Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hundred Islands

Dear Blog,

Sorry for being so busy with work.  I promise to buy a new monitor as soon as possible so that updating you will be as easy as 1, 2, 3..  I know this should have been posted a year ago, but as the saying goes.. "It's better late than never",  toinks!  Okay, enough na ang palusot, eto na, I'll try to remember the details of this tour. Enjoy!. ^_^


A few days before our Hundred Island tour:

Friend:  May bagyo ba?
Gina:  Meron daw eh, tuloy pa ba tayo?
Friend:  Dapat tuloy, pag ang bagyo nasa North, our plan B is to go somewhere South.
Gina: Okay. (Hahah..ang dali kausap!)

On the day of the tour:
  •  On my way to Victory Liner Cubao I received a text from a friend saying that we should take care because an earthquake happened somewhere in Visayas and there's a tsunami alert.  *gulp*
  • MRT stopped a few meters before Cubao station for almost an hour.  *gulp, gulp*
The only time that my heart stopped thumbing was when we were all together at the bus station waiting for our departure.  The sleep that I thought I would catch on our way to Pangasinan was impossible.  The snores from the people sleeping around us was enough to keep us awake for the whole trip.  Heheh..

We arrive ahead of schedule.  Kulang nalang kasi paliparin ni kuya driver ang bus.  Akala ko may artistang baba sa bus namin sa dami ng tao, yun pala mga tricycle drivers who are trying to get passengers.  Good thing we stayed for awhile before hiring, we were able to haggle.  For P80, the tricycle we hired brought us to the wet market first to buy our food for our island hopping before bringing us to Lucap Wharf.  Lucap Wharf is your drop off point to Hundred Islands.

We registered at the tourism office, paid P25 for a day tour and got a discount for a medium boat good for 6-10 people for P1,600 which is originally P1,800, not bad!  We were only four (4) in the group, but because of the weather, small boats are not allowed.  Our snorkel mask was also discounted.  But it's sill advisable to bring your own.

                                                                                  At the Tourism Office

We decided to have breakfast first at one of the canteens on the side of the tourism office.  The food and service is okay but overrated.  We changed clothes before starting our island hopping.  Rest room fee is P5, and P10 if you're going to take a bath.

At last, we started our island hopping adventure.  Walang marunong lumangoy sa aming apat, so we had to put our life vests on.

First stop, Governor's Island.  The only island that keeps a guest house.  Where Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition was shot.  There's also a place where in you get to the peak to get a good view of the neighboring islands.

View from Governor's Island Peak
View from Governor's Island Peak
View from Governor's Island Peak

Marcos Island is one of my favorite because of the sand and crystal clear water that it has.  Aside from the fact that I desperately want to learn how to swim now.  I guess I just realized that, after what I did.  Hehe!  I tried to jump from the cave and swim to the shore.  From the cave, there's a small hole where you can go out to swim back to the shore.  Good thing I have Alvin, our kid guide who helped me swim back to the shore in the middle of the huge waves.  I'll never do that again, promise!  Well, not until I know how to swim.

View from Marcos Island

Jump-off cave at Marcos Island

When it was almost lunch time, we stopped at Quezon Island to prepare our food.  This island is good for pick-nickers and campers.  Kayak and some refreshments are also available.  Pick nick tables are for rent for P200.

After lunch, we headed to our snorkel site for the giant clamps.  Too bad we had to leave soon because of the huge waves.

Our tour guide showed us the cathedral island because of it's large opening that looks like a cathedral altar.

Cathedral Island
The bat island is also amazing.  From the name itself, this is where hundred of bats nests.


Bat Island

We then headed to the children's island.  It's called children island because the water is just waist deep.  There are also bahay kubo's for rent for those who want to stay overnight for a minimal fee.

At Children's Island

Our last stop is the cave.  You need to cross the cave to see the other side of the island.

View from the Cave

Our overall experience was fun and tiring at the same time.  Maybe because we hadn't got enough sleep.  But this didn't stop us to head to our next destination.. Dasol, Pangasinan.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sidetrip to Ayala Museum

In celebration of International Museum Day, my friend and I are lucky to get a complimentary pass and see a wonderful exhibition of artifacts, ceramics, ancestral golds, diorama, and paintings.

Photo Credit:  Asian Traveler

After having brunch at a nearby fast food chain, we started the tour at the ground floor gallery.  I learned that the ground floor gallery serves as a venue for exhibitions of contemporary Philippine art.  Today's exhibition is Fernando Amorsolo's Postura.  The subjects given life are all endowed with a noble and proper mien, attired either in elegant gala or at their Sunday best.  This exhibition is until May 20, 2012 only.

Photo Credit:  Ayala Museum

We thought of checking the exhibition on the highest floor first since it's easier to get down.  At the fourth floor gallery, their theme is "Crossroads of Civilizations".  It's an exhibition of 10th to 13th century of Chinese export ceramics, Gold of Ancestors, and 18th to 19th century Philippine Costumes.

Blue and White Twin Bird Water Dropper
Photo Credit: Gogirl Cafe

The one that caught my attention most was the Gold of Ancestors, maybe because this is the first time that I saw too many golds in one room, 1,059 gold artifacts.  They also have a multimedia room showing how golds are made into accessories.

Death Mask
Photo Credit: Ayala Museum

Photo Credit:  Asian Traveler

The third floor gallery shows the museum's fine arts collection by three painters considered are pioneers of Philippine art, Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo and Fernando Zobel.

The second floor exhibition highlights 60 handcrafted dioramas that highlights major events and themes from prehistoric times to the recognition of Philippine independence by the United States in 1946.

Photo Credit: Asian Traveler

Unfortunately, at past 1PM, we had to leave the museum because of other errands.  We were lucky enough to visit Ayala Museum for free.  There's so much to learn yet our time is limited.

I was able to take a picture of this painting before we were told that cameras, food, and drinks are not allowed inside the museum.

Museum Hours
Monday                  -   Closed
Tuesday to Friday   -  9AM to 6PM
Saturday & Sunday - 10AM to 7PM

Admission Fees           Resident           Non-Resident
GF-3F Galleries
Adult                                              PHP 150              PHP 350
Child/Student/Senior Citizen            PHP 75                PHP 250

GF-4F Galleries
Adult                                              PHP 225              PHP 425
Child/Student/Senior Citizen            PHP 125                PHP 300

Ayala Museum
Makati Ave. corner De La Rosa Street
Greenbelt Park, Makati City, Philippines
Phone:  (+632) 757-7117 to 21
Fax: (+632) 757-2787

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Monday, May 14, 2012

My caving experience at Mystical Cave

We're on to the last leg of our Rizal tour with a limited time.  We started the day with the Street Murals of Doña Aurora, then St. Clement Parish.  After the art overload, we headed to Antipolo City's Mystical Cave.

At a small bath tub like rock formation.
The local TV series Encantadia was here.

Mystical Cave was discovered by Inday Nelly Deles.  Our guide, let's call him Jeremy (We asked for his name but I forgot.  I'll take note next time. Hehe! ) told us that it all started in a dream.  Inday Nelly Deles was dreaming about the cave even before she came to Antipolo.  The cave has seven (7) floors more but only locals can go down.  They named it Mystical Cave because of the mysterious rock formations that are similar to some of the important things that happened in the bible.

(Mary was holding Jesus after his death)

The Visitation

Eagle of Pride & Sheep of Humility

Mystical Cave is located at Barangay San Luis, Antipolo Rizal.  Jeremy told us that on holy weeks, a lot people from different places come on a pilgrimage just to visit the place.

Here's what we did to get there:

From Antipolo town proper, we took the Cogeo bound jeepney's (P9/person) and took off at Cogeo market.  From there, we took another jeepney bound to Paenaan (P8.50/person).  Just ask the driver to drop you off at the street going to the quarry site, it's about 1 km. after Padilla.  (The street right after passing the old or abandoned apartments on your right).  You should be able to see the signs like in the picture below.

Road signs

At drop off, the place looks deserted.  There are a few residents near the hi-way, but when we asked for directions on where to rent for a public transportation that can bring us to the cave, we were told to hike instead since there was none.  Or go back to Padilla to rent a tricycle that will bring us to the cave.  We opted to hike.

