Monday, March 30, 2009

Road trip to Pagbilao, Quezon

It all started with the idea of bringing our bikes and go to Quezon province via Antipolo. Jojo mentioned that he had always wanted to do this but he didn't have a chance yet and don't know where that road is. As for me, I vaguely remember that my dad mentioned that a road we were passing by on the way to Morong, Rizal to visit a relative earlier this year was supposed to lead you to Quezon and ultimately to Bicol region.

After doing minimal research on where the road is and armed with a not-so-detailed southwest Luzon map, we left Metro Manila at 5:00AM last Saturday. We didn't bring our bikes because weather forecast says it's going to rain the coming days.

I took this picture of the sunrise somewhere in Rizal (probably Baras on the way down to Tanay).

Because we left early that day, we haven't had our breakfast yet. We passed by quite a few number of Franks n' Burgers and stopped on one to eat.

We passed by Pagsanjan, Laguna and attempted to go to Pagsanjan Falls. However, the boat service to the falls we saw didn't provide safe parking for us. We tried to look for others, but didn't bother to ask around so we ended up abandoning the idea and put it off for another trip. As we got closer to Lucban, Quezon, we saw a number of signs leading to Kamay ni Hesus. I remember seeing days ago some photos from Edu Lorenzo taken from here and it seems to be a famous place around here so we decided to stop by the shrine.

praying, and hopefully blessed

Pagbilao, Quezon - touched down here before lunch time. After driving past the city proper in search for signages leading to beautiful spots or probably a resort, we turned back and decided to ask directions from someone in the city proper. "Kwebang Lampas" seemed to be a popular unspoilt paradise based on some reviews online and that is what we were looking for at first.

Across the Municipal Hall where we asked for directions from policemen is St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish, an old church completed in 1877 but was mostly destroyed during World War II. Only the bell tower survived and the only original structure left when it was restored in 1954.

The unique experience of eating by the bay is an attraction here in Silangang Nayon, a hotel and restaurant park where we had lunch.

Visitors prefer to eat their lunch over their floating cottages. To go there, you have to climb down to the shore and walk on the bamboo bridge.

The cooking happens inland. Waiters will take your order and will submit it to the kitchen for preparation and cooking. When you're food is ready, it will board an "airplane" and will "fly" to cross the water.

It was a nice experience to dine at Silangang Nayon because of the cool breeze. They serve mostly seafood and we had a good filling lunch of native tinolang manok and mixed seafood (squid, fish, shrimps, vegetables) served in a fried potato basket.

On the way, we decided that we'll just stay somewhere near overnight rather than turn back the same day so we may have more time do more things. We initially thought we would stay in Silangang Nayon but we decided to check the area for other options. We saw this resort nearby, Pueblo por la Playa and decided to check it out. It is a Mexican-inspired residential and leisure resort. However, it is only open for members. We were about to turn back but we were offered by the resort manager to have a stay for one night only, which they rarely do.

The resort is still under development. They have these villas, splitted as duplex, for staying. They have 6 villas so effectively they only have 12 units for members, making it very cozy and at-home because there are not much crowd in the resort.

For you to go around the resort, you will need to ride one of their shuttles. Cars are parked in an area just beside the gate and these shuttles will fetch you to bring you to the administration office or to the villas.

There were 2 infinity pools in the resort - for adults and for kids, that are huge. It was so large that I think it will never get too crowded even during peak days.

The duplex units in the villas are very spacious. It has a separate living room and bed room which is good for up to 4 persons. The insides are very bright and colorful!


Each unit also feaures a veranda with a table and a hammock. This is a very nice area to just chill out and relax overlooking the beach.

the hammock, perfect for short rests and afternoon naps

The beachfront area is very beautiful - white sand and calm waters, perfect for different beach activities.

two-thumbs up!


the beach

That afternoon, we had a bit of island hopping when we went to Grande Island and the sand bar by boat.

On the way to puting buhangin and kwebang lampas, we passed by Pagbilao Power Plant which looked like a lighthouse from miles away.

Kwebang Lampas is a unique cave by the sea. It is just a small cave that has an opening near the shoreline and another one leading to the open water.

A beautiful scene greeted us at puting buhangin. Pure white sand beach, clear water and not a lot of people in the area. In fact they left the beach 5 minutes after we came.

Apart from cottages and the house of the owner/caretaker, there are no other establishments in the area. If you plan to stay longer, you should bring your own food and stuffs. There are no overnight facilities but you may negotiate with the caretaker if they will allow camping and bringing of tents here.

our boat in puting buhangin

After puting buhangin, we went to see the sandbar which they said is famous around here. It is a sandbar in the middle of the water and only appears during low-tide. The water was already rising so we didn't get to see the sandbar emerged from water. This is our boat stucked in shallow waters.

Apart from the white sand and a few creatures like starfishes, there are no other things to see here. I was told that previously there were even corals around the area but ever since there were quarrying of white sand going around here during the past years, the sand bar became lower and the biological ecosystem was gone.

