Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mexico In A Wrap

Breaking News: Mexico overthrew India off its top spot on our fave foreign destinations list. India now places second. What catalyzed such order is the fact that we spent a whole month exploring six states in Mexico, while we only allocated eight days for one state in India. I'd like to think that India will reclaim its throne once we see more of it, however I got a fearless forecast that it could already be improbable.


The iconic Chichén Itzá, Yucatán.

What's not to love? Impressive colonial buildings, perfectly restored ruins, megadiverse jungles, orgasmic dishes (a choco-chili sauce will tickle anyone's taste buds!), and the lovely people. Mexico's family oriented culture is a setup all too familiar to me, it reminded me of home. More so, not a single time were we ripped off. And unexpectedly, I felt more safe strolling on most of its streets in the wee hours than on Taft Avenue during early eve. It made me wonder where media picked up Mexico's scary reputation.

Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, Ciudad De Mexico.

Mexico for the Pinoy backpacker:

Unfortunately, for Filipinos, it's quite a challenge to reach this part of the globe. The cheapest round-trip ticket you could score, if booked about three months in advance, is tagged at $1,900 (that's probably half the annual income of a call center representative - not so bad ei?). Less if it's on a rare seat sale. Add to that the pesky visa application which you could read more about here. Fortunately for us, we flew to Mexico as a work perk. And I didn't apply for a visa because U.S. visa holders can get in the country without prior application and could stay up to 180 days.

Hierve El Agua's Petrified Waterfalls, Oaxaca.

Crunching numbers. How cheap is cheap?

"Cheap" as we all know, is relative. As a Filipino backpacker, Mexico for me is definitely not dirt cheap, but affordable. Budget dorms in major cities start at 140 MXN (P465) per person, and double rooms at 350 MXN (P1,160). Water bought from a street store is 7 MXN for 1.5 L (P23), taco from a kiosk is also 7 MXN each. When dining in, taco prices could start at 10 MXN (P33), depends on what stuff are on them. Platillos Especiales cost 70 MXN (P230), already good for two people. Soda 12 MXN (P40) for a bottle in restaurants, and cerveza is 20 MXN (P66). Admission fees to museums and archaeological sites range from 50 to 200 MXN.

Palacio De Justicia, Puebla.

Getting around:

Getting to and from the airport is easy and inexpensive for there is a Metro station servicing it. A Metro ride is only 3 MXN (P10), includes transfer of lines. If you got loads of luggage, you could snag a taxi from one of the counters just outside the arrivals area. This ride's pricey (we paid 170 MXN or P563 for a 20-minute trip), but safe. We didn't get the chance to try the micro buses, for we hailed street taxis instead (sadly we weren't able to hop on a Volkswagen Beetle cab). Luckily, most of the taxis we took used meters. And even if they didn't, the rates offered to us were reasonable, say 50 MXN (P166) for 5 kilometers during rush hour. Long distance buses ate a huge chunk off our budget though, mainly because we entrusted ADO with our lives (some of its tickets cost the same as a Manila-Kota Kinabalu flight).

We expected tacos and quesadillas, but not chocolate-tinged Mole Poblano.

Mexican munchies:

Mexican food and I got off to a rocky start. The first meal we had upon arrival was some bland seafood paella. But was it really bland or was it because until that moment, I hadn't eaten authentic paella? The restaurant seemed popular to locals (who ordered the same dish too), so surely they're not serving unappetizing food? The tacos tasted different as well, but in a good way. It's got fewer ingredients than what we're used to: Freshly made tortilla, meat just dashed with salt, string cheese (if it's a fancy kiosk), cilantro, chopped onions, and the optional salsa or guacamole. And oh, squeezed lime. There's a separate post that will mainly tackle Mexican food, should come your way soon. Warning: Might rave heaps about mole poblano. Marriage between chocolate and meat is ingenious!

Teotihuacán, atop Pirámide de la Luna.

