From Plaridel, Jake and I took another jeep, this time going to San Miguel. But before getting there, we zoomed past the infamous Bahay na Pula at San Ildefonso. The house is one of the more popular haunted spots in the country. According to the jeep driver, a local celebrity was there to film a show. Or was it a movie?
We alighted at Sta. Rita at San Miguel. Our landmark was the brick clock tower, which we forgot to take a photo of. Then took a tricycle to Biak-na-Bato National Park. On the way to the park, it began to rain.
Once we were officially inside the park, rain became steadier. It wasn’t torrential to keep us from going through with our plan, just enough to let us know that it was a presence. We paid Php 30.00 each as entrance. The guide fee depends on how many sites you want to visit.
First, we walked past the rock formations, which our guide said was revealed because of the rains that came down there in the past years. After crossing the hanging bridge, we stopped at what appeared to be the park square then took a short trek up on a mostly solid trail. But, because of rain, it became muddy so sometimes we had to grab the concrete or wooden rails to go up or down.
The Pahingahan Cave was good. It would’ve been great had it been drenched in rain water because the rocks and walls would have a sheen to them due to the water. It got its name because it was a resting spot for the guerrilla forces that were on the run from the Spaniards.
The second hanging bridge was pointed out to us. We could have used that had it not been heavily damaged.
Our last stop was Paniki Cave, which gained fame for having so many bats far deep inside it. It serves as a home to at least six types of bats. Even from our vantage point on the rocks, it was already awesome. Our guide said that the bats come out between 5-6PM. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay for long.
What we saw at the park for less than two hours was just a mere fraction. There was so much more at the park, other caves, ruins, and mountains—even a river—from centuries ago. It’s likely that we would return to see the rest of the secrets of the park.
Ate Len, one of the older guides at the park, asked how much we would pay for the tricycle. I said 350, two-way. The driver said he’d wait for us because there aren’t many vehicles in the area. The blog that I read did say that one-way fare did cost 150 so I believed that seemed reasonable enough. Plus the waiting. Ate Len pointed out that there are other tricycles from the park area that await customers who commute. And those guys could use the money! Now we know.
Return Home for Dinner and Dessert
Our return trip to the city via bus took longer than anticipated, hugely because there was a motorbike accident. Once we got past it, we traveled faster.
When we got back to Manila, we had dinner at UCC Cafe Terrace at Lucky Chinatown Mall. Jake wanted something spicy so he had Kung Bao Chicken while I wanted something comforting so I had Chicken Teriyaki Rice Casserole. Before completing our order, I had to look at the cakes, which prompted Jake to comment that I am preoccupied with sweets. I often am!
Jake’s Kung Bao Chicken held its reputation high; while it did taste familiar but was particularly spicier, it had an earthier sense to it. Also, it had a darker palette to it.
My Chicken Teriyaki Rice Casserole instantly hit the spot: creamy and savory tunes of teriyaki sauce and cheese poured over chicken. Made me feel right at home! Mixing both entrees created an interesting medley, though the casserole easily overpowers the Kung Bao with its heavier tones.
For dessert, we shared one piece of Chocolate Xanadu, which Jake immediately liked because it was both dark and sweet. Do I know how to pick them or what!
[This is the Part Two of a Two-Part Post.]
Jeep (Plaridel – Sta. Rita, San Miguel) – 45.00/person
Tricycle (Sta. Rita, San Miguel – Biak-na-Bato National Park) – 150.00/person
Park Entrance Fee – 30.00/person
Bus (Sta. Rita, San Miguel – Divisoria) – 73.00/person
UCC Cafe Terrace
Ground Floor, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Binondo, Manila