Rizal: Avilon Zoo

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ever since I was in grade school, there was only one zoo we go to. It's the Manila Zoo. I'm not sure if it's maintained until today but I remember it was just a small, smelly zoo with the most basic animals you can find. Good thing that a new zoo opened in Rizal.

Crazy parrot!

He's shocked i'm sticking out my tongue to him.
Avilon Zoo is a big big zoo. Walking under the heat of the sun is torture but you can't help but be proud of it. There are a lot of animals and arachnids. I saw that they are building a dog center where dog breeds from other countries were imported. I'm so excited for that because I saw the dog in the cartoons that blows his long hair from his face. I don't even know what breed that is but hopefully next time we can come and play with them.

Just after Avilon, there's this dam where it was said that Bernadio Carpio pushed the 2 rocks apart. Anyway, we went there during HS and I was dismayed to find that now there are a lot of squatters in the area. It's not good for swimming anymore. I was afraid I'd get mugged.
The white rocks are still pretty though.
Bye Avilon!

Anilao: Windsurfing

Thursday, December 24, 2009

When the sail falls, bring it back up.
Who would have thought that there's windsurfing very near Metro Manila. In Anilao Batangas, just about 3hours away from Manila is a resort which provides all the windsurfing equipments you need. You just have to show up, book a room with them and that's it. For an overnight trip, we paid just a little above P1000 for everything. The lessons, the rent, the room and even the food. We asked the owner to buy us food from the market then they just cooked it for us. It wasn't beach-season since it's December that's why we got everything at a discounted rate. Nevertheless, the sun was up and the wind was blowing.

Windsurfing can be tiring and frustrating at times. Even when the wind is not blowing, you can still move the board by adjusting the sails. Too bad we weren't professionals. Thus, a guide had to come to us in the middle of the ocean to help us adjust our sails. If don't know how to swim, being trapped in the middle of the ocean with only a surfboard on your feet and a life jacket can be pretty scary. But don't worry, the guides pretty much watch us from the beach so they can come rescue you immediately. ;)

Weight doesn't matter. You'll stay afloat.

Like the both of us in 1 board. :)

Clark: El Kabayo

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I wanted to spend time with my siblings. Unfortunately, the feeling was not mutual. haha! I only got to convince my sister to go with me. Since I know she's a fan or horseback-riding (this was based on the fact that she loved to ride horses in Baguio when she was 6years old, about 10years ago. Very reliable data, i know! :P) I decided to bring her to Clark, Pampanga in El Kabayo.

Gear up!

El Kabayo is a spanish ranch that have big race horses. This is my first time horseback-riding so I was really nervous to climb up the horse's back. For a control-freak, having no control of what the horse is thinking made me jittery. Plus, my horse was kind of vain. She didn't want flies buzzing around her. Who does? But every time a fly buzzes up, she freaks and jumps up. I had to hold on for dear life! Crazy horse...

Now, where's my helmet?

Anyway, it was an hour-long ride along fields, waterfalls, rivers and roads inside Clark. I didn't know those places existed there. The rate was about P300 then we had to rent helmets too. There are actually 10-hour classes after which they give you a certificate that you are a rider. Then you can ride without the help of those horse guides. 

Nice view right?

Bumpy bumpy ride.
The experience was new and it was fun to try. But me and horses, don't really mix.  hehe!

Anilao, Batangas: Windsurfing

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ever tried windsurfing? Apparently, there's one here near Metro Manila. Just in Anilao, which is famous for snorkeling, you can now also do some windsurfing. It is a little harder than surfing since you have to learn how to catch the wind and control the sails with your wait. Direction and speed are hard to control. It took us a while to get back to the shore after going too far. We almost wanted the instructors to pull us instead. But still, a new sport! Very cheap too. Try it!

Even sumo-sized people can be accommodated. Peace kins!

Picking up your sail in the water is heavy.

I'm hitching a ride on his board. 

