Sunday, July 31, 2011

[SELANGOR] Budget and Itinerary

SATURDAY: July 30, 2011
KFC (2 pcs Chicken/Cheesy Wedges/Egg Tart & Milo Ais) - 16.90
KTM Komuter (Batu Caves) - 1.00
KTM Komuter (KL Sentral) - 2.00

[PETALING JAYA] I Didn’t Punch Her on Purpose!

I am as good as blind when I swim. It does not matter if I wear goggles or not, especially when I am doing strokes. I am blind. That pool they called Lake Something Something was probably the best alternative to a lap pool, but there were a lot of people in it. Still, I insisted on doing my laps when suddenly, BAM! I think I just punched someone, and then right there in front of me, just as disoriented as I was, a middle-aged woman surfaced. I immediately exclaimed my regret and asked if she was okay. I half expected her to answer, "Of course not, you sun of a beach. You just punched me!" But then she said she was fine and life went on as it should. No no drama. We don't want no drama. Not in Sunway Lagoon, we don't. I should have gone to a swimming complex instead.

[GOMBAK] Smile, There’s a Monkey

I thought Batu Caves would take the entire day, but it turns out I only needed an hour or so to tour the whole area. This, however, is only for the big golden guy and the steps. If you also want to see the Dark Cave and the Villa, then  you might want to allot another hour. I did not see any of those anymore, so I am actually wondering what I missed. The steps were more than enough for me, though, as it was the exercise that I badly needed.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

[KUALA LUMPUR] Budget and Itinerary

TUESDAY: July 26, 2011
Taxi (Makati - NAIA 3) - 134.50
Travel Tax (NAIA 3) - 1,620.00
Terminal Fee (NAIA 3) - 750.00
Cebu Pacific (Manila - Kuala Lumpur) - 1,999.50

[KUALA LUMPUR] Jalan Jalan Saja!

Literal translation: “Walk Walk Only” or in Tagalog, “Lakad Lakad Lang!” They use such expression in Malay to express some activity that does not have a clear purpose in general. In short, you are doing it out of whim. You can replace “Jalan” with another activity like “Tengok tengok saja” for example, which means “Tingin tingin lang” or “Just looking” if you are window-shopping and a store attendant approaches you. This is what I did on day one, walk around the area of KLCC and Ampang Park. It is my first time alone in KL as a tourist but I’ve been here a couple of times before with the family. I just feel so lazy and I can see that this KL sojourn won't be that interesting because I’ve already seen most of the sights here. I just couldn’t get myself to see them again so I could blog about it, but at the same time I find it unfair if I leave them out just because I’m too lazy to visit them again. To see it from a different perspective, let’s use the KTM Pink Kelana Line as a guide, shall we?

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Three I Missed Most About KL

Kuala Lumpur was not really part of my East Asia itinerary. My Southeast Asian getaway is not set until next month. This is one of the consequences of canceling my German language course in Heidelberg. I was planning to get to Paris via Air Asia X, which offers the cheapest fares to Western Europe from Southeast Asia. That is why I booked a Manila - Kuala Lumpur flight in advance despite not being that cheap based on fares on sale standards. Since I canceled my European plans and already got my refund for the tuition, I chose to just buy a return flight ticket to Manila so as to not waste the ticket. I am no stranger to KL, although it is my first time alone as a tourist. My parents are in Sarawak, but still, KL feels like home. It is probably the thought of living in one country despite being separated by the South China Sea. And since technically, they are not in KL, they are not included on this list. And I think missing them is already a given.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Take Me Home Tonight


Set in the late 80’s, the entire movie is set in one night of Matt Franklin’s (Topher Grace) life. He just graduated from MIT but works for a video store in a mall and still lives with his parents. One day while on duty, he runs into Tori Fredreking (Teresa Palmer), his high school crush. Pretending to be working for Goldman Sachs (after tweaking his uniform to a more casual look), he agrees to go to a party of his high school batch later that night so he could try to win her over. Tagging along are his sister Wendy (Anna Faris) and his best friend Barry Nathan (Dan Fogler), a college dropout who just got fired from his job selling cars.

