Monday, June 12, 2017

A POST SUMMER GETAWAY IN REAL, QUEZON

Municipality of Real, Quezon Province, Philippines



Rainy season has already started and in fact, there were sporadic rains and showers as we traveled from Mandaluyong City of Metropolitan Manila to the municipality of Real in Quezon province. On our way, we had a drive thru to Pililla Windmill Farm in the province of Rizal which was a kilometer away from the highway. Our destination was to spend an overnight at Real Surf Camp which was more than 3 hours drive from our point of origin to celebrate the 26th anniversary of Philippine National Bank Mountaineering Club (PNB-MC) where I am a member since 1998.

Nonok Water Falls


THE REAL SURF CAMP

The Real Surf Camp


It was still raining when we arrived at the Real Surf Camp. We had booked for 1 big cabana and 1 small cabana where they are located in separate locations on the camp. We were equipped with tents since were more than 30 and the big cabana can only accommodate 8 people and 4 for the small cabana.

The camp's cafe where guests can comfortably dine or chat


The cafe's dining area serves as the movie theater at night showing very recent movies with such a very wide screen giving a feel that you are really inside a movie house.

The small cabanas accommodation


Beach view captured from the cafe


Surf trainers are available upon request of the guests equipped with surf boards. There are enough shower and comfort rooms inside the camp always cleaned by the staff to make it tidy and clean all the time.

Small cabanas are on beach front


The small cabanas are strategically located fronting the beach and since we had one reservation for its kind, we stayed there for our socials. We cooked our food near our big cabana accommodation since it was close to the kitchen.

The beach front scene


The surf camp is not blessed to have white fine sand but the waves has its nature of giving the surf lovers what they desire and look for most particularly on seasons that the swell is as its best.

Capturing a subsiding swell


Swimmers and surfers while on wait for a good swell of waves


Swimmers battling the force of the swelling waves


The post swell effect


The surf trainer in action


A late afternoon swim


Preparing for the evening socials with my close friends at the small cabana


Evening socials is at its best at the Real Surf Camp. Our group which celebrated its 29th Anniversary of Philippine National Bank Mountaineering Club (PNB MC) has chosen the venue for this beach overnight party. In the picture above from left to right are: Lani Santos, Mary Jane Gumba and Connie Vasquez.

During our evening socials at the small cabana


With me in the above photo are: (standing) Alfred Garcia, (seated from left to right) Ed Rojas, Maria Jeannie Mendoza and extreme right is Jun Lee.

In the photo are: (standing) Jhun Banela; (seated from left to right) Lani Santos, Connie Vasquez and Rina Falcis Lee


Our group in our siesta moment fronting our big cabana accommodation


Jenny Ferrer Tan (seated) with her dog, Budoy was with us


A SIDETRIP TO NONOK WATER FALLS

Nonok Water Falls registration site


Just after lunch, I decided to have a walk to look for buco where I wanted to sip the juice and eat its raw fruit. It was a long walk maybe 900 meters away from the Real Camp Surf. On my way back to the camp, I saw a billboard with the pictures of the tourist destinations of the place. I was amazed with the water falls and so I asked a local. He told me that the first water falls named Nonok is just 2 kilometers walk.

A directional board leading to the water falls


The local told that I can ride in a tricycle in going there at P10 one way going there. Unfortunately, there was none and so I just walked and finished the 2 kilometers. While walking, I see the picturesque rocked coastline. Anyway, it was not at all exhausting because I was amazed with the view of the beach at the right side and the green mountain slopes at the opposite side of the road.

The river that flows coming from the water falls


The registration site can be seen from the highway. The signboard was so visible that you don't have to ask somebody. The registration fee is P20 per head for the adult and P10 for the children. From the registration site, I trek and cross a stream. I continued the trekking. You can see houses along your way.

The water falls covered by the rich flora


From the highway to the water falls is just barely 5 minutes and there is no need for a guide. A varied flora species is visible on your way to the water falls.

