Basking in Hawaiian Sun

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I regularly attend physician’s conventions and seminars. This is to ensure that I continue to sharpen my learning and skills (plus we need a certain Continuing Medical Education units every year to keep our certification), as well as to keep me abreast with the latest studies and trends of practice. This also allows me to stay in touch with my colleagues who are in other parts of the world. And of course, this gives me reason to travel.

It is due to this conferences that I have been to many places from one coast, like San Francisco, to the other coast, like Charleston, and many other places in between.

This year, it brought me to Hawaii! And I took my whole family with me.

Hawaiian island of Oahu

We stayed in Oahu island, and the hotel where we lodged (which is one of the official hotels of the convention) has a beach front location. The view from our room was beautiful.

view of the harbor and the marina from our room

However, after our first night in the hotel, we learned that the view in the other side of the hotel was more spectacular. So we requested to be transferred to a different room. Would you agree that the view in our new room was more breath-taking?

view of Waikiki beach and the Diamond Head at the distance from our new room

The ocean was so inviting. The water was warm and clear.

Waikiki beach

And if you don’t want salt water in your nose, you can cool yourself in these enchanting pools.

hotel’s swimming pools

I would not recommend swimming in “their” pond though, or you would make these creatures angry.

Are you talking to me?

There were exotic birds in the premises where we stayed.

pink flamingos
Penguins in the tropics? This is African black-footed penguin, who prefers warmer climate than the Arctic.

And not so exotic birds. Yes those are wild chickens that freely roam around. I was tempted to catch them and turn them to “lechon manok.”

wild chickens roaming freely in a park

We took a day-long bus tour around the island. The bus tour took us to many places from the sandy beaches of Waikiki (southern coast of Oahu) to the huge surfs of North Shore (northern coast). They say that you can drive around the whole Oahu island in about 3 hours, that is if you’re not stopping to enjoy the view.

This is Hanauma Bay, a marine embayment formed within a volcanic cone. It is said that this is the best site for snorkeling in the island.

The exterior wall of the volcanic rim collapsed and ocean rushed in, forming a cove.
Hanauma bay’s floor is the crater of the ancient volcano.

We stopped at Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, located at the foot of Ko’oalu Mountains. The Marcoses has a mausoleum here, where the former president’s body was kept in a refrigerated crypt for many years until it was shipped back to the Philippines. It also has this temple.

This temple is an exact scale replica of a temple in Uji, Japan. (Note the clouds nestled on the mountain)

We visited Kualoa Ranch where we rode a tram to tour around the property. It was also here where we stop for lunch.

Kualoa was considered sacred by ancient Hawaiians as it was residence of kings, a place of refuge and a sanctuary.
The small island in the distance is Mokoli Island, or also known as Chinaman’s Hat, due to its shape.
If you feel that you are in Jurassic park, well, that’s because it was here where that movie was filmed.

We also made a stop at the iconic Dole Plantation. It is the only remaining pineapple plantation in the island, as Del Monte closed a few years ago.

front building of Dole Plantation
We did not munch on pineapples, but pineapple ice cream.

Aside from touring the island, I also attended the conference. Yes, really. I have pictures to prove it.

The lobby of Hawaii Convention Center

It was estimated that there was about 6,000 pulmonary physicians and other specialists around the world who attended this convention.

This is just one meeting hall. There were at least 12-15 simultaneous meetings on different halls every hour-and-a-half block.

It was not all relaxing in this trip. We did some serious strenuous activity also while we were in the island. I joined the 5K run. (see previous blog)

me psyching up before the race

We also hiked up Diamond Head, a volcanic tuff cone, that forms a part of a crater rim. This volcano is not active anymore and now is a state monument. The hike is 1.1 kilometer up to the top, with an elevation of more than 700 feet.

the tortuous steep path towards the summit of Diamond Head

The view from the top was magnificent. It was really worth the uphill hike.

the ‘crater’ of Diamond Head 
downtown Honolulu

This tropical paradise is also a site of an infamous tragedy, when this island was attacked and bombed by the Japanese Imperial army during World War II.  The visit to the island of Oahu would not be complete, at least from my opinion, without seeing Pearl Harbor and paying respect to the thousands of lives that were lost there.

Arizona Memorial. Built on top of the USS Arizona ship where it is entombed under the water.
inside the Memorial

While visiting Pearl Harbor, I find it interesting that most of the tourists, at least that day, were Japanese people. I wonder if there’s a different significance of this hollowed site to them?

USS Bowfin submarine
USS Missouri battleship

I am now back in my home here in Iowa. As I now look outside my window, with the trees almost bare of their autumn leaves and with the bitingly chilly, and almost wintry winds, I’m sure am missing the tropical sun of Hawaii.

Me and Waikiki sunset

And speaking of the scenic ocean view that I cannot get enough of, I wonder how much would it cost me to put an ocean in my front yard here in Iowa?

ocean view


  1. doc, that was one great hawaiian adventure and thank you for sharing; wonderful photos perfectly matched with well-told stories…

    imagine attending a medical conference, checking in a nice hotel with a priceless view and experiencing being with mother nature with her creatures (love the turtles, penguins-in HA?) and creations (your trek on that volcanic cone was something) and a bit of history with that memorial. best of all, you had a taste of all those with your family. AMAZING! you are blessed! truly inspiring…

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