Archive for April 1st, 2020

April 1, 2020

Copacabana!!! yes Brazil!!!

So here I am picking up some oldies from my vault to tell you about a wonderful country and a great city of our world, more precisely one of the best known spots on Earth. I have written pieces before but fell a post should be merited. Let me tell you a bit more on Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

A bit on the name first shall we

There are several hypotheses for the name Copacabana. The first alleges that the term came from the Quechua language spoken in the ancient Inca Empire, meaning “luminous place”, “blue beach or” viewpoint of blue”. Other sources point to the term as originating from the Aymara language spoken in Bolivia, meaning “view of the lake. “. In that country, Copacabana is the name given to a city located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, founded on an ancient Inca place of worship. There are reports that, in this place, before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers, there was the cult of a deity called Kopakawana, who would protect the marriage and the fertility of women.

The beach and the entire region around it had the Tupi name of “Sacopenapã”, which means “the noise and the flapping of the wings of the socós”. In the 18C, with the opening of a chapel in honor of Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, or Our Lady of Copacabana on a rock at the end of the beach, the name of the beach and the region was changed to Copacabana.

And the beach at Copacabana!

Copacabana is a district of Rio de Janeiro. It is located south of the city. The district includes the beach of the same name, one of the most famous beaches on the planet. The area is lively and full of good restaurants, cinemas, banks. Many football fans come to spend time there.. The beach is a half-moon extending for 4.5 km, from Leme to the Arpoador, along Avenue Atlântica. It is nicknamed in Portuguese the Princesinha do Mar, or the little princess of the seas as heard on the song by Tom Jobim. Copacabana is one of the tourist emblems of Rio de Janeiro. On August 13, 1923, the Copacabana Palace Hotel was opened, in front of the beach. Since then, the hotel has become a symbol of the city

Leme is usually a less crowded corner of the beach. It is the left end for those looking towards the sea, close to the rock of the same name and those who have a view of the shore almost as spectacular as that of Arpoador, in neighboring Ipanema. Although the strip of sand is the same, it is considered another neighborhood, and has two favelas (Babilônia and Chapéu-Mangueira) that can scare the unsuspecting a little. But, in general, everything is quiet on the boardwalk, in the sand and in the nearby streets, without major problems.

Then, Posto (station) 2 is almost in front of the trendy Copacabana Palace Hotel. There is the most crowded spot on the waterfront at any time, as it is the first drop off by bus or metro/subway at Cardeal Arcoverde station from city center/downtown or from the north of Rio. During New Year’s Eve, you can hardly walk. But few things compare to the grandeur of the Copa (the hotel’s nickname) facing the sea.

Posto (station) 3, 4 and 5 are right in the middle of the beach, a little less crowded, but no less beautiful. At Posto 3 there is the Siqueira Campos metro/subway station, while Posto 4 receives the third and last one in the neighborhood, Cantagalo metro/subway station. Both are further into the beach at about 300 meters.

Finally, the stretch of sand ends at Posto 6, with the famous statue of Carlos Drummond de Andrade and at the Copacabana Fort, which has the Army Historical Museum and the delicious café Confeitaria Colombo, where it is it is possible to have a breakfast or afternoon snack with a view of the entire length of the beach. During Sundays and holidays, Avenida Atlântica is closed in its closest part to the boardwalk, and it is possible to ride a bike, rollerblade, skateboard or just walk / run with ease.

Rio de Janeiro

The district of Copacabana has four metro/subway stations such as Cardeal Arcoverde, Siqueira Campos, Cantagalo and General Osório; and more than eighty municipal and intercity bus lines. Which, of course, did not took any as had a car   lol!

This is the skyline webcam on Copacabana beach, beautiful even from a distance: Skyline webcam on Copacabana beach

A bit on the anecdote and main reason of writing this post.  Hotéis Othon is one of the largest network of hotels in Brazil. The first Othon hotel was launched in Rio de Janeiro in 1943, former “Hotel Aeroporto” close to the city airport, today known as Aeroporto Othon Travel. Until the seventies it was built and launched seven more hotels at the famous Copacabana beach. From the year 2000 on, the Othon group of hotels started to operate third parties units abroad with 11 units in countries such as France, Portugal, United States of America, Argentina and Peru. In 2003, Othon decided to invest in a new market, creating the brand “Othon Pousadas”, starting to manage tourist class hotels or “Bed & Breakfast”.  In the same year, there was the start-up of the managing of condos with the launch of the Othon Brand “Othon Flats” ,today “Othon Suítes” , with five units. At the moment, they currently operate 12 hotels, four of which are wholly owned by the Company and eight of them owned by third parties, which are managed units. The Rio Othon Palace unit, situated at the famous Copacabana beach, is one of the most famous national luxury hotel, Seven floor are now, after the modernization, included in the luxury category, focusing on business executives guests.

However, I have a story here. While visiting Rio for the first time back in the 80’s we were booked by my company a trip here and apparently by mistake they booked us on the Copacabana Palace which of course at the time was like 500 US Dollars per night. This was too much, and they cancelled the reservation. I came to know this while at Guarulhos airport! When asked to booked me in another hotel before I got to the city, the company booked me at the Othon Palace Hotel which was at that time at 150 US dollars per night. The good deed for me, they ,also, make a mistake and instead of booking for two night they did it for three so an extra day of enjoying Copacabana beach!!! The Rio Othon Palace Hotel is a highrise hotel with 98 meters high , 30-stories which opened in 1977 and had 585 guest rooms.

Rio de Janeiro

The official Othon Palace webpage in English: Othon Hotels on the Othon Palace Copacabana Hotel

And there you, been back and have enjoyed always. A wonderful souvenir for me and still many friends from those times . Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana beach, Brazil, nice! Hope you have enjoy the tour

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!
 

