Bus falls off Manila Skyway

Another vehicle fell off the Manila Skyway at dawn the other day. It was a commuter bus this time. What’s worse is that it landed on top of a closed van traversing the service road below. Parts of the crash debris also hit an unsuspecting bicycle rider.

According to news reports, at least 18 people died and a lot more were injured. The question that’s being asked now is who’s to blame for this tragedy?

Investigators surmised that the bus must have been traveling over a hundred kilometers per hour before plunging to its doom. One eyewitness said that the bus overtook her car, which she said was running around 80kph, just before it hydroplaned, lost control, hit the Skyway barrier, and fell off. The speed limit for buses along the Skyway is pegged at 80kph.

Other factors that might have contributed to the accident include the overall roadworthiness state of the bus and the capability of the driver (driver error).

Investigators are still looking into the possibility that the bus wasn’t road worthy. As for the driver error angle, it’s a well known fact that majority of the bus drivers plying through Manila’s streets are reckless speed demons. One reason why this is so is because their pay is based on the passenger fare that they collect, hence the inherent desire to compete with other busses to get passengers and to drive as fast as they can in order to make more trips.

This isn’t the first time a vehicle fell off the Skyway, and it probably won’t be the last – at least until drivers learn to be responsible and disciplined enough to follow road safety signs and observe good driving etiquette.

In the end, it falls upon the government to protect the general public. One way or the other, they have to ensure that traffic discipline is enforced as well as offending drivers and operators are punished accordingly.

Our Hong Kong Adventure – Day 1

Guess where I’m writing this right now… In Hong Kong! 🙂

We were finally able to make that long awaited Hong Kong trip as a family. We’ve been planning the trip since last year but had to defer it a couple of times because “something came up.” This trip is actually Conne’s birthday gift to me! 🙂

We touched down at Hong Kong International Airport at around 10AM yesterday, July 4th, via Cebu Pacific. We were expecting the flight to be delayed but, fortunately, everything went according to schedule!

Here are some pictures taken upon arrival at the Hong Kong International Airport:

Conne and CJ - Arrival at HKIA

PJ and CJ at HKIA - Arrival

PJ and CJ at HKIA - Arrival

 

Holy Week 2008 – Fort Ilocandia and Pagudpud – Day 2

The itinerary for Day 2 of our Ilocos holy week vacation was a half day swimming excursion at Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.

Here are some early morning shots of Fort Ilocandia taken from my mobile phone:

Building B - Early Morning Hot Air Balloon - Fort Ilocandia

Here are some pictures taken while on the way to Pagudpud, which was roughly a one and a half hour’s drive from Fort Ilocandia in Laoag.

We came across the scenic coastline of Cape Bojeador in the municipality of Burgos, Ilocos Norte:

Cape Bojeador Beach - Burgos, Ilocos Norte Cape Bojeador Beach - Burgos, Ilocos Norte

Here are some pictures of us featuring the awesome windmills of Bangui, Ilocos Norte (the first power generating windmill farm in the country) in the background:

Bangui Windmills Bangui Windmills - Conne and CJ Bangui Windmills - PJ and CJ

—–
Related Blog Entries:
Holy Week 2008 – Fort Ilocandia and Pagudpud – Day 1

Holy Week 2008 – Fort Ilocandia and Pagudpud – Day 1

After two years, Conne, CJ and I finally decided to revisit Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte for the holy week. We decided to stay at the Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel and Casino, in Laoag, Ilocos Norte. We were accompanied by our close friends, Cocoy and Li-ann.

We left Manila yesterday at around 11:30AM but had to make an initial stopover at Clark, in Pampanga, for lunch and some provisions. We also had to meet up with Li-Ann, who had to come from Subic.

