23 Jan 2012

Breeze Into Zoobic Safari: Wild Animals Sightseeing Made Easy

  • 23 Jan 2012
  • Lagalag

  • You are inside a caged jeep that traverses a bumpy rough and winding road that snakes its way through the jungle of the mountain. Then, a tiger suddenly appears from the woods. A man from your group dangles a chicken meat that caught the attention of the big cat.

    The jeep stops and the large carnivorous feline mammal approaches. Right from your very eyes and few inches away from your face, you see how it devours the meat down to the last bite. Then, as the man gestures, the tiger climbs up the jeep.

    The tiger looks at you through the glass part of the roof. It stays there for the meantime, while another tiger approaches the other side of the vehicle and feasts on meat sticks out by a tour guide.

    Now, you have two tigers guarding your group. One, on top of the jeep and the other one just outside the window, licking fresh residue of fresh meat it just swallowed. Now you realized that the only thing which protects you from being eaten by these known wild fierce creatures is the safari jeep you're riding in. And it dawned on you that although you are in a safe place, paradoxically, in this reverse situation, you're the one in the cage while the tigers are the ones looking at you from the open ground.

    Sounds heart-pounding? Well, this is just one of the highlights of Tiger Safari which is among the exciting attractions that form the Zoobic Safari Adventure. Welcome to Wild Animal Kingdom, like no other in the whole archipelago, where various species of animals from Asia, Africa and America are found. As of now, it's the ultimate "Forest Adventure" destination in the Philippines with a land area of about 25 hectares.

    Apart from Tiger Safari, you can look forward to more exciting "what to do" in Zoobic Safari, as follows: feeding alligators at sea of crocodile in Croco Loco, being driven through an animal sanctuary of farm and exotic animals like wild boars, guinea fowls, potbelly pigs and wild ostriches that roam free in Savannah, being entertained by native Filipino people to a tribal show that features butterfly dance, war dance, and the amazing monkey dance that catapults up a tree in Aetas Trail, hold a baby tiger while feeding it in Petting Show, get a close-up look of reptiles such as lizards, iguanas, king snake, pythons, boa constrictors, monitor lizards, turtles and other cold-blooded creatures in Serpentarium, going over to the rodent kingdom where different species of rodents such as tiny guinea pigs, porcupines and large Palawan rats are waiting to be discovered in Rodent World, look into a rare collection of real stuffed animals and skeletons in Animal Moozeum and get acquainted with different species and behavior of wild birds and mammals both docile and fierce such as pheasant, peafowl, lovebirds, hornbill, water buffalo, deers, black ape, Philippine mouse deer, camel, donkeys, cougar, lions and a lot more in Bird Walk, Bird Thrill and the rest of walk tour right before boarding a tram on your way to the main attractions. One last chance to have a closer look at tigers behind enclosures happens in Close Encounter. In the Pavilion, right before the guided tour starts, you can pose with a large tiger in front of the camera while holding a baby bottle into its mouth for a photograph that will remember your adventure by. Souvenir shop is also located here. Finally, if you want some add-on for your adventure, you can go see Butterfly Garden, do Hip-Hop Bay-A-Walk and the exhilarating wild animal sightseeing offered by Sky Safari as well as the daring Zoobic Night Safari Adventure.

    How do you get to Zoobic Zafari and do all of these and back to Manila the same day?

    Zoobic Safari in Subic
    I embarked on a trip to Subic and Olongapo City and from my itinerary, I created this guide on how to get to Zoobic Safari from Manila in a breeze - refreshed and ready to plunge into forest adventure.

    Zoobic Safari is located in Subic, province of Zambales. One important thing to remember in going to Subic by bus is to take the SCTEX route. From Cubao, it only takes 2 hours and 25 minutes for a bus to get to bus stop in Subic in which the terminal of taxi bound for Zoobic Safari is located.

    For this trip, I boarded Victory Liner with 6 trips daily to Olongapo City via Subic and SCTEX, scheduled as follows: 5:30 am, 7:30 am, 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm, 5 pm, and 6 pm.

    Schedules might change. For confirmation, you can call Victory Liner Cubao at these telephone numbers: 7274688, 7274534 or 4108986.

