Sunday, March 27, 2011

audio break...

As of this day let me formally declare Cathay Pacific as my most favorite airline
(like I have a long list of comparison?!).

Food was good.
Flight was smooth.
but their Music... 
aaaahhhh their music... 
was abso-freakin'-lutely hands down the coolest compilation ever!!!

With the great play list, flying was just a breeze. But when you are busily jotting down the never heard of great artists and songs just makes you wanna wish the flight was longer. 

 Some of the albums from their indie collection.
I was happy flier when acqauinted with these unknown artists so let me pass on my happiness by sharing them...

such a happy-feel-good-walking-on-sunshine kinda artist. nothing but love for Ms. Doolittle

definitely the kind of pop artist you wouldn't mind getting caught on listening to. all i can say is I got a lot a lovin' for this missy lissie.  

  makes you wanna dance, dress up like a boho and create a music video of yourself. who doesn't love getting crazy by yourself???

one of the best companions for a long drive to nowhere. let's get lost. NOW.

a great beach date after the long drive. start rollin' in the sand baby.

the sweetest sing-along-high. memorize lyrics, pronto! 

  There's actually still more, but these are the artists that ultimately struck the chord in me.

Hope you like it, coz from the geeky looks of it I sure did.
Chill the ears...
Make love to the music...

blog track: Little Lovin' by Lissie 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chillin' in HongKong

"you're soooo living the life!!! :-)" - Kym

It sounds soooo gooood that it makes me wanna be smug and say "hell yeah!" then flip my hair. But truth is, it's difficult to be smug when I was actually just a recipient of my father's charity. Oh diba?! how "bongga" can a father's charity get?! and  just for the record I am definitely not complaining.

Hongkong what can I say? the land I never dreamed of going but when it's free who am I to resist? Thank you very much to the thousands of Asia miles my dad has accumulated over his years of travel and that gratitude extends to my dad for finally bothering to keep track of his points and rewards, coz if he hadn't  there wouldn't be 2 round trip tickets to Hongkong. I never felt more like a kid getting a candy when handed the ticket of great news. I was/ am a happy kiddie cheapo.

Since HK was never one of my go to destination, I wasn't that thrilled to do my research on the country as compared to my previous travels. Well I browsed a bit at the ever reliable for some cheap and reliable accommodation and how to get there, but other than that it was all up to my sister.

I heard that Hongkong is quite an expensive place to be in (that's probably why I wasn't as excited as compared to my previous trips), so as a cheapo, I took upon myself to do everything in my power to save and stay within the budget, as a result ...

snoozed at the airport.

Call it extreme measures on frugality or whatever, but this, I call a dream. I don't know where I got the idea of thinking that sleeping in an airport is one of the true marks of a backpacker, maybe it's from watching too much Amazing Race. But that picture of me sleep posing should at least be proof enough that I'm half way there, like I need to convince myself. ha! Nonetheless, I thought it's a cool thing to do, but it's actually more than just the cool  image. Sleeping in an airport saves you a night in accommodation, especially when you just landed at 10 in the evening.

While I was taking it easy, 'start' reading that book that I had since 2006 for the 5th time, I realized that there were also a handful of other cool cheapos sleeping nearby. That my dear friends was the moment my delusional coolness was shattered. Note to self: You are not that cool. 

 Good morning Hongkong!

When you hear the word spring in context to the world of fashion, does cutesy tootsy colorful floral dresses come to your mind? I hope your answer is yes, because like you I was  also deceived by the fashion magazines, fashion bloggers, and fashion experts on their concept of spring fashion. I admit that I may not have researched on where to go in HK but I damn well researched on what to wear! and to think I was gunning for the Jessica Alba look.