Talk the talk:

Pañal, leche en polvo, toallita para bebe (diaper, milk powder, baby wipes) are amongst the Spanish words I looked up prior our trip (yep I'm obviously a backpacker mum). It may surprise you that even in Mexico's major cities, English ain't commonly used but Mexicans are generally patient with uhm, foreigners' sign language. I found it easy to communicate our way around because thankfully Tagalog still has tons of Spanish words. Come armed with a handful of phrases, the Mexicans totally appreciate it.

There you have it folks, Mexico in a mini wrap. I hope this serving has whetted your appetite and encouraged you to plan your visit, because really... I believe you, my fellow Pinoy, can.

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82 comments:

Missy said...
February 10, 2012 at 4:02 AM

Wow, Mexico is so nice I wish I could go back there as a tourist ;-) Nice shots, I envy you hehehe but do you think Mexico is better than Philippines?

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 10, 2012 at 5:46 AM

Ooh... Tough question! Theres no place like home, but let's just say... I am now dreaming of living in Mexico :)

Jerome said...
February 10, 2012 at 8:55 AM

wow! i hope one day CebuPac can fly me to Mexico nyahahah...but for now, sa panaginip muna =))

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 10, 2012 at 9:37 AM

It all starts with a dream, Jerome :)

Edmaration etc said...
February 10, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Pricey... I think I need to visit Mexico, Pampanga first. haha.

killerfillers said...
February 10, 2012 at 1:52 PM

Natuwa naman ako don sa part na di na kelangan ng may mga US Visa.hehehe Currently wikipediaing Oaxaca and amazed with Hierve el Agua. Can we swap our current jobs even for a month lang?haha

Marky Ramone Go said...
February 10, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Gundam Wing Gaye, panalo talaga. Hanap mo ako ng Salma Hayek or Penelope Cruz jan. Yon lng ata chance ko makapunta jan :P

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 10, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Marky, you gotta visit Mexico to pick one yourself :D

ihcahieh said...
February 10, 2012 at 2:06 PM

I think Cebu Pacific will start covering long haul flights by the 3rd quarter of 2013. If they include US in their routes I believe there are many cheap low-cost airlines that one could take to go to Mexico, right? And then there's the visa waiver for US Visa holders... Someday... Anyway thanks a lot for this post, it is quite hard to find Pinoy blogs tackling Latin America and giving the essential facts necessary for planning. :)

theworldismyoyster said...
February 10, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Now I am more convinced that I did choose the right place to include in my "bakit list".

Gay, am I right in understanding that even if you have a Philippine passport, you can stay in Mexico for 180 days as long as you have a valid US visa? If so..dem! we had to cancel a side trip to Mexico when we were in the US because I did not do my research and was dissuaded to go there because they said I need a visa since I am Filipino, and that it was not safe. =( arrrrggghhh...

..now I am back to the drawing board... =P what is the cheapest way to go there from Manila?=)

Lawstude said...
February 10, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Wow, and ganda naman talaga ng Mexico. I do hope to reach this place someday. Pero kung di man, at least parang napuntahan ko na rin thru your awesome photos and stories :)

RM Bulseco said...
February 10, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Toallita para bebe! Hahaha ang cute!!! =)) Ooooh. Mexico!!! Malayo ba ang Acapulco sa Mexico City? :D

Karla said...
February 10, 2012 at 9:40 PM

I love your pictures especially the first and last one! :) It looks like a scene straight out of National Geographic. I hope that in the future, a budget airline can fly to Mexico. :) I would love to visit the place someday!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 10, 2012 at 11:26 PM

Killerfillers, Oaxaca is an awesome state. And yeah, Hierve El Agua's Petrified Waterfall is such a wonder :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 10, 2012 at 11:28 PM

That's correct Suzette, any nationality actually :) But maybe at the time you asked about it, they had a different policy?

