Showing posts with label Rizal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rizal. Show all posts

Monday, September 26, 2016

Casa Abuela, Antipolo City

The wife and I were curious about Casa Abuela, which we usually pass by on the way to and from Sumulong Highway from and to our home along Ortigas Avenue Extension. After some time procrastinating (and passing the area so many other times), we finally decided to drop by one Saturday afternoon for merienda.

The furniture here seems an eclectic connection
A view of the inside of the restaurant shows a variety of furniture. Most look very comfy to sit in. Perhaps your choice of seats depends on your mood or your company?
Cakes, pastries and other items they offer are posted near the counter along with notes from customers who have enjoyed these.
An old chest converted into a table has underneath the glass top various notes, some on stationery, containing greetings and praises for the food and the service.
We decided to have a few slices of sansrival to take home. This is really good and highly recommended.
Here are the other cakes available that day

We always enjoy eating out and are quite selective whenever we are with our daughter. We thought Casa Abuela has very good food judging from the notes all around the restaurant, and our daughter enjoyed her ensaymada and some sansrival. The Clairvoyant also enjoyed her coffee. We will be back to try out their meals and we are also curious about their take-outs for when we have guests to feed over lunch or dinner.

We also want to promote our chosen city of residence and what better way to promote our home city but through some of its restaurants. Tangkilikin ang sariling atin!


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Kawayan Farms Restaurant, Pillilia, Rizal

During our recent trip to the Pililla Wind Farm, we had to delay our lunch a while in order for us to reach the wind farm at a time we thought there would be less people. The Pililla Wind Farm has become a tourist attraction, getting a lot of visitors since it opened part of the facility to curious folks, especially those who are quite eager to take their photos (e.g., selfies) with the gigantic turbines. On our way there, we spotted a roadside restaurant where we decided we would be having our late lunch.

Kawayan Farms Restaurant is on the right side of the Manila East Road on the way to the wind farm from Morong and perhaps about 2 kilometers from the junction of the wind farm access road with the national highway. They have a good enough menu featuring what we thought were popular fare like barbecue, tilapia, and vegetable dishes. We picked their specialty, of course, and that is the lumpiang sariwa using bamboo shoots as its main ingredient. While we tempered our expectations, we found their lumpia very satisfying including their version of the peanut-based sauce that was surely the concoction of their head cook.

One of the best if not the best lumpiang sariwa we have tasted is Kawayan's specialty.
We chose to be safe with our main dish and so we both ordered barbecued chicken. This, too, was a pleasant surprise as their version of barbecue sauce tasted more like adobo.
There were other people eating at the restaurant when we arrived including what appeared to be a group of friends who made a stopover along their way to the south. While eating, we were joined at the restaurant by a family of three who also seem to be on a provincial road trip rather than a quick one like ours. On the glass windows of the restaurant were stickers of various motorcycle groups who seem to frequent the place. Perhaps Kawayan is indeed a popular stop. It is surely worth it if only for their lumpiang sariwa.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Roadside views of the Pillila Wind Farm

A highlight of our recent road trip to and from Lucena, Quezon via the Rizal - Laguna - Quezon route is the impressive roadside views of the new Pillila Wind Farm. The array consists of 27 turbines, more than the number in Bangui, Ilocos Norte. Following are a few photos of the turbines of the farm which has a total capacity of 5.2 Megawatts.

There are two access points from the national highway to the wind farm. Via these access roads, one can get near the wind turbines to get photos including 'selfies' with the turbines as background, just like those trending photos taken at the Bangui Wind Farm.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

All roads lead to Antipolo - Alay Lakad routes and traffic schemes

I'm reposting here an article I wrote in another blog that I maintain. I thought it appropriate for the season and the Holy Week.

The Rizal Provincial Government and the Antipolo City Government recently posted traffic rerouting schemes on their Facebook pages. Lalawigan ng Rizal was the first to post schemes that affect traffic in at least 3 major local government jurisdictions – Antipolo, Cainta and Taytay. The schemes affect the two major corridors that basically lead to Antipolo’s National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (or Antipolo Cathedral to many) – the Ortigas Avenue corridor and the Marcos Highway-Sumulong Highway corridor. There are many major and minor routes connecting to these corridors and are clearly seen in the maps.

Within Antipolo, there are also re-routing schemes, which the Antipolo City Government posted along with a “clearer” re-posting of the maps from the Rizal FB page. The Antipolo FB page includes information/maps on the rerouting within the city center. These schemes will affect traffic circulation including public transport routes. Critical would be the permanent and temporary terminals and parking areas set-up around the city that should be able to accommodate the thousands of vehicles that are also expected to be used by people who won’t be walking or cycling.

What the maps basically say is that from 4:00 PM today, Maundy Thursday, to 6:00 AM tomorrow, Good Friday, the stretch from Cainta Junction to the Shrine will be closed to traffic. This is to allow the hundreds of thousands expected to make the trek to Antipolo to have the road for themselves. What the maps don’t say is that motorcycles and tricycles would likely be allowed, too. I can understand that motorcycles could easily squeeze into the throngs of people but then allowing tricycles to operate among the walkers and bikers would be risky given their drivers’ behavior. Add to this that they would be making a killing out of charging opportunistic fares.

