Our visit to Macau Sky Tower is the last and the highlight of our one-day Macau tour. It’s a convention cum amusement center. I have not done my research before going there. Hence, I had zero expectations and was totally impressed as I did set foot. An Italian exhibit culminated few days before our tour. We are lucky that this leaning tower of Pisa side by side Macau Tower was still on display. Perhaps they kept these for the Christmas season as an added attraction.
Dyanie asked in one of my previous posts how the ferry looked like. Here are some of the photos that I took while in the turbo jet. I could say that the almost 40-minute ride from Hong Kong Terminal was a smooth one.
Although I wanted to invest on nap I did not because I enjoyed peeking in and taking snaps during the ride. On board in turbo jet, we already caught a glimpse of Sands Macau. A strong cue that Macau’s economy is mainly dependent on gambling industry among other things.
The tour guide earmarked our lunch to be spent in Macau Fisherman’s Wharf. While in the bus, we were oriented about the things that we will be seeing, a visit to Casino Babylon included.
Casino Babylon is the oldest casino boutique in Macau. We never really got to play inside because you will never find it as part of any day or night tour package. Especially in our group wherein there were Singaporean, Indian and Filipino who are not yet of legal age. While the guard was busy making a big deal on why our group went in despite of these underage charming fellows, I managed to take only one photo while inside the casino.
After our guide made the necessary explanation to the casino personnel, i.e. that our group was just passing by as part of the tour, we proceeded to the Macanese buffet waiting for us.
Honestly, I didn’t like the food at all that I didn’t care to take photos of it. I bet they are not the finest Macau dishes. The consequence of being in a package tour is you have to go with the flow, normally lunch or dinner is more than economically considered. But the dining area is interesting enough to counter this flaw. I enjoyed the fancy car-dining set-up and the sight of shoe store as I did look down.
After lunch, we were given almost sufficient time (I realized later on that there’s so much to check here). Our group dispersed and we started appreciating the different corners of Fisherman’s Wharf.
I didn’t know that this is actually a theme park. The first ever in Macau. It became glaring only when I started to see structures inspired by different theme buildings: Italian, Spanish, etc.
It was like walking through the different eras or quasi world tour, whichever way you’ll feel.
If I’d get a chance, I want to revisit this at night time. I can just imagine how livelier the whole place will be once it is all lighted up fancifully. They are also holding shows in that late afternoon which we did not catch because of time limits.
One of the finest attractions here is Vulcania.
It is a replica volcano that will instantly get your attention even if you’re outside the Fisherman’s Wharf.
(Taken while in the bus)
The best spot to rest your tired feet and senses is here. It was breeze.
Our meeting place was in front of Casino Babylon. The woman waving the flag (read as: hurry!) is our guide. I was late for our call time. Ako na lang pala ang hinihintay (blushes). I almost forgot that I was not in a DIY tour. Enough said, nakakalibang yung place.
Museu De Macau is steps away from Ruins of Saint Paul. Being on a package tour has twin effects, the time constraints and efficiency. Our tour guide allotted us two hours to visit the ruins and museum. I suggest that you see the ruins first because there’s a tendency that you will be unmindful of the time once you’re inside the museum.
The museum allows non-flash photography. But I noticed that not too many were taking photos. The visitors are multi-cultural and I assume that the interest in checking the bits of the museum will vary with the orientation, intensity of exploration, and basis of comparison. I also noticed that some of the museum’s keepers are Filipinos. I chatted a little with one of them and claimed that there are so many kababayans (fellow Filipinos) in Macau now.
The first area showcases rebultos (images) of old Chinese people, those of Jesus Christ and other traces of Christianity. This is not surprising since Macau has been under the colony of Portugal for a long time.
In addition, the Myths of Macau, a model trike and an area with TV featuring the history of Macau (reminds me of Lights and Sounds Museum in Intramuros) can be found in the main area.
There’s a miniature of old trading that happened centuries ago.
One of the most interesting displays here are the seemingly Chinese ‘dolls’. They are eerie and great to look at.
