We’re on the safe side when we say everbody loves the beach. Ok, perhaps not everybody, but almost everybody, and we bet if you’re reading this, you’re most likely a beach bum. Or a beach lover. Now, imagine enjoying the beach the whole day, frolicking in crystal-clear waters off the the town of Bais, Negros Oriental, then, at the end of the day, going home to the same beach? Or sandbar, to be more specific. That’s the Manjuyod Sandbar, a 7-kilometer stretch of white sand in the middle of the sea, around 15 minutes by boat from the mainland, with huts that can be rented for overnight stays through the Bais City Tourism Office. The sandbar disappears during high tide (imagine waking up in the morning and jumping straight into the sea) and reappears during low tide (imagine forgetting that it’s low tide and jumping into the sea). It’s oftentimes called the “Maldives of the Philippines,” although we’re undecided whether we should be happy with the label (the Philippines has the best beaches in the world, so what’s the point of comparing it to Maldives?). Here, look at this photo by Damzel (check her Instagram account, @missdamzel, for more photos). Click the photo to enlarge. Continue reading Be a Beach Bum at the Manjuyod Sandbar (Bais, Negros Oriental): Photo of the Day
What’s the breakfast of champions? Yes, we know, we can have a debate based on science and nutritionists will most likely win. In our book, however, it’s danggit. Yes, that deboned and sliced little dried fish that is popular at the Taboan Dried Fish Maket in Cebu City. If you put it side by side with bacon, spam and all the works on a buffet table, we’ll still pick danggit. Every. Single. Time. Just dip in suka (vinegar), lump it with a little rice, and you’re good to go. It’s so popular in this side of the world that it’s usually bought as pasalubong (then again, this kind of gift-giving is probably unique to Filipinos, right?). The concept of pasalubong is a bit hard to explain, but suffice it to say that it’s bought in the place you’ve visited and you won’t get one if you’re not close enough or special to the one giving the gift (it’s like saying, “hey, I’m thinking of you even if I’m far away”). It’s also hard to explain why your Filipino neighbor, especially abroad, is cooking something with that weird smell. That’s danggit. Want to see danggit? Here, have a basketful, photo courtesy of Rubi Santos (check her Instagram account, @rubirubiroo, for more photos). Click the photo to enlarge. Continue reading “Fresh” Danggit at Taboan Dried Fish Market, Cebu: Photo of the Day
Yachting has its draw, although it’s no secret that a yacht club is not exactly for the public to enjoy. Still, there must be no stigma attached to that. The comforts and glitter of a yacht should be an incentive for many to do well in their chosen fields of endeavor to afford this piece of luxury. It’s a neat piece of life, facing the raw power of the sea while sailing, yet enjoying the quiet comfort of life at the dock, like we see in this photo of the Subic Yacht Club, courtesy of Until The Horizon (check her Instagram account, @untilthehorizon, for more photos). Click the photo to enlarge. Continue reading Quiet Comfort at Subic Bay Yacht Club: Photo of the Day
From the very first crude attempt to conquer the sky, mankind has always wondered how it feels to be free as a bird. There were a lot of crashes, of course, but we were able to fly. Some forms of “flying,” like paragliding (parachute + gliding), are simply controlled crashes. It’s not really flying as a bird, but the feeling of freedom that comes with flying should come with it. It’s not strictly like flying as a bird, but the feeling of freedom that comes with it should come close to flying. To be blunt about it, it’s just crashing with style (fun, though). Now, having read that, are you still brave enough to try paragliding, like the one you’ll find in Carmona, Cavite? You should try it. Just watch Edith Vitug (check his Instagram account, @dithvitug, for more photos) in this photo. Click the photo to enlarge. Continue reading Free as a Bird, Paragliding in Carmona, Cavite: Photo of the Day