    Zoobic Safari Adventure Tour from Manila

    Jumping-off Point: Victory Liner Bus Terminal Cubao

    1. Buy a ticket for "SBMA" (Subic) and don't forget to say "via SCTEX" otherwise you might get different route. For this tour, we are leaving at 5:30 am, so be at the terminal past 5 am. If it's too early for you, just get to the bus terminal past 7 am for 7:30 am departure. Fare rate as of this date: Php 235.
    2. Zoobic Safari Tram ride
    3. Get off the bus at SBMA to which conductors refer as SM when they announce the arrival. Landmarks here: SM City Olongapo, Jollibee, Ministop and Wimpy's Restaurant. The bus actually enters a large parking area-terminal to unload passengers at the bus stop there. The entire terminal is located at the corner of Rizal Highway (road from Manila) and Magsaysay Dr (road that leads to Olongapo and used primarily by pedestrians but impassable for motorists). See map below this post. Travel time from Cubao is approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes including stopovers.
    4. Caged Jeepney in Tiger Safari of Zoobic Adventure
    5. Have your breakfast at any food outlets around the area. Foods are expensive inside Zoobic Safari ground so make sure you are full.
    6. Go to the taxi terminal near the Ministop located at the bus stop. Don't confuse the other Ministop located across the road with the one on the terminal. Taxis here are white SUVs with SBMA logos on the body. Now, here you have to haggle. Say your destination. Ask for the rate. Driver says Php 450. Don't give in right away. That is if you're in a budget. I myself got it for 300. So, if you're good at haggling, you would surely get the same rate. If you don't, go to the other terminal located to the other side of the road. Walk across the main road which is Rizal Highway. The other terminal is located at the back of the building opposite Jollibee. It's there that I lowered the rate from Php 450 to 300.
    7. An ostrich roams Savannah in Zoobic Safari Subic
    8. Travel time to Zoobic Safari from taxi terminal is around 25 minutes. The driver will give you his cp numbers telling you to text him after the tour so that he could pick you up as there are no taxis going back. Don't fret. As I've experienced it, there's indeed other taxis waiting. Only you wouldn't haggle, would you? So, if you take different taxi on your way back, you pay Php 450. Now, I need to confess. When I realized that Zoobic Safari is too far afterall and the driver seemed to be nice person, I gave him the amount he had actually bargained for which is Php 350.
    9. A tiger in a cage in Zoobic Safari
    10. Buy ticket for Php 499. That's include the Tiger Safari. Immediately, you will see the ticket booth. There's also a ticket for Php 399 but it ends after the walk tour. Since, for me, the highlight of the adventure is the Tiger Safari, Php 499 is a steal. Go for it. Nevertheless, once in Tiger Safari jeep, there's an additional fee amounting to Php 210 for the chicken meat that's going to be divided into the number of groups in your caged jeepney. If there are three groups in your jeep, then each group contributes Php 70.
    11. Tourists wait for their turn in Close Encounter of Zoobic
    12. Get into the Pavilion where the guided tour is organized. While waiting for your tour guide, it's time to have your photos with a chained tiger taken, for a fee. It's optional on your part. And like in other tourist destinations in other parts of the world, there will also be a picture taking that will be edited minutes later. Once you see your finished pictures with different versions featuring various Zoobic Safari environs as your background, it's up to you to buy them. No obligation on your part.
    13. A hornbill in captivity
    14. The Tour Guide will conduct a briefing. Listen intently as they discuss safety reminders, "do's and don't" and the complete stages your group will be taking in the order of their sequence within the duration of the guided tour which lasts two hours.
    15. A tour guide conducts briefing before the start of guided tour in Zoobic
    16. Tour begins. Enjoy!
    17. Giant trees of Zoobic Safari
    18. Two hours later. Entire tour has ended. You can text your driver. While waiting, you can check out the souvenir shop inside the Pavilion for some stuffs to bring home.
    19. African grey parrot in Zoobic Safari
    20. Back to SBMA, it's time to treat yourself to a delicious food. It's feels good to have a sumptuous meal after an adventure expedition. So, you might want to explore some dining spots outside Subic. Get out of SBMA via Magsaysay Gate that leads to nearby SM and head to Olongapo City where you can find different restaurants, bars, spas and more. Watch for my upcoming post on some places I've checked out during my stay in Olongapo City and Subic. If you haven't subscribed yet, it's time to do so. SUBSCRIBE HERE, for free
    21. A camel is among docile animals in Zoobic Safari
    22. Wait for any bus bound for Manila along Rizal Highway, just opposite the bus stop at which you alighted the bus from Cubao. Many buses pass through here from their Olongapo terminals. Most of them are bound for Pasay and Cubao.
    23. Crocodiles at Croco Loco in Zoobic Safari

    Map shows bus stop and the two taxi terminals. Jollibee is at northwest corner of Magsaysay and Rizal Highway while SM City Olongapo is located to the other side of the river which serves as boundary for Olongapo City (top island) and Subic (bottom island).

    16 Jan 2012

    Route Guide To Mt Samat Zip-line In Pilar Bataan

  • 16 Jan 2012
  • Lagalag

  • Updated Jan 26, 2012

    For our readers' ease of dissecting the information, I do not edit the original published post which now falls below this update.

    Mt Samat Zip-Line has opened to public on Jan 20, 2012. Right from the comments of no less than Eng'r Hazel de Guzman herself, which you can view at the bottom of this post, I quote:

    "Hi, we opened for public last 20january 2012,Friday. The published rate for the zipline is P450.00 breakdown as follows:
    P20.00 - environmental fee
    30.00- shuttle from parking to launch pad (no vehicle is allowed to enter the ziproad except the official carrier
    350.00- your zipride fee
    50.00- shuttle from landing platform to parking area in Diwa.

    Anyways,I want to stand corrected when I say 54m above sea level, I missed the right elevation which is 154 m above sea level is the elevation of launch pad. Where as the landing platform is 111 m above sea level. The straight distance is 520 m and the zipline is 540 m ride.
    We are still improving the road though.

    Thank you so much."

    Blessing/Inauguration of the longest zip-line in Luzon has been held on January 7, 2012. The newest adventure attraction on the roster of zip-lines in the Philippines is located in the booming town of Pilar, Bataan with its launching platform situated at the rear side of Mt Samat in Brgy Diwa and the landing area in Brgy Liyang. The 540-meter zip which will be known as Mt Samat Zipline has the height of 43 meters above sea level and speed of 40 seconds from the launch pad to the landing area. The exhilarating ride with breathtaking views of the green mountains and rice paddies below to the Dunsulan Falls costs Php 350 per person.

    Feeling about to pack your gear up now? Not so fast, you adventure freak!

    The Mt Samat Zipline will not be operational until this February. I understand you got if from the news that one can now get to the site and take the plunge. Well, take it from me because I've been there just this January 10.

    We took a Bataan bus bound for Mariveles and alighted in Pilar at an area popularly called Ali-uli which is a crossing of Bataan Provincial Highway and Gov J.J. Linao National Road in which to the east end the newly renovated 42-year old Municipal Hall and the Flaming Sword marker are located. We hired a motorized tricycle to the zip-line site which we didn't reach after having talk to some officers from the Firing Range located along the steeply, rocky and a little bit muddy uphill road that serves as the access to the newly inaugurated zip-line.

    We are told that the zip is not yet operational. They said they're not sure if the scheduled operation in two weeks will push through. That's the time, I figured I should talk to the right person in the authority of the Pilar Zipline in the person of Eng'r Hazel N. de Guzman from Engineering Division of the Municipal Office. We actually went to the secretariat of the Municipal office and spoke to them about our purpose. And we're directed to the office of Eng'r de Guzman.

    Motorized tricycle has no match in uphill road condition
    Even manong driver surrenders.
    Prior to our decent to the town proper, I had attempted to go uphill on foot. The motorized tricycle couldn't continue because of the mixture of soft soil and rocks that covered the steeply winding road making its hard for the tire treads to grip and move the body up. I had wanted to see the site to take its photos. And then the drizzle came. There goes the sight of Pilar Zip-line.

    Here are the latest and accurate information with regards to the status of the longest Zip-line in the whole island of Luzon. Right from my conversation with Eng'r Hazel N. de Guzman of Pilar Municipal Hall.

