Bluroze Farm, an Acre of Eco-Tourism Spot

It was a post Valentine date with my ex-girlfriend (my wife) February 2007 when we decided to head to heart of Lipa City, Batangas for a nature adventure. The place was recommended by her friend and well-known to be a nice place for relaxation.

Like El Dorado

The day was set and started rolling off early Saturday morning. It was a half-hour ride from Sto. Tomas to Lipa City proper, another 15 minutes to Purok 6, Brgy. Lodlod. That was our first time to visit a remote place.  Only light vehicles can pass thru from main road to main gate. We hired a tricycle instead. Entrance fee is Php 100/person (without meal), Php 150 with light snacks and Php 175 with sumptuous lunch.

Main entrance (Photo courtesy bluroze.com)

We felt excited to what’s in this place and decided to start walking in…and that  was a long walk from the main gate but we’ve enjoy lush green around. The landscape is just like a safari with an ostrich farm that caught our attention. Was my first time as well to see such specie in person. There were picnic lovers, students having their school activity. We had a little tour of its facilities and found a mini zoo that takes care of some species of python, wild cats and birds.

Park’s arch

We’d rented a bicycle and further rolled out for a tour (Php 50/hour), ’til we had our lunch. Food is great as well as their restaurant. There were just too many visitors that day  that we had to wait for the long queue. What surprised me was a 50-meter high water tank. We’ve climbed up high for a 360 degree panoramic view of the entire farm.

Water tank

Water tank

Not only we enjoyed the park but its amenities as well. This place is perfect for family get together, team building or just a weekend place for leisure. There are function rooms, swimming pool and a camp site, maze, perfect for a day of relaxation. How to get there: Private vehicles from Manila:

  • take SLEX and proceed to ACTEX toll entry in Sto. Tomas
  • proceed to Tambo Exit (Lipa City)
  • proceed heading to Lipa City proper but turn right before De La Salle Lipa near Philips Service Center
  • head straight then turn right reaching M.K. Lina Road, Brgy, Lodlod
  • head straight then left turn to Redemptorist Fathers, which is just a few meters away from Bluroze main gate

Public Transportation from LRT/Buendia or Cubao

  • ride a Ceres, KL or CNG Buses either bound to Calabarzon, Tambo Exit (fare is between Php 120-Php 140)
  • get off from Tambo Exit and ride a jeep bound to Robinsons Lipa or Lipa City and get off near Dela Salle Lipa
  • there are plenty tricycle to take you Bluroze Farms from here, (fare is Php 50-60)

Soon we’ll re-visiting this place.

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Taal to Alabang

I was 9 years old when I first stepped into Batangas’ oldest church, Taal. Situated at the heart of the province and near the world’s famous and active Taal volcano, memories came back when my partner and I had an exploration in the area.

Buses bound to the town of Taal are limited so we just decided to take a jeep from Lipa City. That time a bridge repair connecting some barangays is in progress forcing all public vehicles take alternate route (which is way far than the normal route)

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We arrived at the town proper almost lunch. We just had some oculars of the church that wasn’t changed a bit since I first visited it. Church is several centuries old and houses surrounding it are antique. For a couple of hours, we stared on the structural design of the church in and out. We were amazed of how strong it is that it stood still until now.

There were souvenir shops nearby that sell religious items and souvenirs for local and foreign visitors.

We had much time and decided to head back. While at the bus, we decided to go straight to Festival Mall in Alabang. Travel time took us about 2.5 hours from Taal, traffic included.

Blue Corner…where Everything is Grilled

Ok so we craved for squid and “sisig”, time to make our tummy happy. We’ve headed to Paseo de Sta. Rosa in Laguna to have a taste of what everybody loves, grilled stuff.

Paseo de Santa Rosa

Paseo de Santa Rosa

When I was working in Laguna Technopark in Binan, there seemed to be a “magnet” that makes people talked about and attracted to Paseo de Sta. Rosa. The place is actually designed like a town mall that has several establishments and anchors like Pancake House, Starbucks and many more popular destinations of socially high people.

Beside, is a public market, an extraordinary market that caters house wares, furniture, mouth watering delicacies and of course, grilled stuff. You could actually smell smoke from several meters before even reaching the place. Food lovers will absolutely be easily attracted.

