Archive for the Cultural Scenes Category

Peruvian Gastronomic Journey at Hilton Tokyo

Posted in Cuisine & Dining, Cultural Scenes, Events, News, Lifestyle with tags , , , , , , on July 14, 2012 by Sustainability Guru
Peru Gourmet promotion featuring top Peruvian chefs Javier Ampuero & Jose del Castillo

Peru Gourmet promotion featuring top Peruvian chefs     Javier Ampuero & Jose del Castillo

Last 2009, during the Peruvian Food Festival in Tokyo we honored the Guest Chefs Pedro Miguel Schiaffino & Toshiro Konishi at the Peru Embassy with comida criolla creations by our in-house Chef Percy Bustamante. This time, on our third year here in Tokyo, we are delighted to be part of the Peruvian Gastronomic Journey inaugurated at the Hilton Tokyo, this Festival month of July to kick off  the various celebrations of Peru’s National Day in Japan.

Photo courtesy of Noticias Nippon

The Chefs with Promperu Rep Camila Garcia & Peru Ambassador in Japan, Elard Escala

Hilton Tokyo and PROMPERU (Tourism Promotion Peru) jointly feature a special event, entitled ‘Fascinating Peru – Gourmet & Cultural Promotion’ for the sixth consecutive year at the Hilton Tokyo’s Buffet Restaurant ‘Checkers’ from Saturday, July 7 to Monday, July 16, 2012. During this event, guests  have an opportunity to feast on a wide range of authentic Peruvian dishes on the lunch buffet (3,900 JPY) and dinner buffet (6,000 JPY) specially prepared by Mr. Javier Ampuero Figueroa  and Mr. Jose del Castillo, guest chefs from Peru while enjoying traditional Peruvian drinks. Peruvian folklore’s live is available on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and a national holiday.

All photos courtesy of Noticias Nippon

Ceviche, Causa Limena and lotsa comida criolla!

Heir to ancient cultures from the time of the Inca Empire, Peru is a magical spot which involves one of the richest biodiversities on earth, along with ten world heritage sites including ‘Machu Picchu’ and the ‘Nazca Lines’. It is known for extensive Andean ingredients including potatoes, tomatoes, corns and chili pepper as well as botanical products and herbs that have high nutritional value and distinctive qualities. Try the emblematic Peruvian appetizer ‘Ceviche’, seafood and onion marinade with lemon and a traditional Peruvian dish ‘Lomo Saltado’ which was adopted into Chinese – Criollo Cuisine, stir fried with beef, tomato and potato. After the meal, delightful Peruvian sweets such as mousse using lúcuma, native Peruvian tropical fruit, ‘Mazamorra Morada’ made from purple corn and more will be available.

Superb iconic Peruvian desserts: Mazamorra Morada & Arroz con Leche

Superb iconic Peruvian desserts: Mazamorra Morada &   Arroz con Leche

To complement the culinary delights, Peruvian wine ‘Tacama’ very rare in the Japanese market, will be offered along with a wide range of Peruvian drinks such as ‘Chicha morada’, ‘Pisco Sour’ and ‘Inca Cola’. Beverages are available with an additional charge.

Ain't no Peru fiesta without Peruvian Pisco, wine and Inca Cola!

Ain’t no Peru fiesta without Peruvian Pisco,                           wine and Inca Cola!

Next on our agenda, is the Peruvian Festival in Kobe, Japan!

All photos courtesy of Noticias Nippon.

JOIN PERU DREAM TRIP  by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975; 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay, any day departure. For more information and travel assistance to Peru, contact us. 

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Finally, Fine Filipino Food Fest in Tokyo!

Posted in Cuisine & Dining, Cultural Scenes, Sustainable Events with tags , , on September 24, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

Philippine Food Fair 2011, Imperial Hotel Tokyo

Featuring the Doyenne of Philippine Cuisine, Ms. Glenda Barreto, showcasing culture and heritage through culinary art

I have always wanted to write about the under-rated, oft-misinterpreted or worse, misrepresented authentic Filipino cuisine, but failed to find the real deal, one that showcases the Philippines’ rich melange of culture, tradition and heritage, authentic in essence and presentation.

