Friday, December 18, 2015

Discover Camp Peralta and other nearby sites #CaptivatingCapiz

I can't remember the last time I visited an army camp in the Philippines. So it was exciting for me to explore the 33-hectare Camp Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz, which also happens to be the second biggest military reservation in the country. 


The 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division, Philippine Army not only accommodates its armed forces, but a group indigenous people as well, several of which live within the grounds. And within the 33 hectares, less than 10 percent is only utilized by the army, while the remaining is either occupied by the Indigenous People of Panay. Moreover, there are idle land where hidden waterfalls are situated. 

Now aside from having a peaceful community, the army base also has a multitude of outdoor activities like biking and hiking (amongst other things). You can even explore several of the camp's waterfalls, as they're becoming a fast attraction, particularly Malinamon Falls.

CAMP PERALTA: Who is General Macario B. Peralta Jr.?

It was just fitting for the Philippine Army Base to be named after a former 'Deputy Chief of Staff of the Philippine Army and Secretary of National Defense' -- General Macario B. Peralta Jr. It was actually the general who successfully lead the guerilla defiance against the Japanese occupation forces in Panay. The man who constantly sought for freedom and peace, also devoted his life and work by serving his countrymen.

ORIENTATION

Although the encampment is open to the public, walk-ins are not allowed inside the camp. A proper heads up is needed (you may contact the base via email), so that guests can be accommodated by the authorities accordingly. It's also protocol for the soldiers to orient everyone who visits the army camp, especially those who wish to explore the grounds, as this gives them enough time to prepare and notify their officers about the visitors itinerary. This also gives them the opportunity to brief guests of the camp's rules and regulations.


We were able to see a smooth system upon our arrival at the military camp. In a matter of minutes, we were escorted inside, and were welcomed and briefed by General Caacbay and his team at the 3ID Officer’s Club House. There was no dilly-dally, so everything was on point. General Caacbay went straight to his presentation and explained the do's and don'ts inside the base, which were...

  • Bringing of deadly weapons and flammable materials are strictly prohibited.
  • Illegal drugs, substances and liquor are also prohibited.
  • Use only the main roads when roaming around the camp.
  • Garbage should be disposed properly while inside the camp. 
  • Visitors should only stay or occupy authorized and designated areas.
  • Smoking is not allowed inside the camp.
  • Swimming at the training pool may be authorized upon permission from the camp commander or CDO.
  • Taking of pictures is allowed only on designated areas.
  • Reminders: The command has highly skilled medical personnel and ambulance that are readily available.
  • Water from the faucet is not safe for drinking.

A spine-chilling display of Military and Squad Tactics 

I would say that our next destination gave me chills down my spine, as the activity that was demonstrated infront of us was new to me. We were escorted to where the HQ of the Division Traing unit was, where we stood witness to an interesting line up of Military and Squad Tactics.

Now, I've never heard a real gun being shot before (all of which were safely fired on-site), let alone different kinds being shot up in the air. But despite the deafening sounds, I was still glued to the soldiers who held these weapons, as they explained each of their duties and responsibilities to us. They also showed us the basic necessities that they carried with them in the battlefield.


On the same grounds, we were also given access to several of their static artilleries. But the best part about the tour was seeing an actual Army tank -- the SIMBA Fighting Vehicle, which some of my friends climbed in and took pictures of. Anyway, some of its characteristics are:

  • Armored Monocoque hull 
  • Wheeled AFV 
  • Two or Four wheel drive 
  • Airconditioned 
  • Description: 
  • Manufacturer – GKN (UK
  • Crew – 2 (Commander and Gunner
  • Armaments – 1 Cal. 50 
  • Communication – VRC 64 
  • Passenger – 1 squad 
  • General Data 
  • Engine Type – Perkins phaser 6 liters 
  • Engine Series – 210 TI Turbo-charged Intercooled Diesel 6 Cylinder 
  • Combat Weight – 10.6 Tons 
  • Length Overall – 5.35 meters (17 feet and 6 inches
  • Width – 2.50 meters (8 feet and 2 inches
  • Height (Top of Turret) – 2.57 meters (8 feet and 5 inches
  • Fuel Tank capacity – 296 liters (ADF
  • Max speed – 100 KPH (62.5 mph)


Aside from our quick tour of the tank, we were also shown their communication devices (both old and new), some of which were demonstrated to us on-site. Believe it or not, some of these military gadgets cost at least a million pesos each. 

