Monday, March 31, 2008

Nothing goes to Plan!

SO, here we are, having sold my daughter on the fact that we are going to see whale sharks, here comes a mesage that Polo is now the game.

Plans have changed, as is the want in Aviation, we are now going to lunch, landing at a Polo Field called Calatagan, South West of Manila along some spectacular coastline, lunch at Punta Baluarte, then back again.

The Polo Field is actually part of the Zobel family's Hacienda Bigaa private retreat, the airfield is now open to the public so off we go, I have seen it from the air before and it looks spectacular ..

Alas, my daughter has turned up her nose, so it will be lunch, return, and a few beers with the boys on the agenda when we get back ..

What is Punta Bularte, you may ask? Funny you say that, I had to ask Google as well. Some idea of what we are in store for ..

An interesting place with an interesting history .....

Now, for a photo of the air strip ...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Whale Sharks - Donsol - Philippines

Some exciting news, a good friend of mine called today and said they were organizing a fly-in to Donsol, the home of the Whale Sharks in the Philippines.

Apparantly theWhale Sharks turn up at 7am and depart at 10am (kind of like public servants), I wish I could get my staff to be that regular.

My nine year old daughter pointed out that with the number of "larger" guys going, if the sharks did not turn up, there would be plenty to look at anyway. (Actually, she was a little more to the point than that... something about swimming around with our mouths open)

Plan is to launch for Legaspi early on Saturday the 5th, pick up an aircon bus for the 1.5 hour drive to Donsol, drink cold beer, sleeop, swim with the sharks, back to legaspi for lunch then back home after a 1 1/2 hour flight from Legaspi. Easy .. right?

Some more information on Donsol can be found at

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX)

This is not particularly aviation related, however, the expressway runs right past Omni Aviation, where I keep my planes (I could throw a tennis ball from the expressway as I drove past and bounce it off my plane, that's how close it is)

The Subic, Clark, Tarlac Expressway, as the name implies, is supposed to link all three Economic Zones (Freeports) with a corridor.

The expressway was open over Easter for a dry run, so I figured, why not, lets see how well they have done.

Well, there lies the first problem, getting onto the expressway. Believe it or not, there is no entry/exit point within the Clark Freeport. What??? You mean we have to exit the zone, fight the traffic and finally get onto the expressway right between the Main and Mabalacat gates. Yes folks, the entrance is at Mabiga which is located in a very heavy traffic zone right between the two gates.

Now this was Good Friday (no traffic) it took 30 minutes form Omni to the Entry at Mabiga. I would hazard to guess it would be 40-50 minutes on a normal day, IF no trucks decide to use the Entry/Exit.

Ok, so I get off McArthur Highway and find myself heading AWAY from the expressway! WHAT!!! Fortunately, some kind soul had put a U Turn Slot so we could turn around and head back in the right direction. If we had not made the U Turn, we would have been on the NLEX headed for Manila

Passing through the toll gate, only a few booths, so they must not figure on high volumes of traffic, we found ourselves on a World Class Road, immaculate. It appears to be a first Class piece of work.

Forty minutes later, I was ordering a Cold Mango Shake at Magellans Landing on the water at Subic, wonderful. The Subic end was a breeze, getting off and on, it all worked and made sense. (Why can't Clark do that?)

Coming back, I planned on seeing how the road to Tarlac was, lo and behold, I found a CSEZ Exit, all signed, complete with Toll Booths, magnificent! It was blocked off so it could not be used, slowing down for a peek, I could see why, the road finished 100 meters or so after the toll booths. It goes nowhere!!

Unfortunately, further up, we had to turn around as the Tarlac Segment was not open, so off to the Nlex exit and the U Turn Slots again. What a mess!

I am told on good authority (actually, it was a signpost stuck in the side of the road) that there will be a Clark South Exit, just north of Omni (Hurrah!) I believe that GMA is insisting on it. Perhaps she is the only one blessed with enough sense to see the need.

We really look forward to the day where we can run down to Subic for lunch, open up a branch operation in subic by the water and operate our businesses and lives as if we were in the real world

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My First Blog

Well folks, I have finally figured out Blogging. Easter is upon us (Holy Week in the Philippines) and no work from Thursday until Sunday, the whole place basically shuts down.

Good news is that the new Clark, Subic, Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) was opened for a "dry run" today. We saw the President (GMA) make the first official trip. It wil be open for people to travel it for free over Holy Week. This new toll Way will cut the travel time by 2/3rds between the two Freeports.

We have had some spectacular mornings here and Mount Pinatubu is looking its best for a long time.