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The eight places to visit in Hong Kong

There’s a lot that’s been said and written about Hong Kong, but it remains undeniably one of the favorite destinations on this side of the world. Sure the staples include Disneyland and Ocean Park, but a recent trip found the Zee Lifestyle editors exploring what’s in the city itself. Here are some stops we feel are worth the visit.

Three on Canton at the Gateway Hotel

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The first question we had for Three on Canton was whether they had Marco Polo Plaza’s famed malicious cookies. The answer was an unfortunate no, although this outlet also has their own signature dessert—a light and fluffy chocolate cake that oozes melted chocolate when you slice it in half. It’s best paired with a scoop of Mövenpick ice cream, and it’s quite the dining experience, overlooking Hong Kong’s bustling Canton Road. Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

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Gough Street

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Located off the Soho area of Central, Gough Street used to be home to many of the city’s printing presses. Now it is home to a diverse offering of establishments—fashionable furniture and lifestyle stores Homeless and mr Blacksmith are found along the stretch, as is an outlet of popular French dessert chain Agnès b., and bag boutique Timothy Oulton. Representing Hong Kong’s juxtaposition of the new and international with the low-key and traditional, Gough Street is also home to the Kau Kee noodle house, which has been on the location for 90 years and is one of the best places to get beef brisket noodles in clear soup in the city. Central, Hong Kong Island

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Man Mo Temple

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Tucked between the towering buildings of the nearby financial district, the Man Mo Temple’s unassuming façade on Hollywood Road leads into a small but beautiful shrine in shades of gold and red. The temple is a tribute to Man, the god of literature, and the god of war Mo—both gods were patrons of students who were studying for the civil examinations of Imperial China, the results of which found the administrative officials for the state. The temple is part of a complex that includes the Lit Shing Kung, where you could worship all the heavenly gods, and the Kung Sor, an assembly hall for community discussions. 124-126 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island

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Kowloon Park

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Stretched across 13.3 hectares, the Kowloon Park is the largest in Tsim Sha Tsui and is a stretch of greenery flanked on its side with Hong Kong’s towering modern skyscrapers. The park offers a number of different areas to while away the hours of the day—the Bird Lake and Aviary feature an impressive avian collection, the Chinese Garden is a peaceful setting, its water features teeming with turtles, and the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre and Health Education Exhibition and Resource Centre is in the park’s premises. A favorite is the Maze Garden—the short shrubs may not get you lost, but it sure makes for pretty photos. 22 Austin Road, Jordan

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Hong Kong Science Museum

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Granted, it’s an institution dedicated mostly for kids—but the interactive displays are equally enjoyable for the young at heart. The exhibits explain many scientific processes in the simplest of terms and have activities that allow visitors to physically experience said processes themselves. The World of Mirrors is incredibly enjoyable for its optical illusions, while the Telecommunications Gallery allows you to connect calls using a telephone switchboard. It’s easy to lose hours in here, especially once you sit down and try to tackle the challenges in the Mathematics Gallery. 2 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon

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Victoria Peak

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It may be quite the tourist trap, but Victoria Peak is definitely one of the must-visit destinations when in Hong Kong. The splendid panoramic views of the city’s iconic skyline never gets old no matter how many times you go there, and the experience of riding the Peak Tram is always a thrill. While the Sky Terrace 428 is being advertised as having the best and unhindered views, it comes with an extra fee. We were thrilled when we discovered the Green Terrace, an observation deck on the top floor of The Peak Galleria, which allowed us to marvel at the sights at no cost at all. 118 Peak Road, Central, Hong Kong Island

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Ebeneezer’s Kebabs & Pizzeria

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Sure, you’re going to stuff yourself silly with all the crazy delicious Hong Kong fare, but if you’re staying there for more than a few days, you’re bound to want a break from it all. Ebeneezer’s Kebabs & Pizzeria proved to be quite the discovery while we were looking for somewhere to drink in the bustling Lan Kwai Fong district. The restaurant claims to be the best place to have a kebab in Hong Kong, and we can see why! The Donar bursts with the flavors of roasted lamb and the spicy dressing of our choice, and it’s perfect with an ice-cold bottle of beer. 5 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong Island

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Nan Lian Gardens

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Take a break from the dizzying buildings in Hong Kong, and enjoy some lush greens at the Nan Lian Gardens. Okay, so maybe not quite a break as you can still see buildings in the background, but a 30-minute sojourn while being surrounded by the Buddhist Pines in this Chinese classical garden is quite a refreshing escape. The garden is said to follow the rules of Chinese traditional landscaping techniques, interspersed by old-fashioned buildings that provide a stark contrast to the city. In short, everything here is picture-perfect. 60 Fung Tak Road, Diamond Hill, Kowloon

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by Shari Quimbo and Patty Taboada
Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016. For back issues, subscribe via Magzter.

Travel

Get Lost in this Not-so-distant Island Safari Paradise

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Tao Philippines Crusoe-style deserted island camp paradise is perfect for those who understand the luxury of simplicity and disconnection.

by Melo E. Esguerra photography by Scott Sporleder

Just when you think Palawan is fast becoming a second Boracay, where congestion of concrete buildings and human bodies have begun to define the island experience more than the pristine beaches of white powdery sand, the Lostboys of Tao Philippines came up with a new island project that guarantees an escape to paradise. They call the island Camp Ngey Ngey.

