Tagaytay Misadventures while waiting for a spectacular sunrise

Category: By DuNi

It was 12 midnight.  I just got off from the bus at Mendez crossing and hurried at the other side of the road.  Every establishment is closed except for the convenience store and a fruit stand where a few passengers were trying to catch the last bus to Nasugbu.  I was hoping to spend a little time eating congee in a lugawan or sipping hot soup in a bulalohan but the place seems deserted.  The only option was the convenience store to find something to warm me up.   I decided to pass by Tagaytay route going to Talisay.   Although I have been to the city a lot of times, it was an unfamiliar route since the usual route going to Talisay is via Tanauan City.  It was my first time to pass by Tagaytay via public travel.  Sungay road, a very steep downhill road going down to the lakeside town of Talisay is usually the route used by those with private vehicles.

Misadventure #1 – the ladies sweatshirt

I actually forgot to bring a jacket.  It was colder outside the road than inside the bus.  The cool breeze of the northeast monsoon is penetrating through my skin, and with my skinny figure it was at that moment that I was wishing I had extra fats to stay warm.  My only option was a ladies sweatshirt which was given to me to be given of course to my lady.  With no other choice, I had to wear it to avoid the chill.  I even had to change my outfit outside the road.  The sweatshirt fits exactly that I still had enough space to put back my polo and make my outfit look like a warmer.

Misadventure #2 – the hot coffee

I bought a hot coffee at the convenience store to aid my battle against Tagaytay’s cool breeze.  It was the best alternative for missing the bulalohan or lugawan.  My problem though was I forgot how hot the hot coffee is.  I burned my tongue and insides trying to drink it like cold water. 

Misadventure #3 – the wrong bus stop and the deserted road

Except for a few private vehicles from those who are spending their weekends in Tagaytay, the road was also deserted.  I was trying to catch a bus back to Tagaytay Junction.  I bypassed the Rotonda where some stores were open.  I got down at Mendez crossing and when I saw the place deserted, I realized I made a mistake.  The mistake turned into discontent as I asked some locals about busses coming and going to Manila and at 12 midnight, the hopes of catching a bus were dim.  There were two men who were also stranded and we individually decided to wait and hope for a bus to pass by.  We were lucky that after an hour and a half, there was one opportunistic bus with few passengers.  I thought I would have to stay there until four in the morning.

Misadventure #4 – fast food, fast nap

At Tagaytay junction, I found myself staying at Mcdonald’s while waiting for the sunrise.  I was trying to look for a place to stay for only three hours maximum, but decided not to incur more expenses and just stay awake wherever allowed until sunrise. Bought another cup of coffee, though.  The tongue was numb, and the whole body was a little cold so drinking another hot coffee after a burned tongue was never an issue.  Unfortunately, both coffees never helped in helping me stay awake the whole night.  It was a good thing the place didn’t have a lot of customer so I was able to take short naps at every opportunity I got during my stay.  I thank the guard for not taking notice!

Misadventure #5 – the hundred pesos short ride

At 4AM, I left Mcdo to watch out for the coming sunrise.  I was too early though so I spent warming myself inside 7/11.  The wifi at both Mcdo and 7-11 kept me busy at times.  At 6AM, I was being convinced by tricycle drivers at Tagaytay junction to bring me down to Talisay for 250 pesos, which I repeatedly declined.  I only asked to be brought to Ligaya Drive, as I was trying to catch a jeepney ride at Sungay .  The jeepney fare costs around 40 and up to 80 pesos depending on how many passengers are on board.  Since only a few commuters passes by this route, they are sometimes forced to give additional fares to compensate the lack of passengers so that the jeepney can leave even with less people.  I was approached by business-minded folks and offered a motorcycle ride for a hundred pesos.  At first I was hesitant but the notion of having the best picture-taking opportunity while riding-in-tandem got me interested.  I haggled for a lower price as a formality and we agreed on the ride that will take me down with the best back row seat.  I wasn’t really expecting to spend as much as that; I think I spent much more than the usual fares doing the regular route going to Talisay.  It was chagrin every time I reach for my pocket to pay for the additional and unexpected expenses.