Ms. Glenda Barreto, Doyenne of Philippine Cuisine

I first met Ms. Glenda Barreto, Doyenne of Philippine Cuisine and  owner of Via Mare group during my Puerto Azul days, as she was a member of the Golf & Country Club and favorite caterer of Malacanang Palace. Till now, Via Mare is still the irreplaceable Filipino fare provider to most high level occasions not only in the Palace but also to prominent political and social figures of the country for their  impeccable cuisine and unparalleled service.

CBRT Conference 2011 Regional Food Showcase by Via Mare

At the National Conference on Community Based Rural Tourism this year, I had the honor to meet, listen and shared with my co-speaker, Ms. Barreto. I told her that every time I go home to Manila, I would always eat at Via Mare and bring back  special native desserts, cassava cake and two kinds of rice cakes –bibingka galapong & puto bumbong – all the way to Peru. I am so happy that their Landmark  Makati branch already know how to pack these delicacies for long-haul trips, thus, I still get the freshly-cooked flavors after 30 hours of travelling back to Lima! When we moved to Tokyo, Japan, I go home to the Philippines every so often for my Sustainable  Tourism initiatives and conference engagements, thus, I make sure I eat at Via Mare, probably the only excellent authentic Filipino cuisine that suits my palate, my only “other home” of comfort native food.

Philippine desserts by Via Mare: Jackfruit Tapioca, Cassava (yuca) Cake, Purple Yam (ube) pudding, Coconut-Pandan Rice pudding

At the Conference, Ms. Barreto presented on Special Regional Food Presentation & Exhibit where she talked about Food Knowledge, Effective Menu Planning, Recipes, Pricing and Personalized Service. She also showcased the actual Regional cooking at the venue and feted us to the best Conference dinner I have ever tasted!

On September 26- October 2, 2011, Tokyoites and nearby ‘burb-dwellers can savor the fine offering of Tita Glenda’s cuisine at the Philippine Food Fair at the Imperial Hotel Tokyo, together with stellar chefs, Myrna Seguismundo of Restaurant 9501 and patissier Jessie Sinsioco of Le Souffle. It will be seven full days of alluring and  scrumptious epicurean pleasures from the Philippines’ most fabulous, no less! Service offerings at the Imperial Viking Sal will be available during Luncheons and Dinner and Filipinos in Japan can partake in this rare opportunity of excellent Filipino cuisine at a special discount.

Lunch & Dinner Buffet of Filipino Fine Food at the Viking Sal, Imperial Hotel Tokyo

Inkaterra La Casona-Layered history meets 21st century luxury

Posted in Cultural Scenes, Events, News, Lifestyle, Green Hotels, Inkaterra, Luxury resorts, hotels, travel, Travel with tags , , , , , on May 22, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

Layered history meets luxury at La Casona

“Welcome to the summit of all things Inca – the opulent Cusco. Cusco has a better range of opulent accommodation than anywhere else in Peru”.

                                                       -The Independent Traveller, U.K.

 

Centrally located at an original Inca settlement in Cusco, former capital of the great Incan Empire, Inkaterra La Casona, the city’s first luxury boutique hotel rise discreetly on its prestigious surroundings. A meticulously restored 11-suite manor, this un-hotel reflects the Cusco’s unique mestizo grandeur, the inspiration for the renovation which preserved the blended essence of Spanish design and local folklore, contemporary fixtures integrated with the original structures, traditional colors, murals, and stones reflecting the patina of several epochs.

The land where the Inkaterra La Casona was built was originally part of the Warakos, the training ground of the elite Inka army. After the Spanish conquest in 1534, the property was given to Diego de Almagro, the Spanish cohort and later rival of Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, capital of Peru. Almagro participated in the Spanish conquest of Peru and is credited as the first European discoverer of Chile.

colonial furnishings and original murals blend with lavish contemporary comforts

The following years the casona was turned several times over to distinguished owners to include Spanish pioneers in Chile, the Amazon. The property even became a convent and much later on Simon Bolivar’s general headquarters, after his victory in the Battle of Ayacucho, where he liberated Peru from the three-century Spanish rule.

