We did it!
During my second week of vacation, I along with my younger brother Ico went to this amazing place in San Juan, Batangas. They call it “Laiya Adventure Park”. It was our first time there and the overall experience was I can say, fun and definitely worth the time and effort (and by saying effort means effort of getting and prepping up when it will be easier to just stay in bed and sleep, and not to mention the effort of driving and sitting and getting stuck in traffic, etc.).
Well, the travelling itself was not really a burden, especially to people like me and my brother, who I can say love to travel and just drive around. The place is also just an hour and a half (more or less) away from our house, and the fact that we went on a weekday, well, just imagine that everybody is at work or in school. When we got there at around 11:00 a.m., well, believe me or not, it was me and him only, plus of course the staff at the park. So no question, we finished almost all the activity in an hour (more or less), except the ATV ride which we did after lunch break, and the swimming which we did last.
If you will be coming from a far, then you may want to leave your house at an earlier time since you will be spending more time of travel, considering the traffic whatsoever, and of course whether you will be choosing either a weekday or a weekend because it will surely define whether you can have the place “solo” or with some crowd.
So when we arrive at the place, we were immediately approached by one of their staff and asked us about the activities or package that we would want to avail. We chose Package A, which covers all the activities, including wall climbing, rappelling, zip line, free fall, giant swing, aerial walk and the use of their infinity pool. It costs us Php670.00 each, plus Php400.00 each for the ATV ride, plus Php500.00 for the nipa hut (“kubo”) rental, plus the entrance fee of Php50.00, so, you may want to allocate at least Php1,500.00 per head if you will plan to come and visit in the future. There are some other packages where you can choose from so may want to check on their website later on for further details. There is a store inside where you can buy some snacks or refreshments, or personal items, swimwear, etc. They even have fresh buko juice on sale. Every “kubo” has their own garbage bin “with cover”, so you will not worry about your trash or anything. Before heading in to our chosen “kubo”, of course, we need to pay first. Upon your payment, you will be asked to sign in their so-called waiver, etc., and they will give you an armband with the names of the activities written on it, and this band should be worn at all times and during your stay.
Right after we put our bags into our “kubo”, and after taking some photos, we immediately went to the harness area, where the designated staff will put you on your harness for your chosen activities. There were some additional tools or items which will be put on to you depending on the kind of activity that you will do.
The first activity we did was the wall climbing. As I mentioned earlier, this was our first time doing such activities, so the level of excitement and expectations were there. During the first steps, I really thought that I won’t be able to get on the top and ring the bell (which was the main goal by the way). And the only reason why I had thought that was because I had lots of things in mind, plus the worries that I might not do it, or what if I slip, what if I fall, etc. Funny as it may seemed, but those kind of stuff, it did add to my weight thus making me feel that I could not do it. Bu then I decided to focus on what I want, and that was to finish what I started. And after some time, I did. We both did, and it was fulfilling.
Second activity was the rappelling. This was my first time to do the rappel. Not really sure if it was my brother’s first time too. The platform where you do the wall climbing and rappelling is the same. If wall climbing is merely going up, rappelling is going down. The control of course was with the individual. It was kind of scary because my grip in the rope were not that strong (basically because I do not really feel that my arms are strong either). The only “pampalubag loob” to me was that, the end rope was handled by their staff for safety purposes so you know that whatever happens, you will not fall straight to the ground.
Third was the aerial walk. It consists mainly of ropes and a piece/s of woods which are basically “hanging”. So the goal is to walk through these ropes and woods. Some of the obstacles (as I call it) are tolerable and some are not. Good thing is you will be given a chance to choose which way to go during the walk, and whichever you choose gives a different level of difficulty and challenge. I think that is really the main point in aerial walk – the challenge. Actually this was not my first time to do this because I can remember doing it when I went to our teambuilding way back along with my former colleagues.
Fourth was the zip line. This was not my first time either, so I already have some ideas about how it feels as well. But as far as I can remember, the zip line here were longer compared to my previous experiences, and just by the fact that you will be able to do it twice in a row is somewhat a nice “freebie” for me. (Twice because you need to do it again so you can go back to the other end.)
