Sunday, October 31, 2021

[ANTIOQUIA] Budget and Itinerary


FRIDAY: 29 October 2021
Avianca (Bogotá - Medellín) - 224,588.21
Airbnb (3 Nights) - 271,135.03
Combuses (Airport - San Diego Mall) - 13,000.00
Carnes Parrilla (Churrasco w/Rice & Fries + Pepsi) - 27,800.00
Uber (San Diego Mall - Lorena) - 10,200.00
COP546,723.24

Saturday, October 30, 2021

[MEDELLÍN] The Transformation of Comuna 13


Colombia is often associated with drug cartels. Medellin is usually linked to the name Pablo Escobar. It’s been three decades. Perhaps we should all move on. After all, Medellin already did. From having the unenviable distinction as the most dangerous city in the world in the early 90’s with a 6500-murder count in 1991, the city was given the Innovative City of the Year award in 2013 by the Wall Street Journal, beating New York and Tel Aviv. At present, it’s Colombia’s second largest city after Bogotá and often touted as the country’s best. Give Medellín a break. Visit it and see for yourself.

Friday, October 29, 2021

[BOGOTÁ] Budget and Itinerary


MONDAY: 25 October 2021
Avianca (San José - Bogotá) - 505,803.00
Airbnb (4 Nights) - 558,950.00
Uber (Airport - Zona G) - 25,800.00
COP1,090,553.00

Thursday, October 28, 2021

[BOGOTÁ] What's Left of Nueva Granada


The Spanish empire managed their colonies in the new world through viceroyalties. Much of their Pacific territories, from the Philippines to California all the way down to Costa Rica, were grouped together under Nueva España. Perú was its own virreinato. Then Chile and Argentina would become the Virreinato del Río de la Plata, while the northern South America bunch composed of Panamá, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and northern Perú would break away to become Nueva Granada.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

[BOGOTÁ] Blast from the Past at La Candelaria


Imagine my anguish when I landed at and got out of El Dorado and immediately felt the cold breeze, not to mention it was raining cats and dogs. When Wikitravel said that Bogotá enjoys some sort of eternal spring weather, I thought it was going to be cool. 13C is not cool. It’s cold! At least for me. Add the Airbnb check-in booboo which quickly became an upgrade and what I got was a sleepless first night in the Colombian capital. I decided that this pitstop would just be chill and focus more on paying some sleep debt.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

[PUNTARENAS] Budget and Itinerary


FRIDAY: 22 October 2021
Transportes Jaco (San José - Jacó) - 2,475.00
Airbnb (3 Nights) - 73,107.62
KFC (Chicken Popcorn w/ Fries + Coke) - 4,400.00
Rapid 24 Hours (Mineral Water) - 2,800.00
CRC82,782.62

Saturday, October 23, 2021

[PUNTARENAS] Tell Them Manuel Antonio Sucks


A.K.A “How to Pick a Fight with Your Costa Rican Friends”. I don’t think you will go that far, though. There’s just no hating Manuel Antonio. No, Manuel Antonio is not a campy villain from a Costa Rican telenovela. Manuel Antonio is a national park located in the southern region of Puntarenas, a small tropical jungle along a beach on the country’s Pacific Coast. Ask anyone, may they be local or tourist, which one place you should visit while in Costa Rica and Manuel Antonio will most likely be the definitive answer.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

[LIMÓN] Budget and Itinerary


MONDAY: 18 October 2021
Bus MEPE (San José - Puerto Viejo de Talamanca) - 5,995.00
Airbnb (3 Nights) - 98,286.00
Hot Rocks (Steak + Pizza + Coke + Water) - 15,529.00
Taxi (Downtown - Playa Negra) -  6,000.00
CRC125,810.00

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

[LIMÓN] Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge


There are two prominent national parks in Limón along Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast: Cahuita and Manzanillo. You will reach Cahuita first coming from San José, while Manzanillo is farther to the northeast almost at the border of Panamá. I wanted to visit both but alas, after many days of long-distance bus travels and sleep deprivation, my body suddenly demanded that I pay some sleep debt or else. And so I had to give up one national park and decided to go to Manzanillo instead.

