Monday, June 28, 2010

Chronicles of Planning a Trip to South America: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

After footing the initial cost, my girl friends and I were surprised to know how much it will cost to go on a trip to South America.  So we considered to explore South Africa instead and push our South American trip in 2014, in time for the world cup. The former will costs about $3,500, for 2 weeks, while the latter costs $5,000 for 3 weeks.  But on a per day basis, it's just about the same.   South Africa has been on our wish list for years while South America, popped out only recently.  However, after getting insights about South America, South Africa becomes less interesting.  At the end of the day, we have agreed to go for South America while we are still young and single and vow to live frugally in the next 9 months.  So I continue to google...

Sao Paulo is the capital of Brazil, but there is not much to see there but high rise corporate buildings.  If there's one place to visit in Brazil, it must be Rio de Janeiro.

A typical day tour in Rio de Janeiro would be:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What now?

I was browsing through old posts and I could not believe how emo I can get sometimes.  I remember telling one blogger friend that I write better when I'm emotional and I don't get to compose my thoughts when I'm feeling good.  Blogging has become an outlet to share my inner thoughts without necessarily soliciting a response knowing somewhere somehow someone else will bump into it.

Looking at things half filled rather than half empty, I'm happier now more than ever. :)

Celebrating 19,168 hits, cheers!  Looking forward to my first $100 pay check from google soon.

Chronicles of Planning a Trip to South America from the Philippines - Flights

I never thought planning a trip to South America from the Philippines can be so complicated. We're eyeing on visiting the countries of Peru, Argentina, Brazil and if time permits, Chile.

Visa is not required for Filipino Citizen to enter Brazil and Peru while it is necessary for Chile ($30) and Argentina.  Surprisingly, American Citizens are required to get a visa for Brazil at $140 for reciprocity.

Flying into South America is pricey and is uber long haul.
  • There is no direct flight to South America from the Philippines.
  • Flights from the Philippines costs at least $2,000; almost double the price to any destination in the USA or Europe.
  • Travel time will be at least 29 hours (upto 48 hours) including layover with 1 to 3 stops.
  • Entry points shall be Lima, Peru, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sao Paolo, Brazil, or Santiago, Chile.  has been my companion in searching for flights.  So far, here are what I've found.

Chronicles of Planning a Trip to South America: Iguazu Falls, Argentina

  • 4 miles (23km), 275 of deafening waterfalls plummeting into a 230-foot (20m) giant gorge declared a World Heritage Area by UNESCO in 1984. 
  • Explore the waterfalls on your own
  • Iguazu Jungle Explorer, the tour operator inside the park offers the following tours:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chronicles of Planning a Trip to South America - Machu Picchu, Peru

This probably is the most helpful post I have found about visiting Machi Picchu on your own. Taken from

Peru Treks & Adventure
Machu Picchu by Train (1 day)

Chronicles of Planning a Trip to South America: Peru

  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites Cuzco City
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site Machu Picchu
  • Amazon Rainforest

Here's an excerpt of the suggested itinerary by Frommer's for a week in Peru.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Talima Adventure Water Park, Mactan Cebu

Warning: the park is temporarily close due to non compliance of necessary permit to operate. (reopened: June 19, 2010)

The Talima Adventure Water Park, a water park at Talima, an island off Mactan, Cebu, opened last May 22, 2010.  It's a waterpark with life size inflatables much like the ones set up in Lago del Rey, Camarines Sur but at a smaller scale.  
Cebuano's really has the knack (including me) for trying new places.  So I pooled by friends and family one Sunday.  Aboard a rented outrigger boat, we left Queensland Wharf and got to Talima 30 minutes later.  Unfortunately, we (along with so many other boats) were denied entry since they were too full.  We ended up island hopping in the waters of Mactan.

After having been to many other places, it makes me appreciate the waters of Mactan.  I'm lucky to have access to white sandy beach 30 minutes from where I live.  The rest of the day was spent jet skiing!  Oh boy, it has been many years since the last one.  When we were younger, we would beg to rent it for just 30 minutes, and share the time among us siblings.  Jet skiing is an expensive sport, renting one costs about P3500/hour.  Thanks to my friend JJ and her brother, who lent us the unlimited use of the jet ski!  We went skiing circling the islands of Mactan together with the kids.  It excited them as well, fortunately, the sea was calm in the morning.  

Later in the afternoon, we went jet skiing again, near the shores of Mactan Island from Punta Engano to Imperial Water Park Resort.  The water was rough! I was sharing the jetski with my friend A.  We were soaked right from the start with big splashes while our seasoned friends were swiftly skiing with the waves.  As we went along, I was curious about a newly built  resort with a row of villas and a bridgeway hanging on an infinity pool.  It's the Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan, the resort component of Seascape Resort Town by Filinvest Development Corporation.  I ought to check this place out next! :)


How to get here:

Option 1:  Rent a private boat from any resort/outrigger boatman in the shores of Mactan, Island,  a medium sized boat with capacity of 15 pax costs about P2500-3000, while bigger ones with capacity of 30 pax costs P3000-4500; this can be used the whole day.

Option 2: Take a common boat by Islands Banca Cruises at the Hilton Wharf (after Hilton Hotel) for P50/pax one way.  Daily trip schedule (except Wednesdays) is as follows:  8:30 am, 10 am, and 12 noon.  The last returning boat from the park to the  Hilton wharf is at 4 pm.

Option 3:  Take a public outrigger boat for P16 to Sta. Rosa, Olango Wharf at the Hilton Port.  Upon reaching the Olango Wharf, you may need to ride a trike going to Talima Adventure Water Park.

Talima Adventure Water Park Fees:

Don't be deceived by the P100 entrance fees.  On top of the entrance fee, you need to pay the following:

P250 unlimited use of inflatables including life vest
P100 unlimited use of zip n splash
P300 30 mins atv rental

Warning: Timing of the tide is crucial since the inflatables are a few meters from the shore, thus it will be closed during  low tide.  Zip n splash is likewise not allowed during low tide.

Bringing of food is not allowed.  There are a few restaurants and food kiosks like Cheaverz inside the park.  The prices are similar to that in the city (or so they say), but lechon is sold at a hefty price of P600/kilogram.

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