It’s Time to Go and Grow

There is something amusing about growing sweet corn in the city, or at least, attempting to. Haha! It feels weird, challenging, and fulfilling at the same time. Since the summer of 2015, I have tried to grow corn in our container bed three times. The first time produced the best results, the second time became a bit of a struggle because of the stormy weather, and the most recent one was, well… a product of grace.

 

I say this because I was not intentional in giving the seedlings organic fertilizer during its first month. So, when I finally gave the plants fertilizer, they grew fast! They grew so fast that the pollens were produced before the ear of the corn. In a normal cycle, the ear of corn and its hair must appear first, so that when the pollens appear, the hair can be pollinated.

It was very unusual of me because most of the time, I give my best efforts whenever I grow my plants. Just a few days ago, honestly, I was expecting only 10 kernels on each ear of corn, but by God’s grace, He allowed them to grow more. Whew! Although, the ears did not fully develop as you will notice in the photos below. This is obviously a consequence of my earlier actions.

 

Thankfully, in the Philippines, it is still a good time to start new corn seedlings since the next few months would not be as rainy as the previous ones. With this, I’ll be planting five more seeds this December and hopefully, by March 2018, plump ears of corn will be ready for harvest. Just so I can be accountable to you, this time, I will not be lazy or forget to fertilize during its early stages. I just purchased a sack of chicken manure for my plants. So, really, I have no excuses. But, if you remember, please remind me in the coming weeks? Haha!

 

In a way, it was a humbling experience for me to grow corn for the third time. I know that this is just one of my hobbies, but it does teach me to become more responsible and proactive with my actions. Gardening, through the years, has helped me appreciate the importance of patience and hope because it does take time and faith to wait and believe that the plants will grow and bear fruit. However, I am reminded that producing the results that I hope for would not happen if I sit and wait for things to unfold. I still need to be intentional in doing my part and in learning from my shortcomings.

Okay, Nic. You can do this! It’s time to go… and grow!

 

8 Things to Do in Tsim Sha Tsui Hong Kong

 

1. Ride a Star Ferry

We rode one at Central and made our way towards Tsim Sha Tsui (TST). For HKD 2.7, it was a very convenient and relaxing trip! Some of the locals also use this as another alternative transportation for their commute. We traveled while the sun was setting, so we had a nice view of the blue sky turning into a golden one. Also, the water did not smell bad which made the experience more pleasant.

 

2. Relax while watching the sunset

If you’re not on a Star Ferry, you’ll still get to see the sunset at the port in TST. You’ll be able to get a good angle from the area near the strip of restaurants or from the mall (Star House) beside the harbour.

 

3. Listen to buskers near the harbour

When we got off the boat and walked towards the city, we saw two men setting up their equipment for busking. It was about 6 pm at that time. Imagine watching the sunset while listening to musicians fill the air with delightful music.  Although I didn’t understand most of their songs since they were sang in Chinese, I still enjoyed knowing their culture more! Whenever I travel, I make sure to stop and listen to buskers on the street. For those who sing and play at TST, they usually stay for more than three hours in the area. So, drop by if you can!

 

4. Visit 1881 Heritage Park

This was recommended to me by a friend. The building is well-lit at night, but it’s also beautiful in the daylight. It houses a few luxurious brands and has a gorgeous architectural style! You can bring a drink or snack with you as you stroll around the area. Fun fact: This place used to be the Marine Police’ headquarters in the area.


5. Appreciate Architecture

Within a few meters away from the harbour, you’ll get to see numerous buildings and areas with very nice architecture and designs! I still remember feeling the cool breeze as we walked around the area, looked up towards the tall structures, and enjoyed the view with ice cream cones in our hands. What a treat! Plus, sightseeing around this cultural center is free!

