Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Hundred Islands Tour Part 2

In connection to my previous post about our family trip to Alaminos, Pangasinan, particularly in Hundred Islands, I will be sharing with you now the contents of the official flyer/price list of the amenities and activities available in the said tourist attraction. So here goes:

All entries are in Philippine Peso.

Environmental Fee P40.00 / person for Day Tour P80.00 /person for Overnight Tour
Entrance Fee/IPAF P30.00 / person

Note: Free 5 years old and below
Senior Citizen/ PWD Discount: 20%

Insurance (Effective for 24 hours) P10.00 / person


Zipline (546 m) in Governor's Island 250/jump
Zipline (120m) in Quezon Island 100/jump
Wall Climbing 50/pax
Rapeling 50/pax
3 in 1 package 175
Banana Boat (max 7 pax) 1,500 per ride
Helmet Diving 400/dive (20 mins)
Kayaking (max 2 pax) 250/hour
Snorkeling 250/set gear rental

Motorboat Rates

TOUR TYPE (boat size) One Day Tour with Service Boat Two Day Tour with Service Boat
Small (1-5 passengers) 1,400.00 3,000.00
Medium (10 passengers) 1,800.00 3,800.00
Large (11-15 passengers) 2,000.00 4,500.00

*Rates are subject to change without prior notice.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Embracing One's Season

One of the realities of a freelancer’s life is that there is no long-lasting routine.

Just as when you’re getting into the groove of waking up late in the morning, here comes a project with a deadline that’s due the next day so you will have to sleep late at night and wake up early to finish and polish and beat the deadline. Another extreme would be when you are in between projects, (in my case, scripts or shows), and things can get really unharried. And these times are the times that I look forward to because this would mean more time for my daughter, time to experiment on cooking, on crafts, catch up on movies, more time on facebook, on the internet, cleaning and organizing the house, playdates, waking up late and the list goes on and on. But don’t get me wrong, these are “free” times but it doesn’t mean that I have nothing to do on these days. Tons of errands and personal projects await, like photobooks, compiling files, DIY projects and putting labels on just about anything! These are also the days that I pray for better and nicer writing assignments, time to recharge and read up on improving my craft. I call this my “relaxed season.”

I can’t remember a relaxed season for me last year. God has blessed me with projects, one after the other. There were months when I had 4 shows at the same time. This year, 2016, my “relaxed season” started about three weeks ago. Had I been younger and less mature in my walk with God, I would already be feeling restless, worried and scared for my savings and future. But God has taught me that there is a season for everything, He has proven to me time and time again that He is always cooking up something better for me even during these weeks that I have no writing assignments.

I know for a fact that writing is my life work and I am called to do this for life. Down times should not be viewed as panic times because God will surely, certainly provide something new in His perfect time. So as for me, I embrace this time of my life and I am grateful for having a life such as this. I enjoy every minute of being at home with my daughter, getting the house ready for my husband’s going home after work in the afternoon, having more time to read and study and do crafts, fellowship with my cyber sisters in my online group of wives and moms, and spending time getting to know more about God and His Word.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Day I Was Transported To The Past

As part of his work in education, my husband has had the privilege of being part of the Araw ng Kagitingan Celebrations for the past three years. This time, he thought my daughter and I might want to join the annual tour to Corregidor. Because I wanted to pack my daughter’s summer vacation with enriching activities and because she couldn’t attend the Me and My Dad Camp (again) because my husband’s field word will cover the dates the camp is being held, we thought we might just join the tour. Besides, I was curious about the Sun Cruises and we know my daughter’s now old enough to somehow understand what the tour is all about – Japanese and Americans fighting each other during the World War II.

We started the day at 3:30 am, left the house an hour after, and we’re already at the Esplanade Ferry Terminal at around 5am. There were already a lot of War Veterans in the terminal, also waiting for boarding. The cruise started at the exact time we were supposed to leave – at 7am. The yatch isn’t exactly impressive, but it’s “pwede na.” Not spic and span clean, but not really dirty. Maybe a little old. The staff was friendly and very accommodating.

There was a documentary in the WWII that was shown during the whole trip. By the time the Corregidor Island’s top can be seen, a few passengers started standing up to take photos. The excitement was growing especially for my daughter.

