The Rock, The Falls, and The Blue Lagoon | Ilocos Norte

Ilocos remains to be very special and memorable to me. Last 2010, I had an unexpected solo trip. There I was - traveling with insufficient money, no ATM card, no cellphone on hand, and the best part was it's all happening on my birthday! It was harsh at first, but it turned out to be a very blessed birthday trip experience. Check out My Ilocos Norte Trip 2010.

Since then, I've been wanting to revisit the place- not just for the food I never got to taste, or the places I never had the chance to see, but for the genuine person I met. Kamusta na kaya ang super tour guide kong si Mang Arnel?

I didn't notice that the bus has reached the terminal because I was really enjoying the quiet-me-time on the bus. I guess I just missed to travel alone, it's been 3 years since I last did. Anyway, I bet Mang Arnel was also delighted when he finally saw me again. Hehe We had a long and nice conversation. I wish I knew how to address their tourism issue with the local government.

Anyway, Im glad the weather fully cooperated on those 2 days. I was able to view Pagudpud at its finest (or almost). There are only 3 places I really wanted to see in Pagudpud: Kapurpurawan Rock Formations, Kaangrian Falls, and the Blue Lagoon.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formations
It was lovelier the second time around. True that visitors are not allowed anymore to see the front area up close, but the great news is the back area is equally stunning! Actually it's better for camwhoring. =)

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation - front

the side view is stunning

the back area is equally stunning!

best time to visit Kapurpurawan is between 8am - 11am

best spot for a group shot

and best spot for a solo pictorial
pang profile pic ^_^

The rock formations are amazing as ever. And as they say, tiis ganda shot. The sun was unforgiving but everyone, including me, was brave enough to endure the heat for this chance of having a nice souvenir shot. I wished I had my umbrella with me, kaso wala akong check in baggage allowance. Poor me.

Blue Lagoon | Maira-Ira
It rained the first time I visited so I didn't really see how blue is the water in Blue Lagoon. I was completely surprised to see the blue gradient of the beach. It was indeed a blue lagoon. Honestly, I liked Blue Lagoon more than the beaches of El Nido. 

 the so-called Walang Hanggan site
dito daw nagshooting sina Coco Martin. yun oh!

overlooking Blue Lagoon and the surrounding resorts

this is one of the best beaches in Luzon, in my opinion

the sand may not be very fine but it doesn't matter

 i loved the peaceful and simple setting of this beach

Blue Lagoon ranks 9th in my Best Beaches in the Philippines list

Kaangrian Falls
Kabigan Falls is great but I heard Kaangrian Falls is so much better! Mang Arnel just warned me that the trek was not an easy one. True enough, the trek was exhausting but only because the weather was extremely hot. The 45-min trek to the falls was bearable by the way.

a trek down the falls

a candid yet dramatic shot of my super tour guide Mang Arnel

Okay, we were both disappointed to know that there's not enough water on the falls. Toinks Oh well, waterfalls are dry on a summer season. Maybe the best time to go here is between October to January.

Kaangrian Falls with insufficient water flow

but I have to admit the water still looked mystical

my neon green top blends with the water eh?

look how clear the water is. yun oh!
super Pagudpud tourguide - Mang Arnel 0918.689.0723

Anyway, at least I saw Kaangrian Falls and I made myself proud by not collapsing in the middle of an exhausting trek. Good vibes! ^_^

click here for my 2 Days Ilocos Trip. Bagets pa ko jan. Hihi

Wakeboarding in Nuvali | Republic Wakepark

Gone are the days when people needed to travel for 8 hours to reach Camsur Water Complex (CWC). Now just for an hour-trip from Manila, Republic Wakepark has made the lives of wakeboard enthusiast easier. A world-class wakeboard park is just near Manila.

Republic Wakepark in Nuvali, Sta.Rosa, Laguna

Last 2011, I had the chance to visit CWC for the first time. It was where I learned how to wakeboard. The facilities and equipment are really great. No wonder, international wakeboarding competition are being held in CWC.

