Friday, April 25, 2008


kaba. kilig.

mapapangiti, pagpapawisan. mabubulol, mapapabuntong-hininga, matatawa.

ewan. halo-halo na! basta. :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sa Jeep...

Kapag ikaw ang huling pasaherong sasakay, doon ka parati sa dulong-dulo makakaupo, sa malapit sa driver (malas mo pa kung ito'y sunog-baga) at kinakailangan mo pang yumuko, makiraan, makaapak, mauntog, masiko at makasiko! excuse me po.

At kung sino yung nasa unahan ng pila, sila yung mauupo sa malapit sa pinto kahit na ang bababaan nila ay sa dulo pa ng mundo kaya kalimitan sila rin yung pakikiraanan mo, sila rin yung maaapakan, sila rin yung makakasiko sa iyo o di kaya naman ay masisiko mo. fair enough. :)

Kahit sa MRT at LRT, ganyan din, ang luwag-luwag sa gitna pero nagkukumpol-kumpol ang mga tao sa pinto na para bang lahat sila ay bababa sa susunod na istasyon.

Bakit kaya ganun ang naging sistema? Hindi ba mas maaayos ang mundo kapag kung sino yung nasa unahan ng pila ang syang mauupo sa dulo, sa malapit sa driver? At kung sino yung huling sasakay o di kaya ay malapit ang bababaan ang syang dapat na malapit sa pinto, para wala masyadong apakan at sikohan? Di ba?

Kung iisipin natin, para syang simpleng reflection ng buhay, doon tayo kung saan kumportable o mas madali para sa atin, na minsan nakakalimutan natin "ay, mas malayo/mas mahirap pala sa yo dyan." Minsan, sa jeep lumalabas yung pagiging makasarili natin.

O di kaya ang pagiging numero unong reklamador kagaya ko na nauntog kanina sa jeep! hmp.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Aliwan Fiesta Photography competition

just got this piece of news from the Manila Bulletin:

"Manila Broadcasting Company is mounting a photography competition in line with his year’s Aliwan Fiesta, scheduled on May 1-3 at the CCP Complex in Pasay.

The contest, which carries the theme "Sayaw, Padyak, Indak" is open to both amateur and professional photographers, using digital or film-based cameras. Photos of the streetdance contingents must have been taken during the competition period, and should not have won nor have been published in any book or photography magazine. Entries must be printed in full colour or any brand of photo paper in 8R size (8 inches x 10 inches)."

To read the full article, go here.

The top prize of P50,000.00 is sure to grab the attention of top photographers out there and everyone who's holding or owning a camera (including the trying hard and wannabes like me hehe).

Ano kaya? I might try on May 1, as we'll go back to Cagbalete on May 2-4...

Sasali o sasali?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Is it okay if I call you mine?

"Just for the time
And I will be just fine..."

Yeah, just like the lyrics above, I want to call Cagbalete Island my own, my private island, mine. But, I am just a guest who enjoyed the sand and can only shout to the world that it's mine no more than the hours that i walked, sit, swam and shoot on its creamy fine white sand and clear water. My shout maybe loud but it will only be eaten by the wind, my footprints maybe deep but it will be buried by the waves. I can never make it mine, but i can have it forever etched in my mind.
After a very hot 10 minute walk on a pathway that penetrates the small community of the island, after the curious stares thrown our way, after the friendly exchanges of "magandang araw po" to the locals (and they returned it with a smile), after the little confusion with the right way and finding ourselves walking on the shore, we arrived sweating in Pensacola Resort (042-7840158, look for Fe) just in time for lunch. After the initial introductions with Mang Rommel (the owner), we were lead to the tree house that I reserved the previous day. And whoa! aside from it being too big for two persons, the tree house - the only one in Cagbalete, by the way - is open, save for pieces of woods hammered together, it has no walls! Later on, we find it a unique experience, and the air can freely come and pass by from all sides.

Since we availed of the meal package, P700.00 per head that covers lunch, dinner and breakfast plus two snacks, our lunch was served in no time. And man, the serving was huuuge! And i love the crispy pata and leche flan!