    • Pilar Zip-line operation will start on February, 2012. There's no definite date yet.
    • The entire uphill road from Mt Samat Rd to the site will be graveled entirely. As of this time, the part of the road covered with gravel is only up to the Firing Range as you can see in the photo below.
    • Pilar Zip-line is a double-line zip and with a speed of 40 seconds from the launch pad to landing area.
    • The length of the zip is 540 meters.
    • There are no windbreakers.
    • For convenience, shuttle will fetch riders from the foot of the mountain in Mt Samat Rd and take them to the launching pad.
    • There will be also a free ride from the landing area that in turn will take riders to where they started off the climb at Mt Samat Road.
    • The ride costs Php 350 plus an additional environmental fee of Php 20.
    The road to the Zip-line from Mt Samat Rd
    There you have it, folks. The real score in the reputed longest zip-line in the whole of Luzon. Watch for more update on this new attraction of Pilar, Bataan. Especially, the upcoming opening this February. For free alerts delivered to your email, SUBSCRIBE NOW.

    I would like to thank Eng'r Hazel N. de Guzman and her staff for warm welcome and for imparting these information to us. Salamat po, Engineer.

    14 Jan 2012

    How To Get To Pambansang Muziklaban Grand Finals 2012

  • 14 Jan 2012
  • Lagalag

  • The No. 1 Pinoy Rock Competition popularly known as Red Horse Beer Pambansang Muziklaban Grand Finals will be held on January 28, 2012 in Aseana City Macapagal Blvd.

    For those of you who don't know how to get there, here are driving and commuting directions.

    You might get confused as to where is the exact location of this event along Macapagal Blvd.

    The best way is to get right at Macapagal Blvd corner Bradco Ave in which lots of food establishments like McDonalds, Greenwhich, Starbucks, etc and two pay parking areas are located. If you're driving, you can park at the pay parking at both corners of Bradco and Macapagal. Petron and Shell gasoline stations are also adjacent. For some motorists, gas stations are good place to park for free. I've always done that after filling up the tank.

    If you're going to commute in coming to Pambansang Muziklaban, then just alight from bus or jeepney bound for Aseana City right at the corner of Bradco and Macapagal Blvd which is popularly known to drivers and conductors as DFA because the building is located right at the corner.

    Aseana City Macapagal Blvd is approximately 1.2 kilometers from its north boundary to its south boundary which you can easily see because the boundaries have bridges crossing water channels. Since the Aseana City Macapagal Blvd is short in distance and no other areas along its length that is already developed except Bradco Avenue, the ideal place to be while waiting for the show to start is right there. Also, according to Aseana City's Facebook Wall, the Muziklaban will be held near Bradco Avenue. See map below.

    How to get to Pambansang Muziklaban Grand Finals 2012 by car? Click here or go to Driving Directions To Aseana City

    How to get to Pambansang Muziklaban by bus, jeepney and MRT/LRT train? Click here or go to How To Commute To Aseana City

    Aseana City Macapagal Blvd Map

    Driving Directions To Aseana City

  • Lagalag

  • Aseana City is a major development that now arises in 204 hectare of reclaimed land in Paranaque. It will be home to the newest world class center for business, lifestyle, entertainment and tourism in the country. Once completed, Aseana City would be an ultimate destination along the shoreline of Manila Bay where luxury homes, offices, malls, hotels, casinos and marinas are integrated into an oasis with spectacular views.

    Aseana City is borders to the east by Roxas Boulevard, to the west by Manila Bay, and to its north and south are water channels where two bridges are built along Macapagal Blvd making them (the bridges) gateways to Aseanan City from either north or south of President Diosdado Macapagal's eponymous road.

    This post is made to give you driving directions to Aseana City, even if at this point in time Aseana City is not yet fully developed. As the work in the city progresses, more roads will open giving more options to get to newly constructed buildings. So, if you happen to arrive in this article at later times or if you want to know the latest updates on Aseana City's road networks, parking areas, etc, please click here or go to Aseana City's Progress. For commuters' directions, go to How To Commute To Aseana City.

    As of this writing, motorists are heading to Aseana City to get to the places listed below. If your destination is listed and you want to know how to get there by car, just read this guide. If your destination is not listed, see the post that will be regularly updated, click here..

    Buildings inside Aseana City
    Aseana One (under construction)
    Aseana Power Station
    Belle Grande Casino & Hotel (under construction)
    DFA Office of Consular Affairs
    Petron Gasoline Station
    S&R Membership Shopping
    Shell Gasoline Station
    Solemare Parksuites
    Yellow Cab

    Establishments in Power Station
    Aseana Business Center
    Asian Noodle Co
    Bank of the Philippines Islands
    Golden Legacy Jobmovers Corp
    Greenwich Pizza
    Life Coffee & Tea
    Luxembourg Suites
    Mercury Drug
    Pagkain Club Resto Bar
    Park_Hair Salon Co
    Pearl Marina
    Starbucks Coffee
    Tour of Luzon Bike Cafe

    Parking Areas in Aseana City

    As of this momonent, there are two affordable pay parking located at two corners of Macapagal Blvd and Bradco Ave, the only road intersection which is teeming with buildings and commercial establishments by now. These parking areas are just opposite of McDonald's and DFA, respectively. You can also park in Petron and Shell which are adjacent. And there's also parking in front of Aseana Power Station. For more updates on parking areas in Aseana City, click here.

    How To Get To Aseana City By Car

    Via NAIA Road aka MIA Road - for those coming from NAIA 1 and 2, Sucat, Duty Free Philippines Fiesta Mall, SM Sucat and nearby areas. Go cross Roxas Boulevard and turn right onto Macapagal Blvd. From NAIA 3, take Andrews Ave and turn left on Roxas Blvd turn right onto NAIA Road then turn right onto Macapagal Boulevard. Aseana City ground is after you get past the bridge. Turn right onto the next street if you're going to Belle Grande. Cross Aseana Ave to get to DFA, S&R and Aseana One which are located on Bradco Avenue's right side. Solemare, Aseana Power Station is to the left side of Bradco Ave. There's turn left on Bradco Ave. See map below.

