I would like to believe that I have some level of proficiency on determining what and how good food would be like. My taste buds know how to ascertain and adjudicate what good food is.
And though I love cakes and may seem to have the sweetest tooth on the planet, I have never been a fan of Red Velvet cakes. And though I have yet to encounter a Red Velvet cake that makes my taste buds do a double-somersault with one and a half twists in the free position, I think I just had one that is the most remarkable.
But my appreciation of this Red Velvet was not due to my taste buds doing a standing ovation but it was my sense of sight that makes me rejoice and be delighted towards the cake I was consuming. I was at awe about the look, design and colors of Vanilla Café inside Kamiseta Hotel located in Baguio City, the tourist summer capital of my country.
I guess this is the cutest café I have seen in Baguio. The interiors were so stunningly pretty, it will definitely put some very sweet delicious smile on every one’s faces. The café was so visually attractive, the happiness it ignites would surge towards all the other senses making all dishes they serve to be so happily pleasant and appealing.
Vanilla Café have seem to possess some enchanting potion that smoke-screened my usually resplendent sense of taste. I actually could no longer recall if the Red Velvet I had was good or mediocre but what I know is that I was smiling while consuming it inside Baguio City’s lovely and bewitching Vanilla Café.
A castle is the last thing I am expecting to find when I decided to tour and visit Mexico City. But expect the unexpected because I found Chapultepec Castle or Castillo De Chapultepec which is also unexpectedly located in the middle of a very huge park, the Chapultepec Park. This park is so big, it is even bigger than the famous Central Park of New York City.
The funny thing is, while roaming around the castle area, I am reminded by a number of things and I am telling myself that I have seen such place in the past. And then I realized that this was the place where some scenes were shot in the 1996 movie Romeo & Juliet starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Clare Danes. It was the set of the Capulet Mansion in that movie!
The castle has been home for different purposes throughout its long history. It has been a military academy, a presidential home, of course the royal residence, as well as an observatory. Now it houses Mexico’s National Museum of History.
It is the only castle in North America ever actually used as a royal home. It was the residence of Emperor Maximilian I and his wife Empress Carlota. And during such time, it was still considered to be in the outskirts of Mexico City. This emperor then wanted to connect his castle to the main city. He then ordered the construction of a road so as to link it to the energetic city. That road now is known as the bustling and affluent Paseo Dela Reforma.
The construction of the castle started in 1775 and in 1806 it was purchased by Mexico City’s municipal government. It was mostly abandoned during the Mexican War of Independence. But it rose to prominence again with the story that is probably the most famous event that has taken place in that castle, the Niños Heroes (or Hero Children).
Niños Heroes are six Mexican boys who defended the castle against the U.S. soldiers invasion of the castles in September 13, 1847 during the bloody Mexican-American War. These boys are now permanently honored throughout the grounds of the castle through massive sculptures, artifact exhibits and a commemorative mural painting.
Besides the beauty of the castle itself, there are lovely gardens and grounds. You also got fantastic view of the city and the park’s surroundings. And since it is now the National Museum of History, there are also historical artifacts, exhibits and furnishings that I really enjoyed seeing.
Chapultepec Castle caught me in such a big surprise, that it is one site that I would recommend seeing when in Mexico City. It was one lovely and surprisingly enriching visit.
How did people travel before the Internet? This question I guess would be too much to ponder about. Imagine trying to simply pick out a restaurant where you want to dine simply in random. Or booking for an airplane ticket without the assurance that you will be seated along the aisle. What about packing for your travel? Without the internet, how would you know what sets of clothes to pack when you would have no idea on the upcoming weather forecast in your travel destination? Pinoy travelers in the past (being from the tropics) I suppose suffered from hypothermia when they do travel at the northern and southern temperate zones of the planet.
Imagine going to a place that has long been written in your bucket list without a hotel accommodation reservation? How can a traveler budget a travel expense without the internet? Planning for a trip before the advent of an Internet would I guess been so difficult that you would rather stay home. It must have been some sort of a nightmare then.
Thanks to internet, travelling to a different country nowadays has been so easy. And thanks to internet, I found Ibis Styles Mexico Zona Rosa, the hotel where I stayed while I was in Mexico.
I initially found Ibis Styles Mexico Zona Rosa through AccorHotels.com since I am an Accor card holder. My membership gives me the privilege of being offered a discounted member’s rate. But I did not booked my stay in Ibis Style via this website because surprisingly Booking.com (which I am a member also) offers a much reasonable price inclusive of breakfast. I opted of course to the website that offers cheaper pricing. Who would not want a bargain?!
