With its glittering designer boulevards, immense department stores, and a bustling labyrinth of thrift shops and market places, Hong Kong is known to most people as a certified shopping mecca. Indeed, the majority of Filipinos who fancy a trip to this former British colony have one thing on the brain: retail therapy. And how can we help it, when a mere two-hour flight is all that separates us from a plethora of goods which are often unavailable in our own country and can be acquired at bargain rates? In other words, Hong Kong has become synonymous to a shopaholic's dream destination--and on good authority, too.

But as I recently discovered on a four-day weekend in the region, there is more to see and to entertain in Hong Kong than its never-ending rows of shops. Don't get me wrong--I came for the clothes, too--but super sales and elusive fashion brands aside, I was also able to pack my stay with adventures that were surprisingly not of the shopping kind. Even with less than stellar weather (it rained the whole time I was there), anyone can have an awesome vacation in the land where East meets West--as long as you hit the right spots.


Click through the gallery below for snippets of my Hong Kong holiday, as well as some tips on how to make the most of yours.

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(Photos by Stephanie Castillo)

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