Sorry if the synopsis seems lacking. In fact, that is the movie’s problem. It looks like a forgettable straight-to-DVD “period” comedy. This does not mean, however, that it was a waste of money on my part. I actually liked it despite the lack of impact it has in terms of brilliant filmmaking. I honestly thought that it would have two segments: a flashback and a modern day flash-forward. Instead, it starts and ends in the 80’s, on that particular night in that party where the movie is set.

Captain America: The First Avenger


Do not leave the cinema at once after the movie ends. They show a teaser for The Avengers after the closing credits roll.

All Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) ever wanted is to serve his country by enlisting in the army. However, his lanky frame and many illnesses serve as an obstacle for this goal to be realized. All this changes when in an argument with his best friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), he manages to impress eavesdropping scientist Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), who works for the US government in a project aiming to enhance ordinary men into super soldiers. He is accepted to train under the watchful eye of Col. Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) and Officer Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), who eventually becomes his love interest. After accepting the challenge to be the scientist’s guinea pig, Roger’s body reacts positively to the serum and becomes Captain America. Meanwhile, in Nazi Germany, ambitious Hydra leader Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) discovers a mystical bright blue artifact, whose powers he intends to use for world domination. It is later revealed that he has also benefited from the serum in the past, and thus, becomes the Captain’s arch nemesis called Red Skull.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

MACAU: Budget and Itinerary

FRIDAY: July 22, 2011
8.50 - MTR (Tsim Sha Tsui - Sheung Wan)
151.00 - Turbojet (Hong Kong - Macau)
20.00 - Ham and Cheese (Turbojet)
15.00 - Ovaltine (Turbojet)

44.00 - Choco Cream Chip Venti (Starbucks)
100.00 - Augusters (1 bed/1 night)
120.00 - Entrance (Macau Tower)
2,988.00 - Bungy Full Package
8.00 - Coke in Can (Resto)
26.00 - McDonalds (6 pcs Nuggets & Fries & Coke)

SATURDAY: July 23, 2011
38.00 - Eatery (Pork Chop and Chicken w/Rice)
16.00 - Eatery (Coke x2)
6.40 - Bus (21A)
6.00 - Drinks (Cool Water 750 ml)
30.00 - Drinks (Iced Choco XL)
16.00 Snacks (Milo Ice Cream)
52.00 - Food Paradise (Chicken/Barbecue w/Rice)
10.00 - Food Paradise (Coke Large)
30.00 - Dragon’s Treasure (City of Dreams)
4.20 - Bus (25A)

SUNDAY: July 24, 2011
45.00 - Fastfood (Fried Rice)
16.00 - Fastfood (Coke x2)
4.00 - Water (Cool 750 ml)
3.00 - Water (Cool 750 ml)
4.20 - Bus (Airport)
12.00 - Snacks (French Fries)
300.00 - Cebu Pacific (Macau - Manila)

MOP3, 878.80 - SUBTOTAL
PhP21, 333.40

HK$194.50 - SUBTOTAL
PhP1, 118.38

PhP22, 451.78 - TOTAL

***Estimate of MOP1.00 = PhP5.50

FRIDAY: July 22, 2011
MTR (Tsim Sha Tsui) 12:10 - 12:25
Ticket/Immigration/Boarding (Shung Tak Center) 12:25 - 12:50
Turbojet (Hong Kong - Macau) 12:50 - 13:50
Immigration (Macau) 13:50 - 14:25
Shuttle Bus (Ferry Terminal - Star World) 14:25 - 14:30
Shuttle Bus (Star World - Galaxy) 14:45 - 15:00
Sightseeing (Galaxy) 15:00 - 16:00
Shuttle Bus (Galaxy - Star World) 16:00 - 16:15
Check-in (Augusters) 16:45 - 17:00
Walk/Stall Jump (Macau Tower) 17:30 - 18:00
Bungy Preparation/Jump (AJ Hackett) 18:00 - 18:30
Sightseeing (Macau Tower) 18:30 - 19:00
Walk (Augusters) 19:00 - 19:30
Dinner (McDonalds) 23:30 - 00:00
Sightseeing (Senado Square) 00:00 - 00:15