Relive the traditions of a priveleged past

Through the years, the house saw many owners until the late 60s, to include the De la Torre Urbina family and consequently Tierras Altas S.A.. In 1999, Inkaterra  acquired the property.

After two years of restoration and renovation, La Casona warmly welcomed its guests

In 2006, meticulous reconstruction works, renovation and upgrade of the manor started and in May 2008, Inkaterra La Casona opened its doors to guests. Fully equipped suites with open fireplaces are graced with down duvets, heated floors and extra large bathtubs. The amenities of the manor include dining area, outdoor patio and reading lounge. La Casona may be booked as individual suites, or as an entire Villa, offering a hub from which to discover the region.

Old World luxury meets cutting edge comforts of 21st century

Highly acclaimed by global travel magazines and travel news reviews, La Casona is a lavish luxury experience savvy travelers won’t want to miss!

“Cusco’s first boutique hotel, takes a few lessons from the conquistadores- the masters of Old World luxury in New World beauty. And while its rooms wraps around an original courtyard built more than 400 years ago, its iPod docks and heated floors are distinctly 21st century”. ~ Urban Daddy, “Mind your Manor  – Spanish Luxury in  Incan Capital”

Peru Dream Trip  2012 by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco pioneer, Conservation Leader, 100% Carbon Neutral, authentic travel and luxury stay or Go Andean. For more info about green travel to Peru, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI to join the Dream Trip.

All photos courtesy of Inkaterra.

Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB) taking up the Eco Challenge

Posted in Agri Tourism, Cultural Scenes, Environment, Good Governance, Responsible Travel with tags , , , , , on March 22, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

Don Salvador Benedicto’s Malatan-og Falls

Villa Ica Garden, Don Salvador Benedicto

The youngest municipality of Negros Occidental, Don Salvador Benedicto more popularly know for its acronym “DSB” is situated 2,495 feet above sea level at the mid-center of the province, 47 kilometers of good highway from capital city, Bacolod.  Its composite jurisdiction  includes two barangays (barrios) from Murcia town, three from San Carlos City and two of Calatrava. Established as a town in 1983, it was intended to consolidate the area into a separate and independent local government unit to counter the insurgency concentrated here.  The town got its name in honor of the late Vice-Governor Salvador Benedicto, who was part in setting the Revolutionary Government of Negros Island and Siquijor during the Japanese occupation last World War II. Today, this newfound town has surpassed geographical, economic and social challenges, with its 10-year strategic master plan for residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural & fishery development zones and because of this became a budding eco attraction in the province, albeit raw and emergent.

Rice Terraces at DSB, Agricultural showcase

Though DSB is still pretty much rural, almost like a big barrio, it has already literally paved the way for bigger things to come, such as its infrastructure: impeccable picturesque highway that is the envy and adjudged “most beautiful” in the country. Its climate is moderate; cool for Philippine tropical standards with an even rainfall distribution throughout the year. Among its rural attractions are historical Barangay Igmaya-an, one of the strongholds of the province’s Revolutionary Government during the Japanese Occupation; the Monument in honor of its namesake, Don Salvador Benedicto; the picturesque mountain ranges of Mt. Mandalagan and Mt. Canla-on;  the remarkable Rice Terraces, a mini-replica of Banaue’s; attractive Malatan-og Falls amidst the lush green forest, ideal for mountain trekking; the 45-meter Hanging Bridge at Barangay Igmaya-an and of course the Zigzag Road leading to the town and the impressive scenic freeway which provided the shortest route between San Carlos, the farthest city of the province to Bacolod, as well as network links to the rest of the Northern towns and cities. DSB prides itself with indigenous tribes still existing in the area and its folkloric fiesta “Kali-kalihan” commemorating the Feast of the Kali, a long lost culture of a genuine Filipino heritage and the oldest form of weaponry, the “Arnis or Escrima.”