Wet and Dry Market

Wet and Dry Market

Serving ranges from between Php 100 to 500. Freshly caught see foods were served and cooked in front of you. What I liked most is the “pusit” (squid). Perfect partner with streamed rice.

Mouth Watering Squid

Mouth Watering Squid

Looking forward to visit the place again.

Laiya, Life in Colours

Way To

A birthday blow-out request made it to reality. Destination, San Juan, Batangas. On a typical day, decided to take a mid-year swimming at Laiya White Cove Resort, via public transport. I packed my things and got ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

Arrival at the Resort

Arrival at the Resort

It was a three-ride trip for almost 3 hours. We left Lipa City at around 9:00am and got a jeepney bound to Rosario. We got off at Rosario town proper and looked for jeepney bound San Juan. Whew! It was quite a long travel indeed! Though we had lots of views of nearby town, fields and greenlands that soothed our eyes.

Touched Down

We arrived at the place with no bookings or reservations at all. We seemed to be a lost couple trying to explore nature. Getting a resort on Laiya isn’t that difficult since most public transports passes along the resorts which were just couple of meters from the main road.

We’ve passed thru Kabayan Resort and decided to step off. Yet we did have some “canvassing” made before checking in. Beside that resort is still one cool place, Laiya White Cove. We entered the main gate and wandered around. A first class resort indeed! That time, I was thinking if the price is budget wise.

People are friendly, nice place and white sand that ‘s it! We’ve decided to check in. It was non-peak season so we’ve got a simple room to accommodate us. We really looked like castaways carrying a bag with snacks which stayed on us wherever we go.

Little Nap

Little Nap

We then decided to go for a swim by 4:00pm, time when the heat of the sun won’t burn our skins. We enjoyed shell picking while the tide is low and seen a lot of tiny sea creatures along. Careful though for the sea urchins scattered around.

Late Afternoon Swim

Late Afternoon Swim

We had our dinner at around 7:00pm, pork “sisig”that was. Food is great though expensive and serving isn’t worth the price.

Laiya Lights

Laiya Lights

But we enjoyed watching the view of the resort. More spectacular at night.

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We left early the following day and going back was even more difficult due to the fact that the area remote. A kind tricycle driver offered us a ride (for a fee) to take us to the nearest jeepney stop. Finally we’ve realized that we were just “sales talked”. We paid P70, one way trip. There were jeepneys bound to Rosario  just near the resort.

The Shoreline

The Shoreline

Tiring yet we’ve reached home safe and sound. The experience was great and I would recommend the place specially for backpackers. It would be better to have some spare money when going here, because there were no ATMs around, though major credit cards honored. Nevertheless, we had an experience that really touched us with nature.

Absolutely will be coming back there again.

Trivia: Laiya is where Ryan and Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo had there wedding reception last April 2008

The Magic is Here…Everyday

A first of its kind theme park built in the heart developing city in South, Sta. Rosa, Laguna. It was actually my 3rd time to be here and it was really an Enchanted Kingdom. The park opened July 1995 and became the most visited place in Laguna, second to hot-spring resorts, when it comes a venue for Family bonding and “barkada” gimmicks. This 40 acre park hosts 30 rides including 2 roller coasters and 2 water rides.

Entrance Gate

Entrance Gate (courtesy Wikipedia)

Early 2008, when I had a date with my ex-girlfriend (now my wife). That became one of our most memorable moments together. I do not have a car so we just took a public transport, via jeepney, and bring along my Pentax point and shoot film camera for souvenir shots. Those became my wife’s worst impression about me. Nevertheless, the time has come to had a little tour.

The Wizard and the Princess

The Wizard and the Princess

Direct trips to Balibago, Sta. Rosa was only via Tanauan City (beside Greenwich) previously at Php 40 per person. Route is via South Luzon Expressway making the trip shorter than taking Calamba-Sta-Rosa service road. We head off  to Walter Mart, Balibago, a landmark that would tell we are near the place. We just had a little shopping and before finally getting a tricycle that directly took us near the entrance. During the day, the rate is Php 50 and shoots up to about Php 100 during the night great huh?!

