More Honolulu Goodness – Part 3

Halfway through my short trip and I can say I already got the hang of it — I was waking up on island time, my body and the weather already reached an understanding, and I was raring to tick off items in my to-do and to-visit list.

DAY ONE-5

Woke up early on a Monday to go to Diamond Head! The experience is detailed here.

When I returned to Waikiki, I bought lunch at Steak Shack.

28ccba2f-b1a4-43ef-9a32-137a640315f3Steak Shack is a small food stand facing the beach at the Fort DeRussy Beach Park. They serve all-day steak plates — as low as $8 for a hefty meal. I bought a 10-oz steak plate to go which came with a generous serving of rice and salad. Didn’t manage to take a photo because I demolished it as soon as I went back to the room. I was so hungry after the trail hike and remembered I barely had anything for breakfast. I liked the steak plate moreso because I excessively put ranch dressing in it. I paid $14 I think for the entire thing. You can view photos contributed by tourists on TripAdvisor if you want to see how they look like.

I rested almost the whole afternoon and booked my tour ticket for Pearl Harbor that I planned to take on my last full day on the island. A little after sunset I took a short bus ride to Ward Village to check it out.

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When I got there I was surprised by how freakishly quiet it was. It was a Monday and I was expecting there would at least be people from work seeing that there were office spaces within the complex. It’s almost empty. But seeing that two shops (!!!) were right by the pedestrian lane across Ala Moana Boulevard, I spent more than hour in both shops, officially breaking my self-imposed rule to not go shopping in discount stores on this trip. #noregrets

I rode the wrong bus going back and I found myself in Ala Moana Center again. Decided to just grab dinner there and walk around a few minutes more before heading back. I had lots of steps per my pedometer and been to a Hawaii tourist spot so it was a good day.

DAY ONE-6

It was the chillest of all my days with practically nothing planned. I went out of the room a little after 9 am to get breakfast. I was in the mood for laksa but since I got there I haven’t seen (or probably I managed to stay away from) any restaurant possibly serving such so I was open to eating anything. On my way to Royal Hawaiian Center to participate in a free outdoor hula class, I found one soup kiosk in its food hall.

I decided not to join the hula class after breakfast. I walked around the center and proceeded to the beachfront of Hilton Hawaiian Village for a mid-morning soak.

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This is a bronze statue of Princess Bernice Pauahi, the great-granddaughter of Kamehameha I, Hawaii’s first monarch.

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Not a fan of rubber in general (let’s not start LOL) but hey these stuff…interesting.

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Pinoy sorbetes represent!

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This was an unplanned shot while I was getting a tan and I flipped my huge body with my phone in hand.

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Since I liked Funko Pops, it’s not weird for me to travel with one so I can shoot it instead of myself.

As I am doing this update I realize how lousy my photos were. Totally not representative at all of how amazing each nook and corner of Waikiki are. You know what that tells me? There’s always another time to go back and make up for it. But let us reserve that plan in another blog post.

I was still full from the big bowl of laksa I had so after staying at the beach for almost two hours, I went to Target and Ross in Ala Moana Center to finally buy bilins and pasalubong for the people back home. I scored quite a few freebies that added to my pasalubong list thanks to Fil-Am aunties manning many stores, particularly in Honolulu Cookie Company!

DAY ONE-7

That’s my tweet when I woke up that day! My big to-do then was Pearl Harbor then cocktails at sunset. That’s it. So after a quick breakfast I took a bus from Hobron Lane going to Pearl Harbor.

The entire Pearl Harbor tour including my travel time to and back took me almost five hours. I left the stuff from the tour, freshened up a bit, and rushed to the other end of Waikiki Beach to catch my last sunset on that trip.

I settled in Royal Hawaiian Hotel and ordered their classic mai tai with taro chips and hummus. The price was steep for me but considering the location and #treatyoself nga di ba, it’s worth it. It was only one drink but I was tipsy kaagad so I walked it off back to the apartment.