DSB’s Kali-kalihan Festival. Photo courtesy of Maeng Java

With DSB Cultural Consultant Ismael Java, Writer-Director of “Anagas”

DSB officials are working towards providing the town with careful and conscientious advancement, slow but sure steps towards Sustainable development with its community based rural and agro tourism. In no time, it will be the country’s next green getaway hotspot.

with Tourism Officers, Cultural Consultant, Maeng Java

Last March 5, 2011, I re-visited DSB and gave a talk and presentation on Sustainable Tourism & Best Green Hospitality Practices, emphasizing the need to conserve its natural resources, with careful consideration for the local community while it embarks on new tourism development to ensure its sustainability for future generations.  Attended by DSB’s town officials and educators, invited guests from neighboring First District of the province comprised of councilors, tourism officers and civic leaders were also present.

Act from “Anagas” the musical, original Hiligaynon musical written & directed by Ismael Java.

I was happy to see several acts from “Anagas” which was especially presented by DSB’s Cultural Consultant, play director and writer, Ismael Java. Anagas is an original Hiligaynon (regional dialect) theatrical presentation with a profound message about the environment.

With these inspiring simple townsfolk and sincere officials dedicating their lives on the preservation of their town, we will be working together for The Negros Initiative framework of Conservation, Community Social Responsibility & Sustainable Tourism.

The Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc. (SSTDI) is leading the greening of  Negros Occidental and espousing Sustainable Tourism:  experience culture, cuisine, conservation and meaningful visits to Don Salvador Benedicto and other local communities. 

Don Salvador Benedicto is a proponent of The Negros Initiative led by SSTDI,  a Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility framework to be implemented with institutional partners Green Hotels, The Clean Blue & Zero Carbon Resorts. Sustainability Capacity Building and Training programs towards a green economy for destinations, cities and communities include Good Governance, Rio 21 Agenda, Waste Management/3Rs/MRF, Resilience, Disaster Prevention and Management. Educational programs can be customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the local community in general. For more info, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.

Craving for Comida Criolla

Posted in Cuisine & Dining, Cultural Scenes, Events, News, Lifestyle, Lima, Peru, Travel with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2010 by Sustainability Guru

In celebration of MISTURA 2011, Peruvian Food Festival and Latin America’s biggest gastronomy event, I am reposting this blog entry about probably the best cuisine in the planet!

PROVECHO (bon appetit)!!!

 Each Latin American country has its own “Comida Criolla” (pronounced kri-o-ya) as the phrase which means “home-grown food” historically stems from native mixed with Hispanic flavors.

 For Peru, “Comida Criolla” is basically concentrated where the Spanish conquerors along with their native-African slaves have settled, followed by Chinese and Japanese migrants thus, “Comida Criolla Peruana” is essentially Andean-Spanish-Afro-Peruvian food with Chinese & Japanese influences. Talk about fusion and multitude of menus! Comida criolla peruana is popular mostly along the coast, especially in Lima and the Central region.

Peruvian Comida Criolla, are basically served with Salsa Criolla (julienne onions marinated in lime with chopped chilies) seasoned, topped or served with Peruvian  Aji Amarillo (yellow) or Rocotto– red chilies.

Tamales- corn dough wrapped in banana leaves

To start, typical breakfast fares are Tamales (corn dough seasoned with chilies, stuffed with olives, chicken or pork and wrapped in banana leaves), Humitas (the same as tamales, but wrapped instead in corn husks, with Andean cheese or  the sweet version, with manjar-caramel) Chicharron,  deep fried pork slices on country bread or Butifarra – pork ham sandwich – all served with Salsa Criolla.

Papa a la Huancaina, Peruvian Potato salad in chili-cheese sauce

Papa a la Huancaina, Peruvian Potato salad in chili-cheese sauce

Cold enticing entradas (appetizers) include the popular Peruvian potato salads, namely Papa a la Huancaina , Ocopa and Causa, of course the all-time favorite Ceviche or Tiradito and the classic salad of Solterito, mixed vegetable salad of fava beans, choclo serrano (Andean corn kernels), olives and fresh cheese with its light lime vinaigrette.

Causa, Peru's version of mashed potato

Causa, Peru’s sophisticated & scrumptious version of mashed potato

Anticucho by Chef Percy at the Embassy of Peru in Tokyo

For Hot Starters, popular preferences are Anticuchos (grilled skewered beef hearts) served with boiled potato, corn and chili sauces; Rocotto Relleno (chili red bell pepper stuffed with ground meat and topped with melted Queso Andino -Andean cheese) and Papa Rellena (meat stuffed mashed potato and deep fried like croquettes). During the long coastal winter (Fall, Winter and Spring all rolled in to one grey foggy cold season), savory soups such as Chupe de Camarones (Cray fish chowder), Sopa a la Criolla (angel hair soup in chili broth with ground meat) and Caldo de Gallina (chicken soup) are the favorites.

