Monday, 26 March 2012

The Anawangin Cove - March 2012

Ever since I saw pictures of the Anawangin Cove in Zambales, I knew at once I had to get there. And so when my brother found a cool deal to get the chance to visit Anawangin for only P799.00 in one of the more popular discount coupon sites, I didn’t let the opportunity pass and without thinking twice, paid for the vouchers.

We had our trip scheduled on a Saturday. We left the Victory Terminal in Caloocan City at 7:00 A.M. The trip lasted for almost four hours which by the way, was longer than the usual.

We got off at the town of San Antonio where we waited for the tour operator’s guys to pick us up and take us to Pundaquit. When they arrived,  we asked them if we could pass by the market to buy fresh fish, hotdogs, bread, spread, booze and other stuff we needed for an overnight stay in Anawangin.

Minutes later, we were again bound on our tricycle service on the road to Pundaquit. 

In Pundaquit, we met with our tour operator, Ate Sally, who was nice and gentle, and made sure we got everything we needed – charcoal, petroleum gas, pan, knife, tents, etc. In short, we got all the “works” which make for a hassle-free and comfortable stay at the cove.

Once ready, we were led to the ferry where colorful outriggers with bamboo-like wings that extend from their side lined the shore.We hopped onto one of them and the sea journey to the Anawangin Cove began.

The wind blew a bit strong and so the water was a bit rough. But I have sailed on worse so it was ok. For me, it was just the right amount of rock when you’re sailing on waters facing the South China Sea. After a close to a 20-minute boat ride, we ferried on the shores of Anawangin Cove and Wildlife.

The pine trees that seemed so small from afar, all of a sudden appeared huge. The white sand turned black when touched by the water. A sense of adventure filled me at the site of a number of tents set up from behind the fence perimeter that separates the beach and the camp site. I was ready to go swimming, hiking, explore the place in its entirety but too famished to have the energy to be able to do so. The spirit was very willing but the stomach then was just weak so the former conceded.

The next events were reminiscent of a Boy/Girl Scout Encampment in school. We put up a fire using charcoal and petroleum gas we got from Ate Sally and dried pine leaves and twigs we gathered from the grounds and readied the rice and fish that we later had for lunch. After lunch, we got up and started to traverse towards the back of the camp site to check out the lake that looked oh so good on pictures. Green, Blue and Orange dominated the scenes. We marveled at the one of God’s masterpieces. Who would have thought that all these trees and sand that created a wonderful landscape came about because of a massive volcano eruption. My camera couldn’t stop clicking.

After surveying the place and making sure we got enough photos, it was time to take a dip. The water was warm which made up for the cool weather. 

We enjoyed the sunset while preparing for dinner of fried hotdogs, rice, bread, and tuna paella. After dinner, we took turns taking a bath at the toilet and bath area which, during the night, has power supplied only until 9:30 P.M.

Campers started to set up bonfires and gathered around for the usual marshmallows and hotdog barbecue moments. We, on the other hand, enjoyed the night with interesting conversations over bottles of cold light beer.

Morning came, we got up early, had coffee, bread and spread for breakfast and started packing up. We showered and waited for the operator guys to pick us up. At 8:00 A.M. we started sailing for Capones Island, our last stop before going back to Pundaquit.

There was nothing much to do in Capones. We ferried at a spot which was far from the Lighthouse so we didn’t have much choice but enjoy the place for more photo ops. At close to 10:00 A.M., we were headed back to Pundaquit where our journey to Anawangin ended.

It was another unforgettable vacation to a place that’s worth another visit. The Anawangin cove offers a rare chance to experience something that we, people who live in the city, don’t get too often.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Canyon Cove Residential Beach Resort - A quiet retreat

From a booklet of free vouchers that almost gone in vain, I had the chance to stay overnight in a cozy private space in Nasugbu Batangas, The Canyon Cove Resort Residential Beach Resort.

Perfectly situated on Far East Road, Piloto Wawa in Nasugbu, Batangas, which is approximately a 3-hour drive away from Manila, The Canyon Cove Resort Residential Beach Resort provides for a quiet retreat of peace and relaxation - away from the hustle and bustle of the city life.