Monday, October 18, 2021

[SAN JOSÉ] Budget and Itinerary


THURSDAY: 14 October 2021
Avianca (Toronto - San Salvador - San José) - 154,573.80
Airbnb (4 Nights) - 126,625.00
Taxi (Airport - Bambú Rivera) - 14,500.00
CRC295,698.80

Sunday, October 17, 2021

[CARTAGO] Budget and Itinerary


SUNDAY: 17 October 2021
Bus Metropoli (San José - Irazú Crater) - 2,350.00
Irazú Crater Park (Admission) - 10,710.71
Bus Metropoli (Irazú Crater - Cartago) - 1,305.00
Lumaca (Cartago - San José) - 595.00
CRC14,960.70

Estimate of CRC100 = PhP8.00
TOTAL  PhP1,196.86

Saturday, October 16, 2021

[CARTAGO] Mount Foggy Foggy


So, you want to go to Cartago to see Irazú's lovely volcano’s crater? Based on numerous anecdotes from those who have already visited, you are bound to end up with either of these two views: lovely blue water or fog. What I find weird is that I found neither one. Instead, what I saw there was an arid crater, as it should be, with neither water nor fog. It was just a dry crater, pretty much like what you would probably see on the moon or on the face of your dermatologically challenged friend. No water. No fog. Just a huge hole.

Friday, October 15, 2021

[SAN JOSÉ] Just How Pura Is the Vida?


If we are talking about the laidback vibe, then the vida is indeed pura here in San José. I can’t put a finger on it. You just feel it, how chill the city and the people all seem to be. But that doesn’t mean that I love the city. In fact, if I were to rank the capital cities I’ve been to in Central America so far, SJO will rank low, a bit above San Salvador and probably tied with Guatemala and Panamá. So, what’s the deal, then? I see myself residing here. I mean if I were to find a studio at Bambú Rivera where my Airbnb was, then by all means, go. But as a tourist destination? The vibe is very Manila. The city, not the metro.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

No Time to Die

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

After years of being together, what James Bond (Daniel Craig) perceives as a betrayal ends his relationship with Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux). Retiring altogether from the service, he lives a quiet life in the Caribbean trying to move on with his life, but the arrival of a new threat perpetrated by the very organization he used to support lures him out of hiding. He soon discovers that the 007 number has not been retired at all, but rather given to eager newbie Nomi (Lashana Lynch), who is immediately at loggerheads with her predecessor. After some manipulations here and there, all paths lead to a new face, that of Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek), a ghost from Swann’s past whose vengeance has evolved from personal vendetta to global anarchy, reverse-engineering a nanobot-based weapon that can target any programmed DNA. Plunging back into the chaos he left behind, Bond must function as part of a team to save the world, perhaps for the very last time.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

[ONTARIO] Budget and Itinerary (2)


SUNDAY: 10 October 2021
WestJet (Montréal - Toronto) - 134.66
Airbnb (Niagara Falls/1 Night) - 82.35
Go (One Day Pass) - 10.00
Subway (Italian BMT Chips Meal) - 12.75
CAD239.76

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

[TORONTO] New York Junior


It didn’t help that almost everyone I talked to referred to Toronto as mini–New York. I mean, I love New York because of its international vibe and Broadway. Sans Broadway, though, will I just be disappointed if it’s going to be New York Junior? Apparently not. Apparently, the big city boy in me still reigns supreme. As I headed out of Union Station and looked around to see the deluge of skyscrapers all around me, I thought Toronto and I would get along quite well. And so, we did.

Monday, October 11, 2021

[NIAGARA FALLS] Free Shower, Bring Shampoo and Soap


The original plan was to end the Canada tour at Niagara Falls, then cross the bridge from Ontario to Buffalo in New York on the other side. But Biden keeps on extending the land border restrictions from Canada to the US despite the reverse direction traffic already being allowed by the Canadian government. That means that at present you can cross the Rainbow Bridge from New York to Ontario if you are fully vaxxed and hold a negative COVID test, but not the other way around. And so, Toronto got tossed to the end of the Canada itinerary instead.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

[QUÉBEC] Budget and Itinerary


WEDNESDAY: 6 October 2021
Tour Express (Ottawa - Montreal) - 32.66
Airbnb (4 Nights) - 315.00
CAD347.66

Saturday, October 9, 2021

[QUÉBEC] Vive la Francophonie!


There seems to be a pattern here. Vancouver has Victoria. Toronto has Ottawa. Montréal has Québec. In a sense, these provincial capitals all appear more lax and chill, perhaps because just about everybody else is busy getting caught up in the rat race in their corresponding metropolises. You also have the provincial capitol that seems to subscribe to only one architectural style, with the exception of Ottawa’s, perhaps because it serves as the national capital. Oh wait, Toronto is the capital of Ontario? Well, I guess you just can’t have both. Okay, back to Québec City now.

