First Time at Laiya Aplaya

Laiya Beach at Sunset

It was a much unexpected outing. Our boss from Los Angeles came into town and of course, would like to get a taste of the Philippine sun and sand. After browsing and inquiring several beach resorts near Manila, we finally decided to head for Laiya, the last beach frontier in Batangas. I read and heard rave reviews about this new fun place under the sun, and I was simply curious about it. In fact, I haven’t been here! ‘Twas my opportunity to conquer this Batangueño treasure, even if it hurts my budget for July.

Laiya is located some 20 kilometers away from the heritage town proper of San Juan de Bolbok in southeastern Batangas, bordering already the province of Quezon in the east. It was an outdoor campers’ secret. Its relative isolation and inaccessibility has preserved many of its laidback assets. It was only recently when the government has constructed good roads from the town proper that made this several kilometer long cream-white sand beach more accessible to tourists.

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Learning the Art of Combat Commuting in Manila’s MRT

An Epic Struggle: Inside Manila's MRT on a rush hour

Saturday, 28 February 2010. 5:45PM Manila Time. Ayala MRT Station – It was rush hour (on a Saturday ha!) and the northbound MRT was late for more than 5 minutes. Obviously, if the train is late, passengers-in-waiting increase. I was running out of time, so I forced myself to get into a jam-packed MRT and went to Ortigas. A lot of foul words are hurling inside the MRT as people still struggle to push themselves in already full MRT. Kulang na lang sarsa, we are packed and smelled like sardines!

6PM Manila Time, Shaw MRT Station – I thought there would be many passengers that would go out of Shaw Boulevard Station. I was wrong. Instead, it went towards the extreme of kissing your fellow passenger beside you or the door. The driver may have lost patience because of so many people forcing themselves to come in. He then said in a firm tone, “sa susunod na lang po na tren ang iba. Next train na lang po ang iba!” But his plea fell on deaf (and stupid) ears. The train closed its door and moved towards Ortigas. Bueno, viva sardinas!

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