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Will always carry a torch for Manila’s sunset but this one was pretty amazing, too.

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After last-minute packing, I made sure that my last night in Honolulu, at least for this first time, was fun and crazy interesting. And it was. The next day it was mostly about the straight flight back to Manila.

Overall, ahhh, it will take me a while to get over Hawaii. When you get a chance, please do visit the island. Make memories, make ’em darn good ones. The island is worth it.

Mahalo, Hawaii!!! Until next time!

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Diamond Head Day Hike!

On my fifth day in Honolulu, on a Monday morning no less, I started the day hiking the crater of Diamond Head. It is a very common must-do for tourists because of its proximity to Waikiki and that it’s a short trek for such an amazing view.

From Waikiki I took Bus #23 plying the Hawaii Kai – Sea Life Park route. I went down at the 18th Avenue + Diamond Head Road stop after about 20 minutes and right there at the opposite end of the crosswalk was the Diamond Head entrance.

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This is not yet the official entrance to Diamond Head. The concrete trail has a very clear path that even if you arrive by foot, you won’t be lost. It is common for cars or shuttles/buses to pass you by. After a semi-steep walk of about 5 minutes, you will reach the Kahala lookout.

The next two photos are views from the Kahala Lookout. You can continue walking but for me who did not have any warmup before this, the lookout was a perfect excuse to catch my breath (tipong 5 minutes semi-uphill pa lang yun ha; way to go, Juday).

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When you are ready to begin your Diamond Head trek, you’ll see this tunnel leading further to the main entrance. Corregidor feels!

going to the main entrance - diamond head

After the tunnel, there’s the small ticket station where you can pay the entrance fee of $1. It’s also where a few foods stalls, souvenir shops, restrooms, and visitor’s center are.

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Beautiful. This is at the foot of the trail. If you look closely you can make out the ridges at the top. That’s the actual trail. It’s not that high.

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One more shot about 10 minutes into hiking. You can see more clearly the trail at the top.

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Now this is something very noticeable when you reach a certain altitude in Diamond Head: STAIRS! Lots of them!

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Yup, more stairs! But this is just one way, there’s a separate way going down.

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Did I mention stairs??? This one is the last one to reach the “summit”. There’s an alternate trail at the side which was what I took going up. I took this stairs going down.

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Almost there!

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Hello, Waikiki!

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A famous landscape shot from the crater.

My verdict of Diamond Head? It is relatively easy and if you have time to spare, give it a try! The bus ride from Waikiki took 20 minutes, the entire trek from the entry point to the summit/top of the crater took me 45 minutes, photo/video-taking included. Take note that I was not fast. As I said I barely had physical preparation and was really walking slowly on my way up. Gee, there were kids and elderly people (mostly Japanese) who were overtaking me!

At the visitor’s center, you can avail the audio tour if you wish. I saw there were docents, too. But the hike’s relatively easy to follow and can be absolutely explored alone.

Aside from the view, there’s a structure which used to be the fire control station where you can explore for free. It involved crouching to fit and walk inside so I passed on it. There’s also an option to have a personalized certificate made stating you made it on top of Diamond Head. I heard it was $12 each.

For the essentials, as common short dayhikes require, have your sunblock and hydration ready. Wear comfortable shoes. It can be windy at the top so hold on to articles of clothing that could be easily swept away like caps/hats and shawls. It may be best to go there when it opens at 6 a.m. so it won’t be too harsh on the skin. I got there a little after 11 a.m. so it’s really very hot already. Or maybe go in the afternoon? Although the park accepts visitors until 6 p.m., permission to hike ends at 4:30 p.m. so plan your visit accordingly.

It took me a shorter time going down mainly because I wasn’t taking photos anymore. Overall, I enjoyed that morning, and if ever I would travel with someone who has not been there, I’d be glad to accompany him or her. After Diamond Head though, I wish to visit other volcanic craters in Oahu like Koko Head and the Punchbowl Crater, and of course the infamous Ha’iku Stairs or Stairway to Heaven!

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