Sunday, June 8, 2008

Candaba commuting

Yesterday's trip was one of the most enjoyable daytrips I've ever had. It started out as a well-intentioned query by bai Allan Barredo -- why isn't there any decent direction available on the net when it comes to commuting (read: not 4x4ing) to the candaba swamps in Pampanga? While it isn't the migration season, it's a good enough time to find the answer with an exploratory day trip and get a budget backpacker's perspective on the matter. 

LOST AND FOUND. While I really wasn't feeling that well with only 2 hours of sleep, woke up early to meet the flickristaindios at the Baliwag Bus station in Cubao at 4am. We got to baliwag for breakfast before boarding tricycles that will take us straight to Candaba town proper via a shortcut on rough roads. Good thing we were prepared to get lost as our tricycle drivers passed Candaba town onto the road headed for Paniqui. After getting directions from the munisipyo, we were told to look for a bank of trees about 5 kilometers away from the town proper.F rom the main road, it took a 15-20 minute walk to get to the watchtower where we positioned ourselves for sometime before moving on to find Mayor Pelayo's resthouse.

The caretakers were kind enough to let us drink water and rest while waiting for the afternoon showers and the hot afternoon sun to taper off. Later on, we found out that the resthouse is open to visitors free of charge (a very good idea for commuters since there are no places for overnight stay in candaba town). Just bring food and drinks as the nearest store is 5 kilometers away.

There were only a few birds around; and most of what were there are flighty in nature. Not being a birder, I contented myself just looking at the relaxing views – certainly beats staying in stuffy manila for sure. We waited for sunset at the watchtower which turned out to be less than glorious. Three of us lingered for a little while and hiked the 5 kilometers back to Candaba town in the darkness.T ell you the truth, it was swell to do the night trek, singing old classics on the road with newfound friends. I may not have many pictures to show for the trip but I really enjoyed it. Thanks bai Allan for the invite. Till next time. 

INFO FOR COMMUTERS: 2 routes available: (long route) 1/ take bus trip to baliwag, ride jeep to santo domingo, take tricyle trip to santa ana, ride another jeep to san luis, take another tricycle ride to candaba, take another tricycle trip to the road going to the interior path leading to mayor pelayo’s resthouse (bus fare, non aircon is P62 or roughly $1.25; 45 minutes; jeep fares around P20; tricycle fares vary); (short route) 2/ take bus trip to baliwag, ride tricycle on the shortcut/alternative rough road straight to the interior road or to bahay-pari (cost: P200 or roughly $4 to hire the tricycle). during the rainy season, only the long route is feasible as the shortcut road goes underwater. • most tricycles also stop plying their routes around 7-7.30pm except for special trips that entails hiring the tricycle for stretches of the long route, in our case, we took a tricycle from candaba to santa ana (P80 or roughly $1.90), then a jeep to san fernando (P18 or $.45) to catch the bus going back to manila.


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