Technically, the rerouting schemes don’t appear to be as well thought of as can be expected from the LGUs. Baka ito lang nakayanan ng staff o ng consultants nila, and surrender na agad ang Rizal and Antipolo with regards to the coming up with more options for people to travel to the Antipolo Shrine? Not all people can walk or cycle but are willing to and could take public transport for their pilgrimage. The maps themselves are a bit crude and the Province of Rizal and City of Antipolo could have done much better maps given the resources of these LGUs. There are open source tools now available as well as your basic software like PowerPoint or Photoshop (even Word!) that can be used to render good quality images to guide people making the Alay Lakad. This is a regular event and though it happens once a year then perhaps the LGUs could have better plans especially to transport people who cannot make the walk to Antipolo. The objective after all is to convey the masses to and from the shrine safely and efficiently – something a mass transport system can do whether via Marcos/Sumulong or Ortigas corridors.

One reminder to all doing the Alay Lakad: keep your garbage to yourselves if you cannot find a proper waste bin. Do not dispose of your waste along the route and make a dumpsite out of Ortigas Avenue, Marcos Highway, Sumulong Highway or whatever roads you are taking! Kasalanan din po ang irresponsableng pagtatapon ng basura. While you might be forgiven for these “sins” through the Sacrament of Reconciliation (which many will likely take at the Cathedral), nature will have a way of getting back at you for your environmental travesty.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hinulugang Taktak

This is the first time in quite a while that the Clairvoyant and I have not taken a summer trip together. We have always had an out of town trip, usually in a seaside resort, including a couple of trips to Bohol, or at least a weekend trip to Tagaytay. During the time that she was based in Singapore, we did explore that city and even made a land trip to Melaka in Malaysia. This year, we were considering trips to Cebu or Davao but had to defer these in order to save money after paying for our new home while also just preparing to sell our old one.

We did, however, resolve that we would be exploring our adopted home city and province of Antipolo and Rizal. So far, there have been a lot that we have found with some being revisits to places that have been favourites like Vieux Chalet and Pinto, and others to places that we have planned to go to but were unable to for various reasons. Hinulugang Taktak is one of those places that are easy to take for granted as we pass through the area almost everyday because of our commutes. On Sundays, it is also along our route to and from the church, which is along Daang Bakal, the former railway line turned road that is historic in itself. 

The story of Daang Bakal and Antipolo's attractions are intertwined as it was only logical then and now that a transport system like the old rail service be along a route where the demand for transport was. Hinulugang Taktak was one of those places that were ahead of their time for being a major tourist destination that justified it being a stop along the rail line. It was supposed to be the second to the last station with the last one being the nearest to another important attraction (perhaps the most important  then and for more years to come) - the Shrine to Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. Hinulugang Taktak refers to a falls (Filipino term is "talon", pronounced the same way as the term for "jump") that is very accessible unlike other similar attractions in the province (e.g., Daranak Falls).

The Clairvoyant had been asking me where the falls were and I usually replied you could see it along the roadside. Unfortunately, there are also structures including a tall concrete fence along Daang Bakal that obscures view of the falls. Yesterday, I decided to make a quick stop at what looked like an unfinished view deck along Daang Bakal just beside the gate to what is being developed into a public resort. Following are a couple of photos of the falls itself.

Hinulugang Taktak as seen from the unfinished roadside view deck along Daang Bakal.
A closer look of the falls shows its alive and well though likely still polluted judging from the bubbles (soap suds or foam?) accumulating at the foot of the falls.
What we saw yesterday was very promising. Hinulugang Taktak had been neglected for a long time and there was a joke before stating that the falls should be renamed to Hinulugang Tak, referring to the trickle of water after the source had been blocked by debris, which mainly consisted of garbage.  It also stunk and the smell was attributed to the garbage, sewage and other effluents that were dumped on the waters. It is good that there is a project that seems to be focused on reviving the area despite what seems to be its slow implementation.

Now that the falls seem to be getting back to what it was during its more glorious days, perhaps there should be even more aggressive programs to ensure its preservation as well as to make the waters cleaner. The latter comment is pointed at the local government, which is responsible for making sure that the source river and streams of Hinulugang Taktak will not continue to be a dumpsite of Antipolo's many residents (especially informal settlers). Meanwhile, there should also be stricter control of development in the areas around the falls itself. This has been designated as a national park and all those who have encroached upon the land covered by the park should be demolished so as to preserve what was once and being revived as a heritage tourism site for the city and the province.


Monday, July 7, 2014


Yesterday evening, we decided to hang out at our lanai to enjoy the fresh, cool breeze while sipping some hot Chai tea. The Chai was a recent purchase from the supermarket. We haven't had Chai for some time as it isn't generally available from most supermarkets that we go to. What we had in abundance was green tea from our recent trips to Japan. The tea aside, we just wanted to have what the Clairvoyant called "unplugged" time to refer to not having our computers, tablets or even smart phones. 