Arroz con Pollo at Miraflores Restaurant in Shibuya, Tokyo

Top main courses, are Aji de Gallina (shredded chicken in creamy yellow chili sauce), Seco de Pollo or Cabrito (chicken or baby goat meat in coriander green sauce) usually accompanied by Frijoles (boiled beans, almost pureed) and its variation, Arroz con Pollo o Pato (chicken or duck rice cooked in coriander sauce), Asado (beef stewed in tomato, chilies and red wine), Lomo Saltado (beef tenderloin tips sautéed in onions, tomatoes and chilies, with a dash of Chinese influenced-soy sauce). Carapulcra (dried potatoes in tomato-chili sauce), Cau cau (boiled tender tripe cooked in yellow chili sauce with chopped Huacatay-Andean mint herbs) and Olluquito con charqui (root veggie with bits of alpaca jerky).

Classic Peruvian desserts by Chef Percy: Mazamorra Morada, Arroz con leche & Alfajores

Delectable dessert choices are Suspiro a la Limeña (condensed milk, butter and cream pudding), Arroz con Leche (Rice porridge with milk, cinnamon & clove-pictured right), Mazamorra Morada (purple corn pudding with pineapple and prunes), Picarrones (sweet potato and pumpkin paste formed in rings, deep fried similar to doughnuts and served with syrup or honey), Alfajores, Peruvian pastry with manjar-caramel, Milhojas, layered pastry crisps also with manjar and the classic ice creams in a variety of indigenous flavors – Lucuma, Chirimoya, Guanabana, Coca, Purple Corn or Algarrobina.

Suspiro a la Limeña

Suspiro a la Limeña

In Lima, relish the most authentic and excellent Comida Criolla at Restaurante Jose Antonio in San Isidro, Señorio de Sulco in Miraflores fronting the Pacific Ocean, Manos Morenas in the bohemian district of Barranco and  Gaston formerly, Casa Hacienda Moreyra, an impressive hacienda house in San Isidro. Then, there’s the touristy Rosa Nautica is famed for its unique setting right on the ocean, however, lately inclined for groups and events. Cafés like Mango’s and Café-café in Larco Mar Mall also serve superb Comida Criolla.

With Peruvian Top Chefs- Toshiro Konishi, the NOBU & Miguel Schiaffino

 

In Tokyo, Japan, Miraflores serves authentic Peruvian cuisine with branches in Shibuya & Daikanyama, while NOBU in Tokyo, co-owned by Robert de Niro, serves Nikkei dishes, Japanese with a touch of Peru in some of its entries such as Tiradito and Anticucho. New kids on the Harajuku block include Bepocah, and in Tokyo Midtown area, Nazca.

 

 

Travel to Peru and savor exquisite world class Peruvian cuisine in our Dream Trip to Peru by Inkaterra. For more information and bookings, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI.

PJ’s take on Greening Boracay

Posted in Cultural Scenes, Environment, Events, News, Lifestyle, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Travel with tags , , on July 21, 2010 by Sustainability Guru

PJ Aranador, International Environmental Design Activist, Nautilus Boutique owner in Boracay and consultant for Go Green Philippines wrote his comments to my blog post, “Boracay Beckons”.  This is his take about environmental concerns and issues that we must deal with on the island.

 

Nautilus in Boracay, by PJ Aranador, International Environmental Design Activist

 I support you and the rest of those who will join us. Ecological destruction is still reversible in Boracay now, that is when many will act together. “One is too small a number to achieve greatness!” so to say. And if you are alone in this cause, you are in a lonely planet. And at this time I know you are in this stage. Ah, who will listen? Any hearts? So count me in.

We can start with simple basic ECO-solutions. CLEAN UP!

