Being in the work force makes us miss vacation breaks that most students take for granted. We rely on our very limited vacation leaves. Sometimes we can’t even afford to get our vacation leaves because of the work load that needed to be done ASAP. This forces us to look for other ways to get away from it even for just the weekend.
Of course, we all love cheap and affordable vacations. In this weekend getaway, we went to the East side and spent only around 2000PHP to 2500PHP per person. We stayed at PaRK (Pacific Recreation Kamp) at Real, Quezon. Breakdown of costs towards the end of this post.
To get there, we rode a non-aircon Raymond bus on Saturday around 2AM. We bought our bus tickets at the bus terminal. They do have airconditioned buses, but it depends on their schedule. But, riding the non aircon bus is fine even during the summer. The wind is cool by the time the bus drives along Sumulong Highway; cold by the time it drives by the Sierra Madre. We arrived at PaRK at around 430am.
Tip: Don’t forget to tell the bus conductor that you’ll be dropped off at PaRK. The bus terminal in Quezon is at Infanta. It’s approximately a 30 minute ride away.
From the name of the resort, Pacific Recreation Kamp , it’s a camp site. They have tents for rent at only 300PHP. It can fit 2 to 3 persons. A warning though, the tent doesn’t have protective lining inside the tent. So when the rain pours, expect the water to get into the tent. It was a hilarious experience.
The owners were very nice and accommodating. We had no idea what sites to see, but they can help guide you. Since it’s a camp site, there are no electrical sockets. You can have your gadgets charged by them, but with a small price. You can also have them cook your canned goods for 20PHP.
Our main agenda for the trip is actually to surf. It’s a less crowded beach compared to the others. Surf boards can be rented at 200PHP per hour. Their surf lessons are at 500PHP per hour, a bit pricy compared to La Union and Baler. But in a way, it’ll force you to learn. I thought the instructors there were more detailed in explaining the basics. They also have skim boards for rent.
That afternoon we went to Balabag Falls, which was a few kilometres away. We were a group of 10 people. Initially, we planned on riding the jeep. There were a few jeeps that had passed by but were all relatively full. We rode the tricycle instead. It was 300PHP each, to and from the waterfall site.
From the highway to the waterfall is a very short hike. The actual waterfall is two tiered, and it’s famous for jumping/diving from the second drop. To access that area, you have to climb a rocky path up to the catch basin of the first drop. I wasn’t able to jump because I had sprained my foot that early morning. I thought diving might add pressure to it (gravity). It looked exciting though! I will jump next time.
We ‘splurged’ for dinner. We ate at the Talipapa a few kilometres away, a good walkable distance. We had Sinigang na Isda, Adobong Pusit, and Inihaw na Isda. I actually forgot the name of the fish. It is actually huge, so we had them cook in two ways: Sinigang and Ihaw (grilled). We spent approximately 127PHP each. Price depends on the number of rice and the drinks ordered.
Quezon offers another waterfall site: the Cauayan falls. Actually, the site has 7 waterfalls, but only 5 are accessible. There is also the Prayer Mountain, which is in across PaRK. It’s basically a park with religious statues. We weren’t able to go to either site because of our limited stay. We do plan on going back to Real, Quezon sometime soon though. =)
Bus fare to Real 168PHP
Entrance Fee to PaRK 50PHP
Tent per person 100PHP
Surfing Lessons 500PHP
Tricycle to and from Balagbag Falls per person 60PHP
Balagbag Falls entrance 20PHP
Van back to Manila per person (fits 12 people) ±750PHP
Note 1: I only surfed once during our stay (others did 2, Saturday AM and Sunday AM). I wasn’t able to surf on Saturday morning, because the sprain that morning was a tad bit unbearable. Walking was already a chore. It subsided a bit on Sunday, so I forced myself to surf. I didn’t want to miss the chance.
Note 2: we took a Van service to Manila instead of waiting for the bus. It’s a bit more expensive, but some of our friends needed to get home early. They were going back to the office. On a Sunday.
Note 3: Miscellaneous fees not included in the expenses are breakfast, lunch, drinks, and charging of gadgets.
Raymond Bus Terminal Manila address:
246 Teresita Street, near Nagtahan, Sampaloc, Manila