I intended on going to the Philippines.
Everyone thought I was crazy due to Covid19 things.
It hadn’t hit the rest of the world at that point (February 2020) and I was all, “It’ll be fine.”
I ended up in Hong Kong, Cambodia, and Thailand.
It wasn’t “fine” as planned but I had an amazing time nonetheless.
For more of the story of how it went down: read on.
If you don’t care and are only after the photos: scroll on.
This is Part 1 of the trip. I was going to make it into one entry but I have so much media and stories that I’d really like to share. There’s only so much vacation time and finances that I can budget so I normally wouldn’t have intended to go to these places… but as life would have it, sometimes we get taken off the path that we plan for ourselves to discover other wonders we otherwise wouldn’t have come across.
I let my Filipino passport expire a long time ago since I wasn’t using it. Also, you’re OK to go with a Canadian passport if you’re only going to be there for 30 days or less so I didn’t bother. I did read that the Philippines has gotten strict with letting travelers in due to Covid19. They were only letting people in who had Filipino passports, Filipino permanent resident cards, or returning Filipinos. By the time I’ve read it, there wasn’t enough time for me to go and get a passport so I grabbed a copy of my birth certificate.
Right. That didn’t pan out as I got stalled in Hong Kong. They kept telling me to go back home but I wasn’t giving up. I had arrived there on a Friday and the Filipino embassy, as I had found out, was closed during Fridays and Saturdays. I decided to stay with the hopes of being able to get a 24-hour rush passport. I booked lodging until Monday though. I thought, well, I might as well explore HK. It was already late once I figured everything out so I just went out for a walk around the blocks of where I stayed.
It was quite a struggle upon the incident. I essentially argued with airport staff, asking if there was someone I could speak to. There were several of us. One of which was an American I vented with. He eventually left and decided to go home. I was shocked; he told me that he had booked his entire 3 weeks stay, booked a good chunk of activities, told his friends and family etc. I couldn’t believe he was going to give up just like that. “Well, what are you gonna do?” he asked me.
I turned to the airport staff, who I had been bargaining with for hours, “Can I stay here?”
“Oh you want to stay here now?”, he replied.
“Yeah. Can I stay here with my papers?”
“Yes, that’s fine.”
I turned to the American, “I’m staying here and figuring it out.”
The American raised his hands, “OK. Good luck with that. The way I see it, there are no other options for me.”
“All the best.” I said, as he left.
“Do you have family here?” asked the staff member.
“Do you have friends? A place to stay?”
“No, but I’ll find something.”
As soon as I got to the hostel, I was already pessimistic about ending up in the Philippines but I haven’t heard nor read anything official so I held off on research. I dealt with things, literally, by the day and sometimes by the hour or even minute.
I immediately booked a couple of tours for the weekend; two of which were being taken around by a photographer in Hong Kong. We had a day session and night session + I walked around on my own.
Everything was taken with my smartphone (Huawei P20 Pro)
At the end of my first full day, my friend in the Philippines delivers me the news: they’re quarantining everyone who comes from China, including Hong Kong, for two weeks at the Manila airport. It was a bummer but, truth be told, even at the Hong Kong airport when the lady directed me to claim my luggage, I started laughing. There was a feeling of disappointment and defeat but a sense of adventure and excitement crept in, “Haha. This is happening. Okaaaaaaay, Gelene. Let’s see what you come up with.”
I mean this is what backpackers do, right? Not sure if they do prior research before entering the places they’re going to but I’m guessing it’s a different headspace when you’re set out to backpack vs being yanked into it.
I started researching that night. I was not backing out. I was most adamant about ending up in the water. There were plenty of things I wanted to do and I wasn’t giving up scuba diving.
One thought on “The Accidental Backpacking Trip – Part 1: Hong Kong”
Reblogged this on Gelene.