Lyn rested on the hammock under our tree house while I take a few steps towards the beach, low tide!!! The low tide in Cagbalete starts at around 9 in the morning and continue until 2 in the afternoon. During those times, if you are brave enough to challenge the scourging heat of the sun, you need to walk around 400 meters from the shore for you to reach a waist-deep water and maybe a few more if you want chest-deep. The water is very warm and clear but the walking is just not fair hehehe.
We observed that there's a group of yuppies doing a team building on the other cottage and it's fun watching them, we even complimented that they're behaved compared to other people of their age (not that we're that old). We just let the time pass by talking about sensible things like "kung isa kang ulam, ano ka?" hehehe. And the two of us were just laughing, unmindful of the other group that's now starting to get noisy.

The water started to return at around 2, and before we can change into our swimming gears, turon with langka and buko juice were served as our snacks. yay!

Since it's still very hot to go swimming, we just explored the area, and walk further on the other side, challenging ourselves if we can get into the other resort, we almost made it but we returned after we saw a cemetery by the shore. natakot?! hehe.

The resort is not very ideal if you're looking for a nice sunset shot, you need to walk to Sabang for a perfect view of it. I did not walk towards Sabang, but a nice opportunity with a docking boat gave me a shot of the sun that's starting to hide.

Dinner time. The generator is now running, lights are now flooding the cottages like there's electricity. The noise of the yuppies are now starting to accelerate to the level that later on will reach the annoying part. I really did not enjoy the fish as it tastes so...fishy, malansa! Yeah, it's fresh but I am not really a fan of fish, except when fried.

We slept early, but the yuppie groups are now alcohol-glazed and were laughing like they're the only one there. It's really annoying, the noise that they are making, plus the music from their gadgets does not actually blend with the surrounding, the owner should have banned loud music! but maybe they won't as they're also discreetly singing in the videoke! hehehe. I don't know, maybe we're just tired, but we dooze off and woke up the next day with some birds chirping on the tree.
After having breakfast, we had another round of photo-ops that we enjoyed so much, it took almost the entire morning and the moment we decided to swim the water is already running away from us hehehe.

Walking very far and swimming on knee-deep water is not really my idea of fun so we give up and just had pancit habhab and cake for snacks. yum!

By the way, the resort (and all island occupants) is relying on deep well, so the water you'll be using for taking a bath, to rinse off the salt water, is clean but has the deep well quality we all know, from the smell to the taste, but who are we to complain? A lot of people are using that everyday and they're still alive, besides it is logical that we already prepared ourselves for that di ba? So, if someone is sensitive to these kind of set-up, well, just don't go there and just check in to a 5-star hotel. :)
We boarded the 12:30 pm trip of the passenger boat, and the people we saw the other day were the same people we're with in the boat. And after the exchange of pleasantries, we talked like they already know us (I've learned from them that majority of Mauban folks haven't been to Cagbalete). We thought that our boat ride going here with everyone and everything was already a learning experience, going back to the town proper offered an even more surprising twist: the passenger boat has just boarded a fully grown carabao!

If Cagbalete was not an awesome experience, I don't know what is.

"It sets off something I can't explain
And I can't wait to see you again."

We'll be going back on May 1-3. :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cagbalete Island: How to go there

I teased you with pictures of Cagbalete Island, then you excitedly packed your bag with your swimsuits and sunblock, your shades and that book that takes you forever to finish, you already planned what you'll do on the island, that you'll swim to your heart's content, that you'll do this pose, that you'll shoot this and take picture of that, BUT, do you know how to go there?

The internet is laden with all the informations you need, but you don't have to go far as you can get them from here, and for me, getting to Cagbalete Island is not rocket science, it's as easy as 1-2-3.

1. Go to Lucena. Ideally at 3:30 am, take the Jac Liner or Lucena Liner bus in the corner of Buendia and Taft Avenue, very near the LRT Buendia station. There is also Jam Liner but the first two are better as they go inside the Grand Central Terminal in Lucena while Jam do not. Ask the bus conductor to drop you off in the Grand Terminal. Fare is P187.00 (air-conditioned) and travel time from Manila is only three hours.

