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The invitation.

While checking out some stuff at the local Coleman store in Alabang Town Center, i came across a poster inviting people to join a camping adventure in Caliraya Lake.  I immediately stormed the store attendant for info, in the end i have to call the Coleman office to get the info i need.

Luckily i know the place were the camping will be held. It was my favorite camp and recreation site in Caliraya. To know more about Caliraya, visit the site of Surf Kamp.

Adventure date.

Originally scheduled on May 17 to 18, but due to bad weather and a typhoon neaby the organizer has to cancell the event at the last hour. May 24 came the day with good weather, we then headed for the lake at the Cavinte, Laguna area. Most took the bus from the Focus Global office in Mandaluyong. My family came by car due to the kids and camping gears.

Prior to camp day there was an orientation meeting at the Coleman office in Mandaluyong. This was also the time that the participants were grouped into teams. I joined the blue team whose members were mountaineers except for me and Robert, while the rest Gigi, Aarone, Reggie and Christine were all experienced mountaineers who had more than 10 climbs in their belts.

Along the way.

I meet Robert with his family at Shell gas station at 8AM then went on convoy. Driving along the curvy mountain road to Caliraya Lake is always fun. We arrived 11AM, a few minutes after the bus arrived at the camp site.

Pitching the tent.

The moment we arrived everybody was so excited to pitch their tent that we all scattered over the camp site looking for the best spot. I brought my Coleman Lyra dome tent that allows four adult to sleep in comfort. I choose a spot near a mango tree, the kids immediately help pitch the tent. The spot was choosen for the shade the tree brings. However, i did not notice that big nasty ants were abondant in my tent area. I had to move the tent before night fall or face ant bites and holes in the tent. So we move the tent without bringing it down, we moved it “bayanihan” style were all four fellow camper took one corner each and lifted the tent to a new location near my team.

 

camp ground 2

camp ground 2

new location away from ants

new location away from ants

camp ground 3

camp ground 3

 

 

blue team tent area

blue team tent area

camp ground 1

camp ground 1

 Games.

After having our packed lunch it was game time.  First, we went to the Japanese Garden for the much needed LNT (leave no trace) lecture. After about one and a half hour we are back in the camp site for the competition. Naturaly our team won (blue team),  yabang!. Maybe it was because we did much preparation like a short practice on the three-legged walk and probably also that my teammates were mountaineers. The three-legged walk was performed together with Gigi wherein one of our legs was tied togther forming as one.

 

seryoso sa LNT lecture

seryoso sa LNT lecture

Japanese Memorial

Japanese Memorial

LNT lecture

LNT lecture

 

 

three leg walk (jun and Gigi)

three leg walk (Jun and Gigi)

Blue team in Japanese Garden
Blue team in Japanese Garden
Reggie praying?

Reggie praying?

 

The game was like a relay wherein after a game the teammate has to pass/tap the next member to continue the next game but with a different challenge. It started with the “find the sound” then came the “boat race” in the lake to take the match stick in one of the poles several meters away then it ended in “light the fire starter stick” (i forgot the rest of the game in between).

Everybody had fun. The most exciting and challenging part of the game was the inflatable boat race. Having a 2 person Colossus i was able to guide our team on how to properly inflate and seal the valves fast. Some teams had their boat leaking while rowing..ha…ha. In the games we used the Coleman 4 person Navigator boats. 
blue team with the boat

blue team with the boat

blue team with their winning price

blue team with their winning price

boat race

boat race

 

fire starter stick

fire starter stick

 

fast! light the stick

fast! light the stick

lighting the fire starter stick

lighting the fire starter stick

 After the games.

After the games i was eagerly waiting for the sunset. This will be my first time to shoot the sunset in Caliraya despite my numerous trips here, i do not know why maybe because i was busy packing the camp gears in most of the camping i had. As soon as the sky turned orange-red, i immediately dropped everything and headed for the best spot along the lake to shoot.

sundet at Caliraya

sunset at Caliraya

Caliraya lake in early morning

Caliraya lake in early morning

 

gray sky

gray sky

 

Heavy downpour.