Fifth was the free fall. This was my first time, and it was astonishing. It was not really high compare to others, but if you are a first timer, then you just chose the right place. You know as they say, always do it one step higher at a time. Just to gain the experience, and so you can check if you can do it in a higher platform next time.
Sixth was the giant swing. Here, we removed our harness already. The harness here is at the swing itself. They will be pulling you from the back, until you reach the highest peak, and then release the swing without you knowing it and there lies the thrill. It was my first time, and it was great. I did not do anything but laugh the whole time of swinging. My brother lost some coins though, so better clear off your pockets first before going into the ride.
We finished doing these at 12:00 noon or past, so we decided to give the guys their break time before we do the next thing. We also took our lunch at the same time, have some rest at the “kubo” we rented. At past 1:00 p.m., we decided to do our next activity – the ATV ride. I believe all of you are familiar with this ride, but for those who are not, it is like you are riding in a motorcycle but unlike the typical motorcycle, ATV has four wheels (thank goodness because I do not know how to drive a motorcycle). I found it cool though. This was my first time so it also adds to the thrill. We drove through the bushes, passed by rocky and grassy roads, a bit of humps, passed through a family of cows (and cow poop). We availed the 45-minute ride, and most of it was spent on a vacant and kind of spacious area where we did some rounds and picture-taking. If you do not plan to spend much time doing rounds whatsoever, you also have the option to go on a 15-minute ride and it costs Php200.00 only. Just don’t forget to put on some sunblock before hopping in (same with any other activity), because you will be more likely to get exposed to the sun during the entire day.
For the finale, after the thrill-filled activities and all the sweating, there is no better way of cooling down than taking a dip into the park’s infinity pool. They only allow a specific attire here so do not forget your swimwear, etc. As far as I can recall, the deepest part of the pool measures 4ft. only so it is not really deep if you are the typical 5-footer man or woman. They even have Jacuzzi and comfy loungers.
I think the fact that when we went there, it was not really crowded, really adds to the fun and comfort during our stay. Just imagine if we went on a busy period with lots of crowd, then we need to line up and wait for some time before we can finish one activity. You know this idea of waiting really is not fun at all sometimes. We also saw some constructions going on so we believe that there may have some additional activity or improvements that are still going to happen. We will see it next time for sure.
Overall, it was worth it. I recommend this to all of you who want to forget your phones for a day and be amazingly connected to your family or friends or the nature and more importantly, to yourself.
Check on their website for more details at http://laiyaadventurepark.net/
Here are some of our favorite photos during our adventure:
Please check on our videos at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9ayCKXMgNA
“Pangarap itong marating ni Mother”
Villa Escudero is known to us, or to our dear Mother because it was one of the places my elder brother and his wife chose to take and do their prenuptial photos way back in 2014.
We went there on the 28th of June which was Wednesday and a weekday. We just asked Dada (my youngest sister) to just ask a day off the school and luckily, her teachers allowed her to go. We left our house at around 5:00 a.m. or past I guess. Travel was more or less 2-3 hours depending on the situation on the road. We arrived in Villa Escudero at around 7:00 a.m or past. The place opens at 8:00 a.m. if it is a day tour so we waited for almost an hour before the reception entertained us. The package costs us Php1,450.00 each person and it includes the entrance fee, welcome drinks, carabao cart ride, a visit to their museum, bamboo rafting, fishing, buffet lunch at the famous “Waterfall Restaurant”, and the use of their infinity pool and Jacuzzi. They also offer cultural shows but when we visited, they do not have it on schedule. They offer a variety of tour packages and the costs depend on whether the visit falls on a peak or non-peak season, or a weekday or weekend/holiday. You can check it on http://villaescudero.com/ for more details.