Last 2012, my balikbayan friend Chris from New York, insisted me to go with him to CWC. And so we did. The sad part is, after the 8-hour bus ride from Manila, we found out that CWC's main wakepark is under maintenance. Yes, it's closed at that time. Shet lang di ba? Nakaka-high blood. CWC should have had some advisory about that.

Moving on, Chris was home again last Month and of course he insisted to go to CWC again. Since last year's experience was a big turn off, I researched for an alternative and found a nice place to wakeboard – and it's just around Laguna. Perfect! That's how I discovered Republic Wakepark in Nuvali.

Yun oh, ang haba ng introduction ko. ^_^

Republic Wakepark Rates: P250 per hour
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday / 8:30am to 10:00pm

reminds me very much of CWC, agree?

Since Chris and I went there on a weekday morning, there's still not much people when we arrived. Most tourists are of course, Koreans. Anyway, it's really nice for all foreign and local tourists because they wouldn’t have to catch another flight to Naga to reach CWC. Now, once they landed in Manila airport, they can reach Republic Wakepark within an our drive.

pro area lake with cable, ramps, and obstacles

 a fine day to wakeboard

 restaurant fronting the lake

great viewing deck

 the ramps


beginner's area

So which is better - CWC or Wakepark Republic in Nuvali? 
It's actually the same great experience! The facilities are almost identical. Maybe these wakeboard parks are owned and managed by the same owner. But of course, I prefer Republic Wakepark because it's closer to Manila and the facilities are newer compared to those in CWC.

Wakeboarders in Republic Wakepark

a Korean kid and I think he's already a Pro

If there's something which is not so good enough in Republic Wakepark, then that is the food. Im sorry but the food in CWC are more awesome and reasonable. Anyway, Im sure these can be improved.

restaurant and pool area

dining area

 next na uwi mo Chris, let's dive naman!

rice toppings

free wifi in Republic Wakepark

For those who don't want to wakeboard, then there's this elevated pool. The rate is P120 per head for unlimited time. Not bad.

swimming pool - P120/head for unlimited hours

chill time on these viewing decks

Overall, it was the same great experience, less the 8-hour travel time. 
Just be sure to go here on a weekday morning to avoid the crowd. It gets crowded after lunch time.

Republic Wakepark

Parking: Yes  |  Food and Drinks: Not allowed inside
How to Commute: Aside from the usual bus going to Balibago, bus and shuttle vans are available which go directly to Nuvali. Once in Nuvali, there are shuttle rides located at the back of Robinsons Mall. This shuttle van will service the guests to Republic Wakepark.

Bus Route:
Mondays to Fridays:
NUVALI to Makati*                         6:00AM and 6:30AM
Makati* to NUVALI                         5:00PM, 6:30PM, and 7:30PM

Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays
Makati* to NUVALI                         10AM
NUVALI to Makati*                         8PM

Shuttle Vans:
Mondays to Sundays
Ortigas Crossing to NUVALI             All day
NUVALI  to Ortigas Crossing            All day

*Makati (Corner of Courtyard Drive and Station Road, back of Hotel Intercontinental Manila)


Pico de Loro Beach & Country Club | Pico Tri 2013

Recently, I've been scouting a venue for our company summer outing. Batangas is always the most convenient area - and one of the most outstanding resorts I checked out is Pico de Loro Beach & Country Club. I thought this resort is exclusive for members only but I was wrong. Pico Sands Hotel accommodates non-member guests.

Anyway, I didn't expect I would experience Pico de Loro's beach resort right away. Thanks to Mica for the last minute invite, I had a great weekend getaway in this lovely resort.

  Pico de Loro Beach & Country Club

Getting to Pico de Loro Beach & Country Club
Honestly, this is the part where I got most excited. Only on weekends, Pico de Loro offers ferry services from Mall of Asia to the resort directly. I've never tried going to Batangas via a ferry. Hehe Anyway, this is really nice. Mica and I already felt we're on a vacation as we sailed our way to Pico de Loro.

Mall of Asia Jetty Terminal

For non-members and guests, the one-way fee costs P600. The ferry departs at 8:00AM. Travel time from MoA to Pico de Loro took 1.5 hours. It was a smooth ride.

 the ferry for Pico de Loro members and guests

The Resort
This Hamilo Coast property is really huge. There are nine residential condominiums which is surrounded by a four-hectare saltwater lagoon. For non-members, there's Pico Sands Hotel which has a hundred or more rooms. Shuttles are provided for easy transfers to anywhere in the resort.

Pico de Loro residential condominium buildings

 country club area

The Hotel Room
Room rate starts at around 7,000 and up. This is already good for 2 adults and 2 kids, with free breakfast. As soon as we were handed our key cards, Mica and I immediately proceeded to our room and had a quick nap. Of course, we had lots of chismisan in between. ^_^

hallway on the 2nd floor

2 queen sized beds

 office table

veranda with the lagoon view

The room has 2 queen sized beds- with super nice comforter and soft pillows. There's a cabled TV with HD channels. Awesome, magkano kaya to monthly? I want this HD cable for our house. Moving on, there's also a fridge and the resort is not strict at all if you want to bring food and drinks inside the hotel room.

Of course there's the bathroom which is as spacious as the bedroom. Hehe Toiletries and hair dryer are provided.

shower area

with basic toiletries, bath towels, and hair dryer

Beach Area
The weather is perfect for some beach bumming. The light brownish yet clean shore of Hamilo Coast greeted us. There are many guests but there's room for everyone. Aside from swimming, there are lots of activities and water sports which guests can enjoy.

Sun Coral Cafe which is fronting the beach

 beach lounge beds with umbrellas

1.2km long and light brown shore

2013 Pico-Tri Invitational
The annual Pico Tri event was about to start when we checked out the beach area. Im a bit excited because it will be my first time to witness a triathlon event. 

Pico-Tri 2013

Almost 300 world-class athletes and sports enthusiasts participated in this year's Pico-Tri.

the triathletes are almost ready

The race began with a 1.2 kilometer swim across Pico de Loro's famed shores.

1st part of the event: a 1.2-kilometer swim

The sun was unforgiving and I dont know how the athletes managed to swim for that long. Actually the sand alone is already extremely hot. Our slippers were not good enough to protect our feet. Obviously, I salute those athletes for their endurance against the heat.

a swimmer out of the water

One by one, the athletes got out of the water to perform the next event. Triathletes had to bike through a 35-kilometer challenging and rolling terrain. Oh my goodness.

2nd part of the event: a 35-km bike through a rolling terrain

all set for a long bike ride

Finally, the race ended with an 8-kilometer run within the resort.

final part of event: an 8-km run within the resort

one of the pretty iron ladies doing her last lap

I was very inspired to witness such event for iron men and women ages 21-50 years old! I was truly amazed with their strength, endurance, and determination to finish this race. It was a happy sight whenever families cheered for their loved ones. It was not a race afterall but more of a happy event.

Anyway, this man is the overall winner. He is really number 1.

he's really number 1!

All winners and runner-ups for all categories were awarded on an evening ceremony. It turned out to be a fun night of celebration.

the best among the 300 triathletes

Country Club Activities
After our BBQ buffet dinner by the beach, we intentionally left the party early to give way for our planned activity that night. Videoke session it is!

videoke room

There's also some billiard tables for those who wanted to play and have a friendly pustahan. ^_^

billiard tables

And the best part is - Pico de Loro has its own bowling area! This place is really great for company and barkada outings.

care to have a friendly bowling competition?

Buffet Breakfast
The following morning, we had our buffet breakfast on the ground floor of Pico Sands Hotel. There were good tasting items like the tapa, bacon, and danggit.

buffet breakfast plates

with Mica and Melo

Pool Area
Just when I thought I've already explored the best spots in Pico de Loro resort, this pool area proved me wrong. These swimming pools were the greatest places to just relax and have quality fun time with the family.

pool area fronting the lagoon and the residential buildings

kids and adults enjoying the water and the view

time to plunge

super thumbs up for Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club

It was indeed a relaxing and inspiring weekend getaway.
Malay mo next year, isa na ko sa triathletes. Charot!

Pico Sands Hotel
Hamilo Coast, Nasugbu, Batangas, Philippines 
E-mail:  /
Telephone: 214.7800 / 214.7888
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