Our Misadventures in Macau

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The Grand Lisboa

Traveling is an exciting thing to do. It teaches us to appreciate the beauty of life and shows us how wonderful God’s creations are. But what will you do if your expected great holiday turns into an unforgettable misadventure?

On our week-long trip to Hong Kong, we planned to take a peek to its neighboring region of Macau. Macau is only an hour away by ferry from Hong Kong.

As soon as we got out of ferry terminal, we were greeted by fellow “kababayans” who were offering their service to be the tour guide for a reasonable fee. But because we thought we can manage on our own, we turned down the offers and went straight to the bus stop and looked for the bus going to Senado Square.dsc_4385

Immersing to Macau felt a lot more different from HK. To add a little bit of history, Macau was a former Portuguese colony. It is obvious on the many signs written in Portuguese.

Macau being the Las Vegas of Asia is famous for its high-end hotels and casinos. We were mesmerized by the sights of it.dsc_4392

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Unfortunately the bus we rode was not going to Senado Square. The driver doesn’t speak English so we hopped-off on the last bus stop and looked for someone we can ask for directions. With the help of a “kabayan”, we learned that we were still very far from Senado Square and that there’s no bus within the area that’s going there. He gave us instructions on how to get there. It was past 12 in the afternoon, the sun’s shining so bright and there we were walking under the heat of the sun. After more than 2 km walk, we finally found the right bus to the square. Since we’re drained and hungry, we decided to have our lunch first before starting our tour to Senado Square.dsc_4547

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Senado Square is one of the most important places in Macau. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walking along the mosaic pavements with the old buildings around feels like we were sent back to the olden times. The buildings have a long history that is why it is well protected by the government. There are also shops and restaurants.

Just within the area, you will see other famous attractions like the Ruins of St. Paul, Macau Museum and St. Dominic Church among others.

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Senado Square is not only the best place to get a dose of culture and history. It is also a perfect place to have a food trip for free. (Yes! You read it right!) Most of the stores around the area offer free taste of their products, from cookies to egg tarts, to special ham. You can come back as many times as you want. My friends and I even joked that next time we visit Senado Square; we will bring our own food container and collect as many free samples as we can. There are also some groups and volunteers who were giving away pink paper bags with brochures about Ruins of St. Paul, cookies, water and keychains. Free food and souvenirs along the square, what else can we ask for!

The Ruins of St. Paul is another must-see attraction. It is considered Macau’s most famous landmark. It is a 17th century Portuguese church. It was destroyed by a fire during a typhoon in 1835. Nowadays, only the façade was left standing and the ruins were restored into a museum.dsc_4511

After Senado Square, up next on our itinerary was the Kun Iam Ecumenical Center.This was where our burden started again. For the second time around, we rode the wrong bus again. We couldn’t find any reliable information from anyone since language barrier is a problem. But we’re still very grateful to meet fellow Filipinos along the way. They were of great help in leading us to the right path.dsc_4555

The Kun Iam Ecumenical Center was already closed when we reached. This bronze statue is dedicated to Goddess Kun Iam, the Goddess of Mercy.

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From Kun Iam Ecumenical Center, MGM was just a walkable distance and we could also see the other impressive casinos nearby. We only took some photos outside MGM before heading to the next casino, Wynn.dsc_4669

We happened to see the ceiling show also known as the Dragon of Fortune and the lights and sound display of Prosperity Tree.

Dragon Of Fortune Show.

Prosperity Tree Light & Sound Display

Just walking down the streets will surely satisfy your eyes. The gleaming lights and architectural designs of the many casinos side by side will leave you speechless. All we can say was “WOW!”

Of all the casinos that we saw, the Grand Lisboa is the fairest of them all. Although we did not go inside since it’s already getting late and we’re running out of time, just by looking at it from the outside left us in awe. We couldn’t stop admiring its beauty whenever it changes color. It’s really one of Macau’s greatest casino masterpieces.

The last stop on our casino hopping was The Venetian. After spending some time, we finally decided to leave and catch the last ferry going back to Hong Kong.

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And here we were again. We couldn’t find the right bus. It’s getting late so we decided to take taxi to the ferry terminal. We felt relieved as we arrived at the terminal. “But why it looked different?! Why it seemed so near from the casino strips?” It was too late when we discovered that we’re on the wrong terminal. There were so many questions on our mind. We should have told the driver to drop us to Cotai terminal. I remembered we only ask him to bring us to the terminal. But why he did not ask which terminal?

We were exhausted and so lost. We approached the police mobile that’s parked nearby and told them that we’re lost. The lady policeman was the one who talked to us. But it’s very hard for her to understand what we were saying and to our surprise they also didn’t know where the other ferry terminal is and how to get there. Instead of helping us, they just left us while laughing, as if we’re a big joke. We were really disappointed with their behavior, to think that one of them was a woman.

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After some times of getting lost…At last, we already left Macau ferry terminal and we’re heading to Cotai Terminal. And to our dismay the last ferry had left. The next available trip will be tomorrow morning. The terminal was closed, meaning we couldn’t spend the night inside the terminal. Since our budget did not allow us to find any accommodation we had no choice but to wait outside- on the bus stop. Luckily, the guard was just near so if something happens, we knew that we could just scream and he will hear us. We felt so helpless that time. We slept on the bus stop. My friend saw that the guard was also looking after us while we were sleeping. This was one of the reasons why I always believe in the kindness of other people. Despite the many bad people out there, there are also more people with a good heart.

Fortunately, we spent the night peacefully. The next morning we were falling in line on the ticket counter. There’s already a long queue of Chinese tourist and we’re behind but thankfully the guard called us and assisted us to the ticket booth while the others were waiting outside. We even heard the others complaining why we were prioritized. We’re one of the first customers that day.

The sunrise brought new hope to our adventurous souls. It was one of the most unforgettable trips of our lives.dsc_4784

TIPS:

  • I highly suggest getting a tour guide especially if you have a very limited time in Macau. This way, you can help our kabayan and make the most out of your trip at the same time.
  • Since most of the locals don’t speak English, it would be better if you can provide a photo of the place you want to visit and just show to them.
  • Make sure that you know which ferry terminal you are going to.
  • And last but not the least, RESEARCH well and make sure you have an emergency fund.
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