Quezon: Bitukang Manok

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The trip to the Bicol region takes 6-12hours depending on where exactly you would want to go. You will pass thru mountains, by the sea, markets, towns, ghost towns before you will get where you will go. On one of my road trips to Camarines Sur, my friend decided to take the Bitukang Manok (Chicken's Entrails?) road in Pagbilao, Quezon. There are 2 ways from Quezon to get to Bicol, there is the longer but safer road which the buses use and is a part of the Maharlika Highway then there is the Bitukang Manok where wannabe-racers try out.

Sharp turns.
Have you ever seen Inital D? You know Takumi and his Mt. Akina stunts. Well, the Mt. Akina zigzags is very similar to Bitukang Manok. If you are not confident with your driving skills, do NOT try it out for risking damage to your car, the passengers and other cars too.

Be careful.
To get up the zigzags, there are people who will be waving flags of red or green telling you if it's your turn. Wait for your turn patiently. No 2 cars can turn at the same curve at the same time so be very careful. You also will not be able to see if there is oncoming traffic so just wait for the signal or else it will be hard to back up the sharp turn.

Anawangin, Zambales: Torture Hike

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I had this idea of an impromptu road trip. Since my friends are pretty much easy to convince, they joined me without knowing anything about the trip. Basically, i just asked them to bring 2 sets of clothes, flashlight, canned food, water, and mats. I required them to wear rubbershoes and bring a backpack. I picked them up from their homes the day before. We all hung-out in my condo before waiting for our departure time.
Anawangin is beautiful.
12mn: We were off to Zambales. Stopped by subic for some food and water since no one brought any.
Walking in the dark.

4am: We were on the bottom of the mountain ready to trek up Mt. Anawangin. We had no idea what was in it for us. We just knew that we were going back down the same day and that we were gonna trek all the way back too. Most of the people rent a boat for the trip. By boat, it would just take half an hour to/from the beach. Camping is what most people do. But since we didn't have camping materials, we decided that we won't stay the night and that we'll just trek back instead.

Are we lost?
730am: We trekked fast enough to reach the beach in just 3.5hours! It was a great feat. We did stop for pictures especially when we were up the mountain. Trekking can be really dangerous. One small slip and you're gonna be literally tumbling down the side of the mountain. No mistakes must be made. The hard part of the trek was that there are no set paths yet. Not many people have trekked this mountain so you really have to create your own path. Yes there was a guide but he usually walked so fast that we barely see him. He will just wait for us at the top of the mountain or we'd have to yell for him to slow down. It was fun walking in the dark. We had flashlights but you can only see whatever it is in front of you. Most of the time you wouldn't see the branches sticking out and will bump your head since you're mostly focused on your feet.

12nn: We stayed on the beach. Good thing I brought a mat. I slept most of the day. My friends played in the water. I reminded my brother not to go too deep because of the great undercurrent. There are no stores there so you really have to bring everything with you.
Long hike ahead. 
 2pm: We decided to trek back so that we won't be caught in the middle of the mountain when it gets dark. Going back took us a long time. The sun was blaring it's rays on us that we easily got fatigued because of the heat. It didn't help that we only had a few bottles of water left. We were drinking just a sip at a time to make sure the water will last for the whole trip back. We were partly hallucinating that we were comparing the hike to love. We had tons of symbolisms. I'm pasting this from the facebook note that I made before:
walking for 7 + 8hours can make you realize about a lot of things. lalo na sa bundok.

1) i realized that i like going up a mountain more than going down. i'm scared of falling eh :P
2) instead of falling, i would rather hang on to an unstable grass.
3) pag may tinahak at nahirapan, bakit pa babalikan?
4) u wouldn't realize that u get little scratches up until u jump into the ocean. then all the little scratches will hurt like hell.
5) im a one-step-at-a-time kind of person. i rarely look ahead to see if im still on the right track. that's why i usually stray away from the trail but still in the right direction.
6) i don't just follow the guide, i make my own trail :P
7) pag pagod ka na sa kakalakad, mahirap na maglakad pa ulit.
8) but then basta masaya ang mga kasama, kahit mahirap masaya pa rin.
9) may mga bagay na nasimulan na at pinuhunan na kaya itutuloy nalang kahit hindi naman na gusto pa.
10) sa simula masaya pero may burn out moment din ang lahat.
11) tigas ng ulo at will to survive lang talaga ang maasahan to get to the goal.

madami pa to eh. nakalimutan ko na ung mga hirit ng mga tao. sabi na nga ba dapat sinulat ko eh. kaso wala na kong energy for that. haha! dagdagan nyo nalang :P 
We're dirty. 
7pm: It took us 5hrs to get back. We were so darn tired that nobody wanted to shower anymore. But since we are all dirty and stinky, we asked the guide if we can use the poso (water source where you have to pump) in his house.