 

April 1, 2020

A bridge in Cebu, Philippines!

Ok so let me tell you about an anecdote that this road warrior likes. I have visited the Philippines about 5 times in the last few years and this particular area of Cebu 3 times. There has not been too much time to sightseeing as these were business trips but the memorable of the post is the driving and the crossing of the channel from the Mactan airport to city center Cebu. 

However, let me give a bit more about this particular area of the Philippines as I cannot go to a spot on earth without knowing its history.  I will be telling you about the Marcelo Fernan Bridge in Cebu. First, an introduction.

A bit on the province region of Cebu.

Cebu is a province located in the Central Visayas (Region VII) region, and consists of a main island and 167 surrounding islands and islets. Its capital is Cebu City, known as the Queen City of the South, the oldest city and first capital of the Philippines, which is politically independent from the provincial government. The Metro Cebu is formed by 7 neighboring cities such as Carcar City, Cebu City (I was base here), Danao City, Lapu-Lapu City (passed by here) , Mandaue City (passed by here), Naga City, and Talisay City; and 6 smaller towns like Compostela, Consolacion, Cordova, Liloan, Minglanilla, and San Fernando. Cebu City as the main center of commerce, trade, education and industry in the Visayas. Mactan – Cebu International Airport, located on Mactan Island, is the second busiest airport in the Philippines and about 20 km from Cebu city.

And a bit on the City of Cebu.

Cebu is the second largest city in the Philippines (after Manila) and is very similar to the capital: teeming, noisy and contrasting. The city has the particularity of presenting places steeped in history but also very beautiful paradisiacal beaches not far away .It still offers interesting architectural curiosities, witnesses of the different influences of the Philippines.

Cebu is located in the east of the island of the same name. It is the capital of the province of Cebu and that of the region of Central Visayas. Cebu is also the oldest city in the Philippines and it was the first place of colonization of the Spanish in the archipelago. It is the main shipping port of the Philippines and is home to around 80% of the country’s inland shipping companies.

A bit of history I like

It was on April 7, 1521 that Fernand de Magellan landed in Cebu. He is greeted by Rajah Humabon, King of Cebu, and the Queen who converted to Catholicism on April 14 with 800 Magellan natives, however, failed to claim the island for the crown of Spain, having been killed by the king of Mactan Lapu-Lapu on April 27, 1521 during the battle of Mactan. On April 27, 1565, the expedition led by Miguel López de Legazpi begins the colonization of the region with the Augustinian brother Andrés de Urdaneta.

The Villa de San Miguel is the first founded by Legazpi in the archipelago on May 8, 1565. The villa becomes a city with all the rights relating thereto, on January 1, 1571, thanks to a royal decree of king Felipe II under the name of Ciudad del Santísimo Nombre de Jesús or City of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. In 1898, the city was ceded to the United States of America after the Spanish-American War and the American-Philippine War. In 1901, it was administered for a brief period by the United States and obtained a special status of self-government in 1936 allowing it to be managed independently by Filipino politicians. Occupied by the Japanese during WWII, the city eventually integrated the Republic of the Philippines by July 4 1946.

Some of the things to see an enjoy here are

The Sinulog held each year, festival and ritual dance of nine days organized from the third Sunday in January to celebrate the baby Jesus of Cebu: Santo Nino. It’s a ritual dance, two steps forward then one step back, to the sound of percussion. I have been twice at the beginning of it with lots of actions activities in town, a real fun way to visit Cebu! Until 1980, the Sinulog, which falls every third Sunday in January, was not a major event in Cebu, but the regional director of the Ministry of Sports wanted to give it new impetus and organize a larger parade, mainly around the Cebu Basilica. Supported by authorities, the festival has grown in importance and is now one of the most important events in the Philippines. It is huge!!! Official webpage:  Official Sinulot Festival at Cebu

There are a number of significant Spanish colonial constructions in the City such as the Basilica of the Holy Child , Fort San Pedro, the Casa Gorordo museum and the Magellanic Cross. The Taoist temple of Cebu dominates the city and its neighbors of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.

And after all, I give the most famous bridge in all of the Philippines and yours truly has passed and enjoy it on several occasions. A great souvenir to remember forever.

The Marcelo Fernan Bridge is an extradosed cable-stayed bridge located in Metro Cebu. It spans across Mactan Channel connecting from Cebu to Mandaue City and to Lapu-Lapu City in Mactan Island (where the airport is located). It is currently the longest cable-stayed bridge in the Philippines. It has a total length of 1237 meters (4058feet) with a center span of 185 meters (607 feet), and was completed and inaugurated by President Joseph Estrada on August 3, 1999. And this is the bridge I passed each time there from the airport to city center Cebu! Nice ride!

cebu

On the Mactan Island side of the bridge, there is a park called the Millennium Park at the base of the bridge’s piers, and the Filipino Seafarers Memorial is located in that park. Also, the bridge has two pedestrian walkways, one on the north side of the bridge, and one on the south side. On the Cebu Island side of the bridge, there is Mandaue City, and the bridge is accessed via United Nations Avenue. The Mactan Island side of the bridge, which is in Lapu-Lapu City, is accessed by Old Patiller Road, a spur road of the Manuel L. Quezon National Highway.

cebu

The memories and friendship will endure and hoping one day to be back there. Time will tell, in the meantime, thank you for the warm wonderful welcome each time.  Remember , even the best here are the beaches! Cebu is wonderful.

I leave you with a couple of webpages to help you plan your trip here

The official tourist office of Cebu Bohol in English: Tourist office Cebu Bohol on Cebu

A guide to Cebu unofficial: Tourism info on Cebu and Philippines

And remember, happy travels ,good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

 

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