    Via Bradco Ave - for those taking Roxas Boulevard's southbound lane from Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, Monumento, Pampanga, Bulacan, Quiapo, Quezon City, Espana, Ermita, Malate, Robinson's Place Manila, US Embassy, Intramuros, Rizal Park, etc. Drive all the way to Baclaran passing through EDSA-Roxas Blvd overpass. Turn right onto Bradco Ave, the wide road to the right of Roxas Blvd after you get past Baclaran Church and Redemptorist Road which are to the left of Roxas Blvd. Aseana One is located to the left of Bradco. S&R and DFA are to the right. If you're going to Solemare Parksuites and Aseana Power Station, go cross Macapagal Blvd. See one of two maps below this post.

    Via EDSA - for those coming from Makati, Ayala Center, Glorietta, Greenbelt, Gil Puyat, Guadalupe, Mandaluyong, Ortigas Center, Cubao and areas nearby. Take EDSA's southbound lane all the way to Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard, passing by MRT-3 Magallanes Station and the last station which is Taft, and passing under Roxas Boulevard flyover that crosses EDSA. You must drive under road signs that read "Baclaran", "Roxas Boulevard" and "Macapagal Blvd". Turn left on Macapagal Blvd, the next main intersection to Roxas Blvd. Aseana City is the ground after you pass through the bridge. Petron and Shell gas stations are the first establishments located to both sides of Macapagal upon entering Aseana City. First intersection is Bradco. Make left if you're going to DFA, S&R and Aseana One. Make right if you're going to Sole Mare and parking area of Aseana Power Station which is the second building from the corner of Bradco and Macapagal. See map below.

    Via Macapagal Blvd - for those coming from CCP Complex, Pablo Ocampo aka Vito Cruz, Harrison Plaza, Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, Dela Salle, Quirino Ave, San Andres, Taft Ave, Central Bank, etc and alternate route from Manila Ocean Park, US Embassy, UN Ave, Padre Burgos and SM City Manila. Go cross Roxas Blvd from Harrison Plaza and La Salle, turn right onto CCP Complex from Roxas Blvd. Drive all the way to the building located at the other end of the road. Make left toward PICC. Make left again, then turn right onto Magdalena Jalandoni, the road before Star City, which becomes Macapagal Blvd after you cross Gil Puyat Ave where World Trade Center is located to the left corner. Drive all the way past EDSA until you pass through the bridge that crosses the water channel which borders Aseana City. Petron and Shell are the ones you get to see upon entering Aseana City. See two maps below this post.

    Aseana City Location and Street Map. Zoom in to get details. Click each pin to see building name.

    Parking Area Map Aseana City. Click each red pin to know names of the buildings.

    How To Commute To Aseana City

  • Lagalag

  • The main road inside Aseana City through which passenger buses from Fairview, Novaliches and Caloocan pass is Macapagal Blvd. The sign of bus you must ride from your destination is any of the following: "Baclaran", "MIA", "Coastal Mall" and "SM MOA Baclaran". From other locations, just read on.

    As of this writing, commuters come to Aseana City to get to the places listed below. If your destination is listed and you want to know how to get there by public jeepneys, buses, MRT/LRT trains, just read this guide. Most of these establishments are located near Bradco Avenue and Macapagal Blvd intersection which is popularly known to both jeepney and bus drivers as DFA, meaning - you can refer to this area as DFA even if you're going to different establishment because DFA building is located at the corner of these roads. If your destination is not listed, see the post that regularly updates commuting directions to Aseana City, just click here or go to Aseana City's Progress.

    Buildings inside Aseana City
    Aseana One (under construction)
    Aseana Power Station
    Belle Grande Casino & Hotel (under construction)
    DFA Office of Consular Affairs
    Petron Gasoline Station
    S&R Membership Shopping
    Shell Gasoline Station
    Solemare Parksuites
    Yellow Cab

    Establishments in Power Station
    Aseana Business Center
    Asian Noodle Co
    Bank of the Philippines Islands
    Golden Legacy Jobmovers Corp
    Greenwich Pizza
    Life Coffee & Tea
    Luxembourg Suites
    Mercury Drug
    Pagkain Club Resto Bar
    Park_Hair Salon Co
    Pearl Marina
    Starbucks Coffee
    Tour of Luzon Bike Cafe

    It's easy to get to Aseana City from any locations. By LRT-1, just alight at EDSA Station and ride the bus mentioned above. By LRT-2, get off the train at Recto Station and take an LRT-1 train to EDSA Station. By MRT-3, alight at Taft Station and ride a bus mentioned above. Then ask conductor to drop you off at DFA or Bradco. Then walk to your destination. For guide, see map below this post.

    From Pasig, Mandaluyong, Kalentong, Taytay, Marikina, Antipolo, Tiendesitas, Eastwood City, Sta Lucia East, Robinson's Metro East and other areas with public jeepneys and buses bound for EDSA or headed to areas located to the other side of EDSA, just get to EDSA via jeep or bus from your location and then ride a bus bound for Baclaran or MRT-3 bound for Taft Station where you will ride the bus mentioned above. Ask the conductor to drop you off at DFA or Bradco. Then walk to your destination. For guide, see map below this post.

    You can also take a jeepney with "Baclaran" sign from any of these places: "Monumento", "Cubao", "Sta Cruz Manila", "Quiapo", "Espana", "Lawton", "Ermita", "Malate" and other areas. Alight at EDSA and take a bus bound for Baclaran which I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Then ask the conductor to drop you off at DFA or Bradco. Then walk to your destination. For guide, see map below this post.

    If you're from Alabang, Bicutan or FTI, just ride a jeepney with "Pasay Rotonda" or "SM MOA" sign. Get off the jeepney at EDSA-Pasay area and take the bus mentioned above and ask the conductor to drop you off at DFA or Bradco. Then walk to your destination. For guide, see map below this post.

    From Sucat via Dr A Santos Ave, Imelda Ave and Ninoy Aquino Ave, ride a jeepney with "Baclaran" sign. There's a jeepney route that serves passengers directly from Baclaran. These jeepneys are colored yellow multicab turned jeepney and their terminal is located in front of Max's Restaurant Roxas Boulevard near corner Redemptorist Road. Read separate post on this passenger jeepney by going to SM MOA Bound Passenger Jeepney New Terminal In Baclaran. The signage of this yellow-colored jeepney version of multicabs in their body reads "Baclaran SM MOA Bradco DFA". It passes by SM MOA on its way to Aseana City. It's stop in Aseana City is on DFA or Shell and McDonald's which are all located near Bradco. Alight there and walk to your destination. See map below this post.