The task is huge! Nobody can do it alone and we all co-exist in doing so, the public included. We can start with simple basic ECO-solutions. CLEAN UP!  I still see horrendous plastic cups and ice-candy bags, cigarette butts, empty beer bottles at the beach. Scour the beach every morning after the big night parties or just one of those regular lazy days. The scenario is harsh. Many tourists and local vendors’ attitude is unforgiving:  “We can throw anything anywhere and everywhere in Boracay because we pay environmental fees, taxes and whatever!” So why, bother when there are six to ten teams of four people every morning cleaning up the entire long stretch of the beach?

The arithmetic is not that simple for so little number of people to clean up other’s people thrash. For over 30,000 tourists coming to Boracay each month, the cleaners are out-numbered! Count the locals in and the businesses’ staff members in and it swells to thousands more. And we are only talking about trash. We can draw up an environmental “Shit list”. How about poor environmental sanitation? Inland water swamps which were trapped due to land filled for tall buildings to rise? Break water structures that destroy the shoreline ecological balance which washes away the white Boracay sand and replace them with rough rocks.

Too many boats spoil the beach: it's a matter of simple NATURE HOUSEKEEPING. It is our responsibility-each one of us becomes a nature police

This is not even money issue from environmental fees and taxes, etc. It is responsibility. It is simple NATURE HOUSEKEEPING. Each one of us becomes a nature police. Each is an eco-friendly disciple— a follower, a mentor, a teacher, a crusader. Each reminding one another of our abuses to nature. Apparently, it is a process. As the ECO-EVERYTHING CAMPAIGN outlines, it starts from AWARENESS, IMPLEMENTATION and finally CERTIFICATION. In the near future, one will be certified as a CARBON NEUTRAL CITIZEN OF THE WORLD. If you are not, shame on you!

Top TOO heavy.Sustainable Eco-construction must be organic shapes in harmony with the environment, match site topography, respect the integrity of the landscape with appropriate scale

I once talked with old folks in Boracay and they say that Boracay is a mushroom shaped island, meaning the base underwater is smaller than the landmass on top of water. They said that over- construction may not be good for the island. It is like an overweight body with weak legs. Top heavy. We can compare it to our knees which have ligaments that act like scaffoldings. When the weight is too heavy, the scaffolding collapses. I am not a marine biologist or ecologist by profession, but I reckon, some wise old folks may know better by common sense.

Sustainability is a renewable leadership amongst each one of us. If we are not all careful, I would say 25 years from now, or even less, Boracay environmental abuse may be irreversible. And it would be a grim reality. A turquoise paradise turned into a muddy nightmare.

Let us not wait for Boracay environmental abuse to be irreversible and a grim reality: A turquoise paradise turned into a muddy nightmare

Each living creature who can talk and think on the soil of Boracay should understand and protect each and living creature who cannot talk but are capable of thinking while within the waters and vegetations of the island. We do not take away their natural rights to live as creatures on earth. We do not take away their habitation. Theirs is more delicate than ours. Theirs is more sensitive than ours. Theirs is a support system that makes ours inter-dependently sustainable. The law of natural significance is that we co-habit in symbiotic relationship with our natural environments. It is absolute. When there is no nature, there is no life for all of us. Without our eco-systems, we will all perish.

Carelessness and greed- we know that we are all GUILTY in our lives that we have cut a helpless tree, thrown plastic in the sea which were mistaken as food by the fishes and they die

Many years in the past, we fear that planetary collision, meteors hitting the earth or similar extra-terrestrial forces will endanger our planet. Today, it turns out we are all killing ourselves with our carelessness and greed. Inside all of us, we know that we are all GUILTY in our lives that we have cut a helpless tree, thrown plastic in the sea which were mistaken as food by the fishes and they die; abuse the use of too much electricity and we do not care if oil spills on the ocean floor. We build where we are not suppose to build driving away the littlest creature that lives there to be replaced by a concrete jungle than preserve a life that gives forth support to other lives to co-exist in harmony.

Indeed, we are destroying our only habitation faster than we think.