SATURDAY: July 23, 2011
Lunch (Eatery) 12:15 - 12:40
A21 Bus (Pedro João - Hac Sá) 12:55 - 13:25
Sightseeing (Hac Sá  Beach) 13:25 - 14:30
Hike (Hac Sá  Beach - C12) 14:30 - 14:40
Rest (C12) 14:40 - 15:00
Hike (C12 - Miradouro da Pedra) 15:00 - 15:25
Hike (Miradouro da Pedra - Deusa A-Má) 15:25 - 15:35
Sightseeing/Rest (Deusa A-Má) 15:35 - 16:00
Hike (Deusa A-Má - Cheuk Van Beach) 16:00 - 16:30
Sightseeing/Rest (Cheoc Van) 16:30 - 17:30
Walk (Cheoc Van - Vila Coloane) 17:30 - 17:45
Sightseeing (Vila Coloane) 17:45 - 18:15
Walk (Vila Coloane - Venetian) 18:15 - 19:30
Sightseeing (The Venetian) 19:30 - 20:30
Malling (City of Dreams) 20:30 - 21:00
Dinner (Food Paradise) 21:00 - 21:30
Attraction (Dragon’s Treasure) 22:00 - 22:30
A25 Bus (The Venetian - Hotel Lisboa) 22:45 - 23:00

SUNDAY: July 24, 2011
Lunch (Fastfood) 13:30 - 14:00
Sightseeing (Churches of Macau) 14:00 - 17:00
M2 Bus (Grand Lisboa - Airport) 18:20 - 18:40
Check-in (Macau International) 20:00 - 20:20
Boarding (Macau International) 21:45 - 22:15
Cebu Pacific (Macau - Manila) 22:15 - 00:15

MACAU: 03 - The Ruins of St. Paul’s Evacuation Center

I was dreading the thought of my Paulo Coelho shopping spree going kaput. The Livraria Portuguesa sign board said that it was closed on Sundays but no! They are open, but still, no Portuguese language book shopping was done. Why? Expensive! A copy of Veronika Decide Morrer costs more than MOP200, and only a few of his books were there. The Portuguese language course books that I’ve been eying for almost a year now cost MOP300. I didn’t come prepared. Never mind. I am not taking the DAPLE until late next year anyway. Paulo Coelho would have to wait. And so after an hour at the bookstore, I decided to see the famous Ruins of St. Paul.

The attractions of the Macau Peninsula are almost always clustered in one area, with each group just a few blocks away from each other. If you are a devout Catholic and you really love churches because they are “so pastel-colored you’re gonna die!” then this is the Macau district right for you. Of course the tourists would flock at St. Paul’s. Typical tourists go with the flow. How to get there? Just go to Senado Square. This is not hard to miss especially on a Sunday. Aside from the ruins, Senado probably gets the most tourists in this area. It is a long a main road and has a lot of those pastel colored buildings that you just want to eat. What? They do look like fondant cakes!

The Santa Casa da Misericordia is the white photogenic building to the right of the fountain. The Tourism Center is also a looker and is the one on the left. Go straight past Starbucks and McDonalds to see the oldest Dominican Church in Asia. I forgot the name. There are about half a dozen igrejas in this area and I am agnostic. What do you expect? But they almost look the same: pastel-colored and small. Just follow the road signs to get to the ruins of St. Paul, which is not pastel-colored. Non-conformist, huh? The Igreja da Sé is at the end of the alley to the right of the Livraria Portuguesa. An interesting to note is that the area also has quite a number of clothing lines which were on sale when I was there. The prices were dropping up to 70% off. Good bargain. If you hate praying, you could go shopping. Everybody happy!

Actually, I had already gone to Senado the day before. Oops, correction, the MIDNIGHT before. Want to see a not so crowded Largo do Senado? Go there at midnight after grabbing some late snacks at McDonalds (closes at 12). The place is well-illuminated in the evening and I think the view is more striking, especially the Sta. Casa da Misericordia. There are less people except for the occasional tambays, most of which I bet are Pinoys because I was hearing a lot of Tagalog. And we Filipinos like making tambay anywhere anyway. It’s like a collective hobby of ours, so I think my assertion is true.