Yes, we said we’re not fond of Valentines Day, but that doesn’t mean we hate Valentines. Our first meeting originally fell on February 14. We decided to move our date because we realized it’s Valentines Day, and we don’t celebrate Valentines. Don’t get us wrong, though. We believe in romance. We believe in love. Incidentally, this lovely photo of lovers and sunset was captured in Peninsula de Punta Fuego by Fr. Jboy Gonzales (check his Instagram account, @jboygonzalessj, for more photos), a Jesuit. A Jesuit solemnized our marriage and baptized our children. A Jesuit blessed our offices. Love ’em, Jesuits. Click the photo to enlarge. Continue reading Valentines Sunset at Peninsula de Punta Fuego: Photo of the Day
We’re not too fond of Valentines. We really don’t know how to say it without appearing as the Grinch of Valentines Day, but, there, we said it. It’s just another normal day for us because love is celebrated every second of every day, not only February 14 when everything is insanely overpriced (but a lot of people still fall for it). So, for those who share the same view, as well the brokenhearted, here’s a message for you from the Travelling Farmer (check his Instagram account, @traveling_farmer, for more photos) — Konting Tiis pa, bes, malapit na din matapos ang Valentines. Kapit lang! Click the photo to enlarge. Continue reading Kapit Lang, Bes, Malapit na Matapos ang Valentines: Photo of the Day
We all have different fears and we all have different ways of coping with those fears. We’re almost sure, however, that most people have a fear of heights. At the very least, we can speak for ourselves — we’re terrified of heights. Our palms were sweating when we watched that old Cliffhanger movie. Same thing while looking at this photo, courtesy of EA Policarpio (check his Instagram account, @edgrallan, for more photos), as he conquered Mt. Pamitinan in Rodriquez, Rizal. Good activity for those who enjoy the rough outdoors; definitely not good for us with fear of heights. Perhaps we’ll choose another fear to conquer. Click the photo to enlarge. Continue reading Face your Fears in Mt. Pamitinan (Rodriguez, Rizal): Photo of the Day
The tricycle is not unique to the Philippines, but we bet nowhere else in the world is the humble tricycle heavily used as a normal mode of public transportation. Only in the Philippines. And here in the Philippines, specifically the Birdland Beach Club in Pangasinan, you’ll find the bamboo tricycle, as you can see in this photo of Christian Tañedo (check his Instagram account, @christiano_galaero, for more photos). The bamboo tricycle fits into the whole design of the resort, as described in its website: “We are the first truly eco oriented resort in Bolinao. We built the resort around the existing coral instead of destroying them like other local resorts. All the pathways are sand so minimal destruction to the environment.” Click the photo to enlarge. Continue reading The Bamboo Tricycle of Birdland Beach Club (Pangasinan): Photo of the Day
As with any adventure, it started with an opportunity. A rare opportunity. While the past two Presidents have sadly ended the policy of long weekends, this year brings together a semestral break (perfect for the kids) and a 4-day long weekend (that brings in the parents and everyone who works to earn their keep). It’s traditionally a time to visit the graves and whisper some prayers for our dearly departed on All Soul’s Day. A sight to behold, really. Come to think of it, why do people bring alcohol and other favorite food of loved ones who have gone ahead? People would like to think that it’s for the dead. But as they say, a wake and all tradition pertaining to death is for the living, not the dead.
The drive to Club Punta Fuego is a perfect time to commune with nature and, if you happen to travel around All Soul’s Day, try establish that bluetooth connection with your loved ones from the other world. It’s a bit of a drive — under 3 hours if you pause to grab a bite and those selfies on the road (although that’s just a quick drive if you’ve travelled straight to Pagudpud, Caramoan or Misibis by land from Manila) — so you’ll have plenty enough time to reflect and talk to them.