    If you're in SM MOA and you're going to Aseana City, just ride the aforementioned yellow multicab bound for DFA. They pass through SM MOA Globamaze rotunda and load passengers from there and near SM Arena. Alight at Bradco Ave or McDonald's and DFA and walk toward your destination. For guide, see map below.

    Aseana City Building and Street Map. Click each red pin to see building name.

    Aseana City's Progress

  • Lagalag

  • This post is created for updates on Aseana City with regards to driving and commuting directions which DirectionsOnWeb provides to its readers. As the city is currently on its early stage of development, there will be more destinations that will arise in the future and more access roads as well as loading and unloading areas for commuters will open. To better serve commuting public and private motorists alike, I will update this blog entry on the progress of the new rising city center, accordingly. And on this page, these updates will be published as they happen.

    This article is linked to How To Commute To Aseana City and Driving Directions To Aseana City. If you happen to arrive here from a search engine like Google, treat this as a second reading material to How To Get To Places & Buildings In Aseana City. And as such, kindly read the preceding posts on directions to Aseana City by going to How To Commute To Aseana City and Driving Directions To Aseana City

    11 Jan 2012

    Commute Guide To Bacarra Church & Pagudpod Ilocos Norte

  • 11 Jan 2012
  • Lagalag

  • This blog entry explains how to get to Pagudpud from Laoag and back. It tells you important things to remember in going to Pagudpud like costs, bus fare, where to ride in going back to Laoag, availability of bus, etc and recommends a good beach to frolic in budget. If you're a backpacker or a DO-IT-YOURSELF traveler heading out to Pagudpud, you will definitely get some pointers from this article. So, read on.

    On my fourth day in Ilocos Region which is January 6, 2012, I decided to go to Bacarra Church in the morning and afterwards headed out to Pagudpod. Before I give you the commuting directions to these important destinations from Laoag City, I wanna share some photographs I have taken of them. If you want to read the posts that preceded this entry so as to learn some guides and directions to places in Ilocos, please go to the following articles: First post, To Laoag From Manila In 52 Minutes. Second post, Getting To Ilocos Norte's Important Attractions. Third post, How To Commute To Vigan's Tourist Spots From Laoag.

    Coconut trees as seen from Saud in Pagudpod
    Beach in Municipal Park of Saud Pagudpod
    Tourists swimming in Saud
    Pristine beauty of Saud in Pagudpod

    In going to Bacarra Church, just go to the terminal of jeepneys with signage that reads "Bacarra". The jeepney terminal is located at the corner of Gov Primo Lazaro Street and Gov Julio Agcaoili Street and opposite GMW Bus Terminal. From the frontage of Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol Building, go to the street at the back of the building which is Gen Antonio Luna Street. Agcaoli Street is next to Lagasca Street along Gen Antonio Luna and near to Ilocos Norte Museum. Walk along Gov Agcaoli towards the other corner which is Primo Lazaro where the terminal is located. From Isabel Suites, just walk from the corner in which Jollibee is located, that's Primo Lazaro and Gen Segundo Ave. On the third street, you will see the terminal just opposite bus terminal of GMW Bus Lines. From Tiffany Hotel, walk towards Jollibee, then walk along Primo Lazaro up to third street which is Agcaoili where the terminal is located to your left.

    Jeepney fare from Laoag to Bacarra is Php 14 as of this time. On that day, I boarded the jeep at 10:04 am, at 10:20 am, the jeepney left the terminal. I asked the driver to drop me off at Bacarra Church. It's near. At 10:36 am, I was already at the location of Bacarra Church, took some photos of the Domeless Belfry of Asia, and then...

    Domeless Bell Tower of Bacarra Church

    At 11:21 am, I was on the waiting shed for jeepney going back to Laoag. At 11:24 am I rode a jeepney and at 11:40 am I was back at the terminal in Laoag.

    I was looking for a place to have lunch when I saw the terminal of buses with Pagudpod sign in the front. The bus was about to leave so I decided to go. The terminal is right along Gov Agcaoili itself. You would be seeing it on your way to the terminal of jeepney bound for Bacarra if you get there from Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol.

    The bus left at 11:53 am and at exactly 2 pm I got off the bus in front of Pagudpud Public Market Building where I had my lunch. Fare from Laoag to Pagudpud is Php 60.

    Traveling by bus from Laoag to Pagudpod is a long and wobbling ride along the winding and rocky headlands of the northwest tip of Luzon. The sense of adventure that I was already feeling that very moment stepped up a notch because of the cool ocean breeze that kept coming in the open-air mini-bus.

    My Latitude App at work

    As you can see in this photo of my Latitude App on my smartphone which I have taken en route to Pagudpud, the road traverses the edge of Luzon Island. The Latitude App increased the adrenalin I felt along the way even more. It's only here in Ilocos that I got to use it and it amazed me. For one thing, it triangulates your current location, and in my case here, on moving bus, then, you get to know what town you're already in even if you're not familiar and there's no signage on the road yet. In a way, the impatience brought about by long travel is loosen up.

    Before you get to Pagudpud, you get to pass by a part of Ilocos Norte called Banqui along which the windmills lined up the shores. Then, there's also this part and I am not sure if that area was the place called Capurpuraoan where rock formation is so magnificently chiseled along the long stretch of the shores. It's a sight to behold. And when I saw this huge rock cliff that seemed to have been instrument for some suicide acts, I was paradoxically fascinated by its beauty. The view is cinematic, I think I've seen it in one of the movie scenes.

    After having lunch, it's time to head to the beach. Now this information I'm going to share is very handy for those who are in budget. Resorts in Pagudpod are expensive. The best place to fit meager finances while enjoying time in the sun is the place called Saud. I had talk to the old woman who owned the eatery I've had my lunch at. That's how I got the information.

    So, when I hired a motorized tricycle with its terminal just across the street, the driver immediately knew where to take me after I uttered the word "Saud". You can also ask driver to take you to Municipal Beach Park located in Saud. See photo. Tricycle fare costs Php 60 from its terminal to Saud.

