I like Macau for its beautiful blend of east and west culture as much as coffee aficionados would enjoy their mix of coffee and cream. I would have wanted Manila to be something like this city, or close. Despite the old marble streets and the aging walls, its taints and stains paints a pattern of rich history between two worlds, especially from the Chinese and Portuguese. For such a small island, it’s just a joy to roam around its streets. Here’s the summary of our 4-day trip in Macau.
Coming from Lilau Square and Mandarin House, we go to Macau’s 3rd highest area, the Penha Hill (also known as Bishop’s Hill). As we drive to the neighborhood, Joao tells us that Penha Hill is a high-end residence where the rich, famous and powerful of the Macau people lived. Our coach parked and we made a little hike at the ascending slope to the Penha Church on top. But on the way there we get to see some nice views from this hill.
Sunday morning on our last day in Macau was easy and relaxed. Though we expect a few more stops in line, we started rather late than our usual 9am run-to-the-coach routine from the past couple of days. I welcome the ease of course as we made our way to a couple more UNESCO World Heritage Spots under the Historic Center of Macau. The first is the Lilau Square, the first Portuguese settlement in Macau. Then the Mandarin House which was recently opened to the public and we’re honored to be one of the first few visitors of the house since it’s recent opening. Both sites are close to each other making it a convenient stop.
We had at most 2 hours to rest in our rooms at Ponte 16 after our afternoon visit at A-ma Temple. We need to rest and re-fresh as we’re going to one of the popularly known resorts in the Macau, the Venetian Macau. It’s the sister hotel resort of the same casino resort in Las Vegas but this one is bigger. In fact, it’s the largest single structure in the whole of Asia and the fifth largest in the world. Talk about extravagance.
It was time for a rather late lunch coming from Guia Fortress and the Grand Prix Museum. But we didn’t mind eating late since the Macanese Food at Ristorante Litoral was a fitting reward from our little hikes under the sun. As we were about to finish, Joao told us we should drop by A-Ma Temple since there’s a Chinese Opera performing which is part of the week long A-Ma festival being held.
From our Red Market walk with Antonio Coelho, our coach drove to the eastern side of Macau Peninsula for Guia Hill, whose peak is the highest point in Macau. It was a short drive but we had to leave our coach and take a cable car up the hill. From the hill we still had a few minutes light hike. It was midday but the overcast sky was our friend. We passed by a few joggers and people doing some martial arts sparring along the way before we reached the foot of the Guia Fortress, one of the 25 UNESCO sites under Macau’s Historic Center.
It was time for a little refreshment on one of the backyard stalls in Macau after that walk in Camoes Garden and Old Protestant Cemetery. We Sipped on some soy drink on a low chair and then buying some almond cookies and other goodies at the nearby pastileria. It was freshly cooked and packed so we bought a few boxes for ourselves. Going through a street corner, we waited for a few minuted when a Portuguese male in his 50’s donning a dark blue chef uniform over his heavy build. “Guys! Here’s Chef Antonio. We’ll join him do some shopping”