The Penha, I think, is the most inaccessible and consequently, the least popular. You have to go uphill to get there. If you have walked all the way to the Macau Tower from the Grand Lisboa, the church on high ground that you see from afar is the Penha. Just consult one of the maps in the streets to see how to get there. You pass by two or three more Fondant cake churches before reaching this one. It is a must see, in my opinion, because it commands a good view of the city. More than one view. You could see the area of the Macau Tower in front, and then there is a statue of the Virgin Mary looking over the gamblers of the Grand Lisboa and other casinos nearby. Aside from the impressive view of the city from the Macau Tower, I think this is just one of the few others that offer an outstanding panoramic view of the peninsula.

It was a long walk again after that. I was catching the whiff of good pastries as I paused to gulp water and rest. I don’t know why I never tasted a Portuguese egg tart or one of Macau’s mouth-watering pastries. Perhaps I was just too preoccupied sightseeing. Besides, eating always takes the backseat when I travel. It’s never a priority for me. Moving on, it was a long walk to the Livraria Portuguese, and then to the Ruins of St. Paul, which wasn’t really that far away but seemed so because you had to swim in a crowd of tourists to get there. Do not ever go there on a Sunday, your evil camwhoring plans would be foiled... by other camwhores. They were everywhere, from the steps, to the windows of the ruins, to the stores selling the delicious pastries.

I think I already mentioned that it was really hot in Macau when I was there? As in the sun was really high up, and then there were all those people. The area looked and smelled like an evacuation center, although the enticing aroma of the pastries overpowered the smell somehow. I just snapped a picture of the ruins’ façade and fled. I didn’t even dare go up the steps anymore. With all those people you’d probably just fall on one of them from all the pushing. Dying from a stampede is not really a dream of mine. I went back just in time at the guest house to find the other three Filipino guests there ready to leave for the airport. We all went together after resting in front of the fans. Heatstroke!!!

There are more temples to visit within the peninsula. There is also a fort just next to the ruins of St. Paul’s Evacuation Center. I just chose to no longer go there since I was already bathing in my own sweat, which is not really the most amazing feeling in the world. I felt like I’d been dipped in a large Orocan of cooking oil. Eeew. You could see all of the peninsula’s sights in one day, better if you have wheels so you could minimize the sweating and the walking.

MACAU: 03 - The Ruins of St. Paul’s Evacuation Center

COTAI: 01 - Too Dumb To Fathom Gambling And Lose Money from It

The Venetian is THE casino and is probably the only other contender as Macau’s most recognized landmark, aside from the Ruins of St. Paul. Macau, after all, is not called the Las Vegas of Asia for nothing. Ask people what they came to see here and they would mostly answer “the Venetian”. You can’t blame them. One look at its exterior and you would understand its claim to fame. They constructed their own mini version of Venice, complete with gondolas and elaborately decorated buildings representative of the Renaissance era in Europe. If you have friends who have been to Macau, take a peek at their online albums and you are sure to see the Venetian in it. It’s that popular.

After my walkathon I decided to just chill out and try my luck at gambling. I went straight to one of the bathrooms next to the main hall where all the slot machines are. I put on the extra shirt I had and went out to observe. I just don’t get slot machines. I just saw a lot of them there, and people just pushing some buttons. I didn’t see any prize money coming out. Another thing is that those slot machines were asking for Hong Kong dollars. I only had Patacas. After half an hour of going from one slot machine to the next, observing gamblers as they try their luck, I still didn’t get any of it. There were other games in there like triple dice, the mechanics of which I think I understood a little, but not that clear enough for me to actually participate. The card games with bankers had minimum bets of HK$500. Insane! In the end I just went out to find food, but not until I had my share of camera clicks just outside the building.

