Monday, 7 January 2013

Long Philippines Vacation

japan airport narita
Goodbye Japan for now..cold winter to hot summer

Long holiday starts in Philippines from 27 to 6 Jan. Its first time travelling abroad after japan. I finally came to know that don't need anymore visa to travel Philippine so I took the opportunity for my first abroad travel.

Day 1

Its the day to take flight to Philippine so got up early at 5 AM , prepare ride Narita express from Tokyo  Ride from Shinagawa station at 6:05 , first train to airport and my flight was JAL @9:30. It cost 119000 yen from Tokyo to manila even though I booked my flight 4 months ago. Flight landed in manila around 14:00 and I found quite easy to pass immigration. It was helpful and easy to get entry visa without any hassle "visa on arrival".

Picked up by Belot ( Belot is her nick name and in Philippine belot is one dish [It is a fertilized hen embryo that is boiled and eaten in the shell. It is commonly sold as streetfood in the Philippines]. Cant eat , cant try though lady belot is OK.on airport and ride to Las Pinas to her home. Fortunately or unfortunately she forgot the way back home and navigator was not good so instead of going home we are on the way to Tagaytay to see Taal Volcano.

The place where we were supposed to have dinner but had nice view in the backyard

Around  60 km from manila travelling for 3 hrs on left side drop by in a restaurant where one can find perfect hill top view of Taal Volcano. We were supposed to have dinner here but menu was mostly western so we passed. I am in Philippines so better try Philippino food instead. After finishing photography we drop by in Philippino resto and had perfect Philippino food and beer. 100 peso for 3  beer was cheapest I have heard of and food wasn't that expensive. We had fried rice with Sisig and fried chicken, the volume was too much for us so packed and take it back home, to  give it to poor people the left over.

After 3-4 hr we are in condominium somewhere in Makati, back home watch TV and sleep with cold water shower. I wasnt expecting cold water here but...

Day 2.

Its party day so wake-up late prepared our self and back to Las Pinasa to see her work and newly project. She is in now more in construction so went to see the house in progress. Its in nice location , nice design and construction. After visiting it was time to go original home with family meeting and lunch in MAX resto, nice delicious Philippino food with almost whole family. This was just part of family but whole family is very big.

This is not summer but still full of mangoes , I took out some but wasn't able to eat those , ooh I couldn't drink coconut juice , its still in freezer. 

@ MAX resto

Finished heavy eating by 9 people and paying around 2500 it was cheap. After that a long way it was time to play cards and gambling at home, fortunately our team won alot of money (200 peso) against her mom and sister.

Late in night at 8 party starts at home project with family , her partner , architecture and employee. 8-11 pm drinking and eating party with pork curry I guess , Philippino national fish and lots of beer.
that's the fish....

The project...are you interested in buying this ?? 

26 peso beer...its cheap and light....

model town..

12:00  back home and sleeping time Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Day 3

Wake up 10:00 and thus all plans were gone off the track. Left the condominium to never to return , as it was lacking hot water ,and too far away from family home. Were in home 14:00 ,had Philippino lunch ( fried fish, fried rice and egg ). Planned to Tagaytay  and see volcano but plans got changed as traffic took lot of time , we ended up in sisters's house in Cavite and there started drinking party till 9 with Mom , Feds ( bro ) , Fina ( Sis )..
Makati..nice place but bit ugly condo

one click..

towards cavite..

PS3 time

Mom and her one feeds the dog...
the dog showed the way home of feds


Models in town

Left feds home to Belot's home and ended up in 2 hr long waiting traffic jam , worse to see with no lights, no traffic police and all cars packed in intersection. Nobody wants to give way ,everybody crossing lanes and jammed up. Somehow got out and reached home at 1 am , there is no chance to leave home on 6 am for Tagaytay . Just sleep and lets see what happens next day. 

Day 4

Started at 10:00 from home and later was the time to regret when we had no time left to see the preferred destination.

Thats the house...

Sleeping and Snoring
The whole family started towards Tagaytay   Plan was to see Taal volcano and go Batangas city but didn't work as we lost lot of time in traffic jam and in our picnic spot near Taal volcano.

Around 13:00 we were in the picnic spot in Tagaytay  in front of Mt Taal. View was nice, weather was shinny and hot. Its Sunday so lots of people , horse riding and zip linning from one end to another and back for 400 peso per person. Distance was short but its fun to try once. We 6 ride and 2 was scared to ride so let them to do photography. Finished fun there then was time to go to Taal volcano. It took around 1 and half hr to reach beach of Taal.

We were late to start here 4:30 and wasn't worth of going there. One shouldn't try going there after 2-3 pm. It gets darker when you are top of volcano and can't see anything.