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 10, 2012 at 11:35 PM

Oman, hope you do :) And thanks!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 10, 2012 at 11:36 PM

Renz, still quite far. That's why I didn't include it on our IT.

lakwatsero said...
February 10, 2012 at 11:53 PM

Haaayz! You are living the dream that I can only dream of. Why do I keep coming back to this site,Gay, para mainggit (tama ba), to see awesome, read awesome, say awesome. At mangarap.:(

Clint said...
February 10, 2012 at 11:58 PM

I really need to save lots of money. Mexico!!!

Leah. said...
February 11, 2012 at 12:02 AM

Wow, Mexico! Ang ganda ng kuha sa last picture.. Nakikita lahat, the people, the structures, even the mountains.. Galing!

Wait, that's the Temple of Kukulcan (El Castillo) Chichen Itza.. yung shadow ata ng staircase, with the correct angle sa araw, parang nagiging serpent.. hmm. Tama ba? :D

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 11, 2012 at 12:02 AM

DG, masarap mangarap! At... Libre :) But I really hope you get the chance to see Mexico someday.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 11, 2012 at 12:10 AM

Leah, yesss! The setting of the sun (me thinks) gives shadow to the pyramid with the outline of a snake. Sooo impressive!

pinoydaysleeper.com said...
February 11, 2012 at 12:30 AM

sa pyramids..tsk itsura pa lang parang ang hirap na bumaba..dang.. yon paakyat muhang ok pa..hehe

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 11, 2012 at 12:33 AM

Haha! Yeah! Had a hard time going down pyramids especially while carrying Luna.

chardyboy said...
February 11, 2012 at 12:59 AM

wow most historic site...sana makapunta ako dyan ng makita ko ang mayan calendar hahhah...yan ba ang bayan ng mga aztec?

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 11, 2012 at 1:22 AM

Yup, the Aztecs are from Mexico. Around Mexico City, to be exact.

Sumi Go said...
February 11, 2012 at 1:37 AM

I want to travel to Mexico too.. T__T But only God knows when I'll have the capacity to do so. Anyway, I'd love to have some of those Mole Pablano!

Earlied said...
February 11, 2012 at 6:10 AM

Fantastic travel tips for Mexico. I reckon Mexicans are happy people like Filipinos, and i can imagine their cultre to be similar to ours as they were a Spanish colony too.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 11, 2012 at 6:17 AM

They really are similar to Filipinos though us Pinoys smile more :)

dong ho said...
February 11, 2012 at 7:40 AM

seeing teotihuacan is already on my list. really nice and you were actually on luna's own pyramid. lol.

petrified falls. wow! not the usual.

let's say mexico is now on my bucket list.

ROM @ In2ndLife said...
February 11, 2012 at 8:06 AM

my favorite is the picture of the waterfall... not the picture but the waterfall itself... parang ang galing ng pagkakagawa ni mother nature doon...

Gladys | WanderingTandem.com said...
February 11, 2012 at 9:16 AM

great post... pero promise, better than india? hmmm... pero saka na to. it doesn't seem as cheap as i hoped it would be...

happysole said...
February 11, 2012 at 10:35 AM

your name should be supermom pinay travel junkie! great stuff as usual... :)

Jhackie said...
February 11, 2012 at 11:05 AM

is that you in the last picture . You look so astig :) !!

wanderlass said...
February 11, 2012 at 11:13 AM

so tempted to go back to central america after SA to visit the maya in mexico and guatemala... but maybe it'll have to be for another trip. nice round-up, cheers :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 11, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Gladys, not as cheap as we expected either. I think one big factor that made us love Mexico so much aside from its awesome sites is how easy it was to travel from point A to point B. Transpo's quite organized. And we didn't encounter much touts.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Jhackie, yep that's moi :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 11, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Lilliane, would love to see Guatemala too! But yeah, will save that for another trip.

michi said...
February 11, 2012 at 1:43 PM

i like the last photo. mangarap na lang ko sa post mo, mahal ng airfare. =)

Gil Camporazo | RandomThoughts! said...
February 11, 2012 at 2:05 PM

I'm amazed of the petrified waterfall and the pyramids. they're really amazing. The pyramids were architecturally made wonderfully.

violy vallester said...
February 11, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Wow so breathtaking! Ang Ganda!!! Thanks for being our eyes... Nakatravel na din ako sa Mexico!! ;)

Karen said...
February 11, 2012 at 3:37 PM

You're a certified travel junkie. Nice places and photos!

