Gone for the Weekend: The Roadtrip to Quezon Province…

I make it a point that every year is a travel year for me. After all, life is too short to just stay at home and do nothing. It started back in 2009 when I decided to just abandon anything work-related (got burnt out so bad!); hit the road with a bunch of old air heads and off we went to Baguio, the city of pines. 2010 is just another good traveling year for me too and it was a bit new since for the first time I traveled with my friends from college. We went to Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales. It wasn’t my first time there. Last 2008 I was able to sample the beauty & mystic of the islands of Zambales with friends from the office. This year is extra special since our destination is one of my dream destinations. In fact, it was listed in my bucket list, to be able to see & experience Borawan, an island situated in Padre Burgos, Quezon. I first heard of the island about 2 years ago in a local travel TV show Trip na Trip of Bayan Productions and since then I fell in love with it and was dreaming to set my foot there. It took us a while before we were able to pull this trip off since the island is practically a virgin island. It was rarely visited by tourist and locals. Internet articles were scarce. There were just a few articles available and you can’t even call it as decent source of information. But it suits me just fine. I don’t mind the long travels and countless walks I should make and I take pride as one of the very first who set foot and visited islands such as Borawan. There’s a certain thrill in conquering unchartered terrains and undiscovered island and I guess that’s what draws me to Borawan, to be the very first to see the island. I’ll try to be as detailed as possible but if you guys know anything about the island and how to get there, I’ll gladly accept any additions and/or corrections. =) Day 1: March 26, Saturday at JAC Liner in Kamuning, Quezon City Our travel starts at JAC Liner in Kamuning (near GMA 7’s building). There are several liners that offer trips from Manila to Lucena Town Proper but we chose JAC Liner. Their buses are clean and spacious, fare is reasonable enough (at P218), and they offer free WI-FI to their passengers, not to even mention that their crew & the drivers are very courteous and always make it point to assist their passengers (especially those who carry heavy luggage). Trips start as early as 2 in the morning and the last trip is at 12 midnight (kindly take note of the time to avoid hassle). We boarded the bus at exactly 5:30 in the morning and the bus was on the roll at exactly 6 in the morning. It usually takes 3 to 4 hours before you reach Lucena. We opted for an early ride so we’d have time to scout the place, look for transportation to take us to Padre Burgos and of course to shop for our food. You’ll pass by several towns along the way to Lucena: Laguna, Sto. Tomas, Batangas, and then several towns in Quezon province. The bus will take you directly to Lucena City Grand Terminal. In the terminal you’ll find everything that you might need. It houses almost any transportation towards to any destination, fast food chains, pasalubong stores, and most importantly, clean comfort rooms. After a quick breakfast in Jollibee, we split the group into 2. Gerry & Rachelle took care of finding transportation to Padre Burgos while yours truly and Bong went to the local market of Lucena to buy food and supplies (You can find jeeps in the terminal that will take you to the local market for a fare of P8). Clock hits 1pm, we were able to find a jeep that will take us to Padre Burgos and we’ve completed our supplies list, then we’re off to hit the road. Travel time from Lucena to Padre Burgos was a bit long, we’re on the road for an hour and 45 minutes before we reach Padre Burgos town proper (you’ll know you’re there when you see the QCRB Bank in Padre Burgos). Then it’ll be a 15 minutes tricycle ride for P10 each to “aplaya” where we’ll take the boat ride to the islands. In aplaya, we met Kuya Ote the boatman who’ll take us to the very first island we’ll visit and where we plan to stay for the night, Dampalitan Beach. You can rent boats starting at P800 to P2,000 depending on how may island you want to visit or your haggling skills. We got our boat for P800 and Kuya Ote agreed to takes us to Dampalitan then pick us up the next day and will take us directly to our rented resort. It took us 30 minutes before we reached Dampalitan. In Dampalitan beach we met Ate Eileen, the island’s caretaker. Take note that there are several fees you have to settle: P30/head for the island entrance fee, P200 to P250 for the tent depending on the size of the tent that you’ll be pitching there, P200 for the rent of the table, and P40 for clean fresh water you can use for food preparation, etc. We have the island practically all to ourselves since it’s already Saturday and people who visited Quezon were off to Manila again. What I love the most in these undiscovered islands is the peace that it offers. Nothing’s more precious to me than having the quiet and peaceful time to think, rest, and meditate. Now if you’re the kind of person who digs peace and quiet then I definitely recommend Padre Burgos. Dampalitan also offers a good backdrop for the shutter bugs. It offers good view of the sunset (given that the weather’s good when you go there) and a picturesque view of the island in the afternoon. The island dwellers and their pets are also a good subject for your pictures.

Here are some of my works of art, taken from Dampalitan Beach… =)

dusk at the island

this photo was taken on our first day there in Dampalitan. it was a bit gloomy, no sun at all and it was drizzling a bit… but i couldn’t pass up the chance to take pictures..  =)

boat in the water

I was doing some test shots, I scanned ALY and I saw this.. reminds me of the super old Bench commercial, remember Richard Gomez??? In briefs, rowing on a boat in the middle of the sea… hehe.. it was near dusk here…

dampalitan shore

here’s a sample pic with adjusted exposure compensation (about 1.7 I guess, couldn’t quite remember)… it’s almost 6pm when i took this picture, did some adjustments then viola! it looks like its dawn not dusk.. hehe..

high noon at dampalitan beach

this was taken the 2nd day at the beach.. luckily, sun was up that time so we took the opportunity to take pictures..  it was low tide that time and when its low tide in Dampalitan, you can see foot bridge made out of sand, shells, & rock… follow that path and you’ll end up in a little island in the middle of the sea where you can actually take pictures of endless sea and horizon… =)

dampalitan in black & white

high noon but i turned it to black & white… =)

mah good friend gerry in the middle of the sea

did i already say that we practically have the island all to ourselves? yeah said it and its true! haha! see, i can’t find any subject worth taking a snap at so here’s gerry & euran.. =)

kamusta sa abs??? :))
ala bench scene! haha!

