Saturday, November 9, 2013

Scenic Laguna- Dalitiwan Resort

Inspired by a blog written by a mom who loves to travel on a budget, we searched for Dalitiwan Spring Resort. After several wrong turns we finally found the resort.

We got a room for Php2400 which we found to be unreasonable considering the lack of basic amenities. The room most likely has not been used for months . The water that came out of the faucet and toilet flush was so dirty and blackish. The caretaker informed us that water would become clearer later. We left the faucet on for more than 15 minutes until it became clear. We flushed the toilet several times until the water was no longer muddy brown. The caretaker put on fresh bed linens and pillow case. There's one stand fan, no aircon, no TV, no hot water, no table inside the room nor cabinet to hang our clothes. While there's a big table and some plastic chairs outside the room, they're all dusty.

The great consolation was the view and the nature it presented.

There's a big swimming pool but there's no restaurant. The water in the pool was iced cold. I understand that the water comes from Mt Banahaw. It is natural, unchlorinated but super cold. I admired some guests who were able to swim despite the cold water.

All visitors bring food or can cook food that's why there's no need for restaurant. But I believed that the resort should have a small store where small stuff can be bought.

There's a hanging bridge where one can cross to the other side of the brook. Water cascading was nice to behold.

 There's a waterfall; underneath you can bathe and feel the water pouring on you. Again, it's ice cold.
I took several shots of the flowing waters at slow shutter speed for a nice smooth effect.

We had pizza and cup noodles for dinner. Good thing we brought cup noodles, water, an electric kettle  and the usual stuff when going out of town.

Since there's nothing to do or watch or listen to , we decided to sleep early. It was cool at night. Luckily, some guests arrived and staying overnight.So  we were not alone. They occupy the room next to us. I prayed and hoped that they would not make loud noises. and they didn't.

As the dawn broke, I woke up and freshened up. It's not yet breakfast time so I gathered my camera and tripod went down the stream to shoot while there was no crowd yet.

After breakfast, since we would not swim and there's nothing else to do, we checked out at 9am and headed to the rest of our destination- Cavinti, Lagos del Sol, Lake Caliraya, Paete, Los Banos, Tagaytay and finally, home.

I don,t recommend staying overnight; a day tour is sufficient. entrance fee is 150 per head for adult, bring all the food you can bring. but if you do , dont complain about the lack of basic amenities and just enjoy nature.

Scenic Laguna - Liliw

After  lunch, we walked around the area and found the street behind Arabela lined up with shops selling footwears ,


Further up is Liliw church- or formally called St John the Baptist church. The orange brick walls are imposing . It is said that the church was constructed around 1605 and it has gone several reconstruction.

I love the orange brick walls and upon closer look of the church door, one can see the nice carvings.
exit gate
It's 3pm and it's time to look for our sleeping place.

Scenic Laguna - Arabela Liliw

After Nagcarlan, we drove to Liliw and searched for Arabela. Bloggers have good reviews of this charming restaurant. With the help of GPS we found Rizal st and Arabela's sign. However, parking was a bit of a problem as the streets were cramped and some cars were already occupying one lane. We circled 2x and finally find a street parking which was about 300 meters from Arabela.

As we entered the resto, I saw Tripadvisor sticker on the glass door. It's a badge for being recommended by travellers. It was quite full when we arrived . Luckily, we got a table for two with backless chairs.

Watch out as the ceiling is quite low.

Our table

There were lots of selection- pasta, pizza, seafood, pastries

We ordered T-bone Beef Steak and salmon for main course.
 The salmon was juicy and delicious, topped with diced tomatoes and ripe mango. I appreciated the big thick slice.

 The steak needed just a little bit of tendering and it would be perfect. Nonetheless, it was still good and tasty.
Of course, to cap off every meal is a dessert. We got a slice of red velvet cheesecake and it was sooo good. It was sweetened just right, not too sweet, which I really like in cakes.

We have to try the pizza so we also ordered for take out pizza kesong puti and peanuts with garlic.
 All in all our bill was Php1050 !. I found the prices very reasonable. The reason for this is the place, they dont need to rent the place. We asked if there's any plan to branch out in Makati and they said no. The rent in Makati is very high and that will affect the prices of the food.

