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Four People, Two Countries (Part 2): Disneyland!

>> Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"If you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true." -Cinderella

After spending a whole morning going around the city, we were finally dropped off at the most-awaited event of the whole trip: DISNEYLAND! It is the home of the well-loved Disney characters, including my all time favorites: Mickey and Minnie Mouse. The place brought us back to our childhood. As soon as we heard the cheerful music blasting on the way to the entrance, the four of us were skipping and singing like little kids. The Disney magic was still in us.

Forget about the intense heat and the long lines at the rides, we were determined to make the most of our stay in the magical land. It's so magical that the Disney characters were talking in Cantonese. hahaha (now I'm trying to imagine if Disneyland were in the Philippines. I think I'm going to have a good laugh if I hear Mickey Mouse speak in Filipino.)

We only got to experience four major events and attractions: the parade, the Golden Mickeys show, one ride at Toy Story land (three for Cerz) and the fireworks display. That was all we could squeeze in, including stopping by the souvenir shop.

One game you'd love playing when you visit Disneyland is the "Spot the Pinoy" game. I think 60% performers are Filipino. Just by watching the parade alone, one would easily pinpoint who the Filipinos are. Our friend Joms was once a Disney prince. He performed as Shang and a Woody look-a-like for the Golden Mickeys.

Because Hong Kong is right near the equator, the weather is so much like home. It was just scorching hot in the afternoon. The giant fans and mist areas scattered around the place were very much appreciated. No wonder that the name of the parade is the Mickey's Waterworks. The Disney characters sprayed and poured water towards the audience. Jace and I were at a safe spot, away from all the water. I think Cerz and Edlyn (who were standing a few feet away from us and near the curb) got wet.

The Golden Mickeys is a showcase of the heroes in all the Disney movies. Guess who we saw? Maita Ponce! Maits was my seatmate in high school and we also went to the same university. Was so amused when she said her lines in Cantonese.

While Cerz and Edlyn tried out one ride, Jace accompanied me in line for the biggest moment of my life.

Happiest point in my life, right there. (Photo by Jace.)

So how does my arm taste like? (nicked from Jace as well.)

If you're planning to visit Hong Kong, I suggest that you allot one whole day in Disneyland. It opens around 10 am and ends at 9:30 pm (that's when the fireworks start so you'd better be around to catch it because it's spec-ta-cu-larrrr!) While you're at it, go book a night at the hotel. Splurge all you can, because it's Disneyland!

Starting the Disney adventure at 3 pm is not a very good idea because you'll be spending a lot of time walking, lining up for rides and shows, and choosing which area to stay in and eat. Also try to ride the MTR to Disneyland, instead of joining the tourbus. I think the experience would've been more memorable for us if we took the Disney Resort Line to Disneyland.

Next time. I'll see you again, Mickey and Minnie. :)


Four People, Two Countries (Part 1): Hong Kong

>> Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Taking a trip to an unfamiliar place is always an adventure. It's even a more adventurous trip if you have your friends with you.

That's what I did over the weekend two weekends ago (July 27 to 30) with three of my best college buds. For me, Edlyn and Cerz, it was our first time to step on Hong Kong Land. It was Jace's fifth time there. However, it was a first for all of us to go out of the country without any adults around. Yeah, yeah, we're adults according to society's standards. But really, we're secretly high school students. *snicker*

So at 5 in the morning of the 27th of July, the four of us were somewhat half-awake and ready to leave our Manila life for a few days.

We purchased a Hong Kong and Shenzen Tour from those online coupon deals. It was a cheap package that included hotel stays, city tours and entrance to Disneyland. I was most interested in Disneyland because I really wanted to see Minnie Mouse. Of course, I was also excited for a photography challenge: Maximize the use of my zoom lens without having to switch to the lens kit.

Just months before leaving for Hong Kong, I came across this article from the Digital-Photography-School.com about shaking up your travel photography.

"I love to look at travel photography, but man, sometimes it can all just seem mind-numbingly similar."

I get what this means. I've noticed that when people travel, they'd take the same photos with the same landmarks behind them. The article challenged me to break away from the norm and how "we think photographs should look like." With my zoom lens (meaning that I couldn't take landscape or wide shots), I had to see things a little differently.

"When you are forced to use what you have to the best of your ability you push yourself as a photographer no longer hiding behind gear." (source)

Besides my three other friends had their own cameras, so they also their own shots.

Touchdown Hong Kong! We are in you!

Hong Kong International Airport

One of the residential places by the shores

Dessert for the first night while doing my travel doodles. Cheese and milk pie. Oh nom nom.

The walking begins.

The first day was a city tour of Hong Kong. We were with fellow Filipinos and we had Mary, a local,as a tourguide. We went to the Victoria Harbour, which had a good view of Hong Kong Island from Kowloon. Then we wasted more than an hour at Jewelry City, which was just a store where they pestered us to buy their jewelry. Nope, I ain't gonna buy a HK$400-necklace that I won't wear. I don't even fully believe in zodiac signs.

There was also a boat tour, but since it wasn't part of the package, we were charged HK$ 50 for a 20-minute ride around the pier. We didn't bother spending. We just waited by the dock and took pictures of the pier while the others got on the boat.

Most of my photos were taken while we were in the bus, on the way to the "major" stops. It was where I got to see the daily activities of the locals. Photography challenge: try to take as many good photographs while inside a moving vehicle.

Tip #1 from the Digital Photography School article: Forget the stock photos and focus on daily life.

*sings* I saw the siiiign.

One thing Joms told us: Always look for the MTR sign and you'll never get lost.

Tip #2: Capture the locals

Tip #3: Combine the old and the new

This tip should have an antique or something that is aged, then have one detail in the shot that is new. I don't think I was able to do this, buuut I have something that can pass for this category.

Funeral parlor: old... dead people. new... errr, the sky looks new! HAHAHAHA As for the residential building, I guess old and new people live there. (sige, ipilit.)

I'll post the other two tips on my next posts. I still have more photos and stories to share and I'll save them for another long post.


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