August 23, 2010 was supposed to be just an ordinary day with people going about their daily lives until a tragic news shocked the nation: a news which also affected me as a traveler.
Eight Hong Kong nationals were killed along with their hostage-taker, dismissed Filipino cop Rolando Mendoza, in a botched rescue operation at Quirino, Grandstand, Manila.
Hong Kong was in grief. The Philippines mourned. The incident stained Philippine tourism as the Hong Kong black travel ban to the Philippines continues.
Oh No! Hong Kong! Why Hong Kong? Why did it happen? I was so affected not just because what happened was a shame and inhumane, but also, I would step foot on that special administrative region of China in two weeks time: Sept. 3-7, 2010.
Fear overpowered me. How would I deal with the HK immigration if they see my Philippine passport? Their people might mistreat us. I read reports of Filipinos in Hong Kong being discriminated and receiving evil stares.
There’s no other way but to postpone the trip. Even if I badly wanted to travel then, I couldn’t. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Hence, I rescheduled my trip to December. The supposed cheap fare that I have booked months before the actual trip became more expensive due to the rebooking fee and penalties of Cebu Pacific.
Nonetheless, I thank God for giving me that chance to explore Hong Kong in December. Almost four months after what happened in Manila, I woke up with the sight of the sun’s rays peeking through the clouds and giving light to the islands. It’s 7:00 am and the plane landed at Hong Kong International Airport in Lantau Island.
My fears and worries faded after the immigration officer returned my passport with no questions asked and no evil stares. Thank God! It was not thrown at me as what happened to one official of the country.
Poinsettias and pines were in bloom. Christmas was in the air! I was totally excited for the five days and four nights of learning the culture, meeting new adventures, tasting authentic Chinese cuisine, and reliving my childhood wonders of Disney princesses.
Looking back, almost a year after, I realized that delays happen for a reason. And sometimes, delays become blessings in disguise.