Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pawikan Conservation Center

Before heading to Bataan I googled tourist attractions and Pawikan Conservation Center in Nagbalayong, Morong, Bataan is included. My husband knew how much I was looking forward  to see this place so he drove us there before proceeding to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.  From Dunsulan Falls, it took us 40 minutes to reach  Pawikan Conservation Center. Getting there was easy. They have enough signs along the road that says "Pawikan Center, straight ahead".

We were warmly and apologetically greeted by volunteer Arnold Santos saying we're late to see the 150 hatchlings which they have released a week earlier. Nevertheless, he was happy to be of service to introduce us to the three remaining pawikan and educate us all about the importance of pawikan. 

Hawksbill, who is also called kuba (hunchback). He cannot be released in the sea because of its deformity.

Green Turtle, can be released but they chose to keep it  so that guests can see the different kinds of pawikan.

Olive, for Olive Ridley, was donated by its original owner to the center when they  found  it difficult  to care for.
 Olive cannot also be released in the sea  because it does not know how to dive or swim
beneath because it grew up living in a batya (big basin)
Kuya Arnold told us that the volunteers of the center used to be pawikan poachers. They are now educating people, locals and visitors alike to help not just the pawikan but the ecosystem as a whole.

Entrance or viewing fee is twenty pesos per head. The best time to visit Pawikan Conservation Center is during Pawikan Festival (November 29-30) when and where you can view the turtles lay eggs at night.

The beach here is quite nice. 
If you wish to stay for the night they have accommodations starting from P3,500 

Dunsulan Falls

After our Mt. Samat tour we were supposed to go directly at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar when we spotted a big sign of Dunsulan Falls along the road. Hoping to swim, we took a sidetrip to Dunsulan Falls, which is about 20 minutes away behind Mt. Samat.  Though the place is ideal for picnic and swimming we were not allowed to hit the water because it rained hard the night before. The  water is too deep and quite muddled.

Entrance fee for adult is fifty pesos, for kids it's twenty pesos. 
Rental fee for table is one hundred pesos.

They have the longest zip line in Luzon, starting from the peak of Mt. Samat going down Dunsulan Falls. Ride is at Php450.00 per person.

Dunsulan Falls is located at Barangay Liyang, Pilar, Bataan

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Trip to the Past at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Have you ever wondered how the houses looked during the late 1800s and early 1900s? Wonder no more! You don't even need a time machine to experience the past, just go to Bagac, Bataan where Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is located.  Depending on who's driving, travel time via SCTEX takes about 3 to 4 hours from Manila.

Upon entry, you are greeted by a security personnel wearing a Spanish era guardia sibil outfit. 

We then proceeded to the reception area where a very Pinoy welcome drink of sago't gulaman is given to guests and visitors alike.

We stayed at the third floor in a spacious bi-level room in Paseo de Escolta 
at P5,525 (weekday rate).

From its original locations, all the materials were carefully  transported in Bagac to re-create brick by brick and plank by plank all these historical houses.

Walking guided tour happens every hour, starting at 8:30 am, to learn about the history of the houses and its owners. I suggest you join the 8:30 am or the 3:30pm to avoid the afternoon heat. Guests are required to leave the slippers or shoes outside each houses to keep it clean and as it was also a practice in the past. Wear flip flops instead of shoes. My sons had difficulty catching up with the tour as they were wearing rubber shoes.

Other fun things to do at Las Casas: Swim at the beach, swim at the pool and
 take lots and lots of photos!

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is located at Bo. Pag-asa, Bagac, Bataan.
For more informations and/or reservation call their Manila office at 332-5338
or email them at

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dambana ng Kagitingan at Mt. Samat

It was in year 2000 when I first came to see ang Dambana ng Kagitingan, situated at the peak of Mount Samat in Diwa, Pilar, Bataan. I  was with my friends, Jane and Jingle, and our classmates in graduate school. 

Dambana ng Kagitingan or Shrine of Valor was built to commemorate the lives of the soldiers who gave their lives for the freedom of Filipinos against the tyranny of the Japanese.

A minimal fee of twenty pesos for adults, and ten pesos for students is collected upon entrance of the vehicle. There's also a parking fee of thirty pesos. Another ten pesos per head is collected if you wish to go at the peak to see the marvelous sight 300 or more feet below.

There are two ways to reach the base of the Memorial Cross. An alternate road for those who wish to bring the car or by footpath. We chose the latter for more adventure.