Please do visit Arabela when in Liliw. Food is great and very reasonable.

Scenic Laguna- Nagcarlan

Went on a two day road trip around Laguna on Nov 1st. With the help of tips from bloggers and GPS, we drove to Laguna coming from SLEX and took the Sto Tomas Batangas route. One can also take the Calamba route .

We hit the road at around 9am. Since it's All Saints Day, traffic was quite heavy due to people flocking to cemeteries to visit their departed loved ones.

At past 11am  ,we reached our first stop, Nagcarlan and its famous underground cemetery. Husband did not want to come along so I walked around by myself above ground , took a few bracketed shots. I did not go underground as it might give me a claustrophobic feeling.

According to history, Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery served as a secret meeting place of  Filipino revolutionaries or Katipuneros in 1896. It also became a safehouse of Filipino guerrillas during WWII.

It's All Saint's Day and yet there were just few visitors or maybe they went early in the morning. The sun's heat was intense and I had to leave.

  Do visit this landmark when in Nagcarlan. It's open free to public on Tues-Sunday 8am to 4pm

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Corregidor with Shutterbugs

Sept 7, the day we've all been waiting for. Call time was 630am and boarding time was 730am.
We were joined by the Booklovers Club and Backpackers Club.
It was an hour 15minute boat ride to the tadpole shaped island of Corregidor.

Corregidor was also called The Rock because of its rocky shore and its heavy fortification.

We were assigned to bus#5. The bus was called Tranvia and it has 7 rows which can seat 5 people per row.

Rowena ,our tour guide was so hilarious and she made the tour so fun and un-boring.

Our first stop was the Battery Way. We learned from Rowena that a battery may consist of guns, mortars , rockets or missiles grouped together as a unit in a fixed fortification.

We stayed here for about 15 minutes which was not enough to get decent photos.

Next stop was another Battery- Hearn. This 12 inch gun has a ranged of 29000 yards and it can fire in all directions. It was really huge.
 My fellow photo enthusiasts' unchoreographed stance shooting Battery Hearn. I love shooting the shooters!
Battery Crockett was another unit of gun placement . I was not able to get a shot of the dismantled gun itself but I was able to take photos of the ruins where the gun was placed. Again , due to time constraint , our shots were all quickies.

The Mile Long Barrack is not really a mile long but it was commonly called Mile Long Barracks. This fortified building where American officers and enlisted men were billeted also served as Gen. McArthur's headquarter

The Eternal Flame of Freedom is a steel sculpture located at the rear of the Pacific War Memorial. It reminded me of the eternal flame near JFK's grave.

The white dome is the Pacific War Memorial.  The center of the dome is open in which light falls directly to a circular altar. At the rim of the altar inscribed the words  "Sleep, my sons, your duty done, for Freedom's light has come; sleep in the silent depths of the sea, or in your bed of hallowed sod, until you hear at dawn the low, clear reveille of God ".

The Spanish Lighthouse is located at the highest point of the island where visitors can have a breathtaking view of Corregidor, Manila Bay, Bataan, Cavite and South Philippine Sea.

The Malinta Tunnel said to have been constructed for 10 years (1922-1932) served as protection from artillery and air attack. Since it was located beneath the Malinta Hill, it became ideal as a bomb proof shelter for Filipino and American soldiers defending Corregidor. It also served as headquarters of Gen. McArthur and office of the Philippine Commonwealth Government under President Manuel Quezon.

It has 13 lateral branches in the northside and 11 at the southside. One lateral was used for hospital, another for supply storage , another as headquarters of American generals.

The tunnel was dark pitch. But with the help of  light from our handphone and camera flash we were able to walk through until we reach the end of the tunnel. We can not imagine the condition of the personnel who lived there during the war. It was eerie.

We had buffet lunch around 1230pm. Our last stop was San Jose Chapel and Gen. Douglas McArthur's park where a larger than life bronze statue of the general was erected in his memory.

We were back at the Corregidor dock by 240pm and by 4pm we were back at Manila Bay harbor.

It was indeed a memorable trip for the Shutterbugs, Backpackers and Booklovers.