2. In Lucena terminal, take the Mauban mini-bus that can be found on the left side of the terminal, which is just a few steps from where the bus will drop you. If you leave Manila by 3:30 am, you will be in Lucena by 6:30 am, you can have your breakfast at the terminal and board on the bus that leave for Mauban either at 7:30 am or 8:00 am (there's a trip every 30 minutes, earliest at 5:00 am). This is an ordinary bus but the morning breeze is refreshing as you will be travelling on a mountainous area. Travel time is approximately 45 minutes to one hour, fare is P50.00.

For those who prefer air-conditioned buses, sorry, there's none. But there are air-conditioned FX/Vans in SM City Lucena that can take you to Mauban. Fare is P60.00 and travel time is faster at 30 minutes, but the waiting period (both for passengers and available vans coming from Mauban) is both longer and crucial. From the Grand terminal, just wait for a jeep with SM Lucena as sign board.

3. By 9:00 am, you're already in the small town of Mauban. You can walk (around 7 minutes) or you can take a tricycle and ask the driver to take you to Pantalan (small port) and tell him to bring you near the passenger boat going to Cagbalete, tricyle fare is P7.00 per head.

The passenger boat has two trips everyday, 10:30 am and 4:00 pm. Fare is only P30.00 and you will be sharing the boat with everyone and everything from hundreds of kilo of rice, flour, breads, vegetables and other necessities. You can observe that everyone in the boat knows everybody, except for you, of course. And can you take note of tagalog words that you did not understand? That would be quite a lot hehe.

At 9:00 am, you also have the option to pass by the public market and get your provisions from there. I assure you that you can get there the freshest catch and vegetables, you can also buy your drinking water and some more chichirya.

The water can be rough as the boat will go against the wave, so better secure your belongings and yourselves (don't worry, there's a vest).

There. Before noon, you'll be in Sabang, you'll be in Cagbalete island. Though the "welcoming sight" may not be very ideal (there are informal settlers in the area), you can already sense in the water that the fun and enjoyment and relaxation is about to start.

Whether you'll stay in Pensacola resort (0427840158) - which we did - or in Villa Cleofas (our next destination), you'll be walking for about 10-15 minutes. You can ask around if you're going the right way. The island occupants may appear to be a bit intimated by your presence and all of them will look and/or stare at you, but they are friendly and you have to understand and expect such reaction because it is only know that tourists (like you and i) are starting to flock to their once secret place.

Being the guests, we have to be humble and friendly, and not the loud type that's usually associated with Manila people (which is bad). In other words, once there, we are the ones who will make the adjustment and not the other way around. I should know, as I grow up in the province. :)

But, is the almost five hours of travel by land and sea worth all the trouble?
to be continued...

Friday, April 11, 2008

it's Cagbalete Island!

and it's in Mauban, Quezon.

it has Boracay's sand, the serenity of Anawangin, the food trip of La Luz, and hear this, on a backpacker's budget. san ka pa?

enjoy? ENJOY!!! (details coming up...)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


where is this place?
no, it's not boracay or palawan, not even cebu or davao. forget about puerto galera and even zambales. pagudpud is quite far.

so where is it? sirit? in my beloved province, Quezon.

believe it.
more later...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Anawangin: How to's

Years ago, Anawangin is a secret place, a paradise known and frequented by mountaineers, a very serene cove hidden from the tourists' eyes, behind the grassy mountains and fenced by the sometime powerful waves of the South China Sea. And the beach is basically free.

2008. The place is no longer secret, mountaineers now shared the still serene but now very fragile cove to throng of tourists, behind the burnt grassy mountains and fenced not just by waves but also by barbed wire. And it's no longer free.

Before the place gets commercialized (hopefully not! hopefully not!), it would be nice if you can experience a slice of one of the Philippines unexpected beach sceneries. Here's how to go to Anawangin, in San Antonio, Zambales (based on my third time in Anawangin):

Take an early morning Iba, Zambales-bound Victory Liner bus either in Pasay or better yet in Caloocan (bus leaves every 30 minutes starting at 4:20 am). It will pass on the San Antonio town proper. Ask the bus conductor to drop you off near the public market. Travel time is normally three to three-and-a-half hours of bus ride. Fare (Caloocan-San Antonio) P227.00 (including P5.00 for insurance).