I thought that maybe the City of Dreams across the street would have games that would be easy to understand for newbies. After taking blurry photos of the Venetian despite its being well-lit, I crossed the street and explored the City of Dreams, which is actually more like the City of Death by Credit Card Debt. Most of the shops inside are for high-end brands. And then of course there is the casino, at the entrance of which you are greeted by CGI mermaids dancing in CGI water. The building is also linked to the Hard Rock Cafe Hotel and the Hyatt. It also houses Macau’s waterworld version of Cirque de Soleil called “The House of Dancing Water”. The only available tickets were for the coming week. That’s how fully-booked that show is. Just key in the name at Google to get an idea, it’s kind of hard to describe.

I settled for The Dragon’s Treasure, which was just MOP30 and only lasted for almost half an hour. That show had striking visuals and I was totally amazed. It was an awesome way to end the evening after a full meal at the food court on the second floor. The show is free if you purchase something at one of the stores. I think the minimum amount of purchase had to be MOP150. I wasn’t able to check, sorry. This, along with The House of Dancing Water is what the City of Dreams has in exchange for cinemas. I honestly think that it’s a good alternative.

These two are the main attractions of the Cotai Strip. Galaxy next door actually belongs to Taipa, although it is just a few steps away from the Venetian. There is a large mall being constructed across the Venetian and the City of Dreams. I think it would be another casino, although as stated, it looks more like a mall to me. I don’t know when it would be completed. Marriott is also constructing a hotel resort a few blocks down from the Venetian. And this is why the Cotai Strip is popular in spite of its small size. It is because of these casinos/hotels/resorts. If you don’t want to gamble, just drop by for a visit. Your eyes would really enjoy it, and your pockets would stay safe.

COLOANE: 01 - Meeting A-Má

She is a Taoist deity erected on top of a hill overlooking the Cotai Strip. Her view from the top is awesome and would give anyone a perfect vantage point of the city. On the other side is a view of the area of Coloane within the vicinity of Hac Sá beach. Meeting her is easy if you have wheels. Otherwise, you are in for a long hike. That’s what I did. Where is Coloane, though? Macau originally had three main districts: the Macau Peninsula which links the region to Southern China, a residential district island at the middle called Taipa where the airport is located, and the southern island of Coloane. However, a landmass which was reclaimed emerged to connect Coloane and Taipa. They called this new district Cotai, which really is just COloane and TAIpa combined. This area is small but crowded with tourists because of the Venetian.

To get to Coloane from the Peninsula, you ride a bus. I don’t think you could go there via free shuttle. The ticket is just around MOP6 anyway so it is no big deal. Depending on which bus you take, the route usually ends at Hac Sá beach at the southeastern tip of Coloane, and in effect, of Macau. So, how did my itinerary go? I walked. I walked a lot! If you plan to walk too, I assure you that touring the churches of the Peninsula the next day would be as easy as pie.

Rest at Hac Sá beach and take some pictures. An odd looking structure is a Westin resort on the extreme left side of the beach. On the right are residential buildings. Look behind you and you see a hill. That’s where you would first see A-Má from afar. There are picnic areas by the hillside partially hidden by a line of what seem like Pine Trees. Lovely sight. Hac Sá beach is no Boracay, but lively enough and teeming with local tourists especially during the summer. And wow, may I tell you now that the sun reigned supreme while I was there. I thought I would die from heatstroke. Unfortunately, no swimming for me. I brought my laptop instead of my swimwear. To the beach. WTF, I know.

It’s time to hike up the hill to meet the goddess. You might want to have some snacks at Fernando’s Restaurant first. I haven’t tried any of the food but it does have a good rep online. You need to find the entrance to the Trilho de Coloane. Since the hills are on the middle of the island, you only have to find the main road and cross it. Once you see some hills, those ought to be it. Just find an entrance to the trail. The one nearest to Hac Sá seems to be by the road from Hellene Garden. The entrance reads: Caminho Antigo de Seac Min Pun de Coloane. Rough translation: Old Path of Seac Min Pun of Coloane.

There is a map by that entrance. Study that map. Take a photo if you like. If not, make sure you have good memory. The last thing you want to happen is get lost in those hills. Don’t worry though, just follow the paved path and you would be okay. There are some dirt paths branching off from the main cement route. Ignore them. You’ll know you are taking the right direction once you reach an intersection with another map and arrows pointing to the destinations of the three footpaths in front of you. To get to A-Má, you take the rightmost path. On the way you would see two (or were there three?!) set of steps going farther uphill. You could take any of them then head right once you reach the top. They all lead to the goddess. I took the one which led to the Miradouro da Pedra. This one is situated right in front of the park across the temple.