We left Clark at around 7:30PM yesterday evening and arrived in Fort Ilocandia at around 5:30AM this morning, which makes it roughly about a 10-hour drive (9 hours on the road, 1 hour for stopovers) . Cocoy and I took turns at the wheel, where I drove the first half of the journey, and Cocoy the final half. Our first stopover was at 8:30PM at the Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac. We stayed there for about 30 minutes to have dinner. Our next stopover was at 12 midnight at a gasoline station somewhere near the border of Pangasinan and La Union.

Here are some pictures taken today.

CJ in the shade:

CJ in the Shade at FIR - 01 CJ - FIH 01 CJ in the Shade at FIR - 02 CJ in the Shade at FIR - 03 CJ in the Shade at FIR - 04

CJ - FIH 01

Conne CJ - FIH 01

—–
Related Blog Entries:
Holy Week 2008 – Fort Ilocandia and Pagudpud – Day 2

Directions to Laiya, San Juan, Batangas

Now that summer’s near and a lot of people are looking for some fun at the beach, my blog has been getting a lot of search hits on how to get to San Juan, Batangas, particularly on how to get to Barangay Laiya, one of the country’s top beach resort destinations.

If you plan to take a car, here are self-drive instructions on how to get to Laiya, San Juan, Batangas if you’re coming from Manila.

From Manila:

– Take the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) all the way to the second to the last exit (Exit 50 going to Batangas, Lucena and Legaspi).

– Drive approximately 6.5 km along this National Highway and turn right towards the Star Toll Way entrance.

– From Star Tollway, drive all the way to Lipa City (approximately 20 kilometers) and take the Tambo/Lipa Exit at the end.

From Lipa City:

– After exiting the Star Tollway, turn right and drive towards Lipa City where La Salle Lipa will be on your left while a Petron gas station will be on the right.

– You’ll come across a Y-intersection just before the McDonald’s restaurant, where you must veer right. This is C.M. Recto Avenue.

– Traverse C.M. Recto Ave. then turn right at the corner of the Mercury Drug store. This is P. Torres St. Drive 8.5 km towards Padre Garcia town.

– Make a left turn at the road sign pointing to Padre Garcia.

– Turn right after passing the Padre Garcia town market.

– Drive approximately 4.5 km and merge with the road coming from Rosario. This road leads all the way to San Juan which is approximately 19 kms.

– When you see the main signage leading to the Batangas Racing Circuit veer left. This will lead you to the San Juan town proper.

Upon reaching the San Juan town proper:

– Drive past the Dunkin Donut and Park n’Go store (on your right) until you reach San Juan Municipal Hall.

– Immediately turn right after the San Juan Municipal Hall. This is the main road of Laiya. Just follow the main road where you will find a lot of beach resorts along the way approximately 25 km (20 minutes) onwards.

I hope this helps.

——
Update: October 19, 2013

This has been one of my most popular blog entries but it is no longer updated. I haven’t been to Laiya for a couple of years already and it appears that there are newer, easier routes going to Laiya.
——
Related Blog Entries:
Kabayan Beach Resort – San Juan, Batangas
Pictures – San Juan, Batangas Outing – Kabayan Beach Resort

Puerto Galera – v1

We were finally able to take a family vacation at Puerto Galera over the weekend. Conne has been egging me all these times to try Puerto Galera out, and so, off we went.

This was sort of a post-valentine date, family vacation and celebration (Conne’s promotion to manager-lvl2) – rolled into one – event.

Conne, CJ and I had lots of fun. And we thank the Lord for giving us the opportunity to have a safe and wonderful trip.

Cheers!

All in a day’s work – and some notes…

Today was a pretty rough and tiring day.

My boss called me up last night, on short notice, to inform me that I was slated to go to a client’s office in Subic Bay for a meeting early Monday morning.

I left early in the morning, a little over 6AM to head to the office and meet up with my boss to get some materials. Thereafter, I had to drop by Eastwood City in Libis, Quezon City to pick up a business partner, who turned out to be a former college schoolmate of mine. We then headed off to Pampanga, which was along the way to Subic Bay, Zambales to pick up another business partner. (Note to Self: Wake up earlier you lunkhead!)

