I brought only one “jacket” and it was so thin, it was no use at all. I underestimated the 16-degree weather and didn’t account for the wind. What is ngatog.
I don’t know how my sister pulled off her cropped-top look in this chilly weather. Polar bear yata siya.
Yup, that is probably Selene asking to be carried because she was tired of walking. Workout mode on.
No phone zone… except when the moms are window shopping.
Just charging their energies before running off again and cutting our window shopping trips short.
If all else fails… buy them food. This street food version of the waffle was a hit. I think we ordered two rounds because one wasn’t enough. Based on my face from this photo, I was ready to go home. Hahaha!
“I think this is the way to Disneyland, Mom.”
This was our trip to Sneaker Street in Mong Kok where the kids got so sick of shoes by the third Adidas shop we went into.
“Mom, it’s so good! Try it!!” stuffing the whole thing in my mouth.
If all else fails, itawa na lang natin ang pagod.
1. Definitely book your passes online. KKDay has almost all the Hong Kong passes you’d need from transpo to activities. Saves you time and energy from having to do everything once you get to the city.
2. Don’t trust Accuweather. Pack a jacket or a Heat Tech item from Uniqlo just in case.
3. The hassle of bringing a stroller is worth it. I almost passed out after carrying Selene alighting 5 flights of stairs (50+ steps!) when she was asleep after our Disneyland trip.
4. The MTR station (in Tsim Sha Tsui) is a maze. We could have asked where the nearest exit was but followed the signs which took us around the whole station with long walkways we thought would never end. It wasn’t easy to ask directions as well because there were no staff roaming around the stations to guide you. So yeah, I don’t know what my tip is here. I guess, just be prepared for the long walks. To think we booked our hotel because the MTR station was right across the street na ha.
5. Again, for those bringing kids – be prepared for all the walking. The next time I’m bringing the kids, I’ll make sure to afford booking our whole trip in Disneyland Hotel so we can just stay there and not have to use the MTR anymore. Hahaha!
6. Manage your expectations. My friend gave me a list of foodie spots to try around HK but I already knew there’d be no way we’ll be able to go to them with the kids in tow – maybe only if we took a cab straight to the destinations. We ate in Mcdonald’s a few too many times despite it being an absolute no-no in our travel plans.
7. Their “house tea” is not free. We were served tea without our consent thinking it was complimentary (like most restaurants here in Manila) but it is NOT. We were even charged for how many we were even though the kids didn’t even drink and we were served only 3. My sister and the waitress were Google Translate-ing their arguments and in the end, we were still charged for our whole party.
8. We stayed in a 4-star hotel which did not have a bidet. Di pala uso sa kanila.
I’m posting our Disneyland trip in another entry!
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