Join Vern and Verniece Enciso as they discover a world far, far from their own in a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Brazil and Machu Picchu in this story-filled exclusive.
“We’re going to…” Vern and Verniece say in unison, consciously pausing before announcing: “…To Brazil!”
As far as travel announcements go, of course at a carefree time prior to the pandemic, this one was pretty standard, trailing of course whispers and bits of clues left all over social media. Who wants a preempted plan after all? In any case, after the hushed discussions muttered under their breath becoming full on audible conversations, Vern and Verniece Enciso can finally share with all of you their travel adventure to Brazil and Machu Picchu sometime in January.
After only dreaming of it for so long, prompted in part by the iconic and pioneering #MakingMEGA cover of Anne Curtis, it was finally happening, in about 35 hours.
“We thought our Morocco flight was already the longest,” mentions Verniece as they wait to board the plane to their first layover in Turkey. “Can you believe that?” Vern exasperates, although playfully as these the dynamic duo are pretty much used to this kind of traveling at this point, having been whisked to many corners of the globe for work and pleasure.
Once arriving at the massive Istanbul Airport in Turkey for a 4-hour layover, there was enough time to explore and shop, naturally. “This girl decided to shop again,” says Verniece on their YouTube vlog, and without even denying, Vern proudly shows off her would-be purchase: a pair of Dior slip-ons. “Look, it’s so cute!” she says, before finally giving in to the allure and swiping her Metrobank Vantage Credit Card. “We learned it is really easier and more efficient to travel with trusted credit cards, especially in places that you haven’t been to or are so far off,” stresses Vern, sharing that the Metrobank Vantage Credit Card fits the bill perfectly with all its exclusive perks, pleasures, and privileges. More so, with rewards and value added services, this really was the best travel buddy they could tag along, apart from each other, obviously. Imagine, they not only get to shop, they also rack up points that could in turn be converted into air miles, shopping and dining certificates, and much, much more.
Finally after a 15-hour journey to Sau Paulo, Brazil and another domestic flight, the Enciso sisters touched down at Rio de Janeiro where they were to tick off another milestone on their already stellar career: A MegaStyle cover shoot that was part of the iconic #MakingMEGA series, the one chalking a full circle moment in the very city it was born in.
Like clockwork, the next few days were a flurry of get the work done moments, from waking up 7:00 AM for their shoot (black-lined eyes and tight ponytails and all) at the popular and vibrant Escadaria Selarón, also known as the world-famous tiled steps of Brazil crafted by Chilean-born artist, Jorge Selarón as a tribute to the Brazilian people, to battling jet lag and rain that dampened their early plans of exploring Ipanema beach and Christ The Redeemer. But thankfully, the conditions were in their favor soon after, as they were able to finally hit those must-see and must-do landmarks for posterity, as well as weave themselves with the modern culture and colors of the festive city with excursions to favelas (unique residential areas that appear stacked from plain sight), Copacabana beach (a stone’s throw away from the hotel they stayed at), and even a gay bar at night.
In what was already shaping to be a memory-filled trip, Vern and Verniece snacked on Brazilian snacks like chocolates and chips, before feasting on cuisine only the locals know how to prepare. And of course, being the stylish siblings that they are, Vern and Verniece made it a point to check out the Brazilian mall. “It’s nothing really different from the ones we have,” notices Vern, “but I really wanted to check out the brands that they have here.” Apart from the popular mainstay, Havainas, they also checked out fashion brand Renner, before treating the MEGA team they had the pleasure of traveling with to a scrumptious, soulful lunch at Cortes, which they had covered with their trusty Metrobank Vantage Credit Card, of course. (It also proved handy when they ran into emergency Uber rides to the hotel and purchasing souvenirs to keep and share. Talk about adulting.) With the mighty contactless card tucked in their wallets, Vern and Verniece affirm that it has made them feel more grown up than usual. Apart from the convenient and hassle-free swiping, “it has really made us even more aware of the value of money,” they concur. “We’re so mature na,” they laugh.
Soaking in the sun, permeated by momentary fits of breeze in the warm embrace of Rio de Janeiro, Vern and Verniece couldn’t believe that they were in the midst of it all, the sights, the sounds, the scents, and the spirit of Brazil.
But their once-in-a-lifetime adventure didn’t stop there, because this was merely the midpoint, as they were to finally make their way to Machu Picchu. From a bucket list destination to actual reality a mere hours away, they couldn’t contain their excitement, which was only upended by aggressive bouts of jet lag. Without letting this stop them, Vern and Verniece Enciso flew to Lima, Peru, before eventually landing at Cusco, where the heat of Brazil became a quick thing of the past with a shocking 10-degrees Celsius temperature greeting them.
Confronted by rains and sudden altitude sickness caused by the sharp shift in temperature, the sisters had to make a quick decision to stay in a boutique hotel before carrying on with their scheduled travel to Machu Picchu through Aguas Calientes. “Thankfully, we stocked up on medicines and tea, as well as backed up by the global reach of the Metrobank Vantage Credit Card, because this sudden side trip turn came with its own advantages, mostly which was to rest and recover for their big day ahead. “Transactions and transfers were really so efficient,” they said, which helped ease their worries, of course.
Preceded by a train ride with a view of the Peruvian countryside of mountain ranges, rivers, and heaped houses, the gateway town to the legendary Inca ruins proved to be a worthy respite, where they were able to recuperate and charge up with the Peruvian delicacies and meals they devoured in the weaving alleyways of the market place. It goes without saying that more shopping was done, where Vern convinced Verniece to buy fluffy Peruvian headgears to go with their planned looks, and of course, to insulate them from the biting chill. “We even had a mini-contest to see who was the better haggler between the two,” shares Verniece. “The trick, I learned is to look sad and walk away. Good thing Vern convinced me to get the har, because it was so helpful later on.”
At long last, the day had arrived, Vern and Verniece Enciso were all set to trek their way to Machu Picchu with the help of their tour guide who filled them in on what to expect, as well as snippets of stories from the remnants of the citadels.
Nestled in the mountain-ringed valley in the Andes, Machu Picchu (which literally means old mountain), is not for the faint of heart. Whether you choose to hike or take a ride to the archeological site, it will still prove to be a winding experience as you trace your steps through the slopes of the mysterious and moving attraction. A UNESCO World Heritage that attracts throngs of tourists yearly, which now includes the Enciso siblings. “It’s like a postcard come to life,” expresses Verniece as they take in the expanse from above.
From the verdant greens that colors the mountains and hills, the tuft of clouds wisping about the blue-tinged sky, and the piles of gray lining what once a thriving civilization, it was quite literally a breathtaking view that Vern and Verniece just took a moment to relish in. As the euphoria settled, they explored every nook and cranny of Machu Picchu with much verve, taking photos and videos (even running into a little hiccup when the site administration thought they were models doing a photo shoot, which was thankfully explained by their tour guide that it wasn’t the case), and eventually getting to come face-to-face with sunbathing rain-drenched llamas.
As if it couldn’t get any better, the heavens opened itself up even more, washing the scene with even an incandescent light that not only brightened the view, but also filled the spirits of a very grateful Vern and Verniece Enciso, because apart from the obvious pleasures of this once-in-a-lifetime destination, this adventure in their lives was more than just content collected. For the two, it was a chance to bond even more, withstanding hours and miles of traveled, as well as sickness induced. This wasn’t just a tick off their list, but a beautiful chapter in their story that they will treasure for a lifetime and more.