Being a traveler, I always desire for something new in my bucket list - explore places I've never been, taste their local food, do adventure. Driven by my passion for surfing, I want to try waves from different spots in the Philippines. This led me to Real, Quezon in July 2013.

Real is only 115km from Manila, average of 3 hours drive. I haven't read so much about the place before going there, it is a surf spot - that's all I know. The owner of the place we stayed suggested activities other than surfing. And to my surprise, rafting is one them! No need to fly to Cagayan de Oro to experience white-water rafting.

So here is the story...

Rafting in Real is not yet so popular, it still needs a lot of promotions as well as improvements. First thing I noticed, the rafts are improvised, they are not the real one used for whitewater rafting. They use big black "salbabida" (life buoy), combine around 3 to 4 pieces to form a raft that can load 3 passengers plus the 2 guides. They also tie pieces of wood to serve as the seats. The ride along the river is so risky especially when the water pushes so fast where you can slip from your seat and fall out of the raft. Second, there are no paddles. The guides use their hands and feet to control the direction of the raft. One guide sits in front, he kicks on rocks to turn the raft left or right. If the force of the water is too strong, he might loose control and break his leg. The other guide stays at the back, he pushes the raft to help it move with the water.

This kind of extreme adventure requires the right facilities in order not to risk the life of both the tourists and the guides. So if I have a chance to wish one thing for the Philippines, I want to give a complete rafting equipment to Real. Having the proper tools, Real's rafting adventure will now be put in everyone's to-do list.

Philippines has a lot of beautiful places for different adventures. Let us do our part to make our place a wonderful Philippines.

I now pass the question to you. If there is one thing you can give to the Philippines, what is that gift? Let me know your thoughts and post your answer in the comment field below. An iPad Mini 2 is waiting for you :)


Zamba: Where The West Coast Solitude Is

Why I keep on coming back to Zambales? I got plenty of reasons but here are my top three...

(1) Nearest surf spot from Manila. Zamba is the nearest surf beach I know before I found out Km.115. Though not the nearest now, I still consider it accessible from the metro because of the 3-hour average drive for an approximate round trip distance of 362km (based from our most recent road trip on Dec 28). I tried two ways of getting to the town of San Narciso but
I prefer taking the San Fernando-Bataan-Olongapo route instead of passing by the SCTEX. Why? Read further below...

(2) Budget friendly. If you are looking for a "tipid-mode" adventure, Zamba is the right destination.
  • TipidTip #1: Gas and toll. If you will bring a car, continue reading, if not jump to #2. One way toll is P157 for San Fernando route and P408 for SCTEX. If taking San Fernando exit, make sure you leave Manila as early as possible so as not to get stuck in traffic, this is the advantage of taking SCTEX on the other hand. Fuel cost is around 800 (again, based from our last trip), enough for round trip and some around-the-town drive. For an adventure like this, I suggest you use a fuel that will give your car the quality performance on the road. Since day 1, I am a Petron fan, the brand I can trust. I have no fear on the road even with a fuel alert coz there is a lot of filling stations along the way. My TipidTip #1.1, I use XCS, not just a TipidTip but a SuperTipidTip. That's the gas behind the 800 worth of fuel. Almost forgot my #1.2 - call your barkada to fill up your car seats. Remember, the more the merrier lesser share on the cost :) 
  • TipidTip #2: Accomodation. For the nth time that I've been to Zamba, I always find my home at Crystal Beach. We (with my travel buddies) spend nights in a tent or hammock. They charge P150/pax/night if you have your own tent, if none you can rent for P300. 
  • TipidTip #3: Food. Though the resort has a resto serving really good food, I find more adventure in a camping trip - sleeping in a tent, siesta on a hammock, cooking your own food. There is a public market near Crystal Beach where you can buy variety of seafood at an affordable price. From our last week's trip, we got bangus for P60, tilapia for P50, liempo for P100, shrimps for P110, ripe mango for P50 - all enough to create an eat-til-you-give-up lunch and dinner and a few left over for breakfast next day. 
(3) Where the solitude is. Even just a few hours away from the busy life, I always find my silent sanctuary in Zamba. It is where I feel the nature so close to me, lying in my hammock letting the wind sway me to sleep, hearing the waves touch the shore. It is during this moment that I realize what I really want - to be a beach bum.