 

6. Watch The Symphony of Lights

At night, TST allows the locals and tourists to view the light show from the harbour. For a few minutes, the buildings around it light up as music is being played. It’s not as extravagant as the light shows we see in Singapore, but if you’re in the area, it’s a nice way to relax. You’ll get to watch traditional Chinese boats cruise along the sea too.

7. Book a 45-minute trip with Aqua Luna

Aqua Luna provides a tour (roughly around HKD 200 / PHP 1,300) around the harbour which allows the passengers to witness the sights and sounds of Hong Kong and its cityline. The passengers get one drink (e.g. wine, juice, or water) and sit on lounge chairs on the boat. It is expensive for me, but, I gave it a try because the boats used are some of the last few traditional Chinese boats in the country. I figured that it would also be a relaxing way to end our first night in Hong Kong. There are other cruise options that include dinner or have different time slots (e.g. daylight, sunset, late evening). So, it will depend on your preferred choice. Will I ride it again? Honestly? I probably won’t because it is pricey for me. Haha! But, it was interesting to try at least once.

 

8. Try Food Establishments in TST

Unfortunately, we didn’t have the appetite to have a food trip in TST mostly because of the tiring day that we had. But, we did go around the buildings near the harbour and saw various restaurants (both reasonably priced and expensive ones) in the area. We also visited the stores inside Star House mall. They have a variety of shops inside. From fastfood restaurants to coffee shops and stores which sell souvenirs and gadgets. A friend suggested the restaurant, “Jade Garden” inside this mall. If you have time, feel free to try it out and let me know how it is!


We only stayed for a few hours in TST, but it was nice to finally see it in person. The next time I visit TST, I’ll make sure to come with a hungry tummy! I’ll probably do it on the second day too, so that I wouldn’t be tired from the early flight and plane ride.

12 Things to Expect in Hong Kong Disneyland

After more than two decades, I finally had the opportunity to re-visit my childhood memories and see them in real life. Haha! Yes, I know they’re all actors, but, seeing familiar characters and scenes from the cartoons we used to watch as kids made my eyes brighten up. If you’re a fan of Disney, I suggest that you go to any Disneyland park at least once in your life. But for those who aren’t fans yet, maybe this post can help you appreciate it more and consider visiting too! I’ll be sharing twelve things that you can expect when you visit Hong Kong Disneyland. Enjoy!

 

1. GOOD AND UNLIMITED WI-FI

You would be delighted to know that the park has free Wi-Fi in almost all of the areas. I noticed that the signal was a bit low inside enclosed areas (e.g. Indoor rollercoaster rides, theatres, etc.), but in general, I was very pleased with the availability and connection. This was also helpful for us because the pocket Wi-Fi that we rented at the airport wasn’t excellent at all. So, for tourists like us who don’t have local numbers in Hong Kong, getting lost in the park won’t be such a hassle because you can connect to their Wi-Fi and easily communicate with your family or friends online.

 

2. LIMITED FOOD & DRINKS

Planning what to eat for a day tour in Disneyland is quite confusing. You don’t want to overindulge during breakfast because you know you’ll be going on rides at the park. But, you also don’t want to starve. Unfortunately, you can’t bring food from outside. So, if you get hungry in the middle of the day, you have no choice but to buy from their stalls and restaurants along Main Street. I promised myself that I wouldn’t spend a lot on food inside the park because I knew that it would be very expensive. So, throughout the whole day, I only got myself a Mickey Mouse waffle and a sausage roll from Maxim’s cakes.

There were times when I craved for fruit shakes because of the hot weather. However, they only had a limited variety of products. Bottled water, soft drinks in cans, bottled fruit juices, diced fruits in a cup, salty popcorn, caramel popcorn, Disney-themed ice cream popsicles, and squid were sold at the kiosks in every section of the park. They were, again, more expensive than usual. More than what I’m willing to pay for. Haha. So, I just settled with buying their cold bottle of water since it was the best option.

