C A M P I N G
A N D
M O R E
Being Asian, I have an innate regard for surprising localized weather. It's the type of condition that exists in patches of a single terrain where it's raining in one spot and then it's sunny in another. During my visit of the municipality of Real in Quezon Province, I knew that my bus was already in the middle of the Sierra Madre because the moment the door opened for a stopover, a mountain breeze started yelping through the aisle. It's been two hours or so and just one more and I'll be in Barangay Tignoan were my target resort is -- The Pacific Recreation Kamp.
Also known as The ParK, The Pacific Recreation Kamp is the first resort to be seen after the Siniloan-Famy-Real-Infanta Road veers away from its mountainside zigzag route via a bridge that connects to Barangay Tignoan. Having informed the bus conductor about my drop-off point, I was awakened by the call to get off which I countered with a never-mind gesture of a hand and replied that I changed my mind. It was almost 11:00 in the evening and I had no reservation at the resort. I decided to get off at the town center of Infanta and spend the night at the house of a distant relative. I left the Raymond Bus terminal in Manila's Legarda Street past 6:00pm which meant that I would really arrive in Real late in the evening.
|The resort cat|
The next day, I was aboard a jeepney bound for Siniloan, Laguna which would ply the same road along the resort. By lunch time, I was checked-in... well, sort of. It happened that the lone resort caretaker was busy at the time of my arrival so I wandered around the property trying to find a spot where I could pitch a tent rental.
By the time I found one, which was next to a tree and just a few meters from the rest house of the resort owner, the caretaker spotted me and I managed to know the details of staying at The Park. Tent rental costs P350 but it's not water-resistant. I was about to settle for it when he reminded me about the weather, so for P500, I had myself a tent for my overnight stay. Since there's no restaurant or F&B facility at the resort, only an assigned grilling station, I requested the caretaker's wife to prepare for me a cup of steamed rice and a can of branded tuna for late lunch.
|The resort dog|
It was the off-peak season, so I did not even expect guests to be there. Since the municipality's coast is starting to be known for its surf-worthy waves, the rainy season did not stop guests from coming. Case in point: there was a group of young professionals checked-in also at the resort and they looked like they were there to surf. I, however, was there to just camp out and take my time at the beach.
I spotted a memorial marker for a long-gone resort dog named Sparky (named after The Park probably) which made me melancholic because I have a pet dog back home in Pasig City. I did not realize that it was to be foreboding of a terrifying ghostly encounter that I was to have at the lonely highway outside the resort that night.
I strolled at the resort's span of Tignoan Beach for awhile and found the wide stretch of sand calming enough to linger in the area. The sand was of fine brown quality and numerous rocks were scattered in a pattern that was dazzling to the eyes at low tide. I was told that the area is an ideal surf spot for beginner and intermediate surfers. Advanced surfers hie off to the beach spot where Tignoan River's mouth welcomes the seawater as it's the area where the challenging waves are. I noticed that the expansive shoreline is perfect for skimboarding.
Out For Dinner
I went out of the resort after a power nap to have dinner back in Infanta, so I tried to catch a bus ride at the nearest shed along the highway. Unfortunately, no bus and jeepney stopped, so I walked a bit further thinking that an eatery could be nearby.
I did not notice how long I was walking along the highway with a view of the mountains on one side and the beach on the other until it got dark quickly. The localized weather was cloudy and did not show any sign of a splendid sunset. Suddenly, in a winding part of the highway where there was no light posts and houses, I felt eerie, but I kept on walking hoping to finally find a convenience store. Since I had my earphones on and I was listening to loud music, I barely noticed the full figure of a male kid that suddenly crossed the street from the mountainside to creep behind me in a manner that imitated my gait and pace. I turned around to check who it was and saw the person's silhouette just 6 feet away from me and without a left arm. The light from an incoming vehicle managed to make it more dramatic which stunned me, so I walked faster until it progressed into jogging. As I jogged and felt short of breath, I made a quick glance behind me and realized that I failed to evade my tormentor. I started to run for a couple of terrifying minutes more and prayed to God that I wouldn't be harmed that night. When I finally reached a lone light post in the area, a lit house became visible also. I made one more glance and the silhouette was gone.
I managed to finally eat dinner at a nearby eatery but had to contend with walking back the same route. There wasn't any bus or jeepney plying the highway at past 8:00pm, so I endured the long run that took me almost an hour to do. The way back was more horrific because the only light I depended on to see my way was the vivid white light projected by short bursts of lightning in the sky. It was a nightmare scenario of running in the dark except that it was happening for real.
All Holed Up Inside My Tent
When I arrived at the resort to sleep, it started to rain. God was still good I guess. The whole night I was holed up inside my tent as the rain poured heavily and incessantly for more than 6 hours. I honestly thought that I would get flooded inside but I managed to stay dry all throughout the night until the rains ceased in the wee hours.
When I woke up, I completely forgot my terrible ordeal the night before as I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee prepared by the caretaker's wife and pieces of flavored bread that I packed for the trip. The camp was lush in greenery and it was as if it did not rain hard hours before. Everything at the resort looked peaceful.
No More Surprises
With a resolve to put a stop to more unpredictable occurrences in my experience of Real, I decided to cajole a relative to accompany me to the nearby municipality of General Nakar for a change of scenery. For it, I rode back to Infanta aboard a jeepney filled with young locals in student uniform. I stared at all of them like they were ghosts... and for a good reason. My relative back in Infanta informed me that the area where I experienced a ghostly apparition was actually a spot where an old resort building stood. Young students who took shelter there in 2004 during a typhoon all died from a tragic landslide.
The Pacific Recreation Kamp (The ParK)
Address: Barangay Tignoan, Real, Quezon Province, Philippines
Check out my other Quezon Province-related blog posts:
+ Infanta, Balagbag Falls, and Nonok Falls
+ General Nakar and Agos River
+ Cagbalete Island getaway
+ Attractions in Mauban
+ Attractions in Tayabas City
+ Graceland Estate and Country Club of Tabayas
More Photos Below: