Saturday, May 5, 2012

A-camping we will go

You'd think from these pictures that we were in colder climates. But we really just spent last weekend in Clark, Pampanga (about an hour's drive from Manila).

We wanted to try out something new for our wedding anniversary this year. Pao booked us at the Clark Clearwater Resort at the last minute. I was apprehensive at first. From the less than spectacular pictures in the website, I was afraid the resort would be a dissapointment so we came prepared. We bought citronella diffusers (for mosquitoes) and brought our own beddings and towels, just in case. But despite the modest accomodations, I loved the place.

(A LOT more pictures after the jump)

I think Clear Water would be a nice place to go to, to introduce your kids to how we played in the good ol' days. Naks. While you can still tear them away from their PSPs, Nintendos and iPads, take them here! They'll discover there are so many things to do other than play video games. The lakes and beaches are all man-made, but it would have otherwise been impossible to find all of them in one place.

You can take these boats around a man-made lake. 

Go fishing.

Use the man-made beach. This one's great for wading.

Or you can go to the pool beside the beach for actual swimming.

You've been repulsored.

After trying out the row boats, you can take these kayaks for a spin.

During mellower moments, you can just walk around the grounds and admire the scenery.

You can play a game of horseshoes.

There are several swings in the area. Use them in the morning when the breeze is light. 

I especially loved the gardens. Old trees with massive branches provide all the shade you need against the heat. I could spend the entire afternoon just reading a good book here. I imagine the place would also be great for late night hide and seek. Just bring mosquito repellant!

There are golf carts to take you around. Just call the reception. Malik loved riding these. There are also bicycles that you can use. Incidentally, I ran in the pathway in the morning but had to stop at 3km because the heat was just unbearable.

Like I said, the accomodations are modest. You can stay in lodges like in the 2nd photo above. Those face the man-made lake and are more modern. We chose to stay in these tents -

They are fully airconditioned. Each also has an in-suite functioning bathroom. At night, you can lock the sliding doors. It's safe.

The interiors of the tents look like this. North American wildlife lang ang peg.

Here's my dad. I think he had a good time.

I recommend Clear Water but don't expect too much. The place really just offers a good break from city living. The tents do not come with TVs so you're forced to commune with nature. I suggest you go on a weekday like we did because the place could get packed on weekends (especially during the summer months) which just ruins the point of going there. Some more tips -

- Bring anti-mosquito paraphernalia. We did not see too many bugs there, but since you'd be staying practically outdoors, it's best to be safe.

- Bring things to tinker with to deal with boredom. We brought a kite, some books and the usual lot of toys. There are some wi-fi zones scattered in the park, but I suggest you steer clear of those. Remember, the intention is to log off.

The boys played with the "kapen" (Malikism for "helicopter")
- Bring your own bedding, well pillows at least and if you're sensitive about hygiene, your own towels as well.

- Bring emergency light. The tent that we stayed in had a very small fluorescent light. It could get dim at night.

Wait, I have some more pictures of us in the pool. Heehee

I just wish Clear Water would -

- let their guests use the amenities for free considering that these outdoor activities are the only reason why you'd want to go there. They currently charge extra for use of the boats, bikes and kayaks. Boo.

- get rid of the queen sized bed in our tent (No.3). It's so old, I can feel the springs poking me when I'm lying down.

- do a better job at cleaning the rooms.  The bathroom has mold and mildew. Nyi. Sayang naman if we'd just let the place waste away.

- let guests bring food and drinks inside the resort so long as they commit to take their rubbish with them when they go. Anyway, the food in their sole restaurant doesn't look appetizing. And the night would have been better had we been allowed to drink wine/beer while star gazing. Sigh.

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