The Chronicles of SAR: Exploring Macau (Day 01)

December 03, 2011: the day before our big race, Macau Galaxy Entertainment International Marathon, and also our first full day in Macau.  Our brains tell us we should rest, but our feet tell us otherwise so relatively early in the morning we were up for a tour.

This is part of a series

Unlike in Manila where there are a lot of shops open for breakfast, in Macau there’s only a handful open before 10AM.  Breakfast is a challenge in a country where English isn’t even a secondary language and writing in Latin alphabet isn’t mandatory, as we discovered for ourselves when we looked for an authentic-looking Macanese place to eat.  There weren’t much choice in our area so we settled with this little store which is reminiscent of any small Tapsi store in the Philippines.

A Macau typical apartment
Doesn’t this remind you of MMDA barriers?
Hmm, so many choices…
This should narrow it a bit

Thankfully they have an “English” menu so we were able to pick something, which in the end turned out to be:

“Macanese Macaroni”

After having our “Macanese Macaroni” breakfast (with coffee and ham and cheese sandwich which I did not enjoy, and at MOP$23 I think is a ripoff) we were off to Macau’s landmark, the ruins of St. Paul, which is just walking distance from where we were.

Roads in Macau are pretty narrow, and in some places parking is allowed
On our way to the ruins
Still on our way
Compact cars are unsurprisingly very common in Macau
Ruínas de São Paulo (the ruins of St. Paul)
Going up the ruin’s façade: tourists throw coins at this window to have a wish or for good luck
What it looks like beyond the façade

The ruins of St. Paul refer to the façade of what was originally the Church of Mater Dei, and the ruins of St. Paul’s College, the first western-style university in the far east, which stood adjacent to the Church. The façade of carved stone was built from 1620 to 1627 under the direction of Italian Jesuit Carlo Spinola, and a fire in 1835 destroyed the college and the body of the Church.

Company of Jesus Square, just at the foot of the ruins
View of the ruins from the Square

From the ruins we headed straight towards the nearby Museu de Macau (Macau Museum) within the Fortaleza do Monte (Mount Fortress).

A huge tree welcoming guests to Museu de Macau (Macau Museum)
View of the ruins from the footsteps leading to the museum
Souvenir keychains

Mount Fortress is similar to Intramuros of Manila, only that the walls are on top of a mountain.  It was built between 1617 and 1626 and was the heart of the Macanese defense network.

Panoramic view of Macau from Mount Fortress.
Great vantage point for defense
The flag of Macau over the Mount Fortress

Travel Tip: To get to the ruins of St. Paul and adjacent sites, you may take any of the buses 8A, 17, 18, 18A, 19, or 26.

From the ruins we headed forth to our lunch destination, the historic center of Macau, which contains Igreja da Sé (The Cathedral) and its square, Igreja de São Domingos (St. Dominic’s Church), and Largo do Senado (Senado Square) among others.

To the Cathedral
Processed meat commonly sold in the area
A very popular store which I was not able to try
Doesn’t this just look like an alley in Manila?  Except for the cobblestones of course 🙂
Another popular street food shop
Street fool ala Macau
I just love the pretty walkways of Macau
Interesting fence
Igreja da Sé (The Cathedral)
The Cathedral Square
Across the Cathedral
Igreja de São Domingos (St. Dominic’s Church)
Another interesting building
Another famous Macau landmark, Largo do Senado (Senado Square)
With its beautiful cobblestone walkways and colorful buildings

Travel Tip: To get to Senado Square, you may take any of the buses 2, 3, 3A, 3X, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8A, 10, 10A, 11, 18, 18A, 19, 21A, 26A, or 33.

It was around lunchtime by the time we reached Senado Square, but in order to save time for our tour we just decided to eat from any of the nearby food shops.  Unfortunately, we were not able to find any authentic Macanese restaurant in the area so we ended up with Japanese food.

A different design this time; finding a spot to eat
A few meters away from Senado Square
Comparing a MOP$100 bill with a ₱100 bill

After filling our stomachs we’re off to the oldest temple in Macau, the A-Ma Temple.  This temple actually predates the city of Macau, and is dedicated to the goddess of seafarers, A-Ma.

A-Ma Temple entrance
The air is filled with smoke from burning incense
Not sure what this is for
Can anyone translate?
I bathed in smoke and ash here 🙂
This compound is still a place for praying
I assume that these are coiled incense?
With stairs going up
A Buddha statue near the top
A huge rock on top
View from the top

Travel Tip: To get to A-Ma Temple, you may take any of the buses 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 10A, 11, 18, 21, 21A, 26, or 28B.

Finally, after bathing in incense (and my camera in ash) we’re off to our last destination for the day, Estádio Campo Desportivo, also known as the Estádio de Macau (Macau Stadium), to claim our race kits for the Galaxy Entertainment Maratona Internacional de Macau (Macau Galaxy Entertainment International Marathon) the day after.  This is really it!

Last stop: Macau Stadium
Light tower
This is it!
Entrance to the Stadium
My race kit (yes the backpack is part of it)
Our race kits: A is for the full marathon while B is for the half; black is for men and red is for women

In actuality, doing a marathon never really sunk in to my head until the moment I was claiming my kit!  I admit I was a bit anxious because other than my 32K from Run United 3, I didn’t have much decent runs to prepare me for the race.  Well, there’s no turning back now!

The willing victims 🙂
What to expect on race day

Afterwards, we were on our way back to our hotel to have our last meals for the big day to follow.

Going back
See the rainbow?
Prepping my coins for bus fare

Travel Tip: To get to Macau Stadium, you may take any of the buses 11, 21, 22, 25, 25X, 26, 26A, 28A, 33, 34, 35, MT1, or MT3.

The skyline of Macau peninsula (where our hotel is located)
That’s Ponte de Sai Van (Sai Van Bridge), the one we’ll cross during the race
We’re on Ponte Governador Nobre de Carvalho (Macau-Taipa Bridge) on the way to Macau peninsula from Taipa where the Stadium is located
My dinner: a sweet bun with ham and delicious Macanese chicken, the return of the “Macanese Macaroni” and some Nai Cha (hot milk tea). Unfortunately I don’t know what it’s called as it’s name is written entirely in Chinese.
A friend’s beef noodle dinner
Another friend’s dinner: pork
Where we had our dinner: Café de Coral

I actually didn’t rest outright after dinner and instead went roaming in the immediate area of our hotel.

A market that is not to different from those at home
Despite Macau’s limited space they still managed to have some pocket spaces in a lot of areas
Cute 🙂
From this bakery
More breads

It was quite a long but fun day!  At the back of my head I was wishing I had rested (slept) more, but we can’t help it!  Weather was nice, sights were great, and the company was excellent.  Even if I wasn’t registered to run I’d be fine, but since I was, I hoped for the best and got as much rest for the big day ahead.

* * *

The Chronicles of SAR:

2 Comments Add yours

  1. pinoyleonardo says:

    Your “chronicle” is awesome. Not only could you take good pictures but tell a story out of them. I envy you having enjoyed Macau with lots of things to go to and you even took the buses! We did a day tour In Macau and rushed everything. All the best 😉


    1. dhenztm says:

      Thank you! We were also a bit rushed so we plan to return to visit places we have not gone to this trip. 🙂


🎙 Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s