Review: “Mamma Mia!” live in Manila!

First off, I’d like to thank Cebu Pacific Air for the tickets. I won two Balcony tickets via their Twitter contest some weeks ago. To my Twitter followers, I apologize for flooding your feed for 15 minutes in an attempt to win said tickets. I wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise.

Aids and I got to watch the opening night of “Mamma Mia!” in CCP last January 24. It was so much fun! Have I mentioned how much I love musicals? Because I do. I really, really do 😀 I’d already seen the movie with Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried but as with all movie musicals that started from the stage, it’s much better in its original format.

I loved the cast! I could feel their energy even way in the back. For the record, balcony seats in the CCP Main Theater aren’t that bad. Yes you’re high up but you can still see the actors’ faces and expressions. Their dancing was just superb. No better tribute to ABBA than a kickass dance number.

We noticed a little something about the singing though. Taken individually, the actors’ voices sounded a bit thin compared to our local singers. It was especially noticeable during “Dancing Queen” and “Chiquitita”. However, they sound absolutely amazing as an ensemble. Their voices blend well and nobody’s trying to outdo anybody. Contrast this with our local singers, who try to out-belt each other at every opportunity. Perhaps there’s something to be learned there.

My favorite part was the encore, where the entire cast goes all-out in the singing, shimmying, and spandex. The variety show numbers for “Mamma Mia!”, “Dancing Queen”, and “Waterloo” got the entire audience on their feet and singing and dancing along. These last three songs completed my night 😀

Details for Mamma Mia’s Manila run over here.

Exploring Hong Kong: the Airport Express, going home, and Cebu Pacific’s lateness

As our flight back to Manila leaves at 8:30 am, we opted to take the Airport Express to HKIA instead of the Cityflyer bus. The bus route starts at 5:30 am and would take maybe an hour to the airport, while the train starts at 5:50 am and takes less than 30 minutes. Yes there was only a slight difference in the time we’d get to HKIA but we didn’t want to chance it. The Airport Express cost HK$72 one-way compared to the bus’ HK$33.

We found a taxi after only 5 minutes of waiting (Carla advised us it might take 10-15 minutes because of the early hour) and paid HK$35 for the 2++ km trip to Kowloon Station (there’s a surcharge for luggage). We exchanged our vouchers for train tickets and sat down to wait. If you’re taking Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, or any of the other airlines that support in-town check-in, you can check your bags at the train station for an even more hassle-free ride. You can also use your Octopus card to pay for the train. The train ride was fast. Wow. Even though the trip was much longer, I’m glad we took the bus into the city as our introductory sightseeing tour as the AE train mostly goes through tunnels so there’s no view. We got to HKIA in about 25 minutes, checked our bags, then wandered around for something to eat. We easily found seats in the food court area and ate some pancakes and eggs. Unfortunately, the bane of my airport existence is also found in HKIA: expensive drinks. A bottle of water cost HK$16 🙁 Incidentally, you can use the last of your Octopus card load at the airport because you can also use it to pay for food. You can also opt to return your Octopus card to get the deposit and any remaining credit back, though there’s a surcharge if you return it within three months of buying it.

We found our gate without any trouble and waited for boarding. Unfortunately, Cebu Pacific‘s 20%++ delayed flights record reared its ugly head. Our flight was delayed by 30 minutes with no explanations as to why. We landed in Manila at 11 am and got out of immigration and baggage claim by 12 nn. The Customs guys didn’t bother me as it was obvious that I didn’t do much shopping. Aids and I parted ways at the airport. Until the next adventure 🙂

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And thus ends our awesome Hong Kong trip. To recap:

Day 1: getting there and our first meal in Hong Kong

Day 1: Hong Kong Space Museum, Avenue of Stars, Mong Kok

Day 2: Ocean Park

Day 3: Peng Chau and Tai O

Day 4: Po Lin monastery, Ngong Ping village, Central

Day 4: more Joon, Victoria Peak, Symphony of Lights, and a last walk through Tsim Sha Tsui

All in all, I’m happy with how our budget turned out 🙂 We didn’t do a lot of shopping and ate cheaper food but invested in nicer accommodations. Now, time to save up for the next big adventure! *ponders Thailand, Vietnam, or South Korea*