After passing zigzag ride in curvy mountain from top to bottom with our crazy driver which took shit out of whole family . Steep slopes slim road and fast rider was enough for these guys. 5:30 we are on bottom to ride boat going Taal. Its long ride of 30 mins in blue lake with nice scenery around. On destination beach it was time to ride horses going top, it was already getting dark and this was bad decision by us to travel. Well all on horses and ride ride to top to see around dark mountains and lake. Well look around 10 mins and back on horses and back in our car and riding back .... too much of and's , its 20:30 and we are on top of Tagaytay  and riding back to Las Pinas home.

These glass are just 100 peso , present by AKI

Keizo , Me , Belot , Denial , Vel , Aki , John

Must try zip line , 400 peso

Horse riding , that was expensive. If you want to ride and go to the mountain , try to go early , not like us

Batangas , Pangasinan , Baguio , 100 islands , Laguna will come later I think..

Day 5

Its new year eve so no plans to travel on this day. Went to Asia mall in manila, had chicken in lunch in Kenny rogers , shopping and later watched movie "hobbit ". Late night full of fireworks and Super big size pizza ( almost 4 M size pizza`s normally for 1500 peso only ) at home.

Big yummu chicken

I become philippino , I guess I can live here now.

Thats Taal

New year Fireworks

Drinking time and looks somebody got drunk

Day 6

Wakeup 11 after late night new year celebration. Just stayed at home as it rains and Laguna going plan cancelled , so we drink again  and preparing ourselves for early wakeup to ride.

Day 7

Plan was to leave at 1:00 so we can have early dinner in Pangasinan @ family's countryside home but as it happens , late night drinking party make us wakeup at 3:00 and left home at 5:00 taking NLEX way towards our destination. We were here around 13:00, had a pure philippino lunch and then run to beach we 4 of us in cold nice clean water. Beach was just 5 mins by walk but we took tricycle , first tricycle riding experience. Hot sun , warm water and blue lagoon make its nice beach to dive in play for awhile. Spending 2 hrs on beach it was time to ride car and move to hill station Baguio. 
Towards pangsinan on NLEX

@ home with belot`s Mom , Dad and neighbors...

Time to go into water first time...

Bonuan Beach Pangasinan...

GOPRO works great...

4 hrs by car into the mountains with curvy road , was truly hill station with clouds roaming around welcomed by cold weather. Houses were build high on mountain slops with greenery all around , small clean streets. We arrive around 18:00 in the dark , went to our hotel which was 5000 Peso per night with nice eat all you can breakfast. We took 2 rooms and later went on walk around downtown to SM mall , eating fish balls. I can tell you one must eat these things , cheap and tasty. Again had another dinner in SM mall nearby and had 15 mins walk back home.

Now its time to go into mountains towards baguio

Our hotel , 5000 Peso per night

SM Mall Baguio

Hill Station night view

Shutter experience

Day 8

Wakeup around 8 and had wonderful dinner in our hotel. Later ride towards Hundred steps ( Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto ) , walk through steps on top of mountain and light candle to have a wish. Access to the top of the grotto could be made by climbing the 252 steps. Devotees who go up to the grotto to pray usually light up a candle.

Eat all you can....

Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto

Later towards Burnham Park for rest and play. Eating icecream , coconut juice , riding boat in a small lake for 300 Peso.

Burnham Park

The park retains much of Daniel Burnham's original design and layout a century ago, with a few features added, in true Filipino fashion, to make it a vibrant center of activity for everyone to enjoy.
Burnham Park has 12 cluster areas: 
  • the man-made lake with rowboats for hire that folks refer to as the Burnham Lagoon, 
  • the Children's Playground, 
  • the Skating Rink, 
  • the Rose Garden, 
  • the Orchidarium, 
  • Igorot Garden, 
  • Melvin Jones Grandstand, 
  • the Athletic Bowl, 
  • a Picnic Grove, 
  • the Japanese Peace Tower, 
  • Pine Trees of the World, and 
  • Sunshine Park.

Originally intended to serve as a much-needed green park, to provide a bustling city with a peaceful environment with wide open green spaces, Burnham Park under Filipino administration is now more of an amusement park with boating, bicycle and skating areas, sports and gaming areas, plus a few eateries. 

Spend around 2-3 hrs here and left towards Pangasinan around 15:00. Riding back cold back mountains , viewing  Rice Terraces and stopped in biker den. Its on the wayback on the highway where biker can take rest , drink and enjoy for awhile and photo taking opportunity. Took around 3 hrs to came back to Manaoag to go and visit famous church near by ( Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary) . Its my 2nd going church , nice architectural design with lot of pilgrims. 