    Municipal Beach Park in Saud Pagudpud
    Rent of cabana in this area costs Php 150 good for daytime use only up to 8 hours. If you plan to extend your stay overnight, the fee is Php 300. That includes the usage of all facilities available for customers in a regular beach resort. If you don't want to rent a cottage, you can just pay entrance fee of Php 20 for adult, Php 10 for children and Php 16 for students. You can bring in food which you either take with you or bought just outside the gate. As per policy of the management, swimming is until 10 pm only, although you can be in the water early in the morning. The cabana you might get is either open or enclosed cottage. Whichever you take, they cost the same.

    Things to remember in commuting out of Pagudpud and back to Laoag. Last trip of the bus from the terminal near Public Market in Pagudpud bound for Laoag City is 3 pm only. By 4 pm, you need to get to loading area for Florida Bus Lines which is walking distance from Public Market, locals will easily tell you the location if you just ask. If by any means, you found yourself late in the afternoon and you need to get back to Laoag, then ask a driver of motorized tricycle to take you to highway where you can wait for a bus coming from various locations bound for Laoag City, e.g., Cagayan.

    I myself had made sure to be back in Laoag City before dusk. After taking some photographs of the beach, I walked back to the area where the tricycle I'd ridden was parked. As in other locations I've been to in Ilocos region, I made an arrangement with the driver to wait up. Nonetheless, there are lots of motorized tricycles that ply the route to Pagudpud Public Market from Saud and vice versa.

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    9 Jan 2012

    How To Commute To Vigan's Tourist Spots From Laoag

  • 9 Jan 2012
  • Lagalag

  • My third day of merely familiarizing myself with routes and directions around Laoag City's and Ilocos Norte's tourist destinations totally turned into unplanned escapade. I woke up 5:00 am of January 5, 2012, had a quick breakfast at Jollibee because free breakfast of Isabel Suites is available only from 7:00 am to 9:00 am, then headed off to nearby terminal of bus bound for Vigan City, the capital of Ilocos Sur and renowned for the Spanish imprint on its architecture that made it to World Heritage Sites. You can read what happened on my second day in Ilocos by going to Getting To Ilocos Norte's Important Attractions. And the story of my coming to Laoag City is documented in the post entitled To Laoag From Manila In 52 Minutes

    I wanted to maximize my stay here to give readers more directional guides on how to commute to important places, most especially those individuals or group of individuals who would plan to visit Ilocos Region for the first time.

    I was also thinking that my sudden trip here would be an excellent opportunity to feature initial batch of photos I would be taking on new DSLR camera Nikon D5100. I didn't have any knowledge on photography even though it's my dream to explore the art of creating stunning images out of ordinary objects.

    Vigan Baluarte
    The Vigan-bound bus terminal is located at Lagasca St corner Gen Antonio Luna. It's right at the back of Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol. So, if you're at the front of the Provincial Capitol or the plaza to its front in which Tabacco Monopoly Monument is situated, just go to the back of the neo-classical designed building. You get to see the road sign that reads General Antonio Luna and upon looking, Lagasca Street road sign is very visible.

    From Hotel Tiffany, walk towards the Sinking Bell Tower that you see from the front of the hotel, then go right at the next street which is General Antonio Luna. From the corner of Gen Antonio Luna and Gen Segundo Ave which is the street of Hotel Tiffany, walk past Paco Roman Street. Next to it is Lagasca. From Isabel Suites, walk past Jollibee and go right at the street that bordered Jollibee to the south which is Primo Lazaro. Walk past Paco Roman and turn left on the next street which is Lagasca. The bus is located to the other corner which is General Luna. You can see the location map of the terminal of bus bound for Vigan at the bottom of this post. You may click here to see the map now and click the back button above the map to get back here and continue reading this post.

    The bus here leaves at 7:00 am. So, if you don't want to be left behind, make sure you're early. Travel time from Laoag City to Vigan City is 2 hours and 15 minutes. Observe as I document my actual tour from Laoag to Vigan's spots and back to Laoag in the afternoon of January 5, 2012. The bus from Lagasca is only good for one round trip. It returns to Laoag City at 3 pm. But don't worry because, you can get back to Laoag anytime via Partas Bus which have Laoag bound bus every 30 minutes 24 hours a day. Towards the end of this post, you get to learn how I got to the Partas Bus Terminal.

    Here's how I toured four tourist attractions of Vigan

    The bus arrived at its terminal in Vigan City, 9:17 am. I took a motorized tricycle to "Vigan Baluarte", my first destination, at 9:31 am. Of course, by that time I had already talked to some locals and had my route planned out. Fare to Baluarte is Php 20.

    I arrived at Baluarte 9:39 am. It's an 80 hectares of terrains, hills and mountain sides that serves as natural habitat for Gov Chavit Singson's personal collection of wild animals, most prominent of which are the ostriches. Other animals you get to see are: tigers, donkey, camels, stags, colorful pheasants, parrots, macaws and a lot of others, all roaming around. At first glance, you would think as if you're in Jurrasic Park because of a life-size Alamosaurus Dinasour statue, until you see the animals of Quaternary Period, our time. Baluarte also features Butterfly Exhibit, which piqued my weakness in photographing flowers. I took some shots of them. Hope you like my untrained hand in focusing and framing objects. As I've said I'm inexperienced. At least, for now.

    Butterfly Exhibit at Vigan Baluarte
    There's no entrance fee to Baluarte. Right outside are souvenir stores. Tip from me: If you're in a budget, consider buying goods from Vigan's Public Market. Prices of items outside Baluarte are way too high.

    One thing I noticed aside from being picturesque of Baluarte clearly is it's being well-maintained. The fortress is very clean and the animals are well-fed as you would notice immediately.

    As expected there's a terminal of motorized tricycles immediately outside the gate.

    Vigan River Cruise along Mestizo River
    So, I headed out to my second destination via one of these tricycles. I left Baluarte at 10:28 am and arrived at the site of "Vigan River Cruise" 10:39 am. Fare from Baluarte to Mestizo River, the site of the river cruise, is Php 60. Ticket in the boat ride of Vigan River Cruise costs Php 100. Boats used in the cruise are like those small wooden fishing vessels used by many ordinary Filipino fishermen called "bangka" in Tagalog. Each boat has outriggers for stability and safety of riders, which is good for rough river. But don't worry, the Mestizo River is calm all the way.