Imagine the shock my tropical body had to take the moment we stepped out to the bus station. It was cooooold like cold cold. I thought it was just because it was 6 in the morning but by 7, 8, 9, 10 and so on it was still the same, and worst in the evenings. So lesson #1, those in the fashion industry are deceitful! lesson #2 you are not Jessica Alba and lesson #3 never underestimate the degree Celsius of 15 thinking that it's just like being inside an air conditioned room coz it's not. But through it all I just loved how I was able to justify wearing a coat and a scarf minus the boots. Boots... aaahhhh boots... sooo out of my character but I've never envied people with nice boots, my sneakers were fashionably out of place in the sea of boots. 

I hate to say this but we broke our rule with that Mcdonald's thing. We ate something familiar the moment we arrived in the city, but excuse us we were just desperate and hungry. If it's any consolation I ordered a Mcdo hot tea, at least it's still a very chinese drink. hehe.

wake up Kowloon...

Since we weren't able to check in right away, my sister and I decided to just start exploring, and boy was it too early, coz all the stores were still closed. And too bad they were coz we would've been in the perfect mood to buy us some Chanel unfortunately, we just got so tired from walking around that when they opened we just lost the urge to splurge. haha. Of course we'd never be in the mood for the things with blaring logos, uhmm hello?! us?! like we don't have the money?! of course we don't! haha.

But it was a good time to walk around and observe the city come to life. The transition of the sleepy roads to bustling streets is quite fascinating to look at. The hushed sounds of the vehicles to the steady clip clap of the pedestrians' boots footwear and all the buzzing combined, you could actually hear it. And if you're feeling kinda dramatic you could just stand still in middle of the pedestrian lane and everyone will just pass you by, bumping your shoulder a bit here and there, but reality isn't a movie so just expect someone to throw a few curses at you like "crazy b*tch" or "F you!" translated in Chinese. So just in case you want to get dramatic just stay out of their busy way coz seriously, they walking like there's no tomorrow.

chilled by the bay

After catching a couple of hours rest, my sister and I headed to the tourist spot of Kowloon, the waterfront of Tsim Tsa Tsui. From there you can see some historical landmarks, which I'm sorry to say I have no background story to tell, and get the perfect eye level view of the HK's amazing skyscrapers at Central. 

I thought that that was the perfect time to go there, sunset was great, crowd was less and best of all weather was perfection. Mid to late afternoon, aaahh the only time when I could just dare to wear a shirt, even a flimsy one at that. My tropical body was that confident and so pleased with the cool breeze and steady heat of the sun. But all good things must come to an end by night time, coz I was back to freezing my confident arse off while watching the nightly laser light show from the harbor.  

At first I expected it to be a magical display of fireworks and all but it was just a bunch of dancing lights from the participating skyscrapers. I may be mad for saying this, but I don't think it was really that grand. Sure I have to commend the coordination of lights and the great sound system but other than that, I don't know I found it lacking? It's either my expectations were just too high or my sense of appreciation was  just numbed by the cold night.   

lively lovely ladies night market at Mongkok

It's amazing how the lights breathe life into the nights of this ladies market in Mongkok. Everything is so vibrant. The colors, the energy, the vibe of the people, it's amazing! It makes you feel  like you're in a Chinese market of some Asian movies, except that you are really in a Chinese market.

I can still remember my "woah" moment when we got out of the subway, it felt like walking into a totally different world. It seems like all of HK was there and the all the bulbs in the world were used. The energy was just different. People just kept on walking by, they don't seem to stop. Perhaps the only time they stop is when they buy food or check out stuffs. Other than that I could just take my clothes  off and run around naked and see if that would stop their tracks, but with all my tummy flabs, chances are they wouldn't even bother a glance. I know, it's sad right?!

ignorance in the world of chinese signage...

For a country that was colonized by the English it's a wonder they're not adept to using  the English language. Their stores' signage should tell you that for sure, well except for those giant retails stores that has the giant  English capital letters of LV, entwined CC, G-U-C-C-I, H-E-R-M-E-S, H&M and etc, those don't need figuring out. But like I always say the English language is not a necessity to become a progressive country. The fact that despite our being so called 'good' English speakers and we still economically lag behind our neighboring countries who could hardly speak the language should be pondered upon. It's making me question if we are really learning the language for the right reasons.

 forget dimsum this is the real deal...

