Saturday, May 18, 2013

Ocular trip: Punta De Fabian Resort Getaway

by lakwatserong tatay

One of the advantages being a traveler is giving you the opportunity in getting to different places. And if your working at a company that usually does team building and POD outing. It's really an advantage because you will be the first person that been asked and most of the time you will have the luxury of having an ocular trip and of course it is all expense diba!!!! Although in exchange you will the assigned person to know all of the things about the place you will staying for a perfect weekend getaway.

Punta De Fabian
I've heard so much resorts near my place in Rizal, with just little research and checking for those resorts review i've done. I came to a decision that  to endorse Punta De Fabian Resort located at the boundary of Baras and Tanay, Rizal. Its just a perfect place for us to have a fresh air, serene hilltop view, and of course a few little bit team activities.

the hilltop views
Punta de Fabian is located on a hillside of Baras, Rizal which is boundary of Tanay, rizal too. A perfect place to have a nice view of lush greenery views and of course Laguna Lake. Fresh air will greet you and together with their friendly and attentive staffs, you will surely have a blast of weekend getaway if you choose to stay here.

one of the pools and a jacuzzi

the infinity pool
One thing i loved with this resort is their infinity pool, even though it was quite scary because it was actually a hillside drop, so please be careful and i found it safe because there's a pool attendant that usually checks for the swimmers that usually stays on the hillside part.

The time we visited the place, there was actually a quite big group that also having their company outing or maybe team or POD outing. Even though we've given the chance to swim, we did not take it and reserved it for our POD outing...hehehehe..I thought one of their resort attendants will assist and tour us. But i was kind a surprise because the supervisor did that....o ni mam!!!! From their rooms, conference hall, videoke area's, restaurant, billiards, table tennis and dart area, kid's playground and basketball court area, and one of the most i've really like the maze area, which is really perfect for a team building activity.

two of the building accomodations
the rooms we've stayed during our POD outing

the conference hall, other meeting rooms
one of the videoke area with a hilltop view...^_^
The greatest thing happened that time was we had a free lunch. Although prior to that, we ask if we could have a food tasting, it was approved however we will have to pay for it but with a discounted price. However, we had a turn of event when one of the supervisors came in, maybe she was in a 2nd shift and told the supervisor that toured us, i was featured on tv show which is the Weekend Getaway Show , she's been following my blog too.....thanks po mam...sorry talaga nakalimutan ko name mo and nahiya ako sobra kasi nagpa picture kapa kasama ako and yun iba staff nyo...akalain nyo nagblush ako kahit maitim na ko un lang di ata halata talaga.......^_^. So because of that, we've got our lunch for free and we had also photo sessions after...

the ocular team...from L-R, mondi, pot, roger and me...^_^

my plate and our food choices that time...^_^
The restaurant area situated near one of the pools and also their receiving area for their guest. The 2nd floor of this is one of the activity area that holds the billiards tables, dart area, table tennis area, and one of the videoke area. Here are some of the photos of activity area's of Punta De Fabian resort.

Restaurant / Receiving / Activity Area....^_^

photo opps at their restaurant...^_^

for team building acitivities....

Basketball court area and kids playground

one of the photo souvenirs of my cotrippers that day
Overall, we had a great time that day, specially for me, nakakahiya moment yun pero at least akalain mo nakilala ako.....^_^. I was really excited to go back to this place as the advance party for the company and spend overnight....yehey...ang sarap...sad to say the morning after our said POD outing i have to go early because of an emergency...However the overnight experience and ocular trip experience were really superb and very unexpected, finding this place was not really hard however staying their and experience is quite a memorable experience, for sure i'll be back on this resort together with my kids and wifey....just hope meron ulit ako libre...mga mam....^_^. I personally recommend this place because of its hillside location and serene views and peaceful grounds that makes you feel to forgot the things on the city and just laid back and enjoyed it....^_^

It's me @ Punta De Fabian.....^_^
PS: They're guest usually comes during weekends so expect to have a kind a packed crowd so make sure to have an early reservations, because of that, they're not usually accepting walk in guest during weekends so better to call their office for advance reservations or bookings.