    At 10:43 am I was on board of this boat and begun the journey though times. Vigan River Cruise along the historic Mestizo River is a discovery of Vigan's History that dates back to Spanish Times. It's the showcase of Vigan's culture, heritage and it's people's indigenous contributions to the society, lifestyle and progress of the Philippines.

    What To See And Hear On Board Vigan River Cruise

    As you cruise the river, a synchronized narration is played in the background. There are countless dioramas along both sides of the river. Each diorama symbolizes an important event in Vigan's history and as you get pass each diorama, the modulated voice of female narrator tells the story behind depiction of a particular diorama. From the transfer of Northern Luzon diocese to Vigan, to the root word of Vigan itself. From Spanish discovery of the high potential of soil and climate of Ilocos for cultivating tobacco that led to imposition of tobacco culture to all farmers and the ban of growing other crops, to how the popular dish called bagnet was started. From the story behind the name of Mestizo River, to the different livelihoods that spawned out of the river, you get to discover important milestones in Vigan's history in an unhurried and unconcerned fashion. Other visuals are the fish pens in various parts of the river where school of tilapia go up on the surface from time to time as they are being fed by farmers. There's also a work in progress for the betterment of this body of water that considered to be among major sources of pride for people of Vigan. You get to photograph a fisherman in his small boat pulling up a fishnet, and even some locals with their catch on their way home. Meanwhile, mangroves and other plants endemic to river banks lined the whole stretch of both sides.

    Vigan Heritage Village
    After enjoying the cruise which finished at 11:23 am, it's time to get to the "Vigan Heritage Village", the only colonial town in the Philippines and for which Vigan is known. I had made an arrangement with the tricycle I'd ridden from Baluarte to wait for me. Actually, he offered the service to the Heritage Village. I just accepted it for the reason of time management. We left Mestizo River at 11:25 and arrived at the corner of Liberation Blvd and Calle Crisologo at 11:37 am. It's the gateway to Heritage Village. From there one can see the colonial past of Vigan through the Spanish houses and buildings that lined up the whole stretch of Crisologo up to Plaza Burgos. You begin the tour of the Heritage Village right at this crossroad all the way to the other end. This is the best spot to start photographing the colonial town. Now, finally I got to see the place I've been wishing to step into for years. And I enjoyed it.

    Ornaments along Calle Crisologo Vigan Heritage Village
    There are lots of souvenir shops, cafes and a hotel right along Crisologo. I had wanted to eat right there to cap my tour of the renowned destination. And so when I got a bit tired I found this small restaurant which serves Ilocano dishes in affordable prices. I had lunch at 12:15 enjoying every chew of all Ilocano dishes. See separate post of my food tripping in Ilocos Region which will be coming soon. I also bought some souvenirs and then after the tour of Heritage Village I went to Vigan Cathedral. At around 1:30 pm, I thought it's time to go to bus terminal to be in Laoag before dusk. So, I just took a tricycle for Php 15 to reach terminal of Partas Bus. You just plug down a motorized tricycle and ask the driver to take you to Partas which is near. Wait for bus with "Laoag" sign.

    Vigan Cathedral
    At 1:45 pm the bus arrived and at 2:00 pm I was on my way back to Laoag City. We arrived in the Partas Terminal in Laoag at 3:45 pm. The terminal is a bit far from the centro and the bus is not allowed to unload passengers along the way. So I just took a tricycle to get to my hotel. I paid Php 20.

    Location Map of Terminal of Bus bound for Vigan

    That's how to get to Vigan City from Laoag City. Coming up is my trip to Pagudpod. Watch for it.

    6 Jan 2012

    Getting To Ilocos Norte's Important Attractions

  • 6 Jan 2012
  • Lagalag

  • On my second day in Laoag City which happened January 4, 2012, I decided to go see some popular destinations of Ilocos Norte. Now this post is in two parts. The first part tells you how I actually toured these not-to-be-missed spots in Ilocos Norte. On the second part is my recommended way to get around Ilocos Norte to see them in practical way, that is economically and conveniently. I will also talk about do's and don't. For those of you who got here in DirectionsOnWeb blog the first time, this entry is a second part of a series. You might like to read the first part. Kindly go to "To Laoag From Manila In 52 Minutes".

    How To Commute To Ilocos Norte's Tourist Spots

    Paoay Church
    Here's how I went. After I had my free breakfast at 10:21 am, I got out of Isabel Suites and ambled towards the Sinking Bell Tower. I took a tricycle for 11 pesos to the terminal of jeepneys bound for Paoay. I paid Php 34 fare from Laoag City to the site of Paoay Church. Approximate distance is 18 kilometers. Jeepney left its terminal at 10:37 am and I arrived at Paoay Church also known as San Agustin Church at 11:20 am.

    Malacanang of the North
    After enjoying different views of the historical church, I took the same type of trike to Malacanang of the North. I arrived there at 12:33 pm. I was not allowed to enter because of the lunch break. I had my lunch outside which I could say one of the best lunches I had, ever! See separate post about food I enjoyed in Ilocos (coming soon). I entered the Malacanang version of Ilocandia at 1:17 pm and got out at 1:47 pm. The trike at Paoay Church from which I hired one are under strict regulations of the local government. Drivers are so polite and don't take advantage. You don't need to haggle. Since the Php 100 rate from Paoay Church to Malacanang for me is reasonable, I accepted the driver's offer to be my service in going to my subsequent destinations.

    Sand Dunes Ilocos Norte

    We arrived at Sand Dunes exactly 2 pm. It was a bad timing to be on a desert in that hour, so hot that I refused the idea of 4x4 ride. Not really, the rate which Php 1,500 was the culprit hehe. For me, it's exorbitant. I'm on a budget. Kidding aside, the time was not conducive. That's why, you need to read my recommended plan of tour on the second part of this post. Nevertheless, I proceeded and climbed up some higher part of the fore which still mixed with soil and grass. I just took some shots of the actual "Dubai-like" as the locals put it. I could see right in front of me sands billowed from the wind. We left at 2:35 pm on our way to Batac.