Finally, the Nonok Falls


There are cottages around the water falls. Comfort rooms are also available to take shower and change clothes. It was raining that time and so the crystal clear waters of the falls looks brown. However, during non-rainy days, the water is really crystal clear.

ANOTHER SIDE TRIP TO BALABAG WATER FALLS

Approaching the entrance of Balagbag Water Falls


After I had exited from Nonok Water Falls registration site, I continued walking which the local told me another 1 kilometer to reach Balagbag water falls. True enough, I counted 1,910 steps wherein for each 2 steps is roughly estimated at 1 meter. If this is the case, it was less than 1 kilometer going to the place. I walked because I can't see any transport available.

Finally, the signboard of the Balagbag Water Falls near the entrance


The entrance of the water falls is dotted with sari-sari stores selling food for the guests. You also have to pay P20 for the entrance fee per head.

The parking space opposite the road to the entrance


These landmarks can be seen when you are at the highway. I can see some guests parking their vehicles in this area as they trek to the water falls.

The friendly trail


From the entrance to the water falls is barely three minutes trek. It is just a gradual and narrow trail. The trail is parallel to the river flowing from the water falls.

The trail descending to the water falls lagoon


There a few cottages around the water falls but just the open nipa type where food and guests stuff can be stored while they are on a swim. The comfort room/changing room is only limited to three of unisex use.

The majestic view of Balagbag Water Falls


Like Nonok Water Falls, Balagbag Falls is situated also in same barangay. Cottages costs P300.00. To get more information, you may contact Mrs. Elecinita Aceboque at 0912-229-4894 for the resort reservation.

The totality of Balagbag Water Falls


It was raining then, thus, the water was brownish. The pond or the lagoon is too small to accommodate guests. Guests can also have the alternative to trek up to the second level.

The mini cascading falls as part of the mother falls


HOW TO GO THERE

Option 1 (Via Antipolo - Shorter Route):

Using a private transportation vehicle, the route is shorter via Antipolo/Tanay/Siniloan which is more than 3 hours drive. For a group of 10 to 15 pax, it is convenient to hire a van thru Bong Rosales where you can contact him at 09228235781 with an overnight rate of P6,000 all in via Antipolo or P6,500 via SLEX for a capacity of 14 pax.

Option 2: (Via Lucena - Longer Route)

Ride the bus going to Lucena either in Cubao or Buendia. In Buendia, the bus companies available are Lucena Lines, Jacliner, DLTB or Jam. Travel time from either Buendia or Cubao to Lucena is approximately 4 hours. Fare in Cubao to Lucena is P218.00 and it is 132 kilometers. Fare in Buendia is P209.50 and it is 127 kilometers. Alight at the Lucena Grand Central terminal,and then ride either AH bus or the van going to Infanta, Quezon. Fare in the ordinary bus from Lucena to Real is P158.00 and travel time is 4.5 hours. While the fare in the van going to Real is P200.00 and travel time is 4 hours. (Source: Smart Backpacker)

OTHER SIGNIFICANT INFORMATION

The town of Real in the province of Quezon is also the gateway (port) to Jomalig Island (5-6 hours), Cagbalete island (4 hours) and Polillo Island (2-3 hours).

Globe subscribers has no network access in Real, Quezon, just the Sun and Smart subscribers. Totally, no internet access.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

PILILLA WINDMILL FARM

Brgy. Halayhayin, Pililla, Rizal, Philippines



This windmill farm is just another kind of its counterpart in Bangui and Kapurpurawan in Ilocos. This US$177.9 million project has its service contract granted to Alternergy Philippine Holdings Corporation which covers an area of 4,515 hectares under the Department of Energy WESC No. 2009-09-018 with its commission date in 2016. The units operational are Phase 1 - 27 with an energy production of 54-megawaatts.

The windmill turbines of Pililla


Pililla Windmill Farm (Photo credit Blue Dreamer blog)


Overlooking the picturesque Laguna de Bay


We've come to visit this place as a side trip going to Real of the province of Quezon. While there, you can buy a lot of fruits from the fruits stalls and vendors as well as some souvenir items. Unfortunately, it was raining then when we visited there and so cloudy and it was so difficult to capture a good view. Climbing the elevated viewdeck has loss rocks and so you might slide down again and again.