How to get to Punta De Fabian Resort? Click here:

Punta De Fabian Resort
Manila East Rd., Brgy. Evangelista, Baras, Rizal, Philippines
Tel. nos: +63 (2) 994-9560 / +63 (2) 994-9546

For reservations and inquries:
Manila Sales Office
Ground flr. Lexington Condominium
65 Xavierville Ave., Loyola Heights, Quezon City, Philippines
Tel. nos: +63 (2) 433-1995 / +63 (2) 994-1455 / +63 (2) 710-3153
Telefax: +63 (2) 929-2920

***disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post, this is just based on what i have experience during our ocular trip and my overnight experience....hope you will enjoy your stay like what i have......^_^

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

DIY Trip: Taal Basilica Catholic Church and Taal's Old Heritage Houses

by lakwatserong tatay

After a quickie hike to Mt. Talamitam, and sidetrip to Layong Bato River, our group proceeded to our next destination. The province of Taal, locals said this is a counterpart of Vigan's historical street, "Calle Crisologo". However our main goal, why we visit this town is to see the "Asia's Biggest Catholic Church", known as "Taal Basilica".

Taal Basilica
Taal Basilica is certainly the biggest church in Asia because of its colossal baroque structures made of adobe and coral stones. This church has 96mtrs long, 45 mtrs wide and 96 mtrs tall. Its facade has 24 classical columns in pairs and lined up two rows of six on top on the others, with 10 windows and 5 doors. Its edifice topped with a triangular roof and gable on each side and one in the center. Its bell tower rises on the left side.

Historical Marker

History of Taal Basilica

Original town of Taal was founded by Augustinian missionaries in 1572 on the banks of the Taal Lake (Municipal of San Nicolas can be found). Fr. Diego Espinar led the construction of the town’s very first church in 1575. In almost two centuries, the church continued to improve and was rebuilt only to be utterly destroyed in 1754 after the biggest explosion of nearby Taal Volcano. It wasn’t just the church, though, as the whole town of old Taal was so devastated. The town moved to its current location, on top of a hill overlooking Balayan Bay. In 1755, the construction of a new church was launched under Fr. Martin Aguirre.

Over several decades, new elements and features were added for the beautification of the church. However, on September 16, 1852, tragedy struck yet again. A massive earthquake hit the province and  destroyed the church. Four years after the catastrophe, another church was built at the same site under Fr. Marcos Anton, who commissioned architect Luciano Oliver to create the design and run the construction. In 1865, almost a decade later, the newly erected church was inaugurated despite its unfinished state. The construction was finally completed in 1878 with the addition of its gigantic 79 ft altar under the supervision of Fr. Agapito Aparicio. It was a massive church, the biggest at the time and would remain the biggest even centuries later. On January 16, 1974, it was declared as one of the country’s National Shrines.

the center door of the church

one of the church's chandelier
Who will not be amazed if you will see this kind of interiors. With its gigantic paintings makes you feel you've visited a church maybe in Europe. It really make picturesque perfect with it each angle. With its high ceilings and so clear paintings, up to its gigantic altar, who among the couples wouldn't want to have wedding on this church. Personally, i would love to have it here....^_^

This church has a lighter atmosphere than the other churches i've been with. Maybe because of its paintings, walls, ceilings. The paints looked like a three-dimensional patterns from afar. The main altar has 24 mtrs high and 10 mtrs wide with three doric columns lined up on each side of the centerpiece where the statue of crucified Jesus stands. There are other statues of angels and saints within the main altar. The church has minor altars with more images of saints. The altars lights is showered coming from the windowed dome above.

two of the gigantic paintings at the 2nd floor

One of Taal's Pride...."Taal Basilica"
Aside from this prominent structure in Taal. Lies within Taal Basilica is Taal Park, Taal Heritage Center, Rizal College and Our Lady of Caysasay Academy, The Municipal Hall of Taal also stands nearby. Taal's Public Market, where vendors of Batangas delicacies and other street food abound in the park.

The Town of Taal is can be explored by foot. Once you're at the Taal Park, you have an option to see and visit the ancestral houses of Taal, The Well of Sta. Lucia, The Public Market, where you could eat the famous empanda, and the Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay are just a few minutes walk away.

