On April 3, my family and I went on the Superstar Virgo cruise that would go from Manila to Laoag, Kaohsiung, Hong Kong and back to Manila. Summer break had just begun. The kids were all exhausted from 10 months of school, extra-curricular activities, and weekly taekwondo. My husband and I also needed a break from work.
My mother, who had turned 70 in February, said that instead of a party, she wanted to celebrate her birthday in the open seas. Together with her sisters, we all braved Manila traffic to get to the pier just in time for our departure. Below you will find a detailed account of what our days were like while on the cruise.
Day 1: Arrival
We arrived at Pier 15 at 2:30 p.m. The staff was very efficient as evidenced by the fast embarkation process. It also helped that there were not a lot of big groups. We decided to have merienda (snacks) at Genting Palace, a restaurant on the ship that serves Chinese and Western cuisines.
Day 2: Laoag
We arrived in Laoag at 11 a.m. We got there using a service boat. From Laoag, we went on a private tour of the different sights in Ilocos Norte, like the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, the Bangui Windmills, and the Paoay Sand Dunes.
We were back on the ship by 6 p.m.
For dinner, we had a barbecue at the Parthenon pool with live band entertainment.
Day 3: Kaohsiung, Taiwan
We joined the tour arranged by the cruise organizers. We went to the Chi Mei Museum, a comprehensive museum with a wide collection of Western art, musical instruments, weaponry, and natural history artifacts.
We also went to Tainan Chikanlou, or Fort Provintia, a Dutch outpost built in 1652 during the time Taiwan (Formosa) was under Dutch rule.
From Tainan Chikanlou, we headed to Anping Fort, which was the center of the Dutch regime and the hub for trading at the time.
Our last stop was the Castle of Pineapple, home of the famous Pineapple Cake, where we bought pasalubong (gifts) for loved ones back home.
We were back on the ship by 6 p.m. with just enough time to rest and freshen up before dinner. We had a sit down dinner at Genting Palace.
Day 4: Hong Kong
Breakfast was served at the Meditteranean restaurant on the ship. We went to the pool area to have fun and kill time. For lunch, we headed to Pavillon, where they served us Chinese food. We arrived at Harbour City, Hong Kong at 1 p.m. Disembarkation was fast and easy. We had a quick tour of the city. We explored Victoria Harbour and Ocean Terminal on our own and at our own pace. We were back on the ship by 9 p.m. By 11 p.m. we were already out at sea.
Day 5: Day on the high seas
We spent the whole day on the ship as it sailed across the open sea as we headed back to Manila. We just spent the day relaxing. We had a gala night, where everyone was dressed to the nines and had an opportunity to dine with the captain. The kids went for a swim.
Day 6: Arrival
We were back at the Manila port by 8 a.m. Sad to say, the disembarkation process was a mess. We were able to disembark at around 10 a.m. We were home by 11:30 a.m.
For more information about the Superstar Virgo, click here.
By: Joy del Castillo
Photos by: Renee del Castillo