Ibis group of hotels has always been a reliable group of hotel brand that I have stayed at. Though it’s not grand nor luxurious, this hotel simply provides what I need in terms of facilities, services and security. Ibis Styles Mexico Zona Rosa is no different because I enjoyed my stay in this hip hotel. It is clean, quiet and comfortable.
Aside from being in such an excellent location in Zona Rosa area of the city, I particularly love the aesthetics of this hotel. It is young, it is vibrant, it is happy!
Without the internet, how in the world would I know and enjoyed staying this hotel? Thanks internet!
One of the beautiful highlights of my recent trip to Mexico was my visit at the magnificent ruins of Teotihuacan. It is about an hour bus ride from the modern-day Mexico City. And because there are massive information available online on how to get to these ruins by commute, I decided to do the adventure by following the instructions indicated on various blogs and web write-ups. I could have simply joined a tour group but as usual, I challenged myself.
I learned from my first few days that majority of Mexicans do not really speak English. Thus, before I left for this ancient city, I armed myself with adequate internet data, the proficient Google Maps and reminded myself the simple steps to communicate, i.e. (i) speak English slowly; (ii) drop the articles as they only cause confusion; (iii) repeat the main concept two or three time; (iv) gesticulate; and, (v) smile a lot.
Teotihuacan was really overwhelming! And based on various write-ups, no one knows who built this humongous ancient city. It was so old that it was already in ruins before the ancient Aztecs were able to discover this old puzzling metropolis. In 1987 this ancient city was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. And since it is so close to the modern-day Mexico City, Teotihuacan has been the most visited archeological site in Mexico.
What for me is so cool about Teotihuacan is how spots in this ancient city were named and labelled. Mexicans’ naming of the interesting places of Teotihuacan gave it more appeal and character. Whoever tagged or named the places inside Teotihuacan are so smart and imaginative.
And since the term “Teotihuacan” meant as “the birth place of the gods” or “the place where men turns into gods”, it is but fitting that this ancient city has the Pyramid of the Sun (the third largest pyramid in the world) and the more gracious-looking Pyramid of the Moon. There was even a location that is sensationally called the “Temple of the Feathered Serpent”!
The coolest actually was how the main road leading to the pyramids was called. The central 2.4-kilometer main road is called Calle de los Muertos or “the Avenue of the Dead”. So when I was walking on this runway, it felt dramatic! I felt like I was being transformed by some creative spirit from being a human being to some sort of a god! It was really amazing!
Teotihuacan, built hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, will remain a mystery. Little is known about its first inhabitants and why this magnificent place was later abandoned. Whatever is the mystery behind the ruins of Teotihuacan, it remain to be something so pleasing and imaginative. Its mystery definitely adds up to its awesome charm.
In my recent travel, I spent all my visiting days in Mexico City. I opted to stay in the city and not move out or visit other places in Mexico because I prefer to completely immerse to the city’s rich culture. This of course is beside the motive of giving myself a reason to go back to Mexico. Hahaha!
Mexico City is too vast to fully explore in two weeks and it’s seem impossible to see and experience the city in just a couple of days. And what is good about staying in Mexico City is that visitors can still see and experience the old Mexico because right at the city center exists a very cool ruins called Templo Mayor.
The incredible thing about Templo Mayor is that it is right near Zocalo, the center square of Mexico Ciity. And that the existing and present city of Mexico was actually built on top of it. Its like Templo Mayor ruins is just beneath the grounds of the present modern city.
Here’s one cool lecture and quick history lesson! When the Spaniards arrived in Mexico City, it was actually an Aztec city at that time. The Aztec people known as Mexica people had a huge beautiful city. And basically the Spaniards (though they did not destroyed it), built over and on top of this Aztec City a new and modern metropolis. So the huge Catholic cathedrals in downtown Mexico are actually built on the foundation of an ancient ruin. And this ruin is known as Templo Mayor.
Templo Mayor as I noticed is still actually being studied and dug up. It is a work in progress so as to fully understand the culture, customs, civilization and background of ancient Mexico. It is so cool to know that the existing city is actually on top of another city!
And one of the major archeological find in Templo Mayor is the Sun Stone or locally known as the Piedra Del Sol. Discovered in 1790, the Sun Stone now is housed at the National Anthropology Museum of Mexico City and is considered the most famous work of Aztec sculpture.
When I personally saw such a massive monolithic sculpture, my jaw simply dropped! I could not describe the elation when I saw the Sun Stone! I could not believe that I am actually seeing the actual figure and image of the most iconic sculpture in Mexico!