The Lostboys have taken over the abandoned resort of Manguengey in Busuanga, a remote island in Palawan. They have kept the ruins from the typhoon and built their signature bamboo Tuka huts around the main beach of the island, which serves as the camp area. Just a short walk away you’ll find jungle trails that lead to three other wild beaches, preserved reefs and windswept cliffs encompassed by crystal blue waters. And on certain days, when the winds are strong, one side of the island becomes a good site for surfing.

 


Eddie Brock, one of the founders of Tao Philippines, explains how this concept of an island safari came about. “When we took over Manguengey Resort, we were stuck with the idea of how to run it. We do not know how to cater to resort guests, the individual choices and needs, and menus,” he admits. “Tao’s expertise is to show travelers something new, something more raw and adventurous. We decided that we will not worry about things we don’t understand, and stick to what we do best. One of the best aspects of a Tao trip is creating an atmosphere of connecting with other travelers, disconnected from digital clot—without the worry of planning, wallets and keeping a status. Five days out in the remoteness with the islanders in control leads to a positive attitude: guards down, inhibition is off and open to meet new friends.”

The camp is accessible through the three day/two night boat safari from Coron, with beach and reef stops en route the camp and back. Guests will be joining other travelers, staying in individual Tuka huts dotted along the beach. There are lounges, a dining and kitchen area, and open hang-out places. Currently, the big mansion from the old resort is being restored into a villa that can accommodate a family or group of friends.

The island can be reserved for big events like weddings, parties and other meaningful gatherings.

In the island, there is no room service, no menus, no WiFi. You will arrive as strangers, you will eat together, swim together, laugh together, drink together, and get to know each other offline. Become part of the magic of Tao, and see what happens!

For more information on how the trip to Camp Ngey Ngey works, log on to www.taophilippines.com

 

(This article has already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s June 2017 Men’s Issue, “Lost in Paradise” on pages 110-113.)

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Travel

THROWBACK THURSDAY. Our Stylish Voyage on a Boat with Loida and Richard

FOR SAIL

With hosts Loida Montesclaros and Richard Forteau, we take entertaining to the high seas.

by Shari Quimbo photography Steffen Billhardt

The sky was decidedly gloomy on the Sunday afternoon Loida Montesclaros and Richard Forteau invited a small group of us for a sail, the clouds getting darker as I make my way to Porter’s Marina, where the Blue Planet was docked.

“Richard built the boat himself in Cebu,” Loida explains, going on to share that he was the former honorary French consul in Cebu. “It was built here, and I designed the interiors.”

All that work certainly paid off—Loida and Richard would often sail the boat out to different Philippine destinations such as El Nido, Siargao, Boracay and the Gigantes Islands in Iloilo. These could mean days-long journeys that sometimes meant dealing with some rough seas. Quick day trips, much like the one we were about to embark on, were also a regular past time.

Loida gives me a quick tour of the boat then shows off her tropical spread. With its bright blue and white floral seating, the cabin’s dining area is already a pretty festive site. “I wanted to keep it simple,” she tells me, arranging her fresh fruits around on the banana leaf-covered wooden slabs she was using as serving trays. “And I wanted it to look more local, more tropical. We are on the water, after all.”

The bamboo slats of the dining table were the perfect backdrop to Loida’s spread, which featured tropical fruits alongside an entire roll of lechon belly, fresh lumpia, empanada and steamed shrimp.

The highlight of the table, though, was the chicken liver pate, a dish that Richard makes himself. “Luckily, the French love to cook,” Loida jokes conspiratorially.

Finally, it was time to take the vessel out onto the high seas, and the group makes its way above deck to enjoy the view. The cool sea breeze was a bit stronger than usual, something that had to do with the dark rain clouds looming above us—something that would have deterred any other group, but not this adventurous bunch. Armed with a glass of champagne in one hand and a biscuit smeared with pate on the other, many stand against the railing, admiring the sight of the sky turning orange above the Mactan Channel.

And then it starts to pour. No matter, though—as the rain pounds against the deck, the party finds its way down below. A bottle of wine is opened, and then another, while a second pot of pate is transferred on a plate. Our captain waits until the waves calm before he brings us back ashore.

(This story has already been published in the printed edition of Zee Lifestyle Magazine’s November 2016 issue as one of the Entertaining Features on pages 82-85.)

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Culture

Experience authentic Korean Barbeque at Da-In Restaurant

Filipinos are crazy for Korean barbecue. As such, there are a lot of places that are offering Korean barbecue. But Da-In restaurant isn’t just one of those restaurants.

Located in Salinas Drive in Lahug, Cebu, Da-in restaurant is a joint project between the Creative Cuisine Group and Da-Won restaurant. With state-of-the-art grilling stations in each table and various Korean cuisines ready to be served, Da-In would surely sate your Korean barbecue cravings without any hassle.

Visit Da-In restaurant today!

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