Julie. -- said...
February 11, 2012 at 4:38 PM

never imagined Mexico to be this beautiful.

Gemma|My Dailies said...
February 11, 2012 at 4:39 PM

ang ganda. period. would love to travel and take photos too!!! (for now dito muna kami sa new mexico! lol!)

passive income said...
February 11, 2012 at 4:41 PM

Wow, wish I would be able to visit these places like you have. Bring my family along

markpogi said...
February 11, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Wow! Thanks for sharing your experience at Mexico. I was just thinking if you were able to take pictures of some Mexicanas (the ones seen in Miss Universe Pagent-type of beauty) there.

chrisair said...
February 11, 2012 at 6:49 PM

Seems like a great place for its price not bad but I can't afford it lol, you look awesome

Paliiits said...
February 11, 2012 at 7:11 PM

Sa totoo lang, takot talaga ako sa Mexico. Naiisip ko kasi yung mga pelikulang kinukuha dun, lalo na yung mga based on true events kuno, lol. Pero pag ako nanalo sa lotto, pwede, pag iisipan ko pumunta jan, naks *daydreaming ulit n_n

AJ said...
February 11, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Wow, Mexico in a burrito wrap! But this is one burrito I can't afford to have. Hontoroy mo lang, US visa holder ka na kasi. :)) That choco meat dish is one for the books ha, I'd like to try it though I don't expect to like it, haha!

Ding | The Pinoy Explorer said...
February 11, 2012 at 11:16 PM

Wow! I have only seen these in movies!

Ads said...
February 12, 2012 at 12:30 AM

Of all the popular foreign destinations in the world, Mexico is one of the often mentioned by tourists on their "need-to-visit" list.

I only knew Mexico for their famous Incan relics and ruins. Your article has opened up additional information that made me want to visit that place some day. I really love to go up on one of those pyramid like structures.

stacy said...
February 12, 2012 at 12:50 AM

The food caught my attention lol

Dexter | Kidneytherapy.com said...
February 12, 2012 at 12:50 AM

I hope someday I could visit this place.. Nice pic.. Pero mexico Pampanga di pa ako nakarating LOL

The Nomadic Pinoy said...
February 12, 2012 at 7:13 AM

I only visited a few days but Mexico blew me away, notwithstanding all that unsolicited advice against visiting the country. I'm actually envious of Mexicans for having a government that subsidized a very important part of their daily life - commuting on the subway for only 3 pesos!

Amor Envina said...
February 12, 2012 at 8:09 AM

wow! what is it not to love in Mexico? uhmmmm i have tasted their food and oh, I LOVE RUINS! prefect for photography! OMG! I hope I could really tour much in time soon....

God bless you always in your journeys... Take care.

The Wandering Lion said...
February 12, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Hay naku kompanyera, iniinggit mo lang ako sa mga piktyur mo...hehehe, Viva Mexico at salamat uli sa postcard. :)

Kathy Ngo said...
February 12, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Wow! You are so well travelled! Ang galing!

theworldismyoyster said...
February 12, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Gay, our US trip was just last year. So I suppose that policy was already enforced during that time. :( anyways, it just means, I have to dedicate a singular trip just for Mexico. :) Thanks again! =)

Cheers and more travels...

ralph said...
February 12, 2012 at 12:30 PM

huge church they have there... great views as well. hope we could also visit there someday. thanks for sharing. Yahweh bless.

enzo said...
February 12, 2012 at 1:40 PM

Yeah...I used to think that Mexico is one scary place but totally deleted all those impressions when I get to this post! Blame media, blame my ignorance. No I have a renewed respect for Mexico. Beautiful sites and lovely pictures you got in here.

