That visit to Hong Kong almost two weeks ago was a welcome trip in a simmering pandemic period.
Not only that lockdowns are now a thing of the past but the opening of borders made this media famtour possible.
I have already traveled to the US almost a year ago but it was not without worries. Lots of it. It was my (un)usual trip to New York where I had to contend with three scares: the Asian hate crime, covid-19 and even the monkey pox which, at that time, kept me apprehensive. If not only for some PR commitments, and that hospitality by former NY Consul General Elmer Cato (and Uncle Sammy Sanchez, his uncle and mine too) I would not have travelled there.
It’s all different this time. This recent trip to Hong Kong was a lot more relaxed. Not that it was entirely worry-free but it was held at a time when the pandemic is no longer considered a global health emergency. Besides Hong Kong has effectively put in place health protocols and safeguards. Thus, the safe and protected travel to the wonderful place.
Prior to the pandemic, my last foreign trip was in November 2019. It was a rather short and full-sked trip to London in UK, Stockholm in Sweden and Oslo in Norway. Ohh at Norway, we made a side trip to Tromso where we got really lucky to see the night skies dance – the Aurora Borealis. On the way back, we made a whistlestop to Doha in Qatar. Like almost everyone else, I kept my travel bags in closets since then.
The return trip to Hong Kong after quite some time was super fun. Here is a bit of what we did, saw, and ate.
Hong Kong Disneyland. Ahhh, the kid in all of us got awakened and entertained to the full. The happiest place on earth is not just for little children. It is for everyone with all the shows, rides, attractions and what have you.
The Festival of the Lion King show remains to be a big favorite by throngs of tourists. This could be seen from the long lines of people queuing up to make it inside the amphitheater. It is a fabulous song and dance treat, with the renders of Hakuna Matata (everything is okay), Circle of Life, Can You Feel The Love Tonight making the show really endeared.
Visit to HK Disneyland is always capped by the night time spectacular show by the Castle (don’t just call it fireworks display as it has more than that).
This is a “Momentous” visual delight to the senses with spectacular multimedia elements, including large scale 3D projection mapping technology, choreographed fountains, illuminated water projection, lasers, theatrical lighting, pyrotechnics, and fireworks effects. What’s more, your ears will be regaled with newly-reimagined classic Disney songs. It’s a spellbinding experience that’s sure to melt hearts, warm smiles, and reawaken beloved memories.
For all but 20 minutes there, your jaw will drop with ooohhs and ahhhhs as the night sky illuminates, along with beloved music that takes you back in one monumental journey.
There are limitless ways to enjoy this amusement park. Entertainment is almost never ending. There are these so-called “Heroic Encounters” with Iron Man, Ant Man and the Wasp, Black Panther, Black Widow, Captain America. You name it, they have it, like all the Marvel Heroes and Avengers have took time off from their saving missions just to delight visitors of the park!
The Hong Kong Palace Museum. In this this 7-storey building inspired by the Forbidden City is where East-meets-West insofar as the displays are concerned . It is where some of the finest pieces from China and modern crafts from select parts of the globe are on display.
What makes the HKPM so special is the fact that it is a recipient of loaned items from Palace Museum in China. In there are over 900 pieces of priceless treasures from the vaults of the Palace Museum, with most of them being exhibited in HK for the first time
One of the great attractions in HKPM is the Cartier and Women special exhibit which will run until August 14 this year in one of its nine galleries.
This is the world’s first major exhibition on the unique role and influence of women in Cartier’s history. Featuring approximately 300 stunning treasures created by one of the world’s famous luxury brands.
It features celebrities, monarchs, aristocrats with precious jewellery, timepieces, objects, accessories and archival records from the 19th century to the present day. It is a must-see for those going to HKPM.
The M+ Museum. This has 33 galleries found in 17,000-square meter display area. That area can fit in as many as 34 NBA-standard basketball courts.
The Sigg Gallery is one section that one should not miss. It banners the theme “From Revolution to Globalisation”.
One can easily presume the best interpretation of revolution from the theme in the context of Hong Kong (China) is the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution started by Mao Zedong in 1966.
Visitors would be impressed by the captivating samples of revolutionary art. Particularly striking is the Great Criticism: Chanel by Chinese pop artist Wang Guangyi.
The oil on canvas, measuring about 6 feet by 12 feet (or probably more), has four people with caps who looked like soldiers. Each of them holds Mao’s Little Red Book of Quotations as they stand behind a rising sun with white and red rays known of the great Chinese leader. That distinctive Chanel No. 5 branding with logo also appears on top and bottom left of the painting.
The perfume conveys the capitalist market while the symbolism and representations attached to Mao’s revolution capture that major cultural shift that brought where China is today.
As the description of the painting states, “the work speaks to (please note “to” not about there) the obsession with consumer goods in 1990s China and the push and pull between consumerism and socialism.
Another terrific display of the revolutionary art that one cannot escape noticing is the “Art and Politics” by Wang. This one is clearly a depiction of the armed struggle in China where 8 males, presumably soldiers, don war implements like rifles with bayonets and a binocular. Two soldiers noticeably wear the Mao cap with the lone red star on center, with one of them having the red patches on the shirt collar.
Again, this piece, just like the Chanel, combines the element of American pop art with Chinese political propaganda. Such masterful and unique mix enshrines Wang a place in political pop culture movement in China.
OTHER PLACES. Enjoy Hong Kong and visit other spots like the Harbour City – the all in one shopping, entertainment, and sightseeing destination. Of course, the usual destinations like Monkok would always be fun. This is where I got to buy vinyl LPs that are not easily available in the Philippines and even the US. As to food, almost all the joints we have gone too offered absolutely yummy meals – the real HK treat of dimsums, noodles, spices and all. The Hong Kong visit was made possible through the Cebu Pacific, Hong King Tourism Board, Selrahco and Perceptions.
May 10, 2023
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