I've never craved for a cup of plain rice so badly. Don't take it the wrong way, their street foods were okay. Usually steamed and spicy, but it just has that distinct smell that can't be that pleasing in the long run. Though I had tasted quite a number of their street foods, just don't ask me what is good coz most of them kinda looks the same, their names are in big Chinese characters and the vendors just don't have the time in their busy world to entertain my questions. I simply just had to be street smart about it and point out what looked good while hoping it'll taste great. True enough my sighted food choices didn't disappoint, mediocre but  really had no choice but to swallow it up.

The noodle was a different story though coz it was probably the best beef noodle I've ever had. No joke! Like good daughters that we are, we followed through our mom's only reminder, which is not to take care of ourselves but this: try their noodles. So we made it a mission to have the noodles. While we were strolling early morning in Mongkok we found this tent made 'carenderia' looking eatery where some locals went in. To redeem ourselves from eating at Mcdonald's we went inside, sat on their stools, handed the menu, wondered how to order from their  all chinese menu, looked around at what people were having, waited, then waited, until some guy finally took pity on our confused look and approached us to answer his own question, "beef noodles? Okay!" And that's how we had our beef noodles, like we actually had a choice.  

strayed in the hill of the dead...

What a great way to start our second immersion in HK than at the temple for the dead, in short cemetery. We knew we were on the right track, we knew that it was in that area, but just because it looks like a temple doesn't mean it is "the" temple. We were supposed to be at the Temple of 10,000 Buddhas  but we just don't carefully follow direction. There was a small arrow pointing to our destined temple but we were unsure of the narrow eskina like entrance, so we figured that as a tourist spot it's supposed to be grand. And who would have thought that their cemetery would be also grand.

I tell you, you haven't seen a cemetery like this cemetery complete with all escalators and lifts to get you to the top. Of course there's pretty much nothing to see along the way except for the urn compartments, but when you reach the top you'll surely be rewarded with a pretty view. But it's still kinda weird loving the view considering the solemnity of the place and the scarcity of the people, by people I mean my sister and I.  

why hello Buddhas...

As you know, we finally gathered our common sense and followed the arrow of the narrow alley to get to this place. Tadahhh! 10,000 Buddhas. I didn't count but I read that there's actually about 12,000++ of these Buddhas, and I wouldn't know since we didn't go farther up the hill, let's just say that my lazy fats got in the way.

I thought that this was a cute place. I liked how the Buddhas personalities are so colorful.  Each of them are sculpted in a different way and looks so normal. I loved how some of them are reading a book or holding a flower or laughing or even talking to each other, isn't that just cute?! I bet each of them were captured according to their personality during their lifetime here on earth. Makes me wonder, how would I possibly be captured if I was one of them? maybe I'd be a bit high tech. I wouldn't mind being captured as a blogger with a laptop on my lap or a music lover with an ipod attached to my ears. I'd like that. ;)

what's your ride?...

Trains, buses, trams, ferries.. I've exhausted them all public transportation, except for the taxi coz it's expensive, and you know na. Unlike Singapore, I've had quite a hard time figuring out their railways stations. It's probably because it was so huge and crowded with so many entrance and exits that my simple minded brain couldn't comprehend the complexities of it all. But when you don't have the budget for taxis, it is a must to squeeze the brain juice.

Trains, I enjoyed, I'll always be fascinated by how time saving they are. Buses, so cool! All their buses are double decked and they have an area for your luggage plus a TV monitor so you could monitor your luggage, while you're on the top deck, so wala sa pinas, I love it!. Trams, exciting at first, same with bus it's double decked minus all the cool stuffs and it's narrower, but it's electricity operated, I think, so that makes it semi-cool. We got bored riding the tram because we only rode it for the experience of riding one with no particular destination in mind. So as a result we just ended up having a joy ride from our hop on point and  back. But the ferries...aaaahhh traumatic! though it's also  funny but I'll chika it in the end.

buildings here, buildings there, buildings everywhere...