Some types of Communication: 

  • Harris Radio
  • Dipole Antenna
  • Whip Antenna
  • Telephone Extender SENAO 

The Harris Radio, for example features a fixed frequency and 100 plus hops/second. It also has a wireless cloning, automatic whisper operation, selective calling, automatic position reporting using external Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, a Harris citadel encryption, and directed calling.


HIKE TOWARDS CAMP PERALTA'S WATERFALLS

There's plenty of activities that you can do and plenty of facilities to use while in Camp Peralta (i.e. Mountain/Road Bike Trail, Dirt Bike Race Track, Pistol and Rifle Firing Range, Soccer Field/Jogging Lane, Golf/Driving Range, and Camp Trekking/Hiking to some of their waterfalls, forest parks, and picnic sites). But the best kind of adventure that you can try while inside the army base is going on a trek towards the camp's amazing waterfalls.


Since we were strapped for time, the soldiers opted to just take us to one of its major cascades: Malinamon Falls. Although there were still 5 more waterfalls inside the base, Malinamon was already enough for me to enjoy for the day. But before reaching the majestic attraction, we had to hike through uphill, slippery slopes and marshy grounds for 30 minutes.

  • Malinamon Falls – Location: 3.97 KM Hike from HQ (more or less a 30-minute hike). Passes through Spearhead Natural Pool.
  • Jungle Base Falls – 6.25 KM from main gate (45 minute hike from Kalikasan Park)
  • Tapaa Falls
  • Kalikasan Falls has 3 separate falls (10-minute walk from Kalikasan Park)


I started to get excited, as we started to hear the crashing of the waves on the ground -- a sign that we were nearing Malinamon Falls. It was awe-striking that I just sat by the rocks while admiring the falls and taking photos of the entire place.


At first, I thought that going from one boulder to the other would be an easy task. But I was proven wrong. I had to carefully thread through the small pools of water, as not to be surprised of its depth. I also had to climb from one sharp rock to another, as not to slip and fall. Good thing, my Speedo Aqua Shoes had enough grip and protection to get me through my exploration. And the best part about going around the waterfalls is that we got to bathe under one of its big cascades, one of which took me a lot of time to cross over to, as I was too scared to get caught in the strong rush of the waters.

A Big Salute To Our Armed Forces!

I immensely enjoyed our time in Camp Peralta, especially in the company of our remarkable officers. Not a word or complaint was heard from them while they escorted us around. They were also very generous when it came to our multitude of questions, as they shared their knowledge to us wholeheartedly.


How to reach the Army Camp

You can learn more about the camp's history, activities, missions and visions, as well as their goals via their website: www.spearheadtroopers.com. 

OTHER ATTRACTIONS BEFORE VISITING CAMP PERALTA

Before going to Camp Peralta, our friends from the Capiz Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office took us to see the Sacred Heart of Jesus Shrine at Lawaan, Roxas City -- a 10 minute travel from the city proper via private vehicle.


We were also brought to another uphill location -- Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Meditation Hills -- another pilgrimage site that was 45-60 minutes away from the Sacred Heart of Jesus Shrine.


And if you still have time, head over to the Sta. Monica Church (one of the oldest in the country) -- home of the largest church bell in the Philippines, and the fifth biggest in the world. The church bell was made from 70 sacks of gold and silver coins that were donated by the townsfolk. It also weighs over 10 metric tons, and is 7 feet in diameter, and 5 feet in height. You can get an exclusive tour from Randy Glimer to better appreciate the religious site and its baroque influences.

Explore & Be Free! 
Mai 

NOTE: The Familiarization Tour was sponsored and organized by the Capiz Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office, in partnership with Las Islas Travel and Tours. The 3-day trip was also conducted from September 27 – 30, 2015, as part of Capiz Tourism Month. 

Capiz Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office 
2nd Floor, Provincial Capitol, Roxas City, Capiz, Philippines 
Tel: +63(36) 621-0042 loc. 133 
Email: capiz.tourism@gmail.com 
Facebook: facebook.com/CapizTourismAndCulturalAffairs 

Las Islas Travel and Tours 
Punta Dulog, Pueblo de Panay, Roxas City, Capiz Province 
(63) 918-6118569 
Email: lasislastravelandtours@gmail.com 
Facebook: facebook.com/lasislastravelandtours 
Instagram: instagram.com/lasislastravelandtours

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