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.
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.
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.
I didn’t remember this road trek to be so exhausting. Or it must be the unrelenting mid-day sun bearing down on our backs as we walk the paved sloping road from Chinapoliran Port to the town Mayon Centro. It seemed so easy back then. Maybe because I was 5 years younger when we walked this path in a breeze back then. It seems so long and the thought of it make me feel old. But it’s nice to be back on this large rock called Itbayat. After walking half a kilometer and occasional stops where there are tree shades, a white pickup truck pulled over and offered us a ride to town. Nothing beats a welcome with kindness like this.
Early morning on to our third day in Macau finds us walking through narrow alleys of an old neighborhood in San Antonio, Macau. Climbing zigzagging stairs, sleeping alley cats and neighborhood shrines to find us gasping a little for breath and realizing we’re already in level of the higher floors of the residential buildings in front of us. I thought this urban landscape of windows, air conditioners and stained walls felt a lot like the Old Manila. But a few more flight of stairs led us to Macau’s largest and oldest park, the Camoes Garden.
We zigzagged along the streets of commercial establishments and restaurants coming from Senado Square and St Dominic’s Church until we reach the narrower souvenir street heading to St Paul’s Church Ruins. The street here filled with souvenir shops and Macau’s favourite take home gifts from pastelarias selling peanut cookies, plums and beef jerky to mention a few goodies.