Traditional dresses, postal box, spices, pro-forma kitchen are also on display.
Of course, there is a showcase of artificial Macau food. I wished these were real and will then go out of the glass wall. I remember when I was a kid when someone feels cheated, he’d say “Lutong Macau”.
Lutong Macau refers to anything preconceived or planned and is bound to occur. The phrase might be from the local experience that Macau Chinese are known for their style of cooking and restaurants who promote the cuisine-prepared ingredients even before it is ordered.
As we turned to the other corner, this lady scared me a bit. I don’t know why, maybe it’s just my imagination. But I find the museum’s arrangement of displays to have a little eerie effect. Also, there are life size structures of local vendors during old Macau. They are all situated in the booth “Cries of Macau.”
A substantial amount of display is devoted to history of firecrackers. There was a time that Macau became one of the largest exporters of fireworks.
The museum also offers a two-storey fancy row of houses.
A traditional living room in Macau. I liked it a lot especially the paintings.
As of present time, this is how the houses in Macau generally look like. It’s very Binondo. I took this while we were walking back to the tourist bus as we were headed to the Fisherman’s Wharf (details in next post).
I also noticed that motorcycles are very popular there. As a side note, most of the signs are still written in Portuguese. Just like on this motociclos parking.
I have visited Museu De Macau before our very own Museum of Filipino People. I’d say the latter has more to offer and is at par with cleanliness of Macau’s. Here’s a very good video of Old Macau (1960s). I think this would speak better than the museum. I’m not a Macau local, but I felt having a trip down history after watching it.
During my brief stay in Hong Kong, a day was dedicated for Macau. Instead of having the Do It Yourself arrangement, we joined a day tour for efficiency. From Tsim Sha Tsui, the travel agency’s shuttle picked us up and did board us to HK Terminal. It only takes a 30 to 40-minute Turbo Jet ride from there to Macau.
Inside the tourist bus, the guide gave us pamphlets and orientation about the places we would be visiting. In between, she would ask questions that will merit you a fake casino chip. I got one when I hit the response for “Who are the second largest residents in Macau?” I wildly guessed Filipinos. Of course, we are everywhere, aren’t we? We are trying to dominate the world.
Macau is popular for its casinos that it’s otherwise known as the Las Vegas of Asia. It only has 29 square kilometers, and there are 29 casinos also. Fair equation. How did I know this? From our tour guide. That was her first trivia question, I was so lazy to think that there are 29 casinos per square kilometer clue.
It’s odd how something not really attractive can be very interesting. Just like in one of the parks we visited, there’s this tulip monument being Macau’s national flower. I don’t imagine that Philippines will ever have a Sampaguita monument.
Due to Chinese and Portuguese influences, this statue of Kun Iam is said to be a blend of Chinese goddess Guan Yin and Catholics’ Virgin Mary. Our tour guide actually asked us to make a wish as we visited this spot. But she also strongly reminded us not to make the sign of the cross or else our wishes will not ever come true.
We weren’t able to get really close to the statue because there was an ongoing walkathon that day. During our visit, Macau was having a weeklong celebration of its 10th year of independence from Portugal under China’s umbrella. For the unfamiliar, Macau and Hong Kong are Special Administrative Regions of China.
We also went to A-Ma Temple which was built for the goddess Tin Hau.
(I wish I could read this)
(View from the top of the temple)
It was a lucky day indeed, as the walkathon culminated near the temple. Imagine almost all locals were there. I enjoyed comparing the profiles of the participants in the parade. We also had the chance to have our photos taken with them as well as the members of drum and lyre bands and dragon dancers.
Ruins of Saint Paul is said to be the greatest monument to Christianity in Asia. Hence, this is the most famous sight in Macau. Built in 17th century and was destroyed by fire in 1835. The facade and stairway are all that remain.
(The amount of visitors is overwhelming)
As I was taking snaps, a younger visitor approached me to have her photo with me. Her mother became our photographer. It is one of the unusual and random interactions one could have.