HOW TO GO THERE

Via Public Transport

Take a van or jeep from Starmall Shaw-Edsa heading to Tanay Public Market. Then take a trycycle going there. The cost of the tricycle per trip vary from P200 to P250 roundtrip which would depend on your haggling skills. Though it is better to go there during late afternoon where the grass seem to look gold.

Via Private Transport

Source: Pusang Kalye Blog

1. Get to Tanay Town
2. Go up Brgy. Sampaloc in upper Tanay
3. At the intersection of Sampaloc, take the road which leads to Real Quezon. Locally, the most famous attraction along this road is JE Camp where Erap was to serve house arrest. Ask locals for directions.
4. Roughly 1km from Sampaloc intersection, look for Sampaloc Inn on the left. That is your hint.
5. Then look for the first waiting shed on the right which is only a few meters away from Sampaloc Inn.
6. Make a right turn -- Masalat Road. At the corner is a small shop named My Little Store Pasalubong Center and Coffee Shop.
7. A few meters after turning right, turn left.
8. Follow that road and the end section will be Pililla Wind Farm.

WHILE IN A HIGHLY INDUSTRIALIZED BUT CULTURALLY-RICH 6-DAY JAPAN TOUR

I have been to 10 countries already of which I consider Singapore and Dubai of United Arab Emirates (UAE) to be highly industrialized like that of Japan but the latter is a standout in terms of its accommodating and tourist-friendly citizens. It is however a problem when it comes to language as most of them do not speak English but you can feel it from them their willingness to be of help to the tourists. By means sign language, you can understand them. I really love Japanese people. I was so in love with the country because of its people. With this, I am planning to go back to Japan to see more its tourist destinations. For now, I am sharing to you the places I have visited during my 6-day Japan tour.

The Fuji Shiba-Sakura Flower Festival (4th day of my tour)


Our accommodation booking was thru AirBNB which we had in Osaka and Tokyo. The first two days, we were booked for an AirBNB accommodation in Osaka with an address at 6 Chome-14 Tanimachi, Chuo-Ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka-fu 540-0012, Japan for a total bill of P6,022 which is equivalent to US$125.92 at an exchange rate of 48 per US$1 and that is good for 4 persons.

The following are the links of the destinations I visited in the whole of 6 days in a chronological order: Sinsekai (Osaka), Dotonbori (Osaka), Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine (Kyoto, Higashiyama District (Kyoto), Universal Studios (Osaka), Osaka Castle (Osaka), Fuji Shiba-Sakura Festival (Motosu), Sky Tree Tower (Tokyo) and Sanja Matsuri Festival (Tokyo)

We have two destinations during our first day and it included the Sinsekai and Dotonbori District, both in Osaka.

The Sinsekai District

A haven of seafoods restaurants


The Tsutenkaku Tower


Dotonburi District

The entry point to Dotobori Street


The busy and festive street of Dotonbori


Friday, June 2, 2017

WITNESSING THE JOVIAL SANJA MATSURI FESTIVAL

Location: Japan, 〒111-0032 Tokyo, Taito, Asakusa, 2 Chome−3−1



This is the second destination in my 5th of 6-day tour in Japan. My first destination of the day was in Tokyo Skytree in Sumida ward. This is just two substations away from Skytree.

The Daigyoretsu Parade of Sanja Matsuri Festival


Daigyoretsu Parade is a part of the Sanja Matsuri Festival in the Asakusa District of Tokyo. This parade is consist of a large procession of priests, city officials, geisha, musicians and dancers wearing the Edo Period costumes. It is usually an annual festival that usually takes place over the third fall weekend in May. It is held in celebration of the three founders of Sensoji Temple, who are enshrined in Asakusa Shrine next door to the temple.