Jovial Wanderer said...
February 12, 2012 at 2:07 PM

now craving for your Mexico food post/s! :) :P

Blanca Dela Cruz said...
February 12, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Wow, I wish my family and I can visit Mexico someday. Thank you for bringing us here with your photos kahit sa photos lang muna pansamantala ngayon. hehe.:)

Blair Villanueva said...
February 12, 2012 at 2:35 PM

magnificent view and PS, i like your outfit here :)

Aleah | SolitaryWanderer.com said...
February 13, 2012 at 4:10 AM

I'm doing my Euro trip now but I'm aching to be in Mexico! You know why? Because it's so friggin' cold here! And Mexico looks so warm and nice and fuzzy! Waaah! hehe

blissfulguro said...
February 13, 2012 at 9:14 AM

I would just have to live the life you have vicariously... good job on this one gay!:)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 13, 2012 at 9:40 AM

Aleah, aww... you should have visited Europe during summer. Or autumn! Autumn is pretty :)

Beauty Product Reviews By Rhea said...
February 13, 2012 at 11:43 AM

I wish I could visit such great places! hayy

Traveler on a Shoestring said...
February 13, 2012 at 4:37 PM

I really really like your photos! Oh I should rephrase that! I love your photos idol! Mexico is very enchanting! But all I can do is wish, I don't have money and I don't think my neurosurgeon would let me travel that far at this point in time. Wishing you more travels! Godspeed!

Vernon Go said...
February 14, 2012 at 6:17 PM

holy flame of fire! the photos are awesome!! I'm gonna add this to the dream places I wanna go to!

Nikka Corsino said...
February 15, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Really loving your blog now! Instant fan! :D

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 15, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Aww... THanks Nikka! I actually love your writing :)

Ian | Going Places said...
February 15, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Wow Ola Mexico this time! I think this is one of the fascinating countries around. I'm excited to read your travel story especially your trip to Cancun which I dream of visiting someday. I didn't know that visa is not required for PH passport holding a US visa. Visa upon arrival?
Thanks for sharing this eye-opener about Mexico.

Mary @ The World Is A Book said...
February 15, 2012 at 2:05 PM

beautiful pictures Gay! Love the Chichen Itza picture! I've been to the touristy aka cruise port parts of Mexico and would love to go to Mexico city. I'm glad you had a safe and memorable time there. Yeay to you for being part of the Mayan tourist invasion this year =)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 16, 2012 at 12:37 AM

Ian, we didn't explore Cancun much because that's where the concentration of the "kano" tourists is. Maybe someday we'll be back to see more of it.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 16, 2012 at 12:39 AM

Mary, hope to see the cruise ports one day... Hopefully we could try doing a cruise too!

Sophie said...
February 27, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Hm... India vs Mexico, that's a tough choice. I think I would have to go with India, though. Especially Indian food :)

Rica said...
February 28, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Nice!

Christian | Lakad Pilipinas said...
March 9, 2012 at 10:35 AM

ang ganda nung petrified waterfalls!!!!

Bobs said...
April 29, 2012 at 2:19 PM

They have a lot of breathtaking scenery there in Mexico. Adding them in my travel to list. :)

Coolmon said...
May 3, 2012 at 7:36 AM

Good post and nice pictures. I have been to Mexico two times and the Mayan ruins once, but never got around to some of the areas in your pictures. Once again nice article.

Mary R said...
May 10, 2012 at 4:33 AM

Glad that you liked Mexico. It's one of my favorite destinations since I was 13 years old! I still can't compare to India though. Maybe I'll make it there one day too.

sam mirza said...
July 12, 2012 at 8:26 PM

mexico is simply awesum

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