For dinner, we initially went to Lucena to look for a local place to eat, after having problems parking in SM Lucena City, we instead went to Palay-Isdaan, a restaurant that we passed by a number of times and it's name resonated on us. We were not expecting that part of the attraction of the restaurant are different animals.

one of the cottages in Palay-Isdaan

dinner food! grilled porkchop, camaron and grilled tilapia!

Our dinner finished early and by 8PM, there are pretty much nothing else for us to do. We went back to the resort to rest and probably watch some DVDs in the room. Outside our room and by the beach, there was an event going on (Flair Tenders, bartending competition) but I didn't go to witness it. Instead, I just walked around and took pictures of the resort at night.

This is how the adult infinity pool looks like at night. Pretty neat huh?!

We woke up early the next day to catch the sunrise and take pictures. The beach front was a perfect place to catch this spectacular moment in the morning.

kiddie infinity pool early in the morning

We also witnessed how they "prepare" the beach in the morning. Aside from cleaning the shoreline right next to the water, they seem to "plow" the sand and level it by using this machine I don't know what is for and what is called. I just name the person operating it as "the sandman".

cottages, nice place to stay and relax while watching the beautiful sunrise

footprints in the sand

footprints being erased by the sandman!

We left the resort by 8:30AM that morning and started to drive back, this time taking a different route. We caught pictures of the fields and greeneries on the way.

There is this weird signboard that we have passed by that states "Traffic signalized intersection 200m ahead". Traffic lights must be rare around here. :)

We passed by San Pablo City and attempted to see one of the seven lakes. We tried the nearest one that is on the way (Sampalok Lake) but didn't see any road sign leading to it. We also tried to make our way from here going to Bay and Los Baños but we didn't see the road leading to it so we ended up passing by the traditional route via Alaminos City instead.

tree with orange-colored flowers, somewhere in Batangas

Mountain view, not sure which one is this though, taken from somewhere in Batangas and near the tree with orange flowers above

Mount Makiling, a dormant volcano located in Laguna. We could have passed by here if we made it to Los Baños, Laguna. This picture was taken from Sto. Tomas, Batangas.

flowers at south luzon expressway

The whole road trip experience was great. I attribute this to having less plans which I equate to less expectation and leads to less disappointment if things wouldn't turn out good (like supposedly Pagsanjan Falls). I thought we are still lucky that we came across these different things, even if all is not really part of the plan.

More pictures are available in multiply. Just add me as a friend to view them.


Shelyn said...

This place is cool... you've been to so many places!

aceychan said...

hey, jj!!! i am sure you had a great time. great pics, too, as always. love the 1 with the sacred heart statue. :D

Jasper said...

shelyn - thanks

acey - hey are you busy or something lately? haven't seen your updates yet! :)

escape said...

i just searched pagbilao in google and found your blog. one great find. i just posted my pagbilao trip. great detailed post on this roadtrip.

is the beach in pueblo por la playa better than puting buhangin? thanks. good that you were allowed to stay there. i too didnt know that it's exclusive to members.

Jasper said...

@the donG - thanks for visitng my site. no, puting buhangin beach is still better :)

Unknown said...

i was looking for reviews about pagbilao quezon and founded your blog. interesting and enticing. great pictures.

Jasper said...

@kublai - thanks! :)

Unknown said...

kuya galing po pla kau d2 sa pagbilao, taga pagbilao po ako
ayos po ba ang pagbisita nyo d2 kuya

kuya baka pwede link nyo site ko sa site nyo

psalmideo said...

I'm currently living and working abroad and I'm feeling kind of homesick so I googled my hometown, Pagbilao Quezon and I saw your site.

I love Kwebang Lampas. :)

Your photos brings back so many fond memories of my home. Hopefully, I'll be able to visit La Playa when I go home for Christmas.

Thanks for visiting my hometown.


Unknown said...

i so envy that u were able to stay at pueblo la playa. heard it was exclusive for members...

still looking for members so we can stay there :D

Anonymous said...

is puting buhangin an island?

Jasper said...

@markthatdesign - it's a beach area, i believe it's connected to the mainland but we took the boat to get there because you have to hike to go there, no roads (yet)

Erik said...

Thanks for the nice pictures of Pagbilao. I am going to PI next month and planning to include Pagbilao in my itenerary coming from Antipolo and Lucban. ....are those floating cottages for dine in only? Wonder if there's any floating cottages where we can sleep in.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know Pagbilao is actually a nice place. I loved the photos! ~Cagayan de Oro news

Super Twirp said...

Hello! Nice blog, by the way, where does this resort located?

Katarina Krizia said...

Hi are u a member of pueblo?

frank vhipol said...

Had been in Pagbilao, once Your write up is very vivid and educational. Thanks.
frank vhipol

rodel said...

just bumped into your travel website.... its very nice and informative! :)

remuk said...

now present in your city cara menggugurkan hamil