Friday, December 26, 2014

VIVA EL SUR, VILA EL ECUADOR

"What do we leave behind when we cross each frontier? Each moment seems split in two; melancholy for what was left behind and the excitement of entering a new land." - The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
Viva el Sur. Hello South.
And so it begins. I didn't know what to expect, but the quaint city of Quito in Ecuador, some 9,500 feet above sea level, and the highest capital city in the world, literally took my breath away. Had a little high altitude sickness, but the beauty more than made up for it. 
It was breathtaking.







Thursday, December 04, 2014

THE YELLOW CARD : CERTIFICATS INTERNATIONAUX DE VACCINATION



One thing that a traveler must really find time is to research and take preventive shots or vaccines before they go on their adventure. I must admit that I'm quite stubborn when it comes to vaccination. I was doing a lot of jungle trek in Southeast Asia before and some of the places that we visited were infested with Malaria. I was lucky that i didnt catch the virus, but it would have been so bad knowing that I didnt even have travel insurance for that leg of my journey.

This time, I'm not taking any chances, knowing quite well that some of the countries that I will be visiting is high risk with yellow fever. Yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas in South America and Africa. The virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.  Illness ranges in severity from a self-limited febrile illness to severe liver disease with bleeding.

Upon checking, some countries require all travelers to show proof of yellow fever vaccination before they can enter the country. Other countries require proof of vaccination only if travelers have been in a risk area.  I think even the Philippines will not allow entry to travelers coming from a yellow fever risk country.

For that I had to get a yellow card, a certificate issued and approved by the World Health Organization, given as a proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination. In Manila, the only authorized agency is the Bureau of Quarantine, which is located at the back of Manila Hotel.  I had to brave my way Metro Manila Traffic, and it took me 2 hours from Ortigas to the Manila Port Area. Tip, really come in early. I arrived 2:45 and I almost didnt make it. When I arrived, the guard said that the vaccination is close already, they close at 3pm, and I know that i had 15 minutes left, so i had to talk my way. I mean, I really didnt want to go back the following day and brave the 2 hour traffic again.



Once there, it was relatively fast and easy. All you have to do is fill up a form until the nurse calls you in for the vaccination. It took me 10 mins to do everything, then I just had to pay for the vaccine. I paid 2,000 Pesos, roughly $45. I'm not sure if it is expensive, I havent paid for a vaccine before, but what the heck, a reasonable price to pay for your peace of mind and preventive health.







After paying, they issued me this yellow certificate the folds nicely and is the size of a passport.  Vaccination complete.  Off to another adventure.