Sunday, March 22, 2009

Earth Hour

March 28 (Saturday) at 8:30 PM, your local time wherever you live on planet Earth, is Earth Hour. Join the billions of people around the world in voting for mother Earth and voting against global warming.

Turn off your lights for one hour from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM.


Big names joining the event include SM Malls, Shangri-La Hotels, Coke, Ayala Corporation, Bank of the Philippine Islands and Globe Telecoms.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

A Subic Vacation

If a full Northern Luzon road trip is too far and too long for you, why not have a weekend road trip to Subic.

Here's a guide on some of the popular stuffs you can do in a Subic getaway.

1. Enjoy the smooth drive on NLEX and SCTEX. Follow speed limits or risk getting caught.

2. Quickly learn to obey Subic traffic rules. Subic is strict when it comes to motorist discipline so remember these road rules: Mandatory full stop when you see stop signs (on traffic posts and painted on the pavement) even if the road is clear. On intersections where all intersecting roads have stop signs, first to stop is first to go. Respect pedestrian lanes. Respect mandatory left or right turn lanes. If you get apprehended, you can settle your ticket on their 24-hour office before you leave Subic.

3. Get a hotel room so you can freshen up after the long drive, lighten your load, relax for a while and energize before you set off to your Subic experience. Select one of the many hotels along Waterfront Road if you want the water in front of you hehe.


The Lighthouse Marina Resort is a good pick (6,000 PhP and up) if you want that high end feel. If you are on a budget like us, choose other good hotels along the same road for 4,000 PhP or less. Reserve on-line a few days before you go there.


4. Head off to Ocean Adventure Subic to watch talented dolphins, false killer whales and sea lions. You can catch the morning show or afternoon show or both. Entrance fee is 450 PhP per adult, 370 PhP per child or senior citizen. They adjust show schedules depending on visitors volume.

Hannah on her toes while watching the dolphins pop in and out of the water.


Flying fishes... nope... dolphins are mammals.


The trainers, the trainees, small yummy fishes and squids.


Meet Tonka, a false killer whale. My daughter's favorite among the dolphins.


For a fee, you can get up close with the dolphins and become part of the show.


But only the trainers with belt pouches full of fishes and squids can dolphin surf like this


or be pushed up the water and do an Air Jordan pose like this.


The sea lion show is entertaining and fun to watch.


A "seal with a kiss."


Look at the happy faces of the audience.


After the show, a sea lion displays his adorable facial expression before leaving the stage. Beeeh!


5. In Tree Top Adventure (a.k.a. canopy ride, 350 PhP) you will ride in hanging chairs then travel to 10 aerial platforms with heights ranging from 18 to 100 feet.



For 200 PhP you can fly like superman in a 134-meter zip line back and forth. They also have rappelling and a soon to open ride known as Suicide. You can avail of the packages to save some money. Two activities will cost 500 PhP and 3 activities will will cost you 650 PhP. Other activities are trekking and jungle adventure.


6. Don't forget to eat at Meat Plus along Sampson Road.


New York steak, 325 PhP.


Tenderloin Salpicao, 225 PhP


Their banana fritters, 105 PhP, is a different twist to the native dessert maruya.


It's made of fried ripe Lakatan coated with flour then sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon then topped with vanilla ice cream. Sarap!


7. Pray and give thanks for a wonderful vacation. Attend mass in San Roque Chapel along Dewey Ave.


It's just the right ambiance for me with good audio to hear the ceremony clearly while you sit on foam cushioned wood benches in a fully air conditioned chapel. Its simple interior provides no distraction so you can focus more on the mass.


6. This concludes our 500-Km Valentines weekend getaway last month that started South of Manila, to Clark, to Subic and back home in a single tank of gasoline.


If we had one more day, Zoobic Safari would be in it. Well, next time na lang.


If you are going on a Northern Luzon road trip this summer, be it as close as Pampanga or Subic or Tarlac or as far as Claveria, you will most likely pass either or both NLEX (North Luzon Expressway and SCTEX (Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway). I painfully plotted some of the entry/exit points for SLEX and SCTEX that connects Bulacan, Clark and Subic in the Wikimapia image below. You can also see in it Mount Arayat and Mount Pinatubo. Now I get a better idea on how the two tollways (not freeways) are connected.


Here is the complete list of entry/exit points of NLEX. Balintawak, Valenzuela, Meycauayan, Marilao, Bocaue, Tabang, Sta. Rita, Pulilan, San Simon, San Fernando, Mexico, Angeles, Dau and Sta. Ines.


SCTEX from Tarlac to Subic have fewer points. Tarlac, San Miguel, Concepcion, Clark North, Clark Logistics, Clark South, Porac, Floridablanca, Dinalupihan and Tipo.


These two tollways are fun and relaxing to drive in and they give you sort of a similar experience as if you are on the interstate freeways in the US. You can easily forget how fast you're driving so be easy on the pedal.


Many hills were dug and split into two to make way for it.



Your road trip is now more relaxing thanks to these two.
SLEX will be next which is still undergoing its facelift today.


I hope they also rush the extension of Skyway going South.
Roads, roads, more good roads.