A few steps from the residents, all we can see are rough roads, mountain view, rocks, and overwhelming dirt, specially if there are trucks passing by.  It was like a never ending rough road.  In fact, we were quite afraid that we were lost.

And yes, the sun was strikingly hot that time.  But none of those could stop us from our journey.  We managed to enjoy the moment, have fun, and even took pictures.


Until we saw the Mystical Cave sign, we were glad to know that we're not lost.  And a few climb up to the mountain..  On our way up, I'm surprised that there are residents in the area.  We paid the entrance fee of P40 each.  They said that it's for the maintenance of the cave.

To Mystical Cave

At the top, there's this small resting place for visitors with tables and chairs outside the gate of the cave.  The gate and the stone path are already improved for the visitors easy access.

A small opening to a wide and huge cave.

On our way down

We were truly amazed of the hugeness of the cave and how the rock formations were formed.  While we we're resting and talking about trekking the rough road again.  We learned that there's an easy way to get to Antipolo town proper as instructed by our guide.  Hehe!  Goodbye rough road! ☺

How to get there (the easy way):

By Private vehicle
From EDSA, drive through Aurora Boulevard of Cubao, going to Marcos hi-way passing by the towns of Cogeo and Padilla.  Turn right on the quarry street after the old or abandoned apartment.  Drive on the rough roads until you see the Mystical Cave sign to your left on the part where the road is cemented again.

By Public Transportation
From Antipolo town proper, take a tricycle bound to La Salle at the market for P18/each.  La Salle is a subdivision wherein you will exit from the other gate.  The gate that's nearer to the cave.  From La Salle   tricycle terminal, it's just a few trek away from the other gate, turn right when you reach the rough road until you see the Mystical Cave sign to your left on the part where the road is cemented again.  Or you can simply rent a tricycle from La Salle terminal to bring you to the cave. ☺

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

A tribute to our National Artists

Doña Aurora Street Murals is one of a kind art gallery in the country.  It's a free art gallery on the street, open 24 hours a day.  A tribute to the national artists, Carlos "Botong" V. Francisco for arts, and Lucio D. San Pedro for music.

National Artist

The art murals are all copied from the works of Botong Francisco and the widely acclaimed lullaby "Sa Ugoy Ng Duyan" of Lucio San Pedro are all sculpted on the street.  To locals, it was just an ordinary wall, I think they're just used to it.  But to us, they were amazing.  If only it was not to sunny when we visit the place, we would have taken more photos of it.  But we still took a few.

A woman with a deer


Songs of the brown man

Martyrdom of Rizal

Moriones Mask

At the end of the street murals you'll see Lucio San Pedro's famous "Sa Ugoy ng Duyan".

Sa Ugoy ng Duyan

Ang Nuno

And of course before we leave Doña Aurora, it was a need to have a picture with at least one of the art sculptures (in the heat of the sun).  Hehe!

Raina and Raz

Kahit pawisan, smile pa din! :)

How to get there

By Private vehicle
From EDSA, drive through Ortigas Ext. road passing by KayTikling.  Turn right passing by the town of Taytay until you reach the Y junction, pass by the road on the right.  That will let you pass the town of Angono.  Doña Aurora Street of Barangay Itaas is at your right, a few meters after the Municipal hall.

By Public Transportation
From EDSA-Crossing, take the Angono bound FX or jeepneys.  If you take other transportation that will pass by the town of Angono, make sure that they will pass the town proper.  Ask the driver to drop you off at Doña Aurora Street of Barangay Itaas.  That's a few meters after the Municipal hall.

Read our Rizal Tour from Day 1 to Day 2.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Daranak and Batlag Falls

Daranak and Batlag Falls, the nearest waterfall from the Metro.  A 2-hour drive or less, depends on traffic and you get to swim in the cold water of the falls.  Perfect for a weekend getaway.  And besides, these falls are always a part of some television shows and movies.