The Kaminarimon Gate


The Kaminarimon is the outer of two large entrance gates that ultimately leads to the Sensō-ji in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan. The gate, with its lantern and statues, is popular with tourists

Kaminarimon Gate at a distance


This site is just few blocks away from the subway station of Nishi-magome. It was already 7:00 P.M. when we arrived at the place where it was the second day of the festival.

This road is just left of Kaminarimon Gate


CONQUER THE WHOLE OF TOKYO THRU ITS SKYTREE TOWER

Location: Japan, 〒131-0045 Tokyo, Sumida, Oshiage, 1 Chome−1−2



Tokyo Skytree is the world's tallest freestanding broadcasting tower with an observation deck boasting 360-degree views. Its highlight are its two observation decks which offer spectacular views out over Tokyo. The two enclosed decks are located at heights of 350 and 450 meters respectively, making them the highest observation decks in Japan and some of the highest in the world.

The towering Tokyo's Skytree


Skytree has its East Tower where it houses mall where shopping opportunity is possible. It has Solamachi and Daiso Outlet is within the building. Daiso is a large franchise of 100-yen shops founded in Japan, owned by Daiso Sangyo Corp. (株式会社大創産業 Kabushiki-gaisha Daisō Sangyō). Its headquarters are in Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture. It was established in 1977 and currently, it has 2,800 domestic branches and 860 overseas branches in 26 countries.

The Daiso Store at the East Tower


Yes, Daiso has all its items priced at 100 yen. I bought then 10 items there without an idea that all of them cost each 100 yen and the items varied into electric socket, chocolate nips, souvenir items, muffin cake and other small items. I wondered then why they were priced the same.

Tokyo Skytree East Tower (photo credit: www.tokyoskytree-eastower.jp)


A visual taste of Tokyo's cityscape


The fourth floor of the Skytree East Tower where it has a garden and food stalls offers guests and visitors a feel of the Skytree Tower. From there, you can already have a sizable view of Sumida, Tokyo, one of the 23 special wards of Tokyo City. There is no entrance fee in accessing the building up to this point.

While at the Fourth Level Viewdeck


Part of the Building's Fourth Level Viewdeck Park


Part of the Building's Fourth Level Viewdeck Park


Part of the Building's Fourth Level Viewdeck Park


Part of the Building's Fourth Level Viewdeck Park at Skytree Main Entrance


Still at the building's 4th level


The Skytree as viewed from the Asakusa District of Tokyo


On my way to grace the Daigyoretsu Parade as part of the Sanja Matsuri Festival in the Asakusa District of Tokyo which was two subway stations away from the Oshiage, I had the opportunity to see the totality of the Skytree Tower.

Other facilities and places of interest at Skytree (Source: www.japan-guide.com)


FAST SKYTREE TICKET as a Special Service for International Visitors

@ No Reservation Needed
@ Instant Ticket Purchase
@ Special Ticket Counter for International Visitors

OPERATING HOURS

8:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.

ELIGIBLE VISITORS

International visitors who are able to present their passport and other valid IDs. Tickets are also available to Japanese persons who are accompanying these international visitors.

ADMISSION FEES

Ticket Type 12 Years Old and Over 4 to 11 Years Old
Single Ticket Floor 350
3,000 yen
1,500 yen
Combo Ticket (From Floor 350 + 450)
4,000 yen
2,000 yen


OTHER CONCERNS

Visitors should be aware of the price difference between the "Same-Day Ticket"
No fast service upon returning of neither from the Tembo Deck (Floor 350) nor to, or back for the Tembo Galleria (Floor 450)
The combo ticket is only available a the Fast Skytree Ticket Counter
Children under 3 years old are admitted free
Fast Skytree ticket has no rate for visitors with disability.

TRANSPORT ACCESS

(Source: Tokyo Skytree)

Oshiage Station (SKYTREE) * from Tokyo Station, take the JR Sobu Rapid Line and transfer at Kinshicho for the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, 16 minutes. * From Narita Airport, take the Keisei Narita Airport Line or Narita SKY ACCESS Keisei Line, a 49-minute through service.