We started the tour at exactly 8:00 a.m. They let us decide as to where we would like to start so we just began by posing and taking photos at the nearby entrance. After taking some, we decided to go inside their museum. Visitors are not allowed to bring their cameras inside the museum. They allowed us to bring our phones, but still, taking photos inside is strictly prohibited. I would say that the museum is worthy of a visit. Whether you are a culture or history-lover or just an individual who happens to visit the place, the museum is a must-see. It is quite good to see the history once in a while.
After the museum, we walk for a while before hopping on the carabao cart and have a ride. I am personally amazed about this ride because it is quite new to my eyes and feeling although when I was a kid, I have experienced to ride one too (the typical carabao cart in rural places like ours). The happiness and amusement which simple things like these can bring to us are really priceless. The hardworking carabao brought us to I can say the “main spot” of the place. Main spot basically because the main activities of a day tour are here. When we got there, main thing we did was to eat (me, Dada, Mother and Father). While sitting inside the café, my brother Ico decided to try the bamboo rafting. He “drove” the thing himself and went on his own tour at the whole river.
The buffet lunch starts at 11:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m. We started walking towards the “Waterfall Restaurant” few minutes before 11:00 so when we got there, the lunch almost started. So based on the name itself, this restaurant literally has waterfalls which you can see on the side of the dining tables. You will be advised to walk on barefoot because the whole restaurant is soaked in water and is quite slippery. If you can manage, you can walk with your slippers too, it is really a matter of your own choice, but you also have to bear the risk of slipping if ever.
The buffet lunch offers a variety of food, from soup and appetizer to main course to side dishes to dessert and drinks. Just by looking at the food itself, I feel like I was full already. We all enjoyed it. After lunch you have the choice of taking some fun photos at the falls. You can even sit at the end of it and dip into the water.
After lunch, we went to the pool area and swam for a while. The “oldies” (Mother and Father) spent their time in the Jacuzzi which they surely enjoyed. The staff do not allow minors (below 18 years old) to stay at the upper level of the area where the Jacuzzi is and a pool as well. The reason, well, I chose not to tell. It is for you to find out 🙂 So I, Dada and Ico chose to have a dip at the lower area where an infinity pool and a kiddie pool lie. As per my estimate, we spent almost 30 minutes or more in the pool before we decide to change and prepare to leave.
We rode in the carabao cart again to go to the main entrance and this time, two of the place’s singer-performer were sitting at the back and offer us some folk songs. Quite old but we found it entertaining and relaxing as well.
When we are about to leave the place, we passed by this booth where you can see some of your famous photo shots and visitors have the choice to buy them or not. Ico decided to pay for ours (Thanks Ico!). By the way, this trip of ours have been sponsored by our dear Mother and Father 🙂
Here are some of our most-loved photos:
Please check on our videos at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Afl54NggsKw
We do look forward for more trip with the whole family in the coming years.
“Malapit ba kamo? Dun tayo sa Kamantigue”
If I can estimate it right, the place is most likely an hour away from our house, 30-45 minutes away from SM City Batangas. Going there was as perfect and fun as having a road trip. I enjoyed the road trip more J As far as I can remember, we arrived in the place late afternoon already, almost dusk. We took a family room which can accommodate 4-6 persons and it costs us Php4,500.00. We were seven (7) then, but somehow we managed to fit in, although we were not able to get extra mattresses. We brought our own food, drinks, utensils, etc. The place where we stayed has actually two family rooms, the other room was empty that time, and it has two bathrooms (one outside the room and the other is inside our chosen room). It also has a shared dining area and kitchen, and of course a tv-set to get us entertained. The resort is a combination of the beach itself, plus a man-made pool. Based on the structure of the pool, it is an infinity pool and somehow connected to the sea itself. As far as I can remember, the water inside the pool is actually sea-water which they fill in the morning. My siblings and my sister’s “friend” (hehehe) went on swimming for some time and took some photos. The next day, our parents and a family friend left early and I along with my siblings stayed for a while. Overall, the experience was fun. Most of the time, it is not really about the place, but the people you are/were with.
Check on their website to learn more at https://kamantigue.wordpress.com/about-us/
In the meantime, here are some of our most-loved photos: