For those in the regular workforce, vacations can be tricky. Not everyone has the luxury of time to do long-term backpacking or visit exotic locales every month. But everyone needs a beach and adventure fix once in a while. Located just 3-4 hours away from Manila, Real in Quezon offers such a quick weekend getaway.
This laid-back town located on the eastern shores of Luzon facing the Philippine sea is known for its rural beach resorts. Despite its proximity to Manila, the place offers budget-friendly activities and remains generally uncrowded. Here’s a quick rundown of some fun stuff you can do in this overlooked coastal town.
For budget backpackers and weekend warriors, the Pacific Recreation Kamp or PaRK is a good place to camp out. The area, which is right next to the surfing grounds spot of Tignoan Beach, has a spacious grassy areas where you can pitch tents.
The resort offers tent rentals, though the rate is cheaper if you bring your own camping gear. There are also several nipa-hut style open air gazebos you can rent. The resort has a couple of outdoor showers and very basic restrooms.
It can get pretty stifling inside tents especially during the day if there’s no breeze so make sure to bring a hammock as well. Weekends are best spent lazing around and sleeping in, which are perfectly acceptable activities when you’re at the beach. There’s really something about the sound of the water that makes sleep more soothing. Since it’s usually too hot to do any activities, after lunch is the perfect time to hang up a hammock and just take a siesta.
TRY RIVER RAFTING & TUBING
In Real, you can experience a scaled-down version of whitewater rafting when you try river tubing. What makes it interesting is that instead of inflatable rafts, local guides use of balsa or makeshift boats made of large tire tubes and bamboo planks. Brg. Tanauan, which is an emerging river tubing destination in the area, offers a 5-kilometer stretch of wild water current. There’s a 30-60 minute trek down to reach the jump off point at the mouth of the river. The ride, which lasts roughly 1.5-2 hours, ends at the exit passing Tignoan bridge.
River rafting photos by Jedzar
Each boat can fit 5 people (including 2 boatmen/lifeguards). During the rainy season when the current is strong, the experience can be quite thrilling. When the current is not so strong, then the ride down the river amidst the lush scenery is more serene and relaxing. Along the way, the boatmen park the rafts so guests can just take a refreshing dip in the water. TRIVIA: According to the Provincial Tourism of Quezon, the boatmen were former Kaingeros and illegal loggers who were trained to operate the rafts and serve as life guards and river and forest protectors by promoting the area as a river rafting destination.
Group photo before river rafting courtesy of Albert
LEARN TO SURF
Real offers one of the nearest surfing spots to Manila in terms of land travel, and is a decent place for beginners who want to try out surfing during a quick weekend trip. You can rent surfboards and hire surfing instructors at The PaRK.
The beach itself has a wide break with brownish gray sand and scattered rocks. The current can be quite strong even if the waves are fickle, so paddling back to shore was a real workout. When waves are small, the area is also suitable for paddle boarding or skim boarding at the beach.
GoPro screengrab courtesy of Journeying James / Jedzar
HIKE TO WATERFALLS
Like many mountainous regions in the country, Real has its share of waterfalls that you can hike to and swim in. We visited Nonok Falls, a popular local swimming hole that has a narrow cascade and wide basin for swimming. While the water near the edge is very shallow, the water in the middle of the basin is quite deep. Locals (and adrenaline-junkies) like to jump from a rock about 15 feet up into the middle of the pool.
Other waterfalls in the Real area include Balagbag Falls, a two-tiered waterfall shrouded in a thick green forest and Cawayan Falls, which involves longer treks to get to.
Group selfie courtesy of #JJTours coordinator Red
No beach trip is complete without lots of food! There aren’t any restaurants nearby, but there’s a local market where you can buy fresh seafood and meat for grilling. We feasted on some pretty good boodle fight meals including tanigue, squid and surahan (unicorn fish) during the weekend. Kudos to the chefs for the great meals! The meat of the unicorn fish was so tender. And that grilled talong. Panalo.
