The Sole Sister's Guide to Hawaii

Friday, November 29, 2013

The mystical islands of Hawaii have always intrigued me. The raw beauty of its magical landscape, its rich culture and tradition, the friendly laid back people. My Dad visited the island over 30 years ago and kept a photo album of all his travels. I remember being a 5 year old browsing through his photos, imagining that one day I will be able to visit too.

Photo Credit: Noé Alfaro

It took me a while but I'm finally made it to Hawaii!

Waikiki, Hawaii

As an ocean lover, the magical islands of Hawaii has always been a dream destination. I slept through the 9 hour flight from Manila, and was gladly surprised to find out that one of the pilots, Anton was a friend of mine. He and his co-pilot Dan, showed me around Central Waikiki on a pink trolley for only 2 USD (one way fare) and we walked for miles along the shore. I was happy to see that longboards were the weapon of choice all along the blue coastline.


I met up with an old best friend, Pam who has been living in California for the past decade or so. She and her family were in the island for her sister's wedding. They welcomed me to their ultra luxe, enormous, top floor Hilton suite, with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Fit for a king, it was once occupied by no less than the king of pop himself, Michael Jackson. On lazy afternoons, we would catch up on gossip and each other's lives under coconut trees.


The green trolley line (27 USD roundtrip fare) takes you all the way to Diamond Head and surrounding areas. I've heard that the hour long hike rewards you with breathtaking views of Oahu. It also stops at the Farmer's market during Saturdays, Kapiolani Park, Kahala Mall and King Kalakaua Plaza as well.


Two of my nieces, Sofia and Amihan live in Oahu. They, including their youngest sister Allie we all born and raised in the US and only visited Manila once when we were all so much younger. I was really looking forward to getting to know them well so I'm grateful that they instantly welcomed me to their cozy apartment and even let me use one of their cars! There are a lot of malls in Oahu, but one of their favorite places to shop is the Swap Meet where you will find locally made clothes, jewelry, souvenirs, and fresh produce. They've also taken me to their favorite restaurants like the Koa Pancake House, Pho 808, Zippy's and a dimsum place at Chinatown.


Lanikai, Hawaii

From Waikiki, we drove over half an hour away to Lanikai beach, one of the prettiest in the island. Situated within a posh neighborhood, it is bordered by big vacation houses on the beach front. Kayaks of different sizes rest along the vast stretch of powdery white sand.


The calm turquoise waters make it ideal for swimming, colorful fish greet you as you snorkel around the reef. The picturesque Na Mokulua islands, or the "twin islands" can be reached by paddle board. Many areas on the islets are off limits though because they are part of the seabird sanctuary.

North Shore 2

North Shore, Hawaii

During my first few days in Hawaii, I already knew that I had to get out of tourist central, Waikiki. Fighting my jetlag and still clueless about driving around, I braved the public buses and made a pilgrimage to where surf pros make history, the North Shore of Oahu.

North Shore 3

The waves get as high as 50 feet, especially during surf season in January. That day wasn't pumping like it usually does so only a few people were out on the line up.

North Shore 4

Starving, I got off bus 55 as soon as I saw a food truck. The ladies recommended a Tuna Poke Bowl ($9), a local favorite and one of their specialties. It tasted even better than it looked! After lunch, I was craving for some afternoon caffeine but there weren't any cafés in sight. So I walked over to a nearby supermarket in Pupikea, and found an interesting drink, Coco Cafe ($4). Basically it was coffee made with coconut water, just like how I mix it back in Indo. Yum!

How to Make This Trip Happen:

-Philippines Airlines flies Manila to Honolulu several times a week and costs about 1,000 USD roundtrip.

- Public transportation is pretty reliable on the islands. It's also an inexpensive way to travel around Oahu. Make sure you always have change or just purchase the one day bus pass if you plan to go exploring. Tourist trolleys also have different routes that breeze through interesting spots.

- Car/motorcycle/bike rentals are also possible options if you have an international driver's license. Make sure you take advantage of the scenic bike routes along the coast.

- Surf lessons and board rentals are available in most beach areas.

- One of the most fun and cost-friendly places I've stayed at is Backpackers Vacation Inn & Hostel.

North Shore 1

Have you been to Hawaii? Do share your travel tips around the islands by commenting below!

Main Photo Credit: Micah Camara

Lots of Aloha,
Sole Sister Adi

Adi escaped from the corporate life and her life now happily revolves around yoga, surfing and traveling. Her goal is to live an eco-friendly lifestyle and inspire those around her to do the same. She shares her AntiGravity and yoga practice everywhere she goes and dreams of building Secret Spot hostels in beautiful tropical destinations. Her goal is to speak Spanish and Indonesian by the end of the year! Follow Adi's adventures on

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