I did not enter the temple. I just took a picture of its exterior and what seemed to be an altar to its side. A-Má is now just a few cartwheels up the hill. The view was so majestic because she is painted all white and the sky was just so blue that day with a couple of white clouds in the background. She blended in perfectly. She watches over sailors and fishermen by the way, or at least the tablet said so. There were suddenly quite a number of people up there, which I found surprising at first, because I only encountered three people on the trail going up. But then there is a road there accessible to cars, which is the more convenient option if you actually owned one. As for me, I was determined to head to Cheoc Van beach via the Coloane trail again.

It took quite a while for me to reach the said beach, but I was just relieved when I did. The beach is not that impressive either, but again, full of people. There is a swimming complex on the right side. Cheoc Van is smaller than Hac Sá, but has more character. I found a cafe where I ordered iced chocolate XL and ate ice cream while resting with my legs up on one of the beach chairs. Relaxation by the beach! Had I brought along my swimwear I would have gone swimming right away when I got there. Luckily, the iced chocolate was so yummy and refreshing. The sugar rush really helped when I started walking towards Vila Coloane, which wasn’t that far. Take note that I am a brisk walker though, so what seems to be “not that far” for me might actually be far for you.

Vila Coloane is small. The highlight of this cultural hotspot is the Avenida de Cinco de Outubro (October Fifth Avenue). Along this road is where one of the old pastel colored churches of Macau is located, facing a little plaza decorated in a way that would make you believe you were in Europe. There are a few more old buildings and temples within the area, but as mentioned, tht church is the star of the show.

My next stop was Parque de Seak Pai Van, which houses a Giant Panda observatory. I arrived there at 6:30 PM because for some reason I refused to take the bus which was only MOP6.40. I lost a lot of time because of that. They are only open until 6 PM. I guess I would have to reserve the Pandas for my Beijing trip then. What followed after that was more than an hour of walking to get to the Cotai strip. Yes you heard that right. I walked all the way to the Venetian. Why? I don’t know. I had the money for a bus ride. Maybe I’m just a masochist in denial.

COLOANE: 01 - Meeting A-Má

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

MACAU: 02 - Pseudo Suicide at the Macau Tower

I woke up early today because I was set to leave Hong Kong for good. I would have wanted to do an article entitled “Something Happened at Tsim Sha Tsui” except that nothing really happened at Tsim Sha Tsui. False hopes. My time will come, Hong Kong. My time will come. Anyway, I was doing some Hong Kong blog entries the whole morning so I didn’t really check out until someone knocked at my door at around 12 noon. That’s when I grabbed my bag, got my deposit, and left. Thanks a lot Hong Kong. You were damn expensive but well worth it. Coming back is always an option. This is one international route for which airlines in the Philippines always have promo fares.

After the MTR ride from Tsim Sha Tsui to Sheung Wan, I got out from Exit D, which is the right one for the HK - Macau Ferry. Do not venture into the streets anymore. Just enter Shung Tak Center. Two floors up is where the ticketing agencies and boarding dock are. Remember that you have to clear Hong Kong immigration before actually boarding the ferry. You should allot enough time for this or risk getting left behind. Sure there are ferries leaving every 15 minutes but I am not sure if they would refund your money or change your schedule.

No one was taking the buses which I found weird. This must be where the free shuttle buses come in. Indeed! They were lined up by the other side of the entrance of the ferry terminal. Choose your casino of choice. There was no playing the discreet non-gambling tourist for me because I had a huge knapsack on my back. No one forbid me to get on the bus so I think they are used to tourists getting free rides despite not really going to the casinos. After getting off at Starworld I lined up for another free shuttle bus to Galaxy. That’s where I found Starbucks, ordered a drink, and browsed the net for accommodations. I found Augusters. I took another free shuttle bus back to Star World and started looking for the said guest house. After half an hour I was able to locate it.

