The Zen of Hong Kong – Intro to Pilgrimage to Hong Kong series

“If you want to go with us, let us know, we will book you a ticket”, my eldest aunt offered. My mom was supposed to join her three siblings to Hong Kong. But because she’s still under chemotherapy, she declined. Instead, she told my aunts that it would be best that if I will represent her.

It was an unexpected blessing. This year was tough for the whole family because cancer entered our quiet lives again, and worse, it was my mom. Stage 4 Colon Cancer with metastasis to the ovaries, uterus, spleen and appendix. I already expected that my annual international trip streak will be over. It was a financially challenging year.

I accepted the offer. Who am I to resist a free trip? It was God’s way of telling me, “You were tired my child, chill, relax, and I got this covered!”

In return, I promised myself and the universe that this one will be a different travel experience. That this time, it will be a pilgrimage back to my core, my spirit, or whatever you may wish to call it. I also brought with me a special intention: Mom’s healing.

Mom lived in Hong Kong for over a year and a half as a singer of their family band. She went there together with her siblings. Growing up, my mom has told me loads of stories about Hong Kong and their (mis)adventures. I could remember her stories about my uncles who were once trapped in an elevator. Some funny stories like how they badmouthed the locals who were mean to them. I also heard stories about how they were invited to sing in Kowloon’s Concert in the Park and how they joined the thousands of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) during Sundays and countless stories on repeat whenever Hong Kong was the topic.

This was my second trip to Hong Kong. The last time was the usual trip. Disneyland, Avenue of the Stars, Nathan Road, then a side trip in Macau. I will never do Disneyland again. It is not the happiest place on Earth especially if a bottle of water costs a fortune.

I carefully drafted my itinerary. I did plenty of research on how to explore the peaceful side of Hong Kong, which I believed to be a contradiction to many. Hong Kong is a huge contradiction. If you want to experience Yin and the Yang, it is everywhere.

Zen gardens in busy districts.

Meditation spaces in touristy streets.

Historical museums in modern areas.

A beautiful mural next to a garbage bin.

Old people doing tai chi in parks and young people stuck with their smartphones in the subway.

A cathedral next to a temple.

Incense and third-hand cigarette smoking.

The Chinese East and the British West

Five-star rooms in old ugly buildings.

Tea shops and coffee shops.

In this series, I will be writing about my spiritual experience while travelling in Hong Kong:

A meditative experience while watching a jazz show

An almost out of body experience while listening to a gong.

An experiential museum where I was blind for an hour.

A small meditative space where I was reminded of what my true self is.

I hope you enjoy this series.

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