 

PJ Aranador launched the green for good projects of the Go Green Philippines & Bijoux Cebu at the Accessories, The Show in Javits Center, New York City last year. A preview to his collection “Green Waters: The Ocean Floor” held its world premiere in Shangri-La Mactan Resort Cebu also last year.  Ms. Janet Chua, A Piece of Green boutique owner in D’Mall Boracay and founder of   www.gogreenphilippines.com is also supporting our Boracay Initiative.  

How do you think you can green Boracay Island? Thank you in anticipation of your your support –  please post your comments.

Peruphernalia -your travel essentials to Peru

Posted in Cuisine & Dining, Cultural Scenes, Responsible Travel, Travel with tags , , , , on July 6, 2010 by Sustainability Guru
 

My personal compilation of useful information and guide before you travel to Peru…Travel tips and fast FAQs about Peru.

 
Hanging out with chismositas in Huascaran

Hanging out with chismositas in Huascaran

Peru is often called the quintessential South American destination evoking images of Andean mountains, fabled lost cities, panpipe players, llamas and, of course, the ever-fashionable and functional poncho.

-Blue List, Lonely Planet

Coastal Peru's version of the Poncho

Coastal Peru’s version of the Poncho

If Peru didn’t exist, travel guide books would have to invent it. It’s a land of lost cities and ancient ruins, brooding Andean peaks, dense jungles, quaint cities, festivals con-celebrating Roman Catholic masses with mysterious Incan rites. It’s like a whole world in a snow dome.- from the Travel Book.

 

 
 
Peruvian Marinera dancers

Peruvian Marinera dancers

 
 
Rich with majestic natural beauty, gracious people, and the legacy of a great ancient civilization, Peru is a country that touches the soul.
 
 
 
Mystical Machu Picchu Citadel at dusk

Mystical Machu Picchu Citadel at dusk

 
 

 

When planning to travel to Peru, in order to fully capture its magic and mystique, you need to understand what to expect. I have compiled important information for your visit to Peru and how to organize for your journey. Please read this as you get ready for what will be one of the most amazing trips of your life.

 
 

PERU Fast FAQs(Frequently Asked Questions)

 

Acclimatization

Acclimatization is the process of the body adjusting to the decreased availability of oxygen at high altitudes. Considering varying altitudes of destinations in Peru, travelers must try to go first to the lower ones before ascending to higher altitude cities. It is a slow process that could take place over a couple of days. Given enough time, your body will adapt to the decrease in oxygen at a specific altitude.

Lake Titicaca, Puno, World's highest navigable lake at 3,810 meters above sea level

Lake Titicaca, Puno, World’s highest navigable lake at 3,810 meters above sea level

Altitude Sickness Prevention  

Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS) or soroche is a pathological condition that is caused by acute exposure to low air pressure usually above 2,400 meters (approximately 8,000 feet). The main cause of altitude sickness is going too high too quickly. Before your travel to a high altitude destination, avoid eating too much, and on the arrival day itself, eat less also to avoid altitude sickness. If you stay at a high altitude, rest. Limit any walking or activity. You can explore the area, but take it easy, especially on the first day. Drink plenty of water and avoid taking alcoholic beverages.

 

Communication/ Telephone/ Internet

Peru is well connected with telephone landlines and cellular phones lines in most major cities, as well as the Internet with connections in most hotels, numerous internet booths (cabinas de internet) in cities and towns and WiFi available in major hotels.

   

Currency/Credit Cards/ Foreign Exchange

Peru’s currency is the Nuevo Sol (S/.) or Nuevos Soles (in plural). Peru is typical of many South American countries in that it effectively operates a dual currency system where the US$ American Dollar has purchasing power.  Both the US$ (Dollar) and the Peruvian Nuevo Sol are in circulation and although the government prefers people to use soles, most sizeable purchases are made in dollars.  The Nuevo Sol is perfectly stable so you don’t have to worry about inflation problems during your stay. 

  

In the provinces, credit card facilities may be limited only to major establishments. Travelers’ cheques are not common, so have cash (in Soles) on hand as foreign currency exchange is limited. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are mostly available only in the main cities. To check currency conversion, go to

http://www.xe.com/ucc/ 

Arts and crafts market, Yucay, Sacred Valley

Health/ Medical/Travelers Common Illness

To keep from getting gastrointestinal infections or avoiding travelers’ diarrhea, we recommend you take care when eating raw or exotic foods. Drink bottled or boiled water and do not eat food/beverages from street vendors/ hawkers. Doctors or medical assistance may be contacted through hotel reception.Hospitals and clinics provide adequate services, especially in Lima and the other main cities and can contact health care insurance directly.