This sculpture is one of Mexico’s famous symbols. It is basically printed in almost all types of Mexican souvenir items (shirts, mugs, wall decors, keychains, etc.). I did quite a number of readings about Piedra Del Sol after I have been stunned by the massiveness and beauty of it. And I have learned that there was even a poem that was composed by a Nobel prize-winning poet because of the beauty, mystery and grandeur of such an epic piece of stone.
There are a lot of different theories that historians and archeologists have about the stone’s meaning, its use and its intention. Some think it was used as a calendar and some say it has some significance concerning ancient religion, geography, politics or even something else that hasn’t yet been thought of.
But whatever its original meaning, it is arguably now the most important Aztec sculpture that exists in the world today. As for me, I prefer not to interpret nor even think deeper. I simply prefer to be marveled by the beauty, intricacy and grandeur of such a massive piece of work.
Parang gusto ko iuwi nung nakita ko yang batong yan!
If you don’t know me yet, and though I don’t look like one, let me tell you that I absolutely love books and reading. That is why when I travel, there is always a book that I would bring along with me.
So when I heard that there is a unique mega library in Mexico City and even though it is not included in Tripadvisor’s the top 15 destinations to visit in Mexico City, I know that this would be a place that I have to check out.
It’s Biblioteca Vasconcelos! I didn’t know really what to expect. But when I walked in, I literally let go of a massive gasp. It was so loud, a bunch of quiet people inside the building knew that there is an elated first timer who has just entered.
This place is unlike any other places that I have been to. The architecture is incredibly unique and it is not just like any other library but unlike any other place I have ever seen! And the more entire I went, the more incredible it becomes.
After the first initial wow impression, the next thing I noticed is just the sheer scale and size of the building. The uniqueness is that you would see people around: beside you, beneath you and above you. Some of the floors are actually thick translucent glass.
Biblioteca Vasconcelos opened in 2007 and has over half a million books. It got its name after Jose Vasconcelos who is a Mexican philosopher, a former presidential candidate and was also the president of the national library of Mexico.
I noticed that the walls are transparent and that the floors seem mismatched. It also have very intricate staircases and balconies, it reminds me of the movie Inception in a scene where things were folding on to each other. I really felt like I was in a sci-fi novel. It gave me the feeling of being set in the future which not many equally awesome buildings could do.
Biblioteca Vasconcelos is called a mega library because it is actually 5 libraries merged into one. And each one library is dedicated and pay homage to Mexico’s great thinkers.
One thing that really takes center stage inside this library is the massive white whale skeleton done by an artist named Gabriel Orozco. The whale’s skeleton, fitted onto a metal armature and inscribed with granite rings and circles, hangs suspended in midair. It seem visible from almost all sections and every point within the library.
The library is so massive, there are tons of areas where people can sit and work. Entrance of course is for free and there is free wifi. And what is best is that Tripadvisor seem to have yet discover this place as one cool tourist destination.
If you are a book lover like me or an architecture fanatic or just want to see a really unique place within Mexico City, then Biblioteca Vasconcelos is definitely worth a visit.
If you are a tourist in Mexico City, a visit to a museum seem inevitable. Reason behind this is because this city has the most number of museums in the world.
For an initial Mexico City museum salvo, let me then feature not just any type of a museum. Let me introduce to you the Museo Nacional de Antropologia or the National Museum of Antropology. Reason why it is so special is because it is the most visited and the biggest museum in Mexico. It’s a staggering 8 hectares all in all!
After walking through the humongous and vast entrance area of the museum, the first this that any visitor of this museum would notice would be this…
The museum since it’s so big is divided into 22 different section halls. I started with section 1 of course, the Introduction to Anthropology and planned to finish all sections in one visit. But after an hour and a half of marveling at various features (I reached half of section 4), I started to feel some sensory overload. I started to feel so overwhelmed that I can’t seem to take in so much anthropological stimulus and information anymore.
Since I have seen so much, I started to slow down. And instead of trying to see everything, I tried to just really focus on few specific things. I then decided to head straight to the section where there are most number of people. That is at the Mexica section or the hall number 6.
I was not surprised anymore that this seem to be the section where there are lots of people. It is because this is the hall that houses the most emblematic exhibit of the museum, the Piedra Del Sol or the Sun Stone. This is so special, that I think I will write separately on how I felt seeing this Aztec sculpture.
Other exhibits that caught my attention were…
I highly recommend this place to those who are interested on human societies that thrived, lived and existed in Mexico or simply being a tourist in Mexico City. The National Museum of Anthropology is located within the Chapultepec Park in Mexico City. And lucky me, it was free entrance for everyone on the day I visited! With the grandiosity of this museum, I was all but willing to pay the seventy Mexican pesos entrance fee!