8pm: We passed by Subic to eat dinner. My friend who volunteered to drive us back and forth was so tired that he stopped in the middle of the road and asked me to drive. Since I was known for being unable to sleep while in a car (yes, i am a road trip junkie), I obliged. Broke a few rules mainly about speeding since I was anxious to get us home into our beds.

12mn: Arrived back in Manila, exhausted but extremely happy and proud!
On top of the mountain. Still a long way to go!
Exactly a 24-hour trip! :)

Mt. Pinatubo: Beautiful Volcano

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pretty ain't it?

3am! We all had no sleep. Struggle to go to NLEX. Reached the base at 6am. We rode the 4x4 thru the sand which was the lava from the volcano when it erupted last June 1991. The ride was a bit bumpy but it was a fun experience. We really went early to see the volcano at sunrise.  :)

Without the editing. Doesn't look like it's from the Philippines.
Climbed up the volcano took just an hour. There were stairs going down the crater. We swam in the crater. However, the water tasted different from an ocean or a lake. Maybe that's the taste of sulfur. hehe If you swim for just a few strokes, the bottom level suddenly drops. It can be really scary coz when i tried to look down, i couldn't see the floor of the crater anymore. I wondered if I would see Nessie there. 

People started flocking around 9am. Good thing we arrived early so our pictures were people-free.
Group shot!
 It was a nice short adventure. It was done just after lunch and cost about P1000 per person. 

Clark: Hot Air Balloons

Monday, February 16, 2009

Who doesn't like balloons? How about big big ones? Well every Valentines season, there are hot air balloons flying the air in Clark, Pampanga. It's one big event so if you're planning to stay in a hotel, book early. You have to be there really early because they start the event around 5am.

I want to try that single-motor-flying thing.

Fly elephant! Fly!

I believe you can also take a ride in these balloons, however I'm not sure how you would reserve a spot and how much it would cost.

Minnesota: Winter Wanderland

Monday, January 5, 2009

Go Vikings!
Minnesota is very different from LA. For one thing, the temperature dropped more than 10 degrees. It's extremely cold especially since the wind was blowing too. The temperature reaches until -27C. Now that's cold. We could even eat ice cream inside the room and it wouldn't melt. The drinks we had for the party were submerged in the snow so that they will stay cold since we didn't have room in the kitchen anymore. The refrigerator is warmer than the air inside the room. It was a weather that I could get used to.
Welcome to the coldest place in the US.

I need shades with wipers.

There's too much snow.
 My brother and I window-shopped (yes, again coz we really didn't have any money. Nobody gave us any) Mall of America. Man, was it huge! We had to go floor by floor per day. We went back 3x just to cover the entire area. On the last day, we found out that the surplus stores can be found on the top most level. That's where we were able to buy a few things.
Good luck Rocky. Try to eat everything!
We went around the city of St. Paul but there wasn't much to see. We pretty much stayed at home and played video games. We tried to snowboard but then the snow is more icy so they said it was dangerous. We just snow sled instead.
One thing I love about American culture is the fanaticism with football. Good thing we got a chance to watch a football game in the stadiums. The stadium is big! Around thrice the size of the biggest in the Philippines. Also, the Vikings won against the Giants. That meant they were in for the semis. I love it!
Crowds going crazy!
Big stadium!
We stayed for the new year celebration. The had a tradition where they'd run around the block with luggages. They said it will bring them more travels for the new year. It didn't work for me. haha!
Anyway, one thing I noticed is that there weren't any colored people in Minnesota. All of them are white except for the football players. Unlike in L.A. where some of the sales people talk to us in Tagalog coz they can sense that we're Filipinos. 

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