Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Padre Burgos Beaches in Quezon - How To Get There

This post is about the places my husband Peter, and I, explored last Good Friday… If you want to start this Padre Burgos beach travelogue from the beginning, please click the following link:

Padre Burgos Beaches


Last Holy Thursday, Peter and I spent the day cleaning up the house after the carpenters left, arranging the extra white rocks at the balcony, having the cars cleaned, doing some last minute grocery shopping for our camping trip, and sleeping from 6pm to 12 midnight. And by 1:30 am on a Good Friday, we were already on the road to Padre Burgos in Quezon, where a lot of white beaches abound.


If You Have Your Own Car:

From SLEX, exit to Sto. Tomas Batangas (going Legaspi/Bicol). Pass through San Pablo going to Tiaong Town proper. You will pass the town of Alaminos and then San Pablo. Take the diversion road of San Pablo towards Tiaong. Just before Tiaong there is a left turn onto a road that goes through Candelaria and Sariaya. Take that. Go straight to the towns of Candelaria and Sariaya. In Sariaya, there’s this fork going to Lucena, the other going to Tayabas. You turn right towards Lucena City and take a left turn onto the Lucena Diversion Rd a few km outside the city. Once the diversion road rejoins the main highway, it’s only a short distance to Pagbilao town. If in doubt, just follow the signs to Bicol.

From Lucena and Pagbilao, drive on the National Highway, until you see TESDA on your left. A few meters away, you will see an arch on your right, which says “Welcome to Bondoc Peninsula.” Enter the arch. This will be a winding road of about 15 minutes before you reach the town of Padre Burgos.

If You Wanna Take A Bus:

When you ride a bus going to Lucena City, get off at Lucena Grand Terminal. From the terminal, you can ride another bus going to Unisan or ride a jeepney going to Agdangan. You can tell the driver to drop you off at QCRB bank in Padre Burgos town proper. You can also ride a jeepney from SM Lucena Terminal going to Padre Burgos. The trip from Lucena to P. Burgos usually takes about an hour. Just take note that the last trip for the bus ride is at 7p.m. and 5p.m. for jeepney. (Fare:Cubao to Lucena – PhP200-250; Lucena to Padre Burgos – PhP35 – 50)

Peter and I haven't eaten anything since lunch the previous day, and so we were very hungry the moment we hit the road. We munched on an orange and figured, we could just drop by Jollibee (I love their Bangus breakfast!) at one of the gas stations along SLEX. Unfortunately, Peter was driving so fast, truly enjoying the traffic-free road, that we missed all the Jollibees along SLEX. By 2:30 am, our tummies were already angrily grumbling that we stopped at the first food place we saw. Lo and behold, we were already in San Pablo! After only an hour, we were already way past Calamba and in the cold city of San Pablo in Laguna. SINANGAG PLUS was the first food place we saw. Thank God they're open! They sell Filipino dishes like longganisang lucban, danggit, tocino, bangus, dinuguan, tokwa't baboy etc. at super low prices. All Pinoy food and all perfect for breakfast! We even got a mug of brewed barako coffee for only Php20.00. The actual total of all our orders (Daing na Bangus with egg and fried rice, Danggit, Crispy Dinuguan with fried rice, extra fried rice, Fried Tofu, free bachoy soup, two mugs of brewed Barako coffee and including a sachet of cigs) was only Php220. They all tasted sooo good! Better than Jollibee! Hehehe. They even have free wi-fi that's why I was able to Plurk and check my email that early dawn. We were the only people there plus one other guy who ordered some take-out. The place was cozy enough for us that we stayed there for an hour, enjoying our food, sipping our hot coffee, smoking a stick and just talking about our life together. I was asking Peter if he's not yet fed up with this kind of lifestyle... wondering if he is somehow desiring to have a little one in tow whenever we go traveling. His answer was a big NO which was good enough for me. In my head, I was actually thinking "Oh, thank God! Coz if he wanted to have a baby all of a sudden, I am OUT!" Teehee. ^_^

By 3:30 am, we again hit the road. We just followed the directions I got online. We passed by Tiaong, Candelaria, Sariaya, Lucena and Pagbilao. Once in Pagbilao, I told Peter to look out for the arch. At around 5:15 am, we saw an arch that says Welcome to Bondoc Peninsula. So we took a right, passing through that arch. It was a long and winding road. I asked Peter to drive slowly this time so we can at least enjoy the break of dawn. I even had my window down so I can smell the fresh air of this quaint and peaceful province. The view of the trees, the mountains and the sea below can do wonders to my stressed psyche. We continued for about 20 minutes, until we saw a fork on the road. Minutes later, we were already in the Poblacion of Padre Burgos.Yay!