Friday, October 8, 2021

[MONTRÉAL] Vieux-Montréal


With one full day left to spare, I had the choice of paying some sleep debt or going somewhere else to make this Montréal trip worth it, despite it already being worth it thanks to Mont Royal and McGill. The next obvious option was Old Montréal which was, like, a half an hour stroll from where my Airbnb was. Okay, succumbing to prolonged insomnia, I thought hey why not! But not before fulfilling my craving for pasta with a rather bland Bolognese from Restaurant Denos.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

[MONTRÉAL] Mont Royal & McGill


If I were to be honest, McGill is the only reason why I really wanted to visit Montréal. Why? Because that’s where the French refresher courses I am eyeing are offered, except that they are pricy AF and I don’t even know if I want to be this far north as winter approaches. In any case, getting to visit the city now means I have to check out the university and the vicinity. How was it? Well, I’m sold. Montréal is the type of city I’d gladly relocate to. But that French refresher plan will have to wait, as there are still a lot of factors left to consider.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

What If...?: Episode 9


9. What If... The Watcher Broke His Oath?
To fix up his mess, the Watcher gathers a group of warriors from various universes and calls them the Guardians of the Multiverse: Captain Carter, Star-Lord T’Challa, Dark Doctor Strange, Killmonger Black Panther, Party Thor, Gamora, and Natasha Romanoff from the universe Ultron destroyed. Now, he is out to destroy the remaining ones. The Watcher hatches a plan for all of them to divert Ultron’s attention as they try to retrieve the Mind Stone and obliterate it with the rest via Gamora’s Infinity Stone Crusher. They do succeed after putting up a fight, but Ultron reveals that the Infinity Stones from different worlds are all unique and that his could not be eliminated. With the help of Captain Carter, Natasha uses Hawkeye’s computer virus-infected arrow to shoot Ultron with it in the head, resulting in Zola’s trojan program taking over the body. With both Zola and Killmonger wrestling for control over the Infinity Stones, Strange traps them in a pocket dimension as the guardians return to their own worlds.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

[ONTARIO] Budget and Itinerary


MONDAY: 4 October 2021
Air Canada (Vancouver - Ottawa) - 143.98
Airbnb (2 Nights) - 128.00
Hudson (Mineral Water) - 3.99
Uber (Airport - Downtown) - 22.97
Uber Eats (Yang Sheng Restaurant) - 18.41
CAD317.35

[OTTAWA] I Want to Speak with the Manager of Canada

 

“But why are you going to Ottawa?” I flew all the way here to make a complaint. You know, since I arrived in this country the weather has been in the 14C - 17C range, which is too cold for a tropical island boy like me. Whenever I complain and ask people to lower down the temp of the nationwide outdoor aircon, all they ever tell me is fly to the capital and talk to the manager. Of Canada. A guy named his royal highness Justin Timberlake or something. But the guy is nowhere to be found on Parliament Hill. Lousy customer service, Canada. I’ll be sure to leave a negative one-star review.

Monday, October 4, 2021

[BRITISH COLUMBIA] Budget and Itinerary


FRIDAY: 1 October 2021
Air Canada (Manila - Tokyo - Vancouver) - 450.35
Airbnb (3 Nights) - 190.00
Canada Line/410 (YVR Airport - Bridgeport - Aberdeen - Cambie @4th) - 13.90
410/Canada Line (Cambie @4th - Aberdeen - Waterfront) - 3.05
Scotiabank Theater (Venom: Let There Be Carnage) - 14.96
Uber Eats (McDonalds) - 13.42
CAD685.68

Sunday, October 3, 2021

[NORTH VANCOUVER] Capilano Suspension Bridge Park


As already mentioned in the previous article, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is just one of the many green spots and hiking trails in Vancouver. The others are free but could be a challenge to get to if you don’t have your own car. This is where Capilano holds an advantage because it is arguably one of Vancouver’s most commercialized parks catering to tourists. I’m this short to calling it a tourist trap but if convenience is the only criterion, then it’s a tourist trap I’d gladly fall into.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

[VICTORIA] Vancouver the Island Not the City


Victoria has always been on the itinerary but after thinking about the four-hour trip combination of metro, bus, ferry, and then bus again, Victoria got shelved. And then a friend and former officemate suddenly revealed that he is living there now. Okay, fine, Victoria is back on the itinerary. What better way to get rid of jetlag than to add more jetlag? Or ferry lag. Whatever, you get my drift. I scheduled Victoria the day after landing, two days before takeoff. This should be fun.

Friday, October 1, 2021

[VANCOUVER] A Perfect Mix of the Urban and the Natural


“Your flight is canceled because of the typhoon in Japan.” Great, first I get denied a visa, now the flight is canceled, and it’s not even because of the pandemic. Before launching a full panic attack, the ground staff gave me a look as if warning me not to go Karen on him because he was simply bumping me off to another flight later that afternoon. And so the Manila – Narita – Vancouver became Manila – Haneda – Vancouver, with both flights now via ANA instead of the Canadian leg being split with Air Canada.

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