From Hilo to Hamakua Coast

We had originally booked 4 free nights at the Grand Naniloa Hotel using our Hilton points. However, knowing that we’d be flying out of Kona, we decided to spend our last days back in Kona. But that didn’t mean that we just headed straight for Kona using the Saddle Road. We planned on taking the scenic route via the Hamakua Coast.

We packed all our luggage and loaded them into our vehicle. It was at that point when we all had breakfast at the onsite restaurant Hula-Hula. As Hilton Honors Gold members, we were given complimentary breakfast tickets. We also had an unfortunate incident with the hotel the night before (our room never got cleaned after being gone all day, and after reporting this to housekeeping, and was promised that they would clean it, but unfortunately, none of that happened). Due to our dismay, when the hotel offered to clean our room when we returned at 10pm the night before, we were just too tired to stay out of the room for them to clean. As a way to appease my dissatisfaction, the hotel offered a $50 VIP voucher at their restaurant. I was not expecting such voucher to be issued, but as someone who travel frequently, it was important for me to let the hotel know when something was not done as promised. The night manager was apologetic, understood my frustration, and also suggested for me to put my experience in writing as a feedback to the hotel. I will do that, not to get anyone in trouble, but to ensure that nothing is missed in the future.

Veggie omelet with kale, onions, mushrooms, tomato
Our big breakfast bill for $2.04

So, there. We had to use the complimentary breakfast tickets plus a $50 voucher that morning. This was good enough to feed all of us that got our last morning in Hilo started.

The business center at the Grand Naniloa
Those banyan trees tho

Mauna Loa Factory

We left the hotel around 9:30am with every intention of making our way back to Kona. But as always, we got sidetracked. We decided to stop at Mauna Loa Factory, know their macadamia nuts products, especially the chocolate-covered macs.

As we entered the property, we were treated to the following Mac Facts signs which educated us about these Macadamia Nuts.

 

  

We sampled a few tasty mac nuts. I concentrated in trying the ones I don’t see back home – Honey Sriracha, and Mango Chipotle. I liked the little bit of spice and kick from these mac nuts.

As we were leaving Mauna Loa Factory, my good ol’ friend, Ian, sent me a note that Big Island Candies is not to be missed. Of course, I had to listen to him. Ian used to live on the Big Island, and is a well-traveled individual, and he tends to know the things that I like. So we drove to Big Island Candies which was about 5 miles away.

Big Island Candies

We had no idea what to expect. We were greeted with shortbread, and their munchies (chocolate covered potato chips), and off to the right side was a guy serving fresh Kona coffee. That was delicious. We also got treated to see how the workers make these treats.

It was quite festive during our visit. Spring was in the air, it was everything floral and pastel – those were the colors. Nancy ordered a few of the munchies to bring back home. Thank you, Ian, for the recommendation.

Off to Hamakua Coast

We really had no itinerary. All I knew was that this route would be a bit longer than usual due to our stops. It’s more scenic than Saddle Road. I saw a sign that said “Scenic Route 4 miles long” – so I followed the signs. We made our first stop at Onomea Trails. First of al, I love the fact that it was a straight slope going down, and it was paved. It wasn’t rocky. The moment we walked down, we could see and hear the strong ocean waves. It was a sight to behold.

Our next stop was Akaka Falls. It a few miles away from the time that we got off the highway. There were a lot of tourists, and we decided to take pictures of us with the falls from a distance.

Next stop was another turn off that I saw from the highway. It was Laupahoehoe Point Lookout with a 2-3 mile drive down. We picked a spot and took a few family pictures. This was another great place to stop for a Kodak moment. Does that phrase even still exist today?

Our ride around the Island

Tex Malasada

Finally, we made it to Honokaa. I had this in my virtual itinerary to visit Tex Malasada. It’s supposedly the best malasada on the island. What I loved about the malasada was the filling. I ordered guava and haupia filled malasadas, plus a plain malasada. I didn’t realize how humongous they were. They were shaped like a boxy pastry about 4×4. The verdict? Excellent size, huge for that matter. Very doughy, and the filling was perfectly creamy. A big plus, it was served hot and fresh. We also had our late lunch here. I ordered a mini Loco Moco, chili cheese fries etc. Stopping at Tex was a perfect way to take a break as we made our journey on the Hamakua Coast.

Tex malasada magicians

I missed Waipio Valley…almost

After the hearty late lunch, it was time to head to Waipio Valley. I didn’t use the GPS, I was waiting for a “sign” hahahahaha. Twenty minutes later, I saw a sign that said, Kohala District. I may not be a local, but I had a feeling that I may have gone too far…..yes, 17 miles too far. It was already 3:30pm, and I apologized to the fam. But I was determined in making it to Waipio Valley and I’m sure glad we did.

It was cloudy and hazy on this late Saturday afternoon, but the valley was as picture perfect as I imagined it would be. I’ve seen this valley in so many pictures, and there I was, finally, in awe and admiration. On my next visit, I hope to come earlier during the day, and will plan hiking down the valley.

Kanaloa at Kona

The master bedroom with a lanai facing the mountain to the right, and ocean/pool to the left

We made it to our new resort in Kona past 5pm. We entered our two-bedroom condo. It felt very roomy. I asked the kids the other day if they wanted for me to get us a room at the Hilton Waikoloa or a condo in Kona. The answer was unanimous. Condo, please. Madison said, “Dad, we are condo people.”

Flight of stairs going down to the front entrance, and stairs to the master bedroom
The living room
Early morning view from the carport
view from the loft (master bedroom)
The little kitchen nook

I believe that to be true. We love having the room, and the feeling that we’re at home. That’s exactly what this condo offered us. Three levels – entrance on the first level. On the 2nd level is the living room, bedroom, kitchen, full bath, two lanais with views of the ocean, pool, and mountains. The third level is the master suite with a full bathroom, and another lanai. This will be our home until we head back to California.

Finding Pinoy

We went to church on Saturday night, and after the service we went to Poke and Crab. When we looked at the menu, they had Filipino dishes on the menu. We ordered good ol’ Filipino food – Tocilog and Sizzling Sisig. Ethan ordered Saimin and Evan enjoyed his kalbi-style chicken. This was a great find for us, and so glad we checked out Poke and Crab.

Sizzling Sisig
Beef saimin

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