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The life of a runner

This is my personal account on running, travelling and living a Christian life.

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Wanderlust

Abrac Beach: Where sand, sea, and sky meet beautifully

Abrac beach (or more commonly known as Patar beach) in Barangay Patar, Bolinao, Pangasinan is a great destination especially for backpackers and beach lovers. The clear waters, fine golden sand, and majestic view of rock formations offer a serene and relaxing stay. One will enjoy strolling in the shoreline with the sand (more likely fine pebbles) massaging the feet. Snorkeling and kayaking is also highly recommended.

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A perfect view of sand, stone, sea, and sky

The sunset is a must see while in Abrac beach. The majestic view of the sun casting a red-orange shade into the sky before completely disappearing into the horizon is truly breathtaking.  The panoramic view is also a great subject for those who love nature photography and as background for prenuptial photos.

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Sunsets are always a breathtaking view in Abrac beach. Our photo did not give justice to how beautiful the view is.

Transportation going to the town of Bolinao is very accessible from Manila. With the opening of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), travel time going to the town is made shorter with a span of 4 to 6 hours. Public transportation is also accessible through bus companies such as 5 Star, Victory Liner and Dagupan Bus all offering route going to Bolinao from their bus terminals in Cubao. Then take a 45 minute to an hour of tricycle ride along paved and some stretch of rough roads going to Abrac beach. Just a reminder, you might need your bargaining skills as some tricycle drivers charge high fare.

Lodging is not a problem in Patar as there is a wide variety of hotels, resorts and inns to choose from depending on your budget and preference. Cottages are also available in the beach front but with a charge. Sadly, nothing is free nowadays and Abrac beach is no exception. From parking, to use of cottages, to use of public showers – everything is charged. On the optimistic side, think of it as just helping the town’s tourism industry.

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Cottages and sheds line up the beach front

Looking at some reviews, I found that many tourists who went to Bolinao have mistaken the location of Abrac beach so there are comments saying that they were not able to enjoy the beach during morning when low tide occurs and that they only got a stretch of rocks and seaweeds for a shore. To fully enjoy Abrac beach, one should walk past the number of resorts, further past the shores of Treasures of Bolinao Resort. Some also complain about seaweeds floating in the beach but hey, it’s a sign that Mother Nature is still in control and Abrac beach is not yet abused by man.

And while in Bolinao, these other itineraries might help:
1. Eat Binunguey (sticky rice placed inside bamboo poles and cooked in open flame) with ripe mangoes
2. Try Danggit (sun-dried fish), Daing na Bangus, Bagoong Padas (fish sauce), and Arorosep salad (edible seaweed tossed with tomatoes and mangoes)
3. Visit the century old, Spanish colonial church of St. James the Great Parish
4. Have your photo taken beside the Parola (Cape Bolinao Lighthouse, still functional and considered second highest)
5. Visit the National Museum, Bolinao branch
6. Visit Bolinao falls, Enchanted cave, and other local destinations
7. Buy pasalubong in the souvenir shops located along the beach front of Abrac beach or beside St. James the Great Parish church.

Hong Kong: A fun family destination

October 2012, my family went to Hong Kong for a  short vacation. A short escape from being corporate slaves, hehe ( my wife and I are both working). This vacation is also our way of celebrating our 5th year anniversary as husband and wife, and parents to our son Cedric James.

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Getting around Hong Kong

Going places in Hong Kong is quite easy as there are a lot of options for you to choose from. If you don’t mind spending money, then you could hire a cab and ask the driver to cruise you along places. But for the streetwise type of traveler, you can take a bus, a tram, or the MTR.

What’s good about the MTR is that there are many lines and interchange stations. My 5 year old son, who always has a fascination with trains, had a delight in riding the MTR. Tip, research on how to go to your destination beforehand and familiarize the different train lines. For example, if you are going to Hong Kong Disneyland you have to take the Tung Chung line and alight on Sunny Bay and Disneyland Resort interchange station.

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I also suggest riding the double-decked tramcars just for the experience.

Hongkong Disneyland Resort and Hongkong Ocean Park

These two destinations were on top of our itinerary when we visited Hong Kong since we traveled with our 5 year old son. He really enjoyed these theme parks, the rides, the shows, the parade in Disneyland, and even the cable car at Ocean Park. Tip, if you are planning to include these two destinations in your Hong Kong itineraries you might want to give a whole day for your Disneyland visit.

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We decided to stay in Disneyland’s Hollywood Hotel. It maybe a bit pricier than other hotels and inns in Hongkong but it is worth it specially when you are staying with kids and/or you love taking pictures.

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Other recommended places ( though we weren’t able to visit due to our limited time of stay) are:

Macau, oh the ferry boat is a must try.
Ngong Ping 360, cable cars and giant Buddha
Ladies’ Market in Mong kok, ask for a bargain price
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

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