How to Get There; Directions
Now, before proceeding, let’s get rid of a preliminary matter — how to get there? There’s a lot of road leading to Nasugbu, where Club Punta Fuego is quietly hidden. The resort’s website gives to options, and we assume these are the best options because, well, they’re the ones who should know better:
OPTION 1: From Manila via the newly opened Ternate – Nasugbu Highway. Make your way to Roxas Boulevard in Parañaque and head south taking the Manila – Cavite Expressway (Coastal Road) and continue on to the Centennial Road in Kawit, Cavite. Stay on Centennial Road to Antero Soriano Highway to Governor’s Drive until you reach Ternate. Keep following Governor’s Drive until you see the left turn to the Ternate – Nasugbu Highway. Take the Ternate – Nasugbu Highway as it winds up Mt. Palay-Palay and follow the signs, passing through Kaybiang Tunnel, and skirt the mountainside overlooking the West Philippine Sea. Stay on the highway taking you through Barangays Looc, Calayo, and Balaytigue where you turn right to reach the gate of Peninsula de Punta Fuego.
OPTION 2: From Manila via South Luzon Expressway to Tagaytay. Head south on South Luzon Expressway and exit at Sta. Rosa. Continue on Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay Road and turn right at Tagaytay – Calamba Road and cross the Tagaytay rotunda junction. Stay on the Tagaytay – Nasugbu Highway until you reach Brgy. Palico and turn right on the Palico – Nasugbu Highway. Turn right on J. P. Laurel St. and pass through Nasugbu town proper. Stay on the road until it becomes Nasugbu – Ternate Highway, heading northbound until you reach the entrance of Brgy. Balaytigue on the left. Turn left on Brgy. Balaytigue and follow the road to reach the gate of Peninsula de Punta Fuego.
Option 2 is nice, with a big “but”. It’s nice because it goes through the scenic Tagaytay, with the majestic view of Taal Lake (or Taal Volcano, however you would like to call it), tons of dining options, and the Sky Ranch. Tagaytay is like Boracay in the sky — it’s crowded, but you’ll have the best of both nature and modern living. The crowd, coupled with tiny roads that haven’t been expanded for as long as we can remember. What do you get? Gridlock. This is why we either avoid Tagaytay City or go there during unholy hours, although it seems people have the same gameplan, if we consider the long line in Starbucks even after midnight.
There’s a longer, but potentially faster and more scenic, route: bypassing the Sta. Rosa exit in SLEX, going through the Star Tollway, taking the first exit at Tanauan, turning right at the tollgate, then heading straight through Talisay and Laurel, then to Nasugbu. We pass here from time to time, through the backwoods of Tagaytay, if we see that Sta. Rosa is choked, which is increasingly becoming the norm.
We chose Option 1. We haven’t tried this route, but it appears to be the most direct path. Plus, we heard the roads are much better. Going into the Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX) from Mall of Asia (MOA) was a breeze. Short, fast drive, with three potential points of confusion. First, the fork that leads to Las Pinas and Cavite: stick to the left side of the highway (the right side off-ramp that wraps around the highway leads to Las Pinas). Second, the exit right after the toll gates: again, stick to the left side. Third, just a few minutes from the toll gates, there’s a four-road intersection: just go straight through the middle (doesn’t look right the correct way, but, yes, just head straight). From then on, just follow the main road until you encounter the Kaybiang (Ternate-Nasugbu) Tunnel in Mt. Palay-Palay. You’re not there yet. Club Punta Fuego is a good 20 minutes ride from there. Just follow the directions and you’ll be just fine.
Punta Fuego, or Fuego Point (fuego is Spanish for fire), is the name of the area, located in Barangay Balaytigue, town of Nasugbu in Batangas province. It is said that Punta Fuego derived its name from the military command fuego! (fire!), purportedly heard by the locals during the time when Spain, the former colonizer of the Philippines, was defending the territory from the invading Dutch forces in the 1600s. It would have been a terrifying naval battle, as both Spain and Netherlands were sea powers during that time.
