Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Location: Barangay Ambuklao, Bokod, Benguet, Philippines

Aerial view of Agno River taken while boarding topload on a jeepney

One of the perks of heading to Mount Pulag is to see the majestic Ambuklao Dam and its tributaries. It was during my third climb in Mount Pulag that I requested from our tour operator to drive us to the spillway of the dam. After all, Mr. Kenneth C. Taguilaso, has been our Pulag tour operator for two times already. The spillway is not along the national road and tourists can only go there through private transport. Though driving northward is ascending and so from atop, the dam can be seen like in a bird’s eye view.

Photo taken standing at the edge of the dam's spillway

Not only that, to see the beauty of Benguet where the jeepney drive starts from Baguio City to Ambangeg, I also requested that we are given the chance to board on the jeepney through its topload where everything along the road are visible to my camera to capture every moment. And these pictures in this post are just the proof.

The spillway bridge as captured from a high elevation while boarding a jeep

Ambuklao Dam can be accessed through its entry point in Sitio Ambangol, Brgy. Ambuklao of the Municipality of Bokod of the province of Benguet – known to be a part of a hydroelectric facility. It is another tourist gem of the Philippines. Its main source is coming from Agno River originating from Mount Data where it was built primarily for purposes of hydroelectric power generation. At the same time, its construction was also for the purpose of flood control and irrigation wayback late 1940s.

The dry northern edge of Agno River

As quoted from Wikipedia reference, this dam has a maximum water storage capacity of 327,170,000 cubic metres (265,240 acre•ft), the facility, which is located 36 km (22 mi) from Baguio city, can produce up to 105 megawatts of electricity to Luzon grid.

The national road and Agno River are almost parallel with each other

Under the privatization program of the Philippine government, the management and operation of the dam has been awarded to SN Aboitiz Power – Benguet, Inc. (SNAP-Benguet) on November 28, 2007 through a public bidding along with its neighboring power plant facility Binga. SNAP-Benguet is a joint venture between SN Power of Norway, and Aboitiz Power.

The scenic national road and the bridge leading to Ambuklao Dam

SNAP-Benguet began a massive rehabilitation project that restored Ambuklao to operating status and increased its capacity from 75 MW to 105 MW. The project required the construction of a new intake, headrace and penstock, elevation of tailrace tunnel outlet, de-silting of tailrace tunnel and replacement of electro-mechanical components. In June 2011, Unit 3 became the first turbine unit to go on-line, followed by the other two units. Ambuklao was formally inaugurated in October 2011.

Just one of the rewarding sceneries showcased near Ambuklao Dam

Ambuklao is designed as a peaking plant and is capable of delivering energy and providing ancillary services needed to maintain the grid.

Its health and safety system is internationally certified under the standards of the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) 18001:2007.

Another breathtaking aerial view of Ambuklao dam reservoir

If you opt to stay inside your moving service vehicle, these pictures won't be captured by you. You can take as many pictures as you can while enjoying a topload ride on a jeepney - the usual chartered transport vehicle coming from Baguio City to Ambangeg where Mount Pulag's jump-off point starts.

Water rafts floating at Ambuklao's water reservoir

Don't you know that Ambuklao dam is also the water source of Metropolitan Manila? I am just wondering why some water rafts are floating on it. Could this be a part of the local tourism project? I am not aware of this.

The spillway bridge taken from atop the national road

While approaching the Spillway bridge from its entry point in Sitio Ambangol

Driving to the spillway is just so breathtaking as the whole view slowly unfolds to your naked eyes showcasing the aquamarine color of the dam's water reservoir accentuated with the rich blue skies.

Obviously a hydroelectric facility in form

Driving along the spillway bridge is a view to behold. Its tranquility transcends to you as an observer of the place. The vast expanse of the sight of water sends a feeling of being refreshed.

A marvelous man-made structure yet so natural

There is no doubt, if only this facility is opened in a full-scale for tourism, many will visit this facility and would even frequent their visit to feel a different soothing feeling when you are there.

A perfect place for photography

Tourists can enjoy moments while in this facility. Photographers both the amateur and professional can enjoy capturing pictures from all its angles. There is enough space where guests can enjoy and to their selfie photos.


If you want "to do it yourself" visit to this place, this link will be of great help to you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Location: Intramuros, Manila, Philippines

I usually pass along this building when I visit a friend of mine in the People's General Insurance Office just two blocks away and I never thought how splendid and modern its interior and amenities. It was on November 10, 2015, when I was taking pictures outside the building that one of the lawyers of the Bureau of Treasury working inside the building invited me for a quick tour inside. I was really spellbound when I was already inside.

The present-day Ayuntamiento de Manila Building

During our quick trip, I learned some facts about the building. It was in 1599 that the construction of its original has been started and was opened in 1607. In 1863, this building has been destroyed by an earthquake and was rebuilt in 1879. During World War II in 1945 in the Battle of Manila, its reconstructed building was damaged when it was bombed by the Japanese and American forces. Its reconstruction has began again in 2009 and was completed in 2013 after several modifications of the Bureau of Treasury where it currently now occupies the building.

