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Travel Diary: Lima, Peru (Day 2)

When people go to Peru, most of them hope to hike the Inca Trail or see Machu Picchu. Lima is just a pit stop. Just like the rest of the world’s capitals, it’s busy, dirty, and congested. And for foreigners, being alone in a crowded, unfamiliar city like Lima can be scary. But for me, it’s what makes it more interesting. Beyond the grit and noise of the city are sites that would leave you enthralled.

This was going to be our last day in Lima before flying to Cusco so we decided to make the most of it.

On our second day, we explored three locations:

Like the day before, we used Uber to get around and chose Parque del Amor as our last stop for the day, which was fortunately only a few blocks from our hostel.

Huaca Pucllana

Huaca-Pucllana-Peru
Huaca-Pucllana-Peru

Located in Miraflores, Huaca Pucllana was a pre-Incan community that dates back to 100 BC. Made from clay pyramids, it served as an administrative site where ancient Peruvians and chieftains would convene and do their religious ceremonies. When Huaca Pucllana was discovered in 2008, they found remains of two adults and one child, who were believed to have been sacrificed.

Since then, Huaca Pucllana was turned into a museum where visitors can see exhibits of ceramics and other artifacts that were also found on the site.

Plaza de Armas

Plaza-Mayor-Lima-Peru

Lima’s Plaza de Armas is probably the most memorable place we visited during our stay in the capital. The whole complex was surrounded by stunning old Spanish architecture painted with bright yellow, pink, and baby blue hues; and wooden doors and balconies with masterfully carved artworks.

Plaza-Mayor-Lima-Peru
Plaza-Mayor-Lima-Peru

Also called Plaza Mayor, it houses the Government Palace which also serves as the official residence of the President of Peru, the Municipal Palace, Palace of the Union, the Archbishop’s Palace, and the Lima Cathedral – both of which you can visit for a price. Inside the Cathedral you’ll find 14 side chapels dedicated to various saints.

Basilica-Cathedral-Lima
Basilica-Cathedral-Lima
Basilica-Cathedral-Lima
Basilica-Cathedral-Lima
Basilica-Cathedral-Lima

But what makes the Cathedral so fascinating is what lies underneath. Apart from being home to the tomb of Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish explorer that conquered Peru, you’ll also find the crypts and remains of the past cardinals – which freaked me out a little bit, to be honest. The path going to the tombs was dark and cold that it felt like a mummy is going to come at us anytime soon (lol).

Basilica-Cathedral-Lima
Basilica-Cathedral-Lima
Basilica-Cathedral-Lima

Parque del Amor

Our final destination for the day was Parque del Amor or Park of Love. It is actually situated on a cliff, overlooking the Bay of Lima which is a well-favored spot for surfers. Throughout the area, you’ll also see mosaics with lines from Peru’s famous poets. The romantic atmosphere of Parque del Amor makes it a go-to place for couples young and old, especially on Valentine’s Day.

Plaza-Del-Amor-Lima

After exploring Lima for a couple of days, we reaffirmed our belief that the city has a lot to offer to travelers. Learning about the capital’s rich culture and history was such an amazing experience that I gained a new perspective on Peru.

Stay tuned for my Cusco and Machu Picchu travel blog!

Read Day One of our Lima, Peru experience here.

The Eye-Popping Street Art of St. Petersburg

Mural by Ricky Watts

St. Petersburg is a millenial’s paradise. It has a vibrant community of artists, skateboarders, surfers, and young entrepreneurs and professionals, making it (arguably) the hippest neighborhood in Florida. If you were to ask me, I’d like to live there too. It has everything I’m looking for in a place–the beach is just a stone’s throw away and there are plenty of museums, galleries, gyms, quaint novelty shops, and cafes to explore. But perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when talking about St. Pete is the street art….

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South Carolina Stopover

Our first stopover on the way home to Tampa, Florida was South Carolina. While I was taking my master’s degree at the University of the Philippines, I studied American culture and literature, and the African-American history is one of many topics that fascinated me. And so, Chad and I decided to have a quick lunch in the historic town of Charleston and check out the nearby places while we were in the area. We drove through the amazing Ravenel Bridge, a cable-stayed suspension bridge over the Cooper River in SC that connects downtown Charleston and Mount Pleasant.

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Topsail Beach, North Carolina

Everyone has that one place where they can just go and be happy. For me it has always been the beach. I can sit in the sand for hours and never get bored. There is nothing like watching the waves roll in and feeling the wind blow through my hair.

That’s why I never felt so happy and excited when my US visa finally arrived. I simply couldn’t wait to check out the beautiful beaches in Florida! My arrival to the United States was perfect timing because I made it to the annual family vacation in Topsail Beach, North Carolina, which is about 10-hour drive from Tampa, our city….

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Calaguas Islands, Camarines Norte

This year is probably the most pivotal time of my life. Having been born and raised in the Philippines for more than 25 years, I’ve only seen very little of my own country. I didn’t get to travel much until Chad, my soon-to-be-hubby who likes to call himself my dreamboy (hahaha!), came along. I used to be very stingy when it comes to spending, especially since I only had enough for my daily expenses. Traveling is a privilege many people, particularly in the Philippines, do not often get the pleasure of doing.

So before leaving the country, I decided to check out two places, one of which I already blogged about early this month. I’ve been meaning to visit Calaguas for a long time, even before it got really popular. It’s only 4 hours away from my hometown and pretty accessible.

I wanted to have the best experience since it’s going to be the last trip I’m going to make before finally leaving the country (more about that in a separate post), so I enlisted the help of an old friend from college who is now managing Beach Bliss Travel and Tours, a tour company that provides all the services you need to enjoy Bicol gems like Calaguas and Subic Beach in Sorsogon. You can contact them on Facebook for booking details.

The Beach Bliss Team with Kuya Eking (rightmost), the head bangkero

The standard rate per person for an overnight stay is Php 2,500 but always check their Facebook page for promos. Sometimes, the full package only costs Php 2,000! The amount covers transportation from Naga City to Calaguas Island and vice versa, three meals, tent rental, island hopping, and entrance fees to the nearby islands. To put it simply, you only have to bring your essentials, and some cash for tips to the boatmen (we gave a hundred pesos each). They offer personalized services and throw in some corny jokes for good measure (haha!)  so I can assure you that you will have an awesome experience with them–my friends and I did.

Look how clear the water is! My best friend Mav took this while on the boat.

As soon as we docked, Beach Bliss started pitching the tents and preparing lunch. All we had to do was wait and explore the island.

The famous white sand of Calaguas. Reminds me of polvoron! 🙂

Afterwards, we went island hopping and hiked the hills around Calaguas that greeted us with a magnificent view.



This trip is probably the most memorable one I’ve made so far. It’s my first out-of-town trip with my besties after being friends for almost 15 years. I don’t know where I’d be without these two. They’ve been my constant companions in good times and bad. Even though we don’t see each other as often as we used to, they always make time for me when I come home. When we’re together, it’s like high school all over again. 🙂

Anyway, I still have more photos to show so scroll away!

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