So, we arrived, what’s next? Well, buy tickets and get in. There were a number of people already piling up in front of ticket booth. A ride-all-you can pass worth Php 500 that lets you experience all the rides except for the fun game booths, 4D Discovery Theater and the Realto. Tried Roller Skater, Dodgem, Wheel of Fate, Anchors Away, Swan Lake, Grand Carousel, Rio Grande Rapids, Bump N’Splash, Jungle Log Jam, Flying Fiesta but not the dreaded Space Shuttle.

Dancing Gypsies

Dancing Gypsies

After a long walk and some photoshoots (ended with a 24-shot film) we had some pizza. Surprises await for visitors as dance presentations were conducted randomly in variety of location inside the park making added value for the tour. The day ended with a spectacular fireworks by 7:00pm. It was such an experience.

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There were limitless things to do here, and not boring as well.  There are spots for children of all ages. During our second date after a year, I finally got a digital camera for our photo shoots, but not a car =D

Up to Tagaytay

January of 2008, a typical day, on a van bound to Dasmarinas, Cavite. First stop of getting to Tagaytay City. It was a long trip literally since we’ve chosen to board from Lipa City bound to Pala-Pala. It was heartwarming though. First time to travel as couple.

The Climb

A jeepney transfer finally took us to Olivares. We had our light snacks in McDonald’s before heading to People’s Park (Palace in the Sky). One of the popular attractions in Tagaytay. It was built during the Marcos regime from the early 80’s. It was a steep 45 degrees climb up. This was actually my second time to get into that place. First was during our High-school retreat.

It was a cold Saturday morning then and fog covered virtually road. The thrill was that we didn’t even noticed that we are traversing along the cliff. Getting there via public transport is cheaper yet difficult. At last, arriving at the sit, we had to pay P10 mandatory entrance fee. We started climbing up in no time. It was a steep foggy way up. Wind reaching 10 kph was felt while nearing the top. Not a good weather as well, rain poured after. We headed straight to a souvenir shop. There were variety of stuff you can find there like t-shirts, necklaces, kitchen wares, delicacies and many more. Not cheap though.

Needs some makeover

Needs Some Makeover

The place isn’t well maintained that it tended to looked like a deserted town. The oval where most concerts and public performances is being held seemed like an antique park. After taking some souvenir shots, we decided to head to Western part of Tagaytay.

Taal Volcano From a Distance

Taal Volcano from a distance

We really don’t know nor familiar where to go after that short tour up. Fortunately, we passed by Starbucks Coffee which was just along the road. A panoramic view of Taal Volcano made us stayed for a couple of hours. The sun started to shine making us take a quick tour around the place. It was actually a complex of restaurants, bars, and cafes. A breathtaking view of the Lake and mountains completed our day.

Spectacular View

Spectacular View

Just after some pictorials, we decided to go home. It was still raining that day, though we enjoyed some relaxing moments.

Venice Piazza at McKinley Hill

Ever dreamed of going to a romantic place on earth?

During my high-school history class, a place called Venice caught my attention. A small city in Italy in a shallow Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers. One of the world’s top tourist destinations and I always dream of going there someday. We’ll now, locally, you can.

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Grand Canal Mall

 

Megaworld, one of the known real estate developers in the country has this great idea of building a Venice-inspired mall replica in Taguig City (one of their Lifestyle Malls) replica of the actual one in Italy. The mall was advertised on TV year 2007 but seldom had continued its expansion/construction until the late 2010. A unique mall inspired by the “real” Grand Canal in Venice.

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Inside Piazza

Until late 2015, when I had a chance to visit McKinley Hill in Taguig City on my job interview. I finished early so out of curiosity, I crossed the street to check it out on it’s nearing-to-completion stage. The Venice Grand Canal Mall (Piazza). Despite of dust, loud construction noise and smell of newly painted walls, crowd lined up in a small bridge (“Jeje Bridge”) to take their selfie shots.

Finally, the construction completed late 2016 and had a chance to see it on a daily basis. Tenants started populating the once an empty mall. There are fine dine in restos, fast foods, apparel shops, and many more.

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Gondola

One popular activity that you can enjoy in here is the gondola ride (a traditional, flat-bottomed Venetian rowing boat) for Php 500 per person. I just noticed that boatmen paddling, exerts a little effort steering it, could be now motorized. It is just a bit expensive spending a day in here but worth the visit.