Once in San Antonio, you have the option to get your provisions (foods, water) in the public market. The market usually opens at 7 in the morning, so to get the freshest catch of the day, going there early is better. You can also have your breakfast there and your lunch as take out. :)

After doing the market rounds, look for a tricycle (they're everywhere) to take you to Brgy. Pundaquit. It can load a maximum of four passengers plus baggages, and the 10-15 minute bumpy ride will cost you P20.00 per head, but it would nice if you can give the driver P100.00 for four passengers and your baggages (diesel is expensive and most of the time, he will be going back to the town proper without a passenger, so consider the excess P20.00 as a tip).

In Brgy. Pundaquit, looking for a boat is next, and it's not going to be very hard as there are a lot of them who'll offer their service once you've alighted from the tricycle (don't worry, boat operators here are much, much, much nicer as they won't harass you like those in Batangas pier). The standard price for a small banca that can sit a maximum of four is P800.00, two-way (Pundaquit-Anawangin-Pundaquit). Just specify to the boatman the time that you need to be fetch the next day (if you are staying overnight in anawangin). There are also bigger boats that can sit six (P900.00) but there's very few. The biggest boat that can bring up to 15 persons is on the P2000-3000 price range, but i think it needs a prior arrangement.

The boat ride will be 20-30 minutes depending on how calm the sea is. If you can secure a lifevest, that would be better. A little warning though, not all boats can provide a lifevest. And make sure that your things are properly sealed/waterproofed as the water can sometimes be rough. You won't really feel the 20-30 minute boat ride as the view offers a very relaxing mood, it actually readies you for a change of sceneries.

As your boat pass the second hat-like islet (it's actuall a rock), Anawangin cove is now visible to your left and you will be welcomed by the pine tree-lined shore and the clear water will call you like how a flower attracts a bee.

Anawangin now has a conservation fee (glamorous term for entrance fee) of P150.00 and P50.00 depending on where you want to camp. Except for the price, the two campsites actually are the same, they're just separated with a barbed wire (i don't want to dig deeper into those wire, let us just put it as a "boundary" to one's property). The more expensive campsite is the "wholesome side" as it do not allow drinking and smoking in the area, but it doesn't mean that the less expensive is not wholesome. :)

Ask your boatman where is the P150 and where is the P50, and set your tent to where you want to camp. Whichever, a caretaker will welcome you and remind you of the conservation fee that you will settle before you leave the cove. Again, arrange with your boatman the time that you will be picked up (don't pay them yet).

When you already settled your things and camping gears, you can now roam and explore the area and have an endless (and i mean, eeeendless!) photo-ops. TIP: facing the sea, walk towards the left side of the shore, you will see a swamp with poetically lined pine trees ala-New Zealand, and if you walk farther until the you reach the foot of the rocky mountain (and sometimes where fresh and saltwater meet), you can climb that mountain (just follow the trail) and have a better view of the sandbar. believe me, the view there is awesome!

The best sunset spot in Anawangin is near that mountain/swamp as you can clearly see the sun setting.

In the morning, in time for sunrise, go back to the swamp and have another round of picture taking as the view's different with the swamp water completely still and the reflections of trees and mountains are so perfect you'll forget you're still in the Philippines.

You can also bring a hammock and a book. Or take a nap. Or explore the right side of the cove and discover a little cave (and another round of photo-ops). It is also the better site for snorkeling as this is where the fishes are.

When you go to Anawangin, don't forget to bring garbage bag. The garbage/waste that you bring is not the caretakers responsibility, it's yours. Be courteous and responsible enough to clean the area where you camp. There are other people who also need to see the place in it's serenity.

When the boatman arrived to pick you up, pay the caretaker the conservation fee. Although you can clean and take a bath in Anawangin, it would be better if you'll that in Pundaquit (just ask your boatman where) as you can get wet from the boat ride.

In Pundaquit, there are a lot of tricycles that can bring you to the highway, same price. You just have to wait for a Manila-bound bus which is normally full. The best option is for you to ride an ordinary bus going to Olongapo (which is usually half-full) and then in Olongapo, go to the Victory Liner terminal and fall in line to get your bus ticket going to Manila.

There. Next time, I'll post about things to bring.

Happy weekend everyone! kanpai!


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