I got a bed for MOP100 for the night. They had no vacancies the following night so I settled for the folding bed which they gave me for MOP60. Sleeping at the lobby! Woohoo. As the owner told me, “Now you really are a backpacker!” Right on! After a quick test of the WiFi and a chat with a Filipina guest, I roamed the streets at once to look for the Macau Tower. It was half an hour of walking and buying time. Around three people jumped while I was walking. You could see them from afar. What a sight. Shit, could I really do this?

Fast forward to when I already paid the full package. I went into the changing room to put on the free shirt they gave me. An Indian woman suggested that I enjoy. She was one of the three i saw jump earlier. She gave me two thumbs up as I stashed my personal belongings in the locker (MOP20 refundable). Damn, what am I doing? The guy that assisted me on the platform was Filipino, which somehow helped in soothing my nerves. Or not. Chitchat. Before heading towards the platform they would suit you up first inside with the typicl belts and harnesses necessary for thrill rides like this one. They take your weight, mine is 49 kg, which prompted the Caucasian staff to tell me to fatten myself up. It’s not that easy! Anyway, there is no height limit, just a weight limit. They classify your weight by colors. Mine was yellow. They then write the figure on your hand.

They strap your shins together when you get on the platform. They ask you to sit on top of a table. The strapping part and the video interview go together. They would ask you to say something on cam. I told them “Pag napatid ang tali multuhan na lang ha!” (If the cord breaks let’s just haunt each other!). After that they would ask you to walk slowly towards the edge before they count five to one. Walking towards the edge is the point of no return. You want to back out but you’d probably be branded a coward if you do so. This is when butterflies overwhelm your stomach and you just feel like projectile vomiting on everyone. They then ask you to raise both arms sideways like Rose on the Titanic. Chin up. As you see the view below your stomach lurches once again. When they count 5-4-3-2-1 it would seem like you just received a death sentence. After one, you just jump and get the scare of your life.

The whole jump lasts for around six seconds. This is just for the trip down, not including the recoil of the cord. The first three seconds is where the entire thrill is packed. This is when you start chanting all the expletives you’ve learned in your lifetime. You regret having jumped. You want to axe-kick them for convincing you to jump. You know the drill. This is followed by a quick second of high-altitude migraine. You’ll feel the air ravage your face. The next two seconds is the anti-climax when you get back to your senses and realize, “Shit, I paid a third of my monthly salary for this.”

The cord recoils when you reach the lowest part of your drop. You sort of bounce back a few meters. This is when you do some abs exercise and try to yank the red handle of another cord linked to your legs. Once you successfully do, you would then be shifted to a sitting position comfortable enough for you to try and recall what just happened as the duo on the inflatable landing pad lower you down. You go back up the tower after that. Your t-shirt serves as your entrance pass. Yes, I forgot to mention that you have to pay MOP120 to get into the tower. That is on top of the fee for the bungy package. This simply means that you also lose the MOP120 if you chicken out and decide to come back another day.

Once you get back up they would give you the certificate and ask you to check if your name is correct. If you purchased the DVD and photo CD/two printed photos then it would all be ready once you get up there. Get your things from the locker and take advantage of the wonderful view before you head back to wherever your lodging is. There is a cafe on the 58th floor and the observatory is on the 60th. The 61st floor is where the extreme adventures start. That’s where you pay. That’s where you do the Skywalk. That’s where you jump. Upon availing the package you would be an AJ Hackett member for life. Your second and third jumps would just cost a third of the original. The fourth one is free.

For your second jump they advise that you do it backwards like they do in the Nestea plunge commercial. For the third they usually allow you to jump on your own like you normally would if a building is about to explode and you are stuck on the rooftop. Think Jackie Chan in Rush Hour. All with harnesses of course! I didn’t do any second or third jumps. Maybe next time, dudes. I’ve had enough thrill for one day! Macau Tower, conquered! Woohoo. This is the highest bungy jump by the way, so it really becomes some sort of achievement if you get to do it.

MACAU: 02 - Pseudo Suicide at the Macau Tower 

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