My Most Awaited Vacation

 

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After passing the NCLEX-RN (Like, finally?!!!!!). We decided to push thru our long awaited vacation. Joseph promised me that if I passed the test, we’ll go wherever I want to go. My choices were:

1. Costa Rica – Top choice!

2. Mexico

3. Hawaii

The problem was, my passport is already expired (I’m still using a Philippine passport). I can renew it anytime in LA but the waiting time is 10 weeks due to ongoing transition to a new e-Passport system. E, bakasyong bakasyon na ako. I have no choice but to choose Hawaii for now. Joseph told me that I won’t regret it. He’s right. Hawaii was wonderful. We went to Oahu and I was amazed.

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Two weeks prior the trip, I’ve partially packed our luggage (Yes, I’m that excited 😛 ). Checked out places to go and visit. We purchased a Go Pro Hero 5 Session so I can vlog (very noob videos but a nice time to start).  I didn’t bring my DSLR anymore. I just relied on my smartphone and Go Pro. Nowadays, its really bothersome carrying a heavy camera (especially with my chronic back pain). Mental note to self: Save up for a mirrorless camera.

Day of Arrival – Hallloween 2016!h50

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Duke Kahanamoku Statue – Waikiki Beach

The iconic Waikiki statue of “The Father of Modern Surfing.” I have no good picture. Lots of people are taking turns in the spot where I want to be. This one will do for now. This is right in front of Hilton Waikiki.hawaii6

Hawaiians love Spam. From Seff’s knowledge, the soldiers from the mainland brought it to Hawaii. The locals loved it! It’s now a local pop culture. It’s even part of a  deluxe breakfast platter in Mcdonald’s. Seriously!h5

Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC)

Founded in 1865, this area was originally desolate and uninhabitable. Through tender loving care and tenacity the lovely town of Laie, also known as ‘The Gathering Place’, grew into a beautiful center of spirituality, education and ethnic harmony. The Polynesian Cultural Center first opened its doors in 1963 as a way for students at the adjacent Church College of Hawaii (now Brigham Young University Hawaii) to earn money for their education and as a means to preserve and portray the cultures, art and crafts of the people of Polynesia. Prior to this great event, the town of Laie hosted weekly hukilaus, a community fish fry meant to entertain, instruct and support the community. We’ve come a long way since 1963. The center has grown to become Hawaii’s number-one paid attraction, drawing nearly a million visitors a year. —SOURCE

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PCC loosely reminds me of Nayong Pilipinoh7

By visiting the center, we can have an overview of Polynesian culture and history. h8

The ticket it good for 3 days. For example, you think you didn’t fully enjoyed the experience you can always come back within 3 days. As long as you have your tickets. Visiting PCC is a whole day affair. Performers are mostly students from Brigham Young University Hawaii. By purchasing tickets, you help them pay for their college degree and graduate debt-free!h9

Our bus tour guide, told us a story about his grandmother being part of the pioneer dancers of PCC. They used to dance on the side of the road to invite tourists. Certainly a started-from-the-bottom moment but it’s all worth it. Nowadays, it’s one of the top-paid attraction in Oahu. h10h11img_2791

Hanauma Bay

I don’t have much iPhone photos here because Seff told me to leave our phone in the hotel. Next time, I won’t leave my phone ever! I have lots of footage in the vlog so that will suffice. I’ll put it in a separate post.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0363.JPG

Meet-up with Rea at Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi (International Market Place)

My good friend Rea is working in Honolulu. I almost forgot she was there, not until she posted something about the food in Facebook 2 days prior our trip. I messaged her and arranged a meet-up. Of course, the never-ending kwento and tsismis was the highlight of our talk. Pero nung sinerve nga yung Chocolate Souffle ang sarap! It was baked to perfection! I almost forgot my name, charot!h12

Pearl Harbor Memorial

World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument (VALR) operates the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, the portal for all visitors to Pearl Harbor. It consistently ranks among the top three most heavily-visited tourist destinations in the State of Hawai’i.

Each year, about 1.6 million visitors come from all over the world to see the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Oklahoma Memorial, and the USS Utah Memorial. — SOURCE 

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Upon entering, there’s this certain feeling of emptiness and sadness. The thought of lives lost (in a war that could have been prevented ) is just heartbreaking. It’s an active cemetery as well, under the National Park Service.h13h14

This is Seff’s “playground,” he asked me to take a lot of HIS pictures.h15

The tickets are free but limited to a certain number. You have to queue outside at (least or earlier) 7AM to secure a ticket. And you have to determine what memorial you want to go in. We opted for the USS Arizona Memorial, the most visited site.h16

USS Arizona Memorial

The USS Arizona Memorial, at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and Marines killed on USS Arizona (BB-39) during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and commemorates the events of that day. The attack on Pearl Harbor and the island of Oʻahu led to the United States’ direct involvement in World War II.  — SOURCE

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To reach the memorial, we took a short ferry boat ride. Prior to that we are required to watch a short video of the Pearl Harbor and World War II history. Just remember, not to use your phone for a call, while in the memorial. Volunteers will ask you to turn off the phone. h17h3h18hawaii18h19

It’s been 75 years since this battleship sank. But oil/gasoline is still oozing out to the water. hawaii15h20

We are standing on a platform above the ship’s remnants.hawaii11hawaii14h26

One of the several exhibits. Lots of history and artifacts from the World War II.h21h22h23

Found this from the Souvenir/Book Storeh24h25

Navy Exchange

The largest Navy Exchange that I’ve been to. We went to there to buy souvenirs and pasalubong. Hawaii is expensive. Most of the time they export their goods. I remember our tour guide telling us, “when the Polynesians discovered the islands of Hawaii the only thing they found on the island is grass…”

This is one of my interesting finds in NEX. Hawaiian Hello Kitty.h28

Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa, the world’s most famous private nature reserve, is a sixth generation kama’aina family-owned enterprise whose mission is to enrich people’s lives by preserving our land and celebrating its history.  The company vision is to be a role model as stewards of this special land by preserving, protecting and enhancing Hawaii’s natural beauty and culture, while developing recreational and agricultural enterprises that are compatible with the environment… — SOURCE

We availed of the Kualoa Ranch movie site tour. If you have watched the Jurassic Park franchise, 50 First Dates, Hawaii 5-0, George of the Jungle et.al. Kualoa is their common denominator.h34h29

Kualoa Wall of Fameh30

The most famous among all of them. T-Rex!h31h32h33h35

This movie site was previously a military facility during the war.h36

He met some “distant relatives.”h37h38

Imperyo ng Mu… Charot! – This is the actual statue from the Easter island. This is a Nat Geo experiment. They tested to see if the statue will stand in another land. Affirmative!h40

The small hill where the kids and the 1 adult from the first Jurassic Park was running on, after being chased by the dinos.h41

Check it out here👇👇👇

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The most famous dead tree in the world! Now a tourist attraction 😜. Check out 1:01-1:04 portion in the video.hawaii16

 

Chinaman’s Hat

50 First Dates anyone?hawaii3hawaii12

 

Waikiki Beachh42

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They really take their SPAM seriously 😁👍🏼. I love it!h45

Shaved Ice please!h47h46

Hilton Hawaiian Village at night. Every Friday at 7:30 PM ( I think ) they have fireworks display. I just like the idea of watching it on the beach.h48

Our ride to the airport. Charot!h49

Hayyyyy our 5 days of peace and serenity was done and done. Hawaii is the place I will keep on coming back.hawaii2

Mahalo Oahu!

XOXO

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