Friday, July 22, 2016

Just Get Out and Bike!

There is an unexplainable thrill in solo biking - that kind of thrill which cannot be duplicated by any kind of ride in the Circus. Being alone on a bike does not mean being lonely however. It is sometimes a way to find oneself. Anyway, whether solo or with a companion, biking has countless benefits to the body, mind and the environment. It is a very good stress reliever after a long day at school or at the office. Pedal and feel the wind on your face! Immediately, the stress appears to disappear and life’s challenges become very surmountable.

Biking burns a lot of calories.  Unlike running however, biking can burn those unwanted calories without too much stress on your feet and legs. The bike pedal moves the joints in the legs without the pounding that it subjected to in running. I consider this as one pivotal reason why I shifted from running to biking. During a run, I often experience pains in my legs and feet. In biking, I can take some rest while gliding on my bike. But occasionally, I still run as well.

I think what is important in biking is to have the proper “bike fit”. Not all bikes fit all riders. There is bike that is appropriately fitted for a particular cyclist depending mostly on the height of the rider. Injuries can be avoided if the bike is fit for you. Thus, in buying a bike it is better to buy in a store that provides a “bike fitting procedure" before a purchase is made.

Aside from having a proper bike fit, it is important to have the right gears and equipment to avoid injuries.  The helmet is one very important piece of  equipment. I often see a lot of bikers without helmet. I think most bikers consider wearing a helmet to be an inconvenience. But accidents can happen when you least expect it and it has been proven many times that wearing a helmet can save your life. With the very hot and humid weather in the Philippines, cyclists also have to be fully hydrated. Water is essential. It is a must for every biker to have water while biking.

Biking is for any age group. I have seen several bikers who are in their senior years and yet are still pedaling their way to wherever as if they are teenagers. There are even much older bikers who can give younger ones a run for their money.  Age is definitely not a factor for anyone to enjoy biking.  Just get out and ride!  There is nothing to stop anybody from riding a bike (except perhaps the lack of bike lanes).

I hope government continues to support biking in the country. Biking despite its tremendous contribution to good health has yet to reach a majority of the population. Many bikers are discouraged to bike because of the lack of bike lanes and other dangerous circumstances on the road.  Biking can be an effective solution to the traffic mess and the unreliable MRT. Just imagine if half of the cars on the road were bicycles? Traffic and the country’s dependence on imported gasoline is solved in an instant!

In Quezon City, very near SM Fairview, there is a place ideal for biking aside from the well talked about La Mesa Nature Reserve. A medium rise condominium project is being built there ( I think it is moving-in time by now) where joggers and cyclists can be seen either in the early morning or late in the afternoon. I have biked in the area in the morning at around 6 and there were plenty of bikers and joggers. There is also a “zumba dance lessons” where everyone can join for free.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sidcor Sunday Market (Centris Walk, Quezon City)

This market is definitely worth the visit at 6 in the morning! If you desire fresh seafood, meat products, plants for your garden, delectable cuisines from all over the world and a whole lot more, you got to wake up earlier than usual.  For the usual market goer, 6 am is just right for the market. For nocturnal creatures however this  require a lot of effort. Waking up early however provides  several benefits which includes, among others, the chance to savor what this Sidcor Sunday Market has to offer.

Parking at Centris Walk is almost full by 7 am.  A great number of market goers can already be seen flocking at  different stalls where the best produce are sold at the most reasonable price.  Stalls offering native and foreign delicacies – from “bagnet” to different flavors of Hungarian sausages – are all ready to eat. How about trying the “black paella” and the different flavors of “hopia”?

If you are into gardening, there are several varieties of ornamental plants, grafted trees and supplies to ensure that your garden of whatever size is at its best.  There are also succulents and colorful orchids.  There are various sizes of flower pots of different colors.  Everything is available for the beginner and seasoned gardeners.

I walked around and and tried to discover what else this market can provide to its customers and I can definitely see that there is a lot lot more. It is really up to you to discover!

Monday, July 18, 2016

UP Town Center (Katipunan, Quezon City)

The UP Town Center Mall is not an extension of UP Diliman and Ateneo. But its proximity from these schools makes this mall an ideal destination for students to hang out after a grueling day at school.  Favorite comfort foods, the latest brands of clothes and school supplies are all here just like in any other mall. But what set this mall apart from those gigantic malls along the traffic riddled EDSA is its greens and plenty of open spaces.  

The two storey buildings create a very laid back atmosphere where there is easy access to a natural environment. Moving around the whole mall is akin to just a walk in the park.

In a highly urbanized Metro Manila where steel and concrete is common, it is a cool respite to be in a place where there are trees and plants. The greens create that atmosphere of calmness and relaxation. 

UP Town Center Mall is indeed very student friendly and can provide that atmosphere soothing for intellectual contemplation while not foregoing the desire to shop.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Landers Superstore (Balintawak, Quezon City)

There is something new in membership shopping and that’s Landers Superstore. Before plying the North Luzon Expressway, shoppers cannot miss this newly opened store with a wide parking space in Balintawak, Quezon City.

Shoppers to this newest retail store cannot help comparing it either to S&R or with Costco.  Landers however can be considered a more direct competitor of S&R located at the nearby Congressional Avenue. With the opening of Landers,  membership shopping is on its highest level of competition for the benefit of customers.

