Another cool way to tour around the Philippines is via the AAP-Petron Drive Tour Caravan. This shows how possible it is to bring your own vehicle and take it along with you on the trip. In our case, we were around 15 vehicles in a seemingly VIP convoy escorted by policemen and with an ambulance ready to serve us just in case we encounter an accident or any of the participants needed immediate first aid.
AAP is the Automobile Association Philippines who partnered with Petron to provide a "drive-tour caravan" experience to interested participants who would like to see the Philippines through their unique way. They've been doing this for a few years already and now they've introduced a tour around Cavite. With coordination from the local government units and tourism offices of the province, the "drive-tour caravan" takes you on a delightful journey of selected stops at different tourist destinations to also promote the province and cities included in the itinerary.
I was invited to join the two-day "drive-tour caravan" through a media friend whom I met at a previous Department of Tourism event at La Union. This is actually the second time he recommended me to the organizers starting off with the Oriental Mindoro for the very first MIMAROPA Festival held in Calapan, now he again said good words about me for the AAP-Petron Cavite Drive-Tour Caravan held on November 28 to 29, 2015.
Overwhelmed at how my friend believes in my capacity, I am somewhat challenged to do more than my very best so I can fully show the organizers that I am indeed rightful to be part of the event.
Our starting point was at the Petron gas station at Macapagal Avenue at around 6 pm. We were assigned at vehicle number 2 were we were joined by Petron Media Relations executive Bong Cleofe, her mother and a journalist from AQ (Automobile Quarterly). Along with me was a fellow blogger that I invited to join the caravan. I also invited another media friend who brought her own car assigned as vehicle 9. Needless to say, the vehicles were numbered where the lead car numbered as 1 was following a police vehicle acting as part of our escort. Several other police officers were riding motorcycles making sure we reach our destinations in the best possible time and with very little disturbance or interruption from traffic congestion.
I was using a selfie stick during majority of the tour because I was given an opportunity by one of the smartphone brands to promote their product. The tour was a great opportunity since the smartphone was a Filipino brand and we were touring all proudly-Filipino attractions here in the Philippines. This is probably why a participant noticed my seemingly addiction doing selfies. Thank you myPhone for the cool Rio Pixie selfie smartphone.
Well, that was an opportunity to get to know the friendly Mr. Peter Smith, a British citizen with a Filipina wife, and my favorite photo-and-video-bomber. As of this writing, he has been liking my posts on Facebook especially the posts about the drive-tour. You can also see him in some of my photos and videos during the tour.
Our first stop was at the iconic Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite where we were greeted by a live marching band. A tarpaulin signage signifies they were expecting us, and we were received by the resident tour guides assigned to tour us around. Some complimentary Department of Tourism items, including some snacks, were also given to every participant on our way out after the tour ended.
Next stop was the Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm in Silang, Cavite. This is a small family business personally run by the children themselves to produce several honeybee products aside from honey. The owners' son was the one who oriented us about the honey bees, their products and the origin of their farm. The talk was held at their Bee Museum which had tarpaulins that can be lowered down to reveal several photos relating their interesting stories about their business. The photos shows images of themselves with their parents when they were still young. A video presentation was also shown featuring another one of the kids who was sharing the Ilog Maria story.
After buying some products from their store, we proceeded to the Gourmet Farm which was also located in Silang, Cavite. The Gourmet Farm is situated in a 7-hectare property which boasts of organic produce. This is where we had lunch beginning with a vegetable salad. A demonstration that featured how to prepare the same salad was held first before we dined on the tasty appetizer.
Former Secretary Mina Gabor, now the President of AAP, graced a program held after lunch. Through a series of questions meant to test the knowledge of the participants, Petron gave away some of their miniature cars to those who could give the correct answers. I was lucky enough to win one of the beauties namely a Panamera miniature car.
A visit at the Cornerstone Pottery Farm was our next destination. This si where we met the master potter himself. AAP President Mina Gabor also informed everyone, including the owners themselves, that the time for their crafts is now as they are now accepted as the next big thing in the international arena. The owner showed us around his work areas including a demonstration on how to manually create potteries using something similar to what we saw on the Ghost movie featuring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. We even heard some of the participants sing the popular soundtrack while the potter was doing his thing.
Yoki's Farm, our next stop on our drive-tour, offered hydrophonics farming. This means the vegetables rely more on nutrient-filled water instead of soil. It also featured a museum, composed of a collection of priceless antiques and trinkets, where a giant Buddha situated at the very middle was the most prominent artifact among the collection.
We arrived at night time already at the Gingerbread House located in Alfonso, Tagaytay. This was too bad for us as we could not appreciate the real beauty of their giant Gingerbread-looking structure which also serves as their restaurant and playpen for kids who are the primary targets of the place. Since there's always a child in everyone of us, even adults are fascinated with the attraction. We found out that the place originated from a drawing the owners' children made. The Gingerbread House is still a work in progress so we would expect more developments soon including the usage of the pool and more attractions that will delight the kids. Snacks were served here before we finally left for dinner at The Lake District restaurant where they served a hearty buffet.
Full and satisfied with our sumptuous dinner, we finally proceeded to check-in at the Days Hotel which served as our temporary home for overnight sleeping. Will rise again tomorrow morning for the continuation of our adventure.
This is only Day One of our AAP - Petron Cavite Drive-Tour Caravan. Watch out for Day Two soon here at Wazzup Pilipinas!