Taal Park

Here are some of my photos while walking around Taal's Ancestral Houses going to Taal's Public Market.

We had also the chance to try one of the Taal's version of Empanada. This empanada is made of home made pies stuffed with chicken, pork, vegetables, mixed with potato and carrots. Taal's version also includes vermecelli and sotanghon, that makes it special. Empanada's are served warm, heartly and perfectly cooked in a way that keeps the empanada crust soft and the filling full of flavor. That makes this Taal's Empanada is one of the most famous merienda and best tasting empanada version i've had. A must try when you visit this town.

Here are some of the products and delicacies that this town offers, For their products, Balisong, which make this town as Balisong Capital of the Philippines. Burdang Taal, made of pineapple and abaca fibers, that uses an old hand native embroidery, Sawali, a craft weaving split bamboo into mats typically seen in nipa hut walls. Tsinelas, one of the local products and livelihood programs in Taal, is a thong type slip-ons. For  their delicacies, Panutsa, one of the famous delicacy in Taal, made of locally grown peanuts cooked with sugar mixture. Sumang Taal, one of the famous pasalubongs in Taal, a home made, sweet, sticky, boiled rice cake wrapped in banana leaves. Tablea, filipino's hot chocolate. For their dishes, Tapang Taal, a must try when you're in Taal, best served with egss and fried rice. Longanisang Taal, one of Taal's  delicacy people rave. Adobo sa Dilaw, one of the famous dished in our country, however TaaleƱo's cooked it with turmeric, giving it a delicious yellow curry twist. Tamales, one of the native delicacies in Taal, made of pork, eggs, and nuts mixed together in a sticky rice cake. Tawilis, one of the famous dishes in Taal, made of freshwater sardines, most of the eateries in the town offer this. Sinaing na Tulingan, a tuna mackarel from Taal lake, process in hours, broiled under a portion of pork fat giving it a savory flavor. Maliputo, another fish from Taal lake, some locals its a must try in the town, however because its quite pricey, it rarely can be seen in eateries in Taal. And lastly, and one of my favorite, Batangas Lomi, a chinese-filipino noodle broth, sauteed with small pieces of pork or chicken meat, liver, and vegetables. Thickened with cassava flavor and beaten egg and topped with kikiam.

Me @ Taal Basilica, Taal, Batangas
 How to get there:

By Private Vehicle:
There are two ways to reach Taal from Manila. The first route, the easier one, uses the STAR Tollway or the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road.

Drive through SLEX. Drive straight to STAR Tollway and exit at Tambo (Lipa City). Turn right from the exit and follow the signs to Cuenca. Stay on the national highway and you’ll pass through the towns of Alitagtag and Sta. Teresita.When you reach the Sta. Teresita junction, turn right and drive straight until you reach the Taal-Lemery Bypass Junction (watch out for a Flying V gas station). Turn left at the junction and follow the road and you’ll find the Taal Basilica easily.

Another way is to drive through Tagaytay City, which will give you a breathtaking view of the Taal Volcano.

Take the Sta Rosa Exit at SLEX and stay on the highway until you reach the Tagaytay Rotonda. Turn onto the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Road (marked by a 7-Eleven Store) and drive straight until you reach the Batangas-Cavite boundary. Turn left at the boundary. Caution: this is a difficult drive as the road zigzags sharply and there are deep ravines on both sides. If you see the Fantasy World as you drive farther, you know you’re on the right track. Drive straight until you reach a junction called Mahayahay Crossing — turn left and stay on that road. You’ll pass through Lemery Town Proper. When you cross the Pansipit Bridge, you have entered Taal territory.

By Public Utility Vehicle (Bus):
Take a bus bound for Lemery. Terminals of buses to Lemery can be found in the following:
    Buendia, Pasay City near Gil Puyat LRT Station;
    Kamias corner EDSA in Quezon City; and
    Araneta Center in Quezon City.