Prior to S&R and Landers, membership shopping is something that appears to be not the usual. It is a concept that is somehow beyond the grasp of most shoppers. It is often asked why go for membership shopping when you can easily shop at those gigantic malls without paying any membership fee? However, if you are a “shopping addict” or just a plain buyer in bulk – membership shopping can bring tons of benefits. One is that prices of imported and local goods are, as expected, lower compared to other malls. Buying a lot definitely means a lot of savings as well. There are also a number of items on “sale” or on a “buy one take one promo”. Speaking of promos, members can buy gasoline at Caltex Balintawak and avail of up to “2 pesos per liter member discount” and there is a “20% off on membership fees until September 15, 2016” where you get to pay only P 640.00 membership fee instead of P 800.00.

Landers provides a very convenient shopping experience and endless opportunity to avail of discounts and savings on local and imported items. It also has a restaurant where, similar to S&R, there is pizza and bottomless drinks.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Pit Bull and Being a Pet Parent

It is not easy to be a “pet parent”. It demands a lot of your time and effort. Just taking care of one pet, either it be a dog or cat, a bird, or something exotic. Being  responsible for the well-being of an animal is no laughing matter. It comes with a hefty price tag. Just visit the local pet store and you can immediately get an idea how high it cost to “groom” and “feed” your pet. But despite all these, having a pet, gives a lot benefits that are way beyond the expense of owning one. Having just one loyal dog is life changing!

There are two places I can recommend where it is legitimate to buy a pet. One is in Cartimar in Pasay City and the other one is Tiendesitas in Pasig City. Cartimar however has  a lot more to offer aside from pets including  a wide array of bicycles. 

Anyway, when I went to Tiendesitas, I chanced upon a dog show featuring Pit Bulls. This dog breed is usually associated with that ferocious and fighting kind of a dog. Despite this negative reputation however, Pit Bulls are actually very friendly and loyal dogs. They are gentle depending  on how they are cared, socialized and approached. Well, all dogs of whatever breed require a lot of tender loving care. When I was looking at these Pit Bulls, I know how lucky they are to find a “forever loving home”. It is very evident how much their owners love their canines. The Pit Bulls I chanced upon at Tiendesitas are all gearing up for a competition. All the proud owners, from their faces, are very happy to showcase how beautiful and healthy their dogs are.

If you intend to get a Pit Bull as a pet, then you made a great choice. Contrary to what has been said, these dogs are not ferocious or vicious. I found them very friendly. But just like any other dog, not all Pit Bulls have similar temperament.  You really wouldn’t know what kind of Pit Bull you got until you actually got one. It would take some time before you really get know your dog. A Pit Bull can be friendly or vicious depending on how it is treated and cared for by the owner. I think it is correct to say that “it is the owner not the dog”.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Eagle Point Resort (Anilao, Batangas)

It took us around three hours to reach this resort via the SLEX, end of the Star Tollway, passing Bauan, and finally arriving at Mabini, Anilao, Batangas. The drive was traffic free.  It was a Tuesday. I really do not expect traffic at the expressways but traffic is notorious and it can easily ruin travel plans at any given day. 

Our original plan was to visit Camp Netanya or what they call as the " little Santorini" of Batangas. However, when we arrived at Camp Netanya, the place is still undergoing construction. It had a "soft opening" according to social media but perhaps it needed more time before it finally opens to the public.

We then decided to head a little further. We passed by several beach resorts. Anilao is literally riddled with resorts ready for this very hot summer. Their Streamers are all over the road together with a number of political ads. But since we already heard and read a lot about Eagle Point Resort, we opted to give it a try.

We followed Eagle Point's streamer screaming its cellphone number. After navigating a paved private road in a seemingly forested area, we reached its parking lot.  A shuttle took us downhill  barely surviving the sharp curves of the cliff. This ride on the shuttle reminded us of Palm Beach Resort. A few minutes later, we arrived at Eagle Point's reception where a pair of  Sulphur Crested Cockatoos entertained us while we waited. 

We understood the waiting time. It was past lunchtime and we arrived without a reservation. It was good that we came on a weekday with only a handful of visitors. We never had a problem getting a room for an overnight stay.  We had lunch at their restaurant with a commanding view of the sea. A photo or a selfie with this kind of view is definitely mandatory I thought while admiring the clear waters of the sea almost revealing the beauty of its marine life.

Eagle Point Resort is primarily for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. Though it lacks a sandy beachfront, the resort provides an easy access to a snorkeling paradise. Just in front of the resort is an area perfect for those who loves snorkeling and appreciates the underwater fauna. The resort also provides training for scuba diving at a very reasonable price.

There are lots of activities to do at this resort. But, what I enjoyed most at Eagle Point is swimming with young sharks at its 12 feet deep saltwater reef pool. Sharks are graceful creatures often misunderstood and easily creates fear among swimmers and divers. While these are baby sharks, it is easy to imagine what it is like to be with their huge relatives in the vast sea. Eagle Point's reef pool also has other marine fauna aside from the sharks and is used for the training of beginner scuba divers and snorkelers.

Since Eagle Point is  perched on a cliff and not easily accessible, guests are guaranteed with the much sought after exclusivity and  peaceful existence. In fact, everything was well until the resort's water supply was interrupted due to a busted water pump. Imagine the inconvenience of lack of water in the shower after swimming in saltwater? But I have to give it to the staff at Eagle Point who did everything to alleviate such inconvenience. 

Eagle Point Resort, though without a beachfront, is a great weekend destination and a good jump off to Sepoc Island which is just around15 to 20 minutes boat ride from the resort depending on the weather.  A small boat can be rented from the resort and take you to Sepoc Island.

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