The interior of the Marble Hall of the Ayuntamiento de Manila

The Ayuntamiento de Manila is a building located at the corner of Andrés Soriano Avenue (formerly Calle Aduana) and Cabildo Street, fronting Plaza de Roma in Intramuros, Manila, Philippines. Also known as the Casas Consistoriales, the Ayuntamiento was the seat of the Manila City Council, which consisted of two alcaldes (city leaders), eight oidores (judges), a clerk, and a chief constable.Wikipedia

The Sala de Sesiones of the Ayuntamiento de Manila

According to our guide, this same hall will be used by the dignitaries and world leaders when they meet during the APEC Meeting this November 17-20, 2015. This hall is on the 2nd level of the building with its palatial stairs just opposite the door of the Marble Hall at the ground floor.

Seating on the Presiding Chair inside the Casa de Sesiones

It gives one a different feeling when you are inside the Casa de Sesiones where only diplomats and high ranking officers of the Philippines and foreign diplomats are holding their talks or business meetings.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Location: Intramuros, Manila, Philippines

The lush landscape of Manila Golf Club with T.M. Kalaw skyscrapers backdrop

Another shot of Manila Golf Club

Manila Polo Club Intramuros is located in the heart of Manila just adjacent to the historic walls of Intramuros. One of its gates is located just near the main gate of Intramuros from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod Maynila side.

A backdrop of the skyscrapers of the Ermita District along T.M. Kalaw Avenue

Its magnificent landscape can be captured best either from the Intramuros walls of the Baluarte de San Diego or Baluarte de San Andres. The above picture has its backdrop of the skyscrapers of the Ermita District of Manila mainly along the busy business district of T.M. Kalaw Avenue of Manila just five minutes drive away from the US Embassy Manila.

Revealing its adjacent location to the Intramuros walls

This golf club is also very near the Manila City Hall, SM Manila, National Museum, Luneta Park, the Light Rail Transit (LRT) 1, Manila Hotel, Manila Ocean Park, Roxas Boulevard, Manila Pavillon Hotel and a number of 5-star Hotels in the district of Ermita.

The Manila Bulletin and the Department of Labor as seen from Manila Golf Club Intramuros

The golf club as taken from the walls of Baluarte de San Diego Gardens

Saturday, November 7, 2015


Location: Candelaria, Zambales, Philippines

Potipot Island has been tagged as the "Boracay of the North" which is just 5 to 6 hours drive away from Manila or four hours from Clark Freeport Zone. It is a very small island with pristine blue waters and fine white sand. One can tour around the island in less than two hours if random picture taking is included.

The fine white sand of Potipot Island

Its proximity from Metro Manila is one of the reasons why it is becoming the best alternative for beach goers not to mention that with approximately P1,400, one can frolic on its charming and inviting tropical white sand.

Approaching the island while boarding a motorboat

This beautiful island is just 5-10 minutes from the mainland which is particularly in Brgy. Uacon of Candelaria, Zambales where guests can have the option of getting a comfortable but affordable accommodation.

Trees abound to give a refreshing shade to guests

For guests who are in day trip, an entrance fee of P100 is charged per person while for those who opt to stay overnight it costs P300 per head.

Shady trees at less than two meters from the swimming area

Some islands during low tide has its swimming area far from the cottage or shady trees but Potipot is so conveniently near. So near that guests can even watch their kids swim while they grill barbecue or fresh fish

Spacious grassy areas for outdoor games

With vast green grassy areas roofed with tall trees, guests can enjoy outdoor games or team building activities far from the heat of the sun.

Accommodation: An option for a cottage or tent

Comfortable cottages made of nipa and bamboo can vary in rates from P1,000 to P2,500 depending on its size with average ones can accommodate for ten persons and the big ones to accommodate a maximum of 25 persons. There is also an option to pitch your own rent. I saw a shop in the island which offers swimming equipments for rental but I haven't ask if they also have tents for rent.

Wooden tables and benches by the beach for guests' convenience

For those who opt to have a comfortable stay prior to Potipot's experience, they can choose from numerous hotel accommodations in the area where the popular ones are Dawal Beach Resort, Puerto Del Mar Beach Resort, Isla Vista Beach Resort and Potipot Gateway Resort (Price range starts at 1400Php for air conditioned rooms)or better stay at Sun Bloom Resort with affordable accommodation with comfortable set up and personalized service. These resorts can readily arrange your boat transport at P50 per person roundtrip. Bigger groups may have less in sharing the cost of the boat rental but the rates in most cases will still vary depending on your haggling skills.


By Public Transportation

1. Ride a Victory Liner bus bound to Sta. Cruz, Zambales. For this route, Victory Monumento Terminal is highly preferable with its last trip up to 11 P.M. during lean season but may extend to 12 midnight during peak season where they open special trips just to accommodate all passengers.

2. Coordinate with the bus conductor to drop you off in Brgy. Uacon, Candelaria or in Dawal. If you haven’t bought your supplies, you can ask the conductor to drop you at Candelaria Public Market and just ride a tricycle to bring you to the resorts in the area. There is no drinking water supply in the island and so it is advisable to buy it from the mainland.

3. Upon finding a resort of your choice, hire a bangka (boat) going to Potipot island or just simply hire a bangka which will take you to the island for P50 roundtrip.

By Private Vehicle

1. Use the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) all the way to Dau exit then continue to the Subic-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).

2. Travel all the SCTEx till Tip Exit, passing through the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and on to the Subic Town.

3. Take the National Road where in you will pass the towns of Castillejos, San Marcelino, San Narciso, San Felipe, Cabangan, Botolan, Iba, Paluig and Masinloc before reaching Candelaria. You can easily ask for the directions/suggestions for accommodation.