Welcome to Central, HK the island of buildings, buildings and more buildings. So tall and high, glassy and shiny that I got a headache from craning my neck to see those cold structures towering above me. For someone who is easily impressed by stylistic architecture, I definitely lost my mojo here. I guess they are just all so impressive that nothing really stands out anymore. It's just like Ian Somerhalder always looking gorgeous all the time, that you wouldn't know which angle of him you'll love best, but he's Ian so there's no such things thing as angles ;)

I guess that's Central for you, the commercial hub of the country distinguished by its skyscrapers.

blinded by the freezing Peak...

The Peak is probably the most recommended go to place in HK. They say it's best seen on sunset or night time when the lights are just magical. Like true tourists, we took the bus and headed to some mountain top where The Peak sits upon. OH EM GEE! getting off the bus is like being splashed with a bucket full of iced water. It was freezing. Like the temperature just made a sudden drop in a matter of minutes, but we're in a higher altitude so that explains it. Amazingly I saw someone still crazy enough to jog around the area wearing the complete jogging attire of  shorts and shirt. Dude! my tropical warm blooded hands goes down for you.

Yeah we ate at Burger King, but I've never tried Burger King before, so that's not in violation to my rule book. In defense, it's hard to find some authentic Chinese dish around the area, coz The Peak is just like a mall with some fast food chains and stores. Speaking of stores I bought this pair of boots at the one of it's stores thinking it was so cheap, only to find out that there is an exact pair at the sidewalks of Mongkok for a much much cheaper price. I felt robbed and got fooled by my sister's reasoning that the ones in the mall must be of quality than that in the sidewalks. Quality my freezing foot! So please learn from my lesson.... don't be boots envy coz it clouds your better judgment. 

Getting to the peak of The Peak you'll have to pay HKD 25, for that promising bird's eye view of HK's glittering skyscrapers. Considering that we only spent less than 5 mins at the top compute it as HKD 5 per minute, or a minute long distance call to abroad. The chill was just unbearable especially when it was accompanied by the steady strong wind. I probably just soaked in the beauty of it for 30 seconds, spent the two and half minutes taking pictures of the view, another 2 irritating minutes taking a perfect angled picture for my sister who by the way is very demanding for someone who ask favors, and finally 30 seconds for me to pose then zoom we're outta there.

Funny thing is, in our haste to get back to Kowloon we ended up taking a ferry boat joy ride to some island situated between HK and MACAU at 8 in evening! All I can say is that it was 50% accidental and 100% stupidity and recklessness on my part. I didn't even know why I was such in a hurry the moment we got off the bus. Following the crowd seemed just the right thing to do, perhaps their sense of busyness rubbed off me by copying their long hurried strides. In my defense I didn't think that that pier held many terminals in route to their neighboring islands. I kinda wondered why the fare was expensive than what was said, but in my head I rationalized as maybe because t'was night time (same policy as those ferries in Macau). I was already relaxing in my chair when my sister kinda panicked and said that we just passed by Kowloon and that  it was already half an hour and we were still on the boat. She thought that maybe we were headed to China but we didn't pass by an immigration upon boarding so I was confident that weren't. I tried to act calm by saying don't worry to her but to my inner self I was already calling on God, all the angels and saints. Good thing the Chinese guy beside me speaks English coz he was the one who eased our mind by saying where we're heading and how we can get back to Kowloon. Talk about crazy adventure. We only hopped off the boat to get back on it for the trip back to the city. To think the travel time to that island is one hour, so imagine the 2 hours wasted on that joy ride, and mind you it was on our last night in HK. Good thing it wasn't that late, coz with our scheduled departure at 9am the next day who knows what would have happened. Thank God!

 good night and goodbye city of bright lights...