We were talking about the old mango tree in front of our home when I noticed something blinking just beyond the tree and apparently just across from our home. I had no doubt that I saw some fireflies (alitaptap) within the lot from across our home and quickly pulled the Clairvoyant from her chair so she could also marvel at this rare sight. I say rare because fireflies are only found in places where the air is clean and so are often used as indicators for good environment. Fireflies haven't been seen in many places in Metro Manila including the UP Diliman campus, which is supposed to be one of the more pristine areas in the metropolis. We live in Antipolo and we picked this village over others because of the nice environment. The sighting of fireflies only affirms our choice and we definitely look forward to seeing more of these ubiquitous creatures while also contributing to make sure they stay and perhaps increase their numbers. Unfortunately, we couldn't take some photos of the fireflies as you need a good camera to be able to catch the few fireflies. It's more dramatic if there were a lot more fireflies. The latter cases are usually associated to local myths about enchanted areas.

This is what the lot across our home looks like during the day. There's basically a lot of different kinds of trees and plants including coconuts, bananas, ipil, and lots of grass - quite ideal for fireflies. Only also because the air in our village is cleaner than elsewhere.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Angono Petroglyphs in Binangonan - Part 1

The wife and I decided to spend some weekends exploring Rizal province where we have resided for the past 10 years. In my case, I have lived in Rizal since 1976 when our family transferred from a humble apartment in Mandaluyong to what was mostly undeveloped lands in Cainta. Many of what are now major roads like Marcos Highway, the Manila East Road and Imelda Avenue were not yet built or were just dirt roads to the east of metropolitan Manila. 

There are many things to see and do in Rizal given its rich history and the many attractions the towns have to offer. Foremost and most prominent among Rizal towns is its present capital Antipolo, which has been the destination of so many people for pilgrimages to the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. Antipolo is now a highly urbanised city with a population exceeding 670,000 people. 

Last weekend, we decided to take advantage of the good weather to go see the Angono petroglyphs that we had heard and read about many times before. Previously, we hesitated to go as there was little information on how to get to the site. A couple of years ago, I chanced upon a sign pointing to the petroglyphs site when I attended a workshop at a popular resort-casino complex in Binangonan. Nowadays, too, there are many maps to refer to for trips like this and so we used both the Google Maps and Waze applications in our phones to guide us in our trip. Following are some photos of the petroglyphs site from last weekend:

Sign along the private road leading to the main entrance to the museum.
This tunnel was constructed to lay down a water line for a prominent resort, casino and golf course development in Binangonan , Rizal. The tunnel though had another benefit - a direct and convenient access to the petroglyphs. There's a guard posted at the mouth of the tunnel and he guides visitors to park near the entrance to the tunnel as well as provide information for the short trek to the museum.
Emerging from the tunnel, the walk to the museum was an easy one and it helped that we had fair weather that morning. I can imagine the path can get muddy on rainy days.
We didn't ask if the location of the tunnel was planned together with those in-charge of caring for the petroglyphs. However, I would assume that the developer of the resort did a decent effort of not disturbing or damaging the petroglyphs. Kudos to these kinds of developers for helping preserve and promote national treasures.
The grounds are well kept and along the left towards the museum, you can get a good view of the golf course.
The petroglyphs were discovered by renowned National Artist Botong Francisco while hiking and exploring with boy scouts along what were supposed to be cliffs or rock formations on the mountain. Access was limited to the trail and steps constructed for people to get to the petroglyphs. At present, the National Museum maintains a small museum relating the story of the petroglyphs as well as displaying some archeological and paleontological finds in Rizal.
This print out on tarpaulin tells the story of the petroglyphs complete with photos showing them after discovery and during studies conducted at the site.
Rizal Province's history goes way, way back to a time when the Sierra Madre mountain range of Luzon was home to  an ancient people and prehistoric flora and fauna.
Photos show studies being undertaken on the petroglyphs and the geology of the area.
Some snippets of the write-up on the tarp.

We should preserve these National Cultural Treasures and to do so means the government should cooperate with private sector including companies and maybe private schools who would have the resources to help preserve these treasures.
There are a few more curiosities in the small museum at the site of the petroglyphs including replicas of  plates and stones bearing old writings.
Replica of the Laguna copper plate with inscriptions
There is also a replica of the stone tablets found in Masbate Island.
Replica of one of the stone tablets found in Masbate. One tablet was even used as a doormat  prior to being reported and studied! Such finds could have been properly identified if people were educated about our culture and the possibility that there are treasures like these that we tend to dismiss as ordinary objects.

The Philippines has been trading with China for centuries and proofs of this relationship are the Ming Dynasty ware that has been found in Rizal towns along the Laguna de Bay.
On display also are petrified remains (fossils) of a giant land turtle and pygmy stegodon that used to inhabit the Sierra Madres

More photos and kwento in Part 2!