I’m not sure if there are other drinking fountains at the park, but I did notice one near the theater where The Lion King show was, just beside the restrooms. A bottle of cold water inside the park will cost you around HKD 30 (PHP 200). If you’re okay with drinking lukewarm water, you can refill your bottles at this fountain.

 

3. PARADES

“Flights of Fantasy Parade” (3:00 pm) and “Disney Paint the Night Nighttime Spectacular” (7:30 pm) are must-see attractions in Disneyland! The characters parade through Main Street while they dance to the upbeat background music playing. Some characters even invite some of the kids to join them in dancing for a few seconds. I can’t really tell which one’s better, but I enjoyed watching both!

 

4. SHOWS & ATTRACTIONS

My favorite attraction was The Lion King show. It felt like I was watching a broadway musical. I loved it! The choreography, harmonies, acrobats and dancers gliding through the area! Another attraction that I enjoyed was the Mystic Manor. You’ll be seated inside an electric carriage that takes you through eight galleries with animated antiques. This attraction also incorporates cool gushes of wind, mist, cinematic sounds and lights! It was amazing and surprisingly refreshing on a hot day. One of the things that I loved about these two was that we were allowed to capture the moments on video (without flash, of course). Make sure to visit these when you go! For more details on the other attractions, you can check their website.

 

5. RIDES

There are a few rollercoaster rides. But, there are a lot more relaxing kiddie rides throughout the park. We didn’t line up for these anymore because of the long queues. But, we did manage to ride the ff.: Hyperspace Mountain’s indoor rollercoaster, Iron Man Experience, Big Grizzly Mountain outdoor rollercoaster, and Slinky Dog Spin.

 

 

6. PHOTOGENIC PLACES

You’ll see most of them along Main Street, where we usually stayed to rest or wait for the next parade. It’s an added feature inside the park that makes you feel like you’re part of a community; a small town that is very welcoming.

 

7. PHOTO TAKING WITH DISNEY CHARACTERS

Near Main Street, some of the characters such as Mickey & Minnie, Chip & Dale, Donald & Daisy, and Goofy have their own stations where guests can line up to have their pictures taken with them. We chose to line up and wait for Mickey and Minnie under the scorching heat of the sun. After almost two hours, we finally had our photos taken. Can you believe it?? Hahaha. If you can’t afford to wait that long, I suggest that you take photos from afar instead and hope that the characters will be seen in the background.

 

8. DISNEY-THEMED MTR (TRAIN)

Tip: If you want to get a decent photo of yourself inside the train with no one in the background, I suggest that you ride the train from Sunny Bay to Disneyland Resort, wait for everyone to go down, let the doors close again, and take photos as you head back to Sunny Bay (where you came from). In short, you can do a roundtrip because that was what we did (unintentionally). Tadaaa! HAHAHA.

The train ride itself is a fun experience to start your adventure in Disneyland. You’ll love it!

 

 

9. CLEAN AIR-CONDITIONED RESTROOMS

One of the things that I liked about the park is how they maintained their restrooms. We didn’t need to worry about using clean toilets because they were neat! They also had the necessary toiletries inside. Plus, the restrooms were air-conditioned! Very nice!

 

10. TRAIN RIDE INSIDE THE PARK

If in the middle of the day your feet get very tired but you still want to tour the attractions, the park offers a train ride around Disneyland! Yes, there is an outdoor railroad inside the park! We didn’t get to try it though, but it was a neat and hassle-free way to go from one area to another.

 

11. SOUVENIR SHOPS

There are numerous kiosks all over the park and some shops along Main Street that sell souvenirs and other Disney merchandise. I wanted to buy a plain Mickey Mouse headband, but the only one that they were offering had a blue ribbon on it (HKD 180 / PHP 1,200). I decided to save the money for food instead. Hahaha! But, if you have extra cash, you might find some interesting Disney items there!