The drive was long and traffic was unexpectedly moderate to heavy, which slowed us down even further. We ended up reaching the client’s site, an awesome facility nestled between the sea and surrounding mountains, after 4 hours of driving. My Toyota Innova, “Puti”, ended up battered underneath by rocks and boulders on patches of unpaved road strewn across a scenic, winding mountain pass heading to our destination. I wished I had one of them 4×4 Ford Expeditions or Toyota Fortuners so I could just plough through with ease. (Note to Self: Start saving up for that 4×4 you’ve always wanted!)

After spending much time trudging through high security protocols and miscommunication mishaps involving language barrier, missing key personnel and lunch breaks, we finally had a chance to meet our clients face-to-face at, oh, a little over 2:30PM! (Note to Self: Start catching up on some basic Korean language skills.)

Suffice it to say, we were on the road again in 45 minutes. ‘Twas another 4 or 5 hour drive back to Manila. The drive home would have been uneventful had it not been for the highway patrol pulling us over for having a busted left head light, oh man! But, lucky for us we were only given a warning! ;-P (Note to Self: Have that headlight fixed!)

I dropped off my colleagues along the way and picked up Conne, who had been waiting for me at her office, about half past eight and headed straight home. It’s a wonder CJ was still up waiting for us. 🙂 (Note to Self: Thank God for a wonderful family He’s given you!)

To summarize my day, it was: 10 hours driving, 2 hours waiting, 30 minutes eating lunch, and 30 minutes meeting. And the rest? Some quality time with my family, of course! 🙂 (Note to Self: Stop whining, you crybaby! It was worth it!)

Cheers!

Kabayan Beach Resort – San Juan, Batangas

My family and I had a lot of fun at the Kabayan Beach Resort in San Juan, Batangas last May 12 and 13.

In our opinion, the resort’s facilities, in terms of space and ambiance, are better suited for family and group outings than that of the Blue Coral Beach Resort, where we held our company outing, which is situated roughly half a kilometer away from Kabayan. Even though the rooms at Blue Coral were better looking than that of the simple yet cozy Kabayan rooms, the Blue Coral beach front was too cramped for our liking.

We definitely recommend Kabayan Beach Resort as one of the places to go to in Laiya, San Juan, Batangas.

Update:
This has turned out to be one of the most popular pages in my blog and a lot of readers have been asking about the rates, amenities and facilities of the resort.

The resort area itself is quite clean and well maintained. Facilities-wise, they have a playground, an aviary, a chapel, fresh water swimming pool, gardens, multi-purpose hall, restaurant, souvenir shops and a convenience store.

Some of the amenities or activities offered by the resort include beach volleyball, kayaking, cove hopping, snorkeling, hiking/trekking, billiards, and massage.

We particularly liked the fact that big trees supply decent shade from the scorching sun throughout most of the “inner” resort area, except when you’re at the beach area, of course.

The rooms/cottages are clean, well maintained and have air-conditioning and cable TV. And we also liked the fact that you could bring your own food and not be charged with corkage fees or other charges like what other resorts do. Some of the cottages even have their own kitchen, complete with cooking equipment and a refrigerator, and all you have to do is bring your own cooking ingredients.

If it’s a Sunday, and if you’re religious, a priest actually comes over to celebrate mass at the resort’s chapel. Which is quite good, since you won’t have to worry about hurrying back home to hear mass. (No excuses here, ha!)

And if you’re finicky when it comes to the type of sand the beach-front has, the downside is – don’t expect it to be the powdery-white, Boracay-type sand variety. Taking a stroll while barefoot can sometimes be a challenge.

All that being said, I can say that the overall beach vacation experience we had at the place was pleasurable and worth repeating.

——
Related Blog Entries:
Directions to Laiya, San Juan, Batangas
Pictures – San Juan, Batangas Outing – Kabayan Beach Resort