We arrived at 8:30am, then transferred to the Sun Cruise bus for the Bus Tour. This I think is what my daughter loved the most. She said she likes the bus and the fact that it’s open on both sides, she liked the tour guide whom she finds funny, and the loved the scenery – caves and mountains and really pristine ocean! I must say the ocean was really breath-taking! Too bad the sun was glaring I wasn’t able to relax and take time to view the beauty of the water. Its blue-ness was exhilarating! If there is one thing I’d like to come back for in Corregidor, it would be the ocean! As I write this article, I’m feeling bad that I wasn’t able to take more photos, haaargh!

The tour ran from 9am till 2pm, including lunch. Our first stop was the War Heroes Memorial where a statue of President Manuel Quezon and his VP Sergio Osmena can be found. The Araw ng Kagitingan Ceremonies was being held when we got there. Veterans, Navy and Army soldiers are everywhere. Everything is grand, but again, the hot climate limits our ability to explore the area. I bought a huge hat for my daughter at the tiangge. They sell shirts from P150-P250, drinks (an 8oz soda costs P20), keychains at P50 and up, chips, ref magnets, wallets and abanikos. My daughter’s hat costs P150.

After about an hour, the ceremony was all done and so we boarded the bus again. We headed for the different areas in Corregidor. We watched a Navy Seals show at the South Beach (wonderful, beautiful, amazing body of water!). My daughter collected a few bloodstones. Urban legend has it that the red stains on the white stones are actually the blood of the soldiers who died during the war. But scientifically, it is because the sun’s heat reacting with the water that causes the discoloration of the stones.

The map of Corregidor actually looks like a tadpole. We started at the tail part, then the middle part, then the bottom part and then at the top hill. We toured the barracks, the Cine Corregidor, their then hospitals, swimming pools, 9-holed golf course, etc. It’s amazing to think how glorious this place used to be during the American times!

We also spent some time inside the Corregidor Museum, in the Battery Way (where they used to keep their guns, cannonballs, bullets and mortars), in the Eternal Flame of Freedom, etc. My daughter was giddy because she got to see the replica of Gen. Douglas McArthur and she saw how different Philippine Money looked like during the olden times. “Look, mom, Jose Rizal used to be in a two-peso bill! And hey, two pesos used to be a bill!”

At 12 noon, it was time for lunch! We were all very excited because it is a BUFFET LUNCH! The area where they set our lunch was nicely decorated though it’s not in an airconditioned room. Oh well. I especially loved the paella and the pandan juice, while my daughter liked the carbonara. My husband who’s into healthy eating had second servings of the fresh fruits. Other viands were a chicken dish, a fish fillet dish and steamed veggies. For dessert we had macaroni salad.

After lunch we headed to the watch tower thought we didn’t brave to climb up the stairs, plus we were already pressed for time.

We toured some more then went to the Malinta Tunnel, where a Lights and Sounds Show is to be held. Built in 1913, the tunnel looked creepy and is of course, dark. We had no choice but to all watch since this is the highlight of the tour. My daughter was really brave to go through the tunnel and watch the show though she wasn’t expecting the bomb simulation thus she got a bit scared.

At the end of the show, and of the tunnel, as the Philippines was declared free from the conquerors, the spotlight showed a really tall Philippine Flag as we all sang the Philippine National Anthem. I got goosebumps as we were singing not because of the creepiness of the tunnel, but because of the thought that had not the early Filipinos fought for our country, we would’ve been a colony of either Spain, or Japan, or America up to this day.

After the song, as we exited the tunnel, we were so happy to see the sky again. Whew! It was hot inside the tunnel that I kept on hoping there’s no one in the crowd who’s got claustrophobia.

By 2:15, we again boarded the Sun Cruise. We left Corregidor Island at 2:30pm. An hour and a half after, we once again saw Manila, particularly the Mall of Asia, and the MOA Eye. Wonderful how in less than a couple of hours we were transported from the busy city life to an island rich in history and back to the cosmopolitan again. How different the atmosphere, the feel and the experience actually is. I felt like I’ve been in a time capsule and back to the present in just the blink of an eye.

Thankful for the experience. Thankful for history. Thankful for the reminder to love our country and respect the past.