Pictures abound inside the museum, showing the history, its pain and glory of the past. Arms and ammunitions used in that era are displayed all over the museum.

How to get there:

We left Manila at 5am, with few stop overs, we reached Mt. Samat in less than 2 hours. Although the gps was leading us to take a different route, we took SCTEX then exit at Dinalupihan. It was a good call as we didn't have to pass town after town which will make the trip more tedious.

It is best to visit in the cold months (October, November, and February) as it gets very hot starting at 9am during summer season. On the other hand, my brother visited on Christmas season, he said it was foggy so they were not able get better shots of the shrine. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Liliw Adventure, The Second Time Around

We went in Liliw Resort barely three weeks ago. My husband and kids were eager to go back immediately but I have other plans. I wanted to visit Majayjay Falls so we can try a new adventure. Since it was 4 out of 5, I'm busted! We went back in Liliw Resort last Friday, bringing with us my friend Lyn and her kids, and my nieces Bang, Bea and Luis.


The view going to Liliw is majestic, with Mount Banahaw at the background. Though the road gets narrow as you near the town proper but occasional statues and displays make the trip more exciting.

We reached Liliw Resort around 10 am. At 1pm we've all agreed to pack and go to Majayjay Falls. I was not as excited to go back in Liliw. I didn't plan to swim, but then it rained...

    We all got crazy, err excited, then got out of the cottage and enjoyed the rain and the spring

Sunshine Cottage, where we stayed, P1,200 day tour. P1,700 for overnight stay.

Toilet and Bath, toiletries not included.
Dining area
1 bedroom for those who'd like to catch some sleep
Wash area

If staying for four hours or less, you might want to rent this picnic hut (Php400.00) instead of the  cottage .
When the rain stopped, we checked out the plaza (town) to see what's in store for their 11th Tsinelas Festival. We got to buy slippers, 3 for P100, for pasalubong and took a lot of photos.

We concluded the day by visiting St. John The Baptist Church

Sometimes life has its way of changing one's plan...for the better. I certainly enjoyed our Liliw Adventure, the second time around.

Liliw Resort - Kanlurang Bukal, Liliw, Laguna
Tel no. (049) 563-1123/ Telefax (049) 563-1188
Call Ms. Maye: 0916-2142529

Friday, May 4, 2012

Daranak Falls

Daranak Falls is one of Tanay, Rizal's pride. It is located at Bgy. Tandang Kutyo, at the foot of Tanay Mountain. Depending on the traffic, it takes about an hour and a half drive from Manila.  We reached the place in 45 minutes because we went there at 7 in the morning.  We were told that the 14-meter high falls is a favorite location shooting for movies and big television networks' telenovelas. 

Expect that this place is very crowded during summer. We were advised that January and February are the best months to visit, and make sure it's a weekday.

Even if we went on a Wednesday, there were many guests already because everyone wants to maximize the remaining days of summer. We didn't dip in the water. Instead we watch Lifeguard, Sandy Tuplano, as he showed and taught as rock balancing. He will soon be featured doing the same in Channel 7.

This is how clear Daranak water is.

With the staff of Daranak Falls, headed by Sir Dondon Gerones.
Yes, we will definitely go back - with many friends in tow!

Operating Hours:

Monday to Sunday: 8am to 5pm
Holdiays: 7am - 5pm

Entrance fee: P20.00 - Adult
P15.00 - Kids

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hidden Beauty

After our Calinawan Cave adventure we ask the tour guide the nearest falls or river where we could swim. Tibs said there's one which is about thirty minutes walk so she immediately brushed off the idea of going there. She thought we couldn't make it for the road is steep, slippery, dusty, thorny, grassy so on and so forth.  Plus, we have small kids. All of us were wearing slippers, which will make the trek harder. My family's adventurous spirits were challenged! We hit that narrow road.

This hidden beauty has no entrance fee (just yet?) Travellers just have to pay the tour guides who'll bring you this place.

We also had to do a bit of rock climbing to avoid the slippery rocks

If you visit Calinawan Cave don't forget to ask your tour guide for this river (we forgot what they actually call this body of water).  Wear trekking shoes, though, or comfortable rubber shoes to ease a bit of discomfort while walking. Bring bottled water, especially if you'll be there between 11am to 3pm (as it turns very humid in between that time. I personally suggest, you do this between 7am to 9am to avoid extreme heat from the sun. 

Once you see this from afar, hmmm, that steep, slippery, dusty, thorny, grassy so on and so forth is worth the effort.