To summarize it all, I think Hongkong had me open my eyes to what kind of life I'd prefer to live someday. I thought that the idea of a fast paced life was something to be aimed at. Sure it could be a nice diversion but when you think about it being one with the crowd can be quite lonely.  It's like everyone is just so consumed with their own lives that if you just stand still for a whole day in the middle of the road no one will even care to notice.

The city life, the life on the fast lane, is like a life on the constellation in which you are just a star, shining or not, laid out among others in the blanket of the dark wide sky. It is then you realize how insignificant a person can become, but at the same time appreciate the value of the unhurried precious moments in your life with someone taking witnessing in it.

In the end life is simply about choices, and how we live is just a reflection to the choices made. I don't envy much the life in the fast lane but career-wise, I know I'll need it. I long to maintain this life stage in life when I am able to share the unhurried precious moments with family and friends. A bit of this and that, it's all about balance, and I am not quite there yet. Ergo,

"I am sooo not living the life. Not quite, not yet" - Le.

Friday, March 25, 2011

a tease from macau

They don't call it Europe of Asia for nothing. 
With it's historical charm, it's difficult not to fall in love. 
Blog to follow..... 

enjoy ;)

video track : time to wander by gypsy and the cat

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

H to the K teaser....

2011. First stop. Welcome to Hong Kong. 
Chinese. Food. Buildings. Trams. Trains. Buildings. Freezing. Buildings. Buildings....


 Blog to come.
As of now, enjoy! 


Video track : Lights by Ellie Goulding

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

little passionates...

For someone who makes You Tube her glorified TV, I stumbled upon this amazing choral group by typing in Anne Hathaway Oscars.  So instead of catching up on the celebrated Oscars, I ended up spending the entire day gawking at the incredibly inspiring young talents of PS22 or Public School 22 from Staten, New York. Just gotta love that "suggestions" slide on the right corner.

Look at those faces, have you ever seen pure unadulterated passion like that? They are just sooo adorable to look at that it's A-mazing. Considering their economic backgrounds and varying races, it makes me feel like I'm watching a true to life version of the movie Sister Act, minus Whoopie Goldberg and older students. Anyway like I always say, there is nothing greater accomplishment in life than finding one's passion, and doing it, and they are just exactly what I'm talking about. These kids have no idea how fortunate they are to encounter a teacher like Mr. B (Greg Breinberg) in their life. Dude! that man is the definition of not cool but coolest!

Mr. B, or shall I be bold and say Greg, is exactly the kind of teacher I wanna be like, if ever I finally decide to become one. haha. Seriously though, I think it's very important for teachers to recognize the individuality of every student and encourage them to embrace that individuality by not imposing too much restrictions. That's why if noticed there isn't much to nil choreography involved.

I love that Greg lets the kids do their own thing. I love that Greg's enthusiasm is contagious. I love that Greg chooses the coolest songs. From the inspiring Stevie Nicks, to the fast beats of Jay Z and Passion Pit, to the laid back alternatives of Phoenix and Coldplay, to the pop hits of Katy Perry and Rhianna and to the etc. etc. They've covered it all. For all that and Greg's long hair, I think I've fallen for Greg. So Greg Greg Greg whatchatink? marry me? wink! ;)

With everything that is happening in this world lately, it's great to see inspiring people sprouting out every now and then. Loads of goodness, a splash of artistry and an overflowing passion is what we need more in this world. Or maybe just a 'greg'arious teacher to influence the many.

The standing ovation from Lady Gaga and Beyonce, the happy tears from Tori Amos,

the publicity from Perez Hilton, the adoration of the internet world and now this blog, you kids and teacher deserves it all and more.

To PS22, you made me not regret missing what he or she wore to the Oscars, and to Anne Hathaway, I'll make a raincheck on our Youtube date! ;)


By the way there's a 2nd part when Tori Amos gave an impromptu performance with the kids, it's amazing. It's gonna make you love her even more. There also more great covers and amazing moments from PS22, just check out youtube for that or their site at