Summer destinations

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By Adrian Bobe


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

WHILE most people are busy preparing for religious activities this Holy Week, others are busy preparing for summer adventures.

Admittedly, this week means vacation for a lot of people. Good news, it’s the start of summer, too! In this Season of Lent, people can rest and have recreation. This is a kind of reflection that feeds the soul and nourishes the mind that one can only find in the comforts of a different place, thus, an adventure worth taking and yes, spending for.

Unless you’re already booked to kiss the white sands of Boracay or maybe off to Guimaras to witness the annual “Dalan Padulong sa Krus” jamboree, here’s my quick finds to make your vacation meaningful and grander!


CamSur’s Water Park: Feeding the thrill-seeker

Despite the eight long hours ride from Manila, Camarines Sur will surely offer you with a double whammy blowout: water park experience and CamSur’s laid-back charm. In the water park, I find myself strapped in a surfboard, both knees clasped against falling in a 30kph pull-ride.

The CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC) will feed the hungry thrill seeker in you. Located in the heart of Pili, the warm Bicolandia atmosphere will surely charm you. The Cable Park is a box office for knee-boarders and extreme adventurers. The Winch Park is for wakeboarding 101 classes where kids flock to practice. The Boat Park, on the other hand, will give you an eye-candy shot with giant inflatable castles turned to a trip up zone.
To note, the house of then DILG secretary Jesse Robredo is a motorcycle ride from CWC. It is becoming a tourist attraction minus the usually expensive entrance fees.

CWC is not for the faint-hearted. A budget of P7,000 to P8,000 or more for a two-night visit might make you faint.

If the Force is with you today, try searching for piso fare or discounted round trip tickets from local travel agents. If you go in group, you might just be spending less than 4,000 for a group of 10 friends.

Gigantes Islands: A gigantic adventure

A day’s trip by land, ferry boat and what seems like never- ending stretch of road off the northern part of the Iloilo province is worth the muscle-pain. Unlike other famous tourism destinations, the north of Panay is rather less known. Many Ilonggos themselves don’t know of the islets and virgin sand bars in the northern tip.

The Islands of Gigantes is filled with charming culture: a ‘habal-habal’ ride for the risky commuter, a glass of ‘tuba’ that signals warm welcome from fisher folks and the rush of fresh air from white sand beaches.

It treats its travelers with surprises that vary from mystical formation of stones, long stretches of white sand islands and what locals call ‘tangke,’ a lagoon covered with more than 150 feet of coral stones.

Isla Gigantes is a group of islands off the coast of Carles and Estancia town. The Sur and Norte Gigantes division have equally distributed God-given qualities— powder-like coast lines, bodies of water being home to a diverse marine life and a sanctuary of birds.

“Gigantes means magical,” shared their chieftain, “Gigantes are actually two giants whose love for each other created the islets circling its coast.”

Puerto Princesa’s Underground Wonder

Puerto Princesa’s Subterranean River National Park is a world heritage site. It has an 8.2-kilometer navigable stretch reputed as the world’s longest. Its entry cave, located in Bahile, Puerto Princesa runs its crystalline waters toward South China Sea. The national treasure is more than 82 kilometers from the ‘Urban Forest’s’ busy city scene.

The place can be reached through a 90-minute jeepney ride from Barangay Cabayugan to Sabang, from where one could take 15-minute pump boat ride.

To reach the world’s wonder is a separate nature trip itself. Sabang and its nearby villages greet wanderers with its laid-back charm of primeval houses, palm dappled white sand beaches and simple huts— all coaxes every nature-lover to stop their vehicles, dip on its waters and enjoy the natural bounties untouched by time.

There is more to the underground’s marvel than just an 8-kilometer stretch. It grants every navigator a wonderful experience only a world-wonder can offer.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 15, 2014.


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