We were about to ask a tricycle driver where *Aplaya is when we passed by this sign that says TO BORAWAN. Borawan is one of the more popular beaches in the area because it boasts of Boracay-like water and Palawan-like limestone cliffs and rocks, hence the name BORAWAN. We turned right, then took the first steep slope to the left that we saw. We figured, that must lead us to the port, or the sea where boats may be waiting for passengers.

We didn't anymore follow the instructions we got online which says:


From Padre Burgos: Ride a tricycle and tell the driver that you are going to Aplaya, heading for Borawan.

From Aplaya: There are bancas for rent. Boat rental depends on your haggling skills and number of persons per trip.

As it turned out, it wasn't the port of Aplaya but it was way better. We chanced upon their PALENGKE (local term for market) where boatmen park their boats. Ironically though, the market wasn't selling anything and there was only one convenience store open. Oh yeah, I forgot... it was Good Friday! Hihihi. Sorry, agnostic here. ^_^

A guy immediately walked up to us and Peter talked to the guy. Because it was just around 5:50 am, we had to wait a while for the boatmen to arrive. One of the guys who entertained us was Kuya Vic. He is the one who assigns which boat goes to which group of guests. Peter and I were so happy to finally arrive at our destnation that we immediately agreed to the price of Php1,500 for a big boat for two, to tour several islands namely: Borawan, Puting Buhangin, Maliit at Malaking Talabaan, Kwebang Lampas, Mag-asawang Bato and Dampalitan Beach where Peter and I will camp for the night. The boatmen will just pick us up the next day on our desired time of departure from Dampalitan Island. It was peak season anyway and I feel like it's our duty to help them out with their jobs so we didn't haggle anymore. They seemed pretty nice and cool anyway. ^_^ We were also able to park our car in the area and donated Php50 for parking fee. I say "donated" because I think there's really no fee but Kuya Vic asked for whatever amount we can afford so we just gave Php50.

If you want to reserve a boat for your trip here in Padre Burgos, Quezon, just text or call Kuya Vic (0912.917.8637) and tell him Jen gave you his number. Try to haggle if you can. I'm sure you'll get it for much cheaper especially if it's not peak season.

While we were waiting for our boat, we simply enoyed the view around us. The photo of the mountain on top is what they call "KingKong" according to a local we spoke with. If you look hard enough, the silhouette of the mountain does look like the back of the famed gorilla, KingKong. ^_^

The sun hasn't even fully risen yet. Good thing I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt and cap because it was such a cold, cold morning. Brrrr....

How I wish we can do this every weekend.

Quezon has yet to fail us. It's always full of picturesque views and nature surprises which make me all the more blissful for relocating in Alabang coz this means that we are only 3-4 hours away from this beautiful province. Before this trip, I've only been to Quezon twice. The first time was back in 2007 when I was still undergoing the Management Development Program and my team was sent to the Tayabas, Quezon branch of our office for training. The second was in Cagbalate Island last November 14-15, 2009. The whole time I was admiring the view, all I could think of was "Ang ganda ng Pilipinas!" (Philippines is beautiful!)

On the contrary, I noticed that their port was not as clean as I'd hoped. The people there should do a much better job of cleaning the waters. The water was clear, yes, too clear for me to see the plastic bags and other trash that were thrown in. Nevertheless, the fishes seem to thrive because I saw several schools of fishes, some were small, some were big. There were swordfish, flying fish, and what the locals call BANAK (photo below) or grey mullet. Its upper body is olive-green to grey while its sides are silvery with a white belly. Mullets are usually found in calm waters around islands, near rivers and estuaries. They return to saltwater in order to breed.

The boatmen arrived just before 7 am so we had all the time in the world to admire the view around us.

To be continued....

For more photos on this trip, please click the link below:

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