Category Archives: Hong Kong

Connecting Flights in Hong Kong; Talking About San Mig, Aguinaldo and Bonifacio

san miguel beer, bonifacio, aguinaldo, hong kong, hkia

If only I could sleep in these long haul flights, air travel would be a pleasant experience. But the thought that the flying metal tube I’m in is flying over the freezing region of Canada’s Nunavut territory, with North Pole not far looming, keeps me wide awake. I got an hour sleep and woke up with a stiff neck and a terrible headache. And there’s still 9 hours left before we reach the land of Bruce Lee.

HK’s Airport have a charming mountainous view. (Below) The flight tracker on board Cathay Pacific showing the plane passing the Hudson Bay Canada.

I like using HK for my connecting flights to and from US because they don’t require any visa (even after that terrible Luneta hostage incident, thank God!); you could step out of the airport when you want. I’m used to it compare to say Narita in Japan or Taipei. I had half a day to spare in HK and thought of going downtown but there’s that protest in the central area. I don’t want to gamble missing my flight back to Singapore.

Filipino’s has been coming to Hong Kong for hundreds of years; they studied, worked, lived and became revolutionaries here; sending our women as domestic helpers in this region only started in the latter part of 1900’s. In fact, our well-to-do families employed Chinese yaya before, now it’s the other way around; we have college graduates accepting these menial jobs in China believe it or not.

Hong Kong was instrumental in our quest for independence even after the Spanish withdrew from our land. Aguinaldo was summoned by Ambassador Pratt in Singapore from his Hong Kong residence. Remember our flag was seamed in this former British colony by Filipinos who fled from political persecution. The so called Filipino Junta, active until 1903, operated freely in the island, protected by British laws. This community was comprised mainly of rich and educated Filipinos, this group took to writing and funding propaganda activities to advance their revolutionary cause. While Aguinaldo (and his men) are credited for establishing the Junta, Filipinos had been involve in plotting against Spain in Hong Kong even before he came.

Lately, there have been talks of making Bonifacio the first president. Some celebrities and historians wanted to dislodge Aguinaldo. This is not new; a movie for the upcoming Metro Manila Film Fest appears to be banging the drums for publicity and unfortunately is being supported by some historians. I could not understand why there’s a need to push for this; Sacay proclaimed himself president, he too should be declared president?

Whether Aguinaldo defeated Bonifacio fair and square (most likely not, he was in Cavite) or his Caviteño brethren gifted him with a victory is history. We should trouble ourselves with educating our children how long our leaders have been arrogant, corrupt and cruel; not only against the people they governed but towards each other, so they’ll vote for better leaders—if not become better leaders themselves. Look, soon we’ll have Binay in Malacañan and we’re arguing about Bonifacio’s presidential term?

We have a long inventory of historical blunders that we have to impart to our children; to cover these, worst, lionize those who stole and murder their fellow countrymen during our wars for freedom is a disservice to out history as Filipinos.

We have to be honest to our young Filipinos. Speak of the great sacrifices and heroic deeds but never edit out past mistakes. Young minds need not be fed with crazy propagandas but historical truths.

Enough of these “who’s better: Rizal or Bonifacio” kind of questions; we’re wasting our time with this.

Let’s talk about beers here for a moment. San Miguel Beer enjoys a good following around here in Hong Kong; I am always proud of our quality export products. This must be the result of their proximity to us or maybe because our Chinese businessmen have links to this land; I read that they have subsidiaries in mainland China. They’re probably brewing there as well. Someday all that beer would have made in China labels. The Filipino Taipans are believers in investing big money in the mainland; that means money made from Pinoy lasinggeros are invested in China. Not only are we allowing them to build military airstrips in the fringes of our country, steal our sea turtles, they get capital courtesy of our big businesses too.

I remember telling some German friends before that we have a great beer that dates back to the Spanish times and that they should try it one day. I’ll never forget the remark of one of them telling me that “there must be a German there somewhere” brewing. I later found out that the guy’s right; Germans where tasked by the Friars to help them brew their first barrels of beer in San Miguel’s distillery in Manila.

December 2014

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Rizal’s Hong Kong

One of the remaining granite steps in Mid Levels. Even the colonial iron bars that separates the road was wonderfully restored.

The good thing about Hong Kong is that it’s just a two hours flight from Manila — and they don’t require a visa. You can grab round trip tickets on line for dirt cheap prices. Thanks to budget airlines.