i couldn’t just upload everything here since most of the files were as heavy as 18MB…

ok.. to sum it up, here’s the total cost of our first day in Padre Burgos (including fares, food, and all, computed per head, for a group composed of 4 people);

P218 – Bus Fare (Manila to Lucena)

P70 – Breakfast at Jollibee (in Lucena Grand Terminal)

P16 – Jeepney fare (Lucena Grand Terminal to Local market and back)

P35 – Jeepney fare (Lucena Grand Terminal to Padre Burgos Town Proper)

P15 – Tricycle fare (Padre Burgos Town Proper to Aplaya)

P200 – Boat Rent (to and from Dampalitan beach)

P30 – Entrance fee at Dampalitan Beach

P60 – Tent Pitching fee

P10 – Potable Fresh water

P50 – Table rent

P156 – food budget for overnight stay at the island

Total: P860

For the food, Ate Eileen can cook for you but the price will depend on what you want to eat and the food will depend on whatever’s available that day. =)

ok, got to get back on working on my reports so day2 of the Quezon trip will have to wait.. =) till the next post!!! keep on moving your feet!!! =)

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INVICTUS…

“I am the master of my fate… I am the captain of my soul…” These were the lines I remember the most. These were the very words spoken by one of the greatest man that ever existed in this world; South Africa’s former President Nelson Mandela. He is one of my political heroes. I look up to him and admire his philosophies in life as well as his leadership style. And yesterday, I stumbled upon a movie about Nelson Mandela and how he reunited his country, Africa, the movie INVICTUS. While many believed that Africa has gone to the dogs and hope is but a vague dream for its people, Mandela stepped in and led his people towards change. And to everybody’s surprise, Mandela used the sport Rugby to bring unity to his nation. Yes, the method is indeed intriguing and peculiar but very effective I daresay because sports, like music, is a universal language. It transcends any barriers known to humankind. If you happen to know me a year ago and would ask me if I watched Invictus, I would answer a straight, in your face and resounding “no.” I have no interest with sports so even though the movie featured the life of my hero, I’d never dare to try and watch it. Thing here is, I get bored with sports. I don’t understand the terms used, the rules of any game, and the very culture and foundation of it (I apologize to my PE teachers, didn’t learn a thing from you guys!). It really bore me to death I tell you. It’s like a different and alienating world for me. Then just this year, I got the biggest surprise of my life when one day I woke up with a new found appreciation of sports particularly FOOTBALL. So needless to say, I took time to learn the sports by the book (wasn’t able to play but I plan to someday). I read articles, books, magazines about the sport to get myself familiar with the terms and rules of the game. Then little by little, I fell deeply, madly, and obnoxiously in love with football.

This new found love affair for football was even hyped up at fever pitch when I saw the movie Invictus. Oh and for those who didn’t know, Rugby is like a close relative of Football or Soccer. The movie discussed how one sport united a weary and torn down nation of Africa. It tackles how one sport was able to bridge the gap and how it was able to break all the boundaries of races and differences. It showcased how one sport can spark the light of hope; give courage to people when everything seems lost. It was really amazing how the then president Nelson Mandela united his countrymen through Rugby. Africa became one nation. There’s no black or white, rich or poor. Everyone’s all and the same. The South African Rugby team also reminds me so much of my country’s own football team: The Philippine Team AZKALS. They are similar in more ways than one. Our national team, same as with the African team, was once am underdog. Nobody cares whether they win or not. It’s as if the team never existed at all. And both of them climbed and thrived hard to get to where they are now. The only difference is that Team AZKALS   haven’t competed and won a World Cup title but I’m sure they will, someday (let’s keep the dream alive!). I have to point out that though we haven’t competed in the World Cup, the performance of the AZKALS in the AFC Qualifier is very promising (after beating the powerhouse Vietnam last year and qualifying for the next year’s AFC Challenge Cup) so I am hopeful and confident that they can get us there.

I just hope that we can emulate the example of Nelson Mandela and Team Africa. They both have a dream; they know the goal to reach. Against all odds, they pushed through and they never let go of that dream, they held onto it as if it is their sole lifeline. They didn’t allow for it to just fall apart. All those defeat, they used it to propel themselves towards the top of the chain. They take every criticism positively and turn it into fuel, feeding their passion to win. I also admire the cohesion of the team; it’s a brotherhood like no other; all for one, one for all. The team, upon Mandela’s suggestion, also immersed themselves to the “Real Africa.” They had this one day of training with the poorest of the poor kids of Africa and they saw first hand the current status of the country then they started thinking of what they can do to make a contribution, to see change, to leave a mark and most importantly to make a difference. In the team’s mind, Rugby is now not just a million-dollar sports career where you’ll be able to earn tons of money, it is a higher calling. Something you can utilize to make the lives of other people better. The team didn’t just become a better athletes but a better people as well. And in the end, everything paid off; Team Africa won their World Cup.

I am dreaming that one day, we can do the same. United through one sport – and FOOTBALL that is. As for our National Team, I hope to see them one day doing greater things other than winning the Football World Cup. Like what I said, being an athlete is not just a million-dollar sports career. It’s more than that and we should always keep in mind that we owe it to ourselves to always go beyond what is expected of us. When everybody’s expecting you to be a better athlete, show them that you’re not just an athlete excelling in your chosen sport; you are a better person, able to do greater things not just for yourself or the team, most importantly for the betterment of your country.

Believe and make a difference… =)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate…
I am the captain of my soul…