Hawai’i: O’ahu

Have you seen these Islands, Have you seen the beauty of this land, Have you seen it’s people, Brothers, sisters walking hand in hand. Have you seen the ocean, Miles and miles of crystal deep blue sea, Can you smell the flowers, Fill the air with fragrances for free, This is aloha… This land of Hawai’i. (Danny Couch)

There’s quite a few songs that makes me yearn for the islands of Hawai’i. However, the songs “These Islands” by Danny Couch and “I Miss You My Hawai’i” by Na Leo Pilimehana make me teary-eyed and pine for the sweet Hawaiian breeze and the Aloha spirit.

In September 2016, I flew to Hawai’i with my Dad. I got to hang out with the cousins, visited the Kam Highway Swap Meet (Grandma Piling and I would spend our Saturdays walking and shopping for vegetables and Filipino delicacies there), drove around the island of O’ahu and played tourist. Strangely, I felt at home, and yet no matter how many times I’ve driven around O’ahu, it feels as if I’m seeing something new yet familiar. Complicated? I can’t explain it either. The photos below were taken from my trip last year, and here I sit at my home in Maryland missing the islands all over again.

Planning to visit Hawai’i? Here are my favorite things to see and do (not in particular order):

1.) Hike Diamond Head and enjoy the sweeping views from the top.

Diamond Head – from the Ala Moana Park

2.) Spend time in Waikiki and be touristy for a day or two.

Waikiki and Diamond Head

3.) Chase rainbows and don’t forget to take a photo, they seem to pop up everywhere.

Rainbow over Waikiki

4.) A Hawaii Five-O fan? Visit their TV series headquarters – the Aliʻiōlani Hale.

Aliʻiōlani Hale is today the home of the Hawaiʻi State Supreme Court and the statue of Kamehameha the Great.

5.) Take a stroll around Iolani Palace and visit the Banyan Tree nearby.

Iolani Palace
Banyan Tree

6.) Stroll through history and visit the DOLE Plantation (Wahiawa).

DOLE Pineapple Plantation
Pineapples at the DOLE Plantation

7.) Set aside family day, rest day, beach day or beach days if you want.

Ewa Beach – the beach I frequented because it’s still not overrun by tourists
Father and son enjoying the view at Ala Wai Canal

8.) Snorkel or swim at Hanauma Bay State Park


9.) Byodo-in Temple – this is a non-denominational temple located at the Valley of the Temples. It was dedicated in August 1968 to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to the islands. The temple is a replica of the historic Byodoin Temple of Uji in Kyoto prefecture of Japan. What is breathtaking is the temple’s backdrop – the towering cliffs of the Ko’olau Mountains.

Byodo-in Temple

10.) Kūkaniloko Birth Site, also known as the Kūkaniloko Birthstones State Monument, is one of the most important ancient cultural sites on the island of Oʻahu. If you’re into history like me, this is a wonderful place to visit. Also, please RESPECT the sacredness of this place.

Two stones at the entrance.
The sacred site of the Birthstones.

This is a short list and I know there’s a lot of great places to see on the island of O’ahu. This post is meant to highlight some of my favorites from my home island.


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