Upon entering the vicinity, you get that feeling of being at the premises of a university dormitory minus the noise of scholarly conversations. A wide parking space, Row buildings that were reminiscent of the ones in Legenda Suites in Subic and Club John Hay in Baguio, lush greenery, leading pathways and cold breeze make for the laid-back atmosphere of the entire place.

We were ushered into a reception of sofa sets with blue and pink cushions. Dim lighting set the lazy afternoon mood as we walked up to the elevators and later on to our rooms. The afternoon sun's rays peeking in through the window sill and the glass balcony door created a dramatic effect to what was already a beautiful room. The bed was so inviting. The pillows were soft and firm - the kind that makes you sleep instantly. But no, sleep can wait as we have to make the most out of the short visit.

We head back to town next to grab something to eat and buy some stuff we need for the night. After which, we immediately returned to the resort for some afternoon fun and frolic. Too bad swimming in the beach was only allowed until 6:00 p.m. so we didn't get to take a dip. Instead, we just enjoyed the night posing for souvenir photos and went back to being kids as we spent good hours playing in the resorts large swimming pool.

The next day started with a buffet breakfast that the resort serves from 6:00 a.m. till 9:00 a.m. We took ours at 8:00 a.m. and after finishing up, I attended to some stuff online, before once again putting on my board shorts and have some fun in the water under the sun.

After close to two hours, it was time to pack up and go home.

Despite of the vacation being so short of time, it's still nice to have a break from work and daily routine and spend some quality time with friends and loved ones - especially when it's free.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Mount Pinatubo Adventure

When you had 3 bottles of beer on a Friday night, stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, climbing up a mountain, which was next on my weekend to do list, with barely enough sleep,  doesn't really sound like a good idea.

These thoughts run in my mind while inside the car on the way home from an unplanned night out. 

It's close to 2:30 a.m. and we have to catch the bus going to Tarlac at 3:00 a.m. which means that we literally just have to change to our backpacking gears and hit the road.

When we arrived home, I went straight to my room and started to pack - light fabric shirts, board shorts, undies, sunnies, camera, battery, sunblock, mosquito repellant, etc. I even managed to take a short bath to shake off the sleepiness and have a cup of warm coffee. 

At 3:00 a.m., we were at the Victory Liner terminal in Cubao which was really packed with passengers who we thought were going to join the festivities of the Panagbenga in Baguio. We learned that the next bus leaves for Baguio at 4:00 a.m. so we ended up transferring to Dagupan Bus Line station where we boarded a bus to Capas, Tarlac.

The trip was shorter than I expected. at 5:30 a.m., we were already at Mcdonald's Tarlac waiting for the 4x4 service jeep we hired to pick us up and take us to the drop off point where the trek to see the Mount Pinatubo crater starts.

It was the first time I got to ride on a 4x4 truck so I started to feel a sense of adventure. Seated at the back seat, in open air, I could feel the cold weather running through my skin. Moments later, the sun began to rise, creating red, orange, yellow, blue and black gradient in the sky.

We made a short stop in Sta. Juliana where we signed waivers and had a short orientation. It was also in Sta. Juliana where we were joined by our tour guide. After a few minutes, Kuya driver started the engine and off we went to see the Mount Pinatubo crater.

The first hour of the drive was uneventful until we reached the offroad when, like a ship on a stormy sea, the 4x4 truck, sailed through different slopes of terrain in what seemed like a labyrinth of sand, stone and water.

After 2 hours, we reached the trekking point. The 4x4 was parked and the walking began. Lack of exercise made me feel tired easily. At some instances, I almost told the tour guide to walk slowly. The guy was just too fast it was hard to keep up with his pace. Add to the fact that I had to stop at some point to take pictures. The view and scenery was undeniably beautiful. It's a treat for us photographers that we don't get to experience so often. 

The direction we were headed seemed never ending. I thought we were never going to stop walking. When I saw two cottages where I saw fellow trekkers taking a rest I felt relieved. We did stop for a short break and our tour guide told us that we only had to walk a few more minutes (15 minutes if I remember it correctly) and we would get to see the crater. At last! I was again energized.

True enough, after a 15-minute climb and the ground turned even, before us was the Mount Pinatubo crater in all its magnificent splendour. It was really a site to behold. I've never seen anything like it before. It was picturesque, to good to be true. I was like looking at a live postcard. I immediately grabbed my camera and shoot away as if the scene would vanish any minute. 