Daranak Falls
Batlag Falls

We went to Daranak and Batlag falls after our lunch at Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant on a Monday, holiday.  From Scrapyard (where we bought our ice cream), we took a jeepney to Tanay for P35.  We asked the driver to drop us off at the tricycle terminal to Daranak falls.  He said that there are two options to drop us at.  First is where we can hire a tricycle for a special trip.  And second is the regular trip, where we would wait for other passengers until the seating capacity is full.  We opted the latter.  Before getting off his jeep, he told us to just look for the line of the tricycle bound to Daranak.

At the terminal there are a lot of tricycles bound to different Barangays of Tanay.  Some tricycle drivers offered to take us to Daranak for P300.  And even told us that there are no tricycles in the terminal that will bring us to Daranak.  We just said thank you and left.  We continued to ask for the right terminal.  Upon asking some barker's (men who's in-charge of the line) we found the tricycle bound to Daranak.  Since it's already 4PM, there are only few passengers.  We asked for a special trip to Daranak and it was only P150 one-way.  And so we agreed for a special trip.  The right fare is half the price or even lower ('cause some charge P400) if you hire the right tricycle.  Make sure you hire the right tricycles that are really bound to the area of Daranak to avoid over charges.

We asked Mang Onie (our tricycle driver), to pick us up at 6:30PM.  Enough time to take pictures and a short dip.  He said that Daranak is open until 5PM only and they might not allow us to get in anymore.  He gave us a tip to pretend that we are only doing an ocular inspection of the falls and we will get back the following week.

When we arrive at the entrance of the Daranak, Mang Onie was right.  Most of the visitors are leaving.  And so we followed Mang Onie's advice.  Entrance fee to Daranak is P25.  There are still a lot of swimmers when we reached Daranak falls.  But the lifeguard keeps reminding them that they close at 5PM.  We just took some pictures and head to Batlag.

Batlag falls is just above Daranak.  You need to get inside the park of Daranak to get to Batlag.  Cross a bridge made of bamboo and hike a cemented path.  At Batlag, we were told that we can stay until at least before 6PM,  because it gets dark after six.  And they do not allow overnight swimmers anymore.

Small bridge

Hike to Batlag
We thought that we wouldn't be long because we'll just take pictures and leave.  But when we reached Batlag, no one was there anymore (because most of the people are leaving).  The water is really inviting.   

Batlag stream

Raz and I just can't help to take a dip.  We didn't bother to go to the restroom to change our clothes (there was only us, hehe!).  And indeed, it was a good decision to take a dip.  After all the places we've been to in one day with the striking hot sun rays.  It was very refreshing to just stay right beneath the cold waters of the falls.

Sorry for the blurred pic.  Medyo pasmado ang picture taker namin dito.  Hehe!

Oh, to those who don't know how to swim like me, Daranak and Batlag has a rubber lifebuoy (salbabida).  I'm not sure if you need to rent them to be able to use them, but since no one was there, we get to use them for free.  It's scattered everywhere. ☺

Akala ko malalim pa din.. hehe!

It was really dark when we left the falls.  We got lock inside the park, the gate was closed.  I think the park administrator forgot that there were three girls who came in late, or maybe they thought that we already left.  Whatever it is, we had no way out but to climb a small hill and walk over the fence.  Good thing that Mang Onie was kind and patient enough to wait for us.

Over the bakod

Oh by the way, Batlag rates are shown in the picture below.

How to get there

By Private vehicle
From EDSA, drive through Ortigas Ext. road passing by KayTikling.  Make a U-turn and turn right up to the hills of Antipolo.  Follow the Antipolo road to Laguna.  At Tanay Junction, turn left.  Go straight until you see the sign that says, "To Daranak" on your left.  Turn left and you will see the Daranak gate on your right.

By Public Transportation
From EDSA-Crossing, take the Tanay bound FX or jeepneys.  Ask the driver to drop you off at the tricycle terminal to Daranak falls.  Ride a tricycle that are franchised bound to Daranak.

If you want to reserve a tricycle before going to Daranak and Batlag, here is Mang Onie's contact number:
Mang Onie:  0947-7610659

Read our Rizal Tour from Day 1 to Day 2.

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