Suman and Peanut butter from Infanta for breakfast, fresh fish for lunch, and Lambanog (in Coke container) after dinner. Beer and chips are available in the store right outside the PaRK.
P.S. A friendly reminder to all campers: there’s a curfew in PaRK, so if you’re planning to drink, make sure you finish by 10. Or at least try and keep your noise to a minimum so you don’t disturb other campers who want to sleep. 🙂
Thanks to Journeying James Tours for showing us these fun activities you can do in Real, Quezon. For those who want to meet like-minded travelers and try out all the activities listed in one weekend, check out JJ Tours Real Adventure Tres on Facebook.
Real is a good destination for riders too!
HOW TO GET TO REAL:
By private transportation/car/motorcycle:
- NOTE: As of 2016, the Marifanta Road passing Infanta and going all the way to Real is no longer passable due to damaged bridges
- From the Marikina-Infanta Road or Manila-East Road, head towards Pililla, passing Mabitac and Famy.
- After reaching the Famy Public Market, turn left going towards the Famy-Real-Infanta Road
- Follow the highway until you reach Real, Quezon
By public transportation:
Option 1 (Antipolo Route)
- Ride either the van or Raymond bus (ordinary) going to Infanta, Quezon situated at Legarda, Manila.
- Fare in Raymond bus is P205.00 while the fare for the van is P220.00
- Travel time using the bus is 6 hours while for the van is 3-4 hours only.
- Infanta, Quezon is 148 kilometers from Manila while Real, Quezon is 136 kilometers from Manila.
- Ride the aircon bus (either Greenstar or DLTB) en route to Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
- The terminal can be found in Buendia, Pasay City. The fare from Manila to Sta. Cruz is P140.00. Travel time is 3 hours.
- From Calamba City to Sta. Cruz, the fare is P61.00 and travel is only 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- Reaching Sta. Cruz, board the jeep going to Siniloan for P40.00 and travel time is 1 hour (There is also a van in Pagsanjan directly going to Infanta and travel time is only 1.5 hours; from Sta. Cruz board a jeep to Pagsanjan for P8.00 only).
- Then, get off in Siniloan and board the jeep going to Real, Quezon. Travel time is 2 hours.
- Ride the bus going to Lucena either in Cubao or Buendia. In Buendia, the bus companies available are Lucena Lines, Jacliner, DLTB or Jam.
- Travel time from either Buendia or Cubao to Lucena is approximately 4 hours.
- Fare in Cubao to Lucena is P218.00 and it is 132 kilometers. Fare in Buendia is P209.50 and it is 127 kilometers.
- Alight at the Lucena Grand Central terminal,and then ride either AH bus or the van going to Infanta, Quezon. Fare in the ordinary bus from Lucena to Real is P158.00 and travel time is 4.5 hours. While the fare in the van going to Real is P200.00 and travel time is 4 hours.
TRAVEL TIPS & USEFUL INFO:
- Pacific Recreation Kamp (PaRK) is located in Km 115, Bgy. Tignoan, Real, Quezon. Contact: Teody Villaflor. Mobile: +639209246102, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Entrance / Impact Fees: Adults – P35/day – P50/overnight. Kids – P20/day – P35/overnight
- Open huts: Medium (10 pax) 400/day – P700/overnight; Large (20 pax) – P700/day – P1000/overnight
- Tents: Tent pitching / impact fee: Small (1-2 pax) – P50; Medium (3-4 pax) – P100, Large (>=5 pax) – P150
- Tent rental (2 to 3 pax dome tent) – P300
- Tent rental (fully fly sheet dome tent) – P500
- River Rafting at Bgy.Tanauan – P300/pax
- Surfing rates at PaRK:
- Foam or fiberglass – P200/hour; P500 half day; 1,000/whole day
- Paddle board: P300/hour
- Body Board – P50/hour
- Instructor: P300/hour