 
 
Cata de Pisco, Ica, Peru

Cata de Pisco, Ica, Peru

Language

The official languages are Spanish (80% of the population), Quechua (Andean and highland regions), and Aymara (in the Puno high plateau). It is possible to communicate in English with tourist service workers such as tour guides, travel agency employees and 3 to 5-star hotels staff.

 

Luggage/Baggage Limit

Please know the baggage limit, number of pieces and weight allowed by the airline to your destination. Most domestic airlines have lesser baggage allowance (usually max. 10 kilos) than the international airlines (usually max. 20 kilos). In case of multiple destinations, it is advisable to travel light and bring only the essentials.

 

If you are going to Machu Picchu, please take note that Peru Rail has imposed luggage limitation on the train to Aguas Calientes. Peru Rail Luggage Transport is a maximum hand-carried allowance of only 5 kilos/11 lbs. and measuring not more than 62 inches/157 cm (height, length & width) per passenger. Your heavier and bigger baggage may be transported in another train at an extra cost (US$1.80/kilo, one way, maximum 10 kilos) or may be left for storage at Peru Rail’s Luggage Storage only in Ollantaytambo Train Station at US$5.00/day.

 

Security  

It is important that you take common sense precautions when visiting Peru, just like in any major destination in the world, such as taking extra care with your belongings in public places or avoiding deserted places at night. The following are recommended as precautionary measures:

·       Get a copy of your passport, airplane tickets and credit cards. Leave all your travel documents (passport, tickets, hotel vouchers etc) in the hotel safety deposit box and take only photocopies with you.

·       Know the unsafe areas of the city/destination and avoid visiting them, especially at night. If you must exchange money, do so in banks, authorized money changers and exchange bureaus, or in your hotel. Avoid doing this in plain sight.It may not necessarily an immediate threat to you, but you should always be watching out for pick pockets and thieves especially in crowded places such as busy avenues, airports, markets and tourist sites.

·       Try to learn a few key phrases in Spanish before you go, if not to help yourself get by, then at least to make the locals think you can speak the language and thus make you a more conscientious traveler who is careful and prepared.

 

 
 
Lima, Peru Main Plaza

Lima, Peru Main Plaza

Travel Insurance

It is recommended to buy a travel insurance to provide you general coverage in case of emergency or medical expenses, trip cancellation/interruption, lost tickets, baggage or damage, etc. This way, for any unforeseen event or circumstances, you have an insurance to fall back on.

 

Vaccinations and/or Medications  

Yellow fever & malaria vaccination is required for traveling to jungle destinations and must be administered at least 10 days before your trip otherwise it will not be effective. It is recommended that you take the proper measures to protect yourself, specially from mosquito bites, in order to prevent infection from, among other diseases, yellow fever (vaccination) and malaria (repellant and medication). Consult your doctor before traveling.

 

Water

Potable water is limited in some areas. It is recommended to drink bottled water only and do not buy from street vendors or hawkers.

 

 
 
Lima's Costa Verde, Pacific coast

Lima’s Costa Verde, Pacific coast

Weather

The Peruvian Coast is hot and sunny (northern area) or very humid (raw or damp, in Lima).

At the Peruvian Andes, rainy season is between November and March. Temperatures drop dramatically at night, thus one should always prepare warm clothes or jackets. The Peruvian Jungle is hot, with a tropical climate, however certain times of the year, the jungle experiences “friaje” or cold front. It has daily temperatures averaging the 30°C and night temperatures could drop to cold 15°. For more accurate information, please advise check respective Peru destination weather forecast in: Peru’s local weather agency, http://www.senamhi.gob.pe and click on current forecast available in English. Otherwise, you may also check in: www.wunderground.com or www.intellicast.com

 

Take a PERU DREAM TRIP  by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975; 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay, any day departure. For more information and travel assistance about our Green Travel Exchange, or contact SSTDI.