    4x4 at Sand Dunes
    In my opinion, not because Ferdinand Marcos was a dictator, we shall ostracize everything about the former President. It's the various parts and stages of our history that made what we are now. So, I went to the Mausoleum of Ferdinand Marcos, arriving there at 3:07 pm.

    Batac Marcos Museum
    After that, I got inside Batac Marcos Museum which is adjacent to the mausoleum. And then, to the Ferdinand Marcos Photo Gallery nearby. We left at 3:43 pm and the driver of the trike recommended some other attractions. But I passed it up. Instead, I asked him to take me to the terminal of buses bound for Laoag which is near to our location in Market area. After paying him the right amount plus tip, I boarded the bus. At 3:51 pm, the bus left the terminal. It was 4:22 pm when I got back to Laoag City. On my way to the hotel, I happened to pass by Ilocos Norte Museum.

    Marcos Photo Gallery
    Now, here's my recommendations for the first timers:

    Don't entertain offers from tricycle drivers from Laoag City for a tour of five tourist destinations. They charged way too much. Imagine Php 1,500?

    As I've said trike drivers in Paoay Church are the kind ones. I highly recommend them.

    Plan your trip that the Sand Dunes will fall as your last or first destination either in the morning or afternoon when the scorching heat is non-existent.

    Okay, since you can trust those trike at Paoay Church, you can arrange the whole tour so that the Sand Dunes fall in the schedule after you've been to San Agustin Chuch, Malacanang of the North, Ferdinand Marcos Mausoleum, Batac Museum, and the Photo Gallery.

    Best time to do this is: Be at Paoay Church at 2 pm if you want to be at Sand Dunes around 4:30 to 5 pm. That way, you also get to avoid the lunch break in Malacanang of the North.

    You can also get to Paoay Church early in the morning and make arrangement with the trike driver to make Sand Dunes as your second destination. They are willing to wait once the agreement is made.

    That's all for the moment. I can't stay longer in the computer right now. Till next. Watch for more.

    What do you think would I see in Vigan aside from those Heritage Village? Mmmmm let us see...

    4 Jan 2012

    To Laoag From Manila In 52 Minutes

  • 4 Jan 2012
  • Lagalag

  • Suddenly, I've found myself in the comfort of my chosen hotel in the center of Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. Yes, I'm creating this post in one of the homey rooms of Isabel Suites. Just 89 minutes ago, I was in Manila. It's not your ordinary thing of boarding a plane and getting to some place of some Ilocano friends or relatives. First off, this is my first time in Laoag City and the entire Northern Luzon for that matter. Second, I don't know anyone here. Getting here is just a spur of the moment thing. It's been a while since I published a post about a way to travel to a provincial city. That's when I created To Naga On-Board PNR Bicol Express Train.

    I've documented this trip to Laoag City to inform would-be first time visitors to Ilocos Norte that you can land here and check in a hotel in a breeze without any hassles even if its your first time.

    I bought an E-ticket bound for this capital city by phone from AirPhil Express on December 2, 2011. By now, I think its one of the airline inaugural flights when I saw in the paper the rate of Php 750. Hey, it's the same amount you pay in the bus, only it takes 8 hours to get here. I paid through card and they emailed my Travel Reservation. I would just have to print it.

    AirPhil Express at Laoag Airport
    I've Googled for affordable hotels and quickly listed down few of them, namely: Aurelio's Mansion, Grand Octagon Resort, Hotel Tiffany, Isabel Suites, Java Hotel, Mira De Polaris, Northview Hotel, Palazzo De Laoag and Rio Grande Laoag. Through my knowledge in maps and directions, I perused Laoag City and familiarized myself with the city streets, landmarks, attractions and commercial centers. Days before my flight, I've known I would be looking at Northview for its proximity to the airport, Tiffany for its rate of Php 856 and Isablel for its adjacency to Jollibee. I left Mira De Polaris out even if its near to Robinson's Place Ilocos Norte since it's also out of the city center.

    The downpour had no sign of letting up when I was already sitting inside the plane. From the window, I could see the rain waters flowing through the left wing and the exterior of turbine engine. We were taken by bus from Terminal 3 to the tarmac where the plane is waiting exactly 4 pm. We boarded the plane at 4:10 pm. Due to traffic in the runways, the take-off was delayed for 30 minutes. At 4:45 pm the captain announced for the second time he was waiting for clearance. It was 4:51 pm when the plane ran in full throttle and momentarily took off. After 50 minutes the captain had announced the start of our decent at 5:40 pm. We're landed at 5:42 pm and at full stop at 5:43 pm.

    Now, this is the part where you would get anxious about the surrounding getting dark and you're in an unfamiliar place and how you would make round of the hotels and finally deciding which one to stay. As you know, the only airport in Ilocos Region is situated near the ocean and as I've observed I couldn't see any jeepney or motorized tricycles outside.

    Laoag Airport Free Shuttle
    Enter the Free Shuttle Service. It's just waiting outside of the brick walled airport. This is the amazing part. I couldn't believe it. There's a free shuttle bus for us? In an airport with only one airplane arrival in a day. For me, it's a bit of auspicious. Anyways, I hurriedly get into the bus. I was the first one to board the cozy transport that looked somewhat like of Resort World Manila Shuttle.

    According to the attendant the bus is courtesy of Hon. Gov. Imee Marcos. I got to see Northview Hotel as some passengers alighted there. The driver parked the bus inside the hotel compound then headed back to the main road. I opted to go directly to Hotel Tiffany and Isabel Suites which by the way are near to each other. I told the attendant to take me to Tiffany Hotel and they're so polite to oblige.

    Hotel Tiffany costs much higher than expected at Php 1250 so I passed up and walked across the street towards here, the Isabel Suites. For me the price is just right at Php 850, with free breakfast, hot shower, clean rooms, two networks of wifi and good surroundings. I've checked-in at 6:12 pm and get into my room at 6:20 pm.

    And so that's how I got here, in this hotel suites, from Manila in just 89 minutes. Not bad for a total stranger and first timer.

    I'll update you on "what happens next in Ilocandia" on my next post. So stay tuned.