 

12. FIREWORKS DISPLAY AT NIGHT

For the finale… “Disney in the Stars” fireworks show! We intentionally waited for hours before we watched the last attraction for the day. Thankfully, the weather was perfect, so they continued with the fireworks! (Note: Avoid going to Disney during the rainy season. They will cancel the fireworks part.)

It was a lovely 9-minute show of fireworks bursting to the medley of famous Disney tunes such as “Be Our Guest”, “Tale as Old as Time”, and many more. It was an amazing and heartwarming experience especially for a Disney fan! Do not, I repeat, DO NOT leave the park until you’ve finished this last part. You’ll probably feel like a zombie by 9 pm, but you’ve got to hang in there, wait, and witness it in person. Since it was nearing December, they also gave an extra effect along Main Street after the fireworks show. They provided fake snow to fall from the rooftops! Pretty cool!

Hopefully, when you visit Hong Kong Disneyland, you’ll be able to re-live your childhood memories too or for those who will be encountering them for the first time, appreciate the excellence and passion that they’ve put into the whole experience! Until next time, Disneyland!

8 Things to Do in Central Hong Kong

1. Shop and have a photo walk around the city

One thing that you surely won’t miss when you visit Central is the view of high-rise buildings and malls filled with luxury brands and local products. If you would like to shop in Hong Kong, please remember to show your passport so you could pay for the items, tax-free! As you go through the huge sidewalks, you might find Central’s buildings and streets to be interesting subjects for photography too!

 

2. Visit the Victoria Peak

One of the famous tourist spots in Hong Kong is the Victoria Peak. This is the highest peak in the city where tourists and locals go to get a good view of the cityline. We got discounted tickets from the Klook app days before our trip to avoid any inconveniences. We also went there on a weekday to make sure that we wouldn’t be waiting in line for a long time. However, upon reaching the venue, we still had to wait for 20-30 minutes before we got on the tram.

Nonetheless, it was an interesting tour! The tram ride felt like a rollercoaster ride which only went up. Going back down was even more amusing because we went backwards fast! Haha. If you’re willing to spend extra money, you can avail the access to the Sky Terrace which gives you a better view of the whole skyline. But, if you don’t have more budget, you can take photos from the mall right beside it which gives you a gist of what it looks like.

Roundtrip: Peak Tram Only – around Php 300
Roundtrip: Peak Tram + Sky Pass – around Php 600

More details HERE

 
3. Go on a food trip

You can read more about it HERE.

 

4. Enjoy street arts at the Soho area / Graham Street

Of course, we wouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit one of the most famous Instagramable spots in Hong Kong — Graham St. It’s nice to appreciate free art in the city. As you walk along the artsy streets, you’ll even find small coffee shops and restaurants that you might like to visit too.

 

5. Shop and take photos at Pottinger Street

Don’t be intimidated by the steep slope at Pottinger Street. By exerting just a bit more effort, you’ll find it worthwhile to check out the local items sold at the stores along the way or to simply take photos at the uniquely constructed pavement — something that you don’t see everyday.

 

6. Ride the mid-level escalators

The longest mid-level escalator in the world is located at Central, Hong Kong. This is also used by the locals as their mode of transportation from one street to another, especially since the streets in the area are very steep. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Hike up the streets! But, it’s quite relaxing to street-hop by riding this one too!

 

7. Buy meat, fruits, or flowers at Graham street

While we were walking along Graham street, we happened to pass by fruit and flower stalls at the side of the road. There wasn’t much fruit markets in the area where we stayed at (Mong Kok), so it was refreshing for me to finally see fruits after all of the dim sum and noodles we ate.

 

8. Go on a tram ride around and across the cities

This is an experience that we don’t have in the Philippines. The ride was a bit bumpy but, it was fun to sightsee from the second level of the tram. Make sure to try it when you’re there! From Central, we rode the tram to Causeway Bay! It took us 15 minutes to get there. Not bad.


There are so much more to experience in Central, but we only had one day! Let me know which ones you’ve tried!