The end result

I was awake at most the whole time, I was a little cold, I was a little bit hungry due to the cold breeze, I was agonizing a little from a burned tongue, the expenses from the trip costs me more, but nothing is more rewarding even with all those misadventures than getting to see what I wanted to see for a very long time.

Unforgettable long weekend in Bolinao

Category: By DuNi

If it’s hard to start a blog, it might be that the topic is not an interesting one, or in my case, it’s hard to tell the things I wanted to say when I am lost for words.  It should not have been the case, since I sensed that it’s just another long weekend(longer weekend for us here in Angeles because of a local holiday), and it’s just another trip to the beach.  I think I am still having a hangover even 2 days after we got back home and having the laptop for myself all the time.

The destination this time was Bolinao.  To think that it was just another beach was probably an understatement, and a mistake on my part.  I guess I have to condition myself that we need to travel far to experience the best beach destinations.  The uncomfortable long travel was transformed into awe as we stepped inside Punta Riviera and got a glimpse of its facilities, and surroundings.  Depending on each and everyone’s preference, the place has its pros and cons, too.  But with the kids as company, I have to say Punta Riviera would be a good choice to stay, sans the food and some lodging issues.  Just bring lots of money though, as Punta Riviera is somewhat categorized as “big-budget” friendly resort along Bolinao.

The beachfront is shallow until about a hundred meters and more during low tide, perfect for kids and young people like me who are a little bit afraid of the waves.  If you are into surfing and/or tackling West Philippine Sea’s awesome waves, Punta Riviera is not the place for you, you need to go farther unto Patar.  Your kid/s (if you happen to have even just one) will surely enjoy the beachfront, though.  Even the infinity pool is a great place to swim even at night, with its lukewarm water allowing our daughter to enjoy night swimming.  Hunger and tiredness were probably the reasons that convinced her to stop at 8 in the evening and continue swimming the next day.  

The adventure did not stop at the infinity pool and the beach.  There was kayaking at the river beside the resort, a pool table and a badminton table, a videoke machine beside the bar which has the river and beach view, a Jacuzzi, lots of benches near the pool for some solitude, and even limited cable channels in your rooms.  There are even attractions like the 400 year old St. James Cathedral, the Bolinao Lighthouse, and various caves in Patar, the Bolinao Falls aside from some rock formations on the beaches.  Due to time constraints, we only got to visit the lighthouse, Cindy’s cave and a quick trip to the town proper to see the cathedral and taste some binaguey, but still those experiences were enough to make our trip an unforgettable one.

We’ve read some bad reviews prior to our trip so we brought food just in case.  The bad reviews were, actually bad, considering the sumptuous meal served to us.  The food was a little expensive and the breakfast was almost the same as your average meal, but some on the menu was quite a feast for us.  I have never tasted fish as fresh and tasty as the ones served.  Now, where did I saw that bad food review?  It was total opposite of what were served to us.  Still with kids around, we had to bring comfort foods for them in case they turned their heads away from the menu.  You just have to pay the corresponding corkage fee.

The staffs were very accommodating.  Even though we opted to change room because we are not comfortable over our reserved room, they assisted us every time.  We even had our toilet bowl fixed as soon as possible.  We were assisted when we asked for a barbecue grill (of course we also have to pay extra for that).  We were provided with most of the things we asked immediately, and they were smiling every time if we’re out of earshot of their customary greetings.  Even the guards were friendly and accommodating in some ways.  Except for some problems in our room which were fixed immediately, our stay at Punta Riviera were satisfactory.

Bolinao, I would say, is one of the best destinations I have been to so far.  Even though I read some different review from other travelers, it’s the personal experience that counts the most.  I could only say this much about our stay in Bolinao.  I will just let the pictures speak for itself.