Ask the driver whether it will pass through Taal Town Proper or not. If yes, alight at the town center, in front of the Basilica of St. Martin de Tours. If not, get off at the Taal-Lemery Bypass Junction and ride a jeepney to the town center of Taal. If you miss the junction, don’t worry. Alight at the Lemery Terminal (the last stop) instead and take a trike to the Taal Basilica.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

DIY Trip: Dayhike to Mt. Talamitam with Sidetrip to Layong Bato River

by lakwatserong tatay

Here's another fullpacked daytrip i've had together with tropang tits and pips. We visited the towns of Nasugbu and Taal, Batangas, where we had trekking activity first in Mt. Talamitam, followed by Chillaxation at Layong Bato River. Then travel to town of Taal, where we visited the Asia's Largest Catholic Church known as Taal Basilica and walk on its street and mesmerized with its Old Structures of Houses that reminds me of Vigan, Ilocos Sur and tried to eat the Famous Chicken Empanada.

So let me start the journey, we met up around 4am in the bus station located in MRT/LRT Pasay station bound for Nasugbu and aligtened at Sitio Bayabasan in Brgy. Aga (Km. 83) (php 124 as of now) or just simply tell the drop you on that Sitio because most of the drivers and conductors bound to Nasugbu known this place. As of now guide is mandatory in the place however different mountaineering clubs, hikers and including  pinoy mountaineer (Sir Gideon) did not like this policy and a registration fee (php25) is needed too.

registration area
With a local guide, (sorry kuya i already forgot your name, we got it by 300/ 5 pax). We started our quick dayhike around 7am. Pips Judz & Princess are following are guide, Aleli is in the middle and Ichan and I were last in our group....^_^

the 1st bridge

river stream
The 2nd bridge, a very quite scary bridge made of bamboo. This is the last bridge, and after this, the trek really starts....^_^

2nd bamboo bridge
Then our sunny dayhike starts with a short woodland trek that continue to a grassland slope and partial vegetiation maybe from the locals. There are so many trail variations, most of them are leading to the plateau where the peak of Mt. Talamitam can be seen. From there, is is a easy up hill climb with about 60 degrees slope trail up to the peak, just beware of the talahib that could cause slowness to your climb to the peak.

cows are present anywhere....

the trail up to the peak is viewable meters away...

nearby Mt. Batulao is can be seen along the trail.
And he we start our ascend from plateau....where lucky enough on our climb the weather coordinates with us. The sun sometimes show and sometimes clouds covers the heat. The summit assault usually takes 20-30 minutes up or can be depend on your group's trekking pace.

and we started....
Along the trail, we saw this local selling ice cream, cheese and chocolate flavor and also pinipig. Of course, we did not missed to try it, specially the weather that time constantly changes from heat striking rays of the sun and sometimes it turns the skies to grayish that in any moment rain could drop.

photo opps with kuya ice cream seller and kuya guide
And then we resumed our talahib trek, hehehehehe... let the pictures below tell how tall are the grasses that time.

within few minutes we will be in the summit.....
In less than 2 hours we've summited Mt. Talamitam, where we had lunch and few photo session at the top.

lunch at the summit

Tropang Tits and Pips @ Mt. Talamitam Summit

Lakwatserong Tatay @ Mt. Talamitam Summit
After staying at the summit for almost an hour, we started our descent with the same trail we had during our ascend. However before we proceed to the next destination town "Taal", our kuya guide is very generous to take us a river which we could enjoy and chillax for few moments. Our kuya guide told us, they called this river as "Layong Bato River". When you reach this area, the picture below, your nearly on the river, with just a few meters descend you will reach the swimming area of the river, where most of the locals and climbers alike stay and enjoy the called waters of this river.

actually the pool has a slide through this flow of water

the swimming pool
And here's our photo opps while enjoying the cold and quite clear waters of Layong Bato river....

Lakwatserong Tatay @ Layong Bato River
After staying for almost 30 minutes, we had to bid goodbye to this river and proceed to the house of our guide and had to take a bath and refresh for a moment. Then proceed to our next destination, which is the town of Taal, Batangas. Our main goal is to visit the Asia's Biggest Catholic Church known as Taal Basilica, walk through the street of Old Heritage Houses of Taal and tried and eat the Famous Chicken Empanada of Taal, Aling Rowena's Empanada at Taal Public Market. 
So see you in my next day trip adventures.....^_^


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