The usual things followed next. Hunger pangs took over the fried tinapa, boiled eggs, chicken adobo, rice and banana that the tour operator prepared for us. More photo ops. Then we walked down a man-made stairs towards the inside of the crater and took a dip in the cold teal water. 

After a good 3 hours of mostly photo sessions, swimming and joking about the possibility of the Lochness monster emerging from the deepest part of the lake, we decided to head back to town.

Back in Sta. Juliana, we were directed to a house where one could shower and freshen up at P40.00 per person. After which the 4x4 jeep drove us back to Capas, Tarlac at the waiting spot for buses going to Manila. 

Hunger pangs struck again so we had a late lunch at Chowking from across the street. 

It didn't take long before a bus bound for Manila arrived. Tired from a whole day of fun and adventure, everybody was dozing off throughout the entire trip. 

Truly, the Pinatubo Adventure was, so far, one of the most unforgettable trips I have taken. Was it worth the long trips and hours of walking? oh Yes! Was it worth another visit? That's actually already being arranged:).

Things to bring:
water at least 2 liters
mosquito repellant
sandals (Tribu or Sandugo is good just make sure you're wearing your size. I discovered I was wearing my brother's whose shoe size is bigger, only after the trip.)
hat with a wide brim.
extra shirts because you will be sweating a lot
camera with a fully-charged battery

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Inevitable 7 at the Villa Maristela Resort in Pansol, Laguna

Despite our busy schedules, our barkada would always make time for some catching-up. It can be in a quiet rented hotel room, over coffee in a cafe with that offers a relaxing ambience or a hearty dinner. This year, we chose to go night swimming at a hidden gem in Pansol, Laguna - The Villa Maristela Resort.

We decided to meet at the Goldilocks on Taft Avenue. Narl, Abby and Lianne were the first ones to arrive. Being the dutiful friends that they are, they went straight to the grocery nearby to buy food and some stuff we need.

I got to the meeting place shortly. It didn't take long before Ian also arrived. Noriel, as expected, was the last person to make it to Goldilocks.

We spared a few minutes for some light snacks and to pose for a few shots before we headed to the Van terminal.

After what seemed to be a shorter trip than the usual, we reached our destination.

It  was drizzling and the water was a bit cold but we didn't mind. We spent a good 3 hour soaked in the jacuzzi before we decided to call it a night.

Morning came. After a hearty breakfast which left almost everybody full, we decided to take a dip while the others just settle on lounging by the pool. We went giddy when the water sprinkles were turned on. We had the resort all to ourselves.

We don't get to see each other as often as we used to but whenever we do, we would always pick up exactly where we left off. I guess that's the thing about established friendships- there's this never ending bond that goes beyond the distance; reaching forward but always finds its way back.

We have all gone a long way and only God knows what's at stake for us in the future. In the meantime, let's enjoy what we have, savor the friendship, embrace change, learn from each other, share stories, go on more trips together, fall in love, remain in love.

You are in me and me in you. No matter the distance, fate will always bring us together. It is inevitable.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Richwell "Kids Craze" Warehouse Sale

The Kids Craze Warehouse Sale is happening on the following dates: December 2-4, 9-11 and 16-20, 2011.
Enjoy up to 80% OFF on Barbie, Sesame Street and other branded toys, apparels and shoes.
Shop during Saturdays & Sundays (9:00am to 6:00pm) and Weekdays & Fridays (1:00pm to 6:00pm)
Cash basis only.
Limited parking for those who will be bringing cars.

The Great Lifestyle Sale at the High Street

The Great Lifestyle Sale is on-going and will run until January 15, 2012 on the 3/​F Dimensione Bldg., Quadrant 5 Blk 6, Bonifacio High St., Taguig. 

Shop from 11:00am to 11pm daily (Except on December 24 and 31, 11:00am to 8:00pm) and enjoy up to 70% discount on popular brands - Aldo, Charles & Keith, Bench and other participating labels.

Vans, Freego and Fresh Gear Sale at the UP

The University of the Philippines Junior Finance Association will hold a a Sale on December 2-4, 2011 at the Solair, UP Diliman, Quezon City.

Shop from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and enjoy up to 70% on selected Vans, Freego and Fresh Gear merchandise.

Credits cards are accepted.