History, to many students, is definitely boring, yet it’s a fascinating subject that helps piece together seemingly unrelated places and facts. Take for instance, the battle waged in the Punta Fuego area between the Spaniards and the Dutch. Not a few souls, including Filipinos, will be surprised to know that the Dutch were here in the Philippines at some point in our history. That battle in Punta Fuego is part of the Battles of La Naval de Manila, won by Spain. The victory is attributed by the religious (and who wasn’t religious at that time?) to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, now known as Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila (Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario de La Naval de Manila), with the Sto. Domingo Church (Quezon City, Metro Manila) as her shrine. It’s no surprise that she is the patroness of the Philippine navy.
This piece of historical knowledge won’t help you navigate to Punta Fuego, of course, but it will impress your travel mates, specially if you are making porma to the girl of your dreams. So, kids, take your history lessons seriously.
Premier Membership Resort Club
“Club Punta Fuego is a premiere membership resort club located on Peninsula de Punta Fuego on the pristine coast of Nasugbu, Batangas. It is a first class recreation facility offering services and amenities comparable only to the best resorts and hotels in the world.” That’s what the resort says in its website. Sounds nice, although we’ve since wondered why there’s a “Book Now” button on the resort’s website, and non-members like us can book a quick getaway, when Club Punta Fuego is a “premiere membership resort club.” We should have asked the management while we were there. Not that we mind. On the contrary, opening the resort to non-members is good for the club’s bottomline and even better for the general public who seeks a blissful hideaway.
There were only three things we did in Club Punta Fuego: stay at the swimming pools, eat, and rest. Then repeat. We only had three things in mind going to Club Punta Fuego. There’s a nine-hole golf course (a mini-golf course, too), a tennis court, and an indoor squash court. We didn’t have the interest to use any of those. Guests can go biking, snorkeling, jest skiing, wake boarding, kayaking, and banana boating. Yet we didn’t do any of those. We planned to watch a movie at the mini-theater, but too tired and preoccupied with the beaches and the swimming pools. The kinds, though, didn’t let the Play Room go to waste.
The place, with its beautiful Spanish-Mediterranean architecture, is gracefully showing its age. A more modern addition can be found a few kilometers down the road, the Terrazas de Punta Fuego, is also a beach property, with its cabanas and locker rooms open to members/guests of Club Punta Fuego.
Peace and Quiet
If there’s one thing that we appreciate the most about Club Punta Fuego, it’s the relative seclusion of the place.
We don’t really know if we caught the resort in its off-season. It was wonderfully quiet. There were only two other persons in the infinity pool perched on the cliff overlooking the cove, and none in the regular pool beside the beach. There were only a handful of tanned bodies littering the beachfront and the jetski looks quite bored, just sitting there on the tranquil sea. Two other tables were occupied during breakfast, with the rest of the unoccupied tables enough to host an imaginary wedding reception. There were no kids in the Play Room, with the PS3 and its company of toys longing to be used. It felt like we had the place all to ourselves and yet we had to pay only P7,000 for the overnight stay (free breakfast included). That’s getting the full bang for your buck, unlike some overhyped hotels in the metro.
[To be continued. Check the updates from time.]
The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is on its 21st year, the longest-running sports aviation event in Asia. The Hot Air Balloon Fiesta has done a good job of filling the skies with everything that flies, like these lovely hot air balloons, photo courtesy of i am joey (check his Instagram account, @e1cam1n0, for more photos). The event usually eats into Valentines Day celebrations, a perfect venue for couples (or would-be couples) to watch things fly other than love sparks. For 2017, it is scheduled to run from February 9-12, so, yes, it has already started and you only have a few days left to go (tickets at the gate; you can also get separate tickets to ride the balloons). It’s easy to find — just look for those flying hot air balloons (seriously, just head on to Clark Economic Zone, around 80 kilometers north of Manila, highly accessible through one of the best-managed highways in the Philippines, the North Luzon Expressway or NLEX/NLE). Click the photo to enlarge. Continue reading Everything that Flies at the 21st Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta: Photo of the Day