April 30, 2012

san malo, a huge binondo

ruins of st paul's cathedral at san malo, macau
it's normal for me to wake up in the middle of the night and toss and turn a bit. hearing two men snore in my room meant that my room mates came back from their night trip and have been sleeping soundly. no sound from my alarm yet so i went back to sleep. moments later, my body clock woke me up. as i grabbed my phone, there i saw 09:39. i did set the alarm at 05:00 but failed to set it on sunday.


my 8-hour macau tour: first half

i should have woke up at 05:00 as planned. on my phone, my sister has been messaging me asking for how i was. welkin, who i was supposed to meet at san malo in the morning, had been trying to call me as well. and so, i forced my lazy self to wake up and grabbed some breakfast (mostly last night's dinner's left-overs) at the fridge, and had a quick bath. i messaged welkin to tell him that i will be late... way too late, perhaps arriving at noon a few minutes before his shift starts. his plan was to give me a quick tour around the place with his wife before he goes to work at 14:00. since it's not possible for us to do everything a few minutes before his shift, he asked his colleague, johnny, a favor keep me company for the whole day. johnny was one of the lucky few who gets to have holidays on sundays. casinos are open daily so people who are employed have different day offs.

and so i sailed off to macau via turbo jet and arrived at macau port at 13:30. turbojet is the fastest ferry going to macau from hong kong. other ferries will take 2-3 hours of travel time. at the macau port, it was a mistake for me not to keep my passport because three filipinas took advantage of me being a young visitor at macau. i told them i don't need help because i am meeting someone at a casino but she insisted that i take them with me for 150 patacas so they could tour me and my friend around macau. i wanted to cut the petty disagreement short so i just went away and took the bus yet i was still hurled, "di na namin kasalanan kapag nawala ka" (it's not our fault if you get lost). my dad has always told me not to interact with fellow filipinos abroad, unless you were friends before, because they will take advantage of fellows and proving it a fact is quite disappointing. and since i was trying to escape the filipinas at the port, i forget to take a map! what's worse, my hk sim didn't work so i was not able to call or send messages to johnny and welkin. "i'm cursed" i said to myself but it's nice to get lost sometimes so i just waited for the bus to arrive at san malo and enjoyed the vast views outside my window in every bus stop.

when i dropped off at san malo, the phone booths saved me. i called johnny and told me that he will come in 15 minutes. while waiting, i took some photos of the scenes in san malo. the place gave me images of what was avenida sta cruz like as what my parents described it and which was what former manila mayor, atienza, was aiming for. macau was under portuguese rule just like hong kong under the british and the philippines under spain.

johnny arrived a bit late but i cannot complain since i was the one who messed up welkin and pauline's itinerary because of my tardiness in the first place. first in johnny's itinerary was the st paul ruins, which is macau's famous tourist attraction aside from the casinos. 

next to the st paul ruins is a walled fortress similar to what we have in fort santiago. 

my macau tour guide, johnny who doesn't want his face shown in any of my albums

under the ruins of the st paul church, there's a musuem which showcases relics during the portuguese occupation in macau.

there were also stuff from macau during the 1900's. these were the stuff the meteorologists used to tell the weather. johnny says that there was a time that they weren't able to predict the weather accurately causing people not to prepare for flood. flooding rarely happens in macau since the philippines always has the first hit during the typhoon season and such spectacles are uncanny for them.

chinese porcelain

going to the ruins was fun as there are a lot of bakeries offering free tastes of their products such as meet jerkies and pastries so lunch wasn't our problem. just don't let the promodisers recognize you when you go back for your second round.

eva, dr co's wife, told me about macau egg tarts which were way better than those being sold in tung chung. and they were indeed better! but you have to eat them immediately than letting it cool for a time; thus they are not good for take home gifts for friends back in manila.

after we went to the museum, i'm back to completing my errands. dr co, told me that he bought his medicines at shenzhen but i need to have a special visa issued by the chinese embassy in the philippines (had i thought of applying for a visa before, i should have crossed the mainland border). but instead of taking risks, he recommended me to buy at the stores in macau where herbs are cheaper and more fresh. i asked for welkin's help so i could visit the chinese apothecaries and was referred to a place just a few blocks away from san malo park. johnny showed me the way to the store, which isn't that hard to find and was greeted warmly by the owner.

at the traditional chinese medicine store
i was told to buy 4 herbs. the store owner didn't understand english nor mandarin so johnny tried his best in conversing in cantonese. the good news was, we were able to get all the herbs i need to buy. the bad news is, there's a communication gap in asking for the right amount as johnny isn't familiar with terms of units of measurement. i told him i wanted to buy just 100 grams. however, when he was putting all of them in the plastic bag, the herbs didn't weigh 100 kilos when i tried to weigh them by my hands. what he told to the store owner made him understood that i wanted to buy half-kilo of each! so for minutes, we have been doing all the sign languages we could think off to make him understand i just wanted to buy 100 grams. luckily, welkin's indonesian room mate who is fluent in cantonese, passed by and greeted johnny. we asked for her help in conversing with the owner so i was able to buy my stuff in their right amounts. johnny has been saying yat pong which meant 1 kilo and doing the hand gesture of cutting his hand in half meant we wanted half kilo. she said that the right term is yat kang. she then said that it was good that she saw us. welkin wanted us to drop by his home because she'll cook dinner for everyone. johnny told him we'll come in at 20:00 after we visit taipa.

after the transaction with the store owner was completed, we walked to grand lisboa. there we started our casino hopping adventure.


  1. ..you think the store owner would have understood it quicker if you used "drugs" in reference to weight in grams? :-)

    1. i had the thought of saying "shabu". he might understand it... ehehe i'll try next time.