Rice Terraces

Vintage care in Bikers Den

Our Lady of Manaoag (formally: Nuestra Señora del Santissimo Rosario de Manaoag, literal translation: Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag) is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, associated with a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary, said to be from the 16th century. She is the patroness of the sick, the helpless and the needy. This holy image is very popular among Roman Catholics in the Northern Philippines, and has been much popularized among the inhabitants of the Pangasinan provincial Area. It is covered by the Most Holy Archdiocese of the Lingayen-Dagupan district.
The province of Pangasinan is one of the Philippines' most widely visited Roman Catholic Pilgrimage sites. Many people from across the Philippine archipelago come and visit the town of Manaoag, where the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is enshrined in a church dedicated to this name.
 The statue of Our Lady of Manaoag purportedly has a long history of miraculous and pious events that are duplicated in the murals all over the church. This is done so that the events will never be forgotten. Devotees, coming from all over the globe, have various reasons for visiting the place among which are pleas for health restoration, good voyage, or better fate.
The statue of Our Lady of Manaoag is considered to be priceless because of the great identity it brings to the province of Pangasinan, but more interestingly because of its jeweled crown. Many criminal attempts have occurred to burglarize the Manaoag Shrine. Several golden crowns and halos are owned by the Manaoag Shrine, which were donated by both Filipinos and foreigners who have visited it. In addition to this, a great display of perfumes are also displayed in the Manaoag museum, from which donations of devotees from all across the globe are presented as gifts to Our Lady of Manaoag.

Our Lady of Manaoag

Spending sometime there and it was time to go home , decided to sleep there and next day can go 100 islands from there onwards. reached home around 19:00 and there after decided to go and drink again in Silverio's Seafood Rest Dagupan City. There was 2 live bands performance it was funny and good. We drank until 12:00 , beers beers and beers....

Silverio's Seafood Rest Dagupan City
Band Night

One of the funny bands...

Another band...nice voice and worked hard but I guess didn't get much credit

Day 9

Too much drunked last night let us wake up at 9 around , had breakfast only and decided to take bath in 100 islands. Left home around 11:00 riding car with Belot`s dad and with our guys and girls. It was around 2 hrs from our place , though not much traffic today. A trip to Hundred Islands National Park and its home, Alaminos City, is a great diversion from the hustle and bustle of the busy, urban life. Breathe in the refreshing views - rice paddies, azure sea - and the rustic and peaceful lifestyle as you make your way to Alaminos City. And upon arrival, savor the city's unique and dynamic spirit, friendly atmosphere and especially, the beauty and adventure that lies in the hundred wonders that is Hundred Islands. 

In night ..looking to 100 islands..

The 124 islands and islets during low-tide with one islet that sinks during high-tide, cover an area of 18.44 square kilometers. These are scattered along the Gulf of Lingayen. According to townsfolk, the town of Agda located in the northwestern part of Alaminos City, is called as the “mother island” of the Hundred Islands. Though now it 123 left only as 1 island is believed to sunken.
Even though only 3 of the islands have been developed for tourists, anyone can still enjoy and tour around the other 121 islands any time of the day. The 3 developed islands are Governor Island, Quezon Island and Children’s Island. 
Of the three Islands, only the Governor's Island keeps a Guesthouse which is ideal for family use. It has 2 bedrooms, living room, dining room, comfort room/bath and kitchen. Linens, water (4 drums), generator lighting, ceiling fans, dining and cooking utensils/equipment's are provided for. The bahay kubos at Children's Island are for budget travelers as it consists only of screened bedrooms with kerosene lighting and one (1) drum of fresh water and linens. Common areas are provided for dining and cooking as well as for toilet and bath. Quezon Island is for picnickers and campers.
Due to the lowering sea levels, the islands were exposed to the surface and the odd mushroom-like shapes of some of the islands have been caused by the eroding action of the waves coming from the open ocean in the northwestern part of the Philippines.
 Motorboat (1-5 persons) – P800
Motorboat (6-10 persons) – P1000Motorboat (11-15) – P1100Life Vest – P25Snorkel – P100
Reached around 13:00 at Lucap Wharf, booked one boat for 1 day for around 1800 peso( with boat for 8 people and snorkel). Started with all our food packed in , camera ready and snorkeling gears , traveled around 100 islands dropping by on one of the island , wake on the top of it and had a great view of islands around. Moved to another island [ Quezon Island ] after sometime to settle down for food , swimming. It was bit sunny day with typhoon warning in south but we were lucky that they didn't stop boats today.

Day 10

We came back from Pangasinan driving 4 hrs straight , reached home at 3:30. Straight sleep until 12:00 and then went out on car cleaning. Night was final drinking at home with jumbo beers and jumbo pizza. Sleep early to wakeup early..

Day 11

Goodbye Philippines for now. Riding back to Tokyo in JAL @ 9:20 flight.

Packed up and waiting for turn to ride back into cold mountains back in Japan...

Good bye Philippines

Next time would be Palawan islands , Cebu and Boracay, and next time need much more and detailed planning too ...

If someone plans to travel Philippines one should not miss fish balls , riding tricycle , drinking cheap beers , eating alot of food , but be prepared for bad traffic damn traffic. 

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