It was a wet Saturday night. Rain came with wind, it was a cold and wet evening. Cooking dinner was done inside a nipa shelter. Stove and kerosene lamp were provided by Coleman (and also the tents), one set each for every team. Good that my teammates are mountaineers, they basically know how to cook at this conditions. So we had sumptous dinner of grilled pork and grilled eggplant with “bagoong”, sauteed kangkong and banana for dessert. My kids and wife had their dinner inside our tent, it was impossible for them to get out without getting drenched. Though this is not advisable to eat inside a tent, but what can you do…just make sure that you do not leave any food traces on the floor as this will invite insects that will make holes in your nylon floor.

Bon fire was started even under a light rain but nobody dared sit around the fire but it was a welcome light to a dark surrounding.  With the rain still pounding our roof after dinner and running out of things to do and enjoy….pretty soon we were in our respective tents sound asleep.

I was planning to do a night shoot but with the rain still around i did not risk damaging my camera, to sleep i go..

nipa shelter
nipa shelter

Sunday morning.

We woke up with a fairly good weather. After coffee and breakfast It was time to enjoy the lake. Coleman had all the inflatables and life jackets prepared. After breakfast everybody was on the edge of the lake waiting for their turn to ride the boats.

swim with the spider!

swim with the spider!

blue team preparing breakfast

blue team preparing breakfast

yummy breakfast

yummy breakfast

 

ready to row

ready to row

yehey!
yehey!

 

here we go!

here we go!

 Time to say goodbye to new found friends. 

After so much fun, it was time to say goodbye to new found friends. Before noon everybody was busy packing their camping gears.

My kids enjoyed it very much. I think everybody had fun. When do we see each other again? Calling Kim of Coleman, when is the next adventure?…….tatawagan na lang daw kayo :-)

 
group hug again!

group hug again!

group hug!

group hug!

blue team minus Gigi

blue team minus Gigi

 Other pictures.

the young participants

the young participants

the Coleman shirt
the Coleman shirt
my family

my family

 

 

fast! inflate the boat

fast! inflate the boat

Rex and his tent
Rex and his tent
green team

green team

Subic Summer

May 01 2008, a Thursday and holiday. The family planned to have a summer get away at Subic for 2 days. Friday was a regular working day so i had to get permission to take a day off.

Off we go on a rodatrip to Subic on Thrusday morning at 6AM with the kids strapped to their car seats. Destination was Zoobic and beach, first day was to Zoobic then the next day was to hit the beach in the morning and drive back home in the afternoon.

Driving the long and rehabilitated NLEX was exhalirating (again!, i seldom drive here). The plan was to take the NLEX then exit Dau then take the new Tarlac-Subic highway. We stopped at Shell (northbound) gas station and had our breakfast at Jollibee. By about 7:30 we are back on NLEX to Dau exit. On the expressway i got a honk from my former boss who was on his way to his home province in the north. Taking Dau exit we went straight to Mabalakat and took the wrong left turn ending at town plaza then asked for direction to the Tarlac-Subic expressway. The correct way was to turn right at Mabalakat junction and at about 2 to 3 kms the Tarlac-Subic expressway is in sight, then take a right turn and a U-turn at the roundabout. Yehey! Tarlac-Subic was straight ahead. It was a good and quite road (literally and fuguratively) giving a very relaxing drive to Subic. The sides of the highway is all green either from rice fields or from grass vegetation. The mountains are green and very refreshing to look at.

 New Subic-Tarlac expresswayNew Subic-Tarlac Highway

Entering the Subic gate and while traversing the Subic road i was watching for the wild monkeys to appear on the side of the road. After over 5 years since my last visit in Subic, i am wondering if this creatures are still around and running freely. Yes, they are still there, kudos to the Subic officials for maintaining its forest home!

Wild monkeys in Subic forest

 Zoobic (http://www.zoobic.com.ph/) was such heart pounding place especially during the tiger encounter. Guest takes a ride in a caged jeepney with a chicken dragged along for the tigers to follow and try to eat. The tigers would slam into the side of the jeep with only inches to your face. This are Bengal tigers that are as long as 4 to5 feet, imagine the size. What an experience !

Photos of some Zoobic animals.

