Skip to main content


The Road to 193 with Dr. Reysa Alenzuela

Dr. Reysa Alenzuela at Loket Castle in Czechia   Where and when was your first trip outside your home country? It was in 2004, I went to Hongkong and nearby provinces of southeast China i.e. Guandong, Guangzhou and Schenzhen. During that time, Filipinos didn’t travel as much as we did a decade later. I was relying on the travel agency and joining the bus tour. But since I was a first timer, that was the most I could get for an experience. As expected, the bus tour brought us to those jade museums where we ended up buying unnecessary things. I remember we were also brought to a factory of leather products. That was my first vicarious experience of a different culture - the tour guide told us about legends of the five goats in Guangzhou, how people love tea in China. It was the first time I bargained by only using a calculator. That was pretty much a superficial experience but my love for travel grew from there. I became curious about different cultures. What is it about traveling tha

All that glitters

Semi circular chest plate, gold, 700 A.D., South Pacific The Pre-Colombian Gold Museum is one of three museums created in the 1950s by the Central Bank of Costa Rica from the original History and Numismatic Museum to promote “meaningful and relevant connections with the material and human dimensions” of Costa Rican cultural heritage. The Gold Museum is in an underground vault in the center of San Jose. How gold jewelry was worn by the indigenous people of Costa Rica Various chest plates and pendants 1. Semi circular convex chest plate 2. Round zoomorphic and geometrical chest plate from 700 - 1500A.D., hammered     gold with  four cones protruding from the plate, worn by high ranking  individuals,        South Pacific 3. Pendants  4. Plain round chest plate Collar and buckle with embossed decoration Crab rattle, 700 A.D. to 1559 A.D., South Pacific Anthropo-zoomorphic pendant The use of animal or avimorphic pendants has a symbolic meaning to the wearer. These pendants may represent the

The Road to 193 with Michael Alfred V. Ignacio

Michael Alfred V. Ignacio Where and when was your first trip outside of your home country? My first trip outside of the Philippines, alone, was when I left for Spain to take up my masters degree, back in 2002. I resigned from my work in San Miguel Corporation in Manila to pursue my degree in international business at the Universidad de Alicante in the Valencia region. Looking back, I actually do not know if I would be as brave now to do the same thing all over again. I enrolled in a course where the medium of instruction was purely in Spanish, armed with only my high school Spanish from St. Pius X Seminary and my own self-study a few months before I left for Spain. For the first two months, I could barely understand a word of what the professors where saying in class with their dizzyingly fast Castilian Spanish, and I thought I would fail my subjects ... until I realized, even my classmates from Latin America also had about the same challenges in comprehending the professors. After abo

A Pilgrim in Cartago

   Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles (Our Lady of the Angels) Every year on August 2nd, it is estimated that a million to two million pilgrims converge on Cartago to celebrate the fiesta of La Negrita (Black Madonna). On the eve of the feast day, pilgrims walk from other parts of the country to the Basilica (in what is called a romería) to give thanks or petition for favors . La Negrita is the patron saint of Costa Rica and adored by devotees for her healing power. Main Altar It is said that a peasant girl found a statue in the woods of a female figure with a dark complexion and carrying a child. She took it home with her but when she woke up the next day, it was gone. She found it on the rock where she had first discovered it. She brought it back home only for the statue to return to the rock. She told the priest about her experience with the statue and he took it from her and locked it up but the next day it was back on the rock. When several earthquakes destroyed the constru

Iguanas, Palm Trees and Sunsets in Jaco

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean This is why people congregate to watch a sunset.  Jaco Beach Tuning in the blue mind. Waking up to this, palm trees, blue skies, and vitamin sea.    ⬇️⬇️⬇️ Iguana One of the staff members at the hotel told me that there are bigger iguanas in the garden. This is the biggest one I saw. Needless to say, I didn’t stroll in the garden after sunset. At the town plaza, the iconic “I ❤️ Jaco” and Pura Vida signs welcome visitors. The tourism slogan of Costa Rica Jaco’s restaurants and shops are clustered along the main highway. You can easily walk from the hotels on the beach to the commercial center of Jaco where you can rent a surfboard, buy souvenirs, arrange sightseeing tours or grab a bite to eat. Where to stay: Best Western Jaco Beach This was the first time I stayed at an all inclusive resort. I liked the fact that I could get three meals a day, enjoy free drinks (yes, cocktails are included) and have a snack at the beachside bar. I was so f

Crocodile Spotting in Tarcoles

  Tarcoles River  On my way to Jaco, we passed by the small town of Tarcoles where crocodiles bask lazily on the banks of the river. There were quite a few of them that I lost count. Tarcoles River is surrounded by a lush forest and borders Carara National Park. A hurricane left a lot of fallen trees in the river.  If you like crocodile teeth, you can buy one for $12.00. A vendor was trying to sell me a corded necklace with a crocodile tooth for $10.00. Watermelon is grown in the manicured field in the background. I wonder if the crocodiles find their way there sometimes. Before leaving the town of Tarcoles, we watched monkeys hanging out in the surrounding trees. Talk about monkeying around! How to get there: I took Tico Shuttle from Escazu to Jaco and we stopped at Tarcoles to see the crocodiles from Crocodile Bridge. Tarcoles is on the way to Jaco. My driver was careful and drove safely at all times. He wore a mask as I did. I had the van to myself as a solo passenger. I highly reco