There’s a huge Filipino community here. Never had problem finding my way around because there’s a Filipino in every corner. I heard Tagalog everywhere. Heck, I even saw a Jollibee on my way to the Mid Level.

Like many students, I saw those Rizal calling cards in Fort Santiago back in the 80’s. Since then, I’ve been dreaming of finding those Hong Kong addresses.

Finding Rednaxela Terrace and the hero’s eye clinic at no. 5 D’Aguilar Street didn’t posed that much of a challenge. Both have historical markers installed by the local government. Although the original structures are no longer there, seeing where they once stood was worth the visit.

The marker in D’Aguilar clinic.

The streets in this old quarters are narrow and crowded. Reminds me of Manila.

I have issues walking under these swinging billboards. Scare the you know what out of me.

That’s yours truly after a good cardio workout going up the Mid Levels just to see Rednaxela Terrace.

Another old road going up the hill.

The old Rizal home in Rednaxela was actually located further back near Peel Street. The marker was placed in the main path way for visibility. Rednaxela is Alexander misspelled. Obviously, someone messed it up pretty bad during the area’s zoning and the name got stuck.

The granite road and the street lamps Rizal wrote about in Duddell St. are still there. It’s a couple of blocks from the Central train station. The place appears to have been locked in a time capsule.

There’s another clinic, said to be somewhere near the Rizal’s Rednaxela Terrace home in the Mid Level. I haven’t come across any direct reference where this place used to stand.

Another site worth the visit is the location of the old Agoncillo residence in Morrison Hill Park. Said to be where Aguinaldo commissioned our flag to be sewn together. It also have a red metal marker courtesy of the Hong Kong Antiquities Council.

I’m interested to find where Aguinaldo and his men lodged during their exile. We don’t have any existing reference where this place was. Maybe someone would dug up this little piece of our history someday.

Another interesting location would be Jose Ma. Basa’s home. The unofficial Filipino center as it was customary for expats to pay it a courtesy visit upon arrival. I wonder what his opinion would be of his descendants feuding over the wealth he left behind.

Other places like the Mariano Ponce residence are yet to be discovered. In this house Juan Luna abruptly died of a heart attack. I read an interesting article from Ambeth Ocampo that alludes to the opinion that the painter was probably poisoned.

Later on, his son would take possession of his remains and stay in Hong Kong for some time before bringing his father to San Agustin church. It is said that he carried his father bones inside a bucket and would sleep with it under his bed. I assume that they stayed in a different location and not with Ponce. Where exactly, no one seems to know.

So many historic places that we have yet to find. I think it’s time our government commissions a study to find all these places.


Touch Down Hong Kong

At HKIA.

I’ve been wanting to see the historical places here where Filipino patriots spent time during their exile. I have no plans other than seeing these places. Well, maybe eat in a fancy resto, dine in class and sip some high grade wine – but that’sa a dream. That’s not going to happen. Budget is not that deep. I’m going to have to settle with the hawker stalls for sure.

This Chinese territory is unbelievably crowded but they have great infrastructure and for a place this populated, they’re not that polluted.

I kept seeing the classic anime movie “Ghost in the Shell” in my head when I started walking around the busy streets of Hong Kong. The neon billboards, the imposing skyscrapers, high rise homes on hillsides, the busy airport and their coastal seas where huge freight ships pass with regularity. The place is alive and buzzing.

Unlike Singapore, they don’t talk a lot of English here. But hey, there’s a Filipino in every corner. So worry not about getting lost – these people will help you not to get lost.

It’s fascinating that like in the past, the island remains very popular to us Filipinos.

Pimped trams!

Buildings and neon billboards. Fun.

The longest covered path walk in the world complete with escalators. Wait, isn’t that Barbara Walters?

I have this uneasy feeling walking under these billboards. For sure someone already died from these things falling.

Hong Kong’s a great place – they have Disney Land and Jacky Chan (and Bruce Lee but he’s no longer around). If that’s not cool then I don’t know what is. Jacky Chan, that’s the man right there. He should be president of Hong Kong.

By the way, San Miguel beer is big here. Maybe the patriots brought it here in the 1800’s?

They require no visa and the island’s just a two hour plane ride from Manila. The cheapest, easiest foreign land we could get our ass on and the best part is that we have a great history here.

An R&R in HK is perfect for those Pinoys wanting to temporarily get away from the danger of getting shot by those murderous riding in tandem motorists.

More later…


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