New Subic-Tarlac ExpresswayBengal Tiger approaching the jeepneyBengal Tigers running along side the jeepney

 one of the monkeys in ZoobicThe camel

Kids with stuffed Bengal TigerPose with the Aeta after their dance performance

Aeta at their best

The plan was not to reserve a place to stay, the plan was to camp. We then brougth our tent and camp gears along with us with the intention to camp somewhere in Subic. Camping was not possible in the beaches they do not allow it and we do not know any camp sites in Subic (what a plan!). Will someone put a camp site in Subic? that would be a treat to those who like an adventure and at the same time an affordable place to stay. Since there was no advance arrangement for a place to stay, it took us some time to find a place. Beach room accomodation was too expensive at P4,000 to P6,000 a night. We then ended up at Crown Peak and stayed at the Sapphire building paying P2,500 for an overnight stay.

In the morning (2nd day) we hit the beach at the side of the airport.

Anton and PapaKyle and kathy

AntonFamily with Kyle taking the photo

Dungaree Beach info

In the afternoon we took a short visit to the Royal Subic duty free just to check out the place and bougth a rubber ball for Anton and a few cold drinks for the drive back to Manila.

 We hit the road back to Manila via the Subic-Tarlac highway. First attempt, we took the wrong exit towards the old route passing through towns, we then turned back to Subic to get to the Subic-Tarlac expressway. It was about 7PM when we hit the highway. The highway was in total darkness, the only source of light was from our car headlamp and those passingby. Road lighting was sparringly placed along the highway. Fortunately, the road reflectors on the sides are still clean and was functioning, giving you a good indicator of the road ahead. I wonder how this highway will look like 10 years from now?

Along the NLEX, we stopped at Petron gas station to have diner at KFC. We hit home at about 10PM.

 More pictures of the trip.

Chowking at Petron Gas station near Port.At Crown Peak where we stayed

Kids entartainment, keeps them on their seat while on the raodSubic port at night

 

 

Going back tomorrow to my corporate jungle. Today is the last day of vacation after a 7 day rest and recreation, its back to work.

Wish there are more of this long vacations. Working in Asia, it is always Mon to Fri from 8 to 5 for almost 365 days a year (minus the weekend of course). Unlike with my counterparts in Europe, they are allowed 2 weeks vacations without questions and it is almost like holy to them to take vacation that they (or we) cannot move it. In Asia, you get questioned by the boss why you are taking such along vacation and most often than not they cut in in half ( or worst to 2 days at a time) before they say yes. For this reason, Asia almost never sleep, it is grinding to fuel the economy of the 1st world  countries 24/7(we being the workers).

What a life !

Kids in pool

Kids are out of school for their summer vacation plus it is a Holy Week and no work. A perfect occasion for the family to plan for an outdoor activity.

I bought again for the nth time an inflatable pool for the kids. I do not remember any more how many i bought, they just do not last very long, it starts with one hole then another then another and it gets crazy trying to repair than buy a new one. Kyle had it Kathy had one then Anton should have one. Now that Anton is 2yrs old, he got to have a pool.

With the pool set in the garden, they have a grand time playing ang dipping in the cool water. Hope i can hop in :-)

kids in pool 1

 kids in pool 2

Camping at Caliraya

This week is a rather long weekend for the family. It was a day-off for me on the 19th and the next coming days are holy week vacation and coming Monday is again a day-off . It was time to plan for a family activity.

This is our first camping adventure for 2008. We arrived at the camp site  (Surf Camp resort) at about 11AM after nearly a 2 hour drive due to traffic. Caliraya is about 80kms from were we live. To know more about Caliraya and our camp site, visit: http://surfcampcaliraya.wordpress.com/

We left the camp site at 7PM and it was dark already when we packed our stuff. Prompting me to attach the rook rack road light to flood the camp site with enough light to see what we were doing. Without my knowledge this has drained my battery. When we are about to leave after all stuff was in the car and the kids are strapped in their car seat, the car it won’t start (wow! dead batteries). Fortunately their was a camping neighbor who willingly allowed to use his car to jump start my engine. We were in the road in no time after thanking the guy. It was an uneventfull drive down the mountain and going out of Laguna, until we planned to visit our place in Batangas that the traffic was so heavy entering Turbina. We changed plan and turned around after a few meters from traffic and went to Shell McDo at SLEX for dinner then headed for home sweet home.

Pictures from camping.

barbeque time.